"The Paleo Diet" (Blog #159)
The Paleo diet has been a huge buzz for the past few years. It's the latest craze for people looking to get lean and shed lots of body fat. Research shows that ANY diet that creates a caloric restriction works well with weight (fat) loss, but the Paleo diet seems to be the most popular. The Paleo diet or as some call it the "Caveman Diet", is how many of our ancestors would have eaten being hunters and gatherers.
What is the Paleo diet? In a nutshell (pun intended), eating "Paleo" means you can only eat what the earth provides. The list is pretty simple; you can eat meat, fish, chicken, eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, potatoes, and that's pretty much it. Anything processed or man-made is out. It's actually really simple to follow on paper. The difficulty is getting rid of all those delicious doughy treats. If you want to take it to the next level, some people even cut out potatoes, but that's a little too insane for me.
The body needs carbohydrates, especially if you're training with weights. At the start of your Paleo journey, you may feel a little lethargic and have low energy until your body learns to deal with its new found fuel, but from my own personal experience and my ten years of training and researching, Paleo works! If you go from an "American" diet of high carbs and low protein levels, to eating (almost) no dough and higher protein, your body composition will change for the better drastically.
What is "dough"? I'm glad you asked. Dough is bread (any variety), pasta, bagels, waffles, pita, wraps, rice, pretzels, etc. I think it's tough and unrealistic for most humans to follow this diet in this day and age, but if you can, you will be a lean machine in a very short amount of time. However, I'm a believer in a Paleo-ish diet! Meaning, limit your dough intake and increase your fat and protein intake. That way you will feel pretty good and it can be a long lasting change instead of a quick fix where you yo-yo up and down on the scale.
There are a few things you should watch out for if you're ready to give this Paleo a shot, if you cut out your doughy calories, but intake too much fat and protein, you can theoretically still take in too many overall calories and not lose weight/body fat. Granted, this is hard to do, but it is possible. Keeping a strict food journal is always the way to go when attempting to lose body fat, that way you know what works and what doesn't. Plus, it takes all of the guessing out of it.
Paleo eating is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I challenge all of you to give it a shot. Even if you do it the way I prefer with a very limited amount of dough (rice) everyday or a slice of toast (just 1 "dough a day") to prevent you going crazy and quitting. Just remember, your body is a well oiled machine and needs daily movement (weight training), good fuel, lots of water and good sleep to perform at its best.
Lastly, a quick disclaimer: Carbs (rice, pasta, bread, etc) are not bad for you! Too many of them will make you fat! The doughy carbs get a bad name because they are easy to make, they taste good, they have a long shelf life and they are cheap...This makes them easy to overindulge in, but they are not bad for you! They actually give you a great energy source when training or just living your life, but in today's world we all sit way too much and just cant burn off the large amounts of calories we all eat. Limit the doughy stuff, log your journey and see how you feel...