Paleo Diet

Primal Nutrition

The Paleo Diet concept was originated by S. Boyd Eaton and Melvin Kooner, with the  publication of the paper Paleolithic Nutrition in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1985.   Professor Loren Cordain of Colorado State University furthered the popularity of this dietary concept with his book publications as well, several important papers that outline many positive health outcomes with the incorporation of this healthy diet.  

 

The Paleo/Primal premise is quite simple.  Eliminate those foods that were not accessible 10,000+ years ago.  These foods include grains, legumes polyunsaturated vegetable oils and dairy.   I do well on dairy as do many of my clients especially once we've done some work on the gut. 

This isn't exactly easy in today's busy world with the overly processed foods in our food supply but it's the best first step in pulling the reins in on your health.  Food is a powerful resource for wellness and one that is under utilized in a time when health costs are soaring. 

Remember, you don't need to emulate the "caveman," rather take the information below and try to do the best you can based on access, economic status and time. 

Remember, this is not a low carbohydrate lifestyle so try not to get wrapped up in lowering carbohydrate.  It is, by default, a reduced carbohydrate lifestyle due to the elimination of bread, pasta, dairy and legumes. (beans)

It is, however, a higher protein diet.  Protein provides satiety, is important for tissue repair, assists the liver in detoxification, and is necessary for a healthy thyroid which is the master conductor of the metabolism.  

Start each day with a healthy serving of protein and depending upon your activity levels, 80-100 grams of protein per day can prove beneficial.  Increasing your protein with a collagen powder is recommended.  Consuming muscle meats without the incorporation of other necessary structural proteins, (amino acids) is highly inflammatory.  We need to balance the amino acids methionine and cysteine with glycine, proline and alanine or we begin to suffer from inflammation which contributes to various diseases.  I like to recommend a minimum of about 30 grams daily of gelatin protein which can be added to warm beverages, smoothies, soups and stews.  Our hunter/gather ancestors were sure to consume the entire animal.  You can find a nice gelatin here.  Be sure to choose hydrolyzed collagen if you decide you want a gelatin that will dissolve.  Should you decide you want to make your own gelatin, choose the Bovine Gelatin.   I like to keep the single serving packets handy so that while I'm out and about, I have a protein booster to add to my coffee or tea.   

"By eating the foods that we are genetically adapted to eat, followers of the Paleo Diet are naturally lean, have acne-free skin, improved athletic performance, and are experiencing relief from numerous metabolic-related and autoimmune diseases."

Professor Loren Cordain

I have experienced great success following a diet of primal nutrition myself as well, prescribing it to my clients suffering from a variety of ailments and auto-immune disease.

It is restrictive, but it works and it is do-able even in social situations or restaurant outings. So many might say "I can't be that restrictive!" But you can. Why? Because the noticeable health changes are so dramatic that you can't imagine eating any other way.

You really grasp the concept "Eat to Live" rather than "Live to Eat".  When we are nourished, we don't suffer from cravings and disordered diet behavior.  

Some benefits that so many of my clients have experienced include:

  • Increased Energy & Performance

  • Relief from Bloating and Stomach Pain

  • Weight Loss

  • Normalized Bowels

  • Blood Sugar Regulation

  • Insulin Normalization

  • Hormone regulation

  • Improved Lipid Panels (Cholesterol)

  • Clearer Skin

  • Muscle Gains

  • Freedom from Inflammation

  • Reduced symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

  • Reduced symptoms of ADHD

  • Reduced symptoms of Allergies

  • Reversal of IBS

  • Anti-Aging

As a nutrition educator, I am frequently recommending this diet as an anti-inflammatory disease reversing diet.

For me, one of the most noticeable changes in some of my clients has been the leaning out effect after a diet plateau.

What is the difference between Paleo diets and Primal? Many Paleo followers generally exclude night shade vegetables and dairy while Primal followers usually include these two food groups. What I don't want you to do is get hung up on labels and dogma of others.  There is no healthy diet if your stress levels and anxiety around it are high.  

 

Remember, it's just a template and your biochemical individuality should dictate the plan. 

If you suffer from an auto-immune disease, night shades might be problematic.  Some find that by discontinuing the following foods, they notice a decrease in inflammatory markers, most noticeably, joint pain. 

