Foodie Friday – Paleo and Gluten Free and Allergies OH MY!

Comparing-Paleo-vs-Gluten-Free1

This is going to be a bit different – as many of you guys have much more knowledge/experience with eating and nutrition … I am looking for advice:

Background:
I already noted the food allergies that Lisa deals with every day, and how hard it is to buy things without ‘fillers’ that cause her issues.

Over the last month or so it has been even worse – she has been sick and on antibiotics twice, but perhaps the worst part has been worse-than-normal allergic flareups, including hives.

So this week we were at her allergist / ENT surgeon for a follow-up (she had a CAT scan of her sinus cavities done recently), and after discussion he recommended that instead of trying a skin/blood check for food allergies (he came just short of calling them worthless) she should try the ‘caveman diet’ – Paleo.

Vegan vs. Vegetarian vs. ‘Normal’:

The irony is that over the last year or so I have been working hard at making sure our diet includes as much ‘clean’ and ‘whole’ food as possible. We all find that eating simple foods prepared in a way that you can still identify components, leaves us feeling better the next morning. This has also meant leaving behind old habits such as processed yogurts and low-calorie snacks.

I also blame two other mindsets my wife and I carry: old weight loss ‘standards’ and ‘Weight Watchers’ from 10-15 years ago. The old standards told you CALORIES, CALORIES, CALORIES, and with weight watchers it was all about ‘points’ – and in both cases you were encouraged to eat ‘chemical soup’ such as fat free yogurts and salad dressings and so on, adn to avoid ALL fats and calories. Empty meals (lettuce, rice cakes, etc) were actively encouraged.

So my approach was to start with ‘meatless monday’, and then continue to develop non-meat bearing meals that were nutritionally complete … but also ones that didn’t tweak Lisa’s allergies. As I mentioned before … IT WAS HARD. Plus, legumes such as chick peas and black beans were things we learned she wasn’t ‘allergic’ to, but definitely had a sensitivity.

Paleo:

If you haven’t heard of Paleo – it is basically a return to the hunter-gatherer diet of the Paleolithic era. Meats, fruits, vegetables, tubers, seeds, and other things that would be expected to be easily collected and consumed in that era.

What is NOT on the Paleo diet? Dairy, grains (breads and pasta, but rice, quinoa, bulgur, and so on), legumes, processed foods, and pretty much any packaged drinks and snacks.

One thing I have been hearing is that ‘all paleo is gluten free, but not the other way around’. In other words, if you are living Paleo, you are already gluten free. Which is good because one recommendation for Lisa to try IS gluten free. I know it is trendy now, but it is worth checking out.

So for breakfast it was eggs with arugala and olive oil, then a salad with grilled chicken for lunch. Who knows for dinner … but we’ll be going shopping this weekend for sure!

Questions:

The goal with this plan for Lisa is to get her to a baseline for the next week or so, then take one type of food and go heavy for a day, then return to baseline for a week. If she doesn’t react within a week that foor is OK. Then continue with other foods.

For me that is not the most scientific approach because we know the body is a huge interaction machine, and this attempts an OFAT (one factor at a time) approach. So if she finds two foods that are fine by themselves … will they still be fine if she puts them together?

So my questions to you:
– Have you done Paleo? If so, what are your thoughts?
– Recipes and food suggestions? Remember she is allergic to tree fruits, and all nuts.
– How about calcium? Any thoughts on alternate sources for nutrients (again remembering her sensitivities)
– Any other thoughts or ideas as she starts going through this?

Thanks!