Some of you might be wondering if I’m called Sheila? No, I’m not, but rather Sheila is a colloquial Australian-ism for a woman. So, as an Australian woman who’s eating a Paleo diet, I thought it sounded an appropriate name for a blog. I started this blog mainly because I want to write about Paleo; the AIP; food; organics; plus a whole range of food related subjects.
In truth, I adopted a Paleo lifestyle because I have health problems. Many of the diets designed to help reduce inflammation, or whose aim is the avoidance of allergenic foods, are by definition Paleo. I started out on the GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) diet, but have recently switched to the AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) as outlined in The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne. I switched because I felt the science underpinning the AIP was better than GAPS. I will cover the difference between AIP and GAPS in a future blog post.
So, you might ask, what actually is a Paleo diet? Well, the one way to answer that question is by defining what it isn’t. Paleo diets are not the same as gluten-free diets, though by definition Paleo diets are gluten-free. For when eating Paleo, you avoid all grains, not just the ones that contain gluten. It isn’t just a diet like the Atkins diet where people just eat large amounts of meat. Yes, meat is important, but so too are vegetables. And, fish. It involves avoiding processed foods, sugar, vegetable oils, and other man-made “food like” substances.
So, generally speaking, a Paleo diet involves eating a mix of meat, poultry, game and fish; pretty much every vegetable, though I am not clear whether potatoes are considered Paleo, as I have only been on protocols that forbade them; fruit, though not in the same quantities as vegetables; nuts and seeds; herbs and spices; and good quality fats, which may surprise you to hear that includes butter, lard, dripping (or tallow as it’s called in the U.S.A), coconut oil, plus it also includes olive oil, avocados, and oily fish. In a future blog post I will discuss how natural animal fats are not the cause of heart disease.
There is some controversy in the Paleo community as to whether dairy is considered Paleo. Some say it is, some say it isn’t. Personally, I think it can be included if tolerated. After all, to exclude it when it is tolerated, means we don’t get to eat a range of fermented or cultured foods like milk kefir or cultured cream, or excellent fats like butter or ghee.
Another feature of a Paleo lifestyle, is that buying food with minimal processing is given a strong importance. Or, to put it more simply, a stress on buying foods that do not require labelling. After all, a carrot is a carrot, and doesn’t require a label; so too doesn’t lamb, or salmon fillets. It also means, if you do adopt it, that you end up cooking most of your own food, as opposed to outsourcing your food requirement to major corporations. It also has an emphasis on eating grass-fed or free range sources of meat, poultry and game; and fish and shellfish from wild and not farmed ones.
So, I’m planning on discussing a range of things in future blogs. I expect I’ll be writing about the nutritional benefits of various foods. How to ferment a variety of foods, and fermenting in general. I may post recipes I create. I may even discuss the appalling food waste in western countries.