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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

Final thoughts on my 30 days of auto-immune paleo

Well – its the last day today of 30 days auto-immune paleo eating, and I just wanted to round off with a my results and some observations.

Here are the changes I made from what I had been eating prior:
Strictly cutting out nightshades; potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers
No nuts or seeds
No dairy, not even butter
No alcohol
No eggs
No sugar
No processed food (i.e additives, processed meat etc)

(I was already grain and legume free)

I also made sure that I:
took my omega 3 every day (I use Zone Omega Rx – I like it and it works well)
drank 2 litres of fluid a day
got 8 hours sleep most days (occasionally 7)
did 4 -5 CrossFit workouts per week, up from 2
Ate before and after workouts, protein plus starchy carbs, like banana or sweet potato
Ate 4 times a day, a balanced meal with protein, some starchy carbs or fruit and a little fat plus a lot of non starch veggies at at least one meal.

I also added some beta-alanine most days – it decreases muscle burn for me.

Prior to this I had been eating a small amount of dairy, nightshades and nuts, and alcohol (glass of wine) daily. I had a habit of skipping meals (otherwise known as intermittent fasting or IF). I also tended to forget to drink regular fluids and forget to take omega 3. I often skipped post workout meals.

What I noticed:

I like eating like this, I like eating more carbs and less fat. I feel better not skipping meals. The first time a diet dramatically changed my life was in 1996 when I started the Zone diet. This experience was akin to falling in love for the first time. The portions and ratio of carbs, protein and fat were a sweet spot for me. I feel as though I’ve come full circle. My paleo experience was like a “this is it” for food quality – taking out grains and legumes was an epiphany health wise. I played with paleo eating trends; less carbs, more fat, skipping meals. I’ve now gone back to eating a close to a zone ratio – about 20 – 25 grams protein, 20 – 30 grams carbs and a little fat (not measured) at each meal. I notice if I have too few carbs, I don’t feel satisfied, as though my blood sugar needs to increase to a certain level before I have that ‘just right’ feeling. Fat doesn’t do it for me – I was eating extra fat for satiety – but for me it has a delayed effect, so I’d eat it – and then an hour later feel kind of yukky, and got a kind of heavy feeling in my stomach. I don’t much like eating a lot of protein either, approx 100 grams of meat feels about right. Eating a zonish ratio gives me a really clear head as well, I feel focused and calm. My body feels just right. Satiety is excellent and blood sugar stable. (By the way – I’m don’t weigh and measure my food, I just put it on my plate, I use rough portion sizes that I’m familiar with, and how I feel in response to food)

This by the way – is not a high carb diet, I get a total of about 100 grams of carbs a day, sometimes a bit less. Far less than the food pyramid, or the standard Kiwi diet. It would be considered low to moderate carbs. In line with recommendations by Paul Jaminet (Perfect Health Diet)

Results:
I really do feel fantastic. I’ve lost the pesky inch from my waist (at navel), and 1/2 ” off my butt. Weight loss – about a kilo (2.2lbs)
Given that I’m menopausal – I’m pleased – I really thought I was getting some middle age spread – not so! As I mentioned in my last post my Raynauds is much improved – the only episode I’ve had in the last month happened when I’d had nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours. Nothing else has bothered me health wise. I have felt invigorated by the extra exercise and recovered really well. No sore muscles. I’ve had a follow up thyroid test – it is the closest to normal it has ever been: TSH which, when I was diagnosed last year was 5.1 mU/L is now down to 4.1 (normal range .3 – 4.0) Still a tad high. Thyroid hormones T4 and T3 are both in low normal range, and I’m still sub clinical – i.e. no symptoms. So I think that auto-immune paleo improved my thyroid which has helped weight loss.

We repeated a benchmark WOD and a 500 metre row today. I took 6 seconds off my row and just under 4 minutes off the WOD (I was pretty slow the first time!) 15 minutes to 11 minutes. I’m pretty pleased with that – the extra exercise paid off. I also finally got out some unassisted kipping pullups for the first time.

What’s next:
I see no reason not to continue. Why would I not want to feel like this? I’ll probably add eggs and occasional tomatoes back in. I’ll keep the alcohol to special occasions. I’ll keep the regular balanced meals, the pre and post workout eating, and plenty of fluid. Nuts and seeds and the other nightshades will be off the menu. I may see if they affect me – but not yet. I’ll keep dairy free. And I’ll keep up the 4-5 x week CrossFit.

Doing 30 days strict paleo – I highly recommend it!

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15 Responses to “Final thoughts on my 30 days of auto-immune paleo”

  1. I’ve added a few carbs back to my paleo diet as well and feel excellent. I’ve been following a lot of paleo blogs and this seems to be a common theme. Women seem to do better with a few more starchy carbs added in. Like you, I tend to eat under 100 g of carbs a day (when I count) and this is a sweet spot for me. I am 52, not post-menopausal yet, but headed that way for sure. The other thing that helped me was that I started strength training about 6 weeks ago and that made significant changes in my body composition and shape. I’m really beginning to think that a VERY low carb diet for women is not optimal, but a low-to-moderate carb one, ala Primal Blueprint, works very well.

    July 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm Reply
    • Interesting! Yes – there is too much emphasis I think in the paleo community that if you want to lose weight – you have to go very low carb, and therefore higher in fat to control insulin and blood sugar levels. My experience is that I need a certain amount of carbs for satiety AND if I get that right – I feel better and don’t keep eating protein or fat calories to feel satisfied. Calories do matter. And too much protein / fat stops me losing weight – or keeping it off. I’ve found a couple of interesting studies that illustrate this – will post them in the next couple of weeks.

      July 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm Reply
  2. I wonder why it is that some people feel energised and generally more healthy on very low carb, while others suffer. Is it that some people can’t digest fats as well? Are they unable to utilise fats for fuel, so when there is no glucose they crash?

    July 31, 2011 at 5:57 am Reply
    • Good question!
      Paul Jaminet did an excellent series on problems with very low and zero carb diets:
      http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=1032

      For me it’s not that I don’t manage on a very low carb diet, I can quite easily – I just don’t feel my most energised. But a high carb diet too is a disaster for me.

      July 31, 2011 at 6:06 am Reply
  3. Jac #

    Hi Julianne
    Good job on the whole30!! I, too, have added more carbs to my diet after attempting low carb and not feeling as great as I wanted to. I tried an autoimmune whole30 in June, but at the same time I added white rice – I’ve had almost continuous IBS issues since then. I’ve gone back to eliminating the rice, but it hasn’t settled down yet. I didn’t lose a single gram of fat in June, dammit! I suspect I need more healing before it’ll happen for me.

    July 31, 2011 at 8:31 pm Reply
    • Portion sizes matter for me as much as the paleo eating. Also cutting alcohol and nuts and not overdoing fats, works for me.
      Increasing exercise also seems to help! Allows me to eat more – which I like!

      I hope you resolve your IBS, interesting about the rice.

      July 31, 2011 at 8:39 pm Reply
  4. hurls #

    Great article, Julianne! You have no idea how much this hit home with my family. A year ago, my wife was having issues and our two young daughters had all kinds of food allergies when she discovered Paleo. We thought it was our savior until we started off too strict and probably caused ourselves more issues (she thinks we may have damaged our thyroids and/or adrenal glands). However, we’ve been playing around just like you did with protein / carb / fat amounts and ratios at our meals and what you wrote about here seems to have worked best for us too. Thanks for the great post!

    February 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm Reply
  5. As a Paleo enthusiast I must also say that to me, the ditching of junk food and going back to basics, is probably the most important part of this dietary regime. As a woman I don’t find eating large amounts of meat attractive. However, lots on interesting salads, green smoothies, and good quality organic meats and fish, simply cooked, have kept my family healthy and to date, disease free.
    It’s not hard to work out why we have become such an unhealthy society. I worry a lot about the current youth. As a teacher I see a trend in convenience eating that beggars belief. if it weren’t for ‘fruit break’, I doubt that many of them would be eating anything at all live.
    Parents need to get back to basics and feed their children. Convenience has no place in healthy eating.

    September 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm Reply
    • I’m with you – also don’t like a lot of meat – many people eat far more than they need. A small palm size at each meal easily gives us enough.

      October 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm Reply
  6. Donna #

    I find my paleo stance nearly 100 % in line with your personal discoveries (do much, much better limiting the nuts, fats..too much protein…and involving starchy carbs after having eliminated them for over two years. I simply did NOT have enough energy for virtually any task-at-hand! Eliminating dairy and alcohol (well…the occasional glass of Bordeaux…La France oblige!)…has helped as well. Are nightshades NOT a good idea?…I seem to tolerate tomatoes and bell peppers very well…not so much eggplant (it makes the roof of my mouth actually feel “itchy”!) My husband will not be pleased to see me not partaking in ratatouille…but I can add in the eggplant for him I imagine!

    Impressed at how “in tune” you are with your own bodily needs…and this boosts my desire to discover/fine tune what is most beneficial for me….I found the PHD through your site…and find it to be quite wonderful and informative for me. Thank you!

    October 25, 2013 at 10:02 am Reply
    • Nightshades can be a problem if you have auto-immune issues or joint inflammation – just test and see how you respond.

      October 25, 2013 at 10:31 am Reply
  7. Sharon #

    I have been following a grain free diet for about 7 months and over time have gotten better after dealing with some inflammatory issues. Last week though, my blood sugar went to 61 and I had a negative response(I do NOT have daibeties). How can I continue to eat paleo and yet keep blood sugar from dropping.

    August 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm Reply
  8. Tanya #

    Hello from Oregon! I’m visiting a few sites that mention “Raynaud’s” and “paleo” to add my two cents. I strongly urge women who are trying paleo to investigate interviews with Ray Peat here:
    http://www.functionalps.com/blog/2011/09/12/master-list-ray-peat-phd-interviews/

    My Raynaud’s search was 15 years long, and included Paleo, which made my thyroid issues I didn’t know I had WORSE – I ended up with an anemia so bad I lost my job, gained 20 pounds, and was glued to the sofa for many months.

    When I embraced Ray Peat’s dietary recommendations and supplemented with T3 my temperature went up from the 96’s to the 98’s and the Raynaud’s and anemia resolved.

    Good luck to all the Raynaud’s sufferers – do not give up looking for answers for yourself!

    December 24, 2014 at 9:23 am Reply
    • I think it is really important to maintain a decent amount of carbs in a paleo diet for thyroid – it is too easy to default to almost zero carbs. I eat lots of root veg and some fruit.

      December 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm Reply

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