It’s no secret that serious health problems, such as obesity and diabetes, are on the rise. I truly believe that issues with health stem from the dramatic changes we have seen in our diets over the years. From eating more fried foods, processed meats, grains, dairy, legumes, foods that are high in sugar or simply the ‘wrong’ types of fat, these changes have undoubtedly had a serious impact on our health. Whats more concerning is that a lot of foods we buy from the supermarket contain unnecessary sugars, which are addictive. Lots of foods and drinks contain aspartame, which is no good for us, and was banned several times before the FDA approved it. This is another interesting story, and you can learn all about it by clicking here!
Processed ‘convenience’ foods tend to be low in nutrients and packed full of additives, chemicals, hidden salts and sugars, E numbers, bad fats, colours, artificial flavours and bulking agents. No good.
What is Paleo Living?
The Paleo diet is also known as the ‘Caveman Diet’. It dates back 2.5 million years ago, to a time when our hunter-gatherer ancestors eat a diet which consumed only meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Lot’s of people have allergies to gluten and lactose (found in dairy), and many people don’t even realise they have intolerance’s to food. We are simply not designed to consume these foods and I totally disagree with the whole ‘milk for calcium’ myth. Today’s milk is processed food, and there are many disadvantages to consuming milk/products derived from milk. So what is Paleo living?
Put simply, Paleo living is about going back to basics.
Twelve Great Reasons to Eat
Unprocessed whole foods are nutritious!!
- Enhanced energy levels.
- Healthier immune system.
- Rich in plant based phytochemicals – this can help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
- Rich in protein and fibre – feel fuller for longer.
- Helps to reset and speed up your metabolism – supports weight loss.
- Helps balance the pH in your body – more alkaline foods consumed.
- No gluten – this helps with bloating and digestion problems.
- No hidden sugars and salts.
- Low in additives and foods don’t contain artificial colours or flavours.
- Low in salt – lower blood levels.
- Low in saturated fats – lower cholesterol and less inflammation.
- Low GI – helps to avoid unhealthy blood sugar spikes.
The Paleo Diet is a way of life, not a plan. Eating the Paleo supports general wellbeing and vitality.
Salt – Increases blood pressure and upsets the acid/alkali balance in the body. Use more herbs and spices for flavour.
Alcohol – It’s a toxin.
Raw Honey – As long as it has not been treated or heated. Stevia is a good alternative for a sweetener.
Root Vegetables – Root vegetables contain starch (which is cool in moderation). Definitely avoid potatoes (unless they’re sweet potatoes) and eat root vegetables in moderation.
Grains: Grains weren’t eaten by our Paleolithic ancestors.
Avoid: bread, pasta, flour, rye, barley, rice, oats, cereal, buckwheat, biscuits, crackers, cakes, bagels, muffins, pancakes, tortilla, couscous and even quinoa (even thought this contains 13 essential amino acids)
**Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley.
- Eating gluten can lead to digestion problems and is often a main cause of bloating.
- It also interferes with how our body absorbs the nutrients and minerals from food.
- Grains are high in GI.
**Oats are classed as grains. You can buy whole oats, rolled oats (these are steamed) or ground oats (flour).
- Grains and oats contain anti nutrients, which can cause inflammation, leaky gut and/or weaken the immune system.
- Oats may contain gluten due to cross contamination from other grains (you can buy gluten free oats).
- Lectins are a form of anti nutrients. Some lectins are toxic and can irritate the gut and interfere with the digestive system.
- Phytic acid binds to the minerals (found in grains, nuts, seeds and beans) and prevents the body from absorbing them. Try soaking oats over night with a small amount of buckwheat to reduce the amound of phytic acid.
Dairy: Cow’s milk was never intended for human consumption.
Avoid: milk- this includes soy, oat (grain) and rice (white being the exception), butter, cheese, cream, ice-cream, yogurt
Cows are given growth hormones and antibiotics. Anything containing cows milk is a by-products of this. Cow’s milk also contains casein, but goat or sheep’s milk contains a different form of casein, which doesn’t tend to cause problems.
If you are intolerant to lactose, your symptoms may include:
- gas and bloating
- stomach cramps
Stick to: Milk: coconut milk, nut milks (e.g. almond, cashew, hazelnut) or hemp milk, nutritional yeast (powder), nut cheeses, coconut yogurt.
Look out for additives such as sugar, colouring, thickeners and preservatives.
Did you know, you can make your own milk!?
**If you really feel that dairy is needed in your diet, then consume milk/cheese/yoghurt that is from organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed cows, or better yet- stick to goat or sheep products, that contain the original properties of the milk.
Processed foods: Are no good for us!
Avoid: fast foods, ready meals, processed meats, breakfast cereals, tinned goods (excess of salt and sodium), crisps/potato chips,
Processed foods are like ‘fake’ foods. They’re filled with sodium and high in glycemic index and lack any real nutrients.
