Here’s a question for you: Can a paleo food challenge save your life? Here’s my latest take on one of my favorite topics…..
It’s Fall! And I need someone to bring me a bow and arrow.
Why? Because the deer are running like crazy in my back yard, and my Hunter-Gatherer instincts are fired up!
If you’re human, you have those instincts too. Here’s how to find out what foods are best for humans in general, and for YOU in particular.
The Story of Humans 101…
Once upon a time, we ate whatever we could hunt, and we gathered lots of plants, some fruits, seeds and some eggs. Fish and other water creatures were abundant. We ate certain mushrooms (not others!), tubers, insects, a little honey, and some tasty herbs and flowers to enrich our meals. We ate little or no grass seed (wheat, rice, corn) or other grains.
We were fit and healthy until we stopped our nomadic ways and became dependent on a limited variety of crops and domesticated animals. We substituted grains for hunting and gathering, and learned to hybridize grains for yield. Our health problems grew to the point that we are ALL now at least a little sick or dysfunctional.
What to do? And how can customizing our diets help?
For perhaps millions of us in the Real Food movement, the solution is obvious. Try to eat what we used to eat, and approximate a lifestyle more in tune with nature. Pastured meats, animal fats, plenty of veggies and some tubers, nuts, and eggs. Buy fresh and unprocessed foods with plenty of variety.
Once you’ve made headway with your Paleo/Primal Diet (my “Diet For Human Beings“) many of your health problems start to fade away. But you ask yourself….
What about the rest of my health complaints?
As a start, I suggest a series of Food Challenges to highlight what foods or habits may be contributing to symptoms. Eliminate whole families of foods for a few weeks and watch for improvements. The relief of ANY symptom can be a clue.
Then add foods (or habits) back one at a time, at least 4 days apart, and see what happens. With dairy, most people tolerate ghee perfectly well. After eliminating dairy for 2 to 6 weeks, try just ghee for 4 days. Then butter, and then heavy cream the next week. Finally, try hard cheese such as cheddar (soft cheese like Feta often gives intestinal symptoms) and last, MAYBE yogurt or RAW milk. You may notice sinus, gas, heartburn or arthritis pain flare with a dairy challenge. So return to just ghee if this is you.
Observe all symptoms for clues of intolerance. Were you gassy from fruit or cheese? Achy after Nightshades? Weird bowel movements or pain in your neck after eggs? Tired by 3 PM with a blood sugar slump?
There are few rules here – you’re discovering your own body.
Have the whole family do food challenges at the same time if possible. Helping each other out is supportive and you get to commiserate and cheer each other on. One person’s dramatic reduction in allergies and gas is a WIN for everyone!
My main message in life is this: CHANGE WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND SEE HOW THAT WORKS. If you don’t try, you won’t know or succeed. Failure? No experiment is a failure….
As Winston Churchill said, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up”.
How’s your life-experimenting going? Have you challenged a food or habit lately? The results may surprise you….