Sunday, October 18, 2009

Paleo Diet 101

In my last "Obsessions" post, I mentioned how the Paleo diet helped me get my pre-pregnancy body weight back. My son is almost four months old and as of today, my body is back to it's original weight and I feel great. I've only done the Paleo diet for five weeks now. When I had first started, I was 124 lbs. Today I weigh at 110 lbs. Before I start explaining the basics of Paleo diet, I'd like to point out a few things:

1) In today's world, the word "diet" is thrown around so much that people assume the word means "starving one's self". Dieting is NOT starving yourself. Dieting is changing the way you eat. So don't assume that I lost my baby weight that quickly by starving myself and eating 3 nuts a day or something.

2) Every diet works! The key to making every diet work is by sticking to it. You've all heard of the Atkins diet, South Beach diet and Weight Watchers diet program I'm sure. They all work to help people lose weight but the only way people will keep the weight off, is by continuing that diet.

3) It's not how much you eat. It's what you eat. You can starve yourself and only eat one meal a day. But if that meal is consisting of fatty foods and junk, you're not going anywhere.

4) The number on the scale shouldn't matter. Of course, it was nice to see my weight plummet on the bathroom scale but the best part was seeing my body become more toned and strong. A person who is overweight can shed many pounds but without exercise, what's left is just loose skin & that's never attractive. What should matter is how healthy & strong you feel! SO NO STARVING, LADIES! :-)

Ok onto our Paleo basics...

When you get a mental picture of Adam & Eve from the bible, do you imagine an overweight couple or do you imagine a fit couple? I usually imagine two of the most beautiful people on the planet. Fit bodies, tan skin, beautiful hair (for Eve, anyway!). And have you ever seen a picture of an obese cave man? Hardly. The Paleo Diet is nicknamed the "caveman diet" for a reason.

Basically, here's the main point: "Eat what you are naturally meant to eat". God gave us the Garden of Eden and it was filled with plants, veggies, fruits, nuts and very meaty animals. If you don't want me to be too biblical, think of it from a caveman's perspective. Cavemen didn't go out to the grocery store and buy bread, cake, milk, pasta and salad dressing. They had to hunt for meat and search for plants with edible veggies/fruit. THAT IS ALL YOU'RE ALLOWED TO EAT!!

How much can you eat? Cavemen ate enough to stay full. I never ate to the point where I wanted to pop, but I ate enough to keep me full. No more counting calories. Just eat naturally.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking of giving up the sugars, pastas, rice, mashed potatoes, and whatever the heck else you were told was "healthy". Well I will tell you that I have the worst sweet tooth ever. I used to have the appetite of a five year old on Halloween night. It was bad. I loved cereal and milk. I'd eat cereal all day if I could. And my weight was just stuck! If you want real results, you'll give up the crap and try this out. It started as a 30-day challenge between my husband and I. He's in Japan right now on deployment so we haven't seen our progress, but I do remember whining to him on the phone telling him I couldn't take it anymore; I needed sugar!! However, I never caved into the temptation (even at birthday parties! You know how much I looooove cake!). And I'm so happy I didn't.

Another thing you have to consider is how the foods are cooked/prepared. Yes, chicken is meat but if it was fried and dipped in oil, it's definitely not Paleo-friendly :-) Cashews are nuts, but if they've been dusted with salt then stay away from them. A salad is made up mostly of veggies but try to avoid croutons, parmesan cheese (another one of my weaknesses!) and dressing. Sounds boring, huh? But it works. To avoid being bored, I try to mix it up a bit. One day my meat will be turkey and then the next day I'll have tuna.

Here's the good news, you are allowed cheat days. I don't pig out often but once in awhile, I'll let myself have a cookie or a yogurt. & you can still have that weekend beer! Those days are well-deserved after all your hard work! Here's another piece of good news. You don't have to give up sweets entirely. There's a cookbook I found that shows you how to make paleo treats using healthy ingredients. I looked it over and there's nothing that mentions sugar! I'm dying to try them out! Once I do, I'll do a post!

For now, I'll list a few of my favorite Paleo-friendly foods:

Eggs (scrambled, poached, sunnyside up) using olive oil or vegetable cooking spray
Tuna (plain or with eggs--make sure you use the ones in the water not oil)
Turkey breast (either in a salad or alone)
Any kind of fish (skip the tarter sauce, but lemon will work) Sushi works too, just don't eat the rice!
Apples/grapes/raisins/blueberries (my fave)
Cashew nuts (unsalted)
Water ( I don't drink anything else!)

That's not all I eat, but those are just my favorites. I hope this helps to enlighten some of you on the Paleo diet. This is no actually works. Paleo diet has helped many people cure illnesses and heal from injuries faster. It's been proven. My skin is clearer and I can withstand my tough workouts at the gym. So if you're willing to go for it, then I wish you the best of luck. I hope this lifestyle change (let's not use the word DIET), brings you health and happiness as it has to me!

*I am not a professional nutritionist or anything. These facts are based on what I've read and experience through Paleo.
*I don't own any of these pictures
*And I plan on doing a fitness post, if you ladies are interested. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. October 18 is my birthday! I'd like to ask a few questions:
    1. How do you reconcile the good health of the people of France, Italy, etc who eat a lot of bread and cheese and wine? There's no fat people there. Also the Japanese eat a lot of rice. They're healthy.

    2. Does Paleo work if you kind of "half" it? Like you eliminate grains, but still eat cheese (organic) or a little yogurt in a smoothie?

    3. How strict should one be on the issue of artificial preservatives? Sometimes it is hard to go 100%. Like shredded coconut might have a preservative. If you're 80% compliance on the "natural" stuff, is a preservative here and there ok?

    4. Are all fruits allowed? Bananas, mangos, etc.