A recent article written by Danielle Walker, author of the popular Paleo cookbook, Against All Grain, tells an inspiring story of how she completely turned around her health and her life through dietary changes. Walker suffered from a debilitating digestive illness called Ulcerative Colitis and found herself in constant pain and unable to care for her family. After working with a naturopathic doctor and eliminating grains, dairy, refined sugars, and other foods that she was sensitive to, she was able to get off her medications and prevent surgeries and further hospitalizations.
The Paleo diet has gotten a lot of attention in the popular press lately and it can be easy to dismiss as simply one more fad diet. The basic premise of Paleo is to eat unprocessed whole foods and to avoid grains, dairy, and other foods that tend to promote inflammation. Inflammation in the body can cause chronic pain and has been shown to trigger a myriad of chronic diseases. I have personally seen the benefits of the Paleo diet in people with autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). By replacing inflammatory foods with healthy, whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, lean protein, and good fats, you can build a strong foundation of health and wellness.
Dietary changes unfortunately aren’t usually a quick fix and it can take months of sticking to a new plan before the true results become obvious. However, with patience and motivation, the benefits of diet are often profound and long lasting.
I often recommend a basic whole-foods-based diet like the Whole30, which cuts out sugar, diary, alcohol, grains, legumes, and processed foods in favor of vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, nuts, and seeds. Although it is billed as a 30 day detox and diet plan, many people find that they feel so well eating this way that they incorporate these changes into their long-term eating choices.
Some people with autoimmune diseases find that they feel best when they also avoid tree nuts and vegetables in the nightshade family (i.e. peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes). Although these foods do not cause inflammation in everyone, some people find that they don’t tolerate them well, especially when their disease is in a flare. This diet is called the autoimmune paleo protocol, and although it can be challenging to stick to, many people experience a significant decrease in pain and other symptoms when they follow it.
There are many variations on healthy, whole-foods-based diets. If you are interested in finding an individualized diet plan to help you feel your best, consider working with a naturopathic doctor or a nutritionist who is trained in whole-foods nutrition. Practitioners who are trained in nutrition can help make sure that you are eating a balanced diet with sufficient nutrients.
Disclaimer: This article is purely informational. It is not meant to represent a treatment, prevention, or cure for a specific disease or health condition and 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 care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Please never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.