I always knew through common sense that much of my health future would be due to what I ate each day. But, through the years there have been all kinds of diets introduced through the media touting health benefits and weight management, which made it hard to tell which ones were really good for me.
When I turned 50, someone forwarded me a video of a Doctor who had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and she found that she was able to reverse most of the symptoms of her MS by following what is known as the "Paleo Diet".
Although the video intrigued me, the real turning point came when less than a week later, my personal physician (a holistic, alternative practitioner) told me that he and his wife had started a diet that he really believed was great for health. He called it the "Hunter-Gatherer" diet. As he described it to me, I realized he was referring to the "Paleo Diet".
Here is a definition which I found which describes the Paleo Diet:
"a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food."
In its most basic form, it is a diet that consumes foods that our ancestors (caveman) would have eaten. WHOLE, UNPROCESSED FOOD!
From that point on, my husband and I decided to try the Paleo Diet, and we LOVE it! There are many delicious recipes out there in books and on the internet. Here are some great paleo recipes.
I can honestly say that this diet is one that has measurably changed our health. One example, my husband always struggled to get good blood work numbers each year for his physicals. After starting the Paleo Diet, ALL his lab numbers improved. My lab numbers were always pretty good, but now they are even better!
Another major benefit we noticed was the ease of maintaining our weights on this diet (which is actually a lifestyle, not a fad diet). Also, the Paleo diet fights inflammation in the body, which is a major cause of so many illnesses today. I noticed that my joints and back hurt much less when I started eating the Paleo foods.
I LOVE eating foods that are tasty and nutritious and filling at the same time! That is why I eat NUTS and SEEDS everyday!
Even though nuts are high in fat, they do NOT make me fat! In fact, this is the first time in my life that my weight has been kept under control easily! And, I attribute much of that to the nuts and seeds that I consume daily!
One of the biggest reasons that they help to control weight is that they are filling. The amount of fat and fiber and protein in them is what keeps me full longer and that helps to prevent blood sugar highs and cravings (more ammunition to help ward off the dreaded Diabetes)!
On the skin and beauty side, nuts have tons of vitamin and minerals and antioxidants that keep skin supple and wrinkle-free. The healthy fat that they contain also contribute to skin health!
Here are a few of the ones I eat most often and some of their health benefits:
WALNUTS: Loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids that are very beneficial to brain and heart health (Have you ever noticed that a walnut kind of looks like a brain :)
ALMONDS: Loaded with Fiber and the antioxidant Vitamin E for fighting cancer.
BRAZILIAN NUTS: Lots of Selenium which is a powerful antioxidant!
CASHEWS: Full of Iron and Zinc which help immunity!
PECANS: Lots of Oleic Acid which studies have found fight Breast Cancer.
PUMPKIN SEEDS: Loads of Magnesium and Plant Phytosterols known to fight Prostate Cancer.
So, next time you feel like reaching for the chip bag, why not grab a handful of nuts and seeds instead and be a little "nutty" for the day :)?