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PALEO... Do you REALLY know what you're talking about?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Confused? Me, too! I could swear I hit 'edit blog entry' and then my blog entry disappeared! Good thing I keep back up copies, LOL!

(If you showed up yesterday)
For your reading pleasure again!

(sorry about the loss of your comments... I did read them and appreciated every one)

...or 'Just because it looks a bit like a rose, doesn't make it a rose!'
(sometimes it's actually a gardenia)

...or, 'In Defence of Low-Carb Diets'
(I couldn't decide what to title this blog)

(...doesn't it look yummy, and colourful, and RICH?)

"To eat for fuel. To make that fuel the best available fuel possible. Fresh fruit, vegetables, grass-fed beef, and to supplement for practicality. My fuel will be homegrown when possible, locally sourced in season, and eliminates the consumption of gluten. “Best Available” is defined as ‘natural’, not processed in any way other than what I do with it in the kitchen, campsite, picnic, or restaurant. With meats, ‘natural’ means ‘wild’ with fish, ‘grass fed’ with beef/bison, and with other meat proteins it means ‘homegrown’ as in pork, chicken and duck products. For my nutritional supplementation, ‘natural’ is defined as ‘natural‘."

I've made it no secret that my philosophy with regard to eliminating fat has changed dramatically in the past several months. In a nutshell, I no longer believe we are unwell because we are fat, I believe we are fat because we are unwell. Because of how we have come to commonly fuel our bodies in this first world nation of ours, our metabolisms are compromised, our bodies are polluted, our food is polluted, and fat storage on our bodies is a self-defence response to the problem.

Also in a nutshell, if we pursue wellness, fat elimination will naturally follow as a happy by-product. It won't necessarily be dramatic... any body will release fat as it heals... in fact, while some people may see an immediate and obvious release (and the less healing required, the more dramatic and efficient the release), others may eliminate fat so slowly it may hardly be discernable for some time... and will continue to do so until your body finds your natural stasis. Still too heavy? Your body is likely still reacting negatively to something you are eating (even if it is simply too much, LOL). Keep tweaking your diet (and I need to be really clear here: when I use the word 'diet' I NEVER mean a proscribed, specific, short term eating regime to manipulate weight loss... I'm reclaiming the word into its proper context) until you find that sweet fat-burning spot again.

I think there are a number of ways in which this can be achieved, and every way begins with whole, real food... over the last four years I have dabbled in some of them attempting to address my health issues with varying degrees of success - raw food, juicing, green smoothies, Gerson therapy - and while I learned important things about my body from every one of them, and though I still incorporate elements of all of these into my nutritional approach, I found these eating models difficult to sustain within my particular considerations. Also, while I felt better, none of these approaches actually 'healed' anything that ailed me.

I also now believe there is an optimal way... eating the way Ancestral people have, and still do in more isolated parts of the world, and the way human beings typically ate before the dawn of an agricultural way of life... typically described as eating Paleo (a hunter/gatherer lifestyle)... or the Caveman diet (which is actually extremely misleading, is the product of media hype, and only superficially adopted by those currently spearheading the movement... let's face it 'eat like grok' makes for a great sound byte). The movement uses Palaeolithic man as a touchstone because this is a point in history, just prior to the dawn of agriculture, where people were last consistently healthy and strong until they died of old age (despite the current anti-aging obsession, we are meant to die... and actually, I think Paleo is the best solution to aging well)... and contrary to conventional belief, current scientific investigative research reveals that Palaeolithic man had both longevity and excellent health throughout old age. Considering that for the first time in several generations we now have a generation of children - OUR children - with a LOWER life expectancy than we have, that speaks very loudly to me.

...As does the misinformed disparagement and dismissal of this particular nutritional model.

I'm seeing an increasing number of blogs popping up with a negative spin on that which I believe is sound, and which offers a great deal of benefit for many... not primarily in terms of weight loss, but with respect to greater health and well-being. Now everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, and I'm not against them voicing it. I am, however, critical of people speaking out against something they really don't know about, and understand even less. Not surprisingly, those most vocal against Paleo (and those disseminating misinformation) are those who latch onto the potential weight loss benefits, and who are subsequently disappointed at not having dropped a significant amount of weight within three weeks of going 'primal' (usually because they only adopt the elements they like about the nutritional model, eschewing those they don't see as necessary - like EAT MORE FAT, stay away from no/low-fat products, eliminate sugar and sugar substitutes, and initially drop the dairy and avoid produce in the nightshade family - because they haven't taken the time to really evaluate/understand all aspects of the model)... and those who happen to actually gain weight in the first three weeks of eating Paleo (more on this later).

Everyone who promotes Paleo is really clear on this point (Mark Scisson, Robb Wolf, Nora Gegaudas, Dr. Chris Kresser, Dr. Jack Kruse, Dr. Weston Price, Loren Cordain, Dean Dwyer, Orleatha & Chris Smith, Paul & Shou-Ching Jaminet, Dr. Kurt Harriss, Garry Taubes... if you've only read one or two of these writers you don't know/understand Paleo)... if you have health/metabolic issues (and if you are more than 30-50 pounds overweight you do have health/metabolic issues, minor though they may be) these must be addressed before you will see any real and lasting elimination of fat.

