The Paleo Diet…everyone is talking about it. I’m sure you know of someone who’s done or talked about it, but do you really know what eating Paleo means? There are several takes on the Paleo diet, but when we educate our patients on the Paleo diet at Bordeaux Nutrition®, we try to use scientific, research-based information. Much of the information we go off of comes from Dr. Loren Cordain, the world’s foremost authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease. Here’s the quick and dirty on the caveman diet for those who might be interested in trying something new in 2016.
What is allowed on the Paleo diet?
- All meats
- All seafood
- Nuts & Seeds
What is NOT allowed on the Paleo diet? And why?
- Grains and Pseudograins (amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, oats, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff and wheat)
- It is thought that grains were introduced into our diets about 10,000 years ago (relatively recently in evolutionary terms) and we have noy adapted to digest them fully. Our bodies cannot break down the phytates in grains, pseudograins and some legumes as well, leading to poor absorption. Phytates bind to minerals like zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium. It has also been observed that many chronic illnesses began around the same time that grains were introduced into the human diet.
- Legumes (Beans, peas, peanuts, lentils)
- Legumes contain lectins which are difficult to digest and lead to damage of the brush border of the intestines. Lectins disrupt leptin sensitivity (leptin is a hormone that signals hunger), causing your brain to think it’s hungry even when you’ve had plenty of calories. Leptin resistance can lead to insulin resistance which causes diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Soybeans and any soy products
- Soy, like grains, contains lectins and phytates.
- Soy is a trypsin inhibitor meaning it reduces the digestion of proteins.
- A large percentage of people have lactose intolerance meaning they lack the enzyme required to break down the lactose sugar in milk.
- Casein, one of the proteins in milk, is highly allergenic.
- Milk contains protease inhibitors that lead to leaky gut.
- Milk increases mucus production throughout the body that can contribute to asthma and gut irritation.
- Refined/processed foods
- Our bodies are not designed to metabolize sugar in large quantities found in processed foods
- Refined oils contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (aka PUFAs). PUFAs react and bond to proteins and sugars in the body creating toxic by-products that can then cause numerous sorts of damage increasing inflammation.
After reading this you may feel a little overwhelmed, but it can be pretty easily simplified. Start by making your meals 2/3rd plant based and 1/3 animal based–meaning fill most of your plate with vegetables (and maybe a little bit of fruit), make 1/3rd meat or eggs, and compliment with healthy fats (oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, etc).
If you think Paleo is for you Bordeaux Nutrition® LLC can help you achieve a healthy, balanced Paleo lifestyle.