I have to admit that I first started a Paleo diet because I thought it would help me shed the stubborn pounds I had put on during law school (there were a lot of free pizza parties and way too much drinking).
It wasn’t easy for me to lose weight (even on Paleo) because I’ve never been overweight (and so there wasn’t many lbs of fat for me to lose!). In fact, every time I tell people I’m on a diet, I always get the shocked outburst of: “but you’re so skinny, you don’t need to be on a diet!!” But like most people, I get unhappy whenever my clothes started getting tight, and I could always tell (even without a scale) when I had put on weight. The fat always piled on around my stomach first
Luckily, I figured out how to shed even the stubborn fat using a Paleo diet!
Of course, as the years went on, I found that Paleo was great for way more than just weight loss, but since so many people want to know the secret of losing weight, I thought I’d share my 5 tips for losing weight on a Paleo diet in this article.
This article is a little bit more important than usual.
So it’s also a little bit longer than usual. But you should read it all. Especially if you have an autoimmune disease, and probably even if you don’t.
I get a lot of emails from readers asking about the Autoimmune Protocol (often abbreviated “AIP”) within Paleo. Questions like: “What is it?” “Is it right for me?” “How do I do it?” and “Will it help me with ______ problem?”
Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a great article or series of articles that clearly answered all of these questions. And that was a shame.
So…I decided to write this article. It’s a very thorough but easy-to-read guide to AIP, including a comprehensive, printable list of foods that are allowed or not allowed on AIP that you can have emailed to you by clicking below or at the end of the article. There’s also a handy AIP FOOD TABLE below that you can Pin, so keep reading!
The first time someone told me they had an autoimmune disease, I thought they meant they had AIDS (yes, I was quite clueless, despite the fact that I actually have an autoimmune disease). For the difference between Autoimmune Disease (AID) and Acquired Immune Deficiency (AIDS), check out this article.
Let me begin by explaining the basics of an autoimmune disease, because the chances are that you might have one!
Autoimmune diseases occur when your body’s own immune system starts attacking your own body’s proteins. This happens because your body thinks that those proteins are a foreign substance (e.g., a bacteria) that need to be destroyed. Unfortunately, this can end up causing widespread destruction of your own organs and cells instead.
There are a ton of different autoimmune diseases (some may not have even been identified, and many of them are obscure like the one I have). Most autoimmune diseases differ based on which proteins/cells are being attacked by your immune system.
Here are some autoimmune diseases you might have come across:
I was at one of Nom Nom Paleo’s book signings recently, and an audience member asked what was the best way of preventing egg muffins from sticking to the muffin pan. Diane Rodgers and Melissa Joulwan were also there, and some interesting answers came up.
I had my own thoughts about what would work to prevent sticking, but I went ahead and did some experiments (i.e., I made some egg muffins under various conditions)! And since egg muffins are a fantastic pre-prepared Paleo breakfast/snack, I thought I’d share my findings here so no one has to scrub their muffin pan again.
Below are my 3 best methods for preventing egg muffins from sticking to the muffin pan:
I love cooking. It keeps me healthier, it means that pretty much everything I eat is delicious, and it’s fun.
But this wasn’t always the case. I didn’t always like cooking, and, in fact, it was only a few years ago when my most common cooking experience consisted of throwing some noodles into some water. (Not exactly healthy or delicious.)
That all changed when I decided to get serious about being Paleo. It wasn’t easy at first, especially since I had a busy job. But I’ve learned a lot, and I can now say that learning to cook well is totally worth it, both in terms of health and taste.
Here are my 3 secret steps to becoming a better Paleo cook:
If you’ve ever planned any large party or event, then you’ll know just how tough it can be.
There are so many moving parts to organize, so many different people to please, and always some last minute glitches! So just imagine when you also have to add in Paleo/Gluten-Free/Dietary Restrictions into the mix!
From the start, Jeremy and I were worried about the food at our wedding, and we found a caterer months before we did anything else (I wrote about our wedding menu just before the wedding in this post)!
