Paleo Guide For Beginners
If you have any questions about the paleo diet please email me and I'd be happy to answer your questions.
If your in the fitness industry or even workout in the gym you have probably herd of the word paleo. It is essentially trying to replicate how our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic period (cavemen). This period extends to roughly 2.6 million years ago and ends an estimated 10,000 years before present date (2015). However the start of agriculture (farming) and consequently production of grains, developed no longer than 12,000 years ago. 12 thousand years and 2.6 million years is a big difference and it is believed, and in some cases been proven, that our bodies have not evolved enough to be able to breakdown crops (grains/legumes) from farming. Therefore eating food that we have been eating for the 2.598 million years prior to the agricultural revolution allows our body to function correctly.
What you can and can't eat
Foods should be organic, fresh and grass fed (only the meat..I don't expect the vegetables to be grass fed)
Foods You Can Eat
Fish/Seafood (cod, crab, lobster, shrimp)
Poultry (chicken, turkey)
Meat (steak, pork)
Fruits (apples, bananas, blueberries)
Vegetable (spinach, broccoli, asparagus)
Eggs (chicken, ostrich)
Nuts (almond, pecans, walnuts)
Seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin)
Oils (Olive, Coconut, flaxseed)
Foods You Can't Eat
Grains (wholegrain including oats, refined)
Legumes (peas, kidney beans including peanuts; which you may not know is not even a nut)
Dairy (milk, cheese, butter)
Refined sugar (candy or as my fellow Englishman would say sweets)
Processed food (bread, artificial sweeteners)
Refined vegetable oils
Why shouldn't we eat grains
Grains contain phytic acid which blocks absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper. Early during the agricultural revolution grains would sit out in the field which allowed them to under go a process known as thrashing. This would allow the grains to sprout. Significant data has shown that this sprouting process breaks down the phytic acid and increases the grains vitamin content. In todays world, grains don't undergo this process and are taken from field to supermarket in order to keep up with demand. Inability to absorb these minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper) causes diseases such as osteoporosis.
Other negative effects grains have on our bodies is that they spike our insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced in our body that regulates how the food we eat is stored. If the food can't be used for energy then it is stored as fat. Consumption of grains spike this insulin and increase fat storage. Overtime this fat accumulates and leads us to the obesity epidemic we are facing today. These constant spikes in insulin also put stress on our pancreas (where insulin is produced) and cause it to crash and stop working. This is known as Type II diabetes!
Last but not least are gluten and lectins, both found in grains/legumes. Gluten and lectins breaks down the 'walls' of your intestines which in-turn allows particles of food into your blood stream. Your body then produces and immune response to eradicate these particles from the body causing allergies that can be seen today, such as gluten intolerance.
Staying on track
In order to keep my clients on track with their new lifestyle of eating, I use the '80% rule'. Throughout the day you should be trying to eat 80% paleo. This psychologically sets you up to succeed. An example is when you are really craving some high calorie, high sugar, high tasting piece of cake and you are on a paleo diet, telling yourself you can't have it. This makes you want it more, am I right? You may have the will power to say no that day but it becomes and endless battle each day when something nice tasting but not necessarily good for your body, or paleo, is put in front of you. It would actually be slightly depressing putting yourself through that everyday of your life. I know before I discovered the 80% rule, once I did give into my cravings, the whole of my diet would go down the pan, sometimes for as long as a couple of months. Psychologically I was saying to myself I messed up so the whole day is ruined, I might as well eat what I want. That is why I use the 80% rule. Having 20% to deviate from paleo allows you to eat something we consider a little naughty and not feel like you've failed. Furthermore, 20% is not going to have a significant impact on your body. Probably the most important point of this rule is it allows the paleo diet to be sustainable throughout the rest of your life. Seriously who wants to go paleo for the rest of their lives and never be able to eat cheese again? Not me! I love cheese (and butter :D )
Be creative! Healthy food can taste just as good, and most of the time better, than processed unhealthy food. Herbs and spices (especially garlic) will be your new best friends.
Spinach, bell pepper, asparagus, onion, chicken omelet. If your trying to put on some muscle try adding a side of sweet potato hash.
Almond butter and apple slices
Salmon and beet salad with walnuts, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, and crumbly blue cheese
Spaghetti squash with a garlic tomato sauce and organic meatballs
For more great ideas like these and a more in depth meal plan visit the 'prices' section where I can send you a meal plan tailored to your specific needs.
Paleo is good for anyone who has respect for their health. It is essentially eating how cavemen ate and the core components are: eat meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, seeds and nuts; don't eat grains, legumes, and dairy. It encourages us to eat healthy organic food that will increase brain function, decrease fatigue, reduce illness and gives animals the freedom to enjoy their lives rather than being locked up in a cage. Having an 80% adherence rate allows for the diet to be sustainable and realistic. Get creative, just because its healthy, doesn't mean it has to be tasteless.