Paleo Foods for Surviving with Chronic Disease

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the Paleo diet. It’s all the rage in some circles right now and rightly so. There may be some pretty significant health benefits to it. In fact, it may save your life.

Today we’re going to talk about what the Paleo diet is, and we’ll discuss certain Paleo foods for surviving chronic disease in case SHTF and you don’t have access to your meds.

Take Care of Yourself

I know that we preach this often, but we just can’t overstate it. Take.Care.Of.Yourself. That’s the best way to survive when SHTF. It doesn’t matter how old you are; if you’re healthy and not dependent upon medications, your chances of surviving disaster increase exponentially.

And many diseases that require medication are nothing more than diseases of excess borne from poor eating and minimal exercise.

Get yourself under control BEFORE you have to worry about running out of life-sustaining meds.

What’s the Big Deal about Paleo?

infographicPyramidFood2Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease, and even many cancers can be avoided by eating properly. Enter the Paleo diet.

Also known as the Paleolithic diet, the Stone Age diet or the Caveman diet, it eliminates all grains, beans, potatoes, processed foods, non-organic foods, and artificial foods, including sugar.

The strictest form also eliminates dairy and salt though some of the modified versions allow them.

In a nutshell, the Paleo diet lets you eat whatever you want as long as you can hunt for it, fish for it, trap it, or scavenge it.

Meats, fish, fowl, berries, herbs, fruits, vegetables; almost all of them (except potatoes) are fair game, even if you follow the strictest versions of the Paleo diet.

More moderate versions allow potatoes because potatoes are only toxic in their raw state or if they’re green. Beans and grains are inedible raw so they’re out.

The Downside of Grains

There are a couple of reasons why proponents of the Paleo diet (and many other health-conscious folks) have mixed grain in all forms from their diets. The premise of Paleo peeps is that wheat is a relatively new dietary addition that our bodies simply aren’t adapted to digest.

This, according to them, accounts for digestive upset as well as many GI issues such as GERD and gas.They’re not alone in this believe and research supports them, at least partially.

A second reason is that since consumption of wheat products became common, allergies and digestive issues have skyrocketed. There’s actually good science behind this: gluten, the protein in wheat, rye, and barley, is an inflammatory that has been officially linked to everything from certain cancers to rheumatoid arthritis. White flour is so processed that it has basically no nutritional value whatsoever.

Why Beans Get the Boot

This one’s easy – beans are toxic in their raw state and even in their cooked state, they can still cause significant gastric distress. (Remember – beans, beans, the musical fruit?) They’re good sources of protein but many people just don’t consider that worth the discomfort. Paleo folks take it a step further and say that the distress is a sign that your body just isn’t designed to handle them. It’s not a bad argument.

We’re not even going to dedicate a section to why the Paleo proponents disallow processed foods and refined sugar. That’s a no-brainer.

How to Use Paleo to Survive Chronic Disease

Ahhh…the meat of the matter so to speak. Eating Paleo-style is a great preventative measure to avoid disease. Meats and vegetables should all be non-GMO and organic so that you’re not getting cancer-causing hormones and other toxins.

Also, when you eliminate grains, processed foods and refined sugars, you’re avoiding inflammation caused by grain and you’re not feeding cancer cells with sugar.

As far as using Paleo foods for treatment in lieu of medications to survive chronic disease in a survival scenario, here are just a few examples:

  • Type-2 diabetics may not need insulin to control insulin spikes because refined sugar is eliminated and high-fiber foods help control the release of glucose into the blood stream. Low-starch vegetables and meats are the best Paleo foods for diabetics to depend upon to survive chronic disease.
  • Eliminating salt from your diet, as required by Paleo, can lower your blood pressure to manageable levels in case you can’t get your blood pressure medication. Again, this is a situation that’s better to avoid than treat.
  • Cholesterol medications can possibly be eliminated because you’re eating lean meats and plenty of healthy vegetable fats oils that have healthy doses of good (HDL) cholesterol that will help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.
  • Obesity, though not strictly an illness that requires medication, leads to conditions such as heart disease and those discussed above. The Paleo diet only allows healthy foods. Though you can conceivably gain weight, chances are good that an obese person is going to shed some serious pounds by going Paleo. This can help avoid the near-inevitable future need to start medications.
  • The antioxidants that you’ll gain from eating plenty of vegetables can help you fight all of the conditions that excess free radicals cause. These include everything from wrinkles to heart disease and cancer. You may not need your psoriasis medication, either.
  • The Paleo diet has been shown to put rheumatoid arthritis into remission. Seriously. People don’t need their meds anymore. Now whether or not this will work for you remains to be seen, but the science and the testimonials are there. If SHTF, you may be able to go Paleo to treat your RA.

