Is Raw Milk Paleo?

After my post on raw milk versus pasteurized milk went online, one of my Facebook friends questioned whether or not dairy was even Paleo? Which made me realize that I had not even addressed that issue. Dairy is one of those things that has become a bit of a sore subject for Paleo people. You know how you don’t talk about hunting when you are hanging out with a bunch of vegans because it’s just not worth the fight. Yeah, that’s kind of how some Paleo people get about dairy. One of the other reasons that I chose to call myself the Primal Otter instead of the Paleo Otter, because although, I started Paleo, I definitely have fallen into a more ancestral lifestyle. It really drives me a bit crazy to get into these conversations of “Is this thing Paleo?” because I think that question loses the big picture of the whole “Paleo” intent. Which is to eat in a way that is best for you and for Nature. At least, that’s my take, others may definitely differ.

Dr. Loren Cordain is known as the father of the Paleo Diet in a lot of ways. He wrote The Paleo Diet book first and is looked at as a solid voice in the community. And Dr. Cordain does not believe that milk should be consumed. His reasons are cited in this interview and his reasons are why a lot of people should not and do not drink milk. Milk can be a huge allergy trigger for some people. Between the casein and the lactose, a fair amount of people (numbers are given around 65%) are unable to digest milk. He also cites the drugs that are given to cows (they are) and references studies that show an increase in insulin for people who consume milk, although I am unsure if that includes all sources of milk or just store bought, mass produced milk. And since it is called the Paleo Diet, ingesting milk is not something the nomads of the Paleolithic era did. Drinking milk past breast feeding did not start until, we believe, less than 10,000 years ago which is a very short amount of time in the human evolution.

Caveman lady

What cave ladies probably looked like.

But let’s be totally honest folks. First off, there is no way that we as modern human beings can completely mimic the Paleolithic diet. We just can’t. Produce has evolved. Animals have changed. The world has changed. Does that mean that we should throw healthy, whole eating and the concepts of the Paleo diet out the window? No. But I also think that we need to look at everything bearing in mind that we are not necessarily Paleolithic people.

Now on to the people who are the big voices in the pro milk category. While technically, not a Paleo group, the Weston A. Price Foundation is an amazing resource for good, natural eating. They differ from Paleo in ways that I personally think are not important (although, you’ll see people on both sides bad mouthing the other side) because they think you should eat grains but you should sprout them first. And they are supporters of dairy products. Their similarities on the other hand are endless. They support local, grass fed meat, eating animal organs, cod liver oil, organic produce, consuming good, healthy fats, and the list goes on and on. Again, though, we tend to get lost in those little unimportant issues and lose the big picture.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a huge proponent of consuming dairy and keep in mind that we are referring to raw, grass fed milk not the store stuff. A few different sources that give you a general idea on their viewpoints of raw milk can be found here and here. This article also directly addresses Dr. Loren Cordain’s claims that milk contains growth factors that cause cancer. As that article points out, there is a lack of a direct effect between milk consumption and cancer.

Paleo reenactments. Not really. But wouldn't it be cool if it was?

Paleo reenactments. Not really. But wouldn’t it be cool if it was?

So where do the other names in Paleo come down on milk consumption? I think Mark’s Daily Apple takes a good stand about milk. He lists the good and the bad, and chooses not to totally take a stand, although you can tell he leans toward not consuming it at all. Abel James of the Fat Burning Man talks about his heavy cream, and grass fed butter he loves to put in his coffee. Angelo Coppela of Humans are not Broken and of Latest in Paleo tends to say that he does Paleo/Weston A. Price. Sarah Ballantyne of The Paleo Mom comes down on the side of choosing not consume dairy herself but recommends caution for others. It’s also important to keep in mind the background these particular bloggers come from too. Abel James and Angelo Coppela both are more the type who’ve tested it, found great results, and recommend that other people test it too. Sarah Ballantyne suffers from an autoimmune disorder and is Celiac disease so because of the similarities between gluten and casein, she can’t drink milk even if she wanted to.

As I’ve stated previously, I choose to drink milk. And other than occasionally getting some cheese on something when I go out to eat, I only consume my dairy from a local source because I think that’s important. I’ve tried it both ways. I’ve done totally dairy free, occasional dairy, or just raw dairy, and I feel the very best when it’s just raw dairy. I find my digestion is better, I’ve actually noticed less bloating. I’m satiated for longer periods of time and even though with the milk and yogurt I’m probably taking in more calories on a daily basis, I have not had any weight gain.

They were actually baking almond flour cookies!

They were actually baking almond flour cookies!

It really sounds like a cop out but it genuinely has to be a personal test. How do you personally feel when you eat grass fed, raw dairy? As it should be with all foods that are “Paleo” or “Not Paleo”. It shouldn’t be necessarily about whether or not the cavemen were eating it (because I highly doubt cavemen were baking coconut flour cookies in their caves) but how you feel when you eat. Experiment with foods objectively, keep a journal, listen to your body. That’s the true way to find the optimal diet.

Paleo Diet Part 3

Recently, I’ve introducing the Paleo Diet to my readers as simply as I can. In Part 1, I explained the premise and in Part 2, I tried to express the great and terrible things that can happen when you try to turn a life style change into a fad diet. Now I would like to talk about my favorite subject.

Me.

Just kidding. Well, sort of. I’m not that much of an ego maniac but I do want to spend Part 3 talking about my own personal journey and changes throughout the past year or so.

weight-loss

First off, let’s talk about the weight loss. Weight loss can be fantastic but I also don’t think that it should be the focus over health. But many times it’s what brings people to the Paleo Diet. It’s what originally got me interested. I was one of those lucky people who was born with a monster metabolism. I could put away more food that most grown men, and at 5 foot and 6 inches, I still only weighted 110 pounds my freshman year of high school. And I stayed pretty small until about 21 or 22, and slowly the weight started creeping up. Nothing major, though, this is not one those miracle stories, but it still crept up. By about 22, (with the help of working in a restaurant and let’s face it, way too much beer and box wine) I made it up to 146 lbs. And yes, I know that’s not a lot but I had two things working against me. One is that I am a very slender build and those love handles were painfully noticeable. Two is that even though I knew looking at the scale that I had gained weight, I couldn’t figure how to dress like I gained weight. I kept grabbing shirts off the rack that were way too small or pants that were incredibly tight around my bloated stomach. And as I’m sure many of you know, nothing will send into the arms of a glass of wine and bucket of ice cream faster than feeling like you’re too fat to wear anything.

So I tried what everyone tries. I started tracking my calories throughout the day. I lost no weight, and spent every single day only thinking about what I could eat, when I could eat, and how many peanut butter banana sandwiches I could have before I crossed over my calorie limit. I realize that limiting calories does work for a lot people, albeit mostly in the short term but for me, I couldn’t stand to be hungry. If I was hungry, I was unhappy. If I was unhappy, I wanted to eat. You can see the cycle forming. So I gave up. Fairly quickly. And bless my fiancé because I know there was a huge part of him that wanted to tell me that if I just eat a little less and exercise a little more then I’d lose weight. And partly because I am scary when I am angry but mostly because he loves me, he let me make my own decisions about my weight loss.

So anyway, fast forward. At this point, all my clothes were too tight and my acne, which was never an issue as a teenager, was terrible. I had very serious hormonal issues, as well as issues with anxiety. I genuinely thought that terrible gas pains and bloating were normal. I was just used to it so I never questioned the terrible stomach pains that followed each meal. Eventually, I watched a documentary that basically challenged the calorie obsession portrayed in Super Size Me. This documentary is called Fat Head. The director, Tom Naughton decided that he too, could eat McDonalds every day for 30 days. So he did and he made food choices that actually caused him to lose weight instead of gain it. It was sort of amazing. I highly recommend it and it is on streaming video on Netflix. It’s message really resonated with me. The idea that instead of eating filler food (bread, and other grain), eating nutrient dense whole foods made total sense to me. So I tried it. And I lost 10 pounds pretty quickly, but I didn’t know how to continue that. I didn’t know how to keep eating that way sustainably. Then my dad turned me on to this podcast called Latest in Paleo. Latest in Paleo is awesome. The host, Angelo Coppelo, is wonderful. He is sweet and genuine and when he talks about his wife and daughters there is such a sense of love that you feel that you are part of their family too.

