Sunday, January 15, 2012

[Article] The Paleo Diet

Paleo Diet

  • Is it a good diet?
  • Is it a good transition diet to raw veganism?
  • Is it healthy for most people?
  • Will it heal disease?
  • Will it help you lose weight?

I've only recently learned about the paleo diet, and I'm actually quiet excited about it. The guidelines of a paleo diet are very much like the guidelines I started out with for myself when trying to heal my stomach ulcers and stop the constant acid reflux, painful burping and smelly gas.

Meat & Eggs

The paleo diet is not vegan or even vegetarian. It includes meat and eggs, however, it is very specific that the meat has to be of good quality. The animals have to be pasture-raised on a completely natural diet. Chickens should be out in the sun eating insects and grain. Cows should be roaming and eating grass. Fish should be wild, or at least fed the same diet as a wild fish.

Low-Fat

Some people who promote the paleo diet says that the animal-products in the paleo diet should be low fat. This makes sense, since animal fat is full of toxins. All animals, including humans, store toxins in fat cells. If you're having trouble losing weight on a diet that should promote weight loss, it is likely that you are retaining fat due to toxin exposure. (Laundry detergent, deodorant, make-up and house-hold cleaners are come sources of toxic chemicals.)

No Dairy

What is very interesting is that the paleo diet does not contain dairy. This is fabulous. It's hard to get ahold of raw milk legally, for one thing. Another problem is the production of cheese and all the mold-waste-products present in the cheese. Another issue is that diary products are high in fat and they are often consumed with sweetened products (breads, granola, grains, desserts) which cause your digestive system to come to a complete halt.

Food Combinations

Mixing a high-fat food with a high-sugar food in one meal is the worst possible food combination for health. And most everything high-fat is also high-protein. Protein, fats and sugars require completely different digestive envirnments. Your stomach can't turn clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time, and that is essentially what you are asking it to do when you eat such a complex meal. (Your stomach does not actually spin, I'm making a silly comparison. This is your que to laugh out loud and enjoy my very great sillness and light-hearted approach to this serious topic.)

I go into more detail about food combinations in my article about raw vegan protein.

Legumes

The paleo diet also includes vegetables, but no legumes – which I think is great. The reasoning is that "if you can't eat it raw, don't eat it." Even if you're going to cook it, you still should be able to eat it raw. Peanuts are a legume, and it would be great if people stopped eating peanuts for a number of reasons.

A mold, called aspergillus, is very common in peanuts. It produces a mold-waste product called aflatoxin. This toxin is similar in bodily damge to cigarette smoking. It is held by some that aflatoxin is the reason for peanut allergies.

Some paleo diets also suggest avoiding green beans and peas because they are legumes. However, green beans and peas can be eaten raw, so that doesn't follow the 'don't eat it because it can't be eaten raw' rule.

Beans are extremely hard to digest — they take about six hours in a healthy digestive system. If someone ate beans by themselves, and waited six hours before eating anything else, and also had a very healthy digestive system and lifestyle, then I highly doubt beans would hurt them at all.

However, if someone has any digestive issues, beans must be avoided entirely, so it makes sense for a diet to come along and say "hey, don't eat legumes."

I used to have stomach ulcers, candida, leaky guy syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux. Just a small half cup of beans is still something that I can not eat (last time I checked – which was around September 2011, as of January 2012.)

Beans should not be eaten before bed, because digesting during sleeping hours throws of hormonal balances (which is a long discussion in its own right.)

Food timing and food combination are critical points to consider.

When people say, "oh, people are different" they do not mean genetically. For 99.99% of your genes, or more, we're exactly identical. What makes the difference is location, toxin exposure and medical history. And now, I'd like to also point out: culture. When you eat and what combinations you eat also affect your experience of the world: your experience of food.

A person who follows beans with fruit may feel very sick. The same person may feel great if they ate beans alone and waited at least four hours before eating anything else.

I have no idea if the person who came up with the paleo diet thought about all of that, but in any event, I support the idea of not eating legumes.

Nuts
Nuts and seeds on a paleo diet are generally allowed, but limited to one ounce (two tablespoons) per day. This is a very reasonable amount that I can readily agree with. I would advice making those two tablespoons a rotation between almonds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and the occasional Brazil nut.

