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What is the Paleo Diet?

What is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet advocates that people eat what humans used to eat before the agricultural revolution made daily bread an easy food source. The Paleo diet encourages people to eat natural foods that are as they were before we used chemical fertilizers and genetically modified them to sit in supermarket freezers for months.

Eat tons of fruits and vegetables. Foods your ancestors used to grow for themselves in their garden. If you can afford organic by joining a co-op – do so. If not find local shops who buy from local farms if possible. You’ll find more taste and more nutrients in these vegetables and fruit and less chemical risk.

The main food groups which the Paleo diet recommends are:

  • * Vegetables
  • * Meats
  • * Seafood
  • * Fruits

 

The above food groups are high in soluble fibre, antioxidants, phytochemicals, omega 3, monounsaturated fats, protein and are foods which have a low glycemic level when it comes to carbohydrate levels.
You can eat protein along with unlimited amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Paleo diet recommends that you avoid the following foods

  • * Refined sugars
    * Refined grains
  • * Saturated fats
  • * Trans fats
  • * Salt
  • * Processed foods
  • * High glycemic carbohydrate foods

 

These foods are known to cause obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. They have also been linked to many other health related diseases.

Our Paleo Ancestors

If we dig back into our history books a little you will discover that when our Paleo ancestor’s reached 60 they suffered from very few of the modern diseases like diabetes. Although many people did not make it to 60 that was due to the higher instances of people being killed from injury and from disease for which no antibiotic was available.

Our ancestors ate local fresh produce, they grew their own fruits and vegetables and raised livestock for slaughter. They did not eat packaged and processed foods and it was uncommon to see overweight individuals. Their lifestyle kept them busy all the time. They were active, healthy people so long as their food supply was sufficient for their needs and they were not affected by violence or the elements.

Calcium and Paleo

One concern that many people have when first starting the Paleo diet is will they lack calcium. People have been taught to think that they need to consume dairy to promote healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.

You will still be getting calcium on the Paleo diet, you will just be getting your daily amount from different sources. Instead of drinking milk and eating cheese you will be getting calcium from your fruits and vegetables.

Our body needs to balance the amount of calcium it receives daily. All foods are processed through our kidneys and this is where bone demineralization takes place. When you eat foods which produce high amounts of acid in your body, especially sugar, the kidneys force out excess calcium.

The acid producing foods which we consume too much of are hard grains, cereals, cheese and salty foods. Acid must balance with alkaline which is found in citrus fruits and vegetables. So when you increase the amount of these good alkaline foods your body will balance its calcium level. You are unlikely to become calcium deficient just because you changed your diet to Paleo.

If you follow the guidelines to the Paleo Diet you will start to lose weight, sleep better and have more energy. In the long run you will likely live longer and suffer less inflammatory types of disease.

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Can diet help cure Candida?

Can diet help cure Candida?

Candida is a natural part of the “flora” of our bodies but it can play havoc when it overgrows like a noxious weed that is getting out of control in your garden. Generally a topical or oral fungicide is used, in a similar way to a weed killer, to bring the candida yeast overgrowth under control. Symptoms subside and all is forgotten.

If however you are immune compromised in some way, the body will have trouble distributing and aiding the” weed killer” to destroy the overgrowth. As yeasts feed on sugar the Candida diet restricts all forms of sugar. It also restricts yeast (bread and Vegemite) and anything fungal (mushrooms and peanuts) and the two main allergen causing culprits – wheat (gluten) and dairy (lactose).

Yeast
Yeast

A simple, diagram labelled in English showing ...

But sugar is the main change the candida diet requires you to quit on.Français : Echantillons de différents sucres, ...Sugar describes many specific  types of sugar. In it’s most natural form it is a part of fruit and vegetables and is often called carbohydrates.

Many fruits “sweeten” as they ripen, like bananas, and many vegetables are naturally sweet like sweet potato and sweet corn. In it’s natural form surrounded by fibre and delivering a mix of vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates – carbohydrates deliver energy with nutrition.

Sucrose is found naturally in many food plants along with the monosaccharide fructose. In many fruits, such as pineapple and apricot, sucrose is the main sugar. In others, such as grapes and pears, fructose is the main sugar.

