In this post I want to address 8 paleo diet facts that crop up over and over again and which require good simple and straightforward answers, particularly for those embarking on the Paleo lifestyle for the first time.
1. Vegetarians and Paleo
It is certainly not impossible to be a vegetarian and eat Paleo, but it absolutely is more difficult, because protein sources become a challenge. Some Vegetarians are happy to eat fish (pescatarians). Many Vegetarians substitute beans as their major protein source but for purist Paleo followers beans as a legume are off the menu.
I have often said on my Blog that I am not a Paleo terrorist so who am I to judge anyone who wants to ‘do Paleo’ but allow beans in their diet. Of course the truth is that if you do that you are not really ‘doing Paleo’ but just following some guiding principles of Paleo. If you want to be a vegetarian, who nods to aspect of Paleo that appeal or work for you personally then don’t get too wrapped up in the label, just eat what works to provide you with a healthy balanced lifestyle.
Paleo does have other protein sources which are not meat; eggs, nuts and seeds. A cup of mushrooms eaten once a day will provide 4% of your daily required protein intake (I could eat a bucketful and not get tired of mushrooms).
Nuts and seeds are okay on Paleo but only in moderate amounts as their Omega 6 content is high.
The long and sort of it is if you want to do paleo then you eat meat. Otherwise, what you are doing is your own lifestyle diet choice but perhaps influenced in some part by ‘evolutionary nutritional theories‘
2. Fibre Without Grains
Dietary fibre keeps our gut healthy, reducing risk of disease including, diabetes, coronary heart disease or bowel cancer. When fibre enters the large bowel it is undigested until fermentation is initiated by gut living bacteria. This fermentation process produces carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and most importantly short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The SCFAs are used by the body. Evidence suggests that SCFA act to reduce risk of inflammatory diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other potentially serious conditions.
There is no substitute for fresh fruit and vegetables in fibre content, they beat whole grains hands down. Although grains are cited for their value as a source of vitamin B most grains are processed and grass fed proteins and free-range eggs will produce more vitamin B than is required for daily intake. It may be of interest to not that a simple vitamin B supplement will provide 3 times more Vitamin B thank a shopping trolley full of baking!
Any one experiencing difficulty with fibre on Paleo should consider a fibre supplement. I have never had to do this and can attest to a very healthy gut with regular cycle on the Paleo lifestyle!
3. Saturated Fat in Meat
Two things in a Paleo lifestyle combine to reduce the amount of saturated fats intake in the daily diet . The first and most obvious is the ‘swearing off’ or chosen avoidance of dairy products. The other is ensuring that all meat protein sources are
either gross or free-range fed.
The latter, ensures that the balance of Omega 3 v Omega 6 fatty acids in the resulting meat is in favour of Omega 3 in the right balance. Eating grain fed proteins just introduces the dangers of grains effect on the metabolism physiology and health in a more indirect part of the food chain. It will imbalance the Omega 3 v Omega 6 ratios in the beasts that are being grain fed in favour of Omega 6, which although they are required in our diets, are only required in the tiniest of amounts.
4. Need to Exercise
YES! I am at pains in nearly every Blog post that I write about the paleo lifestyle to stress two things:
- Diets don’t work, lifestyles do work
- Good exercise is a key part of a balanced healthy lifestyle
Cardio exercise will help burn bad fat and achieve weight loss along with a healthy balanced diet and strength exercise will convert fat to muscle.
The ideal type of exercise is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for which you can find many examples on the internet to help you or perhaps have a word with the trainer or coach at your local gym.
Anyone contemplating exercise or major dietary change or both at the same time should always consult a doctor beforehand, particularly if an underlying condition like high blood pressure or insulin controlled diabetes is present in the individual.
Beans are a NO NO on Paleo. I know they are big for vegetarians and therefore I refer you back to my comments in point 1. above LoL.
Beans are heavily processed in the way that they have been cultivated and horticulturaly engineered for decades. They are often grown in less than ideal conditions with lots of harmful and suspect pesticides and chemicals in the cultivation chain that they are part of. While I acknowledge their inexpensive nutritional value I have no trust in their biological origin and personally avoid them at all times. You will of course make your own choices and good luck to you.
6. Paleo = Gluten Free?
Paleo quite simply goes further that a classic gluten free diets because as well as Gluten Freeproscribing whole grains it also applies the same advice to other ‘gluten free’ grains like corn quinoa and amaranth, all of which have been linked to saponins which damage the intestinal membranes leading to ‘leaky gut’ syndrome and inflammatory illnesses and disease.
7. Boxed Stock & Tomatoes
Many Paleo recipes call for boxed prepackaged products such as stock or broth and chopped or skinned whole tomatoes. This is in line with the general approach to eating where possible the least processed food elements available.
Evidence suggests that tinned or canned produce comes in containers which contain bisphenol as part of the manufacturing process. You may know this better as BPA. It is a carbon based chemical used in packaging in both the inside coating in cans and in plastic primary packaging. It has been shown to leach into the foods packaged in these containers and it is considered a serious carcinogen giving rise to increased risk of cancer and ingestion of other toxins.
When looking for non BPA packaging like cartons take care to look for additives, preservatives and particularly added sodium or refined sugars.
8. Calcium Without Dairy
So contrary to popular belief it is even possible that a lower dairy take may lead to an increase in calcium levels. Some studies appear to have shown that due its high acid levels cow’s milk may be blocking absorption of calcium in some people.
Nut milks (almond, coconut) have ample levels of calcium, though hey do need to be thoroughly stirred, mixed or shaken before consuming or adding to recipes.
There is also abundant calcium available from kale, spinach and other leafy greens. For good vitamin D make sure to get 15-20 minutes in the sun each day, being careful to protect from harmful V of course.
Some Basic Tools
Reading This Blog For The First Time?
for those who may be visiting my website and my Blog for the first time it may be helpful to know what food items are part of the Paleo Lifestyle. Paleo Food List for Beginners is a Blog post that provides ideas about the healthier options, that make abandoning the heavily processed, salt loaded diets, that many of us currently tolerate, easy to contemplate.
A Good Staring Guide to Have to Hand?
The Paleo Beginners Guide is an excellent book, available through Amazon.com, which Provides a handy reference when starting The Paleo journey. As a matter of note, anyone clicking on this link who may go on to purchase it via the review will of course pay no more than if that had chosen to go to Amazon direct. I can highly this wonderful little book to you. It is packed with great information and recipes and my own copy is very well thumbed through!
Feedback and Comments
I really do enjoy receiving any and all feedback or commentary on my posts. I guarantee to reply to comments within one working day.
I hope, that you have found this post of some use and that your knowledge has been extended to a point that you feel ready to contemplate embarking on the paleo lifestyle if you were not already on that very sensible path before coming to my Blog pages today.
Be healthy and have fun.
P.S. If this post has inspired you to become a Blogger yourself, you can find out, how to do just that, by taking a look at my other Blog which I encourage you to visit.
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