Anti inflammatory paleo diet

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Is the AIP Diet (Autoimmune Protocol Diet) Right for You?

John Egan June 7, 2019 Nutrition Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook

San Francisco architect Erika Schlick, who’s also a certified health coach, credits the autoimmune paleo or autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet with aiding her battle against autoimmune disorders.

“The AIP helped me figure out the foods that worked and did not work for me,” Schlick says in a news release. “After the first few of weeks of detox, I started to feel good. My energy improved; my brain felt better. I didn’t feel so weighed down by food that led me to another food coma in the afternoon.”

So, if the AIP diet benefited Erika Schlick, can it benefit you? It might. But not everyone agrees on the value of this diet. To help you figure out whether the AIP diet is right for you, read on.

What is the AIP diet?

According to a study published in 2017 in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, the AIP diet is a stricter version of the whole-foods-centric paleo diet, currently one of the most popular diets in the U.S.

The AIP diet focuses on an initial elimination of foods that include grains, legumes, nightshades, dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, nuts, seeds, refined and processed sugars, oils and food additives, the study says.

A maintenance phase follows the elimination phase. This phase is designed to measure a person’s symptoms and overall well-being, the study says. Then, various foods are reintroduced into the diet to identify which ones might be causing symptoms tied to autoimmune diseases. In the end, the diet aims to cut out foods that trigger autoimmune-induced inflammation within the gut.

“For people with debilitating or life-threatening autoimmune conditions, the autoimmune protocol reduces their symptoms and in some cases puts their disease into remission,” says Beth Jacques Chen, an AIP blogger who has autoimmune disorders.

The diet also emphasizes getting proper sleep, managing stress, engaging in physical activity and bolstering support networks.

What can you eat on the AIP diet?

Among the items permitted in the AIP diet are:

  • Various fruits and vegetables outside the nightshade family.
  • Meat and poultry from pasture-raised, grass-fed animals, including beef, chicken, lamb, pork and turkey. Connective tissue, joints and organ meats, which are rich in the amino acid glycine, also are recommended.
  • Fish and shellfish.
  • Foods with healthy fats, such as avocados, coconuts and olives.
  • Probiotic foods like fermented fruits and vegetables, kombucha and coconut milk kefir.

“The standard American diet is filled with sugar, processed foods and chemicals. These things are not allowed on the AIP diet,” Chen says. “The AIP diet consists of whole foods, which means lots of cooking that takes up a lot of time and energy.”

How long should you say on the AIP diet?

The diet is meant to be a short-term plan, lasting at least one month and no more than a few months. Staying on the diet for a longer period could rob you of a host of nutrients, says Chicago registered dietitian Amanda Kostro Miller, a member of the advisory board of the Smart Healthy Living website.

“If you are trying to reduce the amount of processed food you are eating, then a Paleo-type diet strives to do so. Limiting processed foods would be one of the only true pros of the AIP diet,” Miller says.

Los Angeles registered dietitian Katie Chapmon emphasizes that in order for the AIP diet to properly assess your autoimmune system, you must follow the diet completely, not partially. She cautions that you might need to take vitamin and mineral supplements during the AIP diet’s elimination phase.

The diet “may be unnecessarily restrictive in calories and lead to nutrient deficiencies if not done carefully,” warns registered dietitian Becky Kerkenbush, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Does the AIP diet actually work?

Proponents praise the diet — some folks who don’t have autoimmune disorders even claim it has recalibrated their approach to nutrition — but little scientific evidence exists to support its benefits.

Barry Sears, author of the “Zone Diet” book series and president of the nonprofit Inflammation Research Foundation, is skeptical of the AIP diet.

“It might improve gut health,” Sears says, “but there’s no indication of it improving autoimmune conditions. Those with autoimmune disorders will be disappointed by the false claims.”

What should you do before trying the AIP diet?

Kerkenbush recommends that before going on the AIP diet, you should evaluate what you’re eating and adjust accordingly. Here are her tips:

  • Eliminate added sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods.
  • Add fermented foods two to three times a week.
  • Dine in rather than eating out.
  • Give up soda, alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
  • Visit with a nutrition or medical professional to check for food sensitivity or intolerance.

“You may notice a change doing these things first,” Kerkenbush says.

John Egan

A resident of Austin, Texas, since 1999, John Egan has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, brand journalism, blogging, communications and public relations. Aside from Vitacost, John writes for Credit Karma, LendingTree, CultureMap Austin, Muck Rack and other outlets. From 1999 to 2006, John was editor and managing editor of the Austin Business Journal. John’s interests include sports, movies, music, travel and dining out. A native of Kansas, John earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in communications from Southern New Hampshire University.

A resident of Austin, Texas, since 1999, John Egan has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, brand journalism, blogging, communications and public relations. Aside from Vitacost, John writes for Credit Karma, LendingTree, CultureMap Austin, Muck Rack and other outlets. From 1999 to 2006, John was editor and managing editor of the Austin Business Journal. John’s interests include sports, movies, music, travel and dining out. A native of Kansas, John earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in communications from Southern New Hampshire University.

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The AIP Diet : What is it and what foods should you eat and avoid?

The AIP diet is a protocol designed for those with autoimmune disease to lower inflammation and nourish the body! But what can you eat? How do you manage it?

What is the AIP Diet or Autoimmune Protocol Diet?

The AIP diet stands for Autoimmune Protocol, and it’s designed for those with autoimmune disease to reduce inflammation to allow their bodies the opportunity to heal. It removes inflammatory foods, gut irritants, and immune stimulants for a minimum of 30 days. After the elimination period, foods are reintroduced one by one to see if the body has healed and can tolerate them again.

Many continue to follow an AIP template even after their autoimmune symptoms have reduced. This can be a preventative measure to stop symptoms from flaring again, or it may just be that you feel better eating more of an AIP template.

Regardless of how long you follow it, AIP is meant to be a short-term healing solution and not a long-term way of life.

What can you eat on the AIP diet?

