Is a Paleo Diet for Me? (Part 1)

Wellness Grain FreeEven though we are walking around with smartphones and laptop computers—and have electricity and heat (usually), we are actually not that much different, genetically, than our ancestors. Our ancestors did NOT have the ability to digest gluten and many other grains, and nor do we. That is the premise behind what is referred to as a “paleo” diet.

A paleo diet includes meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Based on this premise, paleo diets are gluten-free and grain-free overall. This means that they are lower-carb diets, but not zero carb—in that carbs are available in nuts, veggies and fruits. Paleo diets are also dairy-free and soy-free. Most paleo diets DO include eggs.

4 Reasons to Consider Following a Paleo Way of Eating:

  1. The fastest growing issues in healthcare today are obesity and diabetes, which are completely related to over consumption of carbohydrates and under-consumption of protein and healthy fat. In order to save health care dollars and lives, we need to do a 180 and start emphasizing what most people are avoiding: a healthy amount of good-for-you proteins and fats every 2 to 4 hours throughout the day.
  2. The most common symptoms patients report, as found in a research study completed in my office, are fatigue, achey-ness, anxiety and weight gain. While they may seem to be separate causes, when it gets down to it, they are all caused by inflammation, and the most common source of inflammation is food. How can food cause inflammation – you might ask – Food causes inflammation via leaky gut. And a non-paleo diet – filled with gluten, dairy, sugar, and processed ingredients – is known to lead to leaky gut. So what is best solution for feeling tired, achey, anxious and overweight? Eat meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit, and nuts.
  3. There are a million diets out there – how could all of them, or even one of them, be “right” for everyone? After over twenty years of analyzing diets as a nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, what I look for is the common denominator, not the hype. A diet that works for all humans is a diet based on our common physiology and biochemistry – it’s what I call “eating to your physiology.” Our bodies simply need to be fed healthy protein, carbs (from veggies, fruits, and nuts), and fats in small amounts throughout the day.
  4. If you’ve been trying and struggling to avoid sugar, tempting treats, and foods high in carbs (like cereal, muffins, breads and pastries)—then following a paleo diet will help you break the cycle and get on with your life. These high carb foods put you on a never-ending blood sugar roller coaster, which is the true source of cholesterol in your blood and any increase in the size of your waist. Avoiding these foods consistently can completely change the environment in your body. And it doesn’t have to be difficult.

As with any way of eating, it is important that you modify the diet for you!

If you have food sensitivities to nuts and/or eggs, then you’ll need to make sure and choose other foods that contain protein. Likewise, if you are vegetarian or vegan, then you may need/want to choose more seeds and sprouted beans.

For answers to common questions about paleo diets, including how to do a vegan paleo diet and how to modify a paleo diet when you have digestive issues, read more here.

To continue reading and learn how to calculate the correct amount of protein for you, please see Is a Paleo Diet for Me? (Part 2).

I’m happy to help you consider a paleo way of eating.  Please share your comments and questions below.

Wellness to you!

–Dr. Doni

 

Paleo Cookbooks I Recommend:

Paleo CookbooksPaleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes

Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great

Make-Ahead Paleo: Healthy Gluten-, Grain- & Dairy-Free Recipes Ready When & Where You Are