Category Archives: Prevent Illness

Gray Area Foods

The idea behind a paleolithic diet is that you avoid foods that cause gut irritation and foods that cause hormone imbalances and insulin sensitivity issues. This means avoiding all grains, legumes and dairy products as well as refined sugar, processed food chemicals and modern vegetable oils. But there are some foods are not clearly safe or unsafe. You may choose to include or to avoid these foods in your implementation of paleolithic nutrition. Many advocates of paleolithic nutrition suggest cutting out all gray area foods for a month or two, then adding them back in one at a time and see how they make you feel. They become especially important factors if you are suffering an auto-immune disease or a history of poor gut health.

Here are the main culprits (although there are others, so look for future posts):
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds do still contain small amounts of gut irritants (in this case, saponins) and anti-nutrients (in this case, phytates, which inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals). The phytate content can be minimized by soaking nuts and seeds overnight (then drying them in the oven at low temperature or in a food dehydrator) before eating them. Most nuts and seeds also contain more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids (ratios ranging from 1:3 to 1:10), which isn’t helpful as we strive for a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in our diets.
Goat Dairy and Dairy from Pasture-fed Cows: Dairy products are blacklisted for two reasons. They can irritate the gut in some people and they also cause a spike in your insulin disproportional to the amount of sugar in milk (even cheese, which is mostly protein and fat, spikes your insulin). Both of these are reduced in goat dairy and in dairy from pasture-fed cows, many people can tolerate these quite well. Another bonus to dairy from pasture-fed cows is that they contain Conjugated Linoleic Acid and more omega-3 fatty acids.
Nightshades (Peppers, Eggplants, Tomatoes and Potatoes): Vegetables in this family contain small amount of poisonous glycoalkaloids (like tomatine, solanine and chaconine). Depending on your lineage, you may or may not be sensitive to these chemicals (if you have any native american ancestry, you are probably okay). A way to minimize your exposure is eat the ripest version of the vegetable (ripe tomatoes, red bell peppers, etc.). Also, potatoes seem to be especially problematic, so many paleo dieters avoid potatoes even if they include the other nightshades in their diet. If you do want to eat potatoes, peeling them gets rid of most of the glycoalkaloids.
Eggs: Yes, eggs can be a problem for some people too. A chemical called lysozyme in the egg white can form globs of molecules in the gut and sneak things across the gut lining that shouldn’t be able to get into your blood stream. Isn’t it strange to realize that egg yolks are the healthy part of the egg? (Especially when you eat omega-3 or free-range eggs). Paleo dieters hate to give up eggs, so I suggest only doing this if you have a diagnosed autoimmune disease.
Caffeine: This is a touchy subject for me because I know that I should give up coffee (at least for a month or two to see how I do), but I just don’t want to. The issue with coffee and other caffeinated beverages is that it increases your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Most of us are trying to reduce stress, not increase it, so large amounts of caffeine are just not useful. In a perfect world, we would all get enough sleep that we would wake up refreshed and the thought of a double americano with heavy cream would never cross our minds. If you can stomach the idea of giving this up, I suggest doing it. Otherwise, do what you can to minimize your caffeine intake. You could try decaf (which has about a quarter the caffeine of regular coffee) or stick with tea. It also helps to drink coffee black because the fat in heavy cream can increase how quickly the caffeine gets into your blood stream.
Alcohol: After watching my childhood dog get completely drunk from eating rotting plums left on the ground after dropping from our plum tree, I feel confident that our paleolithic ancestors probably consumed some alcohol in the form of fermented fruit. The issue with alcohol is always dose. Ethanol is a toxin and it increases your blood triglycerides (increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease). You don’t need to cut alcohol out, but do try and stick to one or two drinks at a time, no more than a couple of times per week… or less. Also, be aware that most beer contains gluten. Spirits generally don’t and wine (especially red) has some great antioxidants in it (reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease!). If you are having issues with sleep quality though, I suggest cutting alcoholic beverages out completely, at least for a while.

With all of these gray area foods, I suggest considering them as possible culprits for continued health issues as you experiment with paleolithic nutrition. Maybe it’s too overwhelming to cut them out at first. Maybe you feel great even when you eat them. Maybe you want to consider a one month trial of omitting them from your diet to see how you feel. I personally do better without nuts. And I have a strong suspicion that I should give up caffeine. This is one of the many aspects of paleolithic nutrition that is completely individual.

