Archive for September, 2011

Regarding cravings

When I was on a very-low-calorie diet in 2006 (which cost me half my hair), I had constant cravings. I wanted chocolate, cakes, and white rice. I was never big on pasta, pizza or bread, but I loved my donuts, milk chocolate and Indian fragrance rice. So when on a diet, I’d go with artificial sugars or small quantities of high-caloric foods. But this was never satisfying. I managed to stay on this diet for 3 months, cheating every few days.

Now that I’m on the Paleo diet, things are different. Since Paleo brought back my health, I haven’t looked back. I do not crave donuts, chocolates, or rice anymore. I don’t give a damn anymore about grains and high amounts of sugar. I educated myself of their bad health effects and addictiveness, and so I now see them as the enemy.

Honestly, I don’t know why I don’t crave them though. I should be, but I don’t. I think that this is a case of mind power over body. I was willing to do anything to get my health back, so when I finally managed to figure it all out and subsequently become symptom-free, not eating certain foods for the rest of my life was a non-issue anymore. I haven’t cheated at all so far, neither I expect me to. If anything, I feel full most of the time just by eating enough. And I’ve lost 7 lbs so far.

Of course, there were times that my body was asking for some sugar (I was trying to deprive it from sugar on purpose, since I suffer from SIBO-style IBS), so these were the times that I’d simply eat a fruit. It worked every time. If instead I’d eat a teaspoon of honey, I’d feel guilty afterwards (even if the diet allows honey in moderation).

I don’t know if I’m the oddball here (or if I have a hypothyroid condition I don’t know about that makes me lose my appetite), but I’m not craving for any food anymore, except some fruit. So it made me MAD when I read two cases recently about two different women (one with diabetes and another one with IBS) who they gave up on their gluten-free diet because it was “too hard”, EVEN if they became asymptomatic with that diet. Here they have an easy, cheap, and healthy way to get out of a bad illness’ effects, and instead they go belly up selling their soul to the pasta devil.

As my husband very well noted the other day: “they’re just not desperate-enough“. I was. And it paid off.

Update, Sept 30 2011: I made some Paleo donuts today. Honestly, they taste more like cake than donuts, but they were actually very good. I had one and I couldn’t eat another. Too filling. In the past, I could have eaten 2 of them in one sitting. I had it with some whipped lactose-free sour cream (with added honey).

Paleo-Style Beef heart dirty rice

I have thousands upon thousands of recipes. I’ve bought many books over time about cooking, not because I use them a lot as guides, but for some reason, I… enjoy viewing interesting food pictures. Needless to say that I never buy cookbooks without pictures.

Since I turned Paleo/SCD a lot of these books are partly-useless. I don’t have plans to ever going back to grains (even if I wanted to, I can’t), so I’m thinking of donating some of these books to my local library. At the same time, I have started replenishing my cookbook addiction by buying some books about grain-free cooking. My two favorite such books are the brand new “Paleo Comfort Foods“, and the few months old “Primal Blueprint: Quick & Easy Meals“. The following recipe, which is what I had for lunch today, is a loose adaptation of the original recipe “Dirty Cauliflower Rice” found in the “Paleo Comfort Foods” book (page 192). It was truly delicious!

Ingredients (for 5-6)

For the main recipe:
* 1 sizeable beef heart
* 1 big cauliflower, riced
* 1 white onion, chopped
* 2 celery stalks, chopped
* 1 green pepper, chopped
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 2 spring onions, chopped
* oil of your choosing (I used olive oil)

For the spices:
* 1 bay leaf
* Some fresh sage, chopped
* Some fresh thyme, chopped
* 1/3 tspoon red pepper flakes
* 1/2 tspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 tspoon ground cumin

For the bone broth:
* 3 beef bones with marrow
* 1 celery stalk, chopped
* 1 carrot, chopped
* some spinach
* 1 onion, chopped
* black pepper

For the baking broth:
* 1 tomato, sliced
* 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
* oil of your choosing (I used olive oil)

Execution

–- Part I: Preparing the bone broth

1. Wash the bones. In a deep pot add all the bone broth ingredients, and fill up with water. Cook in medium heat.

2. The bone marrow will start having some “dirty” substance on the surface after a few minutes. Using a tablespoon, remove it and discard it. When there’s not much of that substance anymore coming out, cover and cook for 2-3 hours in low heat.

