Huntington-based registered dietician Jeremy Mullins says his education didn't initially teach a way of eating he now promotes.
Former student Tiffany Lockhart, also a Huntington dietician, said her first college classes took the longstanding traditional approach of MyPlate, the current nutrition guide of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. MyPlate recommends a diet based on 30 percent grains, 30 percent vegetables, 20 percent fruits, 20 percent protein and a small amount of dairy.
"It wasn't until I met Jeremy that he enlightened me," Lockhart said. At the time, Mullins was teaching at Marshall University, where Lockhart got both her bachelor's and master's degrees in dietetics.
Mullins said he came to disagree with some of the traditional curriculum on nutrition. In his professional work with clients seeking answers about nutrition, metabolism and fitness, he believed there was a better model. Lockhart agreed.
The two are proponents of the Paleo Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet.
In essence, the diet proposes eating the way our ancestors would have eaten as a way to steadily fuel the body and reduce inflammation. The diet is heavy on meat, eggs, vegetables and healthy fats. It includes some fruits, some nuts and some seeds. It discourages processed foods, among them grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products and sugar that Paleo advocates say are hard on our bodies.
Both Lockhart and Mullins practice its principles. Mullins, owner of CrossFit Thunder in Huntington, part owner of the CrossFit gym in St. Albans and owner of his own private nutrition business, advocates it with his clients.
Lockhart, who works for a medical center in Huntington, said she tries to make a point for the Paleo diet in her daily work.
"I get a lot of resistance," she said. "But I think people are starting to come around and see where these ideas are coming from. There is so much more research now."
Lockhart and Mullins - she also is an avid CrossFit member - recently started talking about ways to help promote the Paleo Diet. They saw that clients interested in adopting the diet sometimes were overwhelmed by the "rules" of Paleo eating.
"Tiffany was doing some grocery store tours and meal planning for people because they were asking for it," Mullins said. "I would go to my lectures and people would say, 'Can you tell me exactly what to eat?' "
The two decided to team up on an electronic cookbook that would provide a 30-day eating plan. They formed Eating Well WV LLC and got to work. The result is a 28-page booklet available as a PDF.