  • All animal proteins (excluding eggs)
  • All vegetables (excluding nightshades)
  • Fruits in moderation
  • Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, animal fats, etc.)
  • Bone broth, organ meats
  • Grain-free baking flours (cassava, tigernut, tapioca, coconut, etc.)

Find a more extensive AIP food list with PDF downloads here!

What food do you avoid on the AIP diet?

  • All grains (wheat, oats, rice, corn, etc.)
  • All dairy (all dairy of all types)
  • All legumes (all beans such as lentils, black beans, chickpeas, and vegetables like green beans as well as peanuts)
  • Nightshade vegetables and spices (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, all peppers, red spices)
  • All nuts and seeds
  • Seed based spices (mustard, cumin, sesame, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Thickeners, gums, and food additives
  • Poor quality seed oils (sunflower oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc.)

Click To Download This AIP Diet Wallet Sized Cheat Sheet!

What should you eat for breakfast on the AIP diet?

You don’t need eggs and grain for a hearty breakfast! Here are some ideas…

  • Turkey breakfast sausage
  • Breakfast sausage chicken poppers
  • Mexican breakfast skillet

What can you eat for lunch and dinner?

The possibilities for how you can combine protein, vegetables, and fats are endless, but here are some of my favorite recipes…

  • Chicken marsala
  • Sweet potato chicken poppers
  • Beef stroganoff

“What if I don’t have issues with “x” food?”

There’s a common misconception that if you don’t have a noticeable reaction to a certain, you don’t have to avoid it. However, that’s not always the case. All too often our body can be so inflamed that we don’t even notice reactions to certain foods.

For example, I ate tomatoes pretty much every day of my life for over 20 years. It got to the point where I didn’t even feel a reaction because I was constantly in a reactive state. Once I eliminated the food from my diet and added it back in, I was able to calm down the inflammation to where I could see a reaction.

Giving your body the time to heal and taking a break from the foods listed here can be incredibly eye-opening. There may be some foods on this list that you never really have any long term issues with, but giving the elimination diet at least 30 days to gauge your reaction is necessary for understanding what you can and cannot tolerate.

How long do you follow the AIP diet

No, you do not have to follow it forever! The point of the autoimmune protocol is to allow your body time to heal and then reintroduce foods one by one.

I know it’s confusing to see bloggers like myself who seem to follow the autoimmune protocol permanently, but we don’t. Though many bloggers serve the AIP community, the majority of them have reintroduced foods. I myself still follow and AIP template, but have reintroduced foods like rice, almonds, coffee, chocolate, and more.

Many follow the AIP diet for 30 days to a few months before they start reintroducing foods.

How do AIP food reintroductions work?

When you’re trying to gauge your reaction to foods, adding them all back in at once is the opposite of what you want to do. You want to go slowly, and mindfully to avoid overloading your body, and to allow yourself the time to see a reaction.

Here is the step by step process for reintroducing foods…

  1. Follow the protocol for a minimum of 30 days, until you get to a point where you’ve noticed a significant amount of healing.
  2. Start with the level 1 reintroduction schedule.
  3. Eat the food in isolation (don’t do multiple new foods at once) and wait 3 days to gauge a reaction.
  4. Track your reactions with a food journal. You’re looking for things like headaches, mood swings, skin changes, fatigue, bloating, etc.
  5. Add foods that work to your rotation, and table the foods that don’t work.
  6. Repeat the process.

So what does the AIP reintroduction schedule look like? Here is a brief outline of how the levels of reintroduction are phased… Click to Download the PDF

For more resources on reintroductions, check out this e-book and this blog post

How do you know you’re healing and are ready for reintroductions?

This answer varies for everyone. Here are the two ways that I would gauge whether or not you’re healing…

  1. A change in your labs/blood work.
  2. A noticeable reduction in your symptoms.

The details of that are different for everyone and need to be addressed on an individual basis. Talk to your own doctor or practitioner about what healing may look like for you personally.

Does the AIP diet really work?

Everyone is different. Many with autoimmune disease find success with an AIP diet, while others do not. There’s no way to guarantee that this approach will work for you, but here are some stories of encouragement of those who healed with the AIP diet..

  • Angie Alt’s Healing Story
  • Sophie’s Healing Story

I know what you may be thinking… “Stories are all anecdotal. Where’s the science?” I’ve got you covered! There was a recent medical study on the autoimmune protocol diet that you’ll find here. The results are astounding and encouraging!

When it comes to living well with autoimmunity, what else should you consider other than diet alone?

Healing is about so much more than just diet alone. Here are some other factors to consider…

  • Stress reduction
  • Sleep
  • Home and body care products
  • Movement
  • Community Support
  • Underlying infections
  • Working with a doctor (check out this post)

… just to name a few!

AIP Diet & Lifestyle Resources

The list of AIP resources is growing by the day! This community is vibrant and flourishing, and there are so many amazing blogs, books, and influencers to follow. Here are just some of my favorite resources…

Books-

  • The Paleo Approach
  • A Simple Guide to the AIP
  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook
  • The Healing Kitchen

Blogs-

  • UnboundWellness.com… AKA me… hiiiiii!
  • ThePaleoMom.com
  • PhoenixHelix.com
  • AutoimmuneWellness.com
  • GrazedandEnthused.com
  • ASquirrelinthekitchen.com
  • …and many more!

AIP Diet Plan

Where do you start? First is more research and some soul searching. Making sure that this is the right step for you right here, and right now. Just because this isn’t a good fit today doesn’t mean that there aren’t elements that you can take and start applying until you’re ready for the next step down the line.

The resources above are all amazing next steps for more research as is my e-book, the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol Makeover which lays out a 30 day guide to the AIP diet complete with lifestyle plans, meal plans, shopping lists, recipes, and more! You can check it out here!

Regardless of where you choose to go after reading this, I hope it was helpful in answering some questions and guiding you towards your next steps.

How the Autoimmune Paleo Diet Heals the Immune System

The AIP diet is an elimination diet that promotes healing of the immune system and gut lining in people with autoimmune disease. Could it help you?

Autoimmune diseases occur when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your own cells, perceiving them as a dangerous foreign invader or pathogen. This reaction causes systemic inflammation as autoantibodies start to attack your healthy tissue. It’s estimated that more than 20 million people in the United States have some sort of autoimmune condition and millions of them are yet to be diagnosed. Symptoms of autoimmunity can vary but commonly include skin rashes, joint pain, brain fog, and fatigue–just to name a few.

The autoimmune paleo diet, also referred to as the autoimmune protocol or AIP diet, is a variation of the paleo diet that strives to heal the immune system and digestive tract lining in those suffering from autoimmune disease by eliminating potential dietary triggers that may be causing inflammation and further fueling autoimmune reactions.

The protocol requires at least 30 days of elimination of dairy, gluten, grains and pseudo-grains (like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth), legumes, nuts, seeds, nightshade vegetables, eggs, modern vegetable oils, alcohol, added sugar or sweeteners, food additives and NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), which are medications like ibuprofen.

How does the autoimmune Paleo diet work?

After the elimination phase of the diet, you reintroduce eliminated food groups one at a time and assess your reaction. If a reaction occurs, these foods should be re-eliminated and retested for tolerance again at a later date (usually at least after another month of removal from the diet). The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet helps to uncover a more personalized Paleo-based diet that helps to reduce inflammation, promote gut healing, and diminish autoimmune-related symptoms for the long-term.

Beyond just a diet, the autoimmune protocol also emphasizes a way of life that prioritizes adequate sleep, stress reduction, and regular physical activity, as these lifestyle factors are known to have a direct influence on symptoms of autoimmunity. At Parsley Health, we promote these self-care practices as essential components in achieving optimal health and wellness for all individuals.

Until recently, the success of the autoimmune Paleo diet was only supported through the anecdotal stories of the thousands of people who successfully used the protocol to help treat and even reverse their autoimmune disease. But new research in the past few years in both the journals Inflammatory Bowel Disorders and Current Developments in Nutrition examined the effectiveness of AIP for inflammatory bowel disease, a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. In both studies, the researchers found that the majority of study participants, greater than 70% in each study, achieved remission after 6 weeks of following AIP. These results bring much needed scientific support to the autoimmune protocol and its ability to help those with autoimmune disease.

Is the AIP Diet right for you? Is it healthy?

If you don’t have an autoimmune disease, it’s unnecessary to follow the autoimmune Paleo diet. There is no need to fear any food groups if you are otherwise healthy and symptom-free, as the healthiest diet is truly the one in which offers the greatest diversity of nutrients from whole food sources.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and want to better manage active and ongoing symptoms, AIP could be a good option for you. However, because of the extremely restrictive nature of AIP, it’s not appropriate to try if you are at risk of eating disorders, have food aversions, are unwilling to make dietary changes, or have other diet-related medical conditions. If you feel the AIP diet might be too limited for you, many members at Parsley Health often see positive results when implementing less restrictive elimination diets or the Paleo diet first. If you’ve already tried other types of elimination diets without success or reduction in symptoms, AIP might be worth experimenting with as a next step.

Get started with the autoimmune Paleo diet

For the initial 30-day period, you eliminate dairy, gluten, grains and pseudo-grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, nightshade vegetables, eggs, modern vegetable oils, alcohol, added sugar or sweeteners, food additives and NSAIDs. With the elimination of these suspected gut irritants, the diet focuses on including more anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables of all kinds and colors (except nightshades), well-sourced organic meat and organ meats, wild-caught fish, fermented foods, bone broths, healthy fats from avocados, olives and coconuts, and small amounts of antioxidant-rich fruits like berries.

While AIP may feel daunting and restrictive, many healthy recipes can be easily adjusted to fit the bill.

Some great Parsley Health recipes you can try out if you’re going AIP include:

  • Easy Wild Salmon Salad: To make AIP-friendly, just exclude the sundried tomatoes and added black pepper to taste.
  • Bison Burgers: Ditch the tomato slice on top, opt for some fresh cucumber or red onions instead, and skip out on sprinkling with black pepper.
  • Green Detox Smoothie: Replace the almond butter with coconut butter or avocado and swap our Parsley Health Rebuild plant-based protein powder for some collagen peptides and you’re good to go!

How to know if the AIP diet worked for you

While 30 days is a suggested minimum amount of time to follow the diet, it is ideal to wait to see clear improvement in the autoimmune conditions and associated symptoms before starting reintroductions. An elimination diet is not meant to last forever but it could take some people 30 days and others a few months to see marked improvement in symptoms success with AIP. Once improvement is seen, you reintroduce foods safely and slowly following a formal schedule. At Parsley Health, we recommend working with one of our health coaches for guidance and support while challenging and reintroducing foods. The ultimate goal of AIP is to create a personalized diet that uncovers specific dietary triggers and will promote healing in the long-term.

For those suffering with symptoms related to autoimmune disease including fatigue, muscle and joint pain, bloating, gas, rashes, hair loss and overall body aches, reduction in these symptoms can often be an obvious indication that AIP is working. In addition to reduction in overt physical symptoms, getting tested by your doctor for changes in inflammatory markers and the health of the gut microbiome is the most objective way to ensure the diet has produced a decrease in inflammation in the body.

At Parsley Health, we have seen success and even complete disease remission in those with autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, eosinophilic esophagitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and inflammatory bowel disease, among others!

One member came to us with eosinophilic esophagitis, an autoimmune cause of reflux, and with the AIP diet combined with a gut healing protocol we use at Parsley Health, her disease completely resolved.

Our takeaway

  • AIP can be extremely effective for individuals with a diagnosed autoimmune disease who have tried other dietary changes without a successful change in symptoms.
  • Elimination diets are highly regarded in the medical community as an effective means of identifying dietary triggers.
  • The autoimmune Paleo diet should be thought of as an elimination diet that is focused on analyzing all potentially inflammatory foods for a highly reactive population.
  • The autoimmune protocol is best used as a tool to help personalize the diet to include the foods that help individuals feel their best while keeping inflammation and symptoms to a minimum. It should not be followed long-term.

Lupus and The Paleo Diet

Hello Dr. Cordain,

I hope this finds you in good health. Prior to 2009 I lost 100lbs and began my career as a fitness professional teaching cycling classes and helping others reach their weight loss goals. 2009 I was diagnosed with Lupus and went into total kidney failure. I spent 8 weeks living a Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC and some how made a miraculous recovery.

Of course I was put on lots of medication and had to go through a sort of chemo for about a year afterwards. Now I find myself struggling to lose the weight I gained back after being on prednisone for years. Now I’m battling moments of depression and exhaustion despite still teaching my cycling classes and trying to eat “healthy.” Also, I’m still taking prednisone but my dose is only 5mg now.

I’ve finally been cleared by my kidney doctor to start taking in more protein and I immediately thought of Paleo. Can you give me a little more insight as to how Paleo may help me? Nobody around me eats this way, including the people I live with, so I would be doing this all alone. But, in my gut, I believe it might be the answer I’ve been looking for. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.

Anonymous

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

First, let me say that my heart goes out to you for the health problems you have been experiencing associated with your diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). I am not a clinical practitioner, but rather a University Researcher studying diet and autoimmunity. Accordingly, I suggest that you consult a variety of health care professionals who are familiar with SLE, autoimmunity and The Paleo Diet. Competent health care personnel can work with you individually and over time to regularly monitor your signs and symptoms of SLE, your blood chemistry and your overall health if you decide to adopt The Paleo Diet.

The Paleo Diet may help to reduce or even cause remission of autoimmune disease symptoms in certain autoimmune conditions. Our international research group believes that contemporary Paleo diets may be therapeutic for some autoimmune disease patients for a number of reasons. First, this nutritional program eliminates a number of foods which may increase intestinal permeability. Evidence from our laboratory (1) as well as more recent data (2, 3) suggests a “leaky gut” may represent an important environmental/dietary factor which triggers autoimmune disease in genetically susceptible patients.

As with The Paleo Diet for all people, I suggest autoimmune subjects reduce or eliminate cereal grains, particularly gluten containing grains (wheat, rye and barley). Cereal grains contain a number of compounds which may increase intestinal permeability including gliadin (a storage protein found in gluten containing grains), lectins (particularly a lectin called wheat germ agglutinin found in wheat, and thaumatin like proteins, as well as other compounds.

Over the past two decades, SLE has frequently been reported to present simultaneously with celiac disease (4-6), an autoimmune intestinal disease caused in genetically predisposed patients by consumption of gluten containing grains. Both SLE and celiac patients share the genetic markers (HLA B8 and DR3) which increase disease susceptibility. Further a recent study indicated that 7 of 24 SLE patients exhibited anti-gliadin antibodies, the same antibodies to gluten containing grains found in celiac patients. A number of case reports have shown that gluten free diets had beneficial and favorable effects in SLE patients (6, 7). Accordingly, the preliminary evidence suggest that SLE patients should adopt gluten free diets.

Check out my former graduate student, good friend and colleague, Robb Wolf’s website and read about an SLE patient who beat the disease with Paleo. There is absolutely no risk to gluten free diets like The Paleo Diet, and the potential for improved health is high (8-15).

Other foods which are not on The Paleo Diet menu are dairy products, legumes, processed foods, refined sugars and vegetable oils. All of these items may adversely affect intestinal function or interact with the immune system in a manner that may promote allergy or autoimmunity. For details about these and other dietary elements that compromise intestinal function see my latest book, The Paleo Answer.

Finally, autoimmune patients may also want to read Egg Whites and Autoimmune Disease which suggests eggs and nightshades sometimes interact with the immune system to promote or aggravate allergy and autoimmunity.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor

1. Cordain L, Toohey L, Smith MJ, Hickey MS. Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis. British Journal of Nutrition, 2000, 83:207-217.

2. Fasano A. Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2012 Feb;42(1):71-8.

3. Fasano A. Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Physiol Rev. 2011 Jan;91(1):151-75

4. Mirza N, Bonilla E, Phillips PE. Celiac disease in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report and review of literature. Clin Rheumatol. 2007 May;26(5):827-8

5. Freeman HJ. Adult celiac disease followed by onset of systemic lupus erythematosus. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar;42(3):252-5

6. Hrycek A, Siekiera U. Coeliac disease in systemic lupus erythematosus: a case report.
Rheumatol Int. 2008 Mar;28(5):491-3.

8. Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009.

9. Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35

10. Jonsson T, Ahren B, Pacini G, Sundler F, Wierup N, Steen S, Sjoberg T, Ugander M, Frostegard J, Goransson Lindeberg S: A Paleolithic diet confers higher insulin sensitivity, lower C-reactive protein and lower blood pressure than a cereal-based diet in domestic pigs. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2006, 3:39.

11. Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, Ahren B, Lindeberg S. A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 30;7(1):85

12. Lindeberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjostrom K, Ahren B: A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia 2007, 50(9):1795-1807.

13. O’Dea K: Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984, 33(6):596-603.

14. Osterdahl M, Kocturk T, Koochek A, Wandell PE: Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008, 62(5):682-685.

15. Ryberg M, Sandberg S, Mellberg C, Stegle O, Lindahl B, Larsson C, Hauksson J, Olsson T. A Palaeolithic-type diet causes strong tissue-specific effects on ectopic fat deposition in obese postmenopausal women. J Intern Med. 2013 Jul;274(1):67-76.


Two years ago the Paleo Diet was the diet everyone was talking about. I remember going to a New Years Eve party and they served paleo chili with cauliflower. It may sound very Californian, but it was honestly the best chili I ever had. I remember deciding that night that this new diet would be my New Years resolution. While I didn’t start the paleo diet that year, I did walk away with some simple foods and recipes for eating better, and to reduce inflammation.

