Heartworm Medicine for Dogs

Those of you who know me also know that I have an unhealthy attachment to my Yorkie. Those of you who don’t know me should know that I have a Yorkie named Tobias and I love him more than most people. I also don’t have children so I’m one of “those people”. You know who I’m talking about. Those people who try to liken raising kids to raising their dog. They explain how consistent training and time outs are great ways to train both, and then ask you what kind of kennel you use for your toddler. Seriously, though, I love my dog.

How can you not love that face?

How can you not love that face?

I bring Tobias up because I recently got my little reminder in the mail that it was time for Tobias’ yearly heart worm test. Can I just throw it out there that every time that comes up, my chest hurts and all I can think about is “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, what if he has it? Then he’s going to die and I’ll be heartbroken and I will never love again!” Oh, yes, I am quite aware of how crazy I sound. Anyway, when the crazy stops and I calm down, I make the appointment, sit and feel sick the whole time we are waiting for the results and then Tobias is always fine and I can calm down, go home and cuddle with my Yorkie. Who has by then usually forgiven me for taking him somewhere where he got poked and prodded.

This year when the subject came up, I started thinking about the necessity of giving a dog heart worm prevention medicine every single month. Now I’m terrible about it, I’m the first to admit it. Part of it is because I don’t believe heart worm is actually a threat during the winter and also because I personally choose not to take medicine whenever I can help it. It makes me wonder if giving my dog medicine I know nothing about is really a good idea? So even though I’m told by everyone to give him the medicine every month on the day, for the last year I’ve been sort of lax about it. Am I really making the right decision for both my dogs health?

First off, let’s throw it out there that we have to always look at drug recommendations with a grain of salt. Who tells you that your dog has to take heartworm medicine every single month? The people who make a profit from the sale of heartworm medication. Take a look at the American Heartworm Society’s Sponsor page. It’s full of drug companies. Am I saying that we should then completely disregard AHS’s recommendations? Absolutely not. But we also need to be aware of where these helpful (and probably very profitable) hints come from.

Evil monster.

Evil monster.

The American Heartworm Society recommends giving dogs their heartworm medicine all year long in order to protect them from heartworm carrying mosquitoes. Now I live in Michigan. For those of you who do not live in Michigan, it’s important to point out that Michigan spends a good part of each year cold. Snow on the ground cold. As far as I’ve found, mosquitoes can live through winter, however usually in a protected place waiting for warmth so the little monsters can swarm you in the springtime.  So your chances of being bitten by a mosquito in January in Michigan are probably pretty slim. So that seriously minimizes your dog’s risk of getting heartworm. On top of that, there is a life cycle the heart worm has to go through in order to actually become adult heartworms and infect your dog. And during that life cycle (a rough estimate of 45 days), the temperature can never go below 57 degrees. So even though, dogs in Michigan have about 6 months out of the year that they would be naturally protected from heartworm and the mosquito hosts, vets are still recommending all year long. I tried to find why exactly they recommend this and came up with “Pet owners are too stupid and irresponsible to give their dogs medicine so we dumb it down for them so they don’t forget”. All right, that’s not exactly what they said but it’s kind of the tone. It was hard to find any example of a legitimate reason for heartworm prevention all year long. The only health risk reason I could find is that some of the preventative brands (Sentinel, Trifexis, Revolution) protect against other kinds of infections like roundworms and hookworms.

Getting infected with heartworm is not exactly easy. There is a number of factors that have to fall in  line in order for your dog to get infected. This article does a good job of explaining the life process as well as the natural ways to help prevent heartworm. Bear in mind, this article is definitely written from a biased point of view, the author definitely leans toward a more natural handling of dogs.

You might be asking yourself, “But, Primal Otter, if everyone recommends preventative medicine for dogs, why wouldn’t you?” Well, my first problem, of course, is those pesky side effects that are written in tiny little print on the packaging. Those side effects, which I had to find from the FDA website, are vomiting, loose stool or diarrhea with or without blood, anorexia, lethargy, salivation, tachypnea, and muscle tremors (for the topical brand) and vomiting, depression/lethargy, pruitus (itching), urticaria (hives), diarrhea, anorexia, skin congestion, ataxia, convulsions, hypersalivation and weakness (for the oral brand). The biggest side effect that I feared is the big C word. Cancer seems to take so many beloved pets, however, I was unable to find any legitimate studies or evidence of the linkage between preventative medicine and cancer. Although, I don’t think its impossible, the problem is who would pay for that study? Certainly not the drug companies. But there seems to be very little study and the best I could find was just anecdotal evidence.

