Doug McGuff (I interviewed Doug last year here) mentioned this new DVD on his blog a couple of weeks ago and I received a copy last week.
I watched it the other night and really enjoyed it.
If you are going to buy this - and I would recommend that you do - you need first of all to understand what you are getting.
This is not a fancy production with animations and graphics. What you get is a video of Dr McGuff giving a 2 hour lecture on nutrition. He backs it up with a whiteboard on which he has sketched out diagrams of the relevant metabolic pathways that he is talking about and there is a handout outlining the points he is teaching, but otherwise it is just Doug lecturing and answering some questions.
Don't buy this expecting a fancy production. To me that doesn't matter - the information and the way it is transmitted is what is important.
The hunter gatherer diet
I forget where I first came across the paleo diet. It was before Art Devany hit the web through his blog. It may have been through browsing the paleo diet site but it is years ago now.
Anyway, since I have read a lot of material about this topic - Neanderthin, the Paleo Diet for Athletes, Evfit.com, the TBK Fitness Program,, Matt's book....and lots more. I've read the books and I've spent probably hundreds of hours browsing this stuff on line.
This however is the clearest presentation I've yet seen on the subject. Watching this, the pieces of the jigsaw really came together more clearly than before. The books I've read have been good, but Doug's presentation explains the argument very clearly and simply in a consistent way.
The problem is clearly stated "since the advent of agriculture, the food that used to be the most scarce (carbohydrate) is not the most abundant".
This has driven up insulin levels which has led to a cascade of problems all under the umbrella of the metabolic syndrome.
I think the presentation of the biochemistry is what really makes this DVD. The basics of the paleo diet are easy to grasp.(This video for example explains it well). There is also the simple "motto" of the sharp stick test:
The 'sharp stick' test refers to Ray Audette's catchy description of how to distinguish palaeofoods from non-palaeo foods: "A natural diet is what is edible when you are naked with a sharp stick," Audette says,"when you have no technology."
What Doug brings to the party however is a very clear presentation of what is going on in your cells. How glucose gets in via the insulin receptors and the various steps in the processes it goes through to power the cells. He then explains what happens when the cell is full and the feedback loop stops the glucose coming in and sends it instead to fill up the liver and the muscles.....and then where it goes to cause problems.
He talks about how these processes are managed in your body through various sytems, reactions and feedbacks and how different foods have an impact. Realy interesting and well explaind.
Cholesterol, diabestes, the immune system, poisons in plants - there is stuff in here that was either new to me or explained ina new way.
Do Eat ....Don't Eat
That is the interesting part. But to be honest you could ignore all that and just focus onthe prescription from the doctor - what to eat and what not to eat. It will be pretty familiar if you have read much of this stuff before.
He takes a fairly pragmatic approach - the main thing is to focus on meat, eggs, fish, veggies, berries and saturated fat and avoid HFCS, sugar and grain products. He gives a simple hierarchy - get the most important things in place (e.g. dump sugsr and grains, eat meat) then worry about finessing things (when do you dump spuds.....start fasting).
Generously he also points to the writings of Kurt Harris and his 12 step, get started programme as a good template for adopting this way of eating.
Supplementation or Augmentation
Doug also discusses supplements. Again, if you have been following the recent science these will not be a surprise: fish oil, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 (Stephan has discussed K2 alot)
Interestingly, the argument for Doug is not about supplementation but appropriate augmentation of the diet. Vitamin D3 for example is really important but for most of us we simply live in the wrong places to get sufficient from the sun so we need to add it to our diet.
(off topic but I always wonder how the Inuit get by with respect to vitamn D given their lattitude)
The funniest moment is at the end in the Q&A when someone asks for advice for a vegan. Doug's instruction is simple:
To be fair he does then explain that vegetarianism doesn't make sense from an ethical point of view - agriculture implies the destruction of vast complex ecosystems to create the monocrops on which we rely (wheat, corn or wahtever) wheat is murder - or from a biological point of view - we are built as carnivores from our teeth to our guts (we do not have the mutliple stomachs of vegetarian animals which allow the bugs in their stomach to digest the cellulose).
Really interesting arguments by the way which are developed in Lierre Keith's amazing book - the Vegetarian Myth. She comprehensively deconstructs the common arguments for vegetarianism while weaving in a narrative of her own personal journey. Morally - things need to die for other this to live - politically - agriculture destroys ecosystems and cultures - and nutritionally - you cannot be properly nourished on plants. This is not to defend factory farming, which is cruel and nasty, but it is to appeal to think maturely about what we eat and why.
Back on topic.....
Where to get it
So far the DVD is only available directly from Doug's Ultimate Exercise. Order this from Doug directly. (By the way I don't think it is up on the product page yet, but the contact details are there and the cost for the DVD is $45 + Shipping and Handling ($5.00 U.S., $10.00 International)). Mine arrived from the States to Scotland in about a week.