health, mom tips, Paleo

Pondering Paleo | Benefits of the Paleo Diet

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You may remember a few posts back when I talked about my new foray into the healthier way of eating know as the Paleo Diet.

Just to be clear, I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life I  really, really, really don’t believe in the sustainability of diet fads, pink drinks, power shakes or prepackaged meals.  But I also really had a hard time finding a way of eating that agreed with my sensitive stomach, IBS and lactose intolerance. THEN, I stumbled upon something called Paleo.

Benefits of the Paleo Diet

The paleo diet has gained a strong popular following based on the need that people have to develop a nutritional pattern that fits their lifestyle, helps them lose weight and improve their overall health. According to proponents, the Paleo diet does all three of these.

The diet advocates that the users eat their foods as close to the natural state as possible, while still including cooking the food. A common description for this diet is called a Hunter-Gatherer diet because people are eating grass-fed meats, vegetables, fruits, plants, nuts and seeds.

Paleo foodies will steer clear of processed sugars, and processed foods like bread, artificial cheeses, cold cuts, potato chips and sugary cereals. The most focussed users will also prohibit dairy, grains and legumes from the diet. Fine and dandy for me because process foods make me feel like crap and dairy makes me feel worse 🙁

The types of foods have a low glycemic index and are gluten-free. The low glycemic index will reduce the blood sugar spikes that you can experience from eating foods that quickly turn to glucose in the blood stream. These sugar spikes will increase the amount of insulin your body produces. Just 2 hours after eating a high carbohydrate meal you’ll experience a crash in your blood sugar and then fatigue.

This constant up and down of your blood sugar and stress on your pancreas will increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. One of the benefits of eating a Paleo type diet is a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.

The types of foods will also help you to lose weight more easily because you will reduce your sugar load, and subsequently your caloric intake. With this combination, you’ll experience a loss of weight that is unplanned. If you have more weight you’d like to take off, it will be time to start counting a few calories. But because the foods are very filling it will be easy to cut back and still stay full.

In a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that eating a paleolithic type diet would also reduce blood pressure measurements. High blood pressure is a condition that affects all your small blood vessels and will damage them – including small vessels in the kidneys, heart and peripheral vascular disease. (1)

Other studies have shown that eating a paleo type diet will also experience lower subcutaneous fat, lower C-reactive protein levels, lower blood pressure and greater sensitivity to insulin. (2) Most people are happier with less subcutaneous fat and weight loss. C-reactive proteins are responsible for increasing your risk for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, vasculitis and other inflammatory diseases. Doctors will test for C-reactive proteins to determine if their anti-inflammatory medicines are working.

The Paleo diet has come under attack from some reporters in the general news but the information has been refuted by Dr. Loren Cordain, the researcher who has popularized the Paleo diet with his research and books. (3)

Eating this diet will also help to reduce the toxic load in your body and many find that their response to allergens is reduced. Often times this is because of the reduced gluten load in the body which will increase the response to allergies.

I seriously have felt that inflammation in my body have been jacking me up for quite some time. I just didn’t know how to deal with it other than pop another Motrin and keep powering forward.

The fact that, since I switched, I’ve only had a few of my “inflamed days” (basically you feel like you have the flu from head to toe) and that is what is motivating me the most I think. But what also appeals to me is that this way of eating is also very easy for me. I love meat (total carnivore) and this diet includes a huge amount of things I like to eat anyway plus a bunch of new stuff that I’ve discovered I truly like (plantains, fresh pineapple, kale, cashew milk, palm sugar and Portobello mushrooms). There’s a few foods that I have a love/hate thing going with, but am determined to keep trying (avocados fall into that category).

Paleo Foods
Yummy fruits like plantain, apples, blueberries, strawberries and pineapple are a big part of the Paleo Diet

I would never try to be “that person” who gets Holy-than-Thou and insists what they are doing is the Best Way…but this might be something to keep in mind if you are struggling like me.

Keep an open mind and keep stopping back to Mom Squad Central for more Paleo and healthy ideas!

Benefits of the Paleo Diet: RESOURCES

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Pros and cons of the Paleo Diet
http://www.upmc.com/services/sports-medicine/newsletter/pages/paleo-diet.aspx

MedlinePlus: C-Reactive Protein
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003356.htm

Mercola: Feast Like a Caveman and Watch the Pounds Melt Away
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/11/paleo-goes-mainstream-cbs-news-reports.aspx

Huffington Post: 6 Health Lessons From the Paleo Diet
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/healthy-paleo-diet-tips_n_3900690.html

CNN: Paleo Diet Ranks Last on “best diets” list
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/07/health/best-diets-ranked/

Scientific American: How to really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hunter-gatherer-really-eat/

 


About Becky Flansburg


Becky Flansburg is freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant living in Northern Minnesota. A dedicated mom to two beautiful kids, her veteran blog Franticmommy.com is filled with laughter and love about the joys parenthood. Becky is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoy life beyond the cubicle and find clarity in the work/life/family balance. Connect with Becky via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

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