Although high sugar fruit and vegetables are forbidden for the first month of the candida diet, in the following months they are only restricted.

Foods containing processed sugar are strictly forbidden if you are to starve the yeast overgrowth. Cakes, biscuits, sauces, jams, jellies, icecreams, chocolates, crystalline sugar in tea or coffee – it’s a tough challenge I know, but you have to give sugar away totally if you want the candida diet to work for you. Most  artificial sweeteners are no good for you either, so don’t turn to aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, or saccharin.

When you have been sugar free for a few months – your candida will flare with even a little sugar in your diet. I had a flare last week which puzzled me until I realized that the new bottle of vitamin C I bought didn’t say sugar free and sure enough when I scoured the label again I found glucose on it.

Alternate Names for Sugar

To give you a head start here are some alternate names for sugar – sucrose, glucose, lactose, dextrose, fructose,  galactose, maltose, saccharides, sorbitol, honey, golden syrup, sorghum syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, caramel, date sugar, palm sugar, treacle, molasses, muscovado, panocha, demerara, castor, erythritol, fruit juice, alcohol, etc.

For sweetness without setting off the yeast or causing tooth decay – turn to stevia – this sweet herb, used as a natural sweetener, has a zero glycemic index and zero calories. Stevia has been widely used for centuries in South America. It is available as dried herb or a refined sweetener in drops, or mixed with erythritol to resemble sugar. A sweetener that can benefit dental health is xylitol. Xylitol works to prevent bacteria from adhering to the tooth surface, thus preventing plaque formation and eventually decay. It is also becoming a better known sugar substitute, for more than just chewing gum.

Giving up Wheat,  Gluten and Yeast

Photograph of 4 gluten sources. Top: High-glut...

You can go looking for a gluten free bread if you want to, I did for weeks, but I didn’t find a commercially made loaf that didn’t have wheat (gluten), dairy, yeast and sugar in it.

So if you like snack food, this step is really hard and is best done gradually or you won’t have time to adjust breakfast and lunch to a non traditional meal of rice, meat and vegetables or foods made with pea, nut or seed flours.

Oats do not have gluten but may become contaminated with it from factory packaging. Substitute wheat pasta and noodles with rice or buckwheat pastas. Quinoa makes a good porridge substitute and a versatile savoury carb.

Yeast is not just in cakes and breads, like sugar it is in a lot of sauces and condiments. For some people the hardest loss will not be the toast but the vegemite!

Giving Up Dairy

Milk and cooky
Image by Salim Virji via Flickr

Milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt, butter, buttermilk, icecream, all contain milk sugars, so they are forbidden on the candida diet. I still have lite milk in my tea (it tastes awful otherwise) and cook with butter. Most people will dig in their heels about some things. Converting to the candida diet is better done as a gradual change or you’ll turn suicidal.

Give up things it’s easier for you to give up first and gradually substitute alternate foods for forbidden foods you like a lot, when you are ready to. No more milk and cookies before bed sounds harsh, but there are alternatives.

Almond milk is lovely but expensive, rice milk and soy milk are two alternative milks. I don’t like soy or rice milk and soy is said to interfere with the thyroid medication so I use oat milk. I also love coconut milk and cream. My favourite treat at the moment is a cold chocolate milk drink made with a tsp of cocoa (just cocoa no other ingredients) dissolved in a tbsp of boiling water, 2-3 drops of stevia, a generous splash of coconut cream and topped up with oat milk. Mmmm delicious!

I think maybe you need to have been on the candida diet for a few months to really think its delicious, tho. After a few months with no sugar, sour is not so sour, bitter is better and most flavours just taste a little bit different. The only time you notice tho is when other people say “How can you eat that?”

Other Forbidden Foods on the Candida Diet

There are many versions of the candida diet, some writers are stricter than others. Most agree on the above and then there are other forbidden foods depending on how “natural” their bias is.

Most agree that meat should be from ethical organic meat suppliers, hams and bacons should be free of nitrates, salami, sausages and processed meats are generally off the menu (but I sneak in some gluten free pork snags now and then) and shellfish may be forbidden.

