I know only too well from my own experiences that the information available to inform you about the relative merits and demerits of the Paleo lifestyle can be quite conflicting. I tend to call this the myths and legends dilemma
The Basics `
In a previous post I talked about how Nell Stephenson in her book Pocket Paleo Workout talked about the Paleo meal blueprint where you constructed a Paleo meal by first of all taking a base of fresh green leaves and vegetables, add a good quality portion of fresh (grass fed) protein, like fish, pork, beef or chicken and then topped it off with a modest garnish of nuts and seeds to taste.
But what about some of those much talked about issues, like grains, fat, grass fed meat, saturated fats and dairy. Well I am really glad you asked because I am going to help you with some understanding and hopefully answer your questions on those issues in the rest of this post.
Grains – Maybe The Most Controversial Omission From Paleo
In other diets we are entreated to eat grains and more than just grains but whole grains. We are told that they are an essential to ensure that we achieve the Required levels of dietary fiber to keep us healthy.
In pother posts on these pages, I have talked about compounds known as antinutrients, which are present in all oats and grains. These have the effect of preventing our bodies from properly absorbing vitamins and minerals and they contribute to a condition popularly known as leaky gut syndrome
In case you have not read that post yet I go on to explain that perhaps this can be easier to understand if we just imagine the walls of the intestines as representing a mesh barrier. Easily digestible foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, pasture raised natural proteins and healthy fats keep the barrier intact and healthy. But as soon as food is eaten that cannot be broken down (namely oats and grains) the barrier becomes prone to snags, tears and holes, which cause it to leak.
Large particles then get passed into the gut, along with bacteria, viruses and undigested rotting waste. Hence leaky gut syndrome; bringing with it local inflammation, which can eventually spread to other parts of the body and even lead to harmful infection.
This, in turn, can often lead to skin conditions and exacerbate autoimmune disease, cause migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic joint inflammation, leading to chronic pain, heart disease and high, non beneficial cholesterol levels.
You can find an excellent explanation and much greater detail along with other great information on this in Rob Wolf’s book The Paleo Solution which is available from Amazon.com.
Dairy – The Good News and The Bad News
The Bad News First
Nature intended cows milk for calves not humans! Milk can be quite problematic for children in particular (I know UK not what you have been told for years) My three oldest children were lactose intolerant for the first 3-4 years of their lives. This led us when they were being weaned off breast milk (which is designed for babies!) to go to soy formula which was actually prescribed through our UK national Health system. So how wrong did I get that? Soy is a bean, and a bean is a legume therefore not Paleo. They contain nutrient blockers which prevent absorption of nutrients in the body. They also have high levels of phytates s which lockup minerals and prevent those from being absorbed into the body.
Dairy has been shown to increase insulin levels leading to insulin resistance, which increases the risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes obesity and recent research has included Alzheimer’s.
Contrary to what mass advertising would have you believe (and I live in a country with a monolith is dairy industry NZ) it is of little beneficial health advantage to adults or children.
The Qualified Good News
Butter and heavy cream are considered relatively benign because just about everything else other than the fat has been removed. But you need to guard against these products when they come from grain fed cows. In her book EveryDay Paleo Sarah Fragoso advises us to stay away from all dairy for the first thirty days of your Paleo journey and then if you really can’t live without butter and good quality hard cheeses then introduce them slowly testing your tolerance. Check to see or ensure yourself that you can access a good grass fed source though.
Meat and Vegetable Oil
Why Grass Fed Meat
It is estimated that about 70% of the cord gown in the US is fed to cattle. Cattle if led to their own devices will eat grass, it is what their bovine double stomach and digestive system has evolved to do! When cattle eat corn it alters the balance of the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) profile. This increases the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ration in the fat produced in farmed corn fed cattle. This in our food chain when consumed by us puts us in the path of increased body inflammation a vector of or infection a disease. Incidentally this is the reason you should always buy fresh rather than farmed fish because the balance in Omega 6 to Omega 3 is altered by the artificial diet which these fish are subjected to.
Having read the above this is a simple one to address quite simply vegetable and seed oils are predominant in linoleum acid. This is an Omega 6 fatty acid. The dangers of high levels of Omega 6 Fats in your food supply have been well articulated above and in previous articles.
Comments And A Look Forward
In my next post I will to be reviewing. Sarah Fragoso’s book Everyday Paleo
In the meantime if you want to access the Paleo Food List for Beginners you will find it here.here.
Thanks for visiting
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