Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Nutrition: What to try if the Paleo Diet fails

As I had some health problems that refused to clear up completely, I thought I write down some quick thoughts what one could try.

So here are a few very quick thoughts on what to do when your diet "fails" (for some amount of "fail"). And on a related note, I touch on some things (e.g. eggs and nuts) very quickly that might be a problem (cf. Robb Wolf's autoimmune protocol), despite being considered by some as staple foods for a Paleo Diet.

(This is an partial rehash of this list of foods to avoid.)

Foods that are "Paleo" (and might be OK for most) but might be a problem for some people:
  1. If you have a problem with dairy, try to avoid beef/veal* (as well as avoiding dairy). Try to avoid dairy and beef for at least at month, see if it helps – even if you don't know whether your problems were caused by dairy.

    (And yes, butter is dairy, and yes, milk-chocolate is dairy, and yes, if it contains any milk protein whatsoever you should try to avoid it and see if it helps.)
  2. In similar spirit: you might have a problem with one source of meat or fish. It might be possible that one person has health problems from chicken meat, but does fine with beef and pork. Then another person might have health problems from pork, but might do fine with other sources of meat. Same goes for fish (e.g. shell fish vs. "normal" sea fish vs. freshwater fish). You might need to experiment a bit to find out what harms you, and what doesn't (no doctor and no book will spare you from trying out things).
  3. I would suggest to avoid coconut. Coconut milk does not agree with me – I get gastrointestinal problems from coconut products. Might be something in the products I can buy here, might be coconut itself
Foods that are not (or not exactly) "Paleo" and might be a problem for some (but might be OK for others):
  1. Avoid eggs, at least for a month. Cavemen did not have regular access to eggs. I had similar problems with eggs as with dairy. Free range eggs with raw yolk might help a bit, but I'd recommend trying to remove all eggs for a month and see if it helps.
  2. Do not go on a "Very Low Carb" Diet (VLC) for a longer periods. Maybe if you feel you need to do VLC to combat diabetes then do it, and even than I would not recommend it for longer periods. Find "safe" sources of starch, maybe this list from above helps.
  3. Avoid nuts, chocolate, honey, tea, coffee, herbs, supplements, cured meat, industrial meat products (aka CIAB sausages) and similar stuff for a month – see if it helps.
  4. If you feel you need supplement your gut with probiotics, then eat  unwashed homegrown fruits and vegetables – I would not supplement with probiotics from (online) shops.
  5. Some people eat all kinds of seeds on a paleo diet (e.g. flax seed flour or other gluten-free flour). If you eat such seeds and have still health problems, I would suggesting looking into whether these are the cause.
Go ahead, try changing your diet, see if it helps you – no doctor can do that for you.

*I suspect that cow-protein in dairy elicits an (auto-)immune response in some people, and once your body reacts in that way to dairy, cow-protein in beef might cause a similar reaction. Some proteins in dairy and in beef might be similar (or even the same), as they are from the same animal – duh! And if it is auto-immune, then even gras-fed beef will not help.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I thought of posting a few tips that may be helpful in your diet research.

    If you are fighting some food intolerances then it is of course prudent to avoid the most obvious offenders. For some people it could be dairy and eggs. Before you do that, however, I would recommend first to bring the macronutrient ratio to a somewhat more optimal low carb point, if you are not already there.

    That is, not only follow Paleo principles, but also make sure that the clear majority of calories are from animal fat, not protein and not carbs. It has to be much above 50% preferably closer to 70-80%. I would not really worry too much if that is Paleo or not Paleo, but I think it is worth to give it a try and see if it works for you.

    Secondly, make the intake of carbohydrates about 50g a day (or more precisely about 0.7g/kg of ideal body weight). This is in glycemic load, for example, it would be about 250g in total boiled potatoes weight etc.

    Thirdly, I would completely avoid all wheat (rye, spelt etc) and all wheat products.

    For people who just begun a high fat low carb, and have metabolic syndrome, that carb intake may have to be even slightly lower, about 0.3-0.5g/kg initially (but not zero!).

    If you never tried it you may be surprised how well it may works. (I have been doing it since 1999).

    Stan (Heretic)


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