I think many of the candida diet restrictions are due to the likelihood of people having allergies. Shellfish is high on the allergy list, gluten, lactose and casein are high. Peanuts are a common allergen.

The diet usually forbids peanuts – is it because it’s a goitrogen? or as is mentioned because the shells can have mould. If it’s mould which are like fungi which is like yeast and also like mushrooms – the connection seems a bit tenuous to me. So I eat mushrooms but steer clear of peanuts because of the thyroid. Some diets ban coconut but coconut, and especially coconut oil contains caprylic acid, an anti fungal specifically effective for killing candida overgrowth.

Some ban fermented foods – tofu, miso, tempah, kefir – while other versions of the candida diet recommend them. Some say no vinegar at all, others say apple cider vinegar and citric fruits. Some say no tea or coffee or cocoa, others don’t even try restricting these. Some list specific allowed fruits and others just restrict all fruits for the first three weeks and then say eat in moderation.

One version of the candida diet I read even allowed alcohol – gin and vodka I think, but I’m not sure.

I believe that you need to restrict sugar, gluten and dairy and that once you’ve reached a month or so, your body will start to tell you what you can and cannot have. So make sure you are listening to it. Be aware when you get mentally foggy, or severely itchy and prickly, or dizzy and make a note of what you ate that day. Don’t eat it again for at least four days and then see if that food or drink does it again. If it does – avoid it.

The candida diet is a strict diet which many doctors feel is unnecesary. Many deny that the candida thing is happening at all as a systemic problem. I was very skeptical myself to start with. Nothing like personal experience to make a convert of you.

Now I believe that the diet is genuinely helping to keep my yeast in check. I don’t think diet alone will cure my candida, but it is healing me slowly. The choices I am making are improving my immune system. The candida diet makes it easier for the antifungals I’m taking to do their job. If I eat something forbidden it’s not a major setback, but it’s sometimes very uncomfortable as the severity of the symptoms increases, yet within a few days these recede again, as long as I stay on the diet.

The most difficult thing for me to understand is the so called herxheimer response or die-off. It is described as flu-like symptoms as the candida dies off it and the toxins are being removed from the body via sneezes, mucus, skin, bowel and urine. You might see rashes, symptoms may get worse. If I feel worse does that mean I’m getting better or the yeast is winning – I get confused!

I have been on the diet 3 months now. I have tried various anti candida remedies but have not had any luck with a cure as yet. I’ll go through what I have tried in the next article. I am very tired of having this and would like to stop thinking about it, and researching new treatments that do nothing. But I will say that the candida diet helps to keep me relatively symptom minor. But a cure it is not.

I don’t know how long I may be need to be on the candida diet. Some people say 6 months, some suggest it may take 1-2 years. Others warn that it may be forever. Hmmm.

What Can You Eat on the Candida Diet?

When asked, I generally reply “Meat and Vegetables”. Of course it’s more than that, but that describes it well enough. The closer to nature the food is, the more likely it is you can eat it on the candida diet. The more processed it is whether commercial processing and packaging or complex cooking – the less likely it is that the food will be acceptable.

The paleo diet and the Atkins diet are the closest “famous” diets to the candida diet. The paleo diet would have you eat raw vegetables, and there is no doubt that this may be better for you – if you can tolerate it. If the candida or other auto immune conditions have damaged your digestive system though, to jump from a standard soft western diet to the paleo can leave you feeling most uncomfortable with wind and bowel disruption. So change your diet slowly – to tolerance – as they say, and give your body time to adjust to it’s new fuel.

You can eat fresh fish and you can eat good oils and fats. You can also eat eggs, rice, corn, buckwheat (which is not wheat) and nuts and seeds. Owning a juicer and a blender and a grinder will come in handy – of the three I use my small blender the most. It cuts up and makes dust of cashew nuts and almonds, so I can make nut paste that isn’t peanut, and almond meal for making cakes and “bread”. It also “blends” or purees softened fruit and veg to mix in soups, stews, cakes, sauces etc.

I have a juicer but haven’t used it much as yet, but as I learn to cook in a different way, I may. I believe vegetable stews close to raw are often made with grated vegetables and juice and pulp. I don’t have a grinder ( like a coffee grinder) but the blender doesn’t handle small seeds like sesame, so that might be good one day.

