Monday, July 25, 2016

Paleo Changes You: Your Body Lets You Know Quickly When You Are Intolerant of Food

     Can I just start by saying that detoxes are not fun? Of course they aren't, but what does that have to do with this post? Well, a lot, actually. I enjoy talking about the benefits of Paleo and how delicious the food is, but I rarely talk about the downside, 1: because it only lasts a few days, and 2: because it stinks on ice!

     That said, when you first start Paleo, unless you go about it in a slow manner (i.e. introducing Paleo foods here, getting rid of non-Paleo foods there, little-by-little chipping away at your old habits), you will go through a detox period, and it will stink. You will have enormous cravings for the foods you are addicted to. You will have headaches and stuffy nose and skin breakouts and all the other fun things that go along with detox. But once you're past them, and you wake up to how good you feel, you won't want to go back to the old way of eating.

     And then you'll forget just how much of a difference you feel. It's natural. You'll think, "Eating bread didn't make me feel that bad. Drinking milk didn't make me bloated and gassy. I bet I could handle a small serving of baked beans. I miss them so much, and nothing compares." And you might be right.

     Then again, you might be wrong, and your body will let you know quickly. Recently my mom took the kids to a fast food place after my daughter's gymnastics lesson. She was in a hurry, and they were hungry, so she just ordered a chicken sandwich without the bun. She forgot completely that the chicken was battered and fried unless you specify otherwise.

     Victor got so sick from the breading that my mom was afraid he was going to coat the inside of her new vehicle with partially-digested sandwich. When they got home, Victor (my little one who never needed a nap, even when he was a toddler, who gets up bouncy and bright and argues about going to bed) got on the couch at 4:30 in the afternoon and fell asleep. He didn't sleep long, but he stayed on the couch the rest of the night. He couldn't eat his dinner. He just felt crummy.

     When you feel low-grade crappy all the time, it's hard to tell what makes you feel bad. I used to eat peanut butter almost every day. I also had mild rosacea that just wouldn't go away. Then I cut out the peanuts, and my skin cleared up a lot. Now when I eat something that I don't tolerate well, my skin flares up; my joints get stiff; I get bloated; all manner of little signs that I missed when I was eating stuff that I didn't tolerate well.

     How is intolerance different from allergy? Well, that's easy. An intolerance makes you feel bad in any number of little ways. Whereas an allergy can cause on the mild side: itching; on the moderate side: swelling, sneezing, itching, watery eyes, hives; and on the severe side: anaphylaxis or even death.

     So what are the signs of intolerance? There are so many, and they are so varied. Here's a list:
  • Forgetfulness
  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Emotional instability
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impaired coordination
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Melancholy
  • Nervousness
  • Nerve pain
  • Paranoid thinking
  • Violent behavior
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinusitis
  • Wheezing
  • Anemia
  • Chest pain
  • Edema
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat and pulse
  • Vein inflammation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Canker sores
  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis
  • Ulcers
  • Gas
  • Food cravings
  • Gagging
  • Gall bladder pain
  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Arthritis
  • Swollen joints
  • Back ache
  • Neck ache
  • Muscle pain
  • Acne
  • Cracked skin
  • Clammy skin
  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Bed wetting
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Menstrual problems
  • Ear aches
  • Failure to thrive (in infants)
  • Impotence
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Sneezing spells
  • Swelling of nose or around eyes
  • Ringing in ears
  Does any of this sound familiar? I'm sure it does. I know I had several on this list, and I'm not going to lie. It whomped! But now, unless I eat something that I know I shouldn't, or I get really stressed out, I don't have many days where I'm having to deal with these symptoms any more. YAY!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Turn Your Favorite Sandwich Into a Salad

     I hear it so often, I need a T-shirt. "I'd love to eat Paleo, but my family will never get on board with it." I don't understand this because Paleo is THE most delicious food I've ever eaten. I believe this statement to be the ultimate excuse because what people really want to say is, "I'm scared, and it sounds hard and like work, and I'm addicted to food that makes me feel bad, but I don't want to say that and hurt your feelings because you're so cute, and you're looking at me with your big, brown eyes. No, don't cry! Oh, dang! Fine. I'll try it." Look deep into my beautiful, bright eyes: "Try it; you might like it."

     I really do understand how giving up certain foods, especially sandwiches, can be hard and upsetting. They are easy, cheap, and fast to put together. Fresh tomatoes out of the garden? Why not throw together a BLT or a tomato sandwich? (This may be a Southern thing, but the difference is that a tomato sandwich is made with lots of mayo and black pepper. Lettuce and bacon are optional.) Hamburger meat? Shape it into a patty and throw it on a bun with accessories of your choosing (or not), and eat it with your face. Thanksgiving leftovers? Turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and a side of sweet potatoes because we all need a good carb-induced nap after Black Friday shopping.

     But do we need to eat grains? According to all things Paleo and all Paleo authors, we really don't. They don't offer any nutritional value that we can't get from other, more micro-nutrient-dense sources. They contain anti-nutrients that keep us from absorbing nutrients from other sources. And they are highly addictive.

     So what's a food-lover to do? Why not make your favorite sandwich into a salad? I hear some of you, "But salads are so boring. They're not food. They're what you eat while you're waiting for food." Or, "I ate a salad last night. Well... it was mostly a crouton and tomato. Ok, it was pizza. I ate a pizza." But I believe that the best salads are inspired by foods we really enjoy.

     What about that tomato sandwich? Take those garden-fresh tomatoes, slice them up, make a homemade mayo-black pepper dressing, and put it all in a big bowl with some fresh leaves of a variety of lettuces. BLT? Add bacon. Roast beef and cheddar? Get grass-fed/grass-finished roast beef, chop it into a lettuce-y base, go Primal and add real cheddar, or dress with "Cheesy" Paprika Ranch Dip.

     In fact, some of my favorite salad recipes that I've created and shared on this blog were inspired by some of my favorite sandwiches. Hamburger Salad and Fang Gang Salad were both inspired by our families favorite sandwiches. So indulge your craving for your favorite sandwich without the bread. It's still fast, relatively cheap, and way better for you.