At this time of year, our bodies tend to be toxic wastelands due to all the holiday celebrating that we have been doing over the last month and we are using these first couple of weeks to refocus on some healthier lifestyle choices for the new year. It is certainly no exception in our home and we probably have more to make up due to a surprise 40th birthday party that went long into the night.
Along with exercising more, making healthier diet choices has to be the most popular changes that people decide to make. Everyone can exercise more and it’s not a complicated thing to do. Virtually anyone can get out the door and start walking or riding your bike. It takes some commitment, but it's simple and everyone is aware of the benefits of regular exercise, right? (Please say yes). Making smart diet changes can be more difficult however as there is a huge disparity in information about what is healthy and what is not. If you Google dairy and health, you will find sites that say on the very first page that label it a poison and others that tell you how good it is for you.
One of more popular approaches to eating is currently known as the Paleo diet. I was formally introduced to the Paleo Diet well before it became known in popular culture through a nutrition certification course I took eight years ago with Dr. David Seaman (www.deflame.com). He introduced the mountains of research that Dr. Loren Cordain (www.thepaleodiet.com) has accumulated in his work at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain is without a doubt the leading authority on this style of eating and he has also authored several books on the subject.
What is it?
Basically the Paleo diet is an elimination of all processed foods in your diet including but not limited to wheat, dairy, corn and refined sugar. It may sound difficult, but it’s actually quite easy to shop for since all you really do is collect your food on the perimeter aisles of the grocery stores and avoid the inner aisles.
The goal of the Paleo diet is to drastically reduce the underlying levels of inflammation that are present in your body due to over consumption of processed foods. Why do these foods cause inflammation? Because the ratio of unhealthy Omega 6 fatty acids compared to healthy Omega 3 fatty acids is way higher than what would be considered ideal. Righting this through the elimination of processed foods and grains can help with a myriad of conditions such as chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
The reduction of sugar in the diet is also a key part of this approach to eating. The sugars that you do get are less refined and come primarily through the consumption of fruit (not juice). This helps blunt the blood sugar effect since you are also consuming a high amount of fibre relative to the sugar thereby reducing the glycemic load. The reduction of sugar is a key component in achieving weight loss.
Sources of Information
Finding credible sources of information on the Internet can be challenging, especially when it comes to make dietary choices. Besides the two links above, there are two other sites I often recommend to patients when seeking out quality Paleo related information. They are www.marksdailyapple.com and www.robbwolf.com
If you have any specific questions regarding this approach, I would be happy to try and point you in the right direction.