The paleo diet is becoming more “mainstream.” This is great news! More people need to find out about real food and the amazing health benefits. I believe it is important to obtain most of these foods close to your home, if possible. You will be able to purchase the freshest and most nutrient dense foods this way.
As an added bonus, you will be supporting your local small farmers and community this way! It is the small farmers that are truly struggling with all of the regulation of the government. Ironically, the government seems to think that local food from a small to medium sized farmer is more of a threat to the public health than the factory farms! So, what exactly does the paleo diet consist of?
The bulk of foods eaten on a good balanced paleo diet should be grassfed and pastured meats and poultry, wild caught seafood, pastured animal fats from butter to tallow and lard and any kind of vegetable. Other foods allowed on the paleo diet are fruits, nuts and seeds. These foods should be kept to a minimum as the fructose from fruits can raise your blood sugar.
In addition, nuts and seeds mostly contain Omega 6 Fatty Acids, which can lead to inflammation in your body. Don’t get me wrong; these foods are healthy for you, but in MODERATION. A general rule of thumb for me is to stick to no more than a handful of nuts and seeds a day and roughly about 1-2 pieces of fruit per day at the most. Most days I go without eating any of these foods. I find my body does much better when I stick to mainly animal proteins and fats with vegetables.
There is another almost identical diet to the paleo diet called the primal diet. The only difference is that dairy is included, preferably raw, from a trusted local farmer. I happen to include dairy in my diet too. When I first began the paleo diet almost 2 years ago, I included raw goat milk, raw goat cheese and KerryGold butter.
When I started changing my diet, I could only tolerate raw goat dairy products and butter or ghee. Every time I would consume cow dairy, including raw cow’s milk or cheese, it would produce mucous in my body. My nose would start to become “stuffy”, even though I wasn’t sick.
It wasn’t until I started the GAPS diet a year later that I started to re-introduce raw cow dairy. At first, I introduced it way too quickly and had a “die-off” reaction. I began to introduce it much more slowly and saw great results!
Dr. Campbell-McBride, who wrote Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), has a specific regimen for introducing dairy on the diet. She says it is imperative that the dairy is raw and not to consume pasteurized milk. You start by slowly introducing ghee.
Most people who cannot tolerate dairy can tolerate ghee because all of the milk solids have been removed. Once ghee is tolerated, you can introduce organic/grassfed butter. In the third stage you can introduce homemade yogurt and sour cream, beginning with one teaspoon a day and gradually increasing. If you find that you are reacting to any of these foods, you should back off for a month, and then try again.
In the next stage, you can introduce homemade kefir and kefir-fermented sour cream. The last dairy product you are able to introduce on the diet is cheese. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends starting with cheddar. Once this cheese is tolerated, you are able to try other cheeses on the allowed list. A full list of the allowed foods is found in her book.
I have successfully progressed through the dairy introduction structure and I can now say that cow dairy no longer bothers me! It does not “stuff” me up when I consume it. I almost always consume dairy raw, so this definitely helps.
However, it does not matter now what type of dairy I consume, I no longer react to it! I am a testament that these real food diets truly work and heal your body. In just a couple of years, my health has vastly improved!
I realize dairy cannot be tolerated by everyone. If you are interested in consuming it again, I highly recommend going on the GAPS diet to heal your gut. At the very least, try going through the dairy introduction structure, which is outlined in Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
Another aspect of the diet is implementing healthy exercise. Many people in the paleo community do CrossFit or go to a CrossFit gym. This is shorter, more intense exercise than just running on a treadmill or an elliptical machine. They try to emulate the way our ancestors “exercised.” The short intense runs they have would mimic the “exercise” a caveman would get from running away from a predator.
Sleep is another key factor in becoming healthy. Americans are not getting enough sleep! Many people think they can function on just a few hours of sleep, but rely on coffee, energy drinks, sugar and junk food to get by. This is incredibly stressful for the body.
Ideally, you should get 8-10 hours per night. This might seem impossible. Try to prioritize your life. Is it really worth it to watch a TV program or the news if it means less sleep? Most of the time, the answer is no. It may be hard to cut back, but it is possible with determination! Other people suffer from sleep problems such as sleep apnea or insomnia. This can be cured with a real foods diet. What is keeping you from getting adequate sleep?
I hope you are motivated to at least try this diet! I do not consider it to be a diet, but a lifestyle. This is the way our ancestors ate and they thrived because of it.