Following are the four super foods I have found that help me manage the symptoms of lupus:

Get your leafy greens on

As a kid, I loved going to eat anywhere that had a buffet so that I could build what I imagined to be the “world’s largest salad.” I would pile on the tomatoes, cucumbers, and then throw on some black olives. Lastly, I would douse the whole thing in ranch dressing and croutons. My salads weren’t exactly the healthiest option when it came to eating the super food that is leafy greens.

As an adult with lupus, I had to do research to ensure I was eating foods that were right for my body. Kale with sesame oil and ginger became my go-to, rather than iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing. Even though I still crave a good salad, substituting the iceberg for red leafy lettuce added folate and Vitamin A to my diet. This helped me fight my recurring anemia issues due to prednisone use.

Purple fruits are good for more than just wine

Antioxidants are natural healers and most berries are packed with them. No one had to tell me eat my berries as a kid, but as an adult eating fruits and vegetables was a chore. Who had time for that? Once I was diagnosed with lupus, I had to start paying attention. Grapes were the easiest to pack and take with me, but I did a little research and discovered a whole new “purple” world. Purple fruits such as blueberries, blackberries and the acai berry are high in vitamins and antioxidants.

Eating fruits and vegetables can be a no-brainer when it comes to staying healthy.

Grass-fed organic beef

Purchasing meat at the store shouldn’t require a nutritionist. Getting good meat shouldn’t require a hunting license, either. This past fall I ordered my first side of organic, grass-fed beef from an actual farm. The woman there taught me quite a lot about the health benefits of eating grass-fed organic meat. Grass fed beef is higher in Omega-3 levels, and aren’t treated with antibiotics or hormones. While studies do not point to these being the cause of auto-immune disease, some doctors have pointed the finger.

Seafood

Not all seafood is good for you, especially when you have an auto-immune disease. Certain shellfish can cause allergic reactions and auto-immune responses. Wild fish is much healthier than farmed fish, and it’s higher in vitamins and minerals. Salmon is one of the best “meats” you can eat though, as it’s full of Omega-3, protein and potassium.

The exact cause of lupus is unknown, but some doctors place the blame on lifestyle and eating habits. While no one can say for certain where it comes from, we do know that lifestyle and eating habits can cause lupus flare-ups. Eating the top four super foods has helped curb my symptoms and stopped my inflammation in its tracks.

Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

  • Author Details

Inês holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she specialized in blood vessel biology, blood stem cells, and cancer. Before that, she studied Cell and Molecular Biology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and worked as a research fellow at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Inês currently works as a Managing Science Editor, striving to deliver the latest scientific advances to patient communities in a clear and accurate manner. × Inês holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she specialized in blood vessel biology, blood stem cells, and cancer. Before that, she studied Cell and Molecular Biology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and worked as a research fellow at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Inês currently works as a Managing Science Editor, striving to deliver the latest scientific advances to patient communities in a clear and accurate manner. Latest Posts

Lupus Q&A: Paleo vs. Keto, Increasing Energy, and Leaky Gut

Click on the video above to listen to this week’s Lupus Q&A! The questions and answers are below if you prefer to read 🙂

Venessa C.: What do you do to keep your kidneys well. My Rheumi told me at my last appointment that it looks like my kidneys are starting to be affected. Is there an herb or supplement I can take to make it better?

The best thing you can do to help your kidneys is to decrease inflammation by incorporating lots of vegetables of different colors, eat organic to limit the toxin exposure, and heal your gut by eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, bone broth, or kombucha drinks, which give your gut probiotics and prebiotics.

Reduce your stress levels and limit your intake of sodium and protein, as these can be too taxing for your kidneys.

As for the supplements, I would highly recommend considering LDN (low dose Naltrexone therapy), 1mg- 4.5mg. You can ask your primary care or your Rheumatologist about this.

It’s not a supplement, but it’s a low does Naltrexone therapy which has a highly potent anti-inflammatory effect.

You can also eat lots of vegetables with variety of colors to get the anti-oxidant effect in your body which will not only be anti-inflammatory, but also be protective for your cells.

Victoria B.: What are your thoughts on paleo diet to help with inflammation?

I think that paleo diets are great for inflammation.

However, I think what may be even more beneficial is to incorporate ketogenic diet into the paleo.

There’s lots of research on the benefits of ketogentic diets, including anti-inflammatory effects and I’ve personally had lots of success with it as well as with my patients.

Carie M.: How can I increase my energy? I feel most days like I’m only half alive…. then on days when I wake up and I’m myself, within a few hours I spike a fever and I’m down again 🙁 soooo much to do and no energy or focus to do it. I’d really like to stop eating candy and soda just to make it through the day 🙁

Autoimmune conditions like Lupus cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria is where we produce energy for our body.

Our immune system requires so much energy to function normally, but with autoimmune conditions, all meds cause mitochondrial insufficiency, which means it actually creates sick cells which in turn creates extreme fatigue.

Eating high sugary foods adds acidity to the body. Rather than supplying the cells with more energy, it has the opposite effect of spiking up the blood sugar level causing a surge of insulin to be released from our pancreas, which is highly inflammatory so it’s not what you want to do.

If you want to increase energy, decrease the toxic load through diet, environment and stress.

Then you’ll need additional supplemental support for your gut like glutamine, probiotics, mitochondrial support, omegas, coQ10 and vitamin D to name a few to ensure that your cells are able to produce sufficient amount of energy as well as for your immune system to function normally because for us lupus and autoimmune patients, our immune system is considered broken so we must work to support and fix it.

Lauren G.: Has anyone had success with treating a leaky gut and having improvements with lupus symptoms?

Yes, it takes time and diligence but it’s the only way to heal from Lupus.

I’ve done it and continue to do it on a regular basis. There are three things that we assume clinically when a patient has autoimmune conditions.

  1. Genetic disposition
  2. Trigger
  3. Gut permeability.

So it is imperative to fix leaky gut if you ultimately want to get well.

Can the Paleo Diet Help Fight Psoriasis?