I've decided to take the time to clarify for anyone interested:
(and everyone misinformed)

• Paleo is NOT simply Atkins/Zone/Bernstein/South Beach/Sonoma/etc. by another name.

No Mom, It's Not Just Like Atkins...

• Paleo is NOT a quick weight loss plan (though some promote it as such).
• Paleo is NOT new... it has been around for over 35 years (mid-1970s by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin)... it's only now in our technologically savvy world that it's being well-marketed... and since the number of people paying attention has increased exponentially.
• Paleo is NOT static... it changes and literally evolves with learning, personal experience and science
• Paleo is NOT specifically low-carb focussed (though those who make weight loss the focus promote it as such... and it is typically lower carb than the Standard American Diet (SAD)... which can in turn be called a higher-than-is-healthy-carb-mo
for-insidious-weight-gain diet).
• Paleo is NOT 'one size fits all'.
• Paleo is NOT all about the meat to the exclusion of fresh produce.
• Paleo is NOT about eliminating grains and limiting starchy carbs as much as it is about maximizing your nutritional profile, healing the gut and addressing metabolic issues (all of which are negatively impacted by grains in most people to varying degrees)... the 'diet' has evolved out of how the body optimally responds to the food we eat... NOT PROSCRIBED to evoke a specific response or achieve a presumed result.

• Paleo IS a nutritionally sound, health focussed, nutritional model with weight loss often being a happy by-product.
• Paleo IS as varied as every individual who chooses to pattern their diet after Ancestral peoples.
• Paleo IS as low (below 50 grams) or high carb (though typically lower carb across the board than SAD at 200 grams) as you choose to make it (and how much carb you incorporate depends largely on your activity level... to increase your carbs you need to be consistently burning off the glucose stored in your muscles, and you eat carbs to replenish it... though your muscles can only store so much, and it's nowhere near as much as most people think... anything not stored in your muscles is stored as FAT).
NOTE: even Sparkpeople acknowledges the lower end of my 'normal' and 'healthy' carb range as 150 grams
• Paleo IS about a healthy nutritional balance between good/saturated fat, animal/fish/poultry protein and fresh produce. Paleo focuses more on the QUALITY of food versus what to eat and what not to eat.
• Paleo IS what you make of it, and most people espousing it are obsessed with health, proper nutrition, and the science to support their claims.
• Paleo IS a process that is constantly evolving as we learn more about how the human body functions optimally
• Paleo IS about addressing metabolic issues and encouraging positive gene expression (Dr. Weston Price has done some extremely interesting work on diet and negative gene expression)
• Paleo IS is based on studying ANCESTRAL people, and their remarkable resistance to diseases that are overwhelming people in first world countries.
• Paleo IS an overall lifestyle with a certain exercise philosophy attached.
• Paleo as a wellness plan IS fully supported by scientific research, and refutes conventional health wisdom at an alarming rate.
• Paleo IS an n=1 experiment.
• Paleo IS responsive to how your body works and what it needs to function optimally, not reactive to symptoms (fat is a symptom and diets specifically designed for weight loss are reactive)

As already mentioned (but it bears repeating), there are as many ways to eat Paleo as there are people eating this way (and truly Paleo people - those not simply looking to drop a lot of weight faster - will never be seen going around simply eating a lot of bacon, or huge quantities of meat). Again, at it's core, Paleo is not even really low-carb unless an individual chooses to swing that way... some Paleo/Primal people are actually high carb, but their carbs come exclusively from fruit and starchy vegetables (and in some circles, white rice). How you eat Paleo depends on your own health/nutritional goals with respect to fuelling your lifestyle, and addressing your own particular metabolic issues.

All Paleo people agree on a few simple guidelines:

• first an optimal amount of good/saturated fats (but no plant/nut oils unless cold pressed; and no processed, grain derived oils), more Omega 3s and fewer Omega 6s (Omega 3s are heart saving, while omega 6s are inflammatory). Coconut oil/milk, avocadoes, olives, ghee, whole eggs are pure, saturated nutritional gold.

• then ENOUGH animal/fish/poultry protein (determined by your own lean muscle mass and hunger levels - NOT massive amounts, and no soy - soy is one of the most polluted, GMO crops out there)

• plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (Paleo people advocate getting all nutrients, vitamins and minerals from real food... you couldn't accomplish this if you didn't eat a lot of fresh and varied produce)

• whole, fresh, local wherever possible foods (nothing processed), grass-fed/free-range (or wild) protein and dairy

• no cereal grains in any form - CORN is a grain (and horribly GMO) - and even these are consumed by some once they learn how to prepare them to eliminate their anti-nutrient impact - it's more labour intensive than most people generally have time for, but there are people doing it - and many people eat organic, minimally processed oats for instance - it depends on your own tolerances... wheat is never consumed because it is incredibly GMO

• eliminate processed sugar (including agave SYRUP) and especially artificial sweeteners... and yet there are recipes for some amazing Paleo desserts... raw, unpasterized honey (and B-grade maple syrup... still has the trace minerals and nutrients) is a superfood of sorts... though it still doesn't mean you can eat pots of it... unless you want to look like Pooh

• eliminate legumes (dried beans, peas, peanuts, lentils - because of their lectin content)... but again, there are many who still eat them as they learn to to cook/prepare them to reduce the lectin impact

• non/low-fat anything (which in its natural form would have a high fat content) is avoided as it is highly processed (altering its bioavailability... and if it has little bioavailability, what is the point of eating it? Does anyone - besides paleo people - ask themselves that anymore?) and the fat is usually replaced by sugar and salt

• Dairy is considered controversial in the Paleo/Primal community - not because cavemen didn't drink milk, but because casein is an issue for so many in the western world... there are ancestral people who survive and live exclusively on dairy... so if you tolerate casein, by all means include dairy... fermented and full-fat dairy (full fat greek/turkish/homemade yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, cream) is considered Paleo by most... and raw milk, if you can get it. The milk we have access to in grocery stores is no longer a whole food, high in sugar, and devoid of the enzymes that make it a healthy food.

NOTE (since people keep asking):
Generally, it's considered superior to get all nutrients from whole food. Whey isn't a whole food, so it's not considered ideal/preferable to getting enough protein from animal/sea/poultry sources (because you get so much more than just protein when you WHOLE FOOD)... it's like eating egg whites rather than eating whole eggs (I never got that... all of the nutrients are in the yolk). Having said that, there a number of people who do use whey powder as part of their nutritional plan, but they make sure it's from grass-fed dairy (the essential fatty/amino acids are different in grass-fed animal products), with no additives/fillers and is processed to preserve all elements (conventional whey products are processed using really high heat which destroys them as a 'real' food... not easy to find and seriously expensive, but it's out there.

• initially (30 days), it is recommended that everyone eliminate dairy, produce in the nightshade family, any personal allergens that you know of so you can get a baseline idea of any possible food sensitivities you might have... if you have many serious and chronic health issues (inflammation is the sneaky one... many people have serious inflammation issues without even recognising it as such... I was slow to come to this understanding) it is worth testing where your sensitivities might be... it can be really surprising. Once your gut is healed, you can likely add back many, if not all, of the foods you had to initially eliminate.

Courtesy of Cole Bradburn's Photos

Comparison Chart: Primal/Paleo/Ancestral, etc.

Within these few tenets, Paleo is however you choose to eat. Everyone has to find their own nutritional balance within the above guidelines in order to achieve the full benefit of eating/living Paleo. How you do this is up to you and based upon how your body responds... as I already said, there is no 'one size fits all' in Paleo.

In a nutshell, Paleo is about increasing one's nutritional profile with whole, as close to the source as is possible food, healing one's gut from the damage incurred by consuming grains and legumes (and from our 'modern' non-food and the chemicals used in processing), eliminating sugar as it also upsets ideal gut/hormonal conditions, restoring hormonal balance through nutrition, and reintroducing the nutrient profile represented by animal/fish/poultry/wild protein and saturated fat (reinstating a better ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6s). Paleo suggests that all of our health issues stem from compromised gut health and nutrient deficiencies inherant in a 'modern' diet.

Personal considerations and preferences aside, all nutritional considerations trace back to these aims.

Gut damage takes time to heal, which is why initially it's suggested that people remove all gut irritants from their diet... give it 30 days... and then reintroduce trigger foods slowly and observe how your own body responds. When it comes to gut irritants (lectins, saponins, phytic acid, nitrates, preservatives, casein), for people with health issues especially (inflammation, sinuses, digestive issues, hormonal issues, mood issues), even small amounts are hugely detrimental to healing. A gut, damaged to any degree, will be the direct cause of inflammation and other chronic conditions, and no matter how nutrient-rich your diet, you will not be able to adequately absorb what your body needs. Once the gut has healed, exposure to these things occasionally won't be a problem (here's where 80/20 comes in), but until the gut has healed, problems will continue unless these things are eliminated.

Some are right in observing that one of the reasons so many people feel initially transformed once they begin eating Paleo is because they have eliminated (for the first time ever) processed foods to become believers in whole and nutrient-rich foods. I believe this is true for many who dabble in Paleo with weight loss being their primary agenda. However, because eating Paleo is not a 'diet for weight loss' (though it can be used this way for some initial fast results... and the cleaner, more based on whole food your diet is before embracing Paleo, the less dramatic will be your results) the long-term results won't be realized because these people too often abandon Paleo before the real benefits can be observed... they don't even recognise the changes because they're not looking for them. Paleo is a way of eating for optimal health in which weight loss is often a happy by-product as the body heals... and healing takes time (three weeks barely scratches the surface). It's also becoming widely acknowledged by the Paleo community (initially largely driven by male experience) that there are different considerations/adaptations for women... our hormonal make-up adds a whole other dimension to the mix, and women rarely experience the dramatic results that men do initially, while their longer term results are even more dramatic. Many women's 'healing' stories are nothing short of miraculous.

However for people like me, who for years (20 years, actually) have eaten a whole food, unprocessed, ultra clean diet, and still became fat and ill, the results of eating Paleo cannot be so easily explained away. Eating this way has truly changed my life and that of my family. Medical issues (including severe inflammation for me) have completely resolved... I feel 20 years younger. The health benefits, even if weight loss isn't part of the picture, cannot be disregarded and are fully supported by the science. And while my weight loss is VERY slow after the initial rapid water weight exodus, it continues steadily and is all fat... I can see my body composition changing weekly, as my strength also improves... for every five pounds of 'weight lost' I lose 10 or more inches.

If people with considerable weight to lose don't lose weight eating this way it is usually because they read the 'never again count calories' assertions to mean 'eat as much as you want all of the time without consequence'... yet even if they don't 'really lose weight' they would see their body composition change if they stuck with it. It's not uncommon for people to initially over-eat on a Paleo regime... it's freeing to eat real food again, but we really don't need as much food as we think we do. You can be fat no matter how you eat if you never learn to listen to your body's cues... and if you're eating according to a Paleo model, you will be at the very least healthier than you've ever been... and it would become increasingly hard to stay fat... you'd have to work at it. I've lost 50 pounds since September 2011 (see I told you my weight loss is slow and directly related to my healing) without tracking a morsel or measuring a portion. My diet (I plugged in a couple of days of food to just see what the breakdown might be) is currently approximately 60% calories from good fat, 20% calories from protein, and 20% calories from carbs (fruits and mostly non-starchy vegetables).

A piece of the Paleo picture puzzle that is commonly/routinely overlooked/ignored by those simply looking to eliminate fat is the exercise philosophy attached to living a Paleo model. Extensive cardio (in fact any overly prolonged aerobic exercise regime) is generally regarded as a counter-fitness approach by the Paleo community, and will produce results counter-productive to the benefits of eating this way (because it creates inflammation and elevated cortisol levels)... inflammation, elevated cortisol, metabolic issues and prolonged cardio are the enemies of effective weight loss and muscle development (Mark Scisson - Mr. Primal himself - is a reformed distance runner/athlete, and at nearly 60 is in the best shape of his life). Instead of following Paleo exercise guidelines, those looking to simply eliminate fat stick to whatever their current fitness regime is and are then disappointed by the results... and they subsequently write a blog about how Paleo is just another pointless ineffective low-carb money-making diet plan. I just don't understand why anyone would take on an approach, not really follow it, and then blame the approach for the failure to achieve desired results. Worse yet, this sort of disingenuousness deters those who might really benefit from the same approach trying what might be the very solution they need. I cry FOUL!

The Paleo model/lifestyle is as complex as it is simple, and if there is a 'failure' to achieve certain results, it's not in the details of the Paleo model for fuelling our bodies. I highly recommend the model to anyone but especially to those who have significant fat to eliminate, to anyone who has health issues making it difficult for them to maintain a healthy body composition, to anyone who has unaddressed and chronic health issues of any kind but especially anything autoimmune related, and to anyone who can't seem to lose weight no matter what they do... and do your own research (ALL the information you could possibly need is FREE on the internet... this community is one of the most generous there is... I've been reading and researching for months now and I've barely scratched the surface)... know what you are doing, and why, before you begin. I also say be patient and give it time.

While I'm very slowly eliminating fat, my health is improving dramatically... I have little to no inflammation, my thyroid is finally functioning (my goitre has shrunk), my blood pressure is normal and stable, all my other hormones are magically regulated/balanced (I am 51 years old and have been in perimenopause for over 15 years, have diagnosed 'unexplained' infertility, endometriosis, and have lived in hormone hell for most of my life... this is the first time I have a normal hormone profile and my periods have returned, but are a piece of cake... it's not at all unusual for women with fertility issues have them 'magically' resolve on a Paleo diet and 'menopausal' issues become inconsequential, as mine have), my moods have stablized and I have a a sense of emotional well-being I haven't had for years - I don't experience stress in a visceral way I had come think of as 'normal', I am MUCH less reactive and generally responsive instead - I can once again emotinally step back from things, my lipid profile is continually improving (initially it can look much worse, but that is because losing weight causes LDL cholesterol and oestrogen to be dumped into your system and your liver can't necessarily keep up... after you reach a healthy weight your lipid levels will likely be better than ever... incidentally, this is also why so many people eliminate a significant amount of fat to only be disappointed at their next Dr. visit and end up on statins despite their considerable efforts... which in turn compromise their health further), my liver function has improved, I haven't had a headache/migraine in 10 months, my sinuses have cleared, my insomnia is resolving, my hair stopped falling out and is growing back in, my body composition is shifting for the better... and I feel amazing!!!

Additionally, my husband has lost an amazing amount of fat (not so much weight)... his body composition is changing daily, a Parkinsonian-like tremor in his hands (that has slowly been worsening over the years... that his father and brothers also have) has disappeared (a characteristic we only recently discovered is linked to gluten sensitivity and gut health), and he feels more alive than he has ever felt... it's sort of like having a whole new man in my house, LOL! I kid you not... in 15 years I have rarely seen my husband run... he has always complained of generalized pain, and moved very little as a result. Lately he bursts into spontaneous sprints just for fun (and I sprint away in response, LOL), and he no longer hurts... he's like a little kid... he's literally giving our daughter a run for her money... we both are! Our daughter is no longer constipated for the first time in her short 8 years (she was even constipated on breast milk, which can pass gluten anti-nutrients on to baby), she is finally sleeping through the night and rising easily in the morning, and her significant anxiety issues (and temper) have dissipated (did you know most of your serotonin is produced in your gut, and if your gut is compromised so will be your mental health?). She's once again the little girl I thought I'd forever lost three years ago to forces I couldn't see, or understand.

