Rethinking the Paleo Diet, Magnesium Deficiency and Why Being Fanatical Isn’t Good

rethinking paleo diet, magnesium deficiency and why being fanatical isn't good

Today, it’s going to be a bit of a heart-to-heart about the Paleo diet, my doubts, mineral deficiencies and just generally opening up. I believe it’s important to be real and share with you both good and bad things because that’s what life is, isn’t it? We all make mistakes, we all learn from them and move forward. We all have good days and bad days.

Well, lately I’ve been having more bad days than good days, so, after reading and thinking a lot, I decided it was time to make some changes.

If you prefer watching a video, click Play below:

The good and bad things about the Paleo diet

My husband and I were on the Paleo diet for almost a year. It taught us so much, probably more than any other diet we’ve ever followed. My husband lost so much weight as well, and my skin improved immensely.

But, at the same time, there were other things that weren’t as satisfying and were getting progressively worse: my skin got drier than ever, my mood swings were just as bad if not worse than before starting the Paleo diet, my energy levels were going up and down throughout the day. My teeth weren’t getting better either.

Calcium deficiency on the Paleo diet?

If you’ve seen My 7 Promises to Myself for 2014, one of my promises was healing my teeth. Sadly I just couldn’t see any progress, even though I was following the Cure Tooth Decay protocol to the T. No matter how hard I tried, my teeth weren’t getting better – they were super sensitive to both cold and heat, they felt weirdly soft and I had weird numb pain in all of my teeth most days.

I also started noticing white spots on my nails.Here’s what they look like:

nails with white spots - calcium deficiency

From all the research I did online, it seems like those white spots are showing a lack of calcium. With all that dairy and all that calcium I was eating, how on earth could I be lacking calcium? I realized there must be something else, some mechanism that I still haven’t understood.

Magnesium deficiency

Then I started having other symptoms, such as muscle twitches in my left eye and cramps in my legs. Those are classical signs of a magnesium deficiency. So I started taking magnesium and a couple of days later I started feeling so much better. Strangely, my teeth stopped hurting as well, and started feeling so much solid in my mouth. That suddenly made everything fall into place in my head.

Magnesium is vital for proper absorption of calcium in our body.

Even if one takes massive amounts of calcium but doesn’t supplement it with adequate amounts of magnesium, all that calcium will go to waste. Or it might even cause other problems, such as inability to recover after exercising (which has been my issue lately with painful and tense muscles more or less 24 hours a day whenever exercising).

Why being fanatical doesn’t work long-term

I’m against taking supplements, I believe a good diet should not need any. So if I can’t live on the Paleo diet without extra supplementation, it’s obviously not for me. I’ve realized that maybe I was hiding my head in the sand all that time trying to hide from the signs that something wasn’t quite right.

Generally, in my life, I don’t think that being fanatical is a good thing. In anything, I think moderation is probably the best way to do things, and I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve probably been mistaken. I’ve probably been a bit too fanatical about my way of eating, and I probably restricted some of my foods too much. That’s why I had a magnesium deficiency, dry skin, painful teeth, etc.

I probably would have continued denying the truth for much longer but, a few months ago, I went really strict on the Paleo diet and stopped eating nuts and seeds, as well as limiting fruit. I was following the Cure Tooth Decay protocol. But instead of seeing positive changes, I started feeling worse and worse.

Why some of the Paleo dogmas don’t add up

You might already know that I’ve been reading a lot (and talking a lot) about Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic way of eating – that’s another powerful catalyst for rethinking everything. After reading about soaking grains and beans, as well as fermenting and sprouting them, I realized that all the reasons why the Paleo diet doesn’t allow eating grains and beans are flawed – it’s because of the phytic acid but, in reality, by soaking and/or sprouting them, most of it gets removed anyway.

Another thing I don’t understand about the Paleo diet is why nuts and seeds are allowed while they actually have the same amount of phytic acid as grains or beans. Some of the Paleo dogmas just stopped making sense to me.

What I’m going to do from now on

So what I decided to do from now on is just to try and follow the food recommendations for my constitution in Ayurveda. But not fanatically. There are three different constitutions in Ayurveda and, if you’re wondering, mine is Pitha, which is basically fire. I’ll try to rebalance myself and see if that helps me in some way. Ayurveda is all about eating in moderation and finding a healthy balance in all aspects of your life. So let’s see if it’s going to make any difference.

Of course, I’ll take you on the journey with me because my blog is all about learning and sharing things that I learn with you. So I hope you’ll continue supporting me and learning new things with me.

If you’ve been following me just because I was on the Paleo diet, I’m really sorry but, at the end of the day, it’s about my health. So I need to do what’s right for my body. But I also don’t want to confuse you and tell you things I don’t actually believe in, so I felt it was very important for me to open up and share with you my thoughts.

I’m so much more than just the Paleo diet

Oh, I was also about to start filming What I Ate Today type of videos and sharing with you our daily life but, since I was in so much confusion reading about all these different diets and trying to reintroduce grains and beans into our life, it kind of put my plans on hold. I couldn’t film what we were eating because I was supposed to be on the Paleo diet and obviously I wasn’t! It’s been very confusing for me.

I hope you won’t be disappointed. I know that a lot of you are vegans and vegetarians or just people who eat everything, so I hope you will still find my blog and videos useful. At the end of the day, I’m not just about food or a certain diet. My channel is about holistic living anyway, so that’s what it’s going to continue being – DIY beauty and natural eating without conforming to a certain diet.

I’m somebody who doesn’t like belonging to a group. I don’t like doing what other people are doing. So, in a way, by being a part of a certain diet, I was in a group. I’m kind of happy to break free and stop restricting myself so much, I guess.

The only two things that I don’t think I’ll ever change my mind about are sugar, especially the refined white one, and refined wheat flour. Those are the two things that I really think are evil and, trust me, I’ll probably never change my mind about them. Everything else is probably not that evil when it’s eaten in moderation. I’m not even mentioning junk/processed food here because of course there’s no question it’s bad.

So I guess that’s what I wanted to share with you today. I hope you’ll understand and I hope you’ll continue following me in my journey to perfect health. Thank you so much for sticking with me. Thanks so much for listening to me, my doubts and my new discoveries.

Have you been having similar doubts about your diet? What does your perfect diet look like? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Hey! Good to hear an update from you. We soak grains and legumes and nuts most of the time. There are times I just don’t find the time but we do our best. I am grain free at the moment trying to heal my skin and hormone issues. But I am not against all grains. I too will never go back to that processed white sugar. I love that you are willing to admit that you are on a journey to learning what works best for you. I too learn something new each day.

    • I’m very glad about the changes I have to say I really missed beans and lentils, especially. And some healthy rye bread occasionally… I didn’t realize how deprived I really was until I suddenly opened my eyes. How is your skin doing? xx

      • Yes, I love lentils! I love oatmeal too but I have been off it for a while just to see if can help my skin…. which is doing a lot better by the way. I gave the oil cleansing a break because I think I was overdoing it. But I am seeing a chiropractic nutritionist who is helping me out a lot. I am weaning myself off the chemical face wash (when I tried to quit cold turkey I had break outs like crazy). It’s going well. Thanks for asking!

        • So happy that your skin is doing better! Guess what? I spoke too soon. Around a couple of weeks after reintroducing some grains and beans/lentils, my skin went crazy. I understand now why I went off them in the first place. I think it’s going to be back to semi-Paleo for me. Natural oils definitely help, but real healing starts from within – my skin has demonstrated it to me once again. Grains and beans are inflammatory – no matter how much I like them, I’ll have to stay away. Grrrrrr…

          • Yep, I really think going off some grains has been helpful for me too. Sorry you had to go back off the lentils again. My nutritionist also has me off bananas for now. I know there are benefits to bananas but I had them frequently in my workout smoothies and she thought it might be a trigger for me. I think there is a lot of truth behind a lot of these diets but everyone is so different. It’s nice to finally find what works for you (even if it is avoiding some of our favorite foods).

