This isn’t an easy post for me to write. It isn’t easy because I am irritated, aggravated, and emotionally torn over a situation that is not my own, but one of my friends. A really close friend of mine has been struggling for years now with hyperlipidemia. To date, he is only 22 years old but has spent countless times in and out of Dr’s offices, told to do the same thing over and over and over again. “Take you meds, and eat the standard American diet”.
It all sounds too familiar, and strikes a chord with my own story.
5 years ago, I was at my wits end just like my friend, left out to dry with nothing but a bottle of anti-depressants and no solid medical advised for what to do with my thyroid that was on the fritz. As a recap from my about me page, I was told to hang on for God only knew how long until my thyroid glad would shut down so I could be placed on hormone therapy. During the beginning of my bout with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I was suffering with hyperthyroid symptoms. I had lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks, my hair was falling out and I had palpitations all throughout the day. After that, I had the pleasure of dealing with hypothyroid symptoms (fatigue, lethargy, depression, weight gain) once my antibody levels were taking a hiatus form destroying my thyroid gland. Had it not been for a friend of mine that gave me a glimpse of hope that a specific diet could reverse disease, I would not be where I am today. In fact, I was so miserable I may not even be here today, and that’s real talk ya heard?
I want to present some interesting evidence here in favor of the Paleo Diet, while at the same time, showing the skew in our current food system that makes eating healthy so difficult. I realize that this post is a lengthy one, but sometimes you have to take a stand and fight for what you believe in. I want to note that I am not a nutritionist nor medically trained. I am a lay person who struggled for years only to finally reach my summit of health. I should note though, that I am now a Beyond Organic Certified Health Coach. While this does NOT make me a nutritionist, it most certainly DOES mean that I have a well versed knowledge of the biological properties of organically grown, and grass fed food products. In addition, I have been educated on how such foods are grown, prepared, and ultimately how organically grown and grass fed products effect the body. In addition to that, having had my own success with the Paleo Diet has lead me to a personal understanding of how diet can reverse disease. With all this on my plate, it’s time to reveal some articles I looked up specific to my friends case.
First of all, a bit on the Paleo Diet. So, what is this diet anyway? This is not just another low carb diet (in fact, i’d say it’s more moderate in carb content than the stereotypical Atkin’s diet). In short, it’s a diet of no grains, no dairy, no refined sugar, but rich in furits, vegetables, healthy fats and an abundance of protien sources. It is the diet of our “paleolithic” (hence the term “paleo”) ancestors. Our hunter and gather ancestors were required to go after free range game, and gather wild fruits and vegetables. Their diet was rich in dietary protein sources, fats, but moderate (if not moderately low) carbohydrate sources. What does this have to do with lipid metabolism? A WHOLE HELL OF ALOT! Time to get nerdy.
Here are some interesting articles on how a low carbohydrate diet will actually reverse hyperlipidemia. This is not an all inclusive list, but they are short and simple enough to understand. More articles related to this can be found straight from Dr Loren Coradin’s book “The Paleo Diet” and Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Diet Solution” (believe me, if I had the time to cite every last study from those two books I would. But the list is HUGE! Don’t’ believe me? Check the references in the back of each of those books).
Moving beyond the hyperlipidemia issue, my dear friend has a chief complaint of aches, pains, and serious stiffness. When I asked him if he was eating a lot of grains, his response was yes. My reaction? “Bro, it’s the grains!” Seriously, grains contain two key ingredients that wreak havoc on the body. Those ingredients are lectins and phytates. Lectins actually inflame your gut wall and can lead to multiple allergies, autoimmune problems, let alone malabsorption of nutrients. Phytates are known as anti-nutrients. Phytates are responsible for tightly binding together calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron in the grain itself. In fact, these minerals are so tightly bound by phytates that your body is UNABLE to absorb them (just so you know, this is directly out of Robb Wolf’s “Paleo Solution” book. Need the page numbers? 91-93!) My poor friends high carbohydrate diet is thus nutrient deficient, and when you’re body is starved for nutrients, it has no choice but to leech the minerals from…well..YOU! Thus you end up with the aches, pains, and stiffness.