True Story.
(My daughter's transformation)

PLEASE, if you're going to test a model/theory, have the integrity to really understand/test it before you trash it. You don't know who you may be discouraging with your flip response.

If anyone is interested, I've compiled an extensive list of free resources in my photo gallery... open a picture (from 'it's time to get primal' to 'Clean')... in the comments section of most I've compiled lists of pertinent resources. Help yourself!

Oh... and if you wonder what it could look like if a whole country decided to go Paleo, well check out Sweden (for the most part a low-carb version)! It started with one doctor directing her patients to eat this way, led to the medical review board attempting to strip her of her medical licence for endangering the health of her patients, and began anew with the doctor in question keeping her licence and the medical profession at large additionally promoting the model as an ideal for their patients... and HEALTH statistics are improving at an incredible rate. One in four Swedes now eats this way, and the movement is spreading to surrounding countries!


...and before you go after someone for their 'low-carb' nutritional model, you'd better catch up with the research:

"Research shows that high-carbohydrate diets fail to build muscle, even in younger people due to their detrimental effect on insulin. Again and again, it's the high-protein/high-fat/low-carb
ohydrate diet that proves the most effective both for muscle building and weight loss."


...And this one is for the 'everything in moderation crowd':
In the mood for a little excess?


...and if you want to see what Paleo looks like without all of the hype - try it... you might like it:


However, no matter what nutritional plan you choose to follow...

A Plea to Please Read Dietary Books Before Jumping In

Yes, I Eat Vegetables

Truth About Carbohydrates Article

Thank you, VHALKYRIE!

*COMPREHENSIVE* Ancestral Nutrition Resource

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}


...Because not everything is at it seems... and it becomes what you make it!



'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)! Next pictures September 1, 2012!

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror)

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED/rewritten: JUNE, 2012)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

DONE Girl Love...

(the footsteps into which I place my own feet)

Leaving NORMAL

Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Okay, lady. A number of things have grabbed my attention. They are as follows:

    Paleo IS as low (below 50 grams) or high carb (though typically lower carb across the board than SAD at 200 grams) as you choose to make it (and how much carb you incorporate depends largely on your activity level... to increase your carbs you need to be consistently burning off the glucose stored in your muscles, and you eat carbs to replenish it... though your muscles can only store so much, and it's nowhere near as much as most people think... anything not stored in your muscles is stored as FAT).
    NOTE: even Sparkpeople acknowledges the lower end of my 'normal' and 'healthy' carb range as 150 grams

    Extensive cardio (in fact any overly prolonged aerobic exercise regime) is generally regarded as a counter-fitness approach by the Paleo community, and will produce results counter-productive to the benefits of eating this way (because it creates inflammation and elevated cortisol levels)... inflammation, elevated cortisol, metabolic issues and prolonged cardio are the enemies of effective weight loss and muscle development (Mark Scisson - Mr. Primal himself - is a reformed distance runner/athlete, and at nearly 60 is in the best shape of his life).

    I will be doing more research on Paleo. Thanks for sharing resources! It appears that what I am doing is pretty much eating Paleo.

    This also caught my attention ...When it comes to gut irritants (lectins, saponins, phytic acid, nitrates, preservatives, casein) ... I am familiar with some of these not all of them. I know nitrates and preseratives are issues for me and have avoided them like the plague for decades!

    Inflammation has been in my crosshairs since late November 2015, when it became evident that I CLEARLY had an issue with inflammation. I continue to learn more and more about inflammation and really appreciate you sharing your experience and the resources that have supported you. emoticon

    Paleo IS what you make of it, and most people espousing it are obsessed with health, proper nutrition, and the science to support their claims.

    Paleo IS an n=1 experiment.

    Paleo IS responsive to how your body works and what it needs to function optimally, not reactive to symptoms (fat is a symptom and diets specifically designed for weight loss are reactive)

    1258 days ago
    1996 days ago
  • GUNNSGIRL91303
    Thanks for clearing up some of my confusion regarding the Paleo diet. I work in a naturopathic clinic with both ND's and an MD. We also have acupuncturist, NAET treatment and a holistic physical therapist. Oh ya, a nutrionist and life coach too! So I hear about every diet, from the docs and patients and coworkers.

    I think I already eat somewhat Paleo. I'm trying to go gluten free so that is enough change for me right now. But I might try Paleo once I'm comfortable without gluten.

    You write so incredibly well you should do it for a living. With your research skills, your writing talent, your passion and humor I believe you could make a lot of money, but more importantly you could help a lot of people. Your story is beautiful and I know many patients who have gone through similar journeys to end up in our clinic. You could easily write an e-book about what you've been through...Ramona's Wild Ride...whatever emoticon but I truly believe you'd be successful!

    Thanks for such a well written and informative lesson professer Ramona! emoticon
    2147 days ago
  • no profile photo BEST_LIFE_NOW
    Great explanation Ramona. Thanks. I've always been bewildered about what Paleo means.
    2180 days ago
    What a fantastic read, thank YOU! I've been on Paleo for 95 days today and am having alot of success, I am healthier, and happier. I am staying on paleo no matter what, I never want to have to inject insulin again in my life.
    Thanks for an intelligent, amazing blog!

