A beginner’s view on Paleo

From Paleo to modern society

I can’t remember how I came across the Paleo Diet. Must be from Crossfit as both my trainers are on the Paleo Diet. The more you look into it, the more you see cross-fitters around the world being drawn in. Like Crossfit, which can be a little controversial for the traditionalist, the Paleo diet rings a bell with me.  Maybe it’s because a few years back my cholesterol reading was 7.6 CHO. For those who do not know, I’ve always exercised and am NOT over weight. Also, at the time was eating healthy. Well, what I thought was healthy. That is, 95% vegetable, low fat products (eg. skim milk) and very little fat. Post my blood test I decided to eat more meat (as I was very low in iron), more good fats like walnut and avocado (as I heard walnut lowers cholesterol). And, guess what? My cholesterol did go down to around 5.5 in 1-2 years.  This was not a Paleo Diet. However I did eat less bread, less rice, more meat and more fat.

So what is a Paleo Diet?

I’m only a newbie and will not try to explain all the technicalities.  Cause yes, there is a whole heap of science around it and words I can’t recall or pronounce. If you want to find out more, refer to Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution“. Here is a quick summary from his website, “What is Paleo?“. I also found that this article from blogger “Fitness in the city” to be a good summary.

In short, the theory is that we should replicate how our ancestors live. Anthropologist have evidence that our Paleo ancestors are much healthier than the later counterparts. So what happened? The agricultural revolution.This is when the production of grains, legumes and diary started. The theory is that our bodies make up are not designed to consume these items and treat them as foreign enzymes.

What I also found interesting is a comment made by Dr Lorain Cordain, the Author to “The Paleo Answer“.

“There is no naturally producing food where both fat and sugar exists. Eg. Meat? fat. Fruits? Sugar. Avocado? fat. It is only in man made foods where we have the fat and sugar combo. eg. cake, yogurt etc”.

A comment from my crossfit trainer Scotty from Crossfit Chatswood:

Your body learns to burn the fat as fuel. Although you are eating fat, you burn fat and hence there is essentially no fat on you.

And trust me, he is “cut”. His been on the diet for 2 years now. His Dr even called him to find out what he was on as his blood test results were extraordinarily good.

What to Eat: Meat, vegetables, fruit, seafood and nuts (except peanuts). Coconut oil and olive oil. Vinegar is ok.

What NOT to eat: Grains, Diary, Soy and Legumes. Corn is a legume. Processed foods. Vegetable oil.

The diagram below would a Paleo Pyramid. Yes, fat is allowed.

Image

My first reaction after reading about the diet:

But I love my oats for breakfast. I thought it is good. Fibre!

What?!! bean’s are bad? Quinoa, chickpeas etc.

Isn’t everything in “balance” best? Yes, that is the name of my blog.

Current thoughts after dabbling for 2 weeks:

Digestion is definitely better.

Excuse the explicitness, but you  fart less which is a sign of a healthier gut.

There is no slump after lunch.

The more I delve into it. The more I find a WHOLE community of people, blogs and books on the Paleo. It gives the same vibe as crossfit. There are heaps of recipes and lots to do.

I think this can actually be a lifestyle change. I’ve always hated “Diets”. The idea of a quick fixes never appeals to me. I guess I never needed to lose weight. Nutrition should be based on health and not weight. Weight should be the outcome, not the focus.

Why am I always eating? Yes, you won’t go hungry and seem to be always grazing.

I’m starting to view food a little differently. ie. How much vitamin and mineral does it have, rather than just energy (which is essentially what rice, bread and pasta ….. is….)

Crossfit and Paleo is a match in heaven. Another reason I love crossfit is I am surrounded by people who believe in their health and am open minded to try new things. Did you know that if you attend a crossfit game, the food stands sell Paleo food. Yes, no hot dogs or burgers.

So what are the challenges?

  • Eating more meat, fruit and veggie can be more expensive.
  • You need to be organised (eg. Muesli in the morning was always quick and easy).
  • Socially it can be challenging. eg. I went for yum cha with my in laws on the weekend. I couldn’t exactly say no to the dumplings or sticky rice as there was only 4 of us.

Conclusion:

They always say you need to try it for 30 days to really see the benefits. Do a pre and post blood test and waist measure. Today is my 2nd day. I’ll be writing again post 30 days with the results. In the meantime, have you heard of the Paleo Diet? What is your experience?

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