Tag Archives: 85:15

Paleo Challenges

The season of celebration, gift-giving, and tradition is upon us. Along with all of the fun and festivities, the dieter is faced with the Paleo challenges of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while sorting through the endless sea of desserts, sweets, and holiday treats offered on a daily basis. Whether you have been eating Paleo for years, or just a beginner, this can be a tough time to keep healthy eating a priority. However, it is possible to get through the season, enjoy the special times, and stay committed to your Paleo lifestyle.

The key to success is a well thought out plan that works for you. Think about your family, friends, and work traditions and the foods that are sure to be a part of them. It can be helpful to make a mental or physical list of the food challenges you know will be facing you. We all have family members and friends who make the same dishes year after year. Who can resist Grandma’s homemade fudge, or Uncle Henry’s lasagna?

The key for surviving the holiday unhealthy food fest is to make sure that there will be plenty of nutritious Paleo foods right along with the unhealthy dishes. Be sure your kitchen is well stocked with fresh fruit, veggies, and lean meats and fish throughout the next few weeks. Maintain close to 100% Paleo for the times when you won’t be faced with unhealthy foods. Before heading out the door to the dietary challenges awaiting you at the family gathering, have a healthy Paleo snack to keep from feeling too hungry when you come face-to-face with the offending foods.

For some, making their friends and family aware of their Paleo lifestyle can be beneficial as most people who care about you will make an attempt to include some healthier dishes for the occasion. Often we are asked to bring a dish to contribute to the celebration. This is your opportunity to share your delicious Paleo recipes with others. Who knows, you may even inspire a loved one to adopt the Paleo way of living!

Realistically, there will be times when it is next to impossible to escape a not-so-Paleo meal served to you during the holidays. There may even be certain traditions you value and want to keep as you celebrate the season. Remember the 85-15 Rule for those who don’t want to maintain a strict Paleo Diet at all times. If you eat what your body was designed to eat 85% or more of the time, indulging in an occasional treat for the remaining 15% or less, you will still reap many of the health rewards of The Paleo Diet.

Pick and choose carefully and you will sail through the holidays with your vitality and well being firmly in place. Remember, it’s not what you do on the rare occasion, it’s what you do consistently that makes the difference in your overall health.

The Paleo Diet Team wishes you a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Wine | The Paleo Diet

There are numerous geographic locations worldwide with growing numbers of of centenarians.

Environmental factors including diet, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, occupation, psychological factors including positive outlook, meaningful life roles, close family ties, spiritual perspective and hereditary factors all work synergistically to promote a long, healthy lifespan. It would be difficult or impossible to quantify the precise role each of these elements may play in maximizing human longevity.

Nevertheless, consumption of compounds called polyphenols found in many plants, particularly a compound called resveratrol has been shown to extend the lifespan of certain short lived experimental animals. Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in grape skins (among many other plants and plant parts) and functions to protect the plant or grape from environmental damage like insect predation, fungi, and UV radiation from sunlight.

The Cannonau grape from Sardinia is the local name for a grape known worldwide as the Grenache grape. Cannonau grape skins are known to produce high concentrations of resveratrol, perhaps because of the high UV exposure they experience in Sardinia.The grapes also contain flavanols and procyanidins, which together with polyphenols – powerful antioxidants with cardiovascular benefits, according to an article, as written, by the prominent heart surgeon and Professor at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Mehmet Oz. Wine from Cannonau grapes in Sardinia is made in the traditional sense where the grape skins remain for 8-10 days with the juice to produce a higher resveratrol content. Resveratrol stimulates compounds in cells called sirtuins which are known to extend lifespan in experimental animals under caloric restriction.

In conducting research for his book, Blue Zones, Dan Buettner in conjunction with National Geographic, determined that Cannonau wine does in fact play a role in the longevity of the Sardinian population, with an unusually high percentage of centenarians. Dr. Oz credited this to a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, meat and cheese from grass – fed animals, physically active jobs and red wines, made from the little – known, indigenous grape called Cannonau.

It is possible that a high resveratrol intake from red wine made with Cannonau grapes may in part contribute to increased longevity, however, no controlled human or primate experiments have ever been conducted to substantiate this hypothesis. In all of my books, I have always permitted people to drink a glass of wine with dinner every so often, as it is part of the 85:15 rule which permits occasional “cheating”. The key here is moderation.

I’m often asked what my position is on commercial wines, like  Holland Marsala Cooking Wine. Marsala contains a substantial amount of salt. Two tablespoons (30 ml) of this cooking wine contains 190 mg of sodium which translates to 483 mg of salt. The typical western diet contains about 10 grams of salt, whereas hunter-gatherer diets may contain less than 1.0 gram of salt. As you might have already guessed, Marsala Cooking Wine is very “un-Paleo” because of it’s high salt content.

Moreover, it contains two preservatives, potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite. Sulfites are sulfur based compounds that may occur naturally or are added to a food as a preservative. Sulfites can cause allergies. The FDA estimates that of 100 people one is sensitive to sulfites and their use on fresh fruits and vegetables was banned in 1986. Sulfite containing ingredients in processed foods include: sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite.

Most commercial wines contain added sulfites to extend their shelf life, just read the label. The exception to this rule are organic wines which are made without sulfites. There are many other organic wineries that produce sulfite-free wines like Frey Vineyards from Mendocino, CA who produce a variety of sulfite-free wines that are both Paleo and are reasonably priced.

When you take the guesswork out, you can put your mind to rest. Read the labels and keep it in moderation.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

References

1. Sanna G, Ledda S, Manca G, Franco MA. Characterization of the content of antioxidant substances in the wines of Sardinia. J Commodity Sci Technol Quality 2008;47 (I-IV), 5-25.

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