Hello Dr. Cordain,
I was wondering if you would tell me if I can start The Paleo Diet while pregnant? I’m coming up to 17 weeks and suffer from Fibromyalgia. My doctor recommended this diet regiment. He advised I cut out pulses, which I eat a lot of, and wheat, which I don’t often eat much of, and to cut dairy products. But, I thought calcium intake was very important during pregnancy? I also use soy milk in cereals and the soy shakes. I was told to stop consuming all of these foods for a month or so to see how I feel. My stomach feels less bloated and I feel better, but feel I may need longer than a month on this diet to relieve aches and pains induced by my condition. I know some people suffer terribly from Fibromyalgia everyday, but my symptoms come and go. I look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Cordain’s Response:
The Paleo Diet excludes all grains, dairy, legumes, soy, sugar, unbalanced oils, and processed foods. The Paleo Diet emphasizes eating nutrient dense anti-inflammatory food that is derived from the earth in an unprocessed state. These foods include sustainably raised meat, fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils like coconut and olive.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic and sometimes severe pain throughout the entire human body. Its exact cause has yet to be determined, but many people have had success healing their Fibromyalgia with The Paleo Diet.
I would strongly advise you to cut out wheat, dairy, and soy to treat your condition and to reduce overall inflammation in your body. Many people believe that soy milk is a healthy alternative to dairy-based milk for meeting the human calcium requirement. In reality, soy milk has many harmful properties that can actually inhibit absorption of calcium and other vital minerals and nutrients. Increasing you intake of fish is not only a good source of calcium, but it is also very rich in Omega-3 which is essential to development.
Many individuals who adopt The Paleo Diet question whether their calcium intake is sufficient, especially during pregnancy if dairy products are not permitted.
Foods that Naturally Contain High Levels of Calcium and Magnesium
- Other small fish with soft cooked bones
- Lettuce chard
All of the options above should provide your body with an adequate amount of calcium. It’s also worth mentioning that Vitamin D is an absolutely necessary component for synthesizing calcium and magnesium. Modern society emphasizes a lifestyle that is based on “indoor” activities. You can take all the calcium your heart desires, but if you are deficient in Vitamin D your calcium levels can still remain deficient!
The number one source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Spending only twenty minutes a day in full sunlight can provide your body with the necessary levels of vitamin D required for synthesizing calcium. If you live at a latitude that receives little sunlight, or if you lead a busy lifestyle that prevents you from getting outdoors, than you should take a Vitamin D supplement. A dosage of 2000 IU of Vitamin D per day is adequate for most adults. If you still feel that you are unable to meet your calcium requirements, you may want to consider taking a calcium supplement or drinking pure water that has been fortified with calcium.
Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus