How many of you have tried fad diets that had you counting calories or eating next to nothing in order to lose weight which would eventually find its way back? Today I want to talk to you about The Paleo Diet, to begin I HATE THE NAME, the word ‘diet’ has become distorted over time and is now associated with the aforementioned fad diets, a diet shouldn’t limit how much you eat or how many times you eat in a day. Let me explain.
What is Paleo ?
If you were to search for the word Paleo right now on google, this is what you would see:
older or ancient, especially relating to the geological past.
and the idea behind the Paleo diet is to replicate the way people would have eaten in those times. Imagine you were a caveman (or cavewomen, is that a thing?) and that you were hungry, you wouldn’t be able to open a bag of crisps or pick at biscuits all day long. You would have to go out and catch your food and cook it, or find berries, vegetables or fruits.
I would say that for a big majority of people, 90% of the food you eat every day is processed, the cereal you eat in the morning, the sandwiches you eat at lunch and then the chicken nuggets you eat at dinner. And for the last 10% already giving themselves a pat on the back for eating steaks and vegetables, how is the meat you’re eating fed? Are your vegetables organic or sprayed full of pesticides?
The Paleo way of thinking
If I am to be totally honest then I don’t fully respect the Paleo diet, I still drink milk which is actually in a Paleo grey area and I tend to cheat on weekends, not excessively and to be honest it’s getting rare that I even bother any more.
What I’m trying to say is that eating Paleo is not a strict eating regime, its more about becoming aware of food and knowing what you’re eating. How many people eat beef steaks without really knowing that its not a ‘real steak’, when cows are bred quickly and cheaply for their meat they are fed with grains (not Paleo) which fattens them up quickly and results in a couple of inches of fat on the side of your steak let alone the increased Omega 6 ratio to Omega 3. I personally try to only eat grass fed beef now which results in a much juicier, tastier meat with only a slither of fat and high amounts of Omega 3.
Is x or y Paleo
So the big question most people ask at this point is ‘what can I eat?’
Now it doesn’t look like much and most people will struggle at first thinking something is Paleo when actually it isn’t, and only with time will you realise what is actually in your food and how bad it has been making you feel.
A good idea is to start looking at ingredient labels, anything that has a long list of ingredients is probably not Paleo. Have a look at your juices at home, you can buy orange juice for example with 30% oranges which is crazy.
Most people are scared of the word fat as it is associated with obesity, but fat in foods is your friend, fat actually helps you burn fat, ironic right?
If you’re still not sure if something is Paleo or not then you can check for yourself on IsItPaleo.
A great resource for Paleo foods and recipes is The Fat Burning Man website run by Abel James in America, we are actually lucky in Europe to have stricter laws on junk food and the ingredients allowed in food.
A day in the life of Paleo
On a standard day eating Paleo I would start the day with a nice cup of coffee with a dash of full fat goats milk, maybe a grapefruit or a banana. At lunch I would generally eat a chicken breast with Brazilian spices and lots of vegetables and a passion fruit as dessert and to finish the day I would normally eat a nice bit of lean steak again with plenty of vegetables and some blueberries for dessert.
Now reading that back doesn’t actually sound a lot compared to what I used to eat but when eating the right foods you wont be having blood sugar level spikes resulting in hunger and in my own personal opinion it is harder to remember to eat than it is to actually stop myself eating.
Now what about eating out at restaurants or with friends, just skip the chips, ask for extra vegetables and have a couple of glasses of wine if you must, It will still be a huge improvement.
How do I start?
I would recommend that everybody give the Paleo Diet at least 30 days to fully reap the potential benefits before making a decision but no cheating otherwise you could possibly feel worse. The first couple of days when you go cold turkey on sugars and high levels of carbs you will feel a little bit groggy or possibly dizzy but it’s nothing to worry about and after the first week I’m sure you will feel amazing with bounds of energy.
Go to the shop and buy a variety of vegetables and different cuts of meat, take time to discover foods you’ve never tried before, don’t worry if its not organic or grass fed at first, just making the first step is an achievement in itself. Over time you can start going to farmers markets to buy locally sourced vegetables and meats, you will discover flavour you didn’t know existed.
I personally stock up on meats from musclefood.com (use my promo code at checkout PF219108 for a free item) and freeze them, every morning I decide what I would like to eat that day and leave them out to defrost. I also bulk buy vegetables and cut them all up and make mixed vegetable bags that I also throw in the freezer and steam them just before I eat and it tastes amazing.
A couple of times a week me and Claire make Paleo Pancakes, Blueberry and Mango Muffins or Raspberry Chocolate Cake using Paleo ingredients such as almond flour, honey or coconut milk.
With that – I would love to hear what you think about the Paleo diet and answer any questions you have to the best of my knowledge so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I will make sure I reply as soon as I can.