What is Paleo Eating? Why Might It Be Just What the PharmD Ordered?
I'm sure you've heard the term Paleo in some way or another. Most people have heard of it, but many are not quite sure what it is. So, let's talk about what Paleo is, and why it might be exactly what your body needs to heal and thrive.
To explain...picture yourself as a cave-woman millions of years ago. There was no such thing as cooking, let alone power, electricity, appliances etc to do it with. So what would you eat? The answer is: anything that you can find. Cavemen and women ate anything they could find in an effort to survive: fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and greens made up the majority of their diet. Eating certainly wasn’t a social pastime such as what it has been made into today, but a means for survival–a means to nourish the body.
You’re probably thinking–That’s a great history lesson, but what does that have to do with me? My answer is: It has a lot to do with you, especially if you’re looking for a way to eat healthier, get happier and live longer. You can do a Google search for Paleo studies in your spare time and learn about the massive effects a Paleo lifestyle has on a person’s health, but I’ll give you the quick & dirty: it alleviates depression, slows down or prevents diseases and autoimmune disorders, gives you a boatload of natural energy and provides your body with every nutrient it needs. And that’s not even all. But Paleo is not for everyone. It does require some revamping of your eating habits. To be clear, when following the Paleo lifestyle –there are NO grains allowed, NO sugar, NO processed foods and for the most part, NO dairy.
Wait, what did she just say?
Yep, you heard it right. Your favorite grains– cereal, rice, oatmeal, crackers, quinoa, bread, pasta, etc., etc.–aren’t typically in a Paleo lifestyle, and there’s a very good reason for it. Neither are your sugary treats, prepackaged meats or yogurt. Before you ditch this article altogether and tell yourself there’s no way you can do that, listen up. Trust me, your health could be in jeopardy if you don’t.
How Sugar Harms the Body
The sugar consumed through grains by the majority of Americans is the first reason grains aren’t allowed. But why? Grains contain fructose & glucose that when consumed, and not used right away for energy, turns into fat. You can see this example in action by just looking around you at the obesity epidemic. Put simply – eating grains make us gain fat, and being overweight is harmful to every system and cell in your body. Another way people consume sugar is pretty much straight-up. In their coffee, in their baked goods, in their pantry, in their fridge, and probably most other places you look. We all know that too much sugar is bad. And quite frankly, I hate to break it to you but any sugar that is not natural – such as what is present in fruits and vegetables–is bad. Sugar doesn’t just make you fat; processed sugar harms nearly every component of your body. It spikes your blood sugar, harms your liver and causes insulin dependence, causes systemic inflammation, and those factors are just the tip of the iceberg.
Lectins, Glutens...Oh, My!
The second thing we should discuss are the two other things found in grains that also put your health in jeopardy. These evil little things are called lectins and glutens, which pose a serious risk to our bodies.
Gluten is a protein that an overwhelming majority of Americans are sensitive to and leads to a solid number of diseases and disorders. I’m sure your eyes and ears have been inundated with the term “gluten-free”, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about. Grains also contain lectins, but we should probably just call them what they are– TOXINS, which are not meant to be consumed by the human body. What do toxins do? Cause inflammation and disease.
What about Dairy?
I know you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about dairy. As part of a Paleo lifestyle, you likely wouldn’t be consuming dairy (many don’t). But don’t worry, dairy isn’t as important to your health as the dairy industry makes it out to be. Can you drink it? Yes, you can, although many people have an extreme sensitivity to dairy and it, as well, causes inflammation & health problems for many. Do you have to have it to be healthy, and is it considered in the Paleo diet? No and no. I do want to mention raw milk and how some Paleo experts suggest it is a benefit to a Paleo diet. Raw dairy contains the enzymes needed to digest it, while pasteurized dairy does not. Therefore, some people that are sensitive to pasteurized dairy and whose body does not contain the enzyme, lactase, to help digest it, may do better on raw milk–if that’s what they choose. Raw dairy also has plenty of healthy saturated & omega-3 fats, which are great for your skin, brain and metabolism.
What Can I Eat?
Here is a basic list with what you should and shouldn't be eating in your Paleo diet. However, for more advice on this, please contact me for information about my self guided Paleo program.
- Grass-fed meats
- Fish/seafood (not farm raised)
- Fresh fruits and veggies (organic, Non-GMO)
- Eggs (organic)
- Nuts and seeds
- Good fats & oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado,coconut)
- Cereal grains
- Legumes (including peanuts)
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Table Salt (celtic or sea salt is actually good for you)
- Refined vegetable oils
What’s Important to You?
By going grain-free and only consuming natural foods, you’re helping prevent a lot toxins from entering your body, thereby boosting your health immediately, so that illness and disease stands no chance against your body! Going Paleo is a personal choice that only you can make. But before you eat that next French fry or chug down that soda, be mindful of what it’s doing to your body – creating a perfect environment for disease to enter and thrive.
For tips and tricks that will help you kick grains to the curb for good, visit my blog post here: drlaramay.com/blog/2017/7/31/going-grain-free.
Have questions or need advice on your health? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org