Read more here


Cortisol is a stress hormone; when released in the morning, it provides us with a great alertness, energy, and a “ready to go” attitude.  Our bodies are designed for us lead easy-going lives, except for “fight or flight” situations where acute stress occurs.  Our bodies are designed for acute stress, but not for chronic stress.  When was the last time you felt life was easy going?   When is the last time you woke up and felt “ready to go?”  I know for me, it’s hit and miss.  Just from Facebook, you pretty much see all the stress in people’s lives.

Needless to say, cortisol isn’t just released in the morning, but now as we struggle with chronic stress, cortisol is released regularly. Unfortunately, we don’t get energy all day long, but a lazy and tired feeling, then we get a second wind around the time we need to go to bed.  A type of domino effect takes place because sleeping patterns and time frames change day to day.  Eventually, insulin resistance, elevated blood glucose, sickness, weight loss problems, and signs of aging becoming prominent and normal among our society.  Sleep is an incredible need for our bodies.

So ,basically, get to sleep!!!

Now What?

I’ve struggled with this, too.  Am I just supposed to quit everything to be stress free, then get a little sleep? Yes and no, in my opinion.  Shaun and I quit our jobs and spent our savings to open up Hoosier CrossFit. This really could’ve gone 2 ways: win or lose.  Obviously we won 🙂 But as normal jobs, we still encounter stress. But I’m going to tell you something that’s not a secret. You have a choices in life – stop bitching and start making changes that make you and your family happier (and this usually doesn’t come in the form of tangible shiny things). For starters, get to bed earlier, keep the TV off, and no facebook before bed.

Grains + digestion = x

We have chosen to eat paleo because we have big goals.  We hope that eating right will help promote wellness for the rest of our lives.  I, personally, would rather have done my best with paleo and chance I won’t develop disease, than not eat paleo and wonder if the disease I developed may have been prevented.  Sometimes I wonder, though, if some people really understand the bottom line.  Our goal with food is not about skinny and fat.  It’s about sickness and wellness.  The most important part in convincing someone about paleo is you can be sick less, rid yourself of allergies, and try to prevent a hundred chronic inflammatory conditions.

What’s the connection between grains and your immune system? In their natural form, grains contain anti-nutrients that are toxic to our bodies and our digestive system simply cannot digest them.  So how is it that we can eat cereal and “whole grain” breads?  “There are ways to make grains and legumes more digestible.  Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting them essentially “tricks” grains and legumes into thinking that they’ve been planted, allowing them to release some of their anti-nutrients and make their actual nutrients available and accessible.” (Practical Paleo– by Daine Sanfilippo) They are more digestible, not digestible.  So, food particles slip through the digestive wall and invade the body.  Your body fights it!   This is awesome, and a problem.  The amino acids in these foods are similar to those already in our body; now our immune system is fighting the good and the bad.  Depending on where the war zone is, organs, hormone, and/or joint tissue  become inflamed and creates a response for your immune system.  Your immune system is simply over-worked.  Because this internal war, your body only has about 20%-40% immune power to fight off the real invaders.

Damn. All of this so you can “live in the moment.”  You’d rather take a claratin, a pepcid AC, diabetes medication, high blood pressure pills, have surgery or, perhaps, or accept radiation so you can enjoy 30 seconds of addiction a hundred times a day.

Gluten Free Is Not Healthy

It’s all the rage these days; companies are picking up on America getting smart, but we can’t get outsmarted in the long run.  Standard american food is fortified with vitamins to make you think it’s healthy and use cheap, beat around the bush ingredients, to make you think it’s healthy AND affordable.   When looking around Elena’s Pantry blog, she says what’s on my mind, gluten free is not healthy.

health food by Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr

“With all of the hype surrounding gluten free, no one mentions the dirty little secret of the Standard Gluten Free Diet. Few realize that when it comes to gluten free baked goods such as bread, snacks, and desserts, gluten free food is not as nutritious as “regular” food. That’s because gluten free goods are generally made with ingredients such as rice, corn, potatoes, sorghumtapioca and millet, which are higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and other nutrients than wheat flour. Sad, but true. The typical gluten free ingredients that are used in place of wheat are less nutritious than wheat itself.” 

Read more Here!

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reminder!!  Paleo Meeting is Saturday at noon! Submit your journal entries between Friday-Sunday.  Next week’s meeting is cancelled and TBA because of our members participating in Kentuckianna’s Fittest CF competition!

Register online via mindbody to let me know you can come with us to Apple Works!


In light of our field trip this Sunday to Apple Works, Let’s talk about apples!  Not only do apples taste awesome, they provide nutrients you can’t deny!  All in all, remember that your fruits and vegetables all contain vitamins and minerals that fight for your body; when you are paleo and eat them at every meal, just think of how your body is working hard to help you thrive!!

