Yes, dark chocolate can be Paleo, and yes, many Paleo experts actually recommend dark chocolate in moderation when it comes to healthy snacks. (Dark chocolate is even included in our 50 best healthy eating tips of all time because it’s packed with antioxidants and has been proven to boost brain health and curb cravings.) But not all dark chocolate meets Paleo snack standards. Look for unsweetened dark chocolate or baking chocolate with 80 percent or more cocoa. EatingEvolved and Primal Kitchen both make dairy-free and certified organic Paleo dark chocolate bars.
Dr. Lauryn Lax is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Functional Medicine Practitioner, author and speaker, with over 20 years of clinical and personal experience specializing in gut health, intuitive eating, food freedom, anxiety, hormone balance and women’s health. She is also a published journalist, and her work has been featured in Oxygen Magazine, Women’s Health, Paleo Magazine, Breaking Muscle, CrossFit Inc, USA Today, ABC and CBS News. She operates a virtual Functional Medicine & Nutrition practice, Thrive Wellness & Recovery, LLC, working with clients around the world to reinvent the way their body looks, moves and feels.
We’ve spent most of our time adapting to the food we ate before the Agricultural Revolution: animal foods, wild vegetables, fruits in season, along with limited amounts of nuts & seeds. Our bodies are built to consume these foods, but this is not what our diets look like today. Paleo is based on the idea that this mismatch between our bodies and our diet might be the reason for modern health problems like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Just like any other animal, humans suffer when we stray from our natural diet, but when we return to it, everything changes. Food stops making us sick, and starts making us strong, energetic, and vibrant with health. More than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle!
Once again, it is important (and we strongly advise) that you seek advice from your healthcare professional before commencing the program and we also recommend you stay under careful supervision of a qualified and knowledgeable healthcare provider during your dietary and lifestyle transition in the case of Type I and/or Type II diabetes. You may ultimately require positive adjustments in your medications following the implementation of this program; so careful monitoring of blood sugar and blood ketone levels is advised.
Jan Engvald has studied food and health thoroughly in the literature. In Unexpected facts on... food he shows that today's health advice (more or less unchanged for more than 30 years) is a direct cause to the increase in national diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, adult-onset diabetes, allergy, eye diseases, etc. His findings are low-carb and high-fat, close to paleo, though he allows high fat dairy.
Grass-fed beef is often highlighted on the diet, which is promoted to contain more omega-3 fats than conventional beef (due to being fed grass instead of grain). It does contain small amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor to EPA and DHA. However, only a small proportion of ALA can be converted in the body to long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). The amount of omega-3 is also highly variable depending on the exact feeding regimen and differences in fat metabolism among cattle breeds. [3] In general, the amount of omega-3 in grass-fed beef is much lower than that in oily marine fish. [3] Cooked salmon contains 1000-2000 mg of EPA/DHA per 3-ounce portion, whereas 3 ounces of grass-fed beef contains about 20-200 mg of ALA.
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If a pregnant woman knows or suspects (in any way) that she has or may have an autoimmune illness of any kind, a special focus needs to be put on engaging in autoimmune dietary support and careful management of this condition. With this in mind, we strongly advise you consult a healthcare professional familiar with this illness before making any changes to your diet or physical activity.
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