24827335_sEating a healthy diet has numerous health benefits. Since the Paleo diet essentially eliminates anything that your body may have a hard time digesting, or that may cause inflammation that leads to disease, it’s a good first step toward being healthy.

There is, of course, the argument that milk and whole grains are good for you, but to each their own.

Research your particular disease and medications to see if Paleo foods can help you survive your chronic disease if SHTF.

If there’s a particular condition that you’d like us to help you research, tell us about it in the comments section below!



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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • I’ve been following a paleo diet for about 2 years. It took about 6-8 months to wash the crap out of my system. I then started having incredible energy. I’m 65, and I’ve been a vitamin-taker since I was in my early 20s. I’ve always been careful about selecting foods that are healthful, following the Atkins diet most of my adult life. Dropping the foods out of the Atkins diet that don’t coincide with the paleo diet was easy.

    I have a relative who is Type 1 diabetic due to medical error, and he had trouble regulating his blood sugar with insulin. I told his doctor that maybe he should try the paleo diet. She agreed it was a healthful diet and worth doing. The first day he was on the paleo diet, his blood sugar dropped to normal levels. And he could reduce his insulin intake by 50%, too.

    There’s no downside to the paleo diet. Believe me, I’ve looked, and found nothing bad. I can still eat out at restaurants and keep to a paleo diet.

  • Sounds like food faddist BS to me.

    • Grintch, I can see where you may think that it’s a fad, but the diet was originally conceived by a doctor named Walter L. Voegtlin who was searching for a way to treat gastro-intestinal disorders in patients who didn’t respond to “traditional” treatments. To his delight, it worked. That was back in 1975. Though the diet sounds restrictive, it really isn’t. You can eat all of the fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats that you want. It’s extremely similar to the way people in the Mediterranean eat on a regular basis. Cutting out chemicals, hormones and foods that have little to no nutritional value or that cause gastric distress makes sense to many people. Most diseases of affluence including obesity, heart disease and metabolic disorder are largely attributed to poor diets. Following a Paleo diet can help you avoid all of those illnesses. Paleo isn’t for everyone but it’s not a fad, either. It’s sustainable over the long-term, has no health down-sides, and offers several health benefits. But, like I say, to each his own. 🙂

  • All life people have told me what’s best for me to eat. Coming from a family of 10 children, we ate the same things, we have very similar genes and yet, eating the same diet wasn’t good for some of us. Just as this diet may work for some, there will be others which this doesn’t fit.
    To say it’s going to be THE diet in a collapse for anyone with a chronic disease just goes beyond the bounds of believablity. It may work for some, it may work for many short term, but it’s not the ‘one size fits all’ which the author would seem to have us believe.
    No grains? Even in paleo times people were gathering anything which could be eaten, including grains. The same with potatoes and beans. Obviously all this was created for sustaining life. I will agree that with the hybridizing and manipulation of genes etc, has corrupted many sources of our foods. It doesn’t mean to avoid them. For some, that may be the case but not for all.
    While many might look at my eating lifestyle and say it’s Paleo, I don’t have a term for it. You see, I went on an elimination diet to cleanse, then began adding foods singularly so my body could tell me what’s good and what it can’t handle. Now, it’s just about using moderation in what I eat. I only avoid a few things totally. Others, I eat sparingly, still others only as treats (not to be interpreted as sweets nor desserts). I don’t count calories but have recently had an analysis of what I eat…between 1500 and 2000 over a 5 day period.
    I do not put people down just for what they eat. I just know what I can and cannot eat. If thinking/believing certain foods are poisonous and it helps you to live healthier, more power to you. I do not believe this for myself. As to one poster talking about diabetes, even that depends on what type and the individual.
    I do thank you for the article. This diet was suggested to me recently. With all I’ve learned, this is the closest to what I eat, but I DO eat beans, grains and root crops…but then I also listen to my body now and not someone else telling me what they believe is good for me.

    • Hi Deez! I agree completely. I follow a modified version of Paleo myself, but I’m not lucky enough to be able to tolerate beans well, and I’m gluten-intolerant so wheat, rye and barley are out. Like you, I still do allow some things in as treats (I’m a sucker for baked beans at BBQs!) but try to listen to what my body tells me. Paleo is a great option for some people and not-so-great for others. It’s a matter of making informed choices. Sounds like you’re in control and doing what’s best for you and that’s a great thing! 🙂

      • I’m so understand about the gluten intolerance, I have a few friends who are. That said, I have found I am naturally limiting my intake from wheat, can’t eat rye, haven’t eaten barley in awhile. for me, I’m a brittle diabetic, what helps diabetics is greens but many of those are not good for low thyroid, so it’s balance…no matter what’s wrong with us. It is important to expand our knowledge of other grains and greens when something does happen. How’s everyone feel about eating grubs and bugs? 😉

  • The paleo diet has some short term benefits but excess consumption of animal protein has been linked to elevated rates of cancer. Also the saturated fat intake will increase LDL and cholesterol levels. May I ask where will all of this animal protein and forage foods come from when the SHTF. During the Great Depression, at a time when game, woodlands and open space were far more plentiful and the population of the U.S. less than half of what is today, wild game was nearly wiped out in this country. Given the prevalence of firearms among untrained, inexperienced citizens, the last place I would venture in a WROL situation is the wilderness. Better to stick close to home and grow your own food. It takes many pounds of grain to create a single pound of animal protein and there are agrarian societies that have existed for thousands of years without large quantities of animal protein in their diets. Please do use the Inuit as an example of a healthy paleo society – average life span for the Inuit was in the 40s. Long term, the paleo diet is unsustainble.

    • free Farm–I’m unsure why you think the paleo diet has only short-term benefits and an overload of animal protein. My meals are typically 3-4 oz. of animal protein (or 2 soft-poached eggs) and a vegetable. I skip breakfast because I exercise first thing in the morning and just don’t have an appetite after exercising.

      I may have a snack SOMETIMES during the day, but usually not. Snacks can be a piece of fruit, a sweet potato biscuit, almond milk, a veggie shake made with almond milk or a few pecans. I try to consume only organic foods.

      How is that too much protein? Especially when you compare it to the standard American diet or even most diets.

      When it comes to finding all those animals walking around when the SHTF, let me educate you the same way I’ve educated others who think there will be a serious shortage of protein because everyone’s got firearms. Have you seen people during hunting season? Many can’t hit the side of a barn. Most end hunting season without bagging anything. So, learn to shoot, & you’ll be one of those who gets to eat.

      I live in Texas. Guess what else lives here? Feral hogs. There are so many feral hogs that they’re outbreeding our best attempts to shoot them. We’ve approved helicopters to shoot them from the air. Those so-called “pork choppers” are killing feral hogs left & right but not even making a dent. The hogs produce huge litters. Texas is just one state that has a hog problem. There are so many other Southern states that have the same issue…and are unable to make a dent in the pig population.

      A number of years ago, I visited South Dakota. Guess what was walking down the middle of the street and peeking in my motel window at dawn? Deer. They’re everywhere. I have photos of a gang of deer standing in the middle of the street in broad daylight.

      I rec’d the Rapid City, SD, newspaper for 5 years when I once considered moving there. The number of people who had deer destroying and eating their yards and bullying their pets on their own lawn is quite surprising. People in SD have guns…yet they’re unable to take enough deer to reduce the population.

      Here’s something else you’re not going to believe: Washington, DC, and it’s suburbs have a serious deer problem. Years ago, I read a column in the “Washington Post” from an avowed anti-gun/anti-hunting woman who was all bent out of shape because deer had eaten her valuable shrubs…again. She lived in DC. It was such a serious problem that she felt hunting deer was called for in residential areas. So, even in DC, you have plenty of deer available.

      I can relate many other stories, but I think you get the picture. To recap:

      (1) A paleo diet (and any other diet) is what each person makes of it. No matter what type of diet you eat, you can overload on too much animal protein (or too much of anything). For me and my house…we’re eating less animal protein than most people in America because our diet satisfies our requirements along with other foods.

      (2)There is no shortage of walking protein.

      • I disagree Edith, though you may see so many animals walking around. Free Farm is right. The wildlife population down to armadillos was almost wiped out during the great Depression. My folks lived through it and the Dust Bowl being from your neighboring state to the north. They lived off the land and they too had stories of plenty and they also had stories of the depletion and how rapidly it happened. We have more people now, even taking into account of those dying from disease, accidents, etc.; there will be enough arms whether guns, bow and arrow, or others which are capable of even taking down those feral hogs because if prehistorics could take down large animals, believe me, modern hungry man will be able to also.

        • Deez,

          If you think hunger makes a person a better hunter, you’re mistaken. You might want to read the sci-fi book “Lucifer’s Hammer.” I think it’s a very good representation of what will happen when the system fails. Because most people today have no clue how to track animals, find animals, not spook animals and gut/prepare animals, they’re not going to be very successful at finding/hunting/killing game.


          • I haven’t read “Lucifer’s Hammer”. I am aware of what history tells us. There is nothing so motivating than hunger or watching your love ones go hungry. When one is hungry, believe me, you learn faster what works and what doesn’t. We just disagree. I find nothing wrong with that either.

    • Actually no. Animal fat is very quickly converted to energy by the body. The fats that are bad are going to be the ones that you get from cooking oils such as canola oil and vegetable oil. With that being said, the animal fats should still be limited. As someone else stated, the amounts are still going to be a normal portion during the day.
      As far as your LDL statement, most of the fats in animals do raise the LDL, but that isn’t always bad. Though it’s the “bad” cholesterol, the real problem is in the vLDL or the very low density lipids. Those are the ones that are going to cause the issue. Just having a higher LDL level doesn’t mean you will have an issue. What really needs to be looked at and considered for your cardiovascular risk, is the Triglycerides to HDL ratio. A good ratio of that is 1.0-3.0. If your Triglycerides are 183 but your HDL is 83, you are at low risk. But if your HDL is only 33 then there is a problem.
      Finally, eggs got a bad rap for a long time, in particular the yolk. I’m not saying you should run out and have eggs at every meal, but you also shouldn’t be afraid of them. Think about it. What is the yolk’s purpose? It’s to provide nutrients to the young chicken (or whatever type of egg it is) so that it grows. The yolk is high in vitamins A, D, and E, and sometimes B. Folate, calcium, and iron are found there as well. Do eggs cause an elevation in cholesterol? Yes. In HDL. The good cholesterol. Not only that, but the larger HDL which are even better for you.
      Excess of anything is usually not good. Keep things in moderation and this diet can do wonders for you. More importantly, JERF (Just Eat Real Food).

      • Several studies have shown that consuming large amounts of RAW egg (like 50 a day) reduces cholesterol. Increased fat intake of any sort requires additional nutrients to be supplied for their metabolism within the body. Supply those and everything is great. Not supplying those leads to disaster. Remember those old Eskimos – eating the raw organ meats gave them the nutrients needed to process their huge fat intake.
        These raw eggs should be organic, free range. Those commercial grocery store eggs with the thin shells should be avoided. I have eaten and recommended raw eggs to clients for many years and there has never been any issue.

      • re: “excess consumption of animal protein has been linked to elevated rates of cancer”.
        Another area where very poor research greatly misleads folks. These sorts of studies never seem to be able to differentiate real natural organic foods from the contaminated stuff most people eat. The “elevated rates of cancer” come from the contaminants, not the real animal protein. Contaminants? How about vaccines, hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, GMO foods, drugs, and hundreds more are the culprits.
        The real “cure for cancer” is mostly easy – clean up the environment and the food supply. Drugs can never do it.

        • Exactly. There are antibiotics in the meat because they are given feed with antibiotics in them just before they go off to the slaughter houses. They spray pesticides on crops to kill the large bugs, but those kill the invisible bugs too. They also use antibiotics on the vegetables during processing. Then, we have all these stomach and intestinal issues that are prevalent and people wonder why? I tell all my patients that they should be taking probiotics and you’d be amazed at how many of them are amazed at how much better they feel just by those and not even changing the foods they eat. The old adage, “you are what you eat” really is true.

    • I agree, long term it’s not sustainable even for the body. I find whoever created this diet obviously wasn’t aware that even Neanderthals ate seeds (including plant seeds, meaning grains. Anything which they could eat they ate. I’m a history buff and anthropology seems to disagree, but then as we know, information can be used to slant things to the way we want to see them too. 😉

      • Deez,

        I’m unsure why you think people eating a paleo diet don’t eat seeds! Right now, I have flax, chia, pumpkin and other seeds in my kitchen. Please read my reply to the initial post above so you can get a better idea of what it means to eat paleo. Paleo dieters eat plenty of veggies, seeds & nuts…not just animal protein.

        Since you claim to be a history buff and into anthropology, then you should have discovered this salient fact along the way: The wheat we grow today is not the same wheat grown during the paleolithic era. The current wheat crop has much higher gluten and is raised for the benefit of farmers…not because it represents anything that’s actually healthful. The other grains present problems, too, because paleolithic humans did not have those specific grains to eat. They had grains that grew wild and were not manipulated by man and technology.

        What’s available today is not healthy and has made people sick, which is why paleo dieters who are not gluten-intolerant follow the diet…to remain healthy!

        So, the bottom line is that paleo dieters don’t consume grains or dairy or beans. I’m unaware what history you’ve been studying, but health history shows that none of these are essential to life and good health. There are SO many other options.

        Lastly, the fruit we eat today is hybridized, manipulated and grown for the market…and much sweeter than the fruit our paleolithic ancestors ate. So, fruit is also limited on a paleo diet. If our paleolithic ancestors had the technology to extract fructose from fruit, they’d have to use a LOT more fruit to since the fruit in those days were not the sugary-sweet like the ones we eat today.

        • I was looking and replying to the paleo food pyramid. Yes, I am aware of how wheat and some other ‘mainstream’ grains have been changed. I am also aware of how foods and the growing of them has changed. It’s not just about that but our soils have been contaminated accidentally and purposefully. I understand the premise behind the paleo diet, I’m saying it’s based, in part, on faulty information and reasoning.
          We see things differently. I am not putting down those who choose to live this way. Just saying like many things wrong with ‘diets’, this is only good if you are learning what YOUR body needs and you eat that. Most of these diets are and have been around in one guise or another for centuries. People have been looking for the ‘right’ way to eat for at least that long.
          What I do believe is that in a collapse situation, whatever food you have or can obtain, you will eat. A ‘diet’ then will be based on what’s available. Call it Mother Nature, GOD or whatever, it will not be based on food being plentiful except during certain times of the year.

  • Primitive diets were pretty much forced on us when we walked off the ark, and like modern men going raw into an ifrastructureless world, these folk who were otherwise our genetic superiors (devolution not evolution is the truth about man from then till now) coming from civilizations already skilled in iron and other metals fumbled around with crude stone tools when the tools they left the ark with wore out or were unavailable to their offspring. I am a modern man and my flint knapping (done in honor of my native American background) work was very very primitive not even matching the quality of the more modern lazy Indian work for the truly prehistoric work like the folsum points were works of art, until we realized that we could do with less effort in the making.

