Paleo ‘diet’ – problems, benefits and other food related stuff

I said I would post on this, and one day late is better than it could be 🙂

I have tried an eating plan meant to ease the symptoms of FM before, and it didn’t actually do anything at all. Although the lady who wrote the book seemed to have gained a great deal of benefit from it. It was essentially the healthy eating as recommended by ‘official’ guidelines everywhere, with the difference that supplementation of many nutrients were recommended in very high amounts.

My own experience with vitamins and minerals has really made me think about this side of things, as I was found to have practically no Vitamin D. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it, until you learn just how many processes in the body are linked to – and indeed cannot work without – adequate Vitamin D. My endocrinologist helped to develop the NHS protocol for Vit D deficiency so I feel I am in pretty good hands and he said that ALL my FM symptoms are also symptoms of Vit D deficiency. He also warned me it could take a very long time to feel any real benefits.

After several months of taking 20,000 iu a day my levels have risen and are now ‘sub-normal’ so not quite there yet.

But anyhooo – When I was looking into diet as a way to help FM – 5 years or so ago, I found a website by a Dr Briffa who uses nutrition in his approach to medicine – something you don’t often find with a GP. He wrote a book called The True You Diet, and having liked his approach on his website I bought the book. He talks a lot of sense!!

Now – up to present times – one of the lovely ladies on my friends list on Facebook suggested I speak to a friend of hers as she has greatly improved her FM symptoms through diet. And this other lovely lady was really helpful, and explained that basically she eats a Paleo diet. This also goes by other names – such as The Stone age diet etc. What it entails is basically eating the way our ancestors did before farming / mass production, processed and artificially created foods became almost the mainstay of the majority of our diets in the developed world.

I have to say that the theory of this way of eating makes a whole lot of sense to me. Ancient man may have had a harder life than we do, but we evolved around a certain way of eating based on foods that were hunted and gathered, rather than cultivated and ‘manufactured’ – obviously. But – have our bodies actually evolved since then?

The line of thinking is that actually, no, we haven’t. And this doesn’t surprise me. When you think of the evolution of mankind vs the introduction into our diets of manufactured and processed food stuffs – the latter is a blink of an eye.

So – this way of eating (coz I don’t like to think of it as a ‘diet’ which implies a temporary method for weight loss) means that if it isn’t present in nature then don’t eat it, and if it is in any way ‘new’ in evolutionary terms – don’t eat it.

I have seen versions that exclude dairy products completely as we wouldn’t have eaten or drunk dairy products until farming was established. I have also seen versions that exclude any kind of root vegetable for much the same reason. I also read about the guy who did the artwork for The Grateful Dead, who is a complete 100% carnivore and still in excellent health.

However, I find both some of these versions to be a bit restrictive for me personally. Since I was 4 months old I have suffered from a wide range of allergies. And these are true allergies that can require emergency treatment. And when I was 4 yrs old mum and dad were told that the only things I wasn’t allergic to were cereals and horses!! This was in the late 60’s/early 70’s and allergies and asthma were quite rare. I remember in a school of 400 children, me and my brother were the only ones with asthma. The incidence now is so much higher than that, it can’t help but give pause for thought.

A sceptical GP a few years ago brought my allergies into question and I was sent off to the consultant for blood tests. And it confirmed that I am indeed seriously allergic to fish, and nuts and seeds. Previous tests have shown me to be allergic to every British tree – and there is one that produces pollen every month between February and October, so I take daily anti-histamines. But – back to food stuffs.

For many years I drank no milk, and then gradually found I could tolerate it. BUT I had constant eczema somewhere or other until I rediscovered goats milk. Goats milk is closer to human milk than cows milk and many people who are allergic to cows milk can tolerate it. When I was little mum and dad could only get hold of it frozen, from a farm, I believe. And it was vile!!! Just the look of it was vile!! But now, what do you know, you can buy it in Asda 🙂 it is twice the price of cows milk, but…….

Anyway – my first reluctant taste of modern goats milk was 5 years ago and I have hardly had any eczema since then 🙂 Yay !!!

