Wednesday, January 23, 2013

365 Inspirations—23: Paleo/SCD Diet

"We must avoid the temptation of 'food as a source of cheap, nutrient-devoid entertainment' and instead make conscious, deliberate and wise choices about what it is we mindfully incorporate into our living matrix."—Nora T. Gedgaudas, Primal Body Primal Mind

Have you been feeling tired? Chronic fatigue? Do you have digestive issues? You might want to try the Paleo or SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). They are very similar and do just about the same thing for a person. In the past, I have felt sluggish and foggy-headed. I also have extreme digestive problems. I thought I had parasites and went to many doctors to try and figure out what was wrong with me. This has been a problem that has been going on for years. Finally, several friends who studied nutrition recommended I try the SCD diet or Paleo diet.

I tried it for one month in October 2012. Basically I had to eliminate all grains and refined sugar. It also helps to eliminate alcohol, coffee and other stimulants. I don't drink alcohol, but I stopped drinking coffee. I felt so clear headed on this diet. I did not feel heavy. I felt light and healthy. I had energy to do all the things I wanted to do. Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around and I was feeling so great, I thought What would happen if I just went back to pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies and all that good stuff?

I went back and ate all the stuff I used to eat. Cakes, cookies, candy, wheat, rice, pasta, breads, pastries, etc. While they tasted good, all my symptoms came back and I felt horrible again. Finally in mid-January I just couldn't take it. I literally felt sick and tired.

I made a vow to stay on the Paleo/SCD diet for one year. My husband, a yoga teacher, also felt foggy and tired from eating grains and sugar. He saw how much I had improved and now he's on the diet too. The best part about it is that I am now more aware and mindful of what I eat. I pay attention to the food that goes on my plate and in my mouth. I've stopped craving carbs and sugar and have found alternative ways to make delicious desserts that are grain and sugar free.

When we eat a diet that is rich in carbs and sugar, we initially feel energy and then we crash. Grains turn to glucose in the body creating a "crash" response if not immediately used. Grains and sugar are hard for the body to break down if ones digestive system is weak because they are complex (disaccarides). If these sugars are not broken down or properly digested, they remain in the small intestine and can cause a host of other problems (yeast, parasites, Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.)

The truth is, we don't need grains or sugar in our diet. All the nutrients in grains can be found in many other foods! In fact, in Paleolithic times, before agriculture became part of our lives, people were hunters and gatherers. They did not live on grains and sugar. They lived on meats, fish, berries, fruits and vegetables.

I highly recommend the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall if you have digestive problems and/or have any diseases related to Autism. This book changed my life. This woman spent her life researching the SCD diet after her daughter went through years of excruciating pain due to digestive issues. She has a huge section in the back of the book with lots of delicious recipes for Thanksgiving and beyond for those who still want to eat traditionally and love desserts.

I'm not a doctor, but I can share what I've studied and what works for me. All I can say is, "Give this diet (Paleo or SCD) a try and see how you feel after ONE month." If you feel different and good, keep it up. So far, it's the only thing that has worked for me and I'm so grateful for it!

(Above picture is garlic kale and sweet potatoes. Potatoes generally are too starchy for the Paleo diet, but many Paleos say sweet potatoes are fine—still some debate about that, but I eat them!!)

Have you ever heard of the Paleo diet or SCD diet? What do you know about these diets? Do you have any of the symptoms above?


  1. Hi Katherine! It's so great that you have found a diet that works well for your body. I have a few friends who are Paleo, and they all say that they have more energy, feel more alert, feel stronger, and need less sleep now that they are on that diet. I am inspired to make a similar change- basically minimizing sugar and processed wheat and increasing veggies. I just started a Human Nutrition class through Coursera, so it's good timing to think about all of this :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Nice to see you smiling face here Amber! Yes, what your friends say is what I am feeling too!!!! Gluten-free was not enough for me. Had to go grain-free for complete change! Your nutrition class sounds great!!! Happy to share.

  2. Sounds like you've gotten a lot of relief from changing your diet--that's great! I definitely need to cut out refined foods--I can tell they bother my digestion. I'm a vegetarian, so I'm not sure how cutting how all grains would work for me. But I know I eat too many. Do you eat dairy products?

    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Hi Tina-A friend of mine who is a health practitioner and was a vegetarian for years took a nutrition course and basically decided to go Paleo (reintroduced meats to diet). I used to be vegetarian too. The grains in diet are hard for the body to process and can make a person tired and have digestive issues. I don't eat dairy products. My diet consists of: fruits, vegetables, some nuts, organic meat and fresh organic fish. If I want desserts, I use a small amount of honey as a sweetener. There are all kinds of recipe books out for the Paleo and it's becoming more mainstream. Just yesterday, I got my Sunset Magazine in the mail and there was an article about Paleo diet with a delicious-looking recipe and an interview with the chef who is also a yoga teacher! It was such a coincidence because I was working on my post for today when the article came in the mail! I know it's hard to make diet changes, but nothing else worked for me. I feel so much more energy and peace from this diet! I hope whatever you decided to do works for YOU. All the best, Katherine

  3. Hi Katherine,

    I am going to check this book out because my whole life I have had digestive issues. (Since 5 yrs old) Lately as I have gotten older it had been more troublesome. Thanks for sharing your story.

    xoxo Kaen

  4. Hi Karen,

    Me too! Eating Paleo and SCD really changed my life! I have so much more energy now and I feel like sharing it in case others have had similar troubles. Hope you like the book!