We are surrounded by so much contradicting information in the health world. One person eating porridge is a great source of long lasting energy while another claims it is poison. One says eat dairy, another says eat only soy, and someone else condemns both. Really, who knows for sure?!?! Well you do.
I think people forget that each of us is vastly different from the next person. Just think about your genetic make up, your cultural background, your family history, your immediate external environment, your activity levels, your exposure to stress etc etc. None of us are affected by same framework of external and internal factors day in/day out. Likewise, what works for one person, may not work for someone else or may not work as well. You see all these celebrities and bodybuilders depicting their diets and training regimes and it doesn’t take long to see that the contradictions extend into the fitness world as well. What type of exercise and how much of it varies from one person to the next…..and of course everyone thinks they know best.
But there is another very big factor at play here…money. Just look at the amount of diet and cooking books out there. It’s an industry in itself! Zone, Atkins, Weight Watchers, the Juice diet, and even paleo which has now unfortunately been grouped as a diet too…..and of course each thinks they know best. But what else do you notice? All these methods are short term solutions. You see people drop weight and swear by this method and that….and then most will gain the weight back and then some. Would you like to drink only juice for the rest of your life to stay slim? I wouldn’t. Unfortunately Paleo is considered a ‘diet’ because so many of us can’t handle eating this way for the rest of our life….that thought it too frightening….it is perfectly doable though…..and of course such dramatic lifestyle changes usually result in weight loss so now people brand it in the ‘weight loss’ category when it isn’t at all. It is a way of eating the foods we were built to process….natural, whole foods full of nutrients and minerals and vitamins. The kind of stuff our bodies desperately need to function correctly. The fact is that we are living in a world where nutrient deficiencies are rampant. I can guarantee you are deficient. I am deficient. It’s just a fact. Anyway I will tackle this in another post soon.
But back to paleo. Look you can argue all you like but you can never prove this diet as unhealthy….honestly you really cannot convince me that eating meat, fruit, veg and healthy fats is in any way bad for me. But at the end of the day it is also a starting point. When someone starts paleo, they are effectively doing a food elimination diet and removing all the processed crap along with common allergens like grains and dairy. Why are they common allergens? Well maybe because we aren’t really supposed to eat these foods, our bodies aren’t designed to do it….so in fact the majority is allergic, but the body’s reaction to these foods will vary. Some will get obvious symptoms, while others may feel nothing, but their body will be in a constant state of inflammation and stress. So that’s why when you start with this lifestyle change, go cold turkey and really make an effort to stick to the basic idea. This will also have a huge benefit in getting you off sugar…..probably the worst addiction a person can have. Then after 30 days or whatever try and eat grains and see how you feel, do the same with dairy…..I know for a fact I can’t handle these foods. Some people can. I take it one step further though and when I think about these foods, I also consider the horrific amount of processing that they undergo….effectively removing all the nutrients (there aren’t many to begin with)….so why would I waste time eating something with no nutritional benefit…..remember there is not a single nutrient in grains that you cannot get from vegetables.
So what can I eat and what should I avoid??? Well I decided to list certain things rather than specific foods.
Top 10 Bad
1. Bad fats-i.e. trans-fats and or vegetable oils- they are the true artery cloggers….not the animal fats. With regard trans fats, producers can mess with the label and say 0% trans fats but it still be present because If there is less than 1/2gram they can say there is 0%…Also anything partially hydrogenated will also have trans fats. Oils to really avoid are canola and soy oil they are fake foods…they are not traditional…I.e they have to be processed to be made into oil
2. High fructose corn syrup-This is a heart filler, a fake processed genetically modified ingredient making us sick….a big factor in heart disease.
3. MSG- This is a nerve toxin-Some common side effects include migranes, hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, obesity…..and what’s worse is that it is found in virtually all processed stuff. Use google to find the hidden names.
4. Preservatives and pesticides- anything grown conventionally or ingredients ending in ’ate’…
5. GMO products- again highly processed- corn, soy all grown with gmo seeds…which basically means we are being used in a great big science experiment…Companies make the seed so that they can grow the plant and spray the heck out of it but plant continues to grow just fine…..to me this is freaky science. Corn, canola, cotton seed,papaya, squash, soy, sugar beet are top GMO seeds so buy organic where possible
6. Factory farmed meats-enough said….we ve seen the documentaries, the whole idea is to save money while achieving mass production.
