Paleo Diet for Celiacs?
I’ve been struggling mightily with this one.
Seriously, I just deleted a couple pages I’d already written, and then decided that was very stupid.
Here’s the thing. I’ve said before that living healthfully and gluten free is a lifestyle, not a “diet.” I just hate the connotations that come along with the word diet. There’s so many wacky “diets” out there. And for some reason, whenever something is a “diet,” there’s always individuals who seem to latch on to the ideas or principles presented, as the next great thing that is going to cure cancer and clean your kitchen to boot.
In all fairness, the Paleo Diet in it’s purest form is a way of eating, not a “diet.” It’s kind of exploded beyond that though.
A few weeks ago, I was having a e-discussion with my friend about food, eating, and diet. We share many of the same views about food in general, and she mentioned how she seems to find weight control more successfully and easily when following a Paleo-like diet plan.
So what is this Paleo, you may be saying?
According to Wikipedia (really, where else would you look,) “The modern dietary regimen known as the Paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various human species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. In common usage, such terms as the “Paleolithic diet” also refer to the actual ancestral human diet. Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts; and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.”
That sounds pretty good, for starters, right?
Meats, veggies, fruit, nuts-this sounds like what I talk about all the time. This Paleo thing sounds pretty good, right? And the fact that grains are excluded makes it a slam dunk for celiacs for, as we know and feel, grains carry the gluten that affect our intestinal wall.
Well, yes, kind of.
I love the foods that they include – meat, seafood, natural oils, grass-fed butter, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. All naturally gluten free, all can be highly nutritious. What I don’t like so much are all the exclusions – dairy, legumes, potatoes. I like beans, and find them a good source of protein and carbohydrate. Tasty, too. Same goes for dairy, although I very much limit intake of dairy. And no rice, ever?
Maybe it’s just the inner rebel in me, but if someone says I can’t have something it makes me want it more.
From what I’ve read, his approach is a bit more realistic, and flexible, which I like. He even indicates that dairy and rice (gasp!) would be acceptable in certain circumstances.
Robb Wolf also has a bit more flexibility in approach, especially for athletes, and I like that quite a bit. I recently listened to a podcast interview with him and if I am remembering correctly, his Mom has celiac disease.
Another person with some good stuff to say is Dr. Kurt Harris at PaleoNu. He has a 12 step “getting started” which I like quite a bit, with the exception of meal frequency (I think it’s more individual than he indicates.)
Here’s one of my big issues with the Paleotards, and those non-obsessed, but following one principle I have issue with. Insulin secretion is not, in fact, the devil.
James Krieger did a great overview of insulin on his blog, which I highly recommend you check out. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version: insulin is not necessarily bad, although it can be circumstantially, and if there is not a caloric surplus, (yes, calories do matter,) fat will not be stored. I also very much like the analogy that Kurt Harris uses of insulin being like a bouncer at a club. Logic and reason for the win. Insulin in the face of a caloric deficit will not magically make you fat.
Also, there is no magic to eating in a Paleo fashion which will make you lose weight.
A higher protein intake is recommended, and that is something I wholeheartedly support. However, there is no “metabolic advantage” to a higher protein diet. As James Krieger so eloquently illustrated in another post on his fine blog, the magic isn’t magic… it’s satiety.
A lower carbohydrate, higher protein diet makes you feel fuller.
So, you eat less. The magic happens because you are eating less CALORIES! Yes, it’s easier because you feel fuller, but it’s not magic.
So is the Paleo or Primal way of eating a good way to go for celiacs?
I think it’s a good start. My personal approach is more moderate. I do recommend, and personally choose, to eat whole, naturally gluten free foods most often. That does, for many parts, coincide with the Paleo approach. However, I don’t like being exclusionary, especially to entire groups of food (like dairy, if you tolerate it.)
Accept no approach blindly. Do your research, get educated, consult one or more professionals, and make an informed decision. Don’t be afraid to take bits and pieces from different areas and make them your own. Find what works for you and call it…. say, the Frankenstein Diet. I like it. What do you think?
Have you put together your own Frankenstein? Have you tried Paleo? Hit it up in the comments!