As a chiropractor who is focused on wellness I encourage my patients to look at all aspects of health including diet. While there are a lot of “diets” out on the market, the one that I have found to be most genetically congruent with our bodies is the Paleolithic Era Diet. The Paleolithic (aka The Paleo Diet) way of eating is pretty simple: eat meat, vegetables, and seasonal fruit. Avoid bread, pasta, rice, corn and refined sugar because these are foods our bodies are not meant to eat. This diet is an opportunity for us to reconnect to a more natural diet. The Paleo Diet is based on foods we ate prior to agriculture and animal husbandry (meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, etc.). Foods that result from agriculture or animal husbandry (grains, dairy, beans, potatoes, sugar and fake foods) are not to be eaten. Here are some answers to some common questions I get from my chiropractic patients:
How Do I Live Without Dairy or Grains?
I get asked this question often. I have to point out that the two most metabolic common food disorders are lactose (dairy) intolerance and Gluten (grain) intolerance. That tells us something. Grain has only been part of the modern human diet for a relatively short time. As our ancestors settled into farms and with the introduction of grain, typical cities developed, and we no longer needed to be hunter-gatherers. This led to limited physical movement (exercise) and a poor diet.
Our ancestors mostly ate foods that were easiest to hunt or gather at a specific locale and season. As nomads, we would have adapted to various mixes of foods. When you start this diet the quantities of the foods you consume are entirely up to you. You can make it meat heavy or vegetable heavy, as long as the foods you eat are Paleo.
Acceptable oils should be restricted to those from fruits (olive, avocado) or nuts (coconut, walnut, almond, hazelnut, macadamia). No high-tech seed oils could have existed back then. You should consume grass-fed meat as it provides you with the proper balances of Omega 3s and 6s. For everything else, organic is preferred. The only beverage that is truly Paleo is water.
Common Struggles of the Paleolithic Way of Eating
The most common struggle I see is people getting discouraged thinking this diet is too complicated and time consuming. Here are three steps I use to keep things simple and time efficient.
First, create a simple realistic food list, a template if you will. You can use this as your “can eat” list rather than focusing on what you can’t eat.
Second, prepare the bulk of your food on the weekends. One good way that my wife and I do it is to do our grocery shopping on Saturday and cut up fruits and veggies on Sunday and put them in Tupperware for use throughout the week. This is a HUGE time saver for us!
And third, a simple part of the Paleo diet is community. Feel free to talk to me about any questions or concerns you have about the diet. We also have recipes and food lists to help you start out on the right track. There are many resources available, such as cookbooks at your local Costco or online at Amazon.com. I have seen people lose two jean sizes on this diet. I have seen a man get off his high cholesterol medication.
Most everyone seems to do well on this diet. It also inspires others. Paleo is everything in moderation. Some people can get into it right away, while others need to make gradual changes. Pasta, bread, rice and sugar are usually the hardest to get off. My basic principal is “add first”. Start adding the good and slowly, but surely you will replace the good with the bad. Try reducing your grain intake by 50% at first. If it’s too hard to go into it full force, don’t. The key to starting this diet is to do everything at your own pace.
Remember, what you eat today dictates how you feel, heal and function tomorrow. To schedule some time to speak to wife or I in more detail about this way of eating, please feel free to make a complimentary consultation with one of us.