All Posts tagged Paleo Diet

Protein Amounts During Pregnancy

I would like to know what amounts of protein are necessary for pregnant women? I have been eating the Paleo Diet since you introduced me to it. This is my first child. I am finding that my protein and fat requirements are significantly higher than what I usually eat.

Is there any research you could direct me to regarding protein requirements for pregnancy based on trimester?

Great question and I am thrilled you are prgnant! The bottom line is that you probably should increase your fat and carbohydrate consumption, and limit protein to about 20-25% of energy, as higher protein intakes than this may prove to be deleterious to mother and fetus for a variety of physiological reasons.

John Speth (an anthropologist) at the University of Michigan wrote a paper on protein aversion in hunter-gatherer women during pregnancy. Listed below is the abstract: (note the 25% protein energy ceiling!!!)

“During seasonal or inter-annual periods of food shortage and restricted total calorie intake, ethnographically and ethnohistorically documented human foragers, when possible, under-utilize foods that are high in protein, such as lean meat, in favour of foods with higher lipid or carbohydrate content. Nutritional studies suggest that one reason for this behaviour stems from the fact that pregnant women, particularly at times when their total calorie intake is marginal, may be constrained in the amount of energy they can safely derive from protein sources to levels below about 25% of total calories. Protein intakes above this threshold may affect pregnancy outcome through decreased mass at birth and increased perinatal morbidity and mortality…”

Pregnant women should include more carbohydrate and fat (i.e. fattier meats) in their diets and limit dietary protein to no more than 20-25% of their total caloric intake.


How I eat

I used to be a vegetarian for about 15 years. I avoided red meat, poultry, and fish (because I never really liked it and because of mercury toxicity). Every now and then I’d have  eggs. I ate a lot of pasta, grains, and vegetables. I started out as a vegetarian diet because I was experimenting with different diets for my clients. Being a vegetarian seemed to fit my “Chiropractic lifestyle”.

Then about 3 years ago I began to work out more vigorously with kettlebells and free weights.  I knew I would need to increase my protein intake. One night after being at the movies with Maddy I said “I want a steak for dinner.”  She practically fell out of her seat. I had already been recommending a ‘Paleo’ or Mediterranean  diet for many of my clients because I knew those who ate a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet were leaner, healthier, and more energetic. I saw it happening day in and day out in my practice.

As I increased my exercise intensity I maintained my protein shake in the mornings (like I always do) but I switched from a soy based protein to a whey based protein (Ultrameal from Metagenics). I actually got leaner and went from a 10 percent body fat to a my most recent test that revealed a 7 percent body fat. 

I eat grass-fed beef, and hormone free chicken, and I still don’t like fish but I recommend fish for those who do! I make sure I take fish oil supplements. I eat organic vegetables, avoid fruit juices unless I dilute it with water, avoid grains, and limit sugar-laden desserts. I love the “paleo” or “primal” diet. Today, it is recognized by many as the healthiest diet in the world. 

I make sure I take my Wellness Essential for Men vitamin packs from Metagenics.


Paleo diet + exercise = 20 lb lost in 16 weeks

 The first session I started my client on the Paleo diet. The second session I taught her a 30-minute workout program that she could do at home on her own two to three times per week. I didn’t give her any cardio. She began to see results in  lowered  blood pressure even without much attention to the diet. By the end of the first month she gradually began cleaning up the diet to a more Paleo program (grass fed meat, seeds, organic vegetables and fruits, low carb) and saw results in terms of more rapid weight loss, easing of GURD symptoms, and dropping sinus allergy meds.

She said to me that she felt like she was on the right track regarding her diet and exercise program. I  didn’t force her into everything at once, I let her go at her own pace. I monitored her lean fat mass and body fat composition and showed her the improvements. Then, after another few months I  introduced the concepts of intermittent fasting and fasting before morning workouts.  Her body responded and the fat loss got even more rapid. Her lousy sleep patterns were  also improving.

