Thinking about trying to eat more healthily or changing your diet due to health problems? Then you will find some Paleo Diet help here – focusing on switching foods rather than just eliminating foods.
A Paleo type diet, The Caveman Diet or Clean eating where you concentrate on natural, unprocessed foods has been proven to help thousands of people with conditions like these – Joint pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, fatigue, Eczema, Psoriasis, Thyroid imbalance, Diabetes, Sinusitis, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and multiple food intolerance. All of these conditions have been linked to inflammation in the gut and production of a substance called Zonulin, leading to a condition called Leaky Gut, systemic inflammation and Autoimmune Disease. You may not even notice any gut symptoms but removing inflammatory foods and chemical sensitivities can substantially improve your health and prevent the development of Autoimmune disease which is epidemic. This type of dietary change is being used with great success by Functional Medicine Practitioners and Nutritionists and with the addition of supplements, like L-Glutamine and good Probiotics, it is possible to reverse the condition.
I will not go into the Paleo diet or the problems with Gluten in detail here as I have covered this in previous Posts and I just want to simplify the idea of switching to more natural foods that will help your digestive system recover and reduce inflammation in your body.
I also often refer to what I call a Paleo approach to eating because I use the core beliefs behind Paleo but appreciate that we have evolved and that we are unique in what we can tolerate. We have to also bear in mind that it might not be the actual food that we are intolerant to but the way it has been grown , modified or what it has been sprayed with that is causing us harm. Therefore some people might find that they can tolerate potatoes, gluten free oats, rice and occasional beans and that they function better including a few more carbs in their diet, especially if they have low blood sugar or low Thyroid function. In order to reduce the inflammation you have to be cautious about the type and quality of the carbs that you eat and always keep your blood sugar stable by eating protein and healthy fats at the same time. If you already have severe Autoimmune disease it may be necessary to also leave out the ‘nightshade family’ like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and Aubergine and this is called the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
If you would like to try the Paleo approach but are not sure where to start I would list the daily foods and drinks that you are consuming and then and then look at what you can swap them with to get healthier. When you have your new menu for the week make a shopping list of everything that you would need and then clear out your kitchen cupboards and fridge of highly processed foods, gluten, dairy and soy containing foods and head to the shops. Some of foods you need may be expensive, like Coconut oil and avocados, but you can save money by buying cheaper cuts of organic meat that are on the bone, liver, eggs, fruit and vegetables that are in season and not buying prepared foods or Take-away. You should not feel ‘deprived’ starting this diet as you are going to be eating more, not less! Do not worry about calories as by cutting out processed foods you will automatically be cutting out carbs like sugar, lots of flour and unhealthy fats that cause weight gain. Most people lose 4-7 lbs when starting this diet and they feel less hungry and more satisfied.
Here are some examples of swaps you can try…..
Cereal with sugar and cows milk
Toast, margarine, marmalade/jam
New Breakfast suggestions
Bacon, eggs, gluten free sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes (if tolerated) gluten free bread or pitta
Gluten free toast with nut butter
or Paleo Pancakes, just whiz 1 banana, 1 egg, 1 tsp almond butter then fry in a little coconut oil as approx 4 small pancakes. Top with pecan nuts, strawberries and blueberries and a drizzle of Maple syrup or honey.
or A smoothie made with an alternative milk (see below) fresh fruit, nuts or nut butter, ginger or cinnamon or even a few spinach leaves or herbs depending on the fruit used.
or A smoothie made with half a mug of coco, or black coffee, half a tsp coconut oil, 1 tsp almond butter and half a mug of warm almond or coconut milk, cinnamon – whiz and drink warm – great in winter.
Alternative milks can be Almond Milk, Coconut milk, Rice milk – whatever you find you prefer but check that it doesn’t contain sugar. I personally don’t like these in my coffee so I have taken to drinking it black with a half tsp of coconut oil.
Herb or fruit teas, green tea or Black tea are fine but avoid fruit juices in preference for whole, fresh fruit.
No Sodas or other sugar laden drinks.
Sandwiches , crisps
MacDonald’s burger and chips
Gluten free wrap or Pitta with Humus, cold meats or tinned fish, salad, avocado and non-dairy mayo. Crisps if they contain no gluten, dairy or additives like MSG
or Jacket potato with tinned salmon, tuna, chopped onion, non- dairy mayo and salad.
or Gluten free pasta with bacon, tomatoes and olives.
Fried Chicken and chips
Sausage and mash
New Dinner suggestions
Pizza made with a gluten free flour or a wrap topped with free from pasta sauce, mushrooms, peperoni, herbs and either top with a handful of Rocket or a goats or sheep’s cheese.
Grilled Chicken with sweet potato chips and Broccoli and peas.
Stir fry with chicken, green or yellow curry paste, coconut milk, beans sprouts, sugar snap peas, lime juice. Basmati rice.
Gluten free sausages (usually the finest range in supermarkets) Sweet potato and cauliflower mash, fried onions, gluten free gravy
Roast Diner – Just substitute gluten free gravy made with a good stock, potato flour and even wine! Cook Roast potatoes in coconut oil, lard or goose or duck fat if you have it. Plenty of fresh vegetables and you can even make Yorkshire Puddings with gluten free self-raising flour.
Coconut Ice cream, home-made dairy free chocolate mousse
Dove Farm Gluten free Chocolate Brownies (recipe on pack)
fresh fruit, dates, raisins, nuts.
Fruit Jelly (gelatine is good at helping to heal the gut)
There are thousands of Paleo/gluten/dairy free recipes on Pinterest and it is well worth signing up and keeping your own favourites to hand on there. My Pinterest site is called Millenniumhealth and has many tried and tested ones. Go to www.pinterest.com
Allow more time for your shopping as you will need to read ingredients labels a lot at first. Here are some of my safe recommendations for shopping in the UK
Dove Farm Gluten free flour
Nairn’s Gluten free Oatcakes and Wholegrain Crackers
Tesco Finest Mayonnaise with olive oil, Hellmann’s Olive Oil mayo
Pure Dairy Free Spread – Olive Oil or Sunflower
Seed’s of Change Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
Tesco Rendang Curry paste, Tesco Yellow or Green Thai Curry pastes, Patak’s Curry Sauces
Supermarket own brand Chocolate Peppermint thins frequently dairy/gluten free
Fry’s Chocolate Cream Bars
Kinnerton’s Chocolate bars, Mini Moo’s chocolate bars
nakd Cocoa and Berry Delights
Sainsbury’s Freefrom Chocolate Buttons
Coconut Co. Snowconut Frozen yogurt Vanilla or Chocolate (Sainsbury’s larger shops)
Newburn Bakehouse Wraps
Tesco’s own Pittas
Various stores own Gluten free Pastas plus Rizopia Gluten free Brown Rice Lasagne from health food shops. Doves Farm Brown rice Spaghetti.
There are now huge amounts of Freefrom Foods in our supermarkets but please do still read the labels as they may only be free of one of the ingredients you are avoiding or they may contain high levels of sugar, poor vegetable fats, hydrogenated fats or soya – just because they are labelled FreeFrom doesn’t make them healthy therefore limit their use and choose more real food alternatives where possible. I have listed a lot of chocolate in the list above but I only eat it once a week ( Friday night is Chocolate night in our house!) or I use it in making desserts or cakes (with Cocoa powder) where I often use a banana, vanilla or even avocado to improve the flavour and I cut the sugar in the recipe by about half.
See my Previous Post ‘Paleo Diet to regain your Health’ for a full list of foods to enjoy.