The Paleo diet is based around the idea of eating foods that are as close to the kinds of things that our ancestors ate as possible. That means staying away from refined carbohydrates, processed meats and foods that contain preservatives, colourings and artificial flavourings.
The idea of staying away from “processed junk” is not a hard sell for most health-conscious people, but there are a few things on the list of foods that the Paleo diet recommends avoiding that raise a few eyebrows, such as whole grains and dairy products.
Re-Training Your Mind about Nutrition
If you grew up during the days when the food pyramid was the be-all and end-all of nutrition, then you probably instinctively ‘know’ that you need grains for fibre and dairy products for calcium. However, you can get fibre from vegetables and you don’t have to force yourself to eat or drink lots of dairy produce to meet your calcium needs.
Cows Milk Not Good for Humans
Humans are the only mammal that consumes milks produced by other animals. We’re also the only mammal that consumes it after childhood. Our bodies aren’t really designed to digest dairy products. Lactose intolerance is an incredibly common problem amongst adults. Around two per cent of European adults have inherited lactose intolerance and this form of intolerance is found in as many as 80 per cent of Hispanics. Even people who are not born with a lactose deficiency may develop it as a result of a stomach infection.
The idea behind the Paleo diet is to eat foods that our ancestors would have eaten. Think for a moment – would your ancestors eat a food that would make them sick? Dr Frank Oski, author of “Don’t Drink Your Milk”, said that there were links between dairy products and frequent ear infections, allergies, diabetes, asthma, auto-immune disease, attention deficit disorder, gastro-intestinal problems and constipation. According to Oski, more and more adults are reporting intolerances every year.
Some issues can be dealt with by pasteurising dairy products, but this is not an ideal solution. The pasteurising procedure also kills beneficial bacteria and protective components and damages any vitamins in the product being pasteurised. Take away the vitamin B and K and most of the benefits are gone.
Soy Is Not the Answer
Some people, when they find out that they are lactose intolerant, turn to soy-based products so that they have something to cover their breakfast cereal with. Unfortunately, soy is not a particularly good dietary option either. Soy is estrogenic and consuming it in large quantities can cause problems for both men and women. In addition, soy contains protease inhibitors which can cause digestion problems. By swapping traditional dairy products for soy, you are simply trading one stomach problem for another.
If you’re following the Paleo diet, consider swapping traditional dairy products for coconut milk and almond butter. Once you stop consuming dairy products on a regular basis, you will soon find that you stop craving them and you will be happy on a diet that consists of whole foods.