    2367 days ago
    I Wish I would have gotten to read this YEARS ago! But so thankful to have this info now.
    You are SO GIFTED at writing.
    2367 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    I reread this blog again. I have been completely bitten by the Paleo bug and, yet, still consider myself a novice on the subject. I am not yet 100% Paleo, but I have moved farther towards that end of the spectrum. I have not lost weight, but that's not my focus. I am thrilled to feel better, to have more energy and...surprised! Food tastes better than I ever dreamed! I do not feel deprived. I am surprised at the abdominal quietness and the mental quietness. I am at peace. I do not obsess about food all day. I have fun with my food - my creativity has been unleashed.

    I am returning to my kettlebells and I know I will move closer to 100% on the lifestyle spectrum as I, for the first time in my entire life, find physical things that I really like to do.

    Joy unbounded!
    2402 days ago
    emoticon Great read! SP friends and 3D friends alike have been encouraging me to pursue paleo diet because of MS. I had no idea it would be good for migraine and sinuses too. I certainly have nothing to lose for giving it a try.
    2404 days ago
    Hi there, I came across your blog today and wow, I completely enjoyed the read. My daughter is autistic and she has always had problems with her stomach. Had told her pediatrician about my concerns and it was swept under the rug. I inturn went to see a naturopath and we went gluten free/casein free and noticed a change. After further testing with the naturopath, we found she had an abundant amount of yeast in her belly. We were told to do the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Now, to be honest I was totally scared and unprepared at the beginning because it required a lot of work on my part.

    She has since been on this type of diet which has similarities to the Paleo for nearly 7 months now, and what a difference it has made. She eats clean and organic. Everyone who has seen her can't believe the change just in that time. Some are ignorant and don't believe her diet had any affect on her, but I know the truth. She mistakenly had a piece of white bread when no one was around or looking, and boy what it did to her. It affected her tummy and her behaviour.

    I ate like she did initially the first three weeks and I was nourished and ate proper portions, and lost 12 pounds in those 3 weeks without doing any exercise. I am considering starting it again, I stopped as I let stress take over and turned to junk food for comfort.

    Keep it up! It's amazing how your body feels once it's properly nourished.
    2535 days ago
    Thank you.
    2535 days ago
  • JANAMP09
    Wow. A lot to take in but so well written. So often messages on Paleo are conflicting but you were able to cover/explain most. Thank you
    2568 days ago
    So much to read and take. My journey seems to leading me to a paleo trailhead. So much to learn and digest.
    2709 days ago
    Looks like you covered just about everything here! What about whey protein?
    2711 days ago

    I'm so excited that the hubby finally decided to open up and give Paleo a true shot. We were eating this way 80-ish percent of the time, but with his health issues and loads of stress from the traveling job, it wore him down. He agreed to start on July 5th (after he had a bit of a beer blow out on the 4th! LOL!) and the first 1-1 1/2 weeks were the worst for him. Basically you never realize how sick you are until you remove the things that help mask the symptoms.

    Dealing with hyperinsulemia, candida and adrenal fatigue/burnout can do a number when you remove the easy energy sources - grains, sugar, etc. It was a white knuckle ride but now, almost 3 weeks in, he's sleeping better, moving better, and feeling better than he has in a long time.

    The funny thing is he shared his health issues and our approach with a good friend who's also an MD. We got the standard 'paleo is controversal and can be unsafe' and 'adrenal fatigue isn't a real disease'. I sent back what could be a condensed version of this post. Not sure what he'll say, but we can agree to disagree.

    Thank you for putting it all straight forward and demystified.

    Also, an awesome blog/resource I recently came across and wanted to share: http://alkalinepaleodiet.com/ Worth checking out!
    2732 days ago
    Great blog post!!!!!! But, I would disagree somewhat that the paleo community doesn't worship exercise. There is a large group under the tent that does crossfit and fasts their way to body fat into the single digits. These folks don't write most of the books, but they are out in full force on paleohacks and ready to pounce on anyone who has an experience different than theirs.
    2734 days ago
    Beautifully written blog! You truly have a gift.

    "I believe we are fat because we are unwell."

    I couldn't agree more. This is something that took me a very long time to realize. I blamed genes and my lack of willpower. Then one day, I looked at my personal data and said, you know what? Something doesn't add up. I trusted my instinct and I went looking for answers.

    It works for me, and it works better than anything else I've done because it's what I'm supposed to be eating. The way I ate before made me fatter and sick. The way I eat now makes me healthier.

    One of the things that really bugs me about people calling 'my' diet a fad diet is I'm not the one saying my diet will work for everyone. They were the ones who told me that the low-fat diet is the only right way to do it, I believed them, and it kept me unwell.

    Fine. If my LC diet doesn't work for everyone, that it is an implicit agreement that it does work for some. Therefore, the corollary is LF diet doesn't work for everyone, either.
    2736 days ago
    @JUNEAU2010: I'm pleased to know you appreciated my 'research' and, as I said in my blog entry, I've compiled an extensive list of free resources in my photo gallery... open a picture (from 'it's time to get primal' to 'Clean')... in the comments section of most I've compiled lists of pertinent resources. Help yourself... pretty much everything I've read is right there!

    Respectfully, I don't mind sharing, (and I SO appreciate readers!!!), but I reserve the right to hang on to my own work product, thanks, LOL! I'm NOT an expert, and I really think it's important for people to do their own research in the context of their own experience and needs.

