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The Paleo Diet


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I'm trying it for a month starting today but I put some cheese on my egg for breakfast today. Whoops. One concern I have about the Paleo Diet is that if I do it I may not see any big differences and then not being able to eat grains/dairy afterward. Which would suck because I'd have to give up my favorite foods, which I can do for a month no problem, but not my whole life.

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You'll be surprised, Ninja. After a while grains start to taste like styrofoam, and you will notice a difference in how you feel. Pay attention to energy levels, endurance, how well you sleep, your mood, your complexion, your hair and nails. You'll notice a difference.

That said, it's not that you CANNOT eat non-primal foods, really. Moderation in all things, right? It's just that you start to seem them as they junk they are, so they're an ocassional treat instead of a staple of your diet.

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But I've heard that it's physically impossible to digest grains after you are on the diet for a while. You'll get an upset stomach, acid reflux, etc. Is this true?

Any time that I eat the gluten containing grains now, after not eating them in months, I do experience problems. I know that some people have no problems though. It will depend on how sensitive you are to them after giving them up.
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I wouldn't say physically impossible, just more difficult. It's a question of how often you eat them. Your body adjusts to your chosen diet. If you don't eat them at ALL for a short while, say a week, then you notice how crappy you feel when you eat them. Your body hasn't changed, you just notice what they do to you.

After a month or two, your digestion stops producing the enzymes to break down grains. The body is very efficient, so why waste proteins making them when you don't use them. At that point your body is like "ah, wth is this?!" when you eat them, and it gives you issues. This is easily reversable... a couple of days of consuming grains and you'll be back to the "wow, grains make me feel crappy but I can digest them" stage.

But if you eat them as the occassional treat, once a week or whatever, then your body will never forget how to deal with them. You just notice their effects.

And obviously, everyone is different.

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But I've heard that it's physically impossible to digest grains after you are on the diet for a while. You'll get an upset stomach, acid reflux, etc. Is this true?

Not sure about humans, but ruminants that are fed grains (cattle and sheep on modern industrial farming operations where grain finishing is the norm) do have to be carefully adapted to the high grain diets or they will die during the transition. Feeding them high grains diets also changes the PH of their rumen, making it more acid. This in turn means that the naturally occurring E. coli bacteria population becomes more acid tolerant. The deadly E. coli that can kill humans is an acid adapted variety.

While you may not be totally unable to digest grains if you never eat them you will have a hard time because your gut will have changed the naturally occurring flora to handle the foods you do eat in larger quantities. How that affects you will be different for everyone. Some folks can tolerate a wider variety of food than others.

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It's not blood Ph, the body is very very good at keeping blood at the correct levels. It's the rumen flora that change. In monogastrics like humans, pigs, and hind gut fermenters like horses it will be changes in the intestinal bacteria. The real problem comes from contamination. Omnivores and carnivores all typically have very high acid stomachs. The high acid will kill any bacteria that contaminate the meat from typically low acid herbivores. But we humans push the herbivores into huge factory farms, stuff them full of more grain than they normally get, change the rumen & intestinal bacteria to be more acid loving because we've changed the environment in which the food is digested and then act surprised when any small contamination issue causes human illness and death because we can no longer digest the contaminating bacteria but instead get infected by them.

That's why to me grass/forage finished meats are more important as a first line on the diet compared to no grains at all. I still believe that even early hominids ate grains when they could get them. The key for me is seasonally, and also that the meats they ate were not force fed grains.

Our sheep go around in the fall and strip the grass seed heads off the grasses in the pasture. You see deer and elk doing that as well. So ruminants do get grain in the wild just not the amounts we feed our factory farmed meat animals.

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Are you sure the body is good at keeping blood and tissues to the accepted levels? A 5 minute search seems to imply that there is research being done on creating more alkaline environments in human bodies to reduce cancer growth. Sigh. I guess I'll put that on my list to do some in depth investigation at some point.

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Back to the subject!

Behold, an arbitrary list of the worlds healthiest foods! http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

Ignore the grains and legumes, check out the rest. There are plenty of good cooking tips and recipes on this website as well, many of which can be adapted to paleo easily.

What an awesome list. All my favourite foods are on there! Watermelon. It makes me smile. I think I'll go have a slice...:D

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Are you sure the body is good at keeping blood and tissues to the accepted levels?

I probably should have said in a normal healthy body. Disease can cause all sorts of problems. And you can also tweak the body chemistry to retard or enhance growth of tumors. But in an average healthy body the ph isn't going to vary much at all based on what you eat but your intestinal ph and flora will. What is different is the tube within a tube portions of our anatomy. So the digestive tract can be very different from the body as a whole. Ditto for the reproductive tract. Which is why changing the ph of the repro tract in the female in mammals can change the sex selection for the resulting offspring. Male and female sperm have different ideal ph requirements. There is also normal variation in humans, so you can't say that ph of x is the absolute, it will have a range and there will always be the high end outliers, the ends of the bell curves where something that will cause disease in one human will be normal for another.

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Does anyone have any relatively inexpensive suggestions when it comes to following this. I live on a pretty insignificant income, and things are just going to get harder to stick with when I'm off at Basic, but I'd like to get a solid start on this and just don't think I can afford to eat this well. I mean spaghetti is four meals for like three or four dollars, where I spend at least twice that much just on the ingredients to make a decent salad that's good for a couple of meals. It's tough stuff.

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i keep costs down by buying meat in bulk. if i can buy something when it's really cheap, i buy a lot of it and freeze it.

i also read the weekly grocery store fliers and make a few trips (i'm lucky, 3 grocery stores on one street) and save a lot of money that way.

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Does anyone have any relatively inexpensive suggestions when it comes to following this.

Buy whole (or half) animals direct from a farmer for your meat. Better quality and you get full on it faster plus it's less expensive if you figure all the cuts you get off a whole animal and the fact you pay the same price for everything that way.

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Wow, very cool (well except the carb thing Alethea ((mainly because mine is WAAAAY up there)), I'm glad I've read this, and I think I'm going to try to go Paleo, but in a different way (only because I have a real issue just tossing things out that are 'perfectly good') so I'm going to ease into it where when my non-Paleo item runs out, I'll be replacing it with a Paleo solution.

I just have a few questions: A.) I like eating sandwiches, so what are the 'Paleo' substitutions for that? (Generally these are in the lunch I pack for work) B.) I know alethea says she only eats a single serving of fruit a day, I generally have an orange and an apple/pear, am i over doing it? C.) I like fish sticks sometimes cause they are fast, what's the substitution for that? D.) Final one, I promise, Have you guys ever thought of making a Paleo 'survival kit' list? I only ask cause I have little to no cooking skill (I cook well enough to survive) and you know I often wonder if some of the ingredient I use or even cookware being changed could change my outlook on the Paleo diet. Thanks!

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Good news, RCarper! If you go paleo, you will learn how to cook. : P

a) Sandwiches, sadly, will become a rare treat for you. I wish I could say different. Instead, I suggest you pack up leftovers (cook double batches), and bring THOSE for lunch if you have access to a microwave. Or salad!

B) For fruits... here's the thing. You want your daily carbs to be under 100g, and ideally under 70g. One apple is 17g. One navel orange is 21g. So together thats 38 grams of carbs, or over half your daily allowance. So you can eat them, certainly (I've been enjoying 2 fruits a day lately), but it limits your food options for the rest of the day. In comparison, a carrot is 6g of carbs.

c) Instead of fishsticks, cook fish. It's far more delicious and healthy, and takes less time than fish sticks - a thick filet can be sauteed in olive oil in less than 10 minutes. http://busycooks.about.com/od/howtocook/a/howtocookfish.htm

d) we really should.

Think Real Food. Be a food snob. Learn to love the taste of fresh, quality ingredients.

Cook the way your great grandmother would have. Buy a cast iron frying pan at a flea market. Not only does it give you iron in your food, and make food taste better, but the things are damn heavy. Strength training!

Only eat foods who's ingredient list contains things you'd have in your kitchen (i.e., no calcium sulfate or nonsense like that).

Flip through paleo recipes online, and realize you can make any one of them, and it will taste fantastic.

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