Paleo is a long-term diet. This is a way of eating for life.
Paleo is a very popular autoimmune diet for many. The top two offenders: dairy and grains (and as a result, gluten) are not allowed, therefore, many find relief when following a Paleo diet.
Robb Wolf, one of the world’s leading paleolithic nutrition experts, and whose book, The Paleo Solution, brought me a greater understanding and respect for the approach, explains:
The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.
WHAT TO EAT ON A PALEO DIET:
- Lean proteins
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Healthy Fats from Nuts, Seeds, Avocados, Fish Oil, Olive Oil, and Grass-Fed Meats
FOODS TO AVOID ON THE PALEO DIET
- Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts)
- Cereals and Grains
- Refined Sugars and Sweeteners
- Refined Seed Oils
- Dairy (Ghee, clarified butter is allowed if tolerated)
One of the common misconceptions is that the Paleo diet involves eating bacon and red meat all day every day. This is not true, as the focus is to improve health by increasing nutrients, which requires eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds as well.
The Autoimmune Protocol is a specialized version of the Paleo diet, an elimination diet designed to help identify food sensitivities, which can impede our ability to heal.
For many, a Paleo approach will bring about relief and improvement, at least initially, but for others, an elimination diet is necessary to rule out foods that, while allowed on Paleo, may still be problematic. This is where AIP comes in.
This diet is intended to be followed for a few months, then foods approved for the Paleo diet, but excluded from the protocol can slowly be re-introduced.
Sarah Ballantyne, the author of the book, The Paleo Approach, further explains:
The goal of the Autoimmune Protocol is to flood the body with nutrients while simultaneously avoiding any food that might be contributing to disease (or at the very least interfering with our efforts to heal). It is an elimination diet strategy, cutting out the foods that are most likely to be holding back our health. After a period of time, many of the excluded foods, especially those that have nutritional merit despite also containing some (but not too much) potentially detrimental compounds, can be reintroduced.
WHAT TO EAT ON THE AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL:
- Vegetables- Eat a Variety- all Colors and Type
- Fish and Shellfish
- Organ Meats
- Quality Meats
- Quality Fats
- Probiotic/ Fermented Foods
- Bone Broth
FOODS TO ELIMINATE WHILE ON THE PROTOCOL
- Nightshades (white potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, tomatillos)
- Spices derived from Nightshades
- Sweeteners with no nutritional value (stevia included)
- Coffee and other seeds
- Food additives and emulsifiers
- NSAIDS (ie-Ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin)
- Foods your body may react to if you are Gluten sensitive
This autoimmune diet is challenging but very beneficial for those looking to uncover food sensitivities so common and problematic, especially for those with autoimmunity.
Whole30 is also a specialized, short-term approach that involves removing problematic foods for thirty days. It’s considered a reset.
It is strict, but many foods not allowed on AIP (nightshades, coffee, for example) are okay here as long as they are whole foods.
A driving philosophy is- The fewer ingredients, the better.
Whole 30 is often referred to as, “Paleo with potatoes,” but that is too simplistic.
Melissa Hartwig, the creator of Whole30 and author of, It Starts with Food, explains:
Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition, like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, or chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?
Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the reset button.
WHAT TO EAT ON WHOLE30
Moderation is key
- Vegetables (white potatoes are allowed)
- some Fruit
- Healthy Fats
FOODS TO AVOID ON WHOLE30
- Dairy- (ghee is okay)
- Legumes (beans of any kind)- includes soy
- Sweeteners (artificial or natural)
- Alcohol- even for cooking
- additives like msg and sulfites
- Baked and treats goods made from “approved” ingredients
The idea here is to reset your body. This is a great starting point before transitioning to a traditional Paleo diet if you are already aware of food sensitivities.