    I wish you well on your journey!
    2738 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/19/2012 12:46:50 AM
  • JUNEAU2010
    Please email me your blog so I can print it, mark it up, reread it and think about it. I have read a little Paleo info, but am quite a rookie in this arena.
    2739 days ago
    WOWOWOWOW how well written and how come I haven't seen you around! LOL You have a few friends the same.
    Anway this has gotten me back into the Primal paleo thinking. I hadn't really lost it but was really falling by the way side.
    I also see you are from mid Canada? I am in Halifax so Eastern Canada lol

    have to subscribe to your blogs they are great as is your intro page.
    Thanks so much!!!
    2739 days ago
    Wow! I'm learning from you Ramona! This is a blog I will return to time and time again. Thank you!
    2742 days ago
    @JAZZID: Hey, Beautiful! Generally, it's considered superior to get all nutrients from whole food. Whey isn't a whole food, so it's not considered ideal/preferable to getting enough protein from animal/sea/poultry sources (because you get so much more than just protein)... it's like eating egg whites rather than eating whole eggs (I never got that... all of the nutrients are in the yolk). Having said that, there a number of people who do use whey powder as part of their nutritional plan, but they make sure it's from grass-fed dairy, with no additives/fillers and is processed to preserve all elements (conventional whey products are processed using really high heat... not easy to find and seriously expensive, but it's out there. :)

    {{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}}
    2742 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/14/2012 7:31:27 PM
    Ramona, I loved this blog.... emoticon

    PS:... what about whey protein? ... how does that rate?
    2742 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/14/2012 5:39:38 PM
    Love this blog - thanks a bunch!
    2743 days ago
    Ramona, this is a truly wonderful post you've written. Thank you for taking the time to do that for all of us reading now, and those who will inevitably run across it later in their search for info. It was great to read about how well you and your family are doing on the diet! You've all made some really significant improvements that it sounds like weren't happening through medical intervention alone. I know a whole lot of people like to "pooh-pooh" holistic health and all, but taking care of the whole body rather than just the symptoms of disease really does seem to make a big difference. Thanks for this super post and for sharing your stories with us.

    Oh, I just wanted to add that before I was aware of the paleo/primal way of eating, I had become really frustrated with my own inability to lose weight. I carefully followed a commercial diet (Jenny Craig), tried going at it alone with a standard "balanced" diet and counting calories, tried hiring a personal trainer, etc. and NOTHING worked for me until I dropped the carbs and the grains. What I failed at (this is why I call my version a Faileo Diet) was the most important part of the equation: FATS (duh!). I ate low or no fat, and had a very hard go of it. I lost 70lbs. but was pretty hungry and grouchy most of the time. I was also kicking butt in the gym back then. Had I had some fats, I believe I would have been able to sustain that diet and continue with the gym and lose ALL the weight I needed to, rather than stop and put back on 40 lbs over the 2 years following. Anyway. Here I am, going for the REAL DEAL paleo this time. And guess what, it's SO MUCH nicer and easier as well. I'm never having cravings, no sugar lust or anything like that. No weird hunger pangs....it's perfect and seems like it's just how I was meant to eat all along. I feel like a machine! emoticon
    2743 days ago
    A very interesting post, thank you for putting in all this work to create it, I really appreciate it. Can I have your permission to (a) save it in my PC - gonne have to reread this - and (b) send it on to a friend of mine who is not a SparkPeople member?
    2743 days ago
    Ramona, Congrats on living the Paleo way. I have only just heard of this way of eating about 3 months ago. I have really felt like our issue's with health could and can be prevented with what we put in our mouths. You have sparked an interest in me to read a little more about this lifestyle. I love that your inflammation has decreased and your symptoms with your thyroid,B/P,perimenopausal issues,lipid profile,liver function, headaches, anxiety etc... have improved! And not just for you but for your hubby and darling daughter as well. I have to tell you as a Nurse I am horrified at all the preventable disease I see taking the lives of so many people. And for a long time I have felt it was food related. My main idea was focused on weight reduction but as I see more and more horrific GI issues with people I am convinced it is the quality of food and what food we put in our mouths that can either give us the quality of life we want or take it right from us.

    As I continue on the journey of what works best for me I want to thank you for this blog, the information and the spark to get me thinking a little different!

    Way to go on your life changing adventure! You are changing from the inside out and I love it!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2744 days ago
    emoticon information! Thanks
    2744 days ago
    Great information thank you Ramona !
    2746 days ago
    First, the disclaimer: I'm just an ordinary gal who reads voraciously, who has been researching and studying nutrition to address my own health intensively for months now, who has come to believe the studies I've found through exploring the Paleo model (because of the healing I've experienced), and who has big mouth and can't resist sharing what I've learned, lol... never substitute anyone's judgement/experience (n=1) for your own!

    @RETURNTOTHIN, for what it's worth:

    Yes, flax is great (it's a seed, not a grain)... it has a healthy ratio of Omega 3s to 6s (more healing than inflammatory). There is some debate over how bioavailable the Omega 3s are, but if you're gringding it (or using COLD-PRESSED oil), you're fine. Fish oils are better, though, as they are more bioavailable.

