Thank you to Marian from www.RoadtoLivingWhole.com for writing such an important piece for us to learn about what we put in (and not in) our bodies!
Have you ever thought about switching to a Paleo diet only to hear “Be careful! You won’t get enough B vitamins or fiber!” or “How will you get calcium?” These are valid questions and definitely things to take into consideration. Ensuring you get all the nutrients you need is essential, no matter what type of diet you follow.
If you don’t eat grains, legumes or dairy, where else do you get the nutrients they provide? This is what we’re going to dive into. A Paleo diet, when done correctly, is based on fresh produce, fats from healthy sources, and protein. A big misconception is that it is a meat rich diet. This is not the case! Far from it. It is actually suppose to be a vegetable centered diet. Because of this, it is actually extremely nutrient dense. However, there are 3 main nutrients that people tend to believe the Paleo diet can be deficient in. These are:
- B vitamins (especially Folate)
Two out of these three are valid concerns and should be discussed. The third, fiber, just makes me laugh considering what foods are included in the diet. So where do we get these nutrients if we are not including grains, dairy, or legumes in our diet?
Get the Nutrients You Need
B vitamins– While grains and legumes can be a good source of B vitamins, they are most definitely not the only source. Other B-vitamin rich food sources are dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, eggs, and most especially, organ meats. Organ meats may seem off putting but they can be quite delicious and are essential to a healthy Paleo lifestyle. Modern American culture includes no organ meats and the thought disgusts people. I know, I’ve been there. Then I started finding easy ways to ease them into my diet. Now we consume them regularly. My kids are convinced that liver will give them x-ray vision. 😉
Calcium– Many people think that milk/dairy is the only way to get enough calcium into our bodies. This is completely untrue. Vegans, lactose intolerant, and casein allergic populations all exclude dairy from their diets and are able to thrive. The best non-dairy sources of calcium are all dark leafy greens (seeing a trend? Total powerhouses of nutrients!), molasses, tahini, and almond butter. If you are concerned about your calcium intake, you can always take a supplement that also contains magnesium, k2, vitamin D3, and phosphorus.
Fiber– This one always make me laugh. Most forms of grains people eat have very little fiber with most Americans getting in less than 13g of fiber per day! When your diet is centered on plants, you will easily exceed 20g of fiber daily. No worries here.
A Paleo diet is nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory, healing diet that is much more than a fab. It is here for good!
What other questions have people asked you when discovering you’re exploring (or living) a Paleo lifestyle? Share your comments below and let us know!
Marian is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of Road To Living Whole, LLC. She is an author of the cookbook, The Dish: A Real Life Guide For Living With Autoimmune Disease, food blogger, and health coach based in Tempe, Arizona. She specializes in working with individuals and families who struggle with multiple food sensitivities, autoimmune disease, and metabolic disorders helping them live a thriving life on to go in spite of their conditions. Learn more about Marian at her website www.roadtolivingwhole.com, on her Facebook page, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.