The Paleo diet has been making waves for some time as an alternative nutrition lifestyle. Now some devotees are claiming that the Paleo diet can even help psoriasis patients with their symptoms.

There’s a chance it might, based on anecdotal evidence, but as of now there’s no solid scientific evidence, says April Abernethy, ND, a former associate director of medical programs for the National Psoriasis Foundation.

So should you give it a try?

“I think one of the challenges with all genetic diseases is that our response tends to be individual,” says Dr. Abernethy, who is now director of development for The Next Door in Hood River, Oregon — an organization that provides community youth, family, and health services. “Certainly anecdotally, we do see that there are patients who respond well to the Paleo diet.”

The Paleo diet is based on the way our ancestors ate before the development of agriculture. In those days, people lived on wild meat and fish, eggs, fruit, berries, vegetables, and nuts, and they rarely ate seeds or beans. They didn’t know how to grow grains, so foods like bread and cereal are not included in this diet. Items like dairy products, refined fats, and processed sugar were unheard of, so they’re not part of the Paleo plan, either.

The Paleo Diet and Psoriasis Treatment

How might following a Paleo diet help ease psoriasis symptoms? “The cornerstone is the basis that psoriasis is an inflammatory disease,” Abernethy says. “Anything you can do to eat whole foods and get away from processed foods may improve your outcome of doing better with the inflammatory disease.”

Foods heavy in saturated fats or loaded with processed sugar are believed to increase inflammation and contribute to all manner of chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. “Those are diseases we know are comorbid conditions with psoriasis,” she says.

Eating a healthy diet along the lines of the Paleo diet may reduce inflammation as well as help with weight control. “There is some evidence linking diets that are low in processed foods and rich in monounsaturated fats and healthy fats with improving someone’s ability to lose weight and sustain weight loss,” Abernethy says.

She adds that those interested in trying to follow the Paleo diet for psoriasis treatment would do well to focus on the parts of the diet that call for:

  • Dark, leafy, green vegetables
  • Foods rich in natural oils, like avocados
  • Lean meats and fish
  • Cutting back on dairy
  • Cutting back or eliminating grains

“You’re eating what would be in your habitat if we still foraged for food,” she says. “Really, that means buying local, and eating those nice fresh fruits and veggies you find at the farmer’s market.”

Why You Should Proceed Cautiously

Before you dive into the Paleo diet for psoriasis, consider consulting a registered dietitian, and plan to proceed in a deliberate fashion, suggests Heather Mangieri, RDN, owner and nutrition consultant for Nutrition CheckUp in Pittsburgh, and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Diets like Paleo eliminate entire food groups, which can keep you from getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy. “The idea is to be working with somebody to recognize any nutritional deficiencies,” Mangieri says.

“Particularly in the Paleo diet, I’d be concerned with calcium and vitamin D. There are certainly ways to meet your nutritional needs without dairy, but it’s difficult. Let’s make sure foods that are going to provide calcium and vitamin D are put back into that diet so we don’t suffer a long-term deficiency,” she says. “Too many people just start eliminating things.”

Mangieri did agree that there are potential benefits from following the Paleo diet if you rule out foods that trigger inflammation and you lose weight, which has been shown to improve psoriasis symptoms.

“When you start removing all these foods, it’s likely you’re going to be eating fewer calories and losing weight,” she says. “Maybe it’s not Paleo that’s helping with symptoms. Maybe it’s the weight loss. And there are certainly many ways to lose weight besides the Paleo diet.”

Tag Archives: psoriasis

The increased abdominal fat that many women develop after menopause due to hormonal changes and the skin disorder psoriasis are divergent health concerns that would seem to have little in common. But two recently published studies found a common ground – chronic inflammation.

More importantly, the anti-inflammatory properties of the Paleo Diet were found to improve both .

After menopause, women have a tendency to “redistribute” fat around the abdomen which increases the risk for metabolic disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease . In the first study, which was published in Obesity, researchers placed 70 obese postmenopausal women on either a Paleo Diet or a “prudent control diet” (CD) for 24 months. The CD diet, also called the Diabetes diet, is recommended for people with diabetes or insulin resistance; it includes higher vegetable, fiber, whole-grain, and fruit consumption along with lower fat intake .

Women on both diets were able to reduce adipose tissue and improve their inflammatory markers. However, improvements in the Paleo Diet group were greater. Women in this group were also the only ones to lower two key inflammatory markers – MCP-1 and plasma C-reactive protein (figure 3). This led the researchers to suggest that the Paleo Diet produced “a more pronounced overall decrease in low-grade inflammation compared to the CD group.”

It’s worth pointing out that subjects on the Diabetes diet reported greater difficulty adhering to the diet and had a higher dropout rate . The Diabetes diet differed from the Paleo Diet in only two major ways – unlike the Paleo Diet, it recommended whole grain consumption and it recommended reduced fat intake. The researchers pointed to the fatty acid profile of the Paleo diet as a potential reason for the better inflammatory profile.

The second study, out of the Department of Dermatology at the University of California, took a different tact. The researchers surveyed 1206 psoriasis patients through the National Psoriasis Foundation to determine specific foods and diets that may influence their condition .

Tables 4 and 5 below shows reported trigger foods, foods that may have improved symptoms, and diets that patients said helped their condition:

What is fascinating is that with only a few exceptions, the foods that worsened or helped the condition aligned very closely with Paleo Diet recommendations. Likewise, 69 percent of respondents who tried the Paleo Diet found it helped their condition. Many of the other diets on the list, including the Pangano diet (increased fruit and vegetables/decreased nightshades and junk food) have Paleo-like characteristics. In fact, the study reported that compared to controls in the large-scale NHANES 2009-2010 dataset, “respondents reported less daily intake of sugar, whole grain fiber, dairy products, and calcium.” A quote that could be used to describe someone starting a Paleo Diet.

A theme of the two studies was that chronic inflammation was considered both a cause and a major risk factor for co-morbidities. In fact, psoriasis is being increasingly recognized as a systemic inflammatory condition that is associated with a variety of cardiac and metabolic diseases .