    Here are a couple of articles you might appreciate:

    • Essential Fatty Acids - Flax Seed Omega 3 Oils For Healthy Fats

    • God Recommended the Paleo Diet Long Before Robb Wolf

    Yes, high heat does destroy the healthy properties of olive/flax/nut oils. I believe the same as you about grapeseed oil and have been cooking with cold-pressed grapeseed oil for years now. Coconut oil is good for EVERYTHING... around here we fry with it, eat it with a spoon, rub it on our skin, drink it in our coffee... I even clean my teeth with it, LOL!

    I'm still trying to figure out what to do about the protein powder... the one you are using, from a Paleo perspective, may not be the best choice... brown flour has the same gut irritating/damaging elements as cereal grains (white rice is fine). The chia is great! My stumbling issue is the pea flour... I was using a naturopath prescribed pea/white rice protein powder to faciltiate liver function... and was getting great results... but since 'going Paleo' I haven't been able to discern if dried peas sit in the same category as the legumes generally... eating green peas is fine. For now I've discontinued it because I wanted an uncompromised idea of how my body would react to a Paleo regime. If you fnd out something definitive, please let me know!

    Honestly, if you feel good on it, I'd say keep using it. Alternatively, test it... go off of it and see if you feel any different. Sometimes as our health improves, it's much easier to discern the impact of something further on in the process... it took me awhile to realize that the root of several of my issues was actually inflammation for this reason... it wasn't until I stopped eating certain foods for a time and then added them back in that I realized I felt better without them.

    2746 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/11/2012 2:55:15 PM
    Thanks for your comments everyone... I appreciate your support!

    Now, Bob... I'm not sure you actually read my blog re: "my problem with paleo is it's restrictions on oats, soy, skimmed milk, yams, beans, whey and yogurt." Your response is exactly why I wrote the blog in the first place.

    First of all, Paleo doesn't 'restrict' anything... it has been scientifically proven that certain foods are less supportive of optimal health than are others (grains and legumes are problematic and damaging to health for more people than not)... individuals may choose to restrict specific foods based on how their own body reacts to eating it.

    Additionally, many Paleo people consume whey if it's derived from grass fed cows, is minimally processed and devoid of fillers... harder to find, but it's out there... though less desireable than whole foods; yams and sweet potatoes are a staple for most (if you really need to drop some weight and are sedentary you may choose to self-limit); oats are fine if you tolerate them and prepare them so as to decrease the potential gut irritants... many Paleo people eat oats; and full-fat yogurt is also a staple for most Paleo adherants.

    The primary reason most Paleo people eschew soy is because of it's highly processed nature (it's no longer 'real' food... ever read a soy product package?) and because it's nearly impossible to find a 'clean' source... and if possible to find a clean source many enjoy edamame just like green beans (I do). Like soy, dairy (other than raw and grass-fed) is suspect because of its highly processed nature (it's bioavailablitiy is compromised in processing), NOT because it's a 'bad' food (skim milk is not a whole food which additionally compromises it's bioavailability, but if that doesn't matter to you, consume away... it's also higher in glucose than is whole milk).

    As I said, Paleo is concerned with the QUALITY of food, not so much with the specific foods, and the only real 'limiting' factor to Paleo is how an individual's body/health responds to what they choose to eat.
    2746 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/11/2012 3:33:58 PM
    Thx for your "answer" re: flax. I use Udo's Oil which is a combination oil and supposed to have the right ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6. I like the flavor. I add 1 tablespoon to my salad every day. I also eat at least 1 egg/day. I learned from somewhere that frying (heating) made both olive and flax bad and to use grape seed oil or coconut oil. I'm trying to pick your brain about this...... Then I have started adding ground flax seed to my morning "breakfast drink (my own concoction, not a meal replacer) and to my salad. I have also found a powdered protein that I like that has pea, brown rice and chia in it. I tried whey once and hated it. Again thx for letting me pick your brain.
    2746 days ago
    Some great gems in here Ramona! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and support for us. I appreciate it everytime I see it. You're in my thoughts, E
    2746 days ago
  • BOB240
    I'm a fan of high protein diets. my problem with paleo is it's restrictions on oats, soy, skimmed milk, yams, beans, whey and yogurt. These are all good foods - I wouldn't start a day without oats.
    2746 days ago
    Whew, a long blog, but informative. Will have to research this further, as I've been doing most of what I understand Paleo is, but only heard the name this week. I learned many of these concepts while doing PRISM Weight Loss Program 10 years ago. Thank you for the introduction and information. As I have time, I will follow up. But one question. Can I have flax on the Paleo diet? Flax seed? Thank you
    2746 days ago
    Great blog, very informative.
    Thanks for taking the time to write it.
    2746 days ago
  • _JULEE_
    2746 days ago
  • IAM_HIS2
    Great review...you answered so many of my questions about the Paleo Diet. I sincerely hope one day you will be publishing a book on eating healthy. God has blessed you in so many ways, you have many gifts to offer us. Thank you for is excellent blog.

    2746 days ago
    emoticon Ramona
    2746 days ago
    Thanks for such a great review of the paleo diet. I learned a lot.
    2746 days ago
    You are preaching to the choir with me. I agree 100%. Am currently reading "The Smarter Science of Slim" by Jonathan Bailor. Love it.
    2746 days ago
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