In this post I am going to deal with the six most asked Paleo diet questions and answers that people look for when they explore Paleo as a Lifestyle for them.
Even though I do this I strongly encourage my readers to inform themselves by doing as much of their own research as you are able; I guess to some extent that is why you are here and I once again encourage you to do more so that you can really understand the benefits of this lifestyle and follow it with confidence.
1. What is Paleo?
The cardinal points of paleo eating are
- Avoid where you possibly can, legumes dairy, grains vegetable oils, refined sugars, fructose corn syrups, any kind of artificial sweeteners and steer clear as much as possible from processed foods.
- Eat only grass fed meat.
- Do eat fruit and vegetable but more vegetables in proportion to fruit.
- Eat ‘good fats’ i.e. coconut oil, avocado, and in moderation, nuts and seeds also sources of good fats.
The reason for these rules is that the Paleo philosophy is based on eating foods, as far as possible, without human intervention, pre agriculture and pre artificial processing of elements of the food chain.
In essence it is about getting right back to the basics of food as it existed when man was a hunter-gatherer and hunter.
2. We need grains don’t we?
Sarah Fragoso, says that “grains are good for birds not people” Diets that contain grains are the root cause of leaky gut syndrome. This is caused by gut irritation which is a reaction to the lectins in grains which cause damage to the microvilli in the intestines which causes widening of tight junctions (leaky gut). This can in turn lead to autoimmune disease which can lead to other problematic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, ankylosing spondylitis, Hashimotos’s disease, eczema and Celiac’s disease to name but a few.
All the above conditions further elevate systemic inflammation. This causes our immune system to go into overdrive. Chronic inflammation leads in many cases to a range of noninfectious diseases. There is strong scientific evidence that blames many of today’s life threatening conditions on chronic inflammation.
If you want to research this more I recommend Robb Wolf’s book The Paleo Solution.
3. Dairy is important isn’t it?
Strong evidence might suggest otherwise. All of my 3 older children were lactose intolerant for birth and in those days I didn’t know too much about the reasons why. However I now know that milk is known to elevate serum levels of Insulin Like Growth Factors, or IGF. There is a proven link to the elevated risk levels in connection to all types of cancers.
Cows milk also raises insulin levels which in turn contributes to insulin resistance and we know that there is strong linkage between this and increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and early onset obesity. There is a now also a proven link to Alzheimer’s disease.
Other forms of airy like butter and hard cheeses are largely benign as they contain very little other than the fat. The thing to watch is if those dairy products come from grain fed cattle because then you are in the cycle, one removed in the food chain, described above.
Most Paleo experts would say swear off all dairy for the first 30 days of being on Paleo and then gradually introduce to suit your tolerance if you really cannot do without them in your diet.
4. Surely vegetable oil is okay?
Vegetable and seed oils are extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids, (linoeic acid). They are a root cause of chronic systemic inflammation when there is an excess of these fatty acids in your diet. The linkages to cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis are well documented.
The best advice is to stay away from vegetable oils and stick to healthier alternatives such as coconut, olive, avocado and nuts oils.
5. Eat meat – what about saturated fat?
The lipid hypothesis is on it is way to becoming somewhat discredited by good science. The basic theory was that so called “artery clogging” saturated fats increase cholesterol levels which causes heart disease.
The fact is there is no correlating evidence to link the consumption of pasture fed animal proteins with high cholesterol, or heart disease.
Chronic inflammation caused by glycation and triglycerides, is another matter entirely as is explained in Robb Wolf’s book for which I have provided a link above.
If you want to learn more about this fascinating lipid hypothesis myth watch the very funny (but with a serious undertone) ‘Fat Head‘ by Tom Naughton on YouTube.
6. So why grass fed?
pasture grazing beasts.
We are being sold a marketing story and we are a gullible customer base who are happy to have grain fed cattle because it is cheapest because grain fattens the animals in a shorter period, getting the ‘product’ to market quicker in greater volume. Grain fed beef also produces intramuscular fat or what the butchers trade calls marbling.
The truth is that once again this artificially produced cattle diet brings with it a metabolic penalty that taints our food chain. Corn fed animals polyunsaturated fat profile is changed dramatically in balance to increase the amount of Omega 6 fatty acid (the bad one) at the cost of the Omega 3 fatty acid (the good one).
It is not a long stretch to realise that this then gets into our bodies when we eat grain fed meats and we are the potentially back on the chronic inflammation ride that can lead to the list of diseases I have discussed in the preceding paragraphs.
There is lost more great Paleo information here on my website and I would invite you, if you have not already, to dip into some of my other information articles, reviews, and recipe suggestions at your leisure.
Reading This Blog For The First Time?
If this is your first time on my website, you may find it helpful to know what the wider basic food items are that are included as part of a Paleo Lifestyle. My post on Paleo Food List for Beginners provides great ideas about the healthier options, that make moving away from the heavily processed, salt loaded diets, that many suffer today, easy to contemplate.
A Good Starting Guide to Have to Hand?
I have posted a review on the Paleo Beginners Guide a book which is available through Amazon.com this is a great reference to have handy when starting your paleo journey. As a matter of note, should you click through the link and punches it via my review it will of course cost you no more than if you had gone to Amazon direct. I can highly recommend it to you. My own copy is well thumbed through!
Feedback and Comments
I Am always happy to receive 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 I have hit the mark that I was aiming for when I set out to write it; you my readers, I think, are easily the best judges of that!
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.