The second diet we are highlighting this month is the Paleo Diet. I would not necessarily call this a diet though, it is more of a lifestyle change. According to paleodietlifestyle.com, “we call this diet the paleo diet because it includes the food that was available to us for most of our evolution during the paleolithic era, starting about 2.5 millions of years ago. It is all about natural foods to help achieve great health and a perfect physique.”
To kick start your paleo diet click on the flow chart to your left that was created by Nicole Voelzke of Crossfit South Hills in Pennsylvania and published on colebradburn.com. You can also follow these 15 simple guidelines:
- The Paleo diet should be high in fat, moderate in animal protein and low to moderate in carbohydrates. Calorie counting is not encouraged, neither is portion control.
- Eat unlimited amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter or clarified butter. Beef tallow, lard and duck fat are also good, but only if they come from healthy and well-treated animals. Beef or lamb tallow is a better choice than lamb or duck fat. Olive, avocado and macadamia oil are also good fats to use in salads and to drizzle over food, but not for cooking.
- Eat generous amounts of animal protein. This includes red meat, poultry, pork, eggs, organs (liver, kidney, heart…), wild caught fish and shellfish. Don’t be scared to eat the fatty cuts and all meals with proteins should contain fat as well. Learn to cook with bones in the form of stocks and broths.
- Eat good amounts of fresh or frozen vegetables either cooked or raw and served with fat. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams are also great as a source of non-toxic carbohydrates.
- Eat low to moderate amounts of fruits and nuts. Try to eat mostly fruits low in sugar and high in antioxidants like berries as well as nuts high in omega-3, low in omega-6 and low in total polyunsaturated fat like macadamia nuts. Consider cutting off fruits and nuts altogether if you have an autoimmune disease, digestive problem or are trying to lose weight faster.
- Preferably choose pasture-raised and grass-fed meat coming from a local, environmentally conscious farms. If not possible, choose lean cuts of meat and supplement your fat with coconut oil, butter or clarified butter. Also preferably choose organic, local and/or seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Cut out all cereal grains and legumes from your diet. This includes, but is not limited to, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, brown rice, soy, peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black eyed peas.
- Cut out all vegetable, hydrogenated and partly-hydrogenated oils including, but not limited to, margarines, soybean oil, corn oil, crisco, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil. Olive oil and avocado oil are fine, but don’t cook with them, use them in salad dressings and to drizzle over prepared food.
- Eliminate sugar, soft drinks, all packaged products and juices (including fruit juices). As a rule of thumb, if it’s in a box, don’t eat it. At the grocery store, visit only the meat, fish and produce sections.
- Eliminate dairy products other than butter and maybe heavy cream. You don’t need dairy, but if you can’t live without, read this article and consider raw, full-fat and/or fermented dairy.
- Eat when you’re hungry and don’t stress if you skip a meal or even two. You don’t have to eat three square meals a day, do what feels most natural.
- Eliminate most sources of external stress in your life as possible and sleep the most you can. Try to wakeup without an alarm and to go to bed when it’s dark.
- Don’t over-exercise, keep your training sessions short and intense and do them only a few times per week. Take some extra time off if you feel tired. Consider short and intense sprinting sessions instead of very long cardio sessions.
- Consider supplementing with vitamin D and probiotics. Levels of magnesium, iodine and vitamin K2 should also be optimized. Iodine can be obtained from seaweeds. You probably don’t need a multivitamin or other supplements.
- Play in the sun, have fun, laugh, smile, relax, discover, travel, learn and enjoy life like a daring adventure!