Getting Adventurous With the Candida Diet

Learning to cook with non gluten flours does require some study. Non-gluten flours are drier and burn more easily. They have no “stretch” and fall apart easily, so you need to use xanthan gum or eggs to bind them. Not using sugar – it being sticky – doesn’t help either. I haven’t found a way to make biscuits yet that are crisp without being hard. Maybe it’s not possible.

But I made an orange almond cake that was delicious and tried a No-guilt Brownies recipe from a book I got from the library that turned out pretty good. It takes hours in the kitchen and makes lots of washing up but it’s necessary with such a strict diet to have some treats now and then, or we start to feel too sorry for ourselves.

Anyway – baking aside – you should be starting the candida diet by eating red and green vegetables (white and orange vegetables are more “starchy” and therefore have more sugar), eggs, meat or fish, rice and rice snacks, nut pastes and nuts and seeds, good oils and fats, coconut products and an alternative milk. Where you go from there will be according to your nature, whether you stick to the diet, what you like and what you learn. Join the library and get recipe books out, it helps.

I have joined a local group called FIG which enables me to get organic vegetables from local farmers and suppliers. It offers me vegetables I might not always choose like Kale and Beetroot (you can eat the green leaves of beetroot – they are like spinach) and last week I had boysenberries for the first time in 15 years! At the moment I’m also exploring Indian food which uses a lot of pea and bean flours and exotic aromatic spices. I don’t especially like hot curry or chili but there is more to Indian cooking than the heat. I’m having fun exploring a local shop at Charmhaven with a huge range of ingredients used in Indian (and African) cooking including frozen vegetables I’ve never heard of. We also have a shop in Toukley (where I get my coconut oil from) with foods from Indonesia.

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Diet

Can a good diet improve your health?
What is a Healthy Diet ?

Is there a one diet fits all? Or are we all in need of individualized diet plans? Should we just eat on a whim to fuel the day or do we need to watch what we eat at every meal? Should we take supplements to improve our nutritian or are we just pouring money down the toilet?

Can diet improve health? Diet is one of those 4 letter words that we have no alternative for when we really just want to say this is what we should be eating, rather than I need to lose weight. If you say you have a special diet – say for allergy – most people’s first assumption is that you are dieting to lose weight. This website is not about thinness or fatness, fitness or body sculpting – it’s just about food we eat.

  • Can diet help us stay more consistently healthy?
  • Can diet help us live a bit longer?
  • Can diet changes remove pain?
  • Can diet improve our skin and keep us looking younger?
  • Can diet keep arthritis at bay?
  • Can changing the way we eat cure diseases?

These are the types of questions I’m looking for answers on.

Sharing Food – Should we care what other people think?

Saffron Chicken (827857596)
Image via Wikipedia

Food is a part of our culture. We go out for meals with friends, we share meals with our families. When we are very different to other people in our food choices – we stand out like a sore thumb. If we say we are on a restricted diet we attract pity and often make people nervous as they scramble to find something special we can eat.

In work situations people are always curious about different food choices. Items with strong smells and tastes may well be criticised. It’s not easy standing apart from the normal choices of the crowd.

But if the normal choice is Maccas or Kentucky, or white bread sandwiches with peanut butter or vegemite, or cuppa soup followed by choc chip cookies and chased down with a coke – maybe we have to turn into the cat who walks alone for our own good health!

food sources of magnesium: bran muffins, pumpk...
Image via Wikipedia

We should primarily be eating clean nutritious food to fuel our body and secondarily choose food that tickles our taste buds. On the other hand no one really wants to be ruled by or become a food nazi!

The main problem with a healthy diet is that we have become used to “convenience” food. Fruit and veg all year round, takeaway on the corner, freezer meals and pre packaged pies, sauces and mixes. These are hard to give up because they are so instant. When we come home from work we are tired and chopping vegetables and cooking is work.

Some people are lucky enough to enjoy cooking. Most of us however are somewhere in between the can’t boil an egg and the competent chef. I’ve found the best management option is to start collecting a few good simple recipes you can repeat – but even that is easier said than done. However the more you look and cook, the better you get at this.