7. Artificial food dyes and flavours- in most food…these start off in petroleum refineries in china…most are banned but too many still in use….Fact is that a lot of companies don’t use natural dyes like beets….in toothpaste, medicine, cereal and especially candy…cheaper to use the fake stuff…..I was told recently that diet 7up has a small amount of a chemical used as ant killer which has a very sweet taste….great, cause I really want to drink ant killer!?!?
8. Sugar…especially highly processed. Avoid table sugar and go for more natural sources like honey. Same goes for salt by the way. Table salt is poison. Someone who eats 100% paleo actually needs to add salt to their diet (we are taught not to because of all the sodium in processed crap), but natural salt rich in minerals….sea salt for eg.
9. Low fat foods….If you take out the fat, you have to replace healthy fat with sugar or weird chemicals and weird flavours…low-fat is just fake…..
10. Soy- again pretty much all soy is GMO- these products supress thyroid function,cause reproductive issues and deplete us of vital minerals.
Some Real foods
1. Pastured animal meats- eating grass, enjoying life, these animals are raised in a way nature intended and contain 4xCLA as conventional and more omega 3
2. Raw milk- superfood the process of pasturising or ultra-past (the kind that doesn’t need to be refrigerated) which essentially makes the milk dead. It can sit on shelf and it wouldn’t matter. It will say on label but if use by date is 2 months+ then it is not real. All enzymes our bodies need to absorb and digest raw milk are still intact in raw milk. I don’t drink milk and I am yet to see raw unpasteurised milk….
3. Animal fats- best things about a real food diet- they are full of vitamin D,K esp when from pastured animals. Kerrygold butter for example. People are coming around to using coconut oil finally too. Tropical fats are high in lauric acid…these boost metabolism and help in weight loss. This fat is not stored, it’s burnt off straight away for energy and may even have anti cancer benefits. Cod liver oil- combine healthy fats with this, it is a powerful immune system builder and a natural anxiety fighter.
4. Non-sprayed produce…google the dirty dozen and the clean 15 for full list.
5. Fermented foods-good bacteria- sea salt and water. Not ones made with vinegar. These provide huge benefits for digestion and healthy gut flora.
6. Bone broth- full of essential minerals like folate and helps with digestion
7. Local food- kind of a given that these foods travel a shorter distance to get to us and so are fresher and less sprayed with preservatives.
Obviously the starting point is a desire to change and be healthy. Not lose weight. I eat this way to be healthy and fit. My weight is a side effect….I eat good food and my bodyfat is naturally low as a result. But I still have a long way to go with regard fixing my digestion and tweaking my food to get the optimal benefit but I am happy to go along with it.
Initially it’s natural to feel overwhelmed by all the things you CANT eat. You really have to flip the coin and look at the positive, experiment and reach out to others or use the internet to help you. Most important, don’t blindly follow advice from anyone, not even me. You have to do the research. Most people I try to talk to either switch off at the mention of vegetables, try to argue against me or walk away in panic after realising they have been eating the wrong thing for the past whatever amount of years. I m hardly the exception here, I ate the wrong way too. It’s taken me 6 years to tweak my diet to the way I eat today. And to be honest, I don’t really mind what way you eat and what does/does not work for you. Obviously I am willing to help and I love talking about paleo etc but there is no point if people are just going to argue back. You have to do the research, decide what is and is not feasible and make your own lifestyle change.
Be a label reader, follow paleo 80/20, plan your meals, make large batches….use the internet!
If you are the sceptical type, and have seen or heard studies saying certain things I don’t eat are good for you, consider who is paying for the research. Even the food pyramid is the result of food politics and who bid the most money….
If you get family complaints, dont buy junk just to get them to shut up. You are hardly asking them to join you in a heroin addiction! Try and chill out when out with friends (unless health conditions)….family favourites meal list….make food so no one will complain. Learn to adapt family favourites….make them more nutrient dense- chips, ice cream, popcorn with coconut oil, smoothies, condiments, all these things can be ‘paleofied’
And the argument of ