Is Going Paleo The Answer?

Are you wondering if going paleo is the answer to your every healthy ailment? I did.

In my twenties I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, environmental sensitivities and food allergies. To say my body was screaming at me was an understatement, but back then I knew nothing of the mind-body connection nor how nutrition and diet played a role in our health.

I followed the Canadian Food Guide when eating — didn’t everyone? Milk three times a day, lots of healthy whole grains, some meat, eggs and vegetables too, plus lots of homemade cookies.

It was only years later that I finally discovered through an environmental allergy specialist that my body was reacting to many of the foods I was eating, which in turn was compromising my immune system. I had allergies and sensitivities to gluten, eggs, yeast, corn, chicken, dairy, apples and pork.

We often don’t realize the stress our bodies are under, because it is not the kind of stress that is evident. Environmental toxins,  medication, pollution and even what we eat can stress our bodies and lead to illness.

Today, thanks to much research that has been done we know that the health of our microbiome or gut bacteria can dictate how we feel, how we think, even what foods we crave. It also can determine whether we stay healthy or get sick. Research shows that chronic inflammation in our bodies which is often caused by poor gut health due to a diet filled with processed foods, sugar, alcohol, dairy, gluten and stress is what we really need to avoid.

If we are experiencing stress be it eating foods that don’t agree with our body, taking antibiotics or other prescription drugs, eating processed foods and excess sugar, this is all a recipe for chronic inflammation, which can then lead to illness.

For years I went from doctor to doctor searching for help, some way to cure my fatigued and aching body.  Mainstream medicine was unable to help me and my stress grew.

At the age of thirty my body said no more and I ended up bedridden.

woman-in-bed

For years I resigned myself to a life full of pain and illness.

One day I decided to buy a book about diet and nutrition. What I learned was fascinating and I started to ask my doctor about the role food played in illness. What I soon discovered was that most doctors rarely spoke to their patients about the power of food — how it can both heal and harm us.

Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells. These cells require nutrients for our body to grow and repair itself. Nutrients are made up of vitamins and minerals that we get from our food, but if our foods is less than adequate, our body will soon suffer.

We need lean protein to support muscles and bone. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that help to lower the risk of illness like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Healthy fats are needed to give our body energy and to support cell growth, plus they help the body to absorb nutrients and produce important hormones.

I wondered how many others there were out their like me struggling with what to eat, where to live, how to heal, and suffering from depression. So I bought myself a computer and started to search online for answers. I realized there was a whole world out there filled with people who, like me were searching for answers.

Fast forward to today. I have written a cookbook for people with multiple food allergies called Finally… Food I Can Eat! filled with delicious, easy recipes and chapters dedicated to how to substitute foods for those you can no longer have. For me it became all about foods I could eat, not those that I couldn’t eat.

As I started to change my thoughts and my perspective on life, my life started to change. People showed up in my life to help me. Energy medicine doctors appeared and had answers to my ailments.

I started to meditate and take time to de-stress and get quiet, to really listen to my body and what it was telling me.

I ate more grains and legumes and my blood sugars went haywire. I was hungry all the time and craved sugar.

One day my doctor suggested I try the Paleo diet and so I researched it and found it to be interesting, but most of the cookbooks I found all contained recipes with eggs and almonds, two foods that I reacted to.

paleo soup

I also didn’t want to eat that much meat and found that buying grass fed organic meats was very expensive, so I decided to create my own healthier recipes with foods within the paleo diet that I could eat.

I started slowly and ate a lot more raw vegetables than I was used to and this created some tummy issues for me so I went back to the basics. Healthy vegetable broths, cooked vegetables, sweet potato, squash, some  salads and a little bit of organic chicken and meat. My blood sugar stabled and I started to feel fuller throughout the day. I noticed by adding in more healthy fats like avocado, nut butters, coconut milk and oil really helped. What also worked for me was having more plant protein and fat in the morning at breakfast- avocado and hemp seeds in my smoothie, nut butter and coconut milk in my sweet potato breakfast pudding.

I joined a local coop which helped me to save money when purchasing nut butters and other healthy items.

I found a local farmer who raised healthy chickens and cows and went in on orders with other families. This enabled me to eat healthier meats but save money too. Purchasing a freezer that I could stock with healthy frozen vegetables and meat really helped.

I stared to keep a food diary and wrote down what foods agreed with me and which ones did not.

We are all unique, therefore we all need different healthy foods to fuel our body. I truly believe that we all need to determine what foods work for us.

If you are following a paleo diet I hope that the recipes I have created in my new cookbook, Finally… Paleo Food I Can Eat! will allow you to make healthy recipes for you and your loved ones.

I’d love to hear if you have tried the paleo diet and if so what changes you’ve seen.

If you feel you need some help adjusting your diet, I am always here to offer a nutritional consult. Just email me at info@deliciousalterantives.com

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Written by: Shirley Plant
Shirley Plant is a nutritionist and the author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies, and those looking for healthy, tasty recipes. Shirley offers dietary counselling and menu planning through Delicious Alternatives.

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