One of the positive things about the Paleo diet is that it's not really an absolute demand for what you have to eat. Instead, it's more like a philosophy on nutrition where there's a lot of room to customize based on what works best for you. The idea is that our ancestors ate many different things that are more natural to humans before we first began farming around 10,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic. Before that time, our hunter/gatherer progenitors ate foods like fruit, fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. All that you need to do to eat a Paleo diet is to stick to the foods of early humans and skip the processed stuff. If you do that, you can eat anything you want within that limitation and be completely Paleo. In fact, it's encouraged that you pick what you want.
The Nightshade Family of Plants
Despite the name, most of the Nightshade family is full of vegetables and fruits. There's just the one that can be poisonous, generally. The others can cause digestive issues sometimes due to a compound called glycoalkaloids, but they all fit within Paleo. Examples include tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, paprika, cayenne peppers, paprika, cherries, and white potatoes among others.
Nightshade plants also contain another alkaloid called solanine which can be toxic in a high concentration. Most of them should be fine though, but that's where the individual testing comes in. Try them out and see how they work for you. Many of them have benefits like eggplants being high in fiber, tomatoes having helpful minerals and vitamins like biotin and zinc. They also have anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
FODMAP is an acronym describing substances that contain Fermentable substances including, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, or Polyols.
This designation is important because foods in this category tend to cause stomach trouble from digestion.
Breaking it down, the "O" in the name is a category that contains some legumes, wheat, rye, and a few specific vegetables and fruits like onions or garlic.
The "D" includes yogurt, milk, or softer cheeses. In other words, some foods that have lactose in them.
The "M" and the "A" have fruits like mangoes or figs or some sugar foods like honey. These foods often have fructose.
The "P" is also about fruits and these include blackberries and some other sweeteners.
Overall, FODMAPs are fermentable carbs. The foods cause digestive issues like bloating or even stomach pain in certain people. A lot of different foods have them. The problem happens because your stomach can't digest them easily and they tend to stick around too long until finally, the body's natural bacteria take care of them.
Paleo diets that avoid foods with a lot of FODMAP are beneficial because they help to protect people who have sensitive stomachs.
For example, if you have IBS, you have an 80% chance of having stomach pain that could be relieved by going low FODMAP.
You may need more than just eliminating FODMAPs, but it's often a good start. Again, Paleo gives you choices and you can avoid high FODMAP foods by switching them out for the staple foods of the Paleo diet like fish, nuts, seeds, and so on. These were the foods humans started out eating. Namely, they are foods from hunting or gathering before the age of farmers.
Paleo has its own variations, and one of them is the Autoimmune Protocol. The goal with this diet is to cut back on pain, inflammation, and other issues that occur for people who have autoimmune disorders like IBD, Celiac's, type 1 diabetes, or Lupus.
This is where the customization for Paleo comes in and why it's helpful. If you suffer from an Autoimmune disease of any strip, the AIP diet can help reduce your symptoms such as if you have stomach pain, pain in your joints, or exhaustion.
While there are different ideas about what causes autoimmune diseases like genes, stress, and others, there are also studies that indicate that certain individuals may show stronger symptoms due to problems with the gut barrier.
Particular foods can exacerbate these problems which are colloquially called a "leaky gut." The purpose of the AIP diet is to cut these foods out of your diet.
An example of such foods includes anything that contains gluten. This is based on gluten studies that indicate gluten can cause problematic immune responses. More studies are needed, but the food angle is a current one many people have adopted.
The AIP diet starts with cutting out legumes, seeds, nightshade vegetables, eggs, nuts, and dairy products. Paleo's flexibility shines here since nightshade vegetables are OK, but not required if you have an AI disease.
Next, they cut out NSAID drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin with a high dosage. Finally, many other drugs and refined substances are eliminated like processed sugars, some medications, food additives, oil, alcohol, coffee, and tobacco.
Next, it's time to focus on eating fresh foods that have the nutrients you need like bone broth and all-natural meat. All of this is called the "elimination phase."
You then go through the "reintroduction phase" where you will reintroduce some of the old foods, one at a time, to isolate which were giving you trouble. That way, you'll have a customized diet just for you.
Ketogenic just means that you have a diet low in carbs. This diet within Paleo focuses on proteins and fats instead of carbs. This means that you cut back on soda, sugar, parties, and white bread. If you cut back on carbs, then you'll start to actually use fat and protein instead which is better for losing weight if that is your aim. Some people aim for less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, with others trying to go for under 20 based on their condition.
Beyond weight loss, it can also aid in conditions like epilepsy and heart disease according to WebMD. Consulting a doctor is important here, however, since it may not be safe for everybody.
For more information on how a customized Paleo diet could work for you, please contact us today.