Saturday, August 4, 2012

Paleo Diet update

                                                                                                                    Paleo Brownie from Liz PCF

I am surprisingly still doing the Paleo lifestyle diet......well more or less.  The idea was to wake up my body and shed some pounds but secretly I thought I would have given up on it by now, 2 months later .

 With our society swimming in fake industrial foods and all of us addicted to cheap grains and sugar, I felt that my chances of sticking with it were fragile at best.    But I really wanted to scale back my dependencies and protest against all of the disgusting stuff disguised as edible one finds nowadays on super-market shelves even in France , the land of culinary sanity.

 Besides, I was tired in the morning before I even had "boots on the ground".  What was that about?

What is the Paleo Diet ?   According to Loren Cordain who wrote the original book , The Paleo diet",   touts the foods eaten by our ancestors 500 generations ago when we were hunter-gatherers.  These would be mostly fresh fruits, vegetables,  meats and seafood which are high in soluble fiber, antioxidant vitamins, phyto-chemicals, omega-3 and monounsaturated fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates that are known to promote good health .

 What is not on the list are refined sugars and grains, saturated and trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydtates and processed foods that are associated with heart disease, diabetes, and scores of other health problems.   The regime asks dieters to replace dairy and grain and legumes with fresh fruits and "veg".

All of this is designed to target against what are known as Syndrome X diseases ( obesity, hypertension, unsatisfactory blood cholesterol and other blood lipid levels, Type 2 diabetes and gout).

A complementary goal is to keep the body slightly alkaline, so that the disease symptoms of acid/base imbalance will improve.  The concerned diseases here are osteoporosis, kidney stones, hypertension, stroke, asthma, insomnia, motion sickness, inner ear ringing, etc.

  Now I don't knowingly have any of these diseases but I know that most of us in the western world do not have a good track record for staying disease-free as we age and so I am game to try to start now with a preventative approach to health.  Besides, I am really vain and want to look and feel as good as I can for my age group.  

I have done some cheating on the diet with cheese, cream in my coffee, and salt.  These are hardest to do without.   And I have craved desserts as I try to get off sugar.  Almost all of the recipes for "Paleo desserts" one finds online include either agave syrup, honey or Stevia.   But compared with white sugar, these concoctions are still in the safe zone if one does not indulge in them too often.   And 85% dark chocolate is allowed so... Whew.

I have asked all of the questions about calcium sources, B vitamin sources, cooking in ovens which Paleolithic man didn't have, and the short brutish lives of Paleo people etc..... and am more than satisfied with the answers I have found addressing these concerns.

 There are hundreds of sites about Paleo but one of my favorites is Marks Daily Apple .    This is not just a diet as you will see by looking at Mark's pictures.  Most of the people involved in the diet are cross-trainers and I too have started up with a walk or some yoga to get my body engaged again.  This is not an option for this life style.  You must do something physical to reap the benefits of Paleo and I am not a good swimmer, alas.

 The only side effects that I can see thus far into the exploration of Paleo are "monkey breath" (which happens if your protein to vegetable ratio gets out of whack) and muscle cramps in my legs which has happened three times already while I was asleep .Agggh.

So now I eat some bananas for potassium and take a multi-vitamin occasionally for magnesium.   I am still a lot better off than I was before as far as nutrients are concerned and best of all,  I no longer am hungry or feeling deprived in any way as I so always on calorie counting regimes.    I will never do one of those again.

Well, I shouldn't say that I don't feel deprived at all.  I did cheat on a cup of  "midnight cookie dough Haagen Daze" the other day and I was totally guilt free...perhaps not a good sign for my longevity with the Paleo plan.

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