TAMPA - The Cappucci family, a typical Tampa family of five, is sitting down to a typical dinner minus dad this night. At least it looks like a typical dinner.
I asked what I’d be trying. The answer from the Cappucci kids: “Cauliflower rice.” Can I be honest with you all? I’m not a big fan of Cauliflower anything. But I agreed to try it to get a first hand experience with the latest diet trend: The Paleo Diet.
Mom Leanna Cappucci explains, “The basis of the Paleo is that you eat meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, nothing refined, nothing that needs to be processed, nothing that the original man couldn't eat."
Claire LeRoche is a dietitian who works with Florida Surgical Weight Loss Centers. “The theory is all based on the fact that the age of agriculture went from the human species being hunters and gatherers to being someone who sat and grew their own food and that the hunter gatherer was essentially more healthy that the person who grew grains."
Why such a restrictive diet, eliminating most drinks, all grains, legumes and all artificial sweeteners? For Leanna, the switch to an old way of eating came in an effort to improve her family's health. She says, “For several years I had complained about my weight. I also come from a family that is genetically predisposed to various types of cancer. I read The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolf last March and thought I have nothing to lose if I do this for 30 days, but I have everything to gain if what they say is right."
So the Cappucci family committed one hundred percent, even the kids. What do they do about school lunches, which likely have lots of processed foods? "A ton of processed food.” Leanna says, “The fruit they give them is packed in syrup. So one of the things we've done is talk to all of the teachers. We pack them a breakfast, a lunch and a snack.”
And what do they do when they go to a restaurant? “We've learned where we can go and where we can't go. The things to watch out for in restaurants are sauces. And a lot of the condiments have chemicals in them versus food."
Leanna says it doesn't have to be difficult or too costly to feed our kids for their wellness. “It can also fit into any lifestyle. My husband says if anybody has an excuse to not do it, it would be you and yet you find the time to do it."
Leanna, who leaves home at 7:00 am and doesn't return till 7 pm, slow cooked pork in the crock pot while she was gone. The cauliflower rice took about ten minutes and the plantains, fried in coconut oil, took less than five.
As for the family’s health now? “At the end of thirty days my migraines were gone. My allergies had lessened. My asthma, I haven't' used an inhaler in almost a year. All of my kids were on allergy meds. They're not anymore. My pediatrician joked this year if we kept doing what we were doing we were going to put them out of business because the kids have been healthy for one year. Not one of my children has been sick."
And Dietitian Claire LaRoche – who follows the Paleo Diet herself says, “Someone who follows the Paleo Diet strictly can reverse signs of diabetes. They can improve their blood pressure, improve their calcium bone deposits and it can help them lose weight."
To help families make the transition to a healthier lifestyle Leanna started a new business called Bedrock Eats. She has a Facebook page, a web site and a business that includes coaching on how to shop, cook and live the Paleo diet.
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