I found this great article about the best ways to naturally prevent heartworm infection. And although, I realize that the information is more a matter of opinion than perfect science, I believe it’s really important to consider those “hippy dippy” ideas. As I firmly believe with humans, I also believe that a good diet is essential for a dog’s health and immune system. Lots of people recommend the raw diet. Let me tell you, I love this concept. However, my husband and I work full time and between our bills, our animals, and having to spend extra money on our own food sources, we have chosen to go with the more manageable grain free dog food. I personally like Taste of the Wild. My dogs seem to like it well enough, they don’t overeat, and they are both healthy and energetic dogs. Also, I believe that my German Shepard has an allergy or a sensitivity to wheat, and I’m pretty sure rice as well. Her skin tends to look the best when she eats totally grain free.

The dynamic duo

The dynamic duo

 

The all natural concept also mentions not over vaccinating as a way to help your dog’s immune system. I really wasn’t able to find a good source of what constitutes over vaccinating but it’s still some food for thought. Even though I am currently doing lots of research of human vaccination (I’m trying to learn all I can before kids so I can make an educated decision when that time comes), I have never really questioned the vaccination of dogs. Can you say “DOH”? When we vaccinated Tobias, our Yorkie, I never questioned all the stuff they wanted to give them. And guess what? He had a terrible and terrifying response. Yes, I know lots of dogs don’t feel great after shots but to have my one pound Yorkie throwing up, shaking, and sleeping twice as much as usual was incredibly upsetting. At his yearly check ups, they want to inject him with everything even though I explain to them that he has had bad reactions before and they usually just tell me to give him Benadryl and he’ll be fine. And I really have to ask myself, “Is injecting my dog on a yearly basis with something his body reacts badly to a good idea?”

So where do I come down? Well, call me a bad hippy but I think that I will continue to give my dogs heartworm preventative medicine. However, I will do it on my own terms. Even though, they recommend all year long, I will not be giving my dogs unnecessary medicine in January. In the summer, though, i will give them their medicine. There is a very large pond behind my property that was probably once used as an irrigation pond so the mosquitoes that live there are probably mutated from the pesticides. Ok, they’re probably not but we still have a pretty decent mosquito population. On top of that, my dogs are mostly house dogs but when we do go out, it’s for hikes in the middle of nowhere, or swimming in lakes and rivers, and for those times I don’t have them on a leash and they decide that drinking stagnant, mosquito infested water is a charming idea. So hopefully, I am making the right decision for my dogs. But either way at least, I am doing my best to make an informed decision.

What about you? Do you believe that the preventative medicine is necessary? Have you ever even heard of the negative side effects? And if you don’t use the heart worm medicine, do you use any other preventative methods?

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.

Raw Milk versus That Store Stuff

Can I start off by saying that I really have missed writing? A lot. In my defense, I got married a month ago and you would think that all the stress and stress-related symptoms would disappear when the wedding is over, but that is just not true. Your body takes a beating when it is stressed and sleep deprived, and it takes real time to heal and get back to normal. And for me at least, while feeling that way, the urge and the ability to write is pretty much nonexistent. On the positive side, my wedding was completely amazing, the honeymoon was perfect, and I am back to putting my blog as a priority. And yes, for those of you who are into that sort of thing, there will be a wedding post with lots of pictures coming soon but today’s topic is about the benefits and risks of choosing raw milk over pasteurized store bought milk.

Milk

Let’s first start off by explaining what makes milk raw milk. It is simply milk that has not been pasteurized, or heated up until it kills the pathogens in the milk. Raw milk can be a carrier of dangerous bacteria including salmonella and E. coli, which can not only be dangerous but also deadly. Hence why the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CDC (Center for Disease control) believe that it is necessary to pasteurize milk before the consumer can buy it. It is actually illegal to buy or sell raw milk in quite a few states. In my own home state of Michigan, it is illegal to sell raw milk, however, you can join a herd share and receive milk that way. The logic of the herd share is that you own part of the cow and pay for its room and board so you therefore have a right to what it produces. And there genuinely is a risk when choosing to consume raw milk instead of the pasteurized milk. Chris Kresser does a fantastic job of breaking down the actual statistical risks that CDC found and reported about raw milk and other foods that cause food borne illnesses. The findings basically come down to saying that there is a larger risk drinking unpasteurized milk than drinking pasteurized milk. However, it is only 9.4 times more likely to cause illness, and is actually last on the list of most common foods causing illnesses.  Bear in mind that these “illnesses” we are referring to are not necessarily just E coli and salmonella. This can refer to any illness like an upset stomach or diarrhea, and although food poisoning seems horrible while one is suffering from it, it is not necessarily life threatening. Personally, when I think about what foods are dangerous to eat and cause illnesses, my first thought is actually peanut butter or spinach. Now given the rate that peanut butter is consumed compared to raw milk is exponentially higher but it also proves that pretty much anything can have risks, and shouldn’t our concern be the source of the food, not the food itself? When pasteurization first became a requirement in America, there had been a huge TB breakout in New York. The tuberculosis was thought to be spread by milk, and most likely rightfully so. This was also during a time that doctors were just starting to finally accept that there lack of hand washing was what was killing newborns and their mothers. It’s hard to compare the knowledge of germs and sanitary conditions of the 1930’s to now. And again, source is so important. The more mass produced something is, the higher the risks for contamination. Mass produced milk has to be pasteurized.