So why then is it so hard for us in this country of America to eat this way? I am going to post a series of links to a five part series on YouTube. What you will see is that our current food system has made it increasingly more difficult (if not nearly impossible) to eat the way our ancestors eat. We are biologically made to eat a paleolithic diet, yet our food system feeds us everything but what we’re made to consume. Don’t believe me? Here’s the footage.
I tried to find parts four and five for you all, but YouTube has them hidden somewhere (side note: if anyone finds parts four and five, please post them in the comments section of this blog). None the less, I hope that the above videos and the information I have presented in this blog post have lead you to think about how our food system is set up, and why this system is directly opposed to how we are naturally inclined to eat.
Speaking of eating naturally in the midst of the skew of our food industry, check out this YouTube video that ties this all together!
With all this in mind, I will close this blog post with a few final thoughts. First, I want to make one thing clear about myself. This blog post was dedicated to the strict version of the Paleo Diet (i.e. no dairy). I have received some flack from promoting the dairy products I do on this website while calling myself a “paleo diet advocate”. Let me just say that for a period of almost 2 years, I consumed no dairy. NONE! It was not until recently having moved to the city with local farmers markets and getting involved with Beyond Organic did I start to add diary back into my diet. I follow Mark Sisson’s “Primal Blueprint” now, which is basically The Paleo Diet + Diary. The dairy I consume is rich in iodine, enzymes, and has very little lactose in it. It is all raw, grass fed dairy. These products have not adversely affected my blood work (I am routinely checked for thyroid antibodies and still, they have not increased. In fact, my antibodies have leveled off now after years of eating this way). Raw dairy is a safe bet for me. That being said, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND anyone with a current issue with an autoimmune problem to avoid ALL DAIRY for a period of 4 to 6 months, if not longer. You must starve your body of everything grain and dairy related until your body is functioning optimally. You may be able to tolerate raw dairy after your “fasting” period. As for grains though? KICK THEM TO THE CURB FOR GOOD!
Finally, a word for my dear friend, who I pray is reading this post. Again, I am not a certified nutritionist, but I have suffered enough with my own health to know what works and what doesn’t. Furthermore, my recent Beyond Organic Health Coach certification has given me the knowledge of just how important it is to eat local, organic, grass fed products. It truly does make a difference in your nutritional uptake and your overall health. Not only that, the information I have posted in this blog should serve it’s purpose. I am trying to help you understand the connection between diet and disease, and the connection between the food industry and disease. This is a serious problem we have in America and the average person, suffering as I was, nearly at their wits end, needs to know that there is still hope if you make the decision and effort to be healthy. I hope I have convinced you to think for yourself. Most importantly, I hope I have convinced you to take a serious look at this diet.
I urge you all reading this, no matter where you currently stand in your journey towards health, to wake up! Wake up and realize that it is our responsibility to educate others on the importance of eating clean. It is mind boggling that all this research on the diet-disease connection is out there for people to read, yet our medical community continues to feed people all the same garbage: eat the standard American diet and rely on medication.What’s with that? Really! WHAT IS UP WITH THAT!?!?!
If you do find that you need nutritional counseling, I know where you can get help. Please check out the following links to some hardcore Paleo people that will do what they can to get you to optimal health.
I will leave you all with the readings I have done through over the years that have kept me functioning at the highest level of health at the bottom of this page. All the books I will have will be linked to the main sites of the author’s. Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have pertaining to this blog post, and I will be happy to answer them as well as direct you towards any additional help you may need. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also feel free to leave comments at the bottom of this post as well. Finally, if you would like to actively participate in creating a better food system for America, I urge you to take a look at the recent Farm Bill that is in place. Take a look at it here. Until then, remember to always eat smart, train hard, and enjoy your life.