Podcast #57: What a Doctor Thinks About The Paleo Diet.

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode


In the featured topic of this free August 26 audio episode, to give you an idea of exactly what a doctor thinks about The Paleo Diet, I interview naturopathic physician Kalli Phillips. Also included in this podcast: heart rate monitors and calorie burning, transdermal magnesium absorption, running faster for triathlon and big news about the Pacific Elite Fitness Triathlon Camp.2010AustinTriCampLogo

Also in the introduction, be sure to listen in for a $10 free gift to be used at the Pacific Elite Fitness bookstore! Ben talks about it in full detail at the end of the podcast, but you can also click here to get the full scoop on the brand new Pacific Elite Fitness Triathlon Training Camp in Austin, Texas (also,e-mail Ben if you want the cycling kit pictured to the right…which will also include the BenGreenfieldFitness.com logo)

Featured Topic:

Dr. Kalli Phillips is not only a physician, but also an active individual, so when she told me she had “reviewed” The Paleo Diet, I was interested to hear her thoughts. She began her love of all things bike-related as soon as she could pedal, and started road racing at the age of 16.  Track racing soon followed, and she spent several years in the upper echelon of American track racing.  Injury forced an early retirement after 8 years, and she put her nose to a different grindstone and went to medical school.

Now a licensed Naturopathic physician, Kalli practices primary care in Eugene, Oregon.  She uses nutrition and lifestyle change as her primary prescriptions, integrating herbal medicine and homeopathy as well as the occasional pharmaceutical prescription.  Her greatest goal with each patient is to find and remove the cause of their condition, thereby removing the barriers to health. Since medical school, Kalli has taken up racing again and is working her way back up through the categories.  Just this last weekend, she won the Category 4 state criterium championships.

During our discussion, Dr. Phillips and I discuss several important topics pertaining to The Paleo Diet, including:

-How it works for the general population and how it works for athletes…

-The mechanism by which high blood glucose, cholesterol/triglycerides and other inflammatory markers could be controlled…

-The modifications that Dr. Phillips recommends for athletes to make to the diet…

-Whether a person can really eat like a caveman in a modern, commercial grocery store…

-Practical tips for implementing the diet…

-Good substitutes for the grains and starches that are limited in the Paleo Diet…

How the diet should be changed when it comes to fueling with gels, bars and powders…

Want more info on The Paleo Diet?Click here to see the large range of books on Amazon that feature “The Paleo Diet”.Have your own experience with the Paleo Diet? Leave us a comment below!


Listener Q&A:

Listener Matt asks: “What recommendations do you have for improving speed for the run in Olys and HIM?  I am thinking spending the off-season doing strength training for the run (squats, lunges, etc) and doing hills, as well as intervals of 800s.  The mantra of triathlon is “to run faster, bike more” which I agree with, but in Iowa, biking during the winter months is not ideal.  (more endurance on the bike, you have energy on the run and faster cadence will improve foot turnover).  I can only spend so  much time on the trainer before I get bored. Also, I may want to set up some time to talk about opening my own PT training studio.”

In addition to giving some tips on running speed, in my response to Matt's question about opening his own PT training studio, I reference the website http://www.trainfortopdollar.com .

Listener Jerry asks: “I believe I read somewhere that the skin has the ability to self-regulate its magnesium absorption so that too much is not absorbed. But I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I would be interested to hear your opinion on this, too, Ben. Can you take in too much magnesium by using it transdermally? On a similar note, I just wanted to shout out that since I began using transdermal magnesium in the last couple weeks, I have noticed an incredible improvement in my ability to recover after tough workouts. Like you said, Ben, this stuff works!”


That’s all for this week. Coming soon in future podcasts: Weight Loss & Hypnosis and Natural Sports Medicine. Be sure to leave our podcast a rating in iTunes – just click here to go to our iTunes page and leave feedback! Finally, remember all the time put into producing this podcast for you, and consider donating to our show (we’ll throw in a free T-shirt)! Finally, down below, you can see what our new cycling kits will look like…if you want one, just e-mail Ben.


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9 thoughts on “Podcast #57: What a Doctor Thinks About The Paleo Diet.

  1. Cavemermaid says:

    You can't get any more 'Primal' than Homeopathic Medicine. :)

  2. dom says:

    Wow, peter don’t mean to gang up on ya… but some need the treatment. even if it is tricking the mind. hypercondriacs sometimes trick themselves into sickness. maybe some need to be tricked out of it. i’m also going to agree that some doctors will take advantage of patients.

  3. Christine says:

    My insurance group covers licensed naturopath doctors & my general practitioner has referred me to one who was able to treat and cure my problem avoiding surgery. It is based on the same information and science as any other medicine. If there was anything wacky or crazy about it, my insurance company, one of the largest & best known in my state, would not cover it.

