I’m a believer!
You know I’m not a fad-diet kind of girl. Anything that claims to “get you the body you’ve always dreamed of in seven days or less” is a bunch of hoopla.
Nonetheless, I know these fads exist and they prey on desperate people who claim to have tried everything–except a normal, healthy diet and exercise, of course. Weird how that’s never an option, and yet it’s the one that works 100 percent of the time.
I have a client who recently got married. One month before her wedding, we had a discussion about the final “leaning out” stage in her training. The time where the last few abs start to show and shoulders have a nice rounded line at the top. Basically, how most of us want to look all the time.
Getting that lean effect has a lot to do with food of course, but I wasn’t about to give her some Lemonade Diet or Hollywood Diet. Heck no!
I had heard of the Paleo Diet in the past. Something about being a caveman, eating dinosaurs and other cavemen. I came to find out, in addition to dinosaurs, you fill your plate with tons of fruits and vegetables and some healthy fats like nuts, seeds, healthy oils, etc. Sounds good, although no grains are allowed (rice can be an occasional exception). Every time I hear that grains and dairy are off the list, I become skeptical. I think Atkins, which we should all know by now is horrible.
My client went and bought the books and immediately gave them to me to look over, so I did. I sat and read The Paleo Diet cover to cover. I was shocked and a little taken aback. Here was a book that was telling me that grains were not made for human beings. What?!! You're telling me, the girl who has preached to hundreds of people that “50 to 60 percent of your diet needs to come from whole grains,” that grains are the devil (my word, not theirs)?
Jaime, you have some ’splaining to do.
Yeah, I do!
OK, so it’s one thing to read about it, it’s another to do it. So I did. I started phasing out my typical toast with peanut butter, oatmeal or cereal breakfasts, replacing them with fruits, nuts, eggs, veggies and even lean meats. I started only eating fruits, veggies, nuts, meats for my snacks, lunches and dinners.
I thought I would be hungry, I’m not. I thought I wouldn’t have energy, I do. I thought I would miss the old foods, I don’t.
So again, I'm a believer, but maybe you’re not. Below is a brief summery of how to eat Paleo and perhaps a few questions answered.
So what can I eat on the Paleo Diet?
Good question. The bulk of your diet will be vegetables and fruits. Next, lean meats/proteins, followed by nuts and seeds and healthy fats like coconut, avocados, walnut and olive oil and finally special treats like dried fruits, sweet potatoes, yam fries, etc.
Ok, what can’t I eat on the Paleo Diet?
- No cereals.
- No legumes.
- No dairy.
- No processed food.
If you want a full description as to why, check out RobbWolf.com. Personally, I thought that not eating beans or dairy was a bit much. I did it anyway, a little bit. Then slowly stopped all together. I will say this: If I now consume legumes or dairy, it’s not that I get sick, I just don’t feel amazing or even good. Simply put.
Won’t I be hungry?
No! If you’re still hungry after your paleo-style meal, go back and eat fruits and veggies until you’re full. The thing is, natural food is designed to fill us up, hitting all the right triggers in our brains and signaling that we’re satisfied. If you’re still hungry after eating a meal of lean proteins, veggies and fruits, then you know it’s because your body truly needs more nourishment and not because the food is chemically engineered to cause you to overconsume. I mean, how many times do you eat two, three, four or five apples, chicken breasts, avocados and pork chops? You just don’t really have the urge, right?
Now how many times do you eat two, three, four or five slices of pizza or hot dogs or burgers or helpings of fries? It’s OK, we all do and it’s because it’s designed that way.
What about my energy levels? I need carbs!
Exactly, you need carbs! Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and almost half of your diet will be just that. Carbs do not just mean pasta, rice, bread and grainy foods. Our ancestors actually had to run around all day long. Killing things, chasing things, fighting things, building things—that takes a lot of energy and they did it off berries and meat. What do we need so much food for? For typing and driving all day?
I can’t give up breads, pasta, cereals, oatmeal. I just can’t!
Yes, you can. I thought the same thing. Just try it for a week or two. See how you feel. Make it a challenge!
Sounds a little extreme.
It’s extreme if you’re used to eating garbage. In that case, sounds like you need help anyway. This is the way we were designed to eat and that’s why I am confident in my suggestions, since all I am telling you to do is fill your plates with lots of fruits, veggies, other healthy things and getting rid of processed crap. Shame on me.
The bottom line, eat what makes you feel and look your best.