Our caterer (Joshua Charles) was fantastic, but all sorts of other food and drink issues come up nearer the time (should we serve a cake, what about desserts, what oils should the food be cooked in, was there enough variety for everyone, what party favors would our guests like, what alcohols should we serve, should we serve soda???). And this was outside of the technical issues we encountered with our RSVP website (we wanted to go high tech) or our uncertainty as to whether the taxi service would be able to drop people at the location or our last minute decision to install a dance floor into the courtyard (and yes, the police did stop by for a friendly chat with me about the noise!).
It would have been easy just to give up on my diet for one day, but this was the biggest opportunity I had for demonstrating to my closest family and friends just how fantastic Paleo food is and can make them feel! And it turned out to be not difficult at all because we paid attention to the five areas below.
“I’d NEVER get the flu shot – it’s got mercury in it.”
That was my coworker’s reaction after I told her that I had just gotten my flu shot (which I had told her as a passing “I should say something to make conversation” statement.)
This definitely was not the response I was expecting, and it suddenly invoked strong feelings within me:
Fear. Had I just willingly allowed someone to inject mercury into my veins?
Anger. Why is she trying to scare me with her sensationalist claims again?
Quite a lot of confusion. So what is this flu shot all about anyway – does it even work?
Let’s just say that those feeling did not lead to the most productive of conversations. However, what it did leave me was a feeling that I had to get to the bottom of this.
Are flu shots dangerous or am I just defending my sense of pride for having gone and gotten a flu shot without examining all the facts? What does the flu shot protect against – did I just waste all that time for something that won’t even protect me from the flu? And should I get the flu shot in the future? Discover the truth!
You might have seen coconut oil sold many places or mentioned on websites and wondered what the heck you should be using it for.
Well, I used to think coconut oil was just for cooking until my friend pointed out that her grandmother had used it as a hair product forever. Of course, from then on, I started encountering different uses for coconut oil everywhere – I even read about it being used as a sun-burn cream in one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books (you know, the guy that wrote The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
So, to help you start using coconut oil, here are 67 of my favorite uses – and to prove I’m not making all this up, I’ve provided links to some excellent skin care recipes, food recipes, as well as scientific studies and testimonials.
To cook with instead of vegetable or seed oils. Coconut oil naturally has a high smoking point, is highly stable due to its high saturated fat content, and imparts very little “coconut” flavor to your foods. I use it to cook pretty much everything – check my recipes if you don’t believe me!
In your coffee/tea instead of creamer. Yes – that’s right, use coconut oil, not coconut milk! In case you’re confused about this, here’s my video showing you exactly how to make it.
To wash your face with instead of soap. It sounds strange, but oil washes impurities out better than soap and it doesn’t dry your skin! It takes a week to get used to it – the skin on your face is so used to being dried out by soap and facial cleansers that it’s producing extra oil to counteract it. So, it’ll take a little bit of time for your skin to stop producing all that extra oil. Be patient – it’s worth it!
To brush your teeth with. Coconut oil has many antimicrobial properties which can make it good at killing off bacterial in your mouth. To make your own toothpaste, simply add 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (melt it in the microwave very briefly so that it’s softened) to 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda. Mix to form a paste and spread on your toothbrush. (The baking soda whitens your teeth.)
Here’s my video of a coconut and olive oil blend toothpaste recipe.
For oil pulling. This is similar to the previous use in that it helps with oral hygiene. Oil pulling has long been a popular practice in India and with Ayurvedic practitioners. It involves swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. The idea behind the practice is to remove bacteria from your teeth and mouth, which can then alleviate various other illnesses (including arthritis and fatigue). This practice has enjoyed renewed attention in recent years due to Bruce Fife’s popular book, Pulling Therapy.
As a body moisturizer. Our skin absorbs whatever creams we put on it (think of all the topical pain relief medications that work because it gets absorbed through our skin). So, instead of pumping random chemicals from your moisturizers into your skin, many people (including myself) choose to use coconut oil instead. I like to use it at the end of my shower so that it’s more easily absorbed and before my skin has had a chance to dry out.
As a sun-screen. This is not a high SPF sunscreen, but a 2013 study found that coconut oil absorbs 20% in the UVB region (this equates to something under SPF 10 – there’s disagreement as to the exact number). So definitely use other forms of natural sun-protection when you’re out.
As a hair conditioner. I started using coconut oil as a hair conditioner a while ago, coupling it with diluted apple cider vinegar as the “shampoo.” Don’t use too much and just rub it on the ends of your hair so you don’t end up with oily hair!
As a supplement.It’s suggested that taking coconut oil as a supplement can help with weight loss and increase your “good” cholesterol. I think it’s just good in general – it’s not a magic pill!
As a massage oil. Coconut oil doesn’t get absorbed into your skin quickly, which ensures your skin stays slippery for longer thereby making it perfect for you to enjoin a long massage!
To reduce scars. I’ve never tried this myself – but some people seem to have had great success with it.
If you’re like me, then there are a lot of periods of your life when things get crazy hectic, and I mean really crazy hectic!
During those periods (e.g., finals at school, when all your kids are suddenly at home during the summer, or when work is overbearing), what you eat becomes less of a concern as Everything Else takes over!
I definitely recall that when my workload at the law firm increased, my diet would take a dramatic turn for the worse (let’s not even talk about my sleep and exercise!). Suddenly, the vending machine would unceasingly call my name and every dish on every take-out menu would make my mouth water.
I thought those stressful times were over when I quit the law firm life a month ago, but then the wedding planning kicked in. I’m sure anyone who has ever planned their own wedding will sympathize with me when I say that the week leading up to the wedding was definitely a bit stressful (and that’s a huge understatement)!
And to have to cook during that week for the entire family?? Hell, NO!
Thankfully, I had a system in place already which made eating healthy and Paleo for that week a breeze, and I’m going to share with you that amazing 3-step system in this post.
And don’t worry, I’m not just giving you some general fluff advice like “remember to plan your meals in advance” – these are concrete step-by-step details! Discover the System!
I hate how some people think that Paleo is not delicious to eat.
Have you ever had people ask you: “What do you eat if you don’t eat bread?”
I get asked this a lot, and my reaction is usually a fake laugh while inside my head, I’m thinking “ARE YOU CRAZY??”
But they’re not crazy, because we’re so bombarded by the food industry with crappy food that we forget what truly good food really is. One of my first reactions to Paleo many moons ago was: “What can you eat if there’s no cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner?”
I was faced again with this issue when planning my wedding (which is this Saturday). I have 60 non-Paleo family and friends attending, and they’re probably all wondering “ARE THEY GOING TO SERVE ME JUST BACON AND SWEET POTATOES?” (That’s a pretty delicious image, but not really wedding style.)
So, I had to go in search of a caterer who would cook a scrumptiously delicious and visibly beautiful wedding meal. Many of you probably think that was seriously difficult. After all, it’s hard to even find a single Paleo restaurant to eat at!
But it was surprisingly not hard at all, and Joshua Charles is the man who is making my wedding so special. I can’t thank him and Marian enough for making our Paleo Wedding dream become reality. (His team is even going to cook EVERYTHING in olive oil, coconut oil, or butter/ghee!)
In case you don’t believe me, here is the menu and some photos from the tasting (courtesy of my good friends, Caroline and Wayne, who did the tasting in California for us while we were still in NYC). See Wedding Menu
CAVEMEN DID NOT USE A MICROWAVE!
Yeah, I’m fully aware of the fact that microwaves were not around in prehistoric times. In fact, they were invented by Percy Spencer shortly afer WW2, and the first one was sold in 1947.
So, why is it ok (and in fact, really good) for us to use a microwave when our ancestors managed to live perfect fine without it?
Well, below are my 7 top reasons (I’ve tried to keep too much physics out of it, although the physics of how a microwave oven works is what will really open your eyes to just how OK using a microwave is). Read the 7 Reasons
I’m not kidding! I’ve suffered from various mysterious allergic reactions for most of my life.
I’ve gone to school with random swollen knee joints, swollen eyes, half a swollen lip, rashes across my hands and back, red blotches on my face and neck, etc. It kinda sounds like I was beaten up a lot, but there was no bruising, just large red swollen patches.
For decades I tried to figure out the cause.
The doctors first thought I had chillblains when I was 11 years old and my knee and elbow joints kept swelling up. My mum threw away a brand new air-freshener from my bedroom because she thought that was the cause of it.
A friend told me that I had a very dire disease because my red blotches didn’t go away when they put a glass on it (I was terrified for a week!). During my first year of college, I stopped eating mushrooms for a year because I thought I was allergic to those (I wasn’t).
And recently, I went to 3 allergy specialists in New York City and had every pinprick test possible (I tested positive for just about everything)! Read the rest of my story
There are soooo many Paleo blogs out there – check out the video for Paleo Living’s top 5 Paleo blogs, and then check out my gigantic list of Paleo blogs and websites here. Please let me know what I missed!
I’ve gotten some questions as to why I use certain ingredients in my recipes even though they are not listed as ‘Paleo’ in certain books or websites. They were some great questions, and so I wanted to clarify what I think constitutes a Paleo diet and why I eat what I eat as well as address some big Paleo misconceptions!
This post also refutes some of the badly researched arguments several articles have made in recent weeks about why Paleo is not a good diet (they’re not really worth reading, but for the sake of being complete, the links are here and here).
You may completely disagree with me, in which case feel free to explain why you feel differently in the comments section.
So, why do some Paleo folks eat bacon, butter, cheese, maple syrup, and salt? I think there are 4 main reasons:
I grew up eating a lot of chestnuts, but I’d never had the misfortune of cooking them myself…before last night.
See, here’s the thing. It’s autumn in NYC, and I feel like chestnuts should bethe perfect snack at this time of year. After all, every street cart I walk by is selling them.
So what could be more natural than trying to cook them myself.
Ok, I’ll take a bit of blame here – I should have known that something would go wrong when I read review after review of other people who were unable to peel their chestnuts! In fact, the only reviews in which people were able to successfully peel the chestnuts ended with comments about how un-fresh they were!
It began in earnest around 8am this morning (Monday Oct 29th), and it began with a bang (probably my flower pot knocking rudely against my window). The wind was howling through the cracks of my balcony door, and every few minutes the windows and doors rattled ominously. With such an awakening, there was clearly nothing to do except to get up and check on the chilli that was happily bubbling away in my crockpot.
I’m all stocked up for Hurricane Sandy. A Costco trip yesterday, and a local grocery trip today. Now, all I have to do is sit and wait for the storm to roll in with my camera handy.
The only ‘storm preparations’ I haven’t done yet is to bring my poor potted plant indoors and to fill my bathtub up with water (in case there’s a water shortage and toilets can’t be flushed, or so I’ve been cautioned!).
I know this might look like a muddy bottle of cheap vodka to you, but it is in actual fact a delicious and highly prized (by me) bottle of my own vanilla extract. Fresh Madagascar vanilla beans with vodka (yes, it’s cheap vodka!). No sugar. No coloring.
It smells delicious, and I’ve made enough to last me quite a long long time! It’s also amazing how much cheaper it is to make your own. I initially balked at having to pay $28 for my vanilla beans (around 50 beans), but they were well worth it. And my vodka was only around $10. So for approximately $30 (because I only use around 30 beans), I can make 1 liter (or 33oz) of completely pure vanilla extract. The brand of pure vanilla extract I used to buy (Simply Organic) is $16 for 8oz on Amazon. So basically, it’s Double The Price to buy rather than make your own vanilla extract!
Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!