Eating an anti-inflammatory diet like the Paleo diet isn’t just another fad diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is full of processed foods. Including inflammatory foods that are making us sick. Gluten, dairy, unhealthy fats, and refined sugar make up the majority of the SAD diet.
Grains, especially gluten, dairy, and legumes cause many people digestive issues and inflammation. Theses foods harm the immune system causing chronic inflammation and leading toward disease. After a long period of time, it leads to openings in the gut lining known as a “leaky gut.”
Learn how to remove gluten and dairy from your diet:
The gut linings job is to allow nutrients into your system and keep harmful toxins outs. When the gut becomes inflamed the tight junctions open up. This allows toxins to pass through and into the bloodstream. The immune system then sees these proteins as foreign invaders and attacks them. A leaky gut is a contributing factor to diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Type 1 Diabetes.
A nutritional Paleo lifestyle will provide anti-inflammatory foods. Which help heal your gut and replenish the gut flora with good bacteria. Researchers have discovered people with MS have different levels of certain bacteria. This could possibly lead to probiotic treatments in the future. It’s best to eat a nutrient-dense diet and avoid processed foods for improved health.
Changing from the SAD to eating an anti-inflammatory diet can seem overwhelming. But, the more you know the more comfortable you’ll feel with your new lifestyle. There are many versions of the Paleo diet, it’s best to start with a basic version. From there, you’ll learn which foods are best for you. It wasn’t until I did an elimination diet that I realized I was also sensitive to tomatoes.
Understanding the basis of the Paleo diet will make the transition easier. The Paleo diet may seem restrictive at first but you need to keep the end results in mind. And that is a healthier and more energetic body. Since I started eating real foods over thirteen years ago, I haven’t had an MS attack since.
Many years ago I discovered the story about Roger MacDougall. Doctors diagnosed him with MS in 1953 and eventually became “terminal disability.” Once he started using food as his medicine his MS went in remission. Years later all his symptoms reversed and he was able to run up and down the stairs.
It wasn’t until Loren Cordain’s book, The Paleo Diet, published in 2001, that Paleo became popular. Loren was the person who coined the phrase “Paleo” from our paleolithic ancestors.
Increasing Essential Nutrients
Embracing the Paleo lifestyle you’ll be increasing your essential nutrients. Vegetables are now your main course at every meal including breakfasts. It’s important to include a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables. They increase nutrients and vitamins, such as fiber.
- Dark leafy greens
- Colored (especially colored all the way through, not white)
- Cruciferous (broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.)
You’ll also include:
- Bone broth
- Grass-fed meats
- Healthy fats and oils (avocado oil, coconut milk, coconut oil, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds
- Pasture-raised poultry and eggs
- Sea vegetables
- Wild-caught fish
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Throw Away The Junk Food!
It’s time to give away or throw away all processed and junk foods. No more eating at fast food restaurants, pizza delivery, or boxed meals. Instead, you will be preparing all your meals from home with an occasional meal at a nice restaurant.
Hopefully, your family is on board with you. If not, you can make a certain area in the pantry and refrigerator just for you. This is what I had to do plus, I asked my family not to eat junk food in front of me. They were very understanding and cooperated.
Instead of loading up your pantry all at once, make a grocery list and add on as necessary. This will be a lot easier on your wallet. Include fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, meats, healthy oils, herbs, and spices.
Creating Paleo Meals
Like I said earlier, vegetables are your main course and meats are now eaten in moderation. It’s best to eat locally grown, organic as much as possible to avoid pesticides. If you can’t eat organic all the time, at least avoid produce with the most pesticides.
Find out which foods have the most pesticides by reading:
The best part about eating Paleo is the flavor of foods. Food taste much better compared to processed foods. I use to like the smells coming from fast food restaurants, now all I smell is the grease. – Yuck!
As you begin to cook your meals, keep it simple. There are recipes on this website like Easy One Pan Rosemary Chicken with Veggies. There are also thousands of recipes online and on Pinterest. Look for recipes with just a few ingredients to save you time and money. Don’t forget to add herbs and spices to add flavor to each meal.
Breakfast always seems to be tough for people just starting out. Unfortunately, the SAD includes mainly gluten for breakfast (cereal, donuts, pancakes, etc.). On the basic Paleo diet eggs and bacon are still okay to eat (don’t eat eggs if you have a sensitivity to them). Leftovers from the previous dinner is a simple and quick breakfast. Green smoothies with a small amount of fruit are also great for breakfast.
Check out this delicious green smoothie recipe:
Condiments from the grocery store include unwanted ingredients like sweeteners and artificial additives. It’s very easy to make your own at home and more delicious. However, I have found that eating real food is so delicious I don’t need to cover them up with condiments.
The Paleo diet allows a few alcoholic beverages like wine and tequila. But, it’s best to avoid them entirely because it can increase the damage to the central nervous system. It also creates an inflammatory response and increases your blood sugar. Many people with MS end up having a flare after consuming any amount of alcohol.
If you do decide to drink alcohol, only drink it on occasion and in small amounts. You’ll have to pay attention to your body’s reaction. You may need to remove alcohol until your body has healed.
It’s extremely helpful changing over to a healthier diet when you plan ahead. Plan meals before going to the store, make a grocery list and stay away from processed foods. Fortunately, real food seems to be on the outer grocery aisles making it easier and quicker to shop.
Double the recipe for breakfast or lunch the next day. You can even freeze it for days you don’t feel like cooking. Always keep snacks available or you’ll find yourself eating something you shouldn’t.
- Applegate lunch meats (check the ingredients)
- Bare apple chips
- Beef jerky
- Dark chocolate (over 70% cocoa)
- Fermented veggies
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Lara bar (check ingredients)
- Liver pâté
- Nuts & nut butter (not peanut)
- Pickles (naturally fermented)
- Plantain chips
- Salmon (wild-caught, canned)
- Sardines (wild-caught, canned)
- Sauerkraut (naturally fermented)
- Smoked salmon (wild-caught, canned)
- Sweet potato chips
- Tuna (wild-caught, canned)
Remember to eat natural, unprocessed foods and always read the labels. If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. It doesn’t have to be hard, stick to the basics, experiment, and enjoy your new lifestyle.
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