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Scientist explains weight loss and anti-inflammation benefits of Paleo diet

Nom nom: Get the dish on this cookbook.
Victory Belt Publishing, Reprinted with Permission from the Publisher

Meet Paleo Mom, whose real name is Sarah Ballantyne.With a doctorate degree in medical biophysics, Sarah has become an expert in anti-inflammatory aspects of the Paleo diet. She is the author of "The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body." In addition, Sarah has authored a new cookbook that contains recipes using the Paleo Approach. Learn more about "The Paleo Approach Cookbook: A Detailed Guide to Heal Your Body and Nourish Your Soul" and get two recipes from it by clicking here.

In an exclusive interview, Sarah explained why she feels that Paleo diets are so effective for weight loss.

"I do think it’s very effective. It’s a nutrient-dense diet (providing balanced and complete nutrition) that is anti-inflammatory, supports gut health, and naturally regulates important hormones (like insulin, leptin and ghrelin). Most people naturally consume fewer calories (while it’s not as simple as calories-in-calories-out, energy intake does matter) while also providing their bodies with far more valuable nutrition. It’s not all about food choices though. Getting enough sleep, reducing stress, increasing behaviors to help manage stress (like meditating, going to bed early, and being active), and being active (especially weight-bearing exercise like walking and activities that build strength like weight lifting) are all really key in regulating important hormones that control metabolism and affect hunger and cravings," she explained.

And Sarah's own menu demonstrates what she has learned about using a Paleo diet as a template for health and weight loss.

"I typically eat 3 meals most days, although occasionally I only eat 2. All my meals are generally made of up some kind of meat or fish and vegetables. Breakfast most typically includes homemade sausage patties, eggs, sautéed liver or kidney, or leftover meat with raw veggies (usually leafy) and sauerkraut. Lunch typically includes fish or shellfish (most often canned due to convenience), more raw veggies (typically carrots, celery, cucumber, and leafy greens) and sometimes a small serving of fruit. Dinner typically includes meat or fish with 2-3 vegetable sides (always one starchy vegetable like sweet potato or taro, and typically one steamed non-starchy vegetable like broccoli and some kind of salad) and sometimes a small serving of fruit. On days when I only eat 2 meals, I usually have a later breakfast and skip lunch," she said.

As a mother, she notes that it's challenging to convey the importance of a healthy diet.

"It’s very challenging to navigate a world of highly palatable and convenient foods as an adult! It’s even harder for kids! My biggest challenges are communicating the reasons behind our food choices to my children in an age-appropriate and empowering way while also accommodating them and their desires to eat what other kids eat and to not feel ostracized because they eat differently than their peers. It’s a fine line to walk. With my 4-year old I use language like “those foods hurt your tummy” and with my 7-year old, I can actually engage in more of the science behind how foods affect our health. I am compassionate for their feelings of deprivation at times, and talk about how I wish I could have those foods too. I make or buy them paleo-friendly or gluten-free-casein-free treats to eat at birthday parties and other events and sometimes, we just plain ol’ enjoy a treat for no reason."