  4. Peter says:

    Insurance companies cover all sorts of “wackyness” because it is demanded by their wacky clients. They are in it for the money – if they can get you to pay an extra premium to cover this stuff, or get your business from another company because they provide such cover,it then they will because they profit from it. This does not trump the science which, if you bother to investigate it, shows beyond any possible doubt that not only do these alternative methods not work but that they can also be dangerous – especially when people deny themselves, or far worse their children, proper medical care. There are many instances of children dying because their parents have put their faith in alternative medicine instead of proper science-based medicine. Just as PT Barnham said all those years ago “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

  5. Peter says:

    I too have better things to do than waste my time debating someone who makes their living from medical practises that are either fraudulent or deluded as such a person is very unlikely to change their point of view or their practises. To anyone who is reading this however I implore you to seek for yourself the truth behind these so called “alternative” medicine practises. For starters I recommend that you download a half dozen episodes of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe from iTunes and listen to them. If by then you still don’t “get it” then you are probably beyond help and doomed to spend the rest of your life paying good money to people who don’t deserve it in return for treatments that don’t actually do anything along, perhaps, with all of the other scams and stupidity that so efficiently propagates through the internet and the media these days. And “Dr” Phillips perhaps you could do the same – you might find there is a lot to learn from Dr Steven Novella et al and you may find yourself eventually being able to genuinely help your patients without recourse to antiscience and disproven remedies. I detect that you already have doubts about homeopathy although I find your decision to go ahead and use it anyway somewhat disturbing. You will also learn from the SGU and other skeptical sources just how easily the human mind can deceive itself and be deceived by others, and how alternative medicine relies on these effects for its survival. I am sorry if I sound condescending however I have spent my life studying pseudoscience; I understand how enticing it can seem and how it entraps people, both practitioners and patients – and the picture is very depressing. And don’t say it does no harm. There is now a measurable death toll, for example, due to the rabid antivaccination lobby who continue to push their dangerous hypothesis against overwhelming scientific evidence. And, worse still, there are alternative practicioners out there who will happily take people’s money to give them useless “homeopathy vaccines” and lie to them that these will give protection. You might not do this sort of thing “Dr” Phillips but you are part of the machinery which perpetuates the misinformation which allows these things to happen.

  6. Kalli Phillips ND says:

    It has been my experience that more often than not, the folks who have such a strong negative response to my profession are ill-informed as to my training and scope of practice. Perhaps clearing up this ignorance will change the tone of “Peter’s” opinion of me, or perhaps not. It is possible that the confusion here is because not every state has a Naturopathic licensing board. Anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves a Naturopath in an unlicensed state. Many are educated through online courses and do not have the skill to diagnose and treat disease that a licensed naturopath does.

    A licensed Naturopath has completed at least 4 years of medical school including over 1500 hours of clinical training and nearly 4000 hours of coursework and labs. In order to be eligible for a license here in Oregon, one must pass a rigorous set of board exams, much like the board exams for MDs in form and function. This training and testing is done to ensure that those who are licensed are capable of practicing the full extent of our scope as primary care physicians. The scope in Oregon includes pretty much anything a primary care physician does in the office, including minor surgery and gynecology exams. The modalities I use primarily are nutrition and lifestyle counseling, and I find them to be a very effective combination. The mention of botanical medicine and homeopathy as Naturopathic modalities is true, and I do regularly prescribe both, but it surprises many to learn that our scope also includes full primary care pharmaceuticals, which I readily prescribe if I feel they are called for.

    I agree that the data on the mechanism of action of homeopathy is not the strongest, but the data behind nutrition, lifestyle modification and botanical medicine is without a question robust. I believe homeopathy to be effective based on my clinical experience, and I honestly don’t need to know the exact mechanism in order to believe in its efficacy. Truth be told, we don’t know the exact mechanism of action of most pharmaceuticals; otherwise we wouldn’t have unexplainable side effects. If it is indeed the ‘world’s best placebo effect’, as homeopathy has been called, I don’t have a problem with it because it eases the suffering of many of my patients and has no side effects.

    I admit that I am more than a little offended at the tone of “Peter’s” response, and therefore felt the need to defend myself a bit, but I am not interested in diving into a tit-for-tat argument here. I am a busy physician and my experience with these exchanges is that they are seldom productive for either party. Harsh and judgmental language has no place in a truly scientific exchange and paints the picture of a blind-believing religious zealot, not an inquisitive scientist. I’ve argued with my share of religious zealots enough to know that neither of us really learns or teaches each other anything.

    There are plenty of places for “Peter” to pick a fight with believers in natural medicine who have more time on their hands than I, so I encourage him to seek out those outlets if he’s so inclined because I will provide no further response to him on this forum.

  7. Peter says:

    While I fully support the paleo diet I cant support your efforts in getting it endorsed by a quack. Natropathy, herbal medicine and homeopathy are all modalities which have been proven over and over again to be fake. Especially egregious is homeopathy. This idiotic belief has no possible way of working based on the scientific knowledge we have gathered over the last two thousand years and many attempts to prove its efficacy have failed. It has only a placebo effect equivalent to giving water or a sugar pill. To call this person a “doctor” is an insult to doctors.

    1. Dan says:

      Know your facts, Peter. Doctors killed more people than 'quack' medicine. Allopathic medicine promoted cigarettes for health, filthy conditions that killed child bearing women, blood letting, and, now, powerful pills for children and pregnant women. Homeopaths have rarely killed anyone. In fact, when doctors went on strike in a large metropolitan area ….. death rates declined significantly. Doctors are quacks. They do well at trauma, but for chronic conditions you are much better off seeing a Naturopath. People are beginning to realize this and doctors are worried about their income stream. We have all connected the dots and realize that the people selling drugs with annoying TV ads are the same ones backing the doctors. We don't like it ………… and we choose to see the Physician who is health based not Pill based.

      1. Trevor says:

        Dan, what large metropolitan area was that. Do you have any documentation to support this?

        It's also unfair to paint a whole profession with the same brush and entirely simplistic, much like Peter's first answer. There's very little to learn from closed individuals.

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