So I started the Paleo Diet at this point. And I started it hardcore. And, wow, did it work for me. I dropped weight right away. I had a cyst that stayed put for 4 years, and the doctors were incredibly vague when I asked about it, but three weeks on Paleo and it disappeared. My mood got better, my acne slightly improved, not completely. That took further investigation and experimentation to get a hold on that. My energy level went up and my terrible eczema got better. It was awesome. I went from a size 8 in pants to a size 0, and I have kept it off for over a year. I felt stronger too. I don’t really exercise any more now than I did before but with the ability to burn fat, which I eat tons of instead of sugar, I build muscle fairly quickly. I’m still not as strong as I would like to be but I can do a couple pull ups and decent amount of push ups, and I haven’t been able to do that since I was 16. I felt like I had found the answer. Both my fiance and I finally felt like we were in our early twenties again, like we should have felt.

Bigger picture

Although, the difference between these two photos is more subtle to most people, the ridiculous changes that I can feel make these two pictures even more of a Before and After.

Thin Picture

Everything was great, well, almost. My hormones still didn’t feel like they were quite right and my acne had not improved any where near what it should have. So I became frustrated. I was doing everything right and yet, my body would not do what I wanted. So I fell off the wagon. I never gained any weight back but I started introducing things back in. Too many chocolate bars. Peanut butter. Gluten free snacks, which is just normal junk food with rice flour instead of wheat. Recently, I was exposed to something when I went out to dinner. It was sort of my fault. I should have investigated the food, but I had become so lax. I had always avoided gluten, even when eating things that were not Paleo because at the time, I thought it was the gluten that I was allergic to. Upon being exposed in that restaurant, my body decided to fight back. And hives appeared under my eyes. Big giant, very embarrassing bumps. And the journey began all over again.

angry otter

At this point, I was angry. I felt like I was living such a restricted life style. I couldn’t eat anything. Ever. Why could everyone else eat pretty much whatever and I couldn’t? And then came the journey of trying to figure out what I could eat and having no idea whatsoever where to start. I wasn’t sure if I was allergic to coconut or coffee or eggs or what. The thought of just not eating crossed my mind more than once. Oh, I know how dramatic that sounds but there is nothing quite like feeling like your body is working against you. And my issues are only an immune disorder that mostly only affects my skin. My heart breaks for people who have terrible debilitating auto-immune disorders.

So I started again. I started listening to The Paleo View and one of the hosts, Sarah Ballantyne, has Celiac disease and listening to her really made me start to understand what I was doing wrong. She explained how most people with Celiac disease cannot eat things like chocolate and coffee, or eggs and milk because the proteins in these items tend to act like the damaging proteins in wheat. And I realized that not only did I need to give up some of the things I love but I also needed to just go to the doctor and get tested for allergies. I kept putting it off because I just don’t think that doctor’s are sufficiently taught about nutrition. They treat symptoms amazingly but I don’t think they all know how to treat the underlying cause.

At this point, I stopped eating sweet potatoes, any dairy (including raw), eggs, coffee, chocolate, and any grains whatsoever. After my allergy tests, I received some really good news and some really bad news. The good news was that I do not have Celiac disease. The bad news is that even though I am not allergic to gluten, I am still allergic to wheat, corn, soy, shellfish, walnuts, and peanuts for sure. I think there may be a possibility that I have an issue with chocolate and sunflower seeds but that will be a later experiment.

So where does that put me right now. It still puts me mostly Paleo, I think. I’m just even more restricted than the general Paleo crowd, with some divergences. Like the fact that I do think that raw dairy is very good for you and that as long as you have no negative effects from it then consume away. Once I am able to do some gut healing for myself, 24 years of eating inflammation causing foods have done some serious damage to my health, then I am planning on reintroducing raw milk back into my diet. Many people in the Paleosphere you will find think dairy is bad because we didn’t start drinking until the Neolithic Era. I have to make the choice to eat and supplement as healthfully as possible. So that means my vitamins are all plant based, instead of synthetically made and added to corn starch pills. Which also makes them twice the price. And I will take my codfish liver oil everyday with my probiotics. I will try to eat my fermented sauerkraut at least once a day, as well as drink my kombucha, and will hopefully develop a taste for grass fed liver. And yes, I will try to eat sardines every day, too.

I almost didn’t put up before and after pictures to try and show off the changes that I have made in the last year. Part of me is incredibly self-conscious about it because even though I’m better, I still have a long way to go. Because of my recent exposure, my acne and eczema are terribly flared up. I can’t wear make up right now and even though, I want to be a person who’s 100% confident without it, well, let’s just say I’m not there yet. Whenever I want to encourage people to learn more about what they eating to help some issue they have, I want to put my hand next to my mouth to cover up the eczema patches that have recently appeared. It’s hard to try and tell other people how healthy you are when you know that you don’t always look it. But the entire point of even starting this blog was to encourage other people, especially women, that we should be proud of who we are. That as long as we are doing the very best we can for our health, that we should walk around like we are best looking people in the room. I’m on a journey right now to be the very healthiest and happiest I can be for me, my fiance, and our future family. And because of that, I have to be more forgiving of my faults. Please try to walk the same way for yourself. Stop being your worst critic and forgive of your own imperfections.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~Buddha

The Paleo Diet Part 2

scales

Earlier this week, I talked about the Paleo diet and what it is in Part 1. Now I want to explain the pros and cons of the Paleo Diet. When you first go Paleo, let me tell you, it’s all pros. Your energy goes up, your skin gets better and your pants start feeling baggier. It’s almost amazing how effortless it seems. And then about 3-6 months after starting, some things start setting in for you that kind of slow you down. You start getting confused by some of the information, and you’re not getting the results other people are, you start plateauing, and then all the Paleo stuff starts to get old and then you’re not sure where you are. Well, I want to talk about some of the good and bad about the Paleosphere so that hopefully, when you are able to give this crazy, wacky life style a try, you won’t hit a lot of the same road blocks that I did.

First off. Let’s talk about the good. Effortless weight loss. Well, not effortless, there’s no such thing as effortless weight loss. But it is effortless in that to lose weight you don’t have to kill yourself at the gym. In actuality, heavy cardio is not usually recommended. There is more and more evidence coming out on how heavy cardio, and I am referring to those who jump on the elliptical for 2 hours everyday, can actually be bad for you and cause fat storage, specially for women. There is exercise involved with the Paleo Diet because it is necessary, but in my opinion it’s fun exercise. Walk often and in the sunshine. Lift heavy things. I’m a huge fan of pull ups, push ups, and squats. Do yoga and meditate. Sprint when you can because getting the blood flowing is good for you. Join a team sport, garden, go swimming, in other words: Go play! And this is a great concept about Paleo. Exercise should be fun and encouraging to adults and kids.

Another great thing about Paleo is the fact that nobody really recommends calorie counting, or fat counting, or obsessing about food till it’s all you think about. We’ve all been there. You need to lose some weight so you tell yourself “Ok, I have time to exercise and burn 1,000 calories, and so that means that I can eat 1,400 calories today instead of 1,200 so that in turn means that I am allowed to eat half of this chocolate cookie and drink a beer and that’s all the food I can have for the rest of the day.” Maybe those aren’t your exact words but it’s easy to get there. It’s easy to turn all your food into calories and grams of fat and grams of sugar and to completely forget what food is for. Food is for life. We should eat and enjoy it. Eat with our families and tribes, and eat the most nutrient dense food possible. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some reasons to watch calories. If you are eating 1,000 calories a day in just almonds there are going to be some problems, but the overall message of Paleo is to eat to love and work with your body, not against it.

