I am a Paleo / Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) follower because it's saved me from a life of poor health

Since February 2016, I have (more or less) followed a paleo diet, or rather the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet.  I also often talk about the Wahls Protocol, as I credit Dr Wahls for my health improvements over the past 18 months.  

A paleo diet is taking inspiration from hunter-gatherers, before the advent of agriculture.  Here are the quick headlines of the diet:

  1. Grain free: all grains/cereals are excluded.  It is believed that we have difficulty digesting all grains (not just gluten-grains) and grains contain a lot of "anti-nutrients" that basically flush out our system of all the goodness needed for our body to function properly (like iron, zinc, magnesium, etc)
  2. Dairy free: dairy is highly inflammatory and very few people can actually digest it (giving up milk was easy, giving up ice-cream and cheese especially was/is more tricky!)
  3. Focus on healthy fats:
    • Olive oil, coconut oil for the vegetarians oils
      • All other vegetable oils are out, as they are made from grains or seeds and are high in Omega 6, which is inflammatory (Omega 6s are good for you, as long as they are balanced with Omega 3s)
    • Goose fat, tallow (beef dripping), lard (pork) for the animal fats;
    • Omega 3 rich food: fatty fish (such as sardines, salmon, mackerel), avocados and nuts/seeds
  4. Vegetables & fruits should be consumed in abondance (min 7 portions a day, up to 12) and should be organic to avoid pesticides.  A big focus should be on green leafy vegetables (salads, spinach, chard, kale, etc) as they are chronically lacking in our western diets
  5. Animal protein sources should ideally be grass fed (for beef/lamb) and pasture raised / organic (for pork, poultry, etc), to ensure the meat as a higher concentration of Omega 3 fats and avoid antibiotics; fish should be wild (not farmed and if farmed, organic)
  6. Other exclusions include all processed foods, refined sugar, legumes (beans, lentils, peas)

AIP is slightly more restrictive diet, as it is an elimination diet, with several weeks eating only meat, fish, vegetables & fruits.  On top of the list above, you also eliminate eggs and nuts&seeds, as well as nightshades vegetables and spices (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, peppers, chillies, coriander seeds, cumin, fennel seeds, etc.).  Once a good level of health is achieved (it will take anything from 4 weeks to 6 months), we start a structured re-introduction phase, which will ensure that all problematic ingredients remain off the menu.  This helps ensure our diet is richer and more varied and thereby easier to follow long term.

AIP is not just a "food diet", it's also a "lifestyle diet".  We focus on introducing a lot of self-care activities:

  1. Stress management: such as meditation & mindfulness; we are stressed, very stressed.  Stress is the source of many ailments, cancer, autoimmune disease, cardio-vascular diseases, you name it.  If you are stressed, you're seating on a time bomb!
  2. Sleep: we celebrate sleep nowhere near enough in our society, as a matter of fact, it's often the opposite.  Sleeping 6 hours or less a night is glorified
  3. Exercise: it is a natural anti-inflammatory and stress reducer and will also give you loads of happy hormones
  4. Social connections: being socially connected to others is crucial important to your health and happiness

All these are really crucial to a healthy life.  You cannot achieve health through food, unless you are effectively managing your stress, sleep 7+ hours every night, regularly moving and have strong social connections.

This why all these elements are included in my coaching.  If you'd like to know more, please book a free 45 mins health history consultation

IIN qualified health coach, foodie, mum of 2, wife of 1, ex corporate advertising executive, RA warrior