Open Future HealthArthur De Vany - Professor Emeritus of Economics

The human species is a young species, no more than 200,000 years old; we are also the first species to live long enough to experience aging and significant brain degeneration. The large human brain coevolved with extended human longevity within the last 100,000 years in the harsh world of the Ice Age when intelligence became the basis for survival.

Dr. De Vany was one of the first proponents of what has now become the “paleo” diet and lifestyle and was referred to as the “Grandfather of Paleo,” by The New York Times and The Times of London. He has lived half of his almost 81 years of life in the paleo way. He published his models and methods of an evolutionary lifestyle in his book, The New Evolution Diet (1975).

Arthur De Vany

Journey of Discovery - N=1

De Vany’s youngest son (and later his wife) developed type 1 diabetes. At that time the doctors medical protocol recommended the consumption of carbohydrates at every meal. Snacks were approved. Control of the resulting rise in blood sugar was to be achieved with adjustments in insulin dosage.

This was not working well, so De Vany, with little or no help from his family doctors, set about controlling the problem himself by restricting carbohydrate intake.

"My son’s doctors wanted him to eat cereal or pancakes with syrup and orange juice for breakfast. The doctors maintained, that carbohydrates were friendly, and fat was the enemy," Art writes. "It was evident to me that my son was not eating the right foods. He was getting too much carbohydrate and injecting too much insulin."

Through trial and error—and meticulous record keeping—he gradually switched his family to a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, meat, and seafood. It was successful beyond anyone’s expectations, especially the doctors. "One doctor refused to believe [my wife] was a diabetic because she was injecting so little insulin," De Vany reports proudly.

Enter the Concept of Dietary History

This breakthrough happened without any help from ancient man. "It was still just our little family project," Art relates. "Then one day in my office, I was talking with an anthropology graduate student…. We were talking about meat sharing, and I brought up our new diet…. She told me that the tribal members she studied ate the same way. It should have been obvious to me, but I hadn’t thought about it. I had come up with a typical hunter-gatherer meal plan."

Eating was, of course, only half the puzzle. Exercise is the other half of De Vany’s evolutionary fitness plan.


"Arthur De Vany - Renewing Cycles"

"Physically and genetically, we are built to run fast and climb trees easily. But few of us over the age of 11 do so. Which is why we’re now at the gym." Arthur De Vany, PhD

De Vany says that we have virtually the same genetic makeup as our Paleolithic ancestors who lived 40,000 years ago. The problem, is that our environment has changed dramatically. De Vany contends that we would be healthier, fitter, and live longer if we adopted a modern version of the Paleolithic lifestyle. Having spent more than 30 years studying and practicing how to do that. De Vany is 81 and in unusually good health.

Bare Bones Evolution Diet

bullet point Eat fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, and fish. Stay clear of grains, legumes, potatoes, carbs, and sugar. Limit alcohol consumption.

bullet point Skip one dinner every week.

bullet point Exercise with intensity. Lift weights, run sprints (but don’t jog or run long distances), play a sport. Your workouts should be brief, intense and varied. Going to the gym two or three times a week, for a half hour each time, is plenty.

bullet point Remember, the goal is to eat and exercise as humans did roughly 40,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture or labour saving technology. Don’t overdo it. Be glad you’re here now.

bullet point Give up the regimented approach to diet and fitness. Relax, allow randomness to happen.

Depriving the body of carbohydrates will force it to burn fat. As low-carb dieters know, this is called ketosis. In the absence of carbohydrates, your body transports fatty acids to the liver to be converted to ketone bodies. Ketones provide the brain and central nervous system with the steady supply of energy required for survival. Ketones are also capable of supporting aerobic exercise.

Training on Empty

“If you go to the gym hungry and stay that way for an hour after you’re through, you burn more fat and improve your hormonal state, therefore taking maximum advantage of all that hard work,” Art opines. Our ancient ancestors were most active when they were hungry.

“When your brain needs a hit, it broadcasts the message: Send glucose. Your liver responds first, releasing glucose it has saved for just this occasion into the bloodstream. Your muscles also contain amino acids that the liver can turn into glucose. Your fat cells, too, release energy they’ve stored which can be turned into glucose in the liver or can be metabolized to produce ketones, which the brain can use to offset its need for glucose.”

"Arthur De Vany - "The New Evolution Diet"

This short video is an advertisment for his book. But it's short and has very useful information.

De Vany says we are not genetically equipped to process grains, in any form. Pre-agricultural humans didn’t have access to grains and we shouldn’t eat them. He feels strongly about this issue. “Grains cause allergic reactions, high insulin levels, obesity, and digestive disorders,” he writes early on in the book. He expands on his thesis as the book unfolds.


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