Monday, September 9, 2013

Sarah - 33, Melbourne, Paleo since Feb 2013:

Hi Dave! Long time! Hope NYC is treating you well! I have been paleo since Feb but I eat some natural yoghurt... Where else can you get all the stuff thats good for your gut that is in yoghurt!? Also, how the hell did you break the habit of having milk in coffee? I have almond milk when possible, and am guilty of soy or dairy (both bad so I don't even know which one to consider worse) when almond milk isn't available.

The Paleo Model:

Hey Sarah!

Glad you've jumped on the Paleo wagon. It's definitely the way forward. Good questions.

Look, if you've cut out most processed foods and grains then a bit of yoghurt isn't going to kill you. If you can change to goat or sheep's milk yoghurt it tends to be better than cow's milk in terms of nutrient value and the fatty acid profile. It is also less problematic with people who don't tolerate dairy well, which is generally a good sign when it comes to dairy. 

Higher fat yoghurt such as greek style tends to be less problematic than low fat varieties, which tend to have a higher carbohydrate (lactose) to fat ratio and therefore spike insulin more.

As you may know from my articles I'm no longer as strict on the 'no dairy' Paleo mantra. I think it can be a nutritious food, especially when from raw milk from cows fed exclusively on grass. Many (especially Northern European) humans have the lactase enzyme which suggests that some of us have adapted to dairy. I still think most dairy is bad though, especially pasteurized, homogenized milk. 

I used to eat 500g a day of natural yoghurt pre Paleo and actually it wasn't that hard to quit it... same goes for milk in coffee. Just go the long blacks or double espresso. 

Many would argue that a bit of (grass fed) heavy cream in your coffee is better than milk, soy or almond milk because of the healthy fats, low amount of lactose and casein and therefore lower insulinemic effect than milk... but it's hard to find when you're at a cafe!

Unsweetened almond milk is fairly benign in my opinion although the store-bought varieties are still a processed food, often containing weird stuff like sunflower lecithin and added vitamins, which I'm not a fan of. 

I don't like almond milk personally or see the need for it. I prefer black coffee. I guess if you were to make your own by soaking almonds at home and blending them then yeh, fine. Mmmm almond water. Why bother? I think coconut milk is a better substitute for milk in most cases.

Other great sources of probiotics aside from yoghurt are fermented vegetables - kimchi or sauerkraut being the most readily available. Kefir (fermented goat/sheep/cow/coconut milk) is similar to yoghurt but is an even richer source of probiotics. 

Kombucha, a fermented tea drink, is very popular in New York and quite delicious.

Also you can get a good probiotic supplement and take one of them a day. You probably only need to cycle it every second month. No need to waste too much money on probiotics. 

Apparently the best thing you can do in terms of getting healthy gut bacteria is to eat plenty of prebiotics from (preferably organic) plant foods. 

The best sources are artichokes, asparagus, red and white onions, leeks, garlic, tomatoes, spinach and other fibrous leafy greens. Also, staying off the grains, processed foods, sugar and unfortunately alcohol will help foster good gut bacteria. If you are on the contraceptive pill that can screw with your gastrointestinal health as well. 

Now I'm not saying you can't drink alcohol! But chronic boozing can add to intestinal permeability and IBS if this is an issue you have. 

Finally, check out Chris Kresser. He is a freakin' genius and has a lot of great articles on gut health,  including this one:

Hope this helps! Take care.


"Eat Paleo. Train. Live LIfe."


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