I did suggest some supplements. I recommeded the Metagenics Wellness Essentials for Women. Simple and reasonable. Take a packet in the morning and another in the night.  Because of her work schedule she rarely got outside to enjoy the sun. So, I suggested taking some additional vitamin D3 (2000 IU daily) and omega 3 fish oil (3-4 g total per day). 

As I recount the history and results of this successful patient, now more than 4 months later she has achieved her weight loss goal of 20 pounds.


GERD Question

I have pretty simple advice on GERD. 

  1. Go on a pure paleo diet for  7 days, no added fat, i.e., lean meats & veggies with a drizzle of olive oil (breakfast, lunch & dinner). We are going for no grains, low carb. 
  2. Absolutely NO coffee, tea, alcohol, or tobacco during that pure paleo week. Water only.
  3. Supplement with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), about a level teaspoon mixed in water after each meal if you get heartburn.

You will probably notice some big relief within that week. Continue with the Paleo diet and it is usually OK to add back some gren tea or coffee, You just have to experiment with what your tolerance levels are with coffee, tea and alcohol.

Other recommendations that have helped clients are betaine HCL, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. I use UltraFlora DF from Metagenics.


Erectile dysfunction & laser therapy

You heard it here first… it’s not the news about the fact that there is an epidemic of erectile dysfunction in men. Let’s connect some of the dots… 76% of men reporting erectile dysfunction are obese. Men in America are steadily becoming more obese and steadily becoming sterile – there is a direct connection between men accumulating too much estrogen in there body through diet and chemical toxicity exposure, and obesity and sterility: manufactured foods cause obesity. You have to clean up your diet and go on a cleanse. The adipose tissue in your body sets in motion estrogen production; excess estrogen promotes more obesity – round and round it goes…but the part I want to tell you about is that laser has been shown to help ED. Figure out the treatment…diet, exercise and laser on the shaft of the penis to increase blood flow!


Weight Loss Thoughts

Everyone knows I am partial to the Paleo diet and Mediteranean  Diet.  Whichever diet you pick for 2011,  I repeatedly see those clients that make behavioral changes have the best weight loss success.  

In one study in 2010, Dr. Foster and his team recruited more than 300 obese adults and monitored them for two full years while half followed a low-carb diet and half followed a low-fat diet. Guess what – the results were nearly identical – subjects lost equal amounts of weight with both diets. But there was one huge difference: heart disease risk factors. 

The low-carb groups enjoyed significant improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol status. Most impressively, triglyceride levels dropped while HDL increased by well over 20 percent.

Of course, these results completely fly in the face of the nutritional mainstream’s most sacred cow–that eating animal fats will harm your heart.  Let me say it one more time – restrict your carbohydrate intake. Eat all the protein and animal fat you desire.

So which group would you rather be in? The group that just loses weight? Or the group that never goes hungry, loses weight AND improves heart health? When you are ready I’m here to help you lose weight by adding in the proper exercise, mind set and supplements.


“The Anti-Inflammatory Diet”

In the November 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA), Wendy Marcason, RD, writes about the “The Anti-Inflammatory Diet” as a possible route to minimizing diseases linked to chronic, low-grade inflammation such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.

I would add obesity to this list as well, since various research studies have likened obesity to inflammation. I have used the anti-inflammatory diet as a weight-loss diet but I prefer the Paleo diet for pure weight loss. If my client is does not need the anti-inflammatory recommendations for health issues, I do like the Paleo diet.

There is about 300 books under the topic of “anti-inflammatory”; some plans call for the elimination of entire food groups or the omission of foodstuffs such as corn, wheat, soy, dairy, red meat, eggs. A few even claim that certain vegetables are linked with chronic inflammation.

Some common threads, seem to run through the various anti-inflammatory eating plans:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Make sure you’re ingesting a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, fish-oil supplements, and walnuts. (I recommend EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics. Order @
  • Include plenty of whole grains, such as bulgur wheat and brown rice.
  • Eat lean protein sources (e.g. skinless chicken) while decreasing your consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy products.
  • Keep saturated and trans fats to a minimum.
  • Avoid (as much as possible) processed and refined foods.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation (no more than 1 glass of wine daily for women and 2 per day for men).
  • Include a variety of spices in your meals, such as ginger and curry.

