I am often asked to do an online or radio interview for various groups or publications. I decided to share some important questions which are the paleo questions most commonly asked and which just happen to be sent to me and my replies. I share these in the hopes that the answers will be helpful to anyone landing on this page with questions about the paleo diet.
You may scroll down and see if any of these questions align with any questions you may have about paleo, and if not, there are plenty of other answers within the pages of my website that you can find easily – a small selection can be found here: the Paleo Diet, Paleo Recipes, Gluten-Free and Paleo, Weight Loss & Fitness, CrossFit and Paleo, Hormones and Paleo, amongst many other articles and pages.
1. Can you begin by briefly introducing yourself and your background?
I am Tina Turbin, a mom of three, philanthropist, recipe developer and health activist as well as a total foodie, avid outdoors gal and hiker to my very core. I used to work in the entertainment business working with children and now I write children’s books during any free time I can spare. You can check out the “Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy” series.
I never gave up hope in trying to find out the cause of my many digestive issues, muscle loss, bone loss and nerve troubles, making it extremely difficult for me to pursue my creative work and active life. I had to finally take matters into my own hands when I came across a new, mysterious word on the internet– “celiac.” The very next day, I demanded to be tested for celiac disease. The results were hands down positive. Feeling so much better on a gluten-free diet, I never looked back. Unfortunately, this did not resolve my issues well enough for me after going 100% gluten-free and after working for about 10 years in this field.
GlutenFreeHelp.info was initially born with an ambitious mission: to make the terms celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity, gluten-free, and even grain-free known in every household worldwide. Within a short time “the people” voted my GlutenFreeHelp.info the #2 .info site in the world over 6.7 million others!
I later moved on to the world of Paleo and found increased energy, gain in muscle tone, balanced hormones and was feeling really terrific! I turned over my gluten-free website to concentrate on Paleo research, recipe developing and recently opened a “healthy” café offering paleo, gluten-free and vegan options as well in Los Angeles; Habitat Coffee LA on Eaglerock Blvd. The health benefits for me are profound. It is far lower in carbs and much greater in healthy fats, to name just a couple points.
2. I understand that you opted for a gluten-free diet as a result of celiac and then eventually switched to the paleo diet, can you explain a little bit of that story and also, the differences between a gluten free diet and the paleo diet?
For years I was working in the gluten-free/celiac world professionally. In my heart I knew I was not well enough and had not physically improved enough on the standard gluten-free diet. I would interview and work with many MDs and professionals, and one day I just decided to pursue more options. Long story short, Paleo came into my world and I have not looked back since, based off the changes in my health, digestion, medical labs and body.
The standard gluten-free diet is high in non-fiber and non-gluten grains and as a result can be very high carbohydrate, which is high glycemic. The Paleo diet is no grains and usually no legumes and the carbs are quite low, allowing the body to become what it was designed to do naturally, be a fat-burning human machine.
3. For people who aren’t sick/don’t have celiac disease, do you still recommend a gluten-free diet, and if so, why and what are the benefits?
I do feel that gluten, wheat and such are not ideal at all for our bodies and same with sugar and dairy. Many people feel better off dairy as well or at least in very limited amounts.
4. Since gluten-free has become a health buzzword for food marketers, do you have any tips that people should follow when shopping that can help them avoid unhealthy foods that are touted as health foods simply for being gluten-free?
Yes, stay away from the baked goods! I could not stress this more for anyone trying to drop body fat though the gluten-free diet. You will not drop weight eating non-fibrous, high glycemic baked goods, whether it is termed healthy or gluten-free or not. High sugar, carbs and/or glucose are not helpful to achieving weight loss and health goals and are just not healthy overall. There is no simple way to state that- it is a fact.
5. And the paleo diet, what are the health benefits associated with it and do you think that it’s something everyone should try?
I think Paleo is for someone who believes in the information about Paleo as a Lifestyle and I do feel going off high and bad carbs, bad fats, and grains is more than beneficial for any human or animal body. I have no questions about that in all I have researched, studied and seen applied.
The health benefits of removing these foods, getting good sleep and living an active life are anyone’s test to improved health. There is massive evidence to support the health benefits as far as hormones, bones, skin, muscle, blood sugar, liver enzymes, brain activity- you name it!
6. I know that there are some arguments over whether certain foods (like beans and legumes) are “paleo” or not, do you have an opinion about any of these “questionable” foods?
I talked about this on my Paleo Food List page:
Legumes are plants whose seeds develop inside pods. Like cereal grains and dairy products, legumes were not a common part of the diet of our human ancestors before the agricultural revolution.
Legumes, just as with cereal grains, contain antinutrients such as lectins, saponins and protease inhibitors. These cause damage to the intestines and hormonal and immune systems, leading to inflammation and increasing the risk of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
7. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about the paleo diet?
I do not think one diet is for EVERYONE and the idea that Paleo is a “fad” is just plain ignorantly stated by the uneducated or those who do not read and understand what they read. The Paleo diet is very much man’s basic diet biologically, but I am real and realize we are in the year 2015. Paleo is all about the LIFESTYLE as a whole (diet is only a part of Paleo) and an active lifestyle at that, with good sleep, healthy interactions, etc.
We all share the same basic physiology, which is why the paleo diet “template” is a good base for everyone to use. There are certain foods that are toxic to everybody. Then there are some foods that only make some of us feel crappy, such as dairy, eggs, nightshades, etc.
First of all, the paleo diet is a personal fit. What works for me may not work for another. The premise of the paleo diet is very much a basic workable and well-researched template with which to work with. I do well with eggs, but a good friend of mine doesn’t. Our very basic physiological makeup is the same, but we’re individuals.
8. What advice would you give to someone who wants to try the paleo diet but isn’t sure where to start?
Try the basics for 2-3 weeks, see how you feel and gauge the changes for yourself. Stay off grains, dairy and sugar. Enjoy the veggies, proteins, good fats and get active. Paleo is all about a Lifestyle and is NOT “just” a diet. That idea is so absolutely false.
Also, go to my website and read my page all about the Paleo diet. That is a terrific way to start and get educated a bit simply by having the basics. It makes it far easier to follow something if you truly understand it and agree to it. If not, then you set yourself up for a loss.
9. How might one transition into it slowly so as to avoid feeling overwhelmed?
Some have tremendous willpower and get over their carb/sugar cravings by just going through the process and some have to take baby steps. It is individual but I suggest jumping in and trying it for at least 7 days. Up your activity, keep your mind off of food and stay away from restaurants the first week. Get prepared; shop and prep your food if need be. Keep temptations away and negative people away too. They are usually the ones who need the change more than you! They will be the ones who are frequently ill, lazy and/or overweight and unhealthy. Don’t let them drag you down.
Some jump in and do the 30-day challenge, some do the 20 day, some do 2-3 weeks. Everyone knows what they will adhere to when it comes to change .So, decide for yourself and try what you feel will be acceptable and what you will stick to.
10. Finally, please feel free to include anything else you want to add in/comment on anything important that you think I might have missed.
Remember, the paleo diet is not a “one-size-fits-all” diet! YOU know your body best and which foods you should eat and avoid. If you do not do well with eggs, or some such food, then do not wait for some diet, doctor or lab results to tell you this.
It’s best to think in terms of what you can eat on the paleo diet rather than what you can’t. Please do what fits within your budget and do the best you can. Do not get hung up on every particular thing that you may not do perfectly.
I hope this article was helpful to you. Now enjoy the Paleo lifestyle and check out my eBooks all about paleo, exercise, health, clean eating and more.