Nuts in general can contain mold waste. For this reason, it may be best to avoid nuts unless they come directly from the shell. However, I've not seen any mention of avoiding nuts, or mentioning the danger of mold-waste on any of the articles I've read about the paleo diet. So apparently this "movement" doesn't know about that detail.

I have read however that many paleo diet gurus suggest "no cashews" for the reason that they can't be readily consumed raw.

I also applaud this part of the guidelines. Cashews must be hand-cracked with much effort to be eaten raw, and even then it can be dangerous because of toxins in the shell of the cahsew. This is why 'raw cashews' are your grocery store are not raw. They are simply not-roasted.

Roasting nuts, beans, or anything, does create acrylimide, another type of toxin. Any form of cooking that causes browning creates this toxin. So it is still better to get raw nuts than roasted nuts, even if the 'raw nut' was still boiled out of its shell. Nevertheless, I think cashews are an inferior food choice when it comes to nutrition and optimal health.

Fruits

Fruits are not limited in a paleo diet, which shows some sense. Low carb diets can really tick me off, as so many problems are caused by high-fat and high-protein diets. (Not that I'm trying to deny the need for fats and protein: it is only that it is senseless to consume them in high volumes unless you are an athlete.)

Oils

One part I do not agree with is the concept of oils being fine, with no particular regulation on the oils. I think oil is the downfall of many so-called healthy diets. As soon as you've got two tablespoons of oil slathered all over your cabbage, kale or spianch, you're getting 80% of the calories from fat.

I especially would not agree with the concept of canola oil being okay.

No Wheat

I'm very pleased to see a diet come along that says "no white sugar, no legumes and no wheat." That is ground breaking for most Americans. The way wheat is processed is inefficient. Flour is oxidized to the point of nearly all nutrient loss. White flour is refined, stripping away the protective fiber and beneficial nutrients. Then it sits about for months in plastic contains picking up xeno-estrogen and becoming rancid. And then people consume it in horrific food combinations with diary, processed sugar and dried fruits.

Paleo Diet Premise

I read through several sets of paleo diet guidelines. One of them contained absurdly terrible things like "coffee and diet soda" being okay in whatever amount you desire.

However, one very sensible site put forward the strong importance of eating only foods that are whole, and have been available to mankind for thousands of years. Diet soda is niether a whole food or a food that was made in the past. Diet soda wasn't even around in the 1800s, much less in 100 A.D.

The same principle applies to canola oil. We didn't eat in 100 A.D. and we don't need to eat it now.

Toxic "Foods"

I certainly agree that the most toxic items being consumed today are white sugar, corn syrup, white flour and conventional soy (gmo).

Standard American Diet versus Paleo Diet

Removing many common food toxins in the American diet has a tremendous result. I still vividly remember what a huge difference it made in my life just to remove high fructose corn syrup and white sugar from my diet. Anyone who still consumes these toxins will benefit highly from a paleo diet.

Someone who is already vegan can benefit from removing corn syrup, white sugar, wheat and legumes from their diet.

Ethics

I’m in disagreement with most vegans I've encountered.

I did not get into raw veganism from the “don’t murder animals or exploit living creatures” standpoint.

As far as I’m concerned, mass-harvesting vegetables can be an ethical crime, and mono-crops of corn is absolutely an ethical crime. One good book that explains why mono-crops and pesticides are so horrible is Empty Harvest by Bernard Jensen.

Many animal-free options are more detrimental to the overall eco-system of the planet than “animal exploitation.” Destroying an entire ecosystem not only tortures and poisons the animals, but also the plants, soil and air. It doesn't make any sense to shun eating meat and then drink a bottle of soda.

The ecological impact of soda is explained in this entry here.

Synthetic fabrics often create so much waste to create that they destroy acres and acres of land, whereas wool only makes sheep cold (it doesn’t destroy the entire habitat for all the plants and animals where the sheep roam).

I want the world to be healthier and cleaner for everyone. Humans and all forms of animal, as well as plants. Forests should be honored and preserved. Oceans should never be polluted. Rivers should not be waste-dumps.

It's great to become a vegetarian or a vegan, but it is hypocritical to preach about "saving the animals" while practicing dozens of other habits that pollute the world and take away the natural habitat of wild animals.

Paleo Diet versus Raw Veganism

The “need” for raw-veganism is not that the human body can not thrive with animal products or cooked foods included.

It’s obvious that the human body can thrive while including cooked foods, such as long-grain brown rice, boiled vegetables, wild-fish and grass-fed beef.

Yet, more and more people are turning to raw veganism because it makes them feel better and heals them. Why is that?

A raw vegan diet puts someone on a slow detox, even if they don’t do a lot of juicing. Almost any cooked food stops the body from removing toxins. So anybody with severe toxicity may require a raw vegan diet to fully heal.

However, for people who never had mercury poisoning, never smoked, and have not taken anti-biotics more than once, a diet including cooked foods and even quality animal products can be quite robust.

Even if I did have access to meat I considered "safe" for consumption, I still may refuse to consume it due to ecological concerns. That, however, is different from health concerns.

I want to emphasize this however: Animal fat contains stored toxins. Livers store toxins. Meat has a high-concentration of a nearly-impossible-to-utilize protein. In other words: you need a very strong digestive system and immune system to handle meat.

This is why so many people feel so much better when they go vegan. We're already under stress from pollution coming from cars, cigarettes, planes, factories, and so forth. If your diet is not fully organic then you are being exposed to chemical insecticides. If you have carpets, then you're exposed to the chemicals put into that carpet. If you wear polyester you're exposed to xeno-estrogen. If you wear conventional cotton (which I'm wearing right now, unfortunately), then you're exposed to the chemicals used on the cotton. If you wear deodorant, make-up, perfume, etc, that isn't organic... I think you may be beginning to get the idea.

Bottom line: Animal products are an additional source of toxicity that you are free to avoid. My husband said when I met him, "I'll never be one of those crazy vegans." He was thinking about it from the standpoint of; "Animals hunt animals, I'm an animal, I can kill and eat an animal too." That is a valid standpoint, except that factory farming is not fair, not ecologically reasonable, and it is not sustainable and not efficient.

My husband is now 99% vegan and he says, "I really don't miss meat. I thought I would, but I really don't. On occasion, I want some fish, but on a day to day basis, it's great being a raw vegan." (He's had fish once in the past three months, maybe four months.)

Conclusion

The paleo diet, in my estimation, is mostly sensible in its premise and guidelines. If the entire world (except for current vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans) switched to a paelo diet, it would be more sustainable and healthy than the diets that most people follow today.

And in addition, vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans could take a few concepts from the paleo diet.

Vegetarians, vegans and raw vegans could stand to learn: No syrups, no granulated sweeteners, no powder sweeteners. That includes high fructose agave syrup (which is, in some ways, worse than high fructose corn syrup). No cashews, no peanuts. Nuts and seeds in moderation, averaging one ounce a day.

Vegetarians and vegans could stand to learn: No wheat, no legumes

Vegetarians could stand to learn: No dairy

Omnivores could learn all of the above, and also: Only pasture-raised meat that has not been giving antibiotics, gmo soy or corn, and has been raised outdoors in the sunlight and raised on its natural diet.

Your Questions Answered

  • Is it a good diet?

If you're coming from the standard American diet (S.A.D.), then absolutely.

  • Is it a good transition diet to raw veganism?

Yes. If you are currently moving towards raw veganism and eat a S.A.D. then you will experience benefits from the paleo diet that will make it easier to move towards a raw vegan diet.

  • Is it healthy for most people?

I think I've already answered this one plenty in my conclusion.

  • Will it heal disease?

No. This is not a detox diet. You need raw foods to detox, and a paleo diet still suggests much cooking.

However, if you had an allergy to corn syrup, or an allergy to pollen caused by corn syrup, this may dissipate.

Many toxins in the diet (such as aspartame) directly cause allergies, diseases and metal dysfunctions. Removing those toxins is sometimes enough to relieve an issue.

However, the paleo diet will do little to actually remove toxins from your body unless you regularly go onto a raw juice feast for one or two days out of the week.

  • Will it help you lose weight?

Yes. If you remove dairy from a diet high in cheese, milk and yogurt, that is a big start. If you remove soda, refined sugars, mono-sodium-glutamte, grains, flour, legumes, aspartame, trans-fats, etc, from your diet, then you will lose weight.

Another step you can take that will assist weight loss, without actually going fully raw vegan is to boil and steam food. Boiling and steaming food does not create acrylimide. Only frying, baking, toasting and otherwise browning the food causes acrylimde to form. By following the rule of only boiling or steaming, you can still enjoy hot food with less bodily damage.

Thank you for reading. I hope this has been helpful!

~ Raederle Phoenix

1 comment:

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