Paleo Diet: Through Kim’s Eyes (and Stomach)

I am so excited Tory asked me to do a guest post. My name is Kimberly and I write a blog called Little Sprouts Kitchen. I’m a native of West Virginia, but moved to California almost five years ago for work. I write this blog in my spare time with recipes I create that follow the Paleo lifestyle. This nutrition plan has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. I have been following it for about four years now and the difference in my health has been unbelievable.

Food truly is healing! A major part of overall health is contributed to the fuel that is put into the body; meaning, the food and quality of that food. Our society has become dependent on food products which are packed with chemicals and preservatives, instead of focusing on real food. There is a popular meme out there that I really love. It says “Too many people are focused on counting calories, instead of counting chemicals.” I think that sums up the state of nutrition in this country perfectly. So many people are focused on calories and therefore buying food products that proclaim “low fat”, “half the calories”, etc. If you see that on a product, put it down and walk away. We have been programmed that fat is bad and we should obsess about calories. These two things couldn’t be further from the truth. The nutritional fact is that your body needs good fats to function properly. Good fats help your brain and body do all the things it needs to do to keep you well. The Paleo Diet has really opened my eyes to true nutrition. Spoiler alert, it is not the food pyramid we were all taught in school.

The Paleo Diet is all about real foods, but also on how foods interact with our bodies. What we eat has a profound effect on the ways in which our bodies work. There are a lot of misnomers about Paleo; for instance that it is complicated, or people focus on all the things they “can’t have”. The principles of the Paleo Diet are actually very simple. Eat lean proteins, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, some nuts, and healthy oils. Stay away from grains, legumes (beans, including peanuts), dairy, most tubers (white potatoes), and processed foods. This demonstrates how not all foods are created equal and how the reactions in our bodies from what is consumed do matter. the paleo diet bookDr. Loren Cordain’s book The Paleo Diet goes into all the research and science behind this nutritional lifestyle. It is an excellent resource that I recommend to everyone. There are a lot of great resources out there for the Paleo Diet.

Let’s go into an example of food reactions and a popular topic: Gluten Free. The Paleo Diet is gluten free by design. The thought may have crossed your mind about grains being “natural” or “real” foods, but that is where the food reactions come into play. The grains we consume are not the same grains that our ancestors consumed, which were incredibly limited given the nomadic lifestyle. The grains available to us are packed with gluten, which causes inflammation and damage in the intestines. There are internal and external effects to the damage caused by gluten. Internally, the gluten attacks the villi in the intestines, which is responsible for the absorption of nutrients as the food passes through. Obviously, nutrients are vital to the body and proper function. Less villi, less absorption, less nutrients that your body is getting. The major external sign is something that many often refer to as their “gluten baby” or “beer belly”. There is a noticeable bloat that occurs from consuming products with gluten.

People who follow the Paleo Diet often do an 80/20 ratio. They are 100% Paleo, 80% of the time. They allow themselves to have “cheat days”, on a minimal level, where they have things that shouldn’t normally be consumed, like rice, white potatoes, or baked goods.  This is actually recommended by Dr. Cordain. One of the factors in why so many people fail on “diets” is that they get focused on what they can’t have and become obsessed with that. They have, for lack of a better term, a psychological break. Following the 80/20 rule means that you do not have to focus on that negative. For people looking for weight loss though, it is recommended that the body is given a jump start through “The Whole 30”. This is a 30 day strict Paleo plan that helps to jumpstart the metabolism and cleans out all the bad stuff.

The short of all this is it works. When all the negative foods are eliminated you will gain more energy, lose weight, and your overall health profile will be changed for the better. This lifestyle change has made a major difference in my overall health. It has helped me naturally control my auto-immune disorders, Grave’s Disease and the resulting anemia. There is a lot of science that goes into nutrition. My blog, Little Sprouts Kitchen, is something that I started to provide a resource for more people to have easy, healthy recipes at their fingertips that focus on this lifestyle that has done wonders for me. I also love to bake, so I have found ways to make everything “Paleo” and I have an extensive recipe section on baked goods for those cheat days, but it still follows the Paleo parameters.

I went back and forth about what kind of recipe to share. I cook from my own blog on a regular basis. A popular one is my Shake N’ Bake Pork Chop recipe. I think it shows how substituting a few things can transform a classic, beloved recipe into a healthy family favorite.

porkchop

6 pork chops

2 eggs

½ cup almond flour

2 tsp parsley

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large baggie, add almond flour and spices. Shake the baggies to mix everything well.
  3. Wisk the egg in a shallow bowl, large enough to fit the pork chops. Run a pork chop, on each side, through the egg wash.
  4. Drop into the baggie with coating.  Shake until well covered. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat this until all the pork chops are done.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Here are a few more resources if you are interested in researching the Paleo Diet in more detail:

 

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