I recently started the paleo diet for a few reasons: health, weight loss, and an answer as to whether or not I have celiac disease.
Question: Is it okay to take vitamins and supplements, especially if they contain gluten, some form of sugar, etc? I realize that my sleeping habits may improve, but right now I am taking easy to dissolve melatonin and ZMA to help me sleep. I have had leg cramps for 51 years and have found that C Q-10 has given me relief.
Thanks for your book and suggestions.
Dr. Cordain’s Response:
Good to hear from you and thanks for your interest in The Paleo Diet. Indeed, this lifetime way of eating will improve your overall health and help to promote weight loss. Elimination of glutien containing grains (wheat, rye, and barley) will cause an end to symptoms you may have experienced relating to celiac disease. Further a dairy free, grain free, legume free and processed food free diet will also improve overall GI tract function, and you may also experience freedom from a variety of health issues that formerly may have afflicted you. Definitely, read all labels in supplements and try to avoid any supplements containing wheat, soy, corn, yeast or any other grain, legume or food additive.
In regards to sleep, melatonin supplements may be helpful at first, but again make sure they are free of wheat, soy and other additives that are non-Paleo. A long term strategy to improve sleep will not require melatinin supplements, as you body will naturally manufacture sufficient melatonin to elicit peaceful, long and uninterrupted sleep. Key dietary factors to promote restful sleep are theses: 1) eliminate/reduce salt from your diet in all forms 2) eliminate/reduce alcohol from your diet– particularly 3 hrs before you sleep, 3) eliminate milk/dairy/cheese from your diet, and 4) eliminate proceessed foods (refined grains, refined sugars, refined oils or combinations of these foods from your diet. Finally, hard exercise (aerobic, weight lifting or otherwise) a few hours before you retire will defnitely promote peaceful sleep.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus