How Leo got his name.
The Paleo diet is more of a Life style than a diet. One tries to eat only what our ancestors ate 20 thousand years ago. This would be before the introduction of agriculture. But unless you are just starting out and trying to cleanse the system its generally OK to allow for 15% of non-paleo compliant foods in the diet. And if this percentage is composed of paleo friendly products so much the better. (See Page 4 of The Paleo Answer by Loren Cordain.) This is what it means to eat “Food for the Modern Hunter Gatherer.”
All the data presented here is based on three books which I recommend: “Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health” by William Davis. “The Paleo Answer : 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young” by Loren Cordain. “ and “Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter. All of these are available on Amazon.
The My Pal Leo Brand was founded to produce Paleo “Treats”. One of the hardest parts of following the Paleo Lifestyle is to replace the satisfaction and feeling of fullness that comes with baked goods and breads. I have tried some of the products on the market and was not happy with the taste, texture or “mouth-feel.” Finally I realized that if I want something done I had better do it myself ! It took a lot of trial and error but I think you will like the results. As it turned out all my products were also suitable for vegans which meant that I could help out another set of people following a particular way of eating.
These are the boundaries that I set myself:
No Grains. Well that’s a given. And with the requirement of minimizing starches as well that means using Nut Flour. Baking with nuts is like baking with sand, these flours do not naturally stick together. While some bakers use Eggs I am intent on staying vegan. Thus small amounts of starch are used to help bind the components together. Not all the products in the store are Grain free since we mostly cater to Vegans who mostly do not have a problem with grains. The grains we use are Rice and corn but in moderation and certainly not in the Low Carb Paleo products.
No Dairy. This is also a given for a Paleo lifestyle and also Vegan.
No Soy. Many nutritionists believe it is not possible to find Soy that has not been contaminated by GMO Strains. But the main reason is that soy contains isoflavones, which are chemically similar to estrogens. I think we have enough phytoestrogens in the environment already. While we do not use Soy in our baking this is not true of our hot menu which has several soy based meats and Tofu.
No Peanuts. Peanuts are really legumes which are not on the Paleo diet anyway. But they are also an allergen that is frequently banned by schools. Some children can have a very severe reaction to peanuts. See also pages 146 to 148 in the Paleo Answer where Loren Cordain gives additional damming evidence against Peanuts.
So what is allowed? In formulating my recipes I started off with coconut. Coconut is a super-food. Enough is written elsewhere that explains this. If a substitute for butter is needed I use coconut oil. The benefits of coconut oil are legion. Another major component is Almond Meal. Some people have allergies to Tree nuts which includes Almonds. This is unfortunate and may be due to being introduced to milk too young (see page 245 of the Paleo Answer.)
When a sweetener is needed I prefer Coconut Sugar. This is a low glycemic sugar (GI of 35). No one who eats my foods reports getting a carb rush or carb crash. Obviously overeating of any item can cause a reaction. Due to the high amount of fiber in my products one feels full very quickly.
Comments on other natural sweeteners such as:
Agave Syrup: Agave is actually pure fructose and is the closest natural equivalent to High Fructose corn syrup. Claims that it is low glycemic should be taken with a pinch of sugar.
Honey: There are many positive aspects to honey. It was available 20,000 years ago BUT it is considered by most vegans to be an animal byproduct so it is unacceptable.
Sugar Alcohols: There are many versions and I do use Xylitol . The brand I use is extracted from American Hardwood trees (Birch) Thus it passes the available 20,000 years ago test. I do not get Xylitol extracted from Corn. It is not a calorie free sweetener having about 50% of the calories of sugar. It is good for teeth in that bacteria in the mouth cannot live on it. Though it has a Glycemic index of from 7-13 I find it produces no adverse reactions in moderation and is an acceptable substitute for sugar.
Another sugar alcohol is Erthritol. It is derived from Corn which was also available 20,000 years. It has no calories and no glycemic reaction. In moderation is works well generally to support Coconut sugar. This is also true of Stevia and Monk’s Fruit. We use a non bitter stevia but still in combination with other sweteners to achieve the best taste. The other sugar alchohols like sorbitol and maltol are used by commercial "Big Food" enterprises and are reported to kill the good Bacteria in one's gut. So we do not use them..
Modern Hunter Gathering
Our ancestors were not able to go to the supermarket and pick up some food. They really had to work for it! A failed hunt meant that one had to go hungry. I am very much in favor of missing the occasional meal and doing some form of exercise every day. But if you are going to miss a meal a slice of my bread or a bun with coconut oil on top will kill those hunger pangs until the next meal time.
I hope you enjoy my products and if you do please tell your friends.
Your Friend and Pal