3. Turn off, and allow the bone marrow soup to cool a bit. Then, using a strainer, separate most of the liquid broth from the other ingredients. Reserve the broth in a big glass container, and put it in the fridge. Enjoy the rest of the ingredients on their own, as your lunch or dinner (add some lemon).


Sep 23 2011: That was when I was officially baptized as a Paleo dieter: my first bone broth!

–- Part II: Baking the heart

4. Preheat oven at 410 F (210 C). On a rather tall but small baking dish, add the tomato, jalapeno, and then the beef heart. Pour 1/2 cup of water and some oil on top. Bake for an hour, turning the heart 4 times during that time.

5. When done, let it cool for a bit, and then remove the heart from the dish and set aside to cool even further. Reserve the baking liquid in a separate container. Discard (or eat as a snack) the tomatoes & jalapeno.

6. When cool, cut the heart in small pieces, about 1/2 inch thick. Having the heart frozen for just 10 minutes prior to cutting it, will help you cut it easier.

–- Part III: Cooking the main dish

7. Wash, and then “rice” the cauliflower using the shredder blade in your food processor. If you don’t have such a tool, just use a large kitchen knife and cut it in very small pieces.

8. On a deep frying pan or wok add some oil, and the chopped white onion, celery, peppers, and garlic. Fry in high heat until transparent, stir occasionally.

9. Add the cauliflower, and the spices. Stir fry a bit more, until the color starts changing to brown. Add the meat and stir fry a bit more.

10. Add 1/4 cup of the baking broth, 3/4 cup of the bone broth. 1 minute before removing from heat, stir in the chopped spring onions too. Cook in high heat until all liquid is dissolved, and the consistency has changed to something between Chinese fried rice and risotto. Enjoy!

Terra Nova: Close, but no cigar

Tonight, the most expensive series of all time debuted on TV: Spielberg’s “Terra Nova“. The 2-hour pilot had time travel, action, mystery, and lots of dinosaurs. You can’t go wrong with that recipe. Or can you?

The series starts in year 2145, where pollution is so bad that when a natural time rift appears that leads to 85 million years in the past, many humans take it and they build Terra Nova, a high-tech settlement. The story follows ex-cop Jim Shannon and his family, and how they adjust on that new place. The show has good dinos, bad dinos, a faction of humans fighting the main settlement, some… mysterious mystery about something we yet don’t know anything about, some family & teenage drama, car action, and lots of guns.

The CGI were good, but not feature-film-good. Dinos didn’t look that realistic. Let’s say that they were as good as a Hollywood film of 2005 would have featured. At least for some shots I feel that “Stargate:Universe” had better CGI than “Terra Nova”. The scene with Shannon and Taylor up in the hill was so painfully visibly green screen for example. Color grading was pretty good though, following the “teal” Hollywood look model.

Camera work was ok too, but editing was painful. The way Taylor was introduced for example was very pedestrian, it removed all the mystery and importance of that character. I mean, you introduce the #2 of the series and you start by having the camera that far away from the actor while he starts talking? Why not start with a close up shot where his face looks like an enigma? Why spell everything out? Why portray him as some guy in the back who says some stuff?

And why not start the series directly with the prison scene, and then unveil the story little by little, instead of spelling out to us how it all went down? And the scene with the orange, was laughable and badly written too. There was so much potential there to have the kids STEAL the orange and show what kind of character such living conditions would create, rather than having a nice happy family smiling and comment like “oh, I haven’t seen one of these for so many years”. So freaking pedestrian. So patronizing!

And that’s the Achilles heel of the show: it’s a FOX family drama in its heart. A very expensive FOX family drama. But a FOX family drama nonetheless. The show allows itself no grittiness, no edginess, no LOST-like heart pumping. Its secondary characters have no personality at all, the whole adjustment period was hurried up, while the family relations are something we’ve seen before over and over again. Just like ABC’s “No ordinary family” show last year, this American supposedly-dysfunctional perfect-family stereotype makes me wanna throw up. Why not have the kid be a drug user? Why not have the wife cheat on her husband while he was in prison? With a woman.

Compared to cable dramas (e.g. the excellent “Breaking Bad”, “Game of Thrones”), this is an old style show. Sure, it’s pretty serialized (otherwise it would have been completely worthless), and it’s impressive to look at. But it doesn’t go the extra mile to prove itself as a work of modern art. If the show was debuting in the late ’80s (before the TV spring of “Twin Peaks”), even if it used puppets instead of CGI, it would have been a huge hit. But in year 2011, if a show is not edgy on all levels, it’s not exactly worthy material.

Having said that, we have to compare “Terra Nova” with its fellow TV series on syndicated TV. Syndicated TV plays with different FCC rules that cable TV does, and so some things end up being different than how the writers might originally wanted them to be. So compared to the rest of the shows currently on syndicated TV, and I suspect compared to all the new ones too this TV season, “Terra Nova” is probably the best of them. It’s still fun, watchable and impressive. And it’s the only new sci-fi series in this TV season that it’s not completely drama/cop show with only a bit of touch of sci-fi. So, respect to Spielberg for bringing the series to TV. I just wish it was on cable (even if myself I’m not a subscriber anymore).

How we all live a lie

I’ve spent 10+ years with IBS-D, and when I finally managed to kick it away 3 weeks ago, I’m still surprised about how something so simple as a diet change is not prescribed by doctors by default. Very few doctors and nutritionists so far align themselves with some form of the Original Human Diet (e.g. Paleo, Primal, GAPs, SCD etc). And yet, there are thousands, maybe millions so far, who have had their auto-immune & inflammatory disease under control, or even healed, using these diets. So why isn’t modern medicine more open on the actual explanation as to why modern diet is so bad? That is, when lectins, gluten and bacteria inflame the gut, make holes on it, and toxins/feces enter the bloodstream. Then, the whole body goes haywire and the most weird illnesses appear. Illnesses and allergies that didn’t happen, or were very rare in the pre-Agrarian era.

But let’s go back to IBS.

We have to ask ourselves, except humans, are there any other animals that have IBS? And the answer is “yes”. Domesticated cats & dogs. The illness does not appear on their wild counterparts! IBS appeared in large numbers in the human population in the last 50 years only (before that time it was more rare), while pets started having IBS about 20-25 years ago. What’s the only thing that changed in the last 50 years for us, and 25 years for pets?

Enter FOOD. Food that contained more and more grains in various shapes and sizes, and more and more sugar. Pet food originally was mostly meat, but in the last 25 years, vegetables and flour appears on your pet’s cans. When was the last time you saw wolves grinding flour out of wheat in the wild? Feed these animals their natural diet (pieces of bones, and real meat), and you will see their symptoms reversed in the vast majority of cases.

So all what humans have to do, is simply go back to their original diet: veggies, meat, fish, eggs, fruits, and a bit of nuts & honey. Maybe some lactose-free goat cheese/yogurt IF they can tolerate it (cow dairy is even less tolerable).

The idea is so simple, and it makes so much sense. And yet, I spend 10 years trying to find the magic pill, trying to understand why this was happening to me. I was thinking along the “common wisdom”, that some of these “unexplainable” and “incurable” auto-immune/inflammatory diseases are just mysteries of nature that some day medicine & science might provide answers. I was thinking that I was simply unlucky for having gotten IBS. Maybe it was stress, as my doctors said, or maybe it was some old food poisoning that kicked it in.

NONSENSE.

I was daily abusing my body with grains and sugar (like 99.9% of you who read this). I was eating unnatural foods, foods that the human stomach does not have the right enzymes to break down. We are not hens. We are not pigs. We evolved to eat specific kinds of foods. Not the addictive grains or the even more addictive sugars. These are products of civilization, products created to be able to sustain unnaturally large numbers of population. But at what cost? Today, almost 50% of Americans have one of these “mystery diseases”! And the other half are on their way to get them later in their life. 97% of us are undiagnosed celiacs up to a degree! So, ditch the damn things. Do the work now, so you won’t regret it afterwards.

As for the medical & political world not seeing any correlation between “diseases of civilization” and grains/sugar, this would be one of the few times that I will have to sound like a conspirator. I do think that they know all they need to know about grains & sugar, but Big Pharma likes people to be sick, and politicians want citizens with a full belly. A full stomach always makes an obedient citizen, while a hungry one is nothing but trouble (since there are no resources for everyone to follow the Paleo diet — at least not for cheap).

Romans did exactly the same btw. In order to keep their population from revolting, they were feeding them with free-of-charge wheat products, and why not, kill a few people in the arena too, just for the fun of the masses. So tonight, go sit in front of TV, and enjoy your cheap drug: pasta, rice, bread… Top it all with a slice of chocolate cake. Oh, have a beer on me too.

Greek Moussaka, Paleo-style

I decided to take it upon myself tonight to cook some Greek moussaka, almost the way my mom in Greece makes it, with a real bechamel. There’s not one person that has eaten my mom’s moussaka in Greece and hasn’t commented that this is the best moussaka they ever had. It’s that good. My version came out delicious, and my husband said that it was as good as my mom’s — which is a huge compliment for me, since this is my mom’s “signature recipe”!

So here’s my Paleo version of it, which simply substitutes potatoes for zucchini, milk for coconut milk, and wheat flour for coconut & almond flour. Everything else is the same as in the original Greek recipe, and so the flavor is almost the same. One could also substitute the meat for mushrooms, and the butter for coconut oil to make it veg*an. Be aware though, preparation takes 1.5 hours! A lot of work for sure, but you won’t regret it!

Ingredients (for 4-6)
* 2 large eggplants
* 2 large zucchinis
* 1 lb (450 gr) of beef minced meat
* 4 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
* 2 tbspoons parsley, chopped
* 3 tbspoons onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1.5 cups of coconut milk
* 1/4 cup of coconut flour or tapioca
* 1 tbspoon almond meal flour
* 30 gr butter (a big tablespoon)
* 1 egg
* 1/2 tspoon paprika
* freshly grounded black pepper
* oil of your choice (I used olive oil)
* 2 tbspoons of chopped basil (optional)
* Salt to taste
* 2 tbspooons grated Parmesan (optional, dairy is allowed in the Primal & SCD diets only)

Execution

– Part I: Prepare the vegetable layers (time needed: 50 minutes)

1. Cut the two ends from both zucchinis & eggplants, and discard these ends. Hold them vertically, and also slice them vertically with a sharp knife to about 1/3 of an inch thick (~1 cm). You can also use a mandolin to do this, but make sure the slices are not coming out too thin. Your vertical slices should look like in the pictures.

2. Pour some oil in a frying pan, and fry the eggplant slices in medium heat. Make sure you don’t overload your frying pan, all slices should be “touching” the bottom of the pan. Eggplants “drink” lots of the oil, so replenish as needed. Turn the slices once or twice. Remove and set aside when the slices are wilted, and have started taking some nice color (do not overcook them). Do the same for the rest of the eggplant slices.

3. Do the same as above for the zucchini slices too.

– Part II: Prepare the meat sauce (time needed: 20 minutes)

4. In a cooking pot add a bit of oil and the chopped onion. Cook in high heat.

5. When the onions are wilted, add the minced meat. Stir quite a bit so the minced meat becomes “unclogged”.

6. Add the chopped parsley, minced garlic, and the chopped tomatoes. Ground some black pepper. If you’re using the optional basil or salt, this is the time to add them too. Stir.

7. When most of the tomato moist has evaporated and the sauce has thickened, turn off heat and set the pot aside.

– Part III: Layering (time needed: 10 minutes)

8. Preheat the oven at 410 F (~210 C). Use a rather tall, and about 10″-sized baking dish.

9. Take some eggplant slices and cover the bottom of the dish in a horizontal manner. Then use some more eggplant slices and put them in a vertical manner (so they criss-cross each other).

10. Pour half of the meat sauce on top and spread evenly.

11. Take zucchini slices and use them on top of the meat the way you did for the eggplant.

12. Pour the rest of the meat sauce and spread evenly.

13. With the remaining eggplants and zucchini slices create one more layer.

– Part IV: Prepare the bechamel (time needed: 10 minutes)

14. In another pot add the coconut milk, butter, egg, and coconut & almond flours. Ground some black pepper, and add the paprika. If you’re using the optional parmesan, add it now too. Using a whisk stir everything under medium-to-high heat. You need to be whisking constantly, or clumps will form.

15. After a while, when the bechamel has the consistency of porridge (as shown in the picture), it’s ready. If that happens way too early in the process, add a bit more milk. If it doesn’t seem to ever be happening, add a bit more coconut flour. It’s not an exact science…

– Part V: Bake! (time needed: 45 minutes)

16. Pour the bechamel on the top layer of your baking dish, and spread it evenly using a butter knife.

17. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top has started getting some nice brown color.

18. Eat warm and enjoy. Left-overs microwave well, and they also freeze very well too.

Random stuff, Part 35

* I still can’t get over the fact that this will be the first TV season in many-many years where there won’t be any space-based science fiction show on TV. Even “Blood & Chrome” is now said to only be released online only and not as a TV series! IO9.com has two very interesting articles about this, “Why aren’t we in a golden age of genre television?“, and the incredibly accurate “Why We Need More Space Adventures“.

* I’m pre-ordering the Canon S100 tomorrow at a local store. When I have it, hopefully sometime in October, I will publish a review at FreshDV.com about its video mode.

* On this article is explained how wheat is so addictive: it apparently attaches itself to our opiate receptors in our brain. Sugar is doing similar things too. I have to say that I feel lucky that I haven’t had any withdrawal symptoms for either when I went Paleo/SCD. Most people crave carbs in the first 10-15 days on ketogenic diets, and while I can totally understand why and how this feels, it didn’t happen to me this time. I had cravings while on the very low calorie diet a few years ago, but on Paleo/SCD I feel so healthy that I don’t want to eat anything that can make me sick again (see: gluten, lectins and sugars). This is another great article to read on grains btw.

Rendezvous – “The Murf”

I don’t particularly like animation art. But this is my favorite animation ever. Made in After Effects, and a little on Photoshop, according to the artist.

The modern affordability of Paleo

One of the common arguments against the Paleo diet is that it’s too expensive to maintain. The diet’s preference for grass-fed beef & game, wild-caught fish, local organic plants, eggs, fruits & nuts, and unfiltered raw honey has put a rather high price tag on the diet’s reputation. Things don’t get easier either when lots of Paleo recipes online call for almond flour, or coconut products (exotic products that are not available at all in many rural places, e.g. my hometown in Greece).

The truth is though that you don’t have to go for these types of food if you don’t have the money for it. If you really want to follow the diet’s core you can still buy the cheaper corn-fed meat, farmed fish, veggies and fruits from your local super-market. Even with this lower quality food, you’ll still be miles ahead than with the standard Western diet. And that’s something significant already, if you’re serious about your health. Remember, Paleo is not a weight loss diet, even if overweight people happen to lose weight on it. Paleo is a lifestyle, a return to balance and normalcy.