    This leading into the idea that cavemen diets were ok, I am still wondering about all of the man skeletons, neandertal and all, that seem to be riddled with disease including arthritis even before settling down to a grain based economy. So while some of this is pretty good under whatever culture or historiocultural setting, the assumptions, evolutionary based, are bogus.

  • Salt does not raise blood pressure unless you have certain issues with the adrenals and kidneys. Salt can actually lower the blood pressure.
    Low dietary calcium is the only food nutrient ever shown to relate to high blood pressure.
    Beans are an issue only if you have digestive system issues. Or eat huge amounts in an unbalanced manner.
    The best real paleo example is the traditional Eskimo. They had almost a 100% animal diet. They drank the blood and ate the organ meats RAW. The muscle meat was dog food. The actual hunter who killed the animal was awarded the adrenal glands, the best source (in a health body) of Vitamin C.
    They ate upwards of 6 to 8 thousand calories per day, mostly fat. They did not have heart disease until white man introduced them to white sugar.
    All dairy products which have been pasteurized are garbage. Research showed that baby calves given their own mother’s milk after it was pasteurized all died.
    Animal protein intake is associated with intellectual development. Cultures without much animal protein just do not develop like other societies.
    Wheat, rye, barley, oats, and corn are no longer healthy – depleted soil, pesticides, GMO, etc. People have eaten so much garbage disguised as food, their body will now reject even some of the good stuff. TOTALLY avoid those items for, say, 6 months, then gradually reintroduce good whole grain versions. Your system will probably be OK with them by then.
    Note carefully: Health improvements observed by changing diet may not just be the result of the new foods, but by the lack of the old foods. Most people have numerous food intolerances and allergies, even to otherwise excellent foods.
    My work with thousands of clients over the past 40 (GASP)! years has repeatedly shown that a high protein, low carb diet works best for most people. Those excessive processed carbs and sugary foods do kill you.

  • For what it’s worth, my understanding of the paleo diet is that, yes, everything was eaten, but grains made up only about 2% of the total, being found in the wild and not cultivated. Roots and tubers (potatoes) were dug up when found, and wild game eaten as caught, so meat ended up at about 20% of the total. The rest was fruit and vegetables.

    Grains don’t want to be eaten: they wage chemical warfare against us. Fruit does want to be eaten, it’s a win-win for providing nourishment to the spreaders of the seeds.

    As for being only useful as a temporary measure, I don’t see how that can be as it’s all hunter-gatherers ate during their entire lifetime. They grew taller, stronger and led longer, healthier lives than their agricultural descendants who used grains for staple foods. Including us.

  • I think the paleo diet has some good points but if raw beans were poison all 9 of my kids would have expired long ago. I have grown a large garden for decades and all of my kids would rather go to the garden and eat raw veggies than eat them cooked. Better for you. You get the benefit of all of the enzymes. One comment I would like to make is during hard times conserving energy is crucial. It takes energy to digest food so we need to make sure we eat food properly. My story is a little long for this forum so I will try to abbreviate it. in 1985 I was gaining weight rapidly, had a major ulcer, consuming rollaids like candy,my energy levels were so low I could not drive for 30 minutes without falling asleep. A good friend gave me a copy of Harvey Diamonds “Fir for life”. That book literally saved my life. He describes certain food combinations that are very difficult to digest properly at the same time or mixed together. I recognized I was literally breaking all these rules. I immediately started following his very simple plan and what followed was nothing short of miraculous. MY energy skyrocketed, my ulcer started clearing up and I lost 15 lbs in 3 weeks with no exercise, just driving. Get the book and test it out for yourself. This could help save your life especially during hard times.

  • And then there were the Mesoamericans, who lived almost totally on the ‘three sisters’: squash, beans and corn (which they developed). A virtually complete diet.

  • What should I eat in this diet to eliminate atrial fibrillation? It is controlled with medication and I want to be able to go all natural to control it, or even eliminate it???

  • Are there any supplements available that can truly help cartilage in the hip to regrow again? I have dysplasia and would prefer not to have to undergo a hip replacement. Thanks in advance,
    Kindest Regards,