What is a Paleo diet and how it can help you

Paleo diet

Many specific diets have come and gone in popularity over the years.  We have had the Atkins, Nutrisystem, Bernstein, Zone, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, South Beach, Raw Foods diets and more.  Some are long gone, others still around.  The Paleo diet, short for Paleolithic, (think cave man era) is based on what our ancestors supposedly foraged for and lived on centuries ago.  I say supposedly because which one of us was around to confirm the info?

It is not that difficult to realize that all the additives, preservatives and other highly processed and or hydrogenated ingredients were not around back then.  The Paleo diet urges people to eliminate such items from their meal plans.  That includes salt sugar and artificial sweeteners, iodized (table) salt,  omega six oils (unrefined, organic coconut, olive, flaxseed, and avocado are allowed because they are omega 3s), dairy (except butter and ghee which are allowed.)

Beans and legumes (with the exception of green beans and snow peas) are not allowed on a Paleo diet either because they are (for most people) hard to digest.  The same applies to starchy vegetables like white potatoes (sweet ones are allowed in moderation) corn and squash, as well as all (even gluten-free) grains. Grains are taboo because of the lectins they contain that trigger allergic and autoimmune responses as well as leaky gut syndrome.

Paleo diet

Meats allowed on the Paleo diet are grass fed, pasture raised and organic. Fish choices should be wild or farmed under responsible conditions.  Eggs should be free range. Most nuts (except peanuts because they are legumes not nuts) and seeds are allowed too.

This diet is supposed to prevent and eliminate immune responses and many disease states, including cancer.  I must admit, other than eliminating dairy (cheese is a personal weakness) beans and gluten free grains like brown rice and quinoa (actually not a grain, but included in that category) my current choice of diet follows these Paleo choices very closely.  These choices came from figuring out (over many years) what works (and doesn’t work) for my body.  Go figure, here I thought I was unique!

 

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Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

For the past year or so I have noticed a significant decrease in my energy level and suffer from constant “brain fog”.  I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for very long and get distracted very easily.  I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Most people I complain to shrug and laugh saying “its just age” As I just turned 50, I find that hard to swallow!

After a complete physical from my G.P. I was told my iron stores or ferritin levels were very low and I was put on an iron supplement.  My ferritin level is climbing back up, but still has a long way to go to “normal” levels.  My hormone levels are within the normal range; so I am classified as perimenopausal.  It was also suggested by two different doctors that I am suffering from depression. I also found that hard to believe, so I started digging deeper…

I found a naturopath online and went to see her.  Although I had to pay for this visit (my health insurance does not cover naturopathic treatments) it was well worth it.  She listened to my “story” and set up a plan.  She suggested testing for food allergies and/or sensitivities, again at my own expense.  I had the option of eliminating foods from my diet to see if I felt different/better (which could take months or even years) or a blood test.   I agreed to the blood test and received results within two weeks: I am allergic to asparagus and wheat protein.   Now asparagus is pretty easy to eliminate from my diet, but wheat?  Wheat is in everything!  Luckily I am not allergic to gluten as many others are so my diet isn’t quite as restricted. Gluten free products (which means no wheat to me) are sold in most grocery stores these days.  I can eat barley, oats, corn, rice, rye etc. so have switched my pastas and breads to these grains.  The bonus is, since I quit eating wheat, I have lost approximately ten pounds (most of which I notice has come off my middle) and my cholesterol level has gone down from slightly high to the mid normal range.

This naturopath referred me to a second one who is also an MD and so can order blood tests etc.  He suggested that although my thyroid test results were normal I may suffer from hypo thyroidism (low thyroid function)  My other symptoms of low blood pressure, fatigue and the fact that I always feel cold fit this theory.  He suggested treatment with dried thyroid and although I gave it some consideration, decided to wait to see if my rising ferritin level and absence of wheat in my diet would make me feel better.  In the meantime I went to a thyroid specialist (also found online) who has suggested testing my saliva for adrenal gland function,  stools for dairy and egg sensitivities, and my blood for further thyroid function tests.   These tests are in progress, stay tuned

If you are sick of being sick and tired, do something about it!