Oh my goodness, and the success stories. I love them. I really do. Every Friday, Mark Sisson posts a success story that someone sent in. Some of them make you go “No way!” and some make you tear up because of the paths that some of these people have walked down. The wonderful things is these stories are very rarely ever just about weight loss. A lot of these people are gaining their lives back from chronic illnesses or debilitating allergies. Rarely do people say, “I’ve lost all that weight now I got to get back to eating the standard American diet”. Usually, they are on a life changing journey that they will always be traveling on and I love that. I truly believe that you always need to be going / growing somewhere, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally.

One last pro about the Paleo diet. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more but I plan on talking about a lot of the real pros when I do Part 3 and explain my journey with the Paleo diet. The last one I want to talk about is the sense of community. It’s awesome. And supportive. I love the podcasters I listen to and the blogs I read because each one is personable and lovely. They are realistic and down to earth. They encourage people to shop locally. Support your town, support your local farmer, heck, be a wannabe farmer and build a chicken coop in your back yard. They want you to do your best to stay away from factory farms because let’s be honest, it is clearly animal abuse and there no other way around it. The Paleo community encourages you to plant a garden and live as nature intended you to live. They want you to create your community around you. Yes, if you get enough people like myself who mostly eat organic, do not use shampoo, and refuse to wear shoes then it will start to look like a commune but that’s all right. Build a tribe. It’s what our ancestors did.

Now I want to talk about some of the cons. I know what you’re thinking. “Kayla, after all those great things, why do you want to be such a downer?” Well, I have to be. I want everybody, I mean everybody to at least give Paleo a try. And I believe that the clearer eyed you enter this community, the better chance for success you have. First, let’s just get this out of the way. There are some crazies in the Paleo community, and yes, you get those with anything but it doesn’t stop them from driving me crazy. It’s hard to really generalize these people but for example, I think the cross fit community takes things a little too far. Not all of them, there are fantastic boxes out there but I think a lot of them do. Over training can have the opposite effect you are going for. My favorite crazies are the really self righteous people. I only recently gave up coffee and I read an article on the benefits of drinking coffee. It was a good, open minded article explaining coffee. And so many people in the comment section said “OMG, I cannot believe that Mark Sisson or Robb Wolf or whoever could possibly condone coffee. Caffeine is a drug and I am disgusted with them.” This sort of attitude seems funny but I think that people like that are incredibly discouraging to those of us who choose to take things one step at a time.

Then there’s the intermittent fasting argument. When I first started Paleo, I thought intermittent fasting was fantastic for absolutely everyone. It was recommended to everybody and everybody had good results. The intermittent fasting goes hand and in hand with this whole low carb thing. Most people call Paleo a low carb diet. It technically is if you are comparing it with the Standard American Diet, but I think most people, myself included, go really low carb when they first start Paleo. Then I read Stefani Ruper’s blog, Paleo for Women, and she talks about both of these things. Her post on intermittent fasting made some big noise in the Paleosphere. It was amazing. People were starting to really make a conscious effort to look at the differences in dietary needs between men and women. You would think that would already be a given, but it’s very easy to forget the different biological needs of both genders.

I highly recommend reading the article but I will give you a brief overview.

  • Most studies that have been done have only used men and post-menopausal women as their subjects
  • Studies that have been done on female rats have had negative side effects
  • Young women biologically are designed to bear children, and if their bodies are not receiving their caloric and nutritional needs, the female body will limit it’s ability to reproduce.

Intermittent fasting and too low carb can be amazing for some people and it can be incredibly terrible for others. Even though I think Paleo can be helpful for those with eating disorders because of it’s encouragement to not micromanage, it can also turn into it’s own kind of monster when you lose sight of the things that are important.

This all goes with the extremists that I mentioned at the beginning of the cons. So many people make such a huge deal on how you can’t eat fruit. It’s too much sugar. You can’t eat starch because it’s too many carbs. You can’t eat this and you can’t eat that. And when we start getting down to those minute details about the amount of sugar in an apple versus a banana, we are really losing sight of the important part. Yes, it is true that if you are trying to lose weight and especially if you are metabolically deranged, it may help you to limit your fruit and starch intake and only get your carbs from vegetables. That is absolutely true. But the part that you should be asking yourself is: “Did I enjoy that fruit? Did I feel sick or bloated after eating that sweet potato?” If your answer is yes, I did enjoy that fruit, or no, I actually had more energy after I ate the sweet potato, then by goodness, eat and enjoy your food. Listen to your body always.

Another big mistake that people can make with the Paleo diet is how they get their calories on a daily basis. We are a dessert society. We love it. I love it. After a bad day at work, I want to just come home and eat some cake (I can’t because of my allergies but it doesn’t stop me from wanting it).  So the Paleo recipe writers give the people what they want. Paleo treats. Treats that use almond flour or coconut flour instead of wheat. They use organic honey instead of refined sugar. You get to use 80% dark chocolate instead of the milk and soy based Hershey’s chocolate. But you always have to remember that just because you throw the word Paleo on it all willy nilly does not necessarily mean that’s it’s good for you all the time. Do I think it’s a better choice than white cake with white frosting and ice cream? Sure. Do I think that your weight loss will probably stall and you will likely risk gaining some of the weight back if you eat a Paleo treat 5 times a week? Probably. You would be amazed at how quickly a handful of almonds turns into eating an entire bag. For me, it sort of goes back to the concept of looking at what our ancestors probably did. And I’ll bet, since nuts are not easy to shell, that they didn’t eat a pound or two a day.

dinosaurs-ark1

Lastly, I just want to talk about a pet peeve of mine that in the grand scheme of things is probably not that important but yet still irks me for some reason. It’s this whole concept with some in the Paleosphere that have this attitude that one cannot be Christian and believe in the legitimacy of an ancestral diet. I actually stopped reading a few bloggers, one especially, because whenever he brought up anything with religion (which was too often in my opinion), it always seemed to be with this condescending tone toward Christians. It was almost like he was saying “That people who believe in God are too stupid to believe in science.” And that really bothered me a lot and probably helped to scare off people who were new to the Paleo scene. I find it frustrating that because I don’t believe  we evolved from monkeys that in turn means that I don’t believe in evolution within a species. I absolutely believe in evolution within a species. I believe that my God did such an amazing job creating us that He knew in that all-knowing, all powerful head of His that we would need to evolve to survive. That the world would change and we would change with it in order to continue on in this world. If anything, I think that as a Christian it’s incredibly important to take care of your body because it is the one that God gave to you. Eating and living in a way that is healthful, happy, and thankful to God and nature is incredibly spiritual and important. And let’s not forget the people who believe in Intelligent Evolution. If someone believes their God created man, and the heavens and the earth, then why couldn’t they believe that God set evolution up too.

The most important thing that I  need to say is that this life style is all about your personal journey. Just because some things work for some people does not mean that they will work for you. And that doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. It means that even though milk is “not Paleo” doesn’t mean that if you tolerate it well, that you shouldn’t have it. There will be an explanation of milk and why it is “not Paleo” and why I am still a supporter of drinking it in Part 3. I personally cannot have many of the things that Paleo people can. That doesn’t make me broken, just different. In Part 3, I am going to talk about my personal journey and the things that I learned along the way. I want to show some before and afters and really help to show people that even though I have been eating this way for over a year, I am still learning new things every single day.

The Paleo Diet Part 1

The Paleo Diet, also known as the Primal Diet, the Caveman Diet, and the Ancestral Diet. It also is sometimes confused with a Low Carb diet. Some people associate it in some ways with the Weston A. Price diet (for right and wrong reasons) and a lot of people have heard about it from their local CrossFit gym. Over the next week or two, I plan on doing a three part series about the Paleo Diet, including the explanation, the pros and cons, and why I personally believe that the Paleo Diet is a great choice for most people including myself.

the_evolution_of_man_ages

Let’s begin by explaining what the “Paleo Diet” is, starting with the theory as a whole. The concept of the Paleo Diet is that back in the Paleolithic era, before the introduction of agriculture, we as human beings were at the prime of evolution. We were strong, fit, and healthy tribes of homo sapiens. It is believed by the “Paleosphere” that upon the introduction of agriculture and mainly wheat, that we may have taken a backwards step in evolution. Do I agree with this concept 100%? No. Do I think they make a very strong argument? Yes, I do. Evolution aside, I think that everybody can agree that cavemen were not eating McDonald’s “I think there might chicken in there somewhere” nuggets.

I tell you that so I can tell you this. The Paleo Diet is very simple and very complicated in a lot of ways. The big guys tell you to eat meat (preferably grass fed), seafood (wild caught), lots and lots vegetables, nuts and seeds, and plenty of healthy fats. They recommend limiting fruit, starches, and natural sweeteners. Sounds pretty good, although in Part 2, I will talk about my feelings on limiting fruit and starches dependent on what your goals are.

Here comes the kicker. This is the part where everyone says to me “What? I can’t avoid that. What would I eat? That’s too hard.” The Paleo Diet says that you should avoid all gluten containing products (some people recommend all grains), soy, legumes (yes, I realize that soy is a legume but most people don’t realize that), refined sugars, and many also recommend avoiding dairy. More to come on my views on dairy. Now I’m sure that many of you have heard about the most recent fad with the gluten-free movement. Gluten is a protein in wheat that constantly fights digestion. It is the culprit in Celiac disease. It is the cause for many digestive issues for those that are gluten intolerant which is an affliction that more and more people are finding out they have. Feel free to check out this Mark’s Daily Apple article to see a really simple breakdown of why grains and gluten can be bad for you.

Gluten is definitely the biggest “no no” in the Paleo diet, but taking a close second is soy and other legumes. Soy is kind of funny to me because I always thought, due to main stream medical advice (yes, I’m referring mostly to MSN articles and the like) that soy is really good for you and vegetarians and vegans swear by their Tofu-Turkey. My personal biggest problem with soy is I am allergic to it. Secondly, it is highly processed and it acts like estrogen in your body. This can cause issues for some women, and I believe that I was one of those women who were negatively affected by it. There’s no definitive research at this point but some people theorize that soy is part of the cause of what are eloquently known as “man boobs”. The other legumes fall under the same category of being highly processed and they are not easy to digest. The phytic acid found in beans contains complex sugars that are hard for us to digest. Yes, that classy song you learned as a child has truth to it; Beans will make you toot.

And then refined sugar. This is the easy one so I will make the explanation short and sweet. Sugar is not good for you. No, I am not talking about the sugar in fruit, or honey, or even raw organic sugar cane. I am mainly talking about the bleached white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Which once again goes back to the fact that these things do not appear in nature. Well, at one point, they may have come from nature but they are mostly created in labs now. Sugar suppresses your immune system, causes you to store fat, and is shown to feed cancer cells. Now, I will say that the Paleo community recommends limiting all the other kinds of sweeteners for what I believe are valid reasons, but that will be Part 2.

Lastly, there is a large divide about dairy and “safe” starches in the Paleo community. There are multiple reasons why you should have dairy and many reasons why you should not have dairy. There are some people who do amazing with lots and lots of starches (squash, sweet potatoes, etc.) and there are some people who will bloat with the same foods. The arguments for both sides will appear in Part 2.

The most important take away from this, which is sometimes lost to the consumer because they get so worked up about the little details that probably don’t matter, is that the Paleo Diet in truth is about eating natural, whole foods. It encourages people to buy locally and organically as much as possible. It discourages people from buying meat that comes from the horrible hell called factory farms. Paleo bloggers tell you to walk barefoot and enjoy the sunshine as much as possible. Don’t over train, but walk every single day if you can. The other important part, the part that makes all the difference in the world is that this is not a short term diet. It truly is a lifestyle. With a short term diet, you tend to go back to your standard way of eating and that will wreak havoc on your metabolism. Paleo, on the other hand, begs to be a life style in so many ways. Not just with food, but also with exercise. And with harmony with nature. It’s a full package. Harmony with yourself and the world around you.