Chefs cooking with a wok in China. Preparing f...
Image via Wikipedia

Being female helps as it’s almost expected of us that we provide the meals. But many men I have met are very capable and excellent cooks – often better than many women, because they cook because they enjoy it. My brother says it is “mindless” work and gives his head a rest from the analysis his job requires.

Cooking is 10% recipe, 80% chopping and blending and 10% timing. But if cooking isn’t your thing – try the paleo or raw food diet. Just chopping and juicing and a bit of barbequing.

The diet you eat should not be left to impulse and habit. Even if you are lucky enough to have someone put food on a plate in front of you every night and don’t want to rock the boat, your diet is your key to good health. If it needs changing – rock the boat and take the consequences as they come. When things stabilise you may be pleasantly surprised that your new diet tastes good too.

If you are the dietician for your family then the best you can hope for is that they will tolerate your experiments until you find a new healthy menu you can all enjoy. They will complain and miss some meals but they will also enjoy some new tastes. The failures will make you all laugh eventually – I still get ribbed for combining banana into a meatloaf because I had no apples – it was completely inedible!

My simplest advice is to place what nature makes at the base of the food pyramid – that’s fruit and vegetables. Drink only water, soda water, milk, tea, coffee. In the middle of the pyramid is your protein choices – fish, meat, eggs, seeds, nuts. Everything else should be moderated – limit the real treats to one day a week , and keep tabs on the borderline foods you really like. Stay in control. O.K. Right.

Now I have to follow my own advice… Read My Story to find out why I’m doing this.

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Which health foods to eat?

Which Health Foods to Eat?
Can Diet Really Improve Your Health?

Which health food to eat? What should my diet be? What is factual about healthy food?

What is a diet exactly? The most popular diets show us quick ways to lose weight, because we are embarassed by the extra pounds around our tummies. How to lose weight is a primary objective for many people, but diet is not just about how we look, it’s about our long term health. Can a diet of health foods improve our health, cure disease, take our pain away and make us feel young again?

“You are what you eat” is the title of a popular health book and there is much truth in the statement. Of course there is more than health food choice to human beings! However what we eat eventually sculpts us into archetypes that are easily recognised by dieticians.

It’s not just what health food we eat either, but what we drink, what we inhale, how much we exercise, and any other influence from our specific environment that influence our body’s functions, such as – sun, cold or stress.

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...
A diet rich in soy and whey protein, has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence in rats. However soy is said to inhibit the action of the thyroid hormone, and new studies show it to not be as healthy as first thought to be.

Many of these influences are accepted parts of how we choose to live, but many are also habits that if we had to make a logical choice on and given all the facts, we would change. At least we like to think that we would.

The real truth is that life goes on without much thought given to such choices, like our diet, until some health crisis suddenly brings it to our attention.  We may have experienced discomfort and pain for years but assumed that it was part of growing older. Nor is a healthy diet a cure all for all people as there are genetic factors that can cause us ill health.

So although I would answer that diet can improve your health (immensely in some cases) and few dieticians would argue, it would be incorrect to say that health food alone can cure all illness.

Perhaps losing weight will help, perhaps organic and biodynamic food will help, perhaps better choices of food, fresh vegetables and fruit rather than a predominance of grains, will improve our health. The information is out there, but only individual trial (and error) will show us what is healthy food for us.

My reason for writing this website is that my own health crisis has pushed me to research healthy food choices. I’ve discovered that much of what I accepted to be generally true is far more complex than I expected, and often specifically false or distorted truth. Neither the old or new food pyramid is the best way to view a healthy diet.  The issue of sugar and cholesterol is fraught with strong opposing information and marketing lies. The bulk of processed, packaged food is riddled with sugar, but fat free. The unknown other additives may be dangerous and it has few genuine nutrients unless they are added vitamins – but it tastes good and it’s on the television!

What health food to eat? Hmmm – Good question.

So this website is a way to keep track of the information, resources and websites that have helped me learn about  my own health issues, especially so far as supplements and correct diet can help me to heal. And if you have similar problems, or even if not, I hope the information here will help you too.

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