It has been over a year since we began on our Primal/Paleo journey, going grain free, sugar and dairy free etc. Our teen the most affected by acne has not eaten grain bread in all that time! You may remember after reading Loren Cordain’s Dietary Cure for Acne we embarked on this journey to help rid our teens of acne.
In the beginning we began most enthusiastically, the whole family, all at once. Well some were more enthusiastic than others;) We were eating no processed foods, we were eating real food; plenty of meat, seafood, eggs, lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and omega 3 fats. We weren’t eating; white potatoes, grains, sugar, dairy, legumes and omega 6 fats. After a few months some of these food groups began creeping back in, albeit on a small scale, for some family members. A lack of preparation and the expense for a large family were my excuses. However throughout the year the teen the most effected has been very diligent and only eaten grains by error.
Menu planning is essential and at first takes a lot of research and organisation. Dinner meals are the easiest to plan for but you must not only plan meals but plan snacks for hungry, growing children. This I found a challenge and breakfasts. Finding treats for birthdays is difficult, anything that does not contain wheat contains corn. You must thoroughly read labels, after a few months of being very diligent and wondering why the acne was not improving as well as expected, we discovered that the stock cubes being used twice weekly contained wheat! The hardest area for us to eliminate and the first food group to ‘sneak’ back in was white potatoes. Not only do we love these vegetables, they are cheap. Eliminating dairy was not difficult as we were previously vegans for nine years, hence buying so much more meat does seem very surreal. We have continued being legume free and we still only use Omega 3 fats. (We use Extra Virgin and Extra Light Olive Oil) All our shared meals continue to be grain free, and I’m currently searching for an alternative to sugar for our snacks. Cost is more when you are trying to support two lifestyles, partially real foodsand partially some processed foods, over the year I have been discovering ways in which to bring our expenses down.
Have we met our original intent? When we stick to the Paleo diet then skin improves dramatically. We have discovered different grains affect each teen to varying degrees. One is severely affected by wheat, moderately by rice, corn and oats. Another flares up at oats far quicker than wheat. Dairy and sugar effect to a lesser degree but they still have an impact. As we only ever eliminated potatoes for a few months, the months where we were still unsuspectingly having wheat, we are unsure of the starch effect.
Along the way we also discovered other benefits. When we started this lifestyle I was pregnant with Bass and 38 years old. It was my best pregnancy, I had no heartburn, no lethargy and no mood swings, I was so sang-froid it was hilarious. When I follow the Paleo diet I have far more energy, am calm, lose weight rapidly and my brain is sharp. Angela has asked for company on the Whole 30 Day challenge and I’m joining in. This time I’m focusing on me, and I’ll slowly bring the whole family along for the journey as I tweak the areas that need adjusting.
If you are interested in reading more about the effects of a Standard American/Australian diet and ways in which to address this I recommend reading; Wheat Belly – William Davis, Why We Get Fat- Gary Taubes, Everyday Paleo – Sarah Fragoso and Comfort Foods – Julie Mayfield or check out the authors blogs or any of the many Paleo, grain free, sugar free blogs.