- lack essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – which help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
- lack in protein.
- full of E numbers, artificial flavours, preservatives and added salt/sugar.
- high in sugar: candy, cookies, granola bars, cereal, and fizzy drinks.
Stick to: Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and nuts.
Refined & Added Sugars: No nutritional value.
There is no nutritional benefit to consuming refined and added sugars. Sugar is found in ‘simple carbs’ and ‘complex carbs’.
These are made up of single or double sugars. Single sugars include glucose, fructose and galactose.
Glucose: Almost ALL carbohydrates contain glucose. You can find foods highest in glucose by clicking here.
- glucose is sent straight to the muscles
- and are found in fruits and starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes. The production of insulin, even from natural sugars, lead to fat storage.
Fructose: Mostly found in fruit.
- excess sugar or large amount of fructose (found it fruit) can be harmful and stressful for the body.
- takes longer to metabolize, because it needs to be processed by the liver. Too much fructose can put a strain on the liver and can cause stress and inflammation.
- interrupts the production of leptin (which tells your body when you are full, so that you don’t over eat and gain weight)
Galactose: This is found in dairy.
These are made up of three or more sugars. Whole grains and legumes are complex carbohydrates.
Avoid: sugar, fructose, syrup (agave, golden, malt, rice, corn), jam, marmalade, ketchup, jelly, BBQ sauce and hoi sin sauce. Check other sauces for added sugars.
Too much sugar of any kind (glucose or fructose) can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammation, and diabetes.
Stick to: unrefined, natural sugar, honey (in moderation)
Vegetable & some Seed Oils:
- contain large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- high omega 6 can promote inflammation and has been linked to heart disease.
Avoid: sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, canola oil, palm oil, peanut il, soya bean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil
Stick to: coconut oils or plant oils: Avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, butter, clarified butter (ghee), lard, nut butters, nut oils (walnut, macadamia), tallow, duck fat, veal fat, lamb fat.
Beans & Legumes: They contain anti nutrients such as lectins and phytic acid.
Anti nutrients can irritate the lining of the gut. It can also cause what is known as ‘leaky gut’. This is when undigested food particles (and toxins) have gotten through the intestines and are in the blood stream. This can cause bloating and diarrhoea, as well as other health problems.
Avoid: baked beans, beansprouts, black beans, black eyed peas, broad beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, fava beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, mange touts, mung beans, peas, peanuts, peanut butter, sugar snap peas, soy (including milk and sauce), miso and tofu.
Stick to: Other vegetables and non tinned goods.
Potatoes: These contain anti nutrients.
- contain saponins, auto nutrients that can damage the intestine.
- are high in starch
- high GI levels which trigger the release of insulin and spike blood sugar levels
Avoid: White potatoes
Stick to: Sweet potato, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, radish, jerusalem artichokes, yams, cassava, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, buttercup squash, zucchini, yellow summer squash, yellow crookneck squash.
What to ENJOY?
PALEO DIET FOOD LIST
Beef, pork, lamb, veal, rabbit, goat, sheep, bison, wild boar.
Deer, pheasant, bear, moose, woodcock, elk, duck, rabbit, reindeer, wild turkey.
Chicken, turkey, duck, quail, goose.
Salmon, tuna, trout, bass, halibut, sole, haddock, turbot, walleye, tilapia, cod, flatfish, grouper, mackerel, anchovy, herring.
Crab, lobster, shrimps, scallops, clams, oysters, mussels.
Avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, clarified butter (ghee), lard, tallow, duck fat, veal fat, lamb fat, fatty fishes (sardines, mackerel, salmon), nut butters, nut oils (walnut, macadamia), coconut flesh, coconut milk.
Chicken eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs, quail eggs.
Celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, leeks, kohlrabi, green onions, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, okra, avocados.
Green leafy vegetables
Lettuce, spinach, collard greens, kale, beet top, mustard greens, dandelion, swiss chard, watercress, turnip greens, seaweeds, endive, arugula (rocket), bok choy, rapini, chicory, radicchio.
Carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, radish, jerusalem artichokes, yams, cassava.
Butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, buttercup squash.
Zucchini, yellow summer squash, yellow crookneck squash.
Bananas, apples, oranges, berries (strawberry, cranberry, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry), grapefruit, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, pomegranates, pineapple, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, cherries, apricot, water mellon, honeydew mellon, kiwi, lemon, lime, lychee, mango, tangerine, coconut, figs, dates, olives, passion fruit, persimmon.
Nuts and seeds
Pistachios, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts.
Button mushroom, portabello, oyster mushroom, shiitake, chanterelle, crimini, porcini, morel.
Fresh and dried herbs
Parsley, thyme, lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, chives, tarragon, oregano, sage, dill, bay leaves, coriander.
Spices and others
Ginger, garlic, onions, black pepper, hot peppers, star anise, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, vanilla, cloves, chilies.