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Chronic Illness and Paleo: Eating Your Way Out of It

Louise Hendon | March 29
chronic illness and paleo

C.A. Newberry is fascinated by varied topics and believes in the power of continued learning. Her varied background includes event coordination followed closely by years of “whatever additional duties the job requires.” After retirement she had the desire to share her collected wisdom. When not at her computer, you can find her at the ballpark with her family. Connect with her on Twitter.

Chronic conditions are very high and are rising. Over nineteen million American adults are currently living with diabetes and over 580,000 deaths were attributed to cancer in 2013.

Altogether, over 130 million Americans are living with some type of a chronic condition.

Food Matters

For countless individuals, one simple answer lies with food.

Thousands of people are making the switch to Paleo every day, and chronic health conditions like autoimmune disorders, IBS, and diabetes are some of the biggest reasons.

And a significant number of people have reported experiencing an overall positive effect on their well-being and how they function every day.

The food you choose to eat affects both your health and your risk for disease, and if you’re currently dealing with some type of chronic disease, then your food choices can potentially help manage symptoms.

Making the Tough Call

Attempting a healthier lifestyle definitely requires some change, potentially in your daily habits and your environment.

Thousands of people are making the switch to Paleo every day, and it’s not just due to chronic conditions. It’s quite simple to get behind a program that replaces processed foods with fruit, vegetables, and quality proteins.

Keep in mind, however, that there are definitely some challenges when switching to a Paleo diet.

You might be apprehensive, for instance, about cutting out dairy and grains completely, or you might be concerned about the higher costs often associated with Paleo friendly foods.

Loren Cordain – one of the earliest advocates of a Paleo diet – was recently interviewed about concerns of sticking to a Paleo diet. In that interview, he discussed following an “85-15 rule,” where you follow the program as closely as possible for 85% of the time.

While the results may not be the same, this might be a partial solution if you feel like a full Paleo diet is too rigid or challenging.

The Science

Several studies have been done on certain aspects of the Paleo Diet, although it’s nearly impossible to do long-term controlled studies on any particular diet.

Some studies have found that Paleo diets can aid in the control of blood sugar levels & assist in weight loss.

In addition, avoiding gluten is another large (and scientifically-backed) reason that we see many people switching to a Paleo diet. There was a study that found gluten intolerance is four times more common today than it was in the 1950’s. And it’s causing all sorts of health issues.

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The only way to avoid all gluten is to eliminate all wheat, rye, and barley from your diet. The eradication of those grains falls under Paleo guidelines.

Opponents of a Paleo diet have several concerns. In one author’s opinion, “There is no single lifestyle or diet that fits all people today or in the past, let alone the genome of our whole species.” However, it’s hard to imagine that a diet based on processed foods is healthy for even one member of our species.

Additional Resources and Final Thoughts

If you do believe that a Paleo diet might help you and you want additional information, please visit this resource page, provided by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts on Paleolithic diets.

If stuck for recipe ideas, check back here at for inspiration.

And it can’t be said enough, but if at any time you’re experiencing health concerns or might be considering starting a new diet, definitely discuss possible options with your healthcare provider.

In the end, the choice is entirely yours, but it’s quite telling that so many people with chronic health conditions are choosing to replace the processed foods in their diet with whole, unprocessed foods, even when that change requires a little bit more work and effort.