Author: E. Garcia, M.D.

My name is Ernie Garcia and I’m an Internal Medicine and Sleep Specialist at the Freedman Clinic of Internal Medicine here in Alexandria, LA.  I spent many years studying to be a doctor, and very little of it was spent learning about nutrition.  That is unfortunate as the more I practice medicine, the more I realize that people’s weight (and more specifically their diet) is almost always their biggest problem.  Sure, I mainly spend my time treating people for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, coronary artery disease, strokes, obstructive sleep apnea….the list could go on; but the root cause of these conditions is the food we eat.  Not just the food we eat, but the food we eat is making us fat!

I spent years researching the common diets my patients turn to in hopes of losing weight.  Whether it be Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers or whatever, I seem to see the same pattern.  People who swear they are doing everything right, are not losing any weight, and are frustrated and depressed about the results.  They deprive themselves for a few weeks, lose 2-3 pounds, and eventually say “screw it, I’m eating the cheesecake!”

I myself have spent a good deal of time on my own health and diet.  I’ve never really been overweight, but I have searched for ways to be healthier.  I went a year as a vegetarian (what I now call “The stupidest thing I’ve ever done”) after reading the book The China Study, but just did not see a benefit…I just felt tired all the time!  I cook 95% of the meals in our home, and I have always tried to make them “healthy,” but it doesn’t make a difference long term.  My weight is about the same, and I really don’t feel that much better.

Then my neighbors recommended I look into the Paleo diet.  I’m friends with many of the CrossFit crowd here, and I know they have been on the Paleo for a while.  So, I looked into it.  I read a book, and I was amazed at the sense it made.  The China Study worried me because of the clear link between animal based protein and cancer.  The key is, almost all the negative outcomes came from DAIRY, not meat!  So, I’m 100% Paleo, I feel great, my energy is amazing, I sleep like a dream, and my digestive system is shall we say, calm.  I can’t see myself every going back, I’m Paleo to stay…

In addition, I have two amazing kids (along with my amazing wife) who I cook for on a daily basis.  I’ve always cooked, and I absolutely love doing it.  I own too many cookbooks, too many kitchen electronics, and spent too much on my knives (at least that’s my wife’s take, I’m currently lobbying hard to get a Sous Vide Supreme) and food is just part of who I am.  I get my kids involved as much as I can.  I take them shopping, I want them to know what good food is, what good ingredients are, and where those things come from.  I buy local and organic as much as I can, but I’m frustrated by the limitations of living in Central Louisiana from that stand point.  That being said, we have plenty of great food to go around, and it’s getting better every day.  You cannot be healthy and not cook, and you cannot cook without caring about your ingredients.  Anyone who doubts what today’s American fast-food based diet is doing to our health, come hang out with me for a day and meet my patients…

I hear you all saying the same thing I hear every day from my patients…”I can’t do that.”  Well you know what, if I can, you can.  Ask yourself this question, “If I could significantly change the way I feel and my longterm health by simply changing the way I eat, would it be worth it?”  If the answer is no, shame on you!  If the answer is yes, welcome aboard.  If, like many you’re thinking, I’m not really sure?  I ask you only one thing…can you change to the Paleo lifestyle (100%) for 30 simple days? I’m daring you to try it, and I promise you will not go back.  If you have kids, what better gift than to show them the keys to achieving long term health and well being!  Please, just try it…you’ll be happy you did.

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