Researchers of the psoriasis study proposed that a poor diet may change the microbiome and digestion leading to poor immune function. They specifically pointed to the consumption of simple carbohydrates (sugar) and nightshades.

Likewise, authors of the postmenopausal study discussed past research showing that fat deposits can increase inflammation and contribute to metabolic dysfunction. But weight-loss alone did not resolve the inflammation in some of this past research . The authors pointed to the better fatty acid profile of the Paleo Diet – focused on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids over saturated fats – as a potential explanation for the better inflammatory profile after both six and 24 months .

Perhaps most telling is that after including many diets in their survey, the authors of the psoriasis study specifically called out the Paleo Diet. They wrote the diet “can reduce the risk of cardiometabolic comorbidities in psoriasis which are a predominant cause of reduced life expectancy and an important aspect of disease management” .

The Whole30® and Psoriasis: Karen R’s Story

Karen’s story (first published on her blog, Beautifully Simple) about her battle with psoriasis (an autoimmune condition) showcases the power of food to change your life–but also the fact that food isn’t everything. Lifestyle factors like stress and sleep and other environmental factors like skin care products all play into healing from skin conditions. The only certain thing is that you must be patient, you must try new approaches, and you must build your plan on a foundation of healthy eating, like the plan we outline in the Whole30 program.

Read Karen’s story and learn how she recovered from psoriasis through healthy eating and skin care (and without prescription medication).

In Karen’s Own Words

From freckles to acne to psoriasis, my skin and I have been through a lot. But finally, at the age of 33, I finally found a solution that worked for me. Here is my story.

For as long as I can remember, I have been self-conscious about my skin. As a little girl it was my freckles. As I entered my teenage years, the acne began. It was embarrassing and it killed my self-esteem. To this day, I still have a difficult time looking people in the eye when I speak to them. I would always look down or just avoid people and conversations all together.

My parents took me to several dermatologists to find something that would work. I went through two rounds of Accutane, which had terrible side effects. I also tried antibiotics and a number of topical medicines. All of this on top of anything else I could find over the counter.

In my late teens, I went on a birth control pill that advertised it could help with acne. For the most part it did, although I would have the occasional breakout around my cycle for the next 10 years. I eventually stopped the pill, got pregnant, had my beautiful little girl, and switched to a different form of birth control.

The Onset of Psoriasis

In January of 2012, at 31 years old, I developed a small dry spot over my right eyebrow. I had just gotten my eyebrows waxed, so I figured it was a reaction from that. But it didn’t go away and before I knew it, the dry spots started to spread to other areas of my face, the worst of which was my forehead right by my hairline. It quickly moved to my scalp, and then to a few spots on the back of my legs and upper abdomen.

I finally called the dermatologist, but of course, it would be two weeks before I could get in. It was the longest two weeks of my life! When I did make it in, I broke down crying in front of my doctor.

He said it was psoriasis and handed over two prescriptions; one a topical foam for my face and body and the other a solution for my scalp. The foam worked great on my face—within a week it was pretty much clear and stayed clear as long as I applied the foam twice a day. The spots on my body were a little more stubborn and would take months to clear with the medication.

My scalp, however, was the worse because it itched – BAD – which led to a lot of flakes and a lot of embarrassment. The prescription the doc gave me didn’t seem to do anything and it would be over a year before I was able to clear it on my own.

How I Fixed My Skin

During the summer of 2011, before my psoriasis began, my husband and I decided to clean up our diet and completed our first Whole30 program. (They have a New York Times bestselling book, It Starts With Food. Seriously people, BUY THIS BOOK. It will change your life!)

By the end of the 30 days, we both felt amazing and I saw a noticeable difference in my skin. Not only was it clear, but it was brighter and looked healthy. This was my light bulb moment… after 30 days of a clean diet, my skin looked the best that it ever had.

But six months later, during my second Whole30, the psoriasis began again. It was January of 2012 and I wanted to start the year fresh after indulging during the holidays. It was also an extremely stressful time for me as I had just started a new job, moved to a new home, and tragically lost a friend. This time, I started doing some research to learn more about psoriasis to see if I could heal it naturally. I discovered that it is an autoimmune condition—my immune system was attacking my skin cells, which caused them to reproduce rapidly. There are no cures for autoimmune conditions, but that didn’t stop me. I knew there had to be a way to control it without prescription meds.

In May of 2012, I did a Whole60 hoping to heal my gut and reduce the inflammation. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a huge improvement after the 60 days. So after doing some more digging and research, I discovered the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP). This protocol is even more restrictive than the traditional Whole30 program as it further eliminates foods like eggs, nightshades, and nuts and seeds. I followed the AIP for 30 days in August and at the end I did see some improvement.

When 2013 rolled around, I continued to stick with the Whole30 program plus the elimination of eggs. I also started to look into the skincare products I was using every day. Turns out, they are pretty crappy. Most of them contain known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and even skin irritants. I knew I had to change my skincare products if I was going to heal my psoriasis.

Thankfully, I found TASTYFACE Organics. The founder, Kelly, has created the most amazing products. Not only do they feel and smell amazing, but they don’t contain any harmful chemicals. In fact, her products are so clean, you can eat them if you want! So I threw out all of my name brand products and religiously began using her cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and body butter. I also found a shampoo and conditioner that I really liked that was fairly clean.

For about four months, I consistently used these products. By July of 2013, my psoriasis was finally gone!

(Whole30 + clean products) – eggs = happy skin & a happy me!

It may have taken me a year and of half of trial and error plus a lot of frustration, but I never gave up.

My Suggestions for Healthy Skin

  • If you are suffering from acne or psoriasis, go to the book store or hop online and purchase It Starts With Food. RIGHT NOW. And when you are done with the book, do a Whole30 challenge. If you have psoriasis, you may need to do a Whole60 or even the autoimmune protocol (AIP). Luckily, over the past year and half since I initially did the AIP, there have been several Paleo Autoimmune Cookbooks that have come out, making it much easier to stick to the AIP diet.
  • I also highly recommend making a change in your skincare products. My favorite products come from TASTYFACE Organics and Primal Life Organics. Both have amazing products!

I’ll be posting another blog article shortly dedicated completely to skincare products, so be on the lookout for that. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or connect with me on Facebook.

Joint swelling, ‘puffiness’ and inflammation can leave you feeling less than your best. Inflammation can be painful, uncomfortable, and is considered to be an underlying mechanism of many chronic illnesses like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and many others. Here are five foods that can help you slash inflammation.

Turmeric

This golden powerhouse spice is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is one of the most common inflammation fighters common in ancient ayurvedic medicine. The more you are able to reduce inflammation, the more you can help reduce swelling. The benefits of circuiminoids, the molecular compounds in turmeric that provide the benefits can be potentiated when the spice is also used

Green Tea

Green tea is packed with inflammation fighting antioxidants and polyphenols. While drinking green tea can have a bit of a diuretic effect, the anti inflammatory benefits of polyphenols have been thought to reduce inflammation and has been linked in a number of studies with a decreased incidence of chronic illness like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Fatty Fish

Wild caught, oily fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are high inflammation fighting Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3s are known to be powerful inflammation fighters. If you aren’t a seafood fan, supplementing your diet with a quality Omega-3 source may be helpful too.

Dandelion tea

If bloating is a problem for you, consider Dandelion tea. This mild, roasted tea is a mild diuretic that can help you ditch extra water weight after having a salty meal or when you feel bloated. *Be sure to use with caution if you take any medications and ask your doctor about any potential drug interactions.*

Garlic

Garlic is an ancient, powerful anti-inflammatory food to include in your diet. Allicin, a pungent sulfurous compound in garlic is key to its inflammation fighting benefits. Studies have linked garlic to key functions like improving immune system function and anti-viral properties as well. Adding fresh raw garlic to meals can provide some of these anti inflammatory benefits.

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What is Paleo?

Medical News Today suggests that the paleo diet takes its inspiration from the paleolithic era, a time before farming and agriculture became a thing. So, access to food groups that exist today such as grains and most dairy, didn’t exist at that time and therefore are not included in the paleo diet. Prior to the development of the concept of farming and agriculture humans were predominantly hunters and gatherers and ate what was available to them from time to time.

Although there are a significant number of foods that cannot be consumed on this diet there is an extensive variety of foods that can be, and should therefore be kept on hand to keep followers of this diet satisfied and motivated.

The Paleo diet food list

Everyday Health provides a comprehensive list of options for people going paleo.

Fresh vegetables are the foundation of the paleo diet, so pick your favourites and make them the foundation of all your meals. The list below includes some options to keep in mind, but is in no way exhaustive of the options available:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Bok choy
  • Spinach
  • Rocket
  • Kale

After the vegetable group comes fruit. Everyday Health reminds us that packaged sweets aren’t allowed on this diet, so fruit has to be the way to satisfy your cravings for sugar. Some of the fruits that are suitable on this diet are:

  • Apples
  • Citrus
  • Berries
  • Banana
  • Kiwifruit
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Melons
  • Lychee

While eating fruits and vegetables is great for you, a diet that includes nothing else isn’t sustainable. Protein is necessary for our bodies and is a key part of the paleo diet. It’s important to make sure we’re consuming the right types of meats and proteins. So, while seafood can be eaten in large quantities without impacting on our health, eating bacon with every meal is not healthy. According to Eat Drink Paleo, any grass-fed meat will fit the paleo diet plan well although there are other types of protein that can also be included in this diet:

  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Game
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Nuts and Nut Butters

While the Paleo diet is seemingly lean it does allow for the consumption of healthy fats. Fat makes up a critical part of the paleo diet and it’s important to eat a variety of different fats; protein provides for one source of fats, but other healthy fats can be adopted for cooking and adding flavour to meals. Examples of healthy fats include:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Tahini
  • Butter
  • Ghee (made from grass fed butter)
  • Chia seeds

Similarly to healthy fats, herbs and spices are essential to making the whole foods required for this diet taste amazing. But this isn’t the only benefit, many of the spices also have anti-inflammatory properties. Paleo friendly spices to include in your dishes include:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chilli
  • Leek
  • Fresh chives
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Mustard
  • Vinegar (including apple cider vinegar)
  • Capers
  • Cacao powder

In addition to eating specific types of foods, staying hydrated is essential. As is the case with any low carb diet, the key to weight loss success and good digestion is consuming enough fluids. Paleo friendly options include water, coconut water, kombucha, bone broth, and unsweetened sparkling water.

If you’re loving these food options and are ready to get started, here’s a shopping list that will make sure you have all the essentials.

Paleo meal plans

Given the variety of foods available to be consumed on this diet, an eating plan can be very flexible with the added bonus of no calorie restrictions. The one thing to really keep in mind is that every meal should include plenty of fresh vegetables.

Here are some meal options to get you started:

Paleo breakfast ideas

  • Breakfast casserole with sausages
  • Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon
  • Ham & butternut squash hash

Paleo lunch ideas

  • Roast chicken salad with added craisins, pecans, apple slices and vinaigrette
  • Chicken lettuce wraps with your favourite condiments

Paleo dinner ideas

  • Butterflied roasted chicken with wild mushroom soup
  • Ham and pineapple skewers with oven-roasted tomatoes
  • Greek style meatballs
  • Chicken Pad See Ew
  • Grilled chicken breasts with zucchini
  • Spicy pork chili
  • Pistachio-crusted salmon

If you’re not a fan of cooking, there are plenty of paleo meals and snack options that you can quickly toss together. Frittatas would have to be the easiest and tastiest option, not to mention great for using up any leftover roast vegetables. Otherwise, alternative portable paleo snack ideas include bananas with almond butter, a handful of olives, nuts or trail mix, and frozen berries with a drizzle of coconut milk.

You might also like:

Paleo diet: the benefits, dangers and side effects

Low carb diet: recipes, results and food lists

This popular weight loss trick doesn’t actually work

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