Guide to Healthy Living: Decoding the Paleo DietRight now your favorite Hollywood starlet and your favorite dry cleaner are singing the praises of the Paleo diet, a plan based on what cavemen hunted and gathered. And apparently those fur-gathering folk didn’t grocery shop at Target like the rest of us.
Those who follow a Paleo regimen eat lots of meat, fruits and veggies. The list of what they don’t eat is daunting: gluten, dairy, casein (a milk protein), grains and soy. And that’s where it gets confusing. Didn’t our ancient ancestors eat whole grains? Or drink mammoth milk? We chatted with the co-owners of The Organic Cave Paleo Bakery to better understand the philosophy behind this of-the-moment diet.
Nichole DiGiuseppi and her wife, Angel, discovered the Paleo diet when a friend who was a nurse suggested it could help Nichole’s migraines. After 30 days, Nichole was headache-free. Angel’s asthma had improved. Both women felt fewer stomachaches and less bloated. “Our bodies can’t process gluten, grains, soy and dairy,” Nichole said. “When we eat them, our bodies react. Our intestines become inflamed. People don’t know how bad they feel until they cut those things out.”
As for the grains and dairy question, Nichole explained that, due to modern-day agriculture, those foods are not what they once were. Grains and soybeans are genetically modified. Milk is pasteurized and homogenized. So really, Paleo is about avoiding foods that have been processed beyond our body’s recognition. Which is why the gluten-free bread found at the grocery store isn’t Paleo – it’s made with xanthan gum and rice flour. Which is also why the DiGiuseppis started The Organic Cave in the first place. “I can give up bread,” Nichole said, “but Angel missed sandwiches.” Since Nichole enjoys baking, she decided to make Paleo-friendly rolls and sweets. “Through trial and error, I just started substituting foods I knew we could use that wouldn’t affect our bodies in a negative way,” she said.
The results were so tasty, friends and family encouraged the women to sell their goods at a local farmers market. Less than a year later, demand is so high that they’ve moved into a commercial baking space. “We started baking for ourselves, and then we found out that other people needed it, too,” Angel explained. “We couldn’t say no.”
Want to try the Paleo diet for yourself?
Stop by The Organic Cave Bakery at 3323-1 Domain St., St. Charles, 636.541.7321, theorganiccave.com. Or pick up the bakery’s items at Local Harvest Grocery’s Kirkwood and Tower Grove locations, and through the Feed Your Vitality meal delivery service, feedyourvitality.com.