These guidelines aren’t earth shattering but they can perhaps serve as a reminder of what to aim in your diet most of the time, especially during this holiday season. 


How many carbs should I average on strictly low carb days?

Some people count carbs and some  don’t. If you are curious you can look the number of carbs up on Google. On a really low carb day you are looking at roughly 10 grams carbs each with breakfast and lunch, and up to 20 for dinner. Snacks of protein only, but no carbs for snacks.

If you do’t need to be limited to really low carbs, but you need to restrict yourcarbs, I’m suggesting roughly 100-150 grams of carbs per day.

What to eat can be a little tricky! You should stick to just two fruits per day; fruit gives you way too much fructose which is a load on the liver. Enjoy protein and fat like what I’ve talked about for paleo meals. Strict paleo eliminates many sources of starchy carbs: potatoes, dry beans, grains and pseudograins. Non-potato root veggies don’t have a high starch content. Winter squash would be good. Most nuts are good – Almonds, macadamea nuts, and chestnuts, are good this time of year.

Being on a low carb diet goes along with eating a low-oxalate diet. I have discovered that reducing oxalates improves many of my patients with fibromyalgia symptoms. After about 6 months of low-oxalate dieting, clients feel better. They describe being able to
walk, do light exercise, work in the yard, and better sleep. Apparently people with celiac disease  often get oxalate problems due to the compromised gut. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, many grains, all nuts except chestnuts, and almost all dried beans are high in oxalates. So this condition almost forces a paleo diet, and may explain why many people feel so better on a paleo diet with less pain, etc.


Paleolithic diet and its implications in rheumatoid arthritis

On his DVD How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis with Diet, Dr. Cordain thoroughly explains the dietary mechanisms of autoimmunity in MS which are almost the same for all autoimmune diseases, including RA. These include: increased intestinal permeability, increased passage of luminal antigens into peripheral circulation, molecular mimicry and genetic susceptibility (genes encoding for the HLA system), among other factors.

In recent years, new substances have been discovered which might be responsible for increased intestinal permeability – namely saponins – found in legumes, potatoes, soya, quinoa, amaranth, alfalfa sprouts or tomatoes. If you’ve seen Dr. Cordain’s scientific paper entitled “Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis”, I am sure you are aware of the role lectins play in autoimmunity.

Adjuvants are used by immunologists in order to boost the immune system and induce immune response. It turns out that certain foods possess bioactive compounds that have adjuvant-like activity. This is the case for tomatoes or quillaja (a foaming agent used in beers and soft drinks).

Gliadin is a prolamine found in wheat which has been shown to increase intestinal permeability, and hence the risk of suffering from an autoimmune disease. While several clinical trials conducted have shown promising results, unfortunately they have used a gluten-free diet or vegan diet instead of a whole paleolithic diet, which is probably superior.

In the vegan diets, authors often claim that the benefits cited might be due to the lack of meat, but what if the positive effects relie on the lack of diary proteins and gluten. Meat has historically been seen as the “bad guy” of inflammation, but the data to support that notion is not sufficiently compelling.

Listed below are some references that may be helpful.


  1. Modulation of immune function by dietary lectins in rheumatoid arthritis. Cordain L, Toohey L, Smith MJ, Hickey MS. Brit J Nutr 2000, 83:207-217.
  2. Gluten-free vegan diet induces decreased LDL and oxidized LDL levels and raised atheroprotective natural antibodies against phosphorylcholine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized study. Elkan AC, Sjöberg B, Kolsrud B, Ringertz B, Hafström I, Frostegård J. Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(2):R34. Epub 2008 Mar 18.
  3. A vegan diet free of gluten improves the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: the effects on arthritis correlate with a reduction in antibodies to food antigens. Hafström I, Ringertz B, Spångberg A, von Zweigbergk L, Brannemark S, Nylander I, Rönnelid J, Laasonen L, Klareskog L. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001 Oct;40(10):1175-9.