5 Ways Paleo Improves Stress Response

Paleo is simply eating in accordance with our genetics, nourishing the body in the way nature intended. A diet based on traditional, hunter-gatherer foods maximizes health, healing and wellbeing…and benefits all aspects of the body, not just digestion!

Eating within a Paleo template alleviates and remedies chronic aches and pain, weight-gain, poor energy levels, fluid retention, hormonal imbalance and other conditions aggravated by chronic inflammation, while simultaneously supporting heart health, bone & joint integrity, stable moods, immune function, sound sleep, mental clarity and much more.

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Poor Diet Causes Digestive Distress

As many know, the modern lifestyle induces all sorts of stress – both obvious stressors such as traffic jams, paying bills or relationship changes…and inconspicuous ones such as sensational news, poor food choices and even holding grudges. The Paleo Diet soothes internal, physical stress. Not only does this reduce the body’s overall stress load, it also enhances the capability to gracefully handle stressors of modern life.

It doesn’t matter how “clean” one eats.
If stress is unmanaged, health easily spirals out of control.

5 Ways Paleo Helps...

The following are five specific ways the Paleo Diet and Lifestyle improve stress management. Further information is thoroughly detailed in The Paleovation Workbook (specific chapter locations are noted in parentheses; supplemental info is accessible here).

1.       Stops Digestive Stress (Prep Section E & Chapters 3 & 4)

Surprisingly, many foods touted as ‘heart-healthy’ injure the intestinal wall and cellular structures through the entire body. Grains (especially whole grains) contain antinutrients which harm the gut lining as well as inhibit digestive processes (such as neutralizing digestive enzymes or blocking absorption of nutrients). High omega-6 seed oils, such as canola or soybean, are often oxidized/damaged prior to ingestion; yet the body still uses them to build cell membranes. A Paleo Elimination Diet avoids these highly inflammatory foods for one month which reduces stress throughout the system and gives the body a chance to restore integrity to cellular function.

2.       Reduction in Negative Effects of Elevated Cortisol (Prep Section F & Chapter 11)

Cortisol is the stress hormone responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ emergency management. When it rises beyond normal levels, cortisol can cause insomnia, fatigue, illness, cravings, muscle wasting and hormonal imbalance. Aside from reducing digestive stress, the Paleo Diet moderates the cortisol response on two additional fronts. First, healing the leaky gut and cellar membranes prevents foreign particles from accidentally entering the blood stream. This drastically reduces stress on the immune system, which must respond to these invaders. Second, the Paleo Diet regulates carbohydrate intake which controls insulin levels (these rise in response to blood glucose, often abnormally when following a western diet). Even if cortisol is elevated by external stress, normal insulin levels subdue cortisol’s negative consequences

3.       Restoration of Hormonal Balance (Prep Section F & Chapters 11 & 17)

The Paleo Diet is based on staple foods consumed by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. In comparison to a western diet, the Paleo Diet is lower in sugars and higher in natural animal fats and cholesterol. This creates two substantial advantages:  First, by lowering blood sugar levels, the body will regulate insulin levels…which in turn, encourages normalization of hormones that control fat-burning and hunger signals (leptin and ghrelin). Additionally, many hormones are made by using cholesterol as the base molecule. With modern fear of cholesterol-rich foods, individuals may not have the proper building blocks to support manufacture and utilization of essential hormones. The nutrient-dense Paleo Diet provides necessary components and circumstances to restore proper hormonal production and function, all of which extends to a improved cortisol response.

4.       Improved Sleep (Chapters 12 & 13)

Elevated cortisol causes insomnia which stimulates a stress response that further increases cortisol (a never-ending cycle). The Paleo Lifestyle recognizes the value of sound sleep and supports the cortisol-melatonin cycle. Normally cortisol rises in the morning for waking and drops off during the day so melatonin can take charge for the duration of sleep. With hormonal regulation occurring throughout the body, this cycle is naturally supported. Additionally, Paleo eaters also practice healthy sleep hygiene habits by creating a comfortable sleep environment, supporting sleep with nutrients (omega-3 fats, bone broth & gelatin, magnesium-rich foods), and creating behaviors throughout the day to encourage the easy onset of sleep (healthy morning routine, exposure to daylight, exercising earlier in the day, reducing exposure to artificial lighting after dark, quiet time before bed, etc).

5.       Exercise to Create Cortisol ‘Rush-and-Release’ Cycles (Chapter 10)

Though chronically-elevated cortisol is detrimental, short bursts of cortisol can be manipulated to boost fat-burning metabolism and muscle growth. Paleo-style exercise is designed to spike cortisol then immediately let it drop with a short recovery period. When countered by brief relaxation, cortisol surges stimulate hormones for muscle growth, heart strength and bone integrity, plus encourage the body to burn fat for fuel. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) teaches the body how to improve the cortisol let down after a stressful event; also improving the response to everyday stress.

Note:  These are just a brief example of how Paleo Lifestyle modifications regulate cortisol levels. The Paleovation Workbook highlights other ancestral behaviors which support the body's normal functioning and promote a more controlled cortisol response:  gut flora restoration, “rest to digest” mentality, gratitude practice, improved posture, belly breathing techniques, connecting with others and nature, and many additional strategies to inspire a daily relationship with relaxation.

 

There Is No Catch! Simply Eating Paleo Naturally Induces Proper Body Function.

 

Just 2-3 weeks eating Paleo is enough to clearly perceive vast improvement in health and vitality. The best news is health benefits emerge solely from conscientious food choice:  just eliminate inflammatory foods and emphasize restorative, traditional foods. There are no expensive powders, specially-formulated products or endless exercise routines necessary.

The body already has the innate ability to heal – Paleo creates the ideal set of circumstances to foster and sustain this natural healing.

How Do I Start?

Individuals new to Paleo often appreciate assistance identifying typical inflammatory foods, sifting through abundant Paleo resources, finding easy-to-understand information and staying prepared. This is the basis of The Paleovation Workbook:  It’s like having a trusted mentor support the reader each day.  

The Paleovation Workbook details the Why's and How's for healthy, long-term diet change

This workbook is arranged in easy-to-read, daily sections designed to keep the reader informed and organized. Each day reinforces the commitment to dietary change by explaining specifically why these diet changes improve health as well as how to implement them, loaded with ideas for snacks, recipes, socializing, practical planning assistance.

Substantial information is compiled in an easy-to-read “bottom-line” format with charts, checklists, templates and practice exercises. Additionally, to build a balanced approach to lifestyle modification, information includes other pillars of health such as stress management, sleep tips, sensible exercise and more:

Informative Topics:     

  • Destructive nature of sugar and starch
  • Fat facts – the good, bad and ugly
  • Problems with modern foods
  • Chronic inflammation and its complications
  • Cholesterol and heart disease
  • Autoimmune support
  • Gut health and probiotics
  • Detrimental effects of stress
  • Smart nutritional supplementation

How-To Topics:

  • Stock a Paleo kitchen
  • Generate meal ideas and recipe resources
  • Manage food cravings
  • Enhance fat-burning metabolism
  • Substitute non-Paleo foods
  • Devise strategies for social situations
  • Promote deep sleep
  • Break through a weight loss plateau
  • Solidify long-term dietary success
The advantage of this workbook is it teaches the reader what to do AND how to do it, ultimately increasing odds of lasting success.

Develop a Personalized Dietary Template

Elimination diets are commonly used to test for food allergies or sensitivities. The method is simple, just avoid specific irritating foods for a set period of time, then carefully reinstate them to observe personal tolerance levels. Participants learn to connect the dots between their trigger foods and symptoms of inflammation within their bodies.

The Paleovation Workbook walks the reader through a 4-week elimination diet and reintroduction period. The beauty is that there are no cookie-cutter results – each person reveals a customized list of well-tolerated foods. In the long run, this knowledge is used to formulate a personalized, flexible approach to dietary success.

The Paleovation Workbook provides the framework to stay informed, motivated and accountable during the short-term Paleo transition as well as long-term, healthy diet management.

Cheers to your renewed health and vitality!

Rachel & Kelly