Vitamins and Minerals

The vitamins and minerals found in a medium apple help maintain a healthy immune system, tissues and bones. An apple is a good source of vitamin C, providing 14 percent of your daily recommended intake. Vitamin C helps in wound healing and fighting the damage free-radicals can cause in the body. Free-radicals are thought to play a role in the development of heart disease and cancer. Apples also contain vitamin A, calcium and iron.


A medium unpeeled apple provides you with 4 grams of dietary fiber, which is 18 percent of the recommended daily allowance in a 2,000-calorie diet. Apples are a good source of soluble fiber, which might help lower your blood cholesterol levels and in turn might reduce your risk of developing heart disease. In addition, the website Science News reported in 2010 that researchers at the University of Illinois found that soluble fiber significantly boosted the ability of mice to fight infections.


Researchers from Cornell University reported in the “Nutrition Journal” that regularly consuming apples can help maintain overall health and might prevent disease. The flavonoids and other phytochemicals in apples have a high level of antioxidant activity that has been found to aid in lowering cholesterol levels. The researchers further noted that studies show good evidence for the ability of the phytochemicals in apples to reduce the risk for heart disease, asthma, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.


Read more:

Storing your Apples

When you purchase apples, put them in your fridge to stay cool.  They will turn mushy/spongy in texture when you leave them out.  Wash them when you’re ready to eat them, versus when you first get them.

Awesome ways to eat your Apples

BreakfastOver-night Breakfast Cobbler (in light of my and Jen R.’s conversation today about awesome ways to use the crock pot)

Lunch: Spinach and Apple salad with Warm bacon dressing (OMG)

Dinner: Basalmic Roasted Turkey with Apple Stuffing. (Try something new to prepare for this holiday season!)

Sleep and Stress





Sickness versus Wellness is why we CrossFit, eat paleo, and start to consider what’s important in life.  Our bodies were meant to respond to acute stress, the fight or flight kind, where we respond to a short-term stressful situation. Our bodies were not meant to deal with chronic stress, long-term stressful lifestyles (like  going from an early busy morning, to a long day hating your job, to a long busy evening with family or work at home).  This affects us because “From your adrenal glands’ perspective, your overbearing supervisor might as well be a hungry lion chasing you – for eight hours every day.”

Why is this a problem?

“Your hormonal system is one of the major victims of chronic stress. In healthy circumstances, your body maintains a balance between stress and relaxation, regulated by the cycle of two hormones: cortisol (which stimulates wakefulness) and melatonin (which causes sleep). Cortisol and melatonin naturally fluctuate during the day in a cycle known as your circadian rhythms – cortisol peaks in the morning and dips in the evening, when melatonin takes over during sleep.

By stimulating continuous production of cortisol, chronic stress causes imbalances in your hormonal cycle and disruption of your circadian rhythms. Instead of giving way to melatonin in the evening, cortisol stays high, leaving you lying awake worrying because your body never got the signal to wind down and prepare for sleep. Even if you do fall asleep, elevated cortisol can disrupt the rhythms of your natural sleep cycle, making your sleep not as restful. Sleep deprivation it itself a stressor, so the cycle becomes self-perpetuating.”

Pleeeaaase Read more  from the Paleo Diety Lifestyle to convince yourself that sleep is important for so many reasons and you MUST re-organize your life for your wellness and sanity.

As for my 2 cents, You should be satisfied with ALL decisions you make in life and don’t complain about things that ARE in your control (excuses are like buttholes).


Hidden causes of GERD!

too much acid

“Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a more serious form of acid reflux.  It is the most common digestive disorderin the United States. Studies show that 10-20% of individuals experience symptoms at least once a week, and prevalence of GERD is increasing steadily.”  Personally, I experienced for many years issues with digestion.  It’s not that I was irresponsible with my diet (even though I was), More importantly, no one was pushing that diet could fix the problem for good.

“Recent studies also show that the damage from poor stomach function and GERD not only extends upward to the sensitive esophageal lining, but also downward through the digestive tract, contributing to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gastrointestinal problems. IBS is now the second-leading cause of missed work, behind only the common cold.”

Bacterial overgrowth + maldigested carbohydrates = GAS! Though microbes are able to metabolize proteins and even fats, their preferred energy source is carbohydrate. The fermentation of carbohydrates that haven’t been digested properly produces gas. The resulting gas increases intra-abdominal pressure, which is the driving force behind acid reflux and GERD.

Article 1 includes what it is and why it’s a problem: article 1

Article 2 includes how it becomes a problem because of what we eat:  article 2