          • Your nutritionist sounds very smart! I’m also going to go off all sweet fruit, including bananas, for a month starting this Monday. I’m happy because my skin is almost back to normal today. It’s been quite a scare! But I knew I was in control because I knew what caused it, so I could fix it just as easily. So I guess it wasn’t that bad. xx

  2. Raissomat says

    Hy Vita. Don’t you feel people are living diets like a religion these days? Like the answer is out there , somewhere, in a set of rules, that will make us better.
    As much as I’m interested in different eating habits and possibilities, there are two things I try to keep in mind. 1.Extremes are not healthy, 2.I don’t think we should ever demonize food of every kind.
    I agree 100%with you that white sugar and flour have a lot of downsides, I myself am very sensitive to them, more than most people (also confirmed by my ayurveda-type); but I don’t categorically refuse to eat some every now and again.
    Often due to health problems I have told my homeopath that I was interested in becoming a vegan, or try other diets, and she always convinces me not to, by telling me that my body knows what it needs, it has his unique rules that differ from the rigidity of a diet. I have to learn observe and listen. Much like what I learned from you Vita, about the OCM!¨! I still make mistakes all the time, but I know where to look for improvement: inside. (or in the ocm case, my own skin).
    I wish you well and I’m sure you will make the decisions that work best for you. Now I’m off reading your post about sun exposure!! 🙂

    • Yes, I totally agree. Perhaps following those set of rules gives a sense of stability to our ever-changing lives these days. Who knows. I’ll try not to fall into the trap again. I agree with you about white wheat and sugar: I also eat them occasionally. My husband and I always have our monthly pizza and it’s such an amazing treat for us that we both look forward to it a lot. Don’t see anything wrong in having a piece of cake or some cookies on a special occasion as well. How is the OCM going for you these days? xx

  3. I found your blog and YouTube channel about a month ago and I think what you are doing is great. If Paleo worked for you before, then good and if it no longer works for you now, that is also good. A lot of people demonize each other if they are not “hardcore” enough or if they learn something else that contradicts a particular dogma. I say, do what is best for you and your family- that’s all we ever can do! On the subject of magnesium, I am reading The UltraMind Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman. This book has loads of medical and practical info on mental health and physical health as it pertains to diet, toxins, supplements, etc. It was suggested by one of my best friends who is a medical doctor herself. I am learning that my chronic insomnia and vicious Restless Leg Syndrome at night are actually magnesium deficiencies. I was also anti-supplement before this book, but with pesticides, herbicides, gmos, etc…our diets need supplementation. Anyways, I am excited, can you tell?! Please keep us posted on your journey:) Greetings from California.

    • Hi Anna, so glad you stumbled upon my blog! Glad to have you here. 🙂 And thanks so much for the book suggestion, I looked at it in Amazon and it looks awesome. I put it in my wishlist. So many books I want to read and so little time! Magnesium deficiencies are really common (some say 60-80% of the population) but not people know about them. For example, so many of my friends suffer from leg cramps at night, and, whenever I tell them to take magnesium, they’re surprised as if they’d never heard of it before. I’m a huge fan of Dr. Hyman, by the way. He’s a smart man. I might also change my stance about supplements because the magnesium tablets literally changed my life. I’ll keep you posted on my journey! xx

  4. Vita,
    Found the answer of why you are no longer doing Paleo. No worries, life is a learning process. We all get concused, but it is good to share and talk things through to be able to help one another through this journey. I ordered my lavender, lemon, and coconut oil, and the rosewater etc. I have always been open minded and willing to try for better and more cost effective ways for beauty sake. I bought a book a while ago titled “Naturally Beautiful” by Dawn Gallagher wonderful book with natural recipes for beauty. I love the Israeli Dead Sea Mineral Bath recipe she has in there. I found the book while in a library (go figure haha…books) and ordered it for myself off Amazon. If you haven’t heard of it check it out I know you would enjoy it.

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