What is Paleo?
Paleo is one of the healthiest way to eat as it focuses on real and whole foods. It mimics the diet of the hunter and gathers during the caveman or Paleolithic period. The core theory resolves around the fact that certain foods inflame the body. Because your small intestine is your body’s barrier to the outside world, an inflamed digestion track leads to poor immunity. Symptoms can be anything from bloating, gluten or lactose intolerance, to degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.
For more information refer to Robb Wolfe’s video below. Alternatively, his website.
What can I eat?
- Lots of meat, seafood and vegetable. Including eggs.
- Some fruits
- A little nuts
- Little or no sugar
What can’t I eat?
Yes, this means no bread, rice, pasta, beans, corn (a legume) and peanuts (a legume, not a nut). However please note my “Importance of test and learn” section.
Isn’t that the ATKIN’s diet? That is, low carbs.
No, the focus is not on carbs BUT to obtain carbs from natural foods like fruit and vegetables. Atkins frown upon all types of carbs. We recommend eating pumpkin, sweet potato and any fruits.
Note: Potato is Paleo however is not recommended if you want to lose weight.
Why would you want to go on a Paleo Diet?
Firstly I would like to clarify that I do not believe it is a diet. It is a change in lifestyle and how you view food. I’ve never been on a diet my entire life. I love my food too much. Plus I am skinny and do not need to lose any weight. The word “diet” implies a short term fix to achieve that goal.
I first learn of Paleo from my Crossfit coach. He’s been on the Paleo Diet for 2 years. In actual fact, his whole family including wife, kids and later dad are on the Paleo Diet. At the time he advised me that he feels more energetic, sleeps better and has less mood swings.
My experience since going on Paleo are as follows:
- No more hayfever or dust allergies.
- No more bloating. I used to feel bloated all the time and have a heated stomach after dinner.
- Improved cholesterol and iron levels. See blood test results.
- Sleep better.
- Toner body.
- Improved bowel movements.
- More energy.
- Improved recovery from Crossfit. Read more here.
Recommendation on how to start
- If you need to read anything to make the decision. Recommended reads are:
- “It starts with food: Discover the whole30 and change your life in unexpected ways” OR
- If you want heavier reading and prefer more science – The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain OR “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolfe
- Do a pre-blood test.
- Go strict for 30 days.
- Do a Post blood test.
- Start re-introducing foods you miss and love and decide for yourself how you feel.
- You have to go strict for 30 days otherwise step 3 is not feasible. My analogy is to like walking into a bakery. When you first walk in, the smell of bread hits you, after 30min you don’t notice the smell anymore. How do you think you feel after eating the wrong foods for many years? You don’t notice the difference as you think it is the norm 😦
- For the first 2-3 weeks you will feel like you are STARVING all the time. Also, you have less energy. This occurs as your body is adjusting to using fat as fuel instead of the sugar it takes from carbohydrates.
- I find the blood test is a great way to measure whether your diet has made a difference. It’s black and white. For accuracy, avoid taking supplements just for this period.
The importance of test and learn
Like all prescriptions it is difficult to prescribe a ONE SIZE fits all. Paleo is an attempt. Hence the need to eliminates all the potential problem foods. This does not mean that you can never have rice or diary again. My theory would be to test and learn. Some people are able to digest things better than others. Your ethnic background may also make a difference. For example as I am Asian, I believe the millions of years of evolution means that my body can digests rice better than a Caucasian. I’ve also noticed that I can digest diary better than my other half, while he can digest bread (aka gluten) better than me.
CHRIS KRESSER refers to my test and learn theory as the Paleo Template. Has website has a lot of interesting resources when you get into it.
Warning: Be prepared to be shock. Some of your favorite foods may no longer be favorites in a good way.
Other Benefits and observations
My Paleo journey has made me more aware of what I eat.
- What am I actually putting into my body? If you can’t read an ingredient, don’t buy it.
- Is it nutritionally dense? Why consume 100 calories that gives you next to none vitamins and minerals?
- Did you know that your body cannot tell the difference between bread and eating raw sugar? If that is the case, do you still think bread is good for you?
- I have changed from cooking with olive oil to coconut oil.
- Things taste saltier and sweeter than I recall.
- The Paleo community is HUGE. These is lots of yummy recipes online. This is the beginning of what you can eat and not what you can’t.
My Paleo Journey
I have documented my Paleo journey in the links below. Everyday I am still learning which is what is great about it.
- A beginner’s view on Paleo
- Week 1 reflections
- Week 2 learning
- Final Reflections. Day 43
- Paleo thoughts – People believe what they want to believe
- D Day – Blood test results after 50 days
For more information I recommend the following books particularly the first 2 as starters. Also please don’t buy the kindle versions as kindle references books are a pain in the b&tt. 😛
The following graphs provides a good summary.