So we agree that raw milk does carry a greater risk of illnesses and the CDC says that drinking pasteurized milk loses no nutritional value. So why drink raw milk? To start off, there are believed to be many health benefits, however, none completely proven, albeit more because of a lack of studies. Raw milk contains fats, good bacteria, and enzymes helpful to digestion. Because of it’s helpfulness in digestion its thought not only to help your immune system but also to even cure allergies. This sounds a little far fetched but as science continues to grow and develop about food allergens, we are more and more coming to understand that much of it comes down to gut health. Raw milk also contains lactase, which is the enzyme that helps to digest lactose. Those of us who are lactose intolerant can greatly benefit from the bacteria that creates those enzymes. I, myself, am one of those who does not have the certain broken gene that allows me to digest lactose well. I quit drinking milk in high school because of serious digestive issues and in an attempt to get my eczema under control, and it worked well for me. However, give me a glass of raw milk and I can drink it down with no negative side effects. I’ve actually seen an improvement in my ability to digest other foods but that is of course, only anecdotal evidence. And fat. Oh fat. The macro nutrient that has been vilified for so long. Fat is good for you. It’s good for brain development. Its satiating in ways that carbohydrates can almost never be. Breast milk is almost entirely made from fat and most people and experts agree that it is incredibly important to breast feed children. Even Dr. Oz is coming down in favor of “good fats“. I need to make the disclaimer that I definitely do not agree with everything that Dr. Oz points out in that video as good for you but getting the message out that fat can help with weight loss, wrinkles, and bone health is a definite improvement.

So we have anecdotal evidence of improved immune system, easier digestion, and healthy fats that help with overall health. But I believe that there is a moral responsibility in not supporting milk producers that use industrial raised cows. The milk that I drink comes from local, grass fed cows. Whereas these industrial raised cows are fed grains. Cows cannot digest grains well. As many people know, cows do that lovely thing where they chew grass, and chew and chew and chew grass until the grass becomes cud and then they swallow. The cud enters the first compartment of the stomach and is often regurgitated and chewed some more until the cow is able to digest it. Cows are not able to do this with grains. Their inability to do so can actually cause bloat and kill a cow rather quickly. Yes, we feed an animal something that can kill it and then expect it’s meat and milk to be good for us. So because of this, the cows are given antibiotics to help keep them alive. As well as animal byproducts and arsenic (at least for chickens but how long before its cows as well). They are kept in unclean conditions, spending a large part of their lives in their own filth, and then when ready to slaughter are shipped to more containment, mistreated, and slaughtered in unclean conditions. And dairy cows are not above this treatment. They, too, are given antibiotics to treat all the illnesses that inflict confined animals, to levels that are high enough to actually violate the FDA’s laws and leading to arrests in both Ohio and Idaho. These animals are genuinely sick and mistreated and we expect their products to be good for us. And not to get all hippy dippy on you, readers, but I just can’t believe that eating animals that have been treated that way is going to come back to you in a good way. God said that we shall have dominion over the land and the animals but we were meant to be caretakers of this world, and the mistreatment of animals does not fall under the role of caretaker.

Cow

I’m sure many of you can see that I come down on the side of raw milk. The farm that I get my milk from cares about their animals. They are well treated and the owners are open and honest. Visit their farm anytime, check out their equipment, and feel free to ask questions. They explain honestly that they do not regularly give any of their animal antibiotics, however, if one of their cows became sick, they would give them the necessary medicine to make them better. The cows have pasture upon pasture to eat and are happy, bright eyed animals. And I’ll be honest, I like the family. The husband and wife owners are genuine and interesting, and the children are gorgeous and active. It’s a small farm but I feel completely safe getting my milk, yogurt, and cheese from them. And it has, I believe, genuinely helped me. I feel better when I have it. I feel more satiated for longer. I have a better digestion. My overall skin health is also improved, which goes along with better digestion, less eczema.

Am I advocating that every person drink raw milk? Nope. I believe that if you think it is dangerous then you absolutely have the right to choose to not take the risk. I also believe that I should have the right to drink whatever milk I choose to drink. Our health, our food choices should be our own. Allowing the government to dictate the milk we drink is in a lot of ways opening the door for other things. We are all right with raw milk being banned because most people believe it’s  dangerous. How long before consuming the eggs that come from our own chickens becomes a food borne illness risk in the government’s eyes? Is buying organic produce from a local farmer going to be health risk at some point? It sounds a little paranoid, but we always have to think about the consequences of every law and how far reaching they can be. I’m so glad the federal government is doing raids in order to protect me from the dangerous Amish like this (sarcasm alert!). Raw milk or pasteurized milk, it should come down to our right to choose.

How about you? Do you drink raw milk? Would you? Do you believe that we should allow no one to assume the risks or should it be a personal choice?

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.