FOOD AS MEDICINE: HOW TO USE PALEO, AIP AND KETO TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
By: Cristina Curp, The Castaway Kitchen
Real Food 101
FOOD AS MEDICINE: HOW TO USE PALEO, AIP AND KETO TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
The Paleo Template: Looking to the past to understand our future
There is one simple fact that sums up why choosing to follow a paleo template is beneficial: human DNA has not changed in 10,000 years but the food we consume today is nothing like the food we were consuming even 100 years ago. In other words, we are eating and living in a world we have not adapted to! We can gain so much wisdom about our bodies by simply looking at our history.
Humans went from being hunters and gatherers, which meant eating varied types of plant matter and consuming animals that were wild to becoming farmers. The agricultural revolution meant that we began to consume a limited variety of plant matter, and the animals we consumed were domestic. A major negative impact of this was lower nutrient density.
While all of a sudden food scarcity was no longer a large threat, the crops we grew on the same soil over and over again did not have the same nutrients as the plant matter we gathered or grew responsibly in the forest. From wild animals to animals that lived in a pen, that ate the same grass or grain over and over again. While one can argue that the benefits of early day farming vastly outweigh the cons, it was the first step toward the degeneration of our food.
We went from harvesting our food to buying it in stores. We went from eating animal fats to vegetable oils. Food became shelf stable. Food became an industry. With each evolution, there was more bulk, more food, more access and less quality, less nutrition and less work on the consumer end.
We became completely disconnected from where our food came from and what unadulterated food was like! We traded illness from infectious diseases to illness from dietary related illness. We became overfed and undernourished.
Tweaking Your Diet
What should you eat? Simply put: plants and animals. When you build your plate, think of your food choices as plants and animals. If you start there, it’s a great first step in eating how our ancestors ate. Think colorful foods, think seasonal, think simple.
Okay, so you make the big change. You give up processed foods. You go gluten free, grain free. You are rocking your paleo lifestyle and you still don’t feel so hot? Oh boy! What now?
Welcome to my life. Welcome to the wonderful world of troubleshooting and healing with food. Bring your patience, your food journals and your time because this isn’t a walk in the park, but it works.
A lot of folks have some stuff going on under the hood. A few generations of eating crappy food and living surrounded by environmental toxins can cause leaky gut, autoimmune disease, insulin resistance, hormone imbalance and more. We each have bio-individual needs and learning to tweak our diets is the only sustainable way to find our own path to health.
The over-consumption of sugar, grains and refined carbohydrates has left a vast majority of our population suffering from diabetes or in a pre-diabetic state known as insulin resistance. The insulin resistance epidemic also directly correlates with many hormonal issues in women like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. For these people, some paleo foods like tubers, starches, honey and maple syrup might not be the best idea.
What is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)?
And, that’s where the AIP (autoimmune protocol) comes in! The gold standard of elimination diets which omits all potential inflammatory foods from your diet. Nuts, seeds, eggs, grain, soy, dairy, additives, sugar, legumes, nightshades etc. Then you add them in one at a time and see which make you react, which foods cause your autoimmune disease to flare up or any other weird symptoms.
It's difficult. It’s a lot to omit. But it works. The AIP is an invaluable tool in bio-individual healing. Learning exactly which foods, albeit healthy foods, might be causing you harm.
Did you know all Paleo On The Go Meals are AIP compliant? YES! Game changer.
The amazing thing about AIP meals is that they are whole food based and they do not contain most major allergens or inflammatory foods.
Ketogenic (Keto) and the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)
So what if you go paleo and AIP and you have insulin resistance? Well that’s where the Keto-Paleo-AIP mashup that I call my diet comes into play.
Fortunately, when you’re working with real, delicious foods, you can reverse many chronic symptoms, you can improve your quality of life. You can heal leaky gut, you can reverse insulin resistance! You can change your life!
The ketogenic diet was formulated by doctors over 50 years ago to treat epilepsy in pediatric patients. Since then the clinical applications have been vast. Ketosis can be a very therapeutic tool for many medical issues related to neurology and blood sugar.
However, there is now a more widely adopted keto diet. I like to call it keto, not ketogenic because it’s more casual and I like to differentiate from a therapeutic keto approach which might limit vegetable intake for some patients, and keto which is more appropriate for those looking to heal leaky gut, lose weight or trouble shoot. For me, keto is a diet which omits sweeteners, starches, fruit and tubers and replaces them with plenty of healthy fats. A diet rich in above ground, and leafy vegetables, proteins and fats. The purpose of this is to deplete the body of glycogen and get your body to use fat for fuel instead of glycogen. When your body uses fat for fuel, you create ketones which fuel your body. When you become fat adapted, your body prefers fat as fuel.
Think of fat as slow burning fuel and glycogen as kindling. Many benefits people experience from going keto is sustained energy, mental clarity and a reduction in cravings. Ketones also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which is why paired with the AIP it can be a powerful tool for healing.
Traditionally the autoimmune protocol relies heavily on starches which are not conducive to a keto diet. Alternatively, keto usually uses nuts, eggs and many other foods which are not AIP compliant. Combining these two healing dietary approaches can be tough, however useful!
Choose Autoimmune Paleo meals that are around 10g of carbs per serving so you can enjoy the metabolic state of ketosis and the benefits that come with it, while healing your gut and avoiding inflammatory foods!
Taking the first step: Whole30
The Whole30 program has been the catalyst for millions of people to change their lives. This powerful thirty-day challenge created by Melissa Hartwig Urban and Dallas Hartwig has its roots in a paleo diet, but differs in the structure and clear rules. The program is free, and all the resources you need to succeed, including the official Whole30 rules, are available at Whole30.com. In short, the program is 30 days of squeaky-clean paleo eating. No sugar at all, no booze, no dairy, no treats, no paleo breads, pancakes, tacos, no foods that you might eat for comfort (commercially made plantain chips), etc. You are stripping food down to the basics and sticking to it for a month. The point is to suss out unhealthy food- emotion connections, find your baseline, hit the reset button. For me, like most others, this challenge hurtled me into the world of ancestral health and eventually to the autoimmune protocol. It was the first step in a lifelong journey to health through food and live life to the fullest!
Whole30 now offers several Whole30 cookbooks and many Whole30 approved brands to make it easier than ever for folks to complete the program. Paleo On The Go proudly joins the ranks, offering several Whole30 Approved meals so you can eat good, clean, Whole30 approved foods even when you’re short on time, on the road, or just need a break for cooking. Look for the Whole30 Approved logo on all compliant meals.