We hear it in the news and its popping up in conversations everywhere. The Paleo Diet — so what the heck is Paleo? The paleolithic or caveman diet is not new, it’s actually how our ancestors ate thousands of years ago. As hunter and gatherers, they hunted and foraged for their food. They ate grass fed meats, wild fish, and what they could pick off trees, like nuts and berries. The Paleo diet gathers its principles in that research tells us that our genetics have not changed in all these years and so we as humans are maladapted to eating foods such as grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods. Our bodies are simply unable to digest these foreign foods properly — which in turn causes distress in the body leading to disease.
Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet brought the Paleo diet back into existence in 1985. In 2008 the Paleo way of life really took off thanks to many books being written on the subject such as Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution The Original Human Diet.
The cornerstone of eating the paleo way is to avoid grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods and sugar. Doctors are now prescribing this diet for people who suffer with auto immune conditions, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and those who want to lose weight.
The Standard American diet consists of mainly processed foods; bagels, cookies, pizza, pasta, cereal grains, and genetically modified foods (GMO’s). The health care of our nation is taking its toll from following the Standard American diet and so many are now touting the Paleo diet as the cure all.
- 1 in 3 is expected to have diabetes by the year 2020
- 1 in 3 has an intolerance to gluten
- Adults now consume over 200 lbs of sugar a year
- 1 in 2 will have cancer
- 1 in 4 will die of heart disease
The Paleo diet is a very sustainability- minded diet, in that its about eating real, natural foods. Foods that have not been altered or sprayed with pesticides or feed hormones and antibiotics. Foods that are closed to what Mother Nature intended us to eat. Here is a sample of which foods are eaten and avoided on a Paleo diet.
Grass fed meats
Fruit and vegetables
Nuts and seeds
Healthy oil (olive, walnut, hemp, flax, avocado, coconut)
Dr. Terry Wahls is living proof that the paleo diet eases symptoms of auto- immune conditions such a Multiple Sclerosis. A clinical professor who was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis in 2000, Wahls went from being an active doctor to be confined to a wheelchair. She started to study foods and diet and soon realized that Western diet she was eating was lacking in vital vitamins, nutrients and fats that the brain and body needed to function optimally. She also discovered that people with MS have a genetic tendency towards being intolerant to gluten, casein (the protein in milk) and eggs. She started to change her diet to include many more leafy green vegetables which contain vitamin B, C, A and K. More sulphur rich vegetables such as onions, cabbage and mushrooms. Soon she was noticing that she was able to move easily and was soon walking. Dr. Wahls is now back to doctoring full time and is able to ride her bike and hike on the weekends.
I was able to control my hypoglycemia by switching to a paleo diet with the emphasis on green leafy vegetables. For years I would eat breakfast and within an hour feel weak and shaky. Once I changed over to eating more healthy fats (coconut milk, avocado, olive oils) with my meals along with nuts, seeds and lots of vegetables I noticed I would be able to last longer without eating. Instead of having to eat every hour I could go for 2-3 hours even longer once I changed the way I was eating.
Since I suffer with a sensitivity to almonds and an allergy to eggs and dairy, I started to create my own paleo-based recipes. I found that most of the paleo cookbooks concentrated on recipes with eggs, butter and almonds foods I was not able to eat. Soon I had many recipes that were paleo based but avoided eggs, dairy and almonds. Finally… Paleo Food I Can Eat! Was born. I asked Dr. Terry Wahls MD, to write the forward to my cookbook and I also invited Dr. Eva Selhub MD, to contribute on the power of the mind body connection, something I believe is so important in healing the body.
Shopping along the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy animal proteins are, as opposed to the inner aisles where canned and boxed items are sold is a super way to embrace a healthier lifestyle. If the Paleo diet is that we get back to eating real unprocessed foods that are more healthy than harmful to our bodies, then count me in!
One of my favourite recipes in my cookbook is Sweet Potato Broccoli Soup, here is the recipe for you to enjoy.
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 leek or medium onion, chopped
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- handful fresh cilantro
- 2 large kale leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- In a soup pot with 4 cups of water cook sweet potato, onion, ginger for 4 minutes or until soft. Turn off heat and add broccoli, cilantro, salt and kale. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Blend soup in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy.