So for the last few months, I have been getting lots of questions about the paleo diet, do I follow it and if not, why not. To be honest, I haven’t followed the paleo diet because I like my grains, dairy and the occasional sweet thing. I am a firm believer in the don’t knock it til you’ve tried attitude- as long as there is some sound evidence behind. That being said I would never try some crazy fad diet just to try it. However after researching the paleo diet, there are some valid points to following the diet. Basically the premise of the diet is to eat like they did in the cave man days. Get away from the processed foods, and stick to foods that are hunted and or gathered. Makes sense, avoid the processing and unnecessary chemicals and preservatives. Paleo takes it a step further by removing foods that are known to cause inflammation in the body: dairy, grains, omega-6’s. Now not everyone has a reaction to these foods, but getting away from the complex carbs and eating simply helps to keep the body running at optimal level- per paleo.
So here’s the breakdown of what I will be following to a T for the next 2 weeks.
This is from paleoplan.com
You can eat all of them without limit, except…
Vegetables to limit for weight loss:
Potatoes – stay away from potatoes if you have an autoimmune disorder
Limit fruit intake, especially dried fruit, for weight loss, according to some, but otherwise, eat all of them freely.
MEATS and EGGS
Eat meats and eggs freely, but in order to mimic our ancestors best, eat these products from animals that were grass fed/pasture raised. At the least, steer clear of meats with preservatives and color or flavor enhancers, particularly added nitrites, as they can be pretty toxic.
Eggs – from chickens, ducks, emu, quail, etc.
FISH, SHELL FISH, FISH EGGS
All species are fine – just be conscious of mercury levels and ecological practices. Know that smaller fish like anchovies generally have less bio-accumulation of heavy metals and toxins, and high levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
NUTS & SEEDS
All are good, as well as the butters that are made from them. Also on this list are coconut flour and almond flour. Peanuts are NOT NUTS – they’re legumes, and thus are not on the list. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit nuts and seeds to about 1 or 2 ounces per day, as the calories add up quickly!
kombu, wakame, other seaweeds, algaes, etc. They’re all good – great, in fact.
unrefined red palm oil
Watch your intake of all of these if you’re trying to lose weight – they’re very calorie dense.
Filtered or spring water
Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables
EAT IN MODERATION
Alcohol (all kinds)
Sweeteners – Raw honey, stevia, coconut sap, grade B maple syrup
FOODS TO AVOID
Pasteurized Dairy – butter, milk, yogurt, kefir, cream, ice cream, powdered milk, and anything else from an animal’s teat. This is debatable in the Paleo community, so do your reading and choose for yourself. In our opinion, if you’re going to have dairy, you should make it raw, whole-fat, fermented dairy. Read more on that here.
Grains or grain-like foods – wheat, rice, millet, oats, spelt, kamut, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, amaranth, sorghum, rye, barley, corn. AND any flour, noodle or other food made out of any of these.
Legumes – All beans. Black, pinto, red, soy, lentils, peas, peanuts, adzuki, garbanzo, navy, mung, lima, black-eyed peas, you get the picture… Snowpeas, sugar snap peas and green beans are acceptable to eat.
Refined Sweeteners – sugar cane, white sugar, brown sugar, refined maple syrup, refined honey, aspartame, sucralose, Nutrasweet, Splenda, and anything else refined or man-made.
Highly Processed Oils – any oil that is hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, fractionated, refined, or otherwise adulterated.
Most Vegetable Oils – Any oil with a high omega 6 content that comes from a seed, grain or legume, such as corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, grape seed, peanut and others. Seeds like flax and hemp have a lower omega 6 content and thus are fine. Just don’t cook with those.
Fruit Juice – unless it comes straight from your juicer at home.
Soft Drinks – see “Sweeteners” above.
Refined, iodized salt – use unrefined sea salt
After reading through this are going to be a few exceptions:
1. during my long runs on the weekends I will still be using Gu’s for energy. I’m not messing with what I know works for those runs.
2. The occasional pumpkin spice latte may sneak in. I am going to try to make my own paleo version, but if it’s a rough day, and I’m in Starbucks I will be getting a coffee no milk with that flavoring.
All the recipes I make will be posted as well as how I feel and how the day goes.
The last day will be Saturday September 29th. This is right before my last long run and before I leave for Philadelphia for about a week.
Thoughts before starting:
The foods I’m going to miss; cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, lentils, tempeh, edamame, and sweets.
Expectations: to eat more vegetables and to clean up the crap out of my diet (yes even dietitians don’t always eat perfectly)
I hope after this experiment to find a way to keep eating the vegetables and add back in most of the foods listed minus the excess amounts of sweets I was eating. I also hope this will help me develop a better sense of what I eat and the amounts. I admit I’m a pretty good eater, I just eat a lot of the healthy stuff, way more than I know I should, which isn’t a bad thing- just need to rein in my portion sizes and get them back down to the appropriate size.
Please ask me questions during this. I want to make it helpful for you as it will be for me.
Here we go!!