When I was talking to my California cousin about going Paleo, I wasn’t too sure if it was for me. There were three things that I was brainwashed into thinking that I HAD to have.
- Dairy ~ I live in Vermont after all, there are more cows in this state than people! And their milk produces really yummy stuff.
- Chocolate ~ it has been my go to comfort food, especially when i was in pain, since I had really terrible PMS / periods as a teenager.
- Soda ~ I must say that soda is a bad habit my parents helped me form since I was really young.
I was convinced it was going to be really hard for me to go Paleo, because I was under the impression that I MUST give these things up. But, as a New Years resolution this year, I decided that my fibro had taken over way to much of my life and if going Paleo could help me in anyway, I would just bite the bullet about the dairy, chocolate, and soda. So, I just jumped in. For the first month, cravings came at me from every angle. I would dream about a chocolate covered Ben and Jerry’s sundae with a huge glass of soda. Who does that? I never did before… I stuck to my guns and even had to have my husband point out when I was mindlessly grabbing a soda and candy bar at the gas station.
Here is some of the research I’ve done about each “no-no” and what convinced me to eat differently;
Dairy – Most of us grew up thinking that dairy was good for us and is very beneficial and healthy for our bodies. This was a huge mental block for me. But further research into the subject helped me to really get the idea.
- Humans need milk from their mothers until they are two. Mother’s milk provides fat, insulin, and nutrients so the baby’s organs can form correctly and be covered in a protective layer of fat. It also provides initial nutrients to the baby’s bones to make sure they form properly. Mother animals (yes, cows too) milk does this for their baby’s as well. Okay, so think about it… We need it when we’re young to provide good stuff ~ our bodies stock pile the good stuff to use through out our lives. (1)
- So, if we continue to consume milk after age two, we are still putting fat (obesity), insulin (diabetes), and bacteria (IBS, Chron’s disease, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and most of the cases of hypothyroidism) into our bodies. When our bodies have to much of these things, the organs that needed these things to function are now over worked and causing undesirable health issues. Not to mention the hormones (acne, cancer) that have been injected into cows so they can produce more milk than what their babies needed when they were born. (2)(3)
- Okay, so what about skim milk then? Well, the problem is that when we take from the hormone injected cow… we don’t stop there. We further process and pasteurize the milk so that there is more things that would kill the potentially good stuff we could’ve gotten from it after age two. Also, Most people are not aware that they are intolerant to dairy before they eliminate it for a few weeks and start feeling better! (4)
- As my own experiment, after two months going Paleo, I added cheese and ice cream back into my diet for a week. I felt terrible. I felt bloated. I felt sluggish. My gut was doing a lot of not so pretty things. I immediately felt better as soon as I took it out of my diet. Even now, If i have cheese on a salad or milk based dressing, etc I can tell the difference in how I feel immediately. I use almond milk in my coffee and other milk related recipes, without any issues.
Chocolate – Okay, I know chocolate was never slotted as healthy. But I am a chocoholic. I don’t want recovery. I don’t care about the 12 steps. I just want some chocolate every once in a while. So when I went Paleo I thought I was going to have to give up chocolate all together. The thing about Paleo is, I don’t have to give up chocolate at all! I just needed to re-think my choice in chocolate consumption.
- did you know that some of them don’t contain chocolate at all? Chocolate, by the FDA’s definition, contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter. In an effort to reduce ingredient costs, some major candy companies like Hershey’s and Nestle have replaced the more expensive (and better tasting) cocoa butter with other fats, like palm oil or safflower oil. (5)
- The difference in Paleo chocolate and other chocolates in the world is the amount of natural ingredients and other fillers within the chocolate. Candy bars like snickers add to weight gain, insulin problems, and sluggishness because of the other ingredients added to the healthy chocolate that comes from nature. Adding things like corn syrup, artificial flavors and vegetable oil to the cocoa nibs of nature is what makes that kind of milk chocolate unhealthy.(6)
- Using Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate squares in recipes, along with other healthy paleo ingredients, can be beneficial to your body as long as its not used in excess. I have found that since going paleo in January I don’t crave it very often because of the balance of nutrients I am getting through the rest of the foods I eat. Check out this Paleo Avocado recipe for a great example of how healthy chocolate can be.
Soda, it’s not paleo, healthy, nor beneficial in any form – regular or diet. It contributes to cancer cells. Is a huge indicator in diabetes and obesity and can cause esophageal decay and ulcers. I have found that flavored seltzer water is a much better alternative. There are also paleo soda recipes on the web.