Since I started Paleo I’ve been swarming to local farmer’s markets. Most of the vegetables & fruits there are cheaper than in super markets, and of much higher quality and freshness. Because I don’t buy sugary/grain products anymore, and since I stopped going out to (starchy) restaurants, I believe we’ve saved money overall. I don’t buy higher quality meat & eggs yet, but I’m thinking of going towards that path too — although my husband still resists to the idea.

One thing that got me thinking is that if Paleo was the prescribing diet for a number of “modern-world” ailments in the Victorian Era, it wouldn’t have been feasible to follow it — unless you were an aristocrat or a rich businessman. While fish, game and good quality farm meat would have been easy to find, plants and fruits were difficult to find in that era. Pretty much, the only mass-produced non-grain plants that grew well in UK were tubers, which are loaded with starch. As for fruits & honey, they would be rare and expensive to find in the market. Just think how good we have it nowdays, where the various foods are easily available.

And this brings me to the Mediterranean diet, which is named by some nutritionists as the “healthiest diet in the world” (especially the Cretan version). The Mediterranean diet is not that healthy actually (especially these days). It’s simply healthier than the standard Western diet because people could produce a lot of different veggies & fruits and nuts and honey on their own — since the weather allowed it. They were blessed to be part of the advanced Europe and maximize their yields. This led to a somewhat balanced diet between fresh produce & wild plants, and starches.

Judging to how my grand parents lived, and how my parents grew up, there was some bread, rice and pasta, but it was overrun with plenty of fresh veggies from their own garden, even more wild greens (e.g. amaranth greens, sorrel), cheese & lactose-free probiotic yogurt from their goats or sheep (they’d go up to the mountain all by themselves and come back alone at night), eggs from their own free range chickens, fish from the river, and some meat occasionally (either from a goat that broke a leg and had to be killed off, a hen getting too old to have eggs… or some game like wild birds, hares, and boars found in the mountain above the village). Sugary products were extremely rare. Even fruits were rather rare, except when in season.

So there was some balance there. I started hearing about uber-modern diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia) in these villages in the late ’80s. “Cancer” was a word I didn’t hear before 1985 in respect to my local people. Before that, most people there would just die of natural causes (with stroke and heart-related disease following). In my opinion, the Mediterranean diet only has a positive effect when you live the kind of hard life these people lived, and use that high quality of plants and meat they had. But it’s still not an ideal diet.

If the Mediterranean diet is, let’s say, 25% better than the Standard Western one, then Paleo is many times as good. Paleo is believed to be able to reverse some “incurable” modern diseases, and heal the body after years of grain & sugar abuse. The forums are full of accounts of people who had various conditions reversed (and I’m on that camp too). The few cases of heart-disease or strokes that took down these Mediterranean people before the ’80s (when the Mediterranean diet became Westernized and hence worse), could have been avoided if these people were Paleo- or Primal-dieting (they could have kept their yogurt & cheese). All they had to really do is to say “no” to the tons of grain products that “International Help” gave away to families, especially in mountain villages.

I was extremely surprised when I saw someone this past Summer in Greece taking out of his pantry a large pasta box and a big bag of rice. I took a good look, because I wasn’t accustomed to see such quantity at someone’s home pantry. These were not commercial bags of food. They were sent from the European Union to “poor” Greek families (not that poor btw). I really had no idea that grains were pouring into Greece in these modern times too (despite the financial crisis). I thought that the “international help” of food stopped in the ’80s. But no. They continue raking people’s lives and health with their free non-food foods: “let’s give everyone cheap food. And make them all eventually sick and skyrocket the health system’s costs instead.”

In all truth, grains are easy to produce, and so it does sustain the world’s population in one way or another. Without grains all the 7 billion of us on this planet would be unsustainable. But instead of feeding people undigestable crap, maybe we should rethink about our (exploding) numbers first. I prefer quality, not quantity. And that goes about people too, not just food.

Canon S100: best P&S for video right now

The successor to the S95 is here. Canon just released the CMOS-based S100, the first camera with the brand new Digic V chip in it (which hopefully alleviates most of these issues that plagued older Canon cams). The camera has a 1/1.7″ sized sensor, an f2.0 lens, and a 5x zoom. Personally, I would have preferred to sacrifice the zoom down to 3x and get an f1.8 lens instead, but hey.

The biggest new feature I was waiting for this year was full manual control in video mode, since the main competitor to Canon’s S-series, the Panasonic LX-series, do support this since last year. Canon didn’t give us manual control though. So, according to the manual, here’s what you get with the S100 in video mode:

- 1080/24p @ 38 mbps and 720/30p @ 24 mbps (new).
- Force aperture to open-up with the built-in 1/8 (3 stops) ND filter (new).
- Use external RCA monitor as a recording display (new, HDMI port is playback-only).
- Wind filter for the stereo microphone (new).
- Zoom while recording (new).
- 120 fps slow-mo at 640×480 (new).
- Shoot using preset focal lengths (no step-zoom) (new).
- Exposure compensation (P mode).
- Exposure lock.
- Autofocus lock.
- Manual focus.
- Miniature Mode.
- Auto & Custom white balance.
- Custom colors (set sharpness, contrast & saturation to minimum values for “flat”).

Personally, I will buy one (especially since I gave away my SX200 IS to my brother, so I’m without a good P&S atm). It’s not 100% what I wanted (faster lens, manual video control, additional 1080/30p option), but it’s the closest one out there to what I want. Unfortunately, the LX-series don’t offer enough bitrate and sensible frame rates to me, so I can’t consider them. I expect Canon’s new Digic 5 to produce a clearer picture in video mode than any older Canon camera too (and this includes dSLRs).

My Paleo diet cheat list

As I wrote in the previous blog post, I’m currently following the SCD diet, in order to kill overgrown bacteria & yeast. After I get even better in 2-3 months, I will move towards a Paleo/Primal combo diet. I plan to follow these diets for life with fanatical adherence (I don’t have a choice), but as time goes I will allow a few more foods in, foods that I believe are not as damaging (time will tell). These are:

1. Olive oil
Some Paleo dieters don’t use olive oil at all, some only use it raw in salads, and some even cook with it. I’m Greek, and I believe in the benefits of olive oil. Before the Paleo diet gained popularity, the best diet in the world was that of Cretans’ in the ’60s. Lots of olive oil, raw artichokes etc. There are too many studies about how good olive oil is, so I don’t think it’s fair to put olive oil in the same bag as the rest of the “vegetable oils” that are forbidden in these diets.

2. Yoghurt and possibly some cheese
I plan to try this lactose-free yoghurt, and see how it goes. I wish they had the same lactose-free product from goat instead, but they don’t. As for cheese, most hard cheeses don’t have lactose in them, so they might be safe. I don’t plan to try dairy until one month in the diet, to make sure I give my gut a chance to have its gut flora rebooted. If I notice that dairy still bloats me, I will cut it down completely and live off of calcium-enriched orange juice, almond milk and vitamin pills.

3. Green beans (pods) & peas
I’ve read that lectins on the young green pods are almost non-existent, so there’s no reason not to eat them. I mean, sure, I do get the bloating from dried beans and lentils, but I’ve been eating green pods all my life and never had problems. Peas seem to be better in that respect than actual dried beans and lentils too. Despite this, I don’t plan to use peas very much, just in case I’m wrong…

4. Sweet potatoes and Parsnips
While these tubers are allowed in the Paleo diet, they are loaded with starch, and since my stomach is fragile atm, I can’t risk eating them. Maybe I will be having them once a month, after 3 months on the diet.

5. Almond/coconut milk/flour
These are allowed in the Paleo diet, and unfortunately I see people using them a lot, to feed off their carb cravings. These should be used sparingly in my opinion, because, let’s face it: would you eat a whole bag of almonds in one sit? Not likely. So why make an almond flour bread then? Makes no sense to me. It’s too much. Nuts can create problems in big quantities, even to people who don’t have nut allergies.

Finally, I don’t plan to eat okras at all. No scientific reason, I just hate their sliminess. :P