What about soya milk? I can hear someone thinking it (I have super human, psychic hearing, dontcha know lol) Well, I tried soya milk and I literally baulked and had to spit it out. There was no way my throat was going to allow me to swallow it. But if you read the list of ingredients in soya milk, rice milk etc, its probably not surprising that my body rejected it so fiercely. If you drink either of these milks, just have a proper read of the ingredients and you’ll see what I mean.

For many, many years now I have avoided asparthame – an artificial sweetener – partly coz it tastes dreadful but also because it turns into nasty dangerous substances within the body. Please don’t ask me to explain – go seek the details via google – I am working from memory here. And I haven’t eaten margarine or any of the so called ‘healthy’ spreads to replace butter for many, many more years. Butter only for me 🙂

So it isn’t really that great a leap for me personally to accept the reasoning behind the paleo way of eating.

Actually putting it into practice is somewhat harder, however. Although I am really trying.

First off – although nuts and seeds are recommended as they were gathered – I cannot eat them. Nor can I eat fish. So its meat only for me, oh and eggs.

Pasta is out as it is a manufactured food. And we used to eat a lot of pasta as it is filling and inexpensive *sigh*.

Potatoes are also out (I am allergic to raw potato juice anyway – my skin literally blisters before my eyes if I peel spuds without gloves on) but I do enjoy a good roast potato or mashed spuds *sigh*

Rice is also not recommended as white rice is processed to remove the husks etc. But we have for a very long time eaten brown basmati rice, and if it’s on offer the brown basmati with wild rice (which is allowed, but prohibitively expensive by itself).

Now – fruit and veg. I am allergic to most berries due to the seeds, although I love the flavour of raspberries and strawberries, they make me ill if I eat the whole fruit. Kiwi, orange, and more recently mango also make me ill. Thank the starry skies for those little tubes of pureed strawberries and raspberries – no seeds!!

Veg is easier, although not as tasty nor as much fun. So – meat, eggs and veg is what I am left with *sigh*, with a few apples and pears and grapes thrown in.

Can you see how very difficult this is for me? Not much variety there. Plus – have you seen the price of decent meat these days???

By decent I mean a reasonable cut of meat, preferably British if at all possible, and preferably raised in an ethical manner.

This is a huge issue with me where eggs are concerned. And in the UK we have so many bewildering ‘stamps’ that are meant to inform us as to the origins of our food, but actually aren’t that informative. Basically – free range eggs might still come from farms where they never see any sunlight as they are free to range within a big barn. Not quite what many people think of when they see ‘free range’. Organic is the best way to go when buying eggs. But they are getting terribly expensive – around here its at least £2 for 6 organic eggs!!!!! And we’ve also found that the shells of the free-range eggs are more often than not very thin, with those odd ‘ripples’ on them which indicates a poorly hen. It’s not easy to eat ethically within a budget. It really isn’t.

So – having looked into the paleo way of eating, it occurred to me that it is essentially a high protein / low carb ‘diet’, and I think this is the best compromise I can make, in all honestly.

Last night I had a chicken, bacon and onion omelette which was blooming delish and really filled me up.

But I cannot eat my way all the time. I have 2 others in the house and where possible we eat as a family. My eldest daughter has been eating low carb for a few months now and is gradually and steadily losing weight and is looking fab!! And I do want to lose weight as well as improve my pain and energy levels.

And if my lovely FB friend can lose 40 lbs the paleo way, and improve her FM symptoms, then surely I will be able to improve things for myself this way too – even if it isn’t perfectly paleo.

IF I could do without breakfast cereal and chocolate, it would be a breeze. Littlun could have her carbs, while we do without, that’s not too hard to accommodate. But I loves me some chocolate, and cereal is just tooooo convenient for breakfast.

I have also bulk cooked chilli which I love and the girls aren’t too keen on, so I have that in the freezer as a stand by – using 100% lean steak mince 🙂

Still – its worth a try, isn’t it. Anything is worth a try!!!!

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One Response to Paleo ‘diet’ – problems, benefits and other food related stuff

  1. pauld says:

    “Ancient man may have had a harder life than we do”

    oh I dont know, they didnt have bankers, mindless beurocrats, managers, accountants etc etc, it was just “woman cook food, clean cave”, LOL.

    Luckily i can eat anything but do tend to keep off instant coffee.


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