There has been a ton of media and attention given to the Paleo Diet in the last year or so. In fact, you would have had to be living in a cave (pun intended) not to have heard about some story touting the benefits of this diet.
This “back to basics” way of eating garnered its name from the way our “Paleolithic” ancestors would have eaten in the day. Proponents of the diet claim it is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the only nutritional approach that caters to our genetics.
The diet, which is designed to keep us lean, strong and energetic, was actually developed by Dr. Loren Cordain, a researcher from Colorado State University, who started studying nutrition in the 1970s. Cordain claims the paleo diet is the way humans were genetically designed to eat (1).
Many health professionals and paleo advocates agree and also attribute the growing number of health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers, to our modern nutritional habits, and, of course, the endless selection of fast foods, processed meals and snacks that make up the majority of our meals (2). While there are also those who profess the diet is simply unrealistic in this day and age, (3) others, like Pablo Kelly, claim the Paleo Diet literally saved their life.
A Terminal Diagnosis
In 2014, Kelly had mere months to live after his doctors found an inoperable tumor. Kelly, now 27, was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly form of brain cancer.
“I was devastated,” Kelly told the Daily Mail (4).
Kelly never imagined the worst when he started having migraines in 2013. The summer had been exceptionally hot , so he figured it was just the heat. The headaches continued, however, and one day he nearly collapsed at work, so he called his doctor. After an examination, his doctor suggested it was an “aura,” a common occurrence in many migraine sufferers (5). The thought of brain cancer never crossed his mind.
“Then, a few days later, I was walking to meet my partner, it was scorching hot and I went to take a drink. My mouth started to droop on one side. My left side was dropping. I thought, why am I having a stroke? I’m 25 years old. I’m healthy,” Kelly recounted.
Kelly went back to his doctor and was given painkillers but the seizures happened again the following week.
At this point, Kelly insisted on having a CT scan, which showed what he said was a ‘haziness’ on the image. However, Kelly decided to get a second opinion from a neurosurgeon, and found out was told he was dying. Doctors further told the man from South Brent, Devon, that his only option was chemotherapy, a toxic cocktail of lethal drugs designed to kill the cancerous cells.
While the pharmaceutical industry and most doctors claim that chemotherapy is the best option for cancer patients, in reality, many studies show chemotherapy does little to cure cancer and can even guarantee a terminal result (6). And Kelly understood this, “The survival statistics for people my age were about three percent and that’s for a maximum of 15 months with chemotherapy.”
In fact, research shows that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival—2.3 percent in Australia and 2.1 percent in the US (7). And should you survive the chemotherapy, the side effects are many and can often be worse than the initial cancer, or cause other cancers (8, 9).
Doctors told Kelly that without chemotherapy, he had maybe six to nine months to live. He stood fast with his decision, though: “. . . I decided it wasn’t going to break me . . . that we would figure something out.” And instead, after endless days of research, he decided he would adopt a low carb, high fat and protein diet similar to the Paleo and ketogenic diets.
With a bit of determination and discipline, he knew he could overcome his brain cancer.
‘I did all research and I knew there were other options for me that could help,” Kelly said. “It [the diet] makes total sense.”