Softpaleo basics

CowThere is lots of great information around about the how and why of the Paleo way of eating. But everybody is different, and there are slightly different approaches out there.

In Sweden, the Low Carb High Fat diet is gaining momentum, thanks to Andreas Eenfeldt md. See his blog on www.dietdoctor.com. Paleo isn’t necessarily low in carbs and high in fat, although if you eliminate refined carbs, you automatically lower your intake of carbs. It seems this approach is especially valuable for losing weight, for treating or at least managing diabetes and some other metabolic diseases.

The science to back all these claims up? Man, there is some good science, and luckily for us, one terrific science writer, who has gone out of his way – non commercially – to cover all the fascinating latest nutrition subjects on his invaluable blog. You can find it here, it is in Dutch. Melchior is currently working on a book, which I hope will be an absolute bestseller.

Other interesting folks for you to google: Gary Taubes, Weston A. Price, William Davis, Mark Sisson, Professor Noakes and his foundation In South Africa, and many more.

You will find different versions of paleo, but they all highlight whole, natural foods that our ancestors in the paleolithic would recognize.

The basics as we practice them are:

  • We say no to grains, or at the very least to wheat. Most grains contain antinutrients that hinder the normal uptake of vitamins and minerals. And they contain gluten and lectins, which is bad for most people’s gut linings, i.e. they cause leaky guts and trick your immune system into attacking itself. Read up about this on William Davis’ wheat belly blog, see google. Because we’re softies, we do eat rice now and again, supposedly the most benign of the grains.
  • We say no to seed oils like sunflower oil, and to transfats like margarine. These are all the unnatural fats. Even if plant based, they are in fact the rancid, deodorised end product of an industrial process and can cause cardiovascular disease. Google the enlightening work by Mary Enig and watch the youtube video ‘the oiling of america’ for more information.
  • We say no to refined carbohydrates and sugars, which are more or less the same, since upon ingestion, they turn to glucose very fast. Eating sugars spikes your insuline production. Do it too often and it will start causing you trouble. Lots of diseases have their basis in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Cancer, so it seems, is a metabolic disease enhanced by sugar. So is diabetes, of course.
  • We say yes to whole foods, like all meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and some fruits. I prefer to buy mostly organic, for health, animal welfare and environmental reasons.
  • We say yes to healthy fats, like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, lard and tallow, or bacon and egg yolks, and butter. Animal fats definitely need to be organic or pastured, i.e. they need to be from grass-fed animals. This alone will ensure the presence of healthy omega 3 fats as opposed to the ubiqitous omega 6 .
  • We do dairy, which is not strictly paleo since it has not been around for long. Some people may not be adapted to dairy. Milk is a no no for most people and is not needed for calcium, by the way. But some sources say dairy is ok if well tolerated. We do eat a lot of cheese and butter, and full fat yoghurt. It is not strictly paleo, hence the soft in soft paleo. We seem to tolerate it, and we cannot miss it.
  • Also not strictly paleo, but we do drink our wine, mostly red, no beers or stronger stuff. Alcohol has been around for as long as fallen fruits have fermented, after all, and wine making seems to have preceded bread making. So there.
  • Not strictly paleo either, but we do recreate some non paleo ‘treats’ once in a while. I make my own faux breads from nut meals so that we would have something breadlike for social occasions, or pancakes from eggs and bananas…, so you will find ingredients for these in the shopping lists.
  • Occasionally, we have a great non paleo but of course always gluten free dessert or some chocolate.
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