As you consider what's included in a Paleo diet, you might encounter some roadblocks in your thinking about healthy eating. You may have been sold the bill of goods that some popular foods are good for you — that you should have them as part of your daily plate. The problem with a lot of these foods is what they’re doing behind the scenes in your gut. When you eat a food that contains a lot of antinutrients (substances that inhibit your ability to absorb nutrients), things can go amuck in your system, causing inflammation and other problems.
Other foods, such as processed foods and certain sweeteners, are just too new for the human body to know what to do with from an evolutionary standpoint. Our bodies are simply not designed to eat these foods. This situation is not good for your cells and always spells trouble.
These foods are the reigning stars of antinutrients and are the cause of a lot of modern ailments. Grains supply you with energy (but no more energy than you can get from produce), but in return, they basically wreck your gut. Remember, your gut is the force behind your immunity and is responsible in large part for how you look and feel.
Here are the grains you need to say your parting words to.
Legumes and beans
Beans give you subpar protein, are rather starchy, and (most importantly) are super hard for most people to digest. What you do get from beans and legumes is fiber, but you can get just as much fiber from produce without all of the digestive hassle. Plus, fiber from produce floods your system with beneficial phytonutrients (plant nutrients). You can make an exception for certain legumes that are actually more pod than pea — snow peas, sugar snap peas, and green beans. Otherwise, restrict the following as much as possible.
|Peanuts and peanut butter
|Soybeans (tofu, tempeh, natto, soy sauce, miso, edamame, and soymilk)
If you’re a vegetarian and eat no fish or eggs, you have to get some protein somewhere. In this case, you have to make an exception for beans. Choose lentils, black beans, pinto beans, and red beans because they have the lowest impact on blood sugar (and blood sugar spikes cause you to become unhealthy and overweight).
If you buy canned beans, rinse them with water a couple of times before eating. If you’re preparing dried beans, soak them for at least 12 hours before cooking. Rinsing and soaking remove the starch (and salt, if canned) and reduce the gassiness that beans cause for many people.
If you’re worried about heart disease, fats are where you need to pay attention. Not so much to all the “avoid full-fat foods” nonsense but to the fact that damaged fats and oils cause inflammation. Inflammation is the precursor for heart disease.
Make these fats dead to you.
|Rice bran oil
|Palm kernel oil
|Partially hydrogenated oil
Soy is incredibly mucus producing. Mucus isn’t what you want in your gut — or anywhere in your body, for that matter. Here are some hidden words for processed soy.
|Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
|Textured soy flour (TSF)
|Monoglyceride and diglyceride
|Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Be careful of frankenfoods (super-processed foods masquerading as “healthier” versions of common items). They’re the worst of the worst soy products.
|Veggie chicken wings
|Tofu hot dogs
|Veggie patties or boxed veggie burgers
|Veggie sausage links
Essentially, all carbohydrates are sugar, even the healthy carbohydrates. The point is to control the added sugar found in sweeteners. Sugars can cause big problems such as insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammation, cancer, decreased good cholesterol, and increased bad cholesterol. Sweeteners are also highly addictive, whether you’re aware of it or not.
If you do anything for yourself, try to reprogram your body to not reach for sugar or sugary carbohydrates. Go completely sugar free for 30 days without cheating. Thirty days lets you clean your body, get rid of weak, unhealthy cells, and build healthier cells for a stronger, more youthful body.
Dial into these sweeteners and added sugars, so you know what to avoid.
|Aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal)
|Coconut sugar/coconut palm sugar
|High fructose corn syrup
|All other packages, boxes, or packets of artificial sugars
Processed foods are damaging to your cells, so you need to say your goodbyes. Be cautious of any food in a package and by all means become label savvy. Here are sneaky food additives:
Monsosodium glutamate (MSG) is the salt of the amino acid called glutamate. MSG is immediately absorbed in your bloodstream, spiking our glutamate levels and potentially causing headaches, irritability, or anxiousness. The best way to avoid MSG is to avoid processed foods. When you buy packaged foods, look out for these codenames for MSG.
|Any hydrolyzed protein
When you're reading a food label, five is the magic number. When you start getting past five or so ingredients, the rest are often preservatives, sugars, and other additives. Be careful of snacks, soft drinks, French fries, cured meats, candies, desserts, frozen foods, and fast foods where additives are frequently found.