Going Paleo

Most of the recipes I post on this site are either vegan or pesco-vegan friendly, but in all honesty, I follow a mostly Paleo diet. About a year and a half ago, after watching all the plant-based diet documentaries, I decided to cut back on my meat consumption. I went from eating meat twice a week, to once a week, to none at all. Then I began cutting out other things like cheese and cream. I switched to using almond milk in my cereal and tea rather than skim milk or vanilla creamer. Eventually I grew into what I liked to call a pseudo-vegan (I was still eating fish) and began increasing my intake of soy rich foods, rice, legumes, and grains.

Paleo Diet Becauseitsgoodforyou.comIt was fine for a little while, but then I started experiencing some strange symptoms: dizziness, fatigue, mental fog, skin allergies, etc. and I knew something wasn’t right. After sharing these issues with my Naturopathic Doctor, she decided to run a food allergy panel to see if I was allergic to any of the foods I was eating. I also began keeping a food diary and taking note of how I felt, physically and emotionally, after each meal. The food allergy panel came back showing I was in fact showing some allergic reactions toward many of the food items I was consuming on a regular basis. By keeping a food diary, I noticed that many of my physical and mental symptoms I was experiencing resulted after eating a dish with tofu, wheat, rice, or soy. Through drawing my blood, I also learned that I had an O blood type – the most primitive blood type and the type most associated with individuals who thrive off a Paleolithic diet.

According to Dr. D’Adamo, author of “Eat Right for Your Type,” our blood type can help determine what type of foods we should or should not be eating. But he’s not the only one who believes this theory. In Japan, asking someone their blood type is similar to asking someone what their astrological sign is. They believe it not only shows what type of diet you should be on, but it is also an indicator of certain personality traits. For example, an A blood type is said to be creative and analytical, B blood types are known as easygoing and flexible, O’s are objective and practical, and AB’s are intuitive and spiritual. His theory may also explain why many individuals have altered their diet – to either plant-based, lean meat-based, gluten-free, or the like – and seen their medical issues completely reverse. It just goes to show that everyone is unique and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another (you can read how I discovered this notion for myself here).

Robb Wolf is a huge advocate for the Paleo diet. He was a research biochemist who traded in his lab coat to write “The Paleo Solution,” a book that made the New York Times Bestseller’s list. He’s also a strength and conditioning coach, a blogger, public speaker, and has a podcast, all devoted to living a Paleo life. He describes the Paleo diet as the healthiest way we can eat- because it’s the way that our ancestors ate. The Paleo diet is sometimes called the Paleolithic diet, the Caveman diet, Hunter-Gatherer diet, or the Stone Age diet. It’s derived from the principle of consuming an ancient diet of wild plants and animals that hominid species consumed nearly 10,000 years ago, before the agricultural revolution and the production of man-made grains. The basics of it are as follows:

Paleo Diet Becauseitsgoodforyou.comFoods to Eat: Lean proteins such as beef, chicken, duck, lamb, turkey, organ meats, elk, eggs (all must be organic/antibiotic free, grass-fed, and free-range), fish that is low in mercury and caught in the wild or from a company that uses sustainable farming methods, plenty of vegetables, most fruits (low glycemic is best), nuts (except peanuts), seeds, and healthy fats (avocado, coconut).

Foods to Avoid: Dairy, grains, processed foods and oils, sugars, starches, legumes, and alcohol.

The trick to this diet is knowing what to use as a substitute. Coconut milk is a great substitute for dairy products and is a good source of healthy fat. Almond milk also works well as a “creamer” for coffee or tea. Coconut flour and almond meal can be used for baking or “breading.” Extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil is encouraged over vegetable oils or seed oils (corn, canola, safflower). Once you get the hang of it, eating Paleo is pretty easy. For those of you who are interested in switching to a Paleo lifestyle, stay tuned! I’ll be sharing recipes in my next post to help get you started on your journey.

The Paleo diet also contains many positive anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that an anti-inflammatory diet has helped many individuals suffering from a variety of health issues including asthma, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disorders. Inflammatory foods not only affect the body, but also affect the brain. Inflammatory responses have even been linked to symptoms of Asperger’s and Autism. For further information on the role of inflammation in the body, you can check out this post here.

Now that you know the ins and outs of going Paleo, do you think you’ll try to make the switch? Or have you tried living Paleo before and found that maybe it wasn’t the right fit for your blood or body type? I would be interested to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to check back for my future post with some tasty Paleo recipes!

9 thoughts on “Going Paleo

  1. I’ve actually never felt better in my life since going vegan. All my tummy issues, headaches etc. vanished. No more digestion problems either. Vegan was a healthy choice for my husband and I and now it is also an ethical choice after learning the truth about animals. What was your reason for going vegan initially? I can see possibly how you had issues eating soy, tofu and wheat…those are all highly processed. Also, soy is the highest gmo food out there. I wont touch the stuff. Most people think vegans automatically go for the “meat substitutes”, but I actually consume no soy or tofu. I try to eat all whole foods as much as possible. I’ve seen a lot of people on paleo diet…some of it seems okay..the only thing that gets me is the hugh consumption of bacon!! And endless eggs! That just isn’t healthy and of course terrible for the heart. Bacon is one of the worst foods to eat so I’m always surprised to see that listed as this whole heathy paleo diet thing. I see so many paleo cakes with like 8-10 eggs and tons of butter..I’m just scratching my head. Regardless of which path somebody chooses, I think it’s about whole foods and healthy choices and most importantly avoiding highly processed foods as much as possible. Meats have been the worst thing to cause inflammation in my husband’s arthritis (gout), which is why we went vegan and cut out all meat..he got better almost instantly. Everybody I guess is different, one thing is for certain…we all needs lots of fresh fruits and vegetables….
    Sorry for the ramble….you asked to hear our thoughts though, so I was just being honest abut my experience 🙂

    1. I follow quite a few vegan blogs and vice versa, so I was waiting for someone to respond and give their side of the story. Thanks for being the brave one! A theme throughout my posts recently is “what works for one person doesn’t always work for another.” Like you said, regardless of the diet someone chooses, the most important part is to eat real, whole foods, and to eat lots of vegetables and fruits. I basically grew up on the standard American diet (my doctor told me to watch my cholesterol when I was 13!) and once I hit my 20s I felt like I had some serious catching up to do in the health department. I read books and watched documentaries about people going vegetarian/vegan and feeling fantastic, so I felt like it was something I had to do. When I tried the vegetarian/vegan diet I was consuming a lot of greens, but also a lot of grains and having difficulties digesting things like quinoa, brown rice, and barley (in fact, barley popped up on my food allergy panel). When I began having a reaction to soy and wheat, I began cutting that out too but it really limited the types of food I could actually eat and enjoy. Since adding meat back into my diet I feel much more energized and clear headed. My dizzy spells went away and I don’t ever get that food coma feeling after I eat. My mood is also better and i no longer have digestive issues (unless I slip and eat a cupcake or something). Regarding the bacon and eggs – I totally agree with you. People who switch to Paleo get so excited that they don’t have to cut out bacon, but in reality, the Paleo diet is supposed to focus on lean meats and there is some controversy as to whether bacon should be allowed or not. Notice how I didn’t add it to my “foods to eat” list? People get carried away with the egg deal as well. An egg is fine for breakfast every so often or for baking, but eating eggs everyday is not a smart idea. Overall, I think you and I share similar beliefs regarding eating healthy. I just happen to throw some grilled chicken on my salads every now and then 🙂

      1. That’s so wonderful to hear! I’m so glad you’ve found what is making you feel your best. That is important. I agree with you too…whole foods and fruits and veggies. Bacon and eggs or sugar or whatever is fine in moderation, but I’ve honestly seen more bacon on Paleo recipes than anything else..that’s why I had to mention it :). I just saw another blog today that is all Paleo and the recipes were shocking and ALL about heavy meats, bacon, etc. To me that just screams heart disease and high cholesterol. It just is very misleading to newbies who maybe want to try Paleo, so it’s good that you are going to be a more positive voice! 🙂
        That’s crazy about the quinoa messing up your digestion…that is the one food my hubby and I call ‘superfood” because of how well it digests and improved his gout! It is crazy how we all respond so differently isn’t it?! Good luck on your new journey!!

    2. Did your husband consume organic grass-fed meat or standard grocery store meat? The difference is significant between grass-fed and grain-fed meat. I can cite peer-reviewed science articles if you’d like. Also was he consuming green vegetables daily as a meat-eater? Because greens are the most anti-inflammatory foods and likely would have prevented his inflammation.

      As far as the bacon and eggs thing with paleo-eaters; contrary to the old common belief, bacon is actually good for you. That is not to suggest you eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. Dr. Chris Kresser goes over the bacon myth and cites about 7 peer-reviewed sources to back it up on his website.

      Grass-fed butter is healthy for you too. All the benefits of milk without the chalk of hormones and damaging casein proteins in milk. Look it up. I use Kerrygold brand butter. It’s fantastic.

      And as for eggs; Pasteurized free range eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat along with wild sockeye salmon. Lot’s of healthy fats (particularly omega-3), selenium, protein etc. Everything you need to make a chicken, is right there. That’s nutrient density.

  2. Great post on your journey. You are an “experiment of one” and are discovering what works for you. We all have different predispositions and sensitivities, which are unique to us. Congratulations on finding what works optimally for you! Feeling healthy is wonderful!!

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