 

Night shade vegetables, fruit and herbs that are the most popular include:

  • Eggplant

  • Peppers - All including paprika

  • Tomatoes - Tomatillo

  • Potatoes (not including sweet potatoes or yams)

  • Goji Berry

  • Ashwaganda

  • Tobacco

Though heavily promoted in many Paleo/Primal circles, I am not a heavy promoter of nuts and seeds because they are a high source of polyunsaturated fats which promote inflammation.  You will see this sentence from me a lot due to the inundation of nut products on the market that are frequently marketed to those with dairy allergies. Nut flours and nut milks are being used as substitutes to fill in the diet.  The milks and flours are very high in polyunsaturated fat and the flour is subject to oxidation which contributes directly to disease.   As you will learn, there is no greater threat to the health of the people than that of unstable, oxidized fats. 

Remember, biochemical individuality rules when following dictated plans so do keep your own individuality in mind when practicing any diet.  What affects your neighbor may or may not affect you.  Use your intuition, your "gut feeling" which is the strongest predictor of all.  No one dictates your menu but you and no one lives in your body but you.

I frequently tell others when asked about my diet, "I have taken a little of this and a little of that and put them into my dietary basket". I consider myself a bit more Primal than Paleo due to my consumption of milk, cheese, a bit of Greek yogurt and eggs.

The rules are simple. Eat only the foods on the list, obtain them from clean, sustainable sources focusing on the following:

  • Grass Fed Beef (This is the lean meat reference as grass fed beef is leaner than that of conventional)

  • Bison, Elk, Venison, Boar

  • Wild Caught Fish and Shell Fish

  • Organic Pastured Pork, Turkey & Chicken 

  • Offal Meats (Liver, Heart, Kidney, Brain)

  • Beef & Chicken Broth & Collagen

  • Organic  Vegetables

  • Organic Ripe Fruits

  • Raw Nuts/Seeds

  • Traditional Fats and Oils

There are varying degrees of belief regarding saturated fat and many who promote paleo/primal agree that saturated fat from traditional and tropical sources is benign and even necessary for good health.  Do remember that there was a time before the processing of food that we processed it ourselves.  We weren't using nut flours, nut milks or copious amounts of fat on our veggies or in casseroles or sauces.  Don't count calories, but calories do count. Use fat as a condiment, not a staple. 

These fats & oils include:

  • Butter from Grass Fed Sources

  • Ghee

  • Coconut Oil

  • Olive Oil

  • Tallow

  • *Bacon Drippings (Lard)

  • *Duck Fat

*high in polyunsaturated fat-should be limited

Nuts are heavy in omega 6 (polyunsaturated fats) and as I've written here, an abundance of omega 6 in the diet is inflammatory. Think of nuts as condiments and you will garner greater success.  Go back to the premise of Paleo/Primal, a "hunt and gather" lifestyle which 

did not provide bags or cans of nuts for our infinite enjoyment.  If you are 40+, you remember a day when nuts were mostly seen during the fall in a basket in their shells awaiting our cracking.  These nuts were not roasted and salted which increases their flavor causing an excited palate thereby promoting over eating.  

Too many are consuming a large amount of nut flours with the grain free movement and this will certainly promote inflammation due to the polyunsaturated fatty acids we aptly call PUFA's.  The Paleo movement frowns upon the extracted vegetable oils but nut flours can also cause oxidative stress.  

 

If you're trying to lean out, cut back on fat and increase your protein and plant matter.  As cliche as it sounds, it works and it works well as long as your digestion can handle the additional bacteria feeding organisms and you are satiated.  Fiber is healthy as long as you can process it without feeding bad bacteria, also known as endotoxin.  

If the grass fed/organic aspect is out of reach for you budget, begin with conventional and be mindful of your future purchases striving to purchase the cleanest and most humanely raised food as possible. 

If you are consuming all grass fed, wild caught and pastured animal proteins with the avoidance of vegetable oils, fatty acid status is probably pretty tight. Congratulations! That is Paleo!

I can honestly say that conventionally raised animal proteins are still by far healthier than grains and legumes as your protein sources. Toxins are stored in the adipose (fat) tissue of the animal so if you are consuming conventional, consider trimming the fat prior to consumption to avoid these toxic compounds.  

 

 

 

 

*If you suffer from an auto-immune disease, you might consider eliminating eggs, night shades, nuts, seeds and any dairy along with abstaining from grains and legumes. This is the point in which you might consider a therapeutic consultation with a menu plan and supporting recipes specific to your needs.  It can be overwhelmingly restrictive which will negatively affect your micro-nutrient intake as well, subsequent healing. 

Misty's Tip