Paleo Power: Diet emphasizes ‘ancient’ whole foods

It was a Sunday afternoon in late January. Mark Rolinger was flipping through a pile of nutritional books at a table in Barnes and Noble when he stumbled upon a book about the paleo diet.

“I was experiencing symptoms of arthritis in my knees and had a history of arthritis in my back. I read a book called the arthritis cure that talked about the importance of weight loss and nutrition in addressing arthritis, so I went over to Barnes and Noble to find a book that had a healthy nutrition plan, and I really liked what I read about the paleo diet,” Rolinger said.

Also known as the stone age or ancient diet, the paleo diet centers around the idea of eating foods that were eaten by early humans. The diet consists chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and excludes dairy, grain and processed food.

While Rolinger admitted that it was hard to give up some foods at first, he said that the diet has provided him with an overwhelming amount of arthritic relief.

“Probably the best impact of the paleo diet is the anti-inflammatory side effect. What I mean by that is that it eliminates foods that create inflammation and introduces foods that are anti-inflammatory. The most notable impact is in your joints, but inflammation also plays a part in what causes people’s brains to go bad when it comes to dementia. Inflammation can give you bowel and bladder problems, and it can lead to breathing problems. The anti-inflammatory aspects of the diet are huge, and probably what I like the most.”

A decrease in inflammation is not the only positive impact of the paleo diet. A study conducted at Lund University in Sweden revealed that people had a 26 percent decrease in blood sugar levels and a 2-inch decrease in their waistlines after participating in the paleo diet.

“I think if you stick to it you’ll be amazed at the success that you’ll have. It’s not easy because we live in such a fast paced society where we need to eat quickly, and the paleo diet is not really conducive to that. It’s not conducive to restaurant food, although you sometimes can eat at sit down restaurants. You’re consistently confronted with opportunities to go off of the diet, so if you’re not disciplined it won’t work,” Rolinger said.

Ultimately, Rolinger said that he stands behind the idea of eating non-processed foods in order to live a healthier lifestyle.

“The bigger, broader concept that I’ve adopted that goes a little bit beyond paleo is that if you can’t go pure paleo, what you should do is go pure, whole foods. So, for example, if you’re going to eat bread, it should contain no chemicals and no preservatives, or if you’re going to eat dairy, it should be non-processed. People need to pay more attention to eating whole foods; no additives, no preservatives, no chemicals.”

Try it Out! Paleo Recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Servings 8 -10


  • 2 large sweet potatoes cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 1 1/2 cups onion roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prep two large baking sheets.
  • Place the cubed sweet potatoes, halved brussels sprouts and chopped onion in gallon sized ziploc bag and toss with the olive oil until lightly coated.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Shake to distribute.
  • Divide onto two baking sheets. Spread out in a single layer.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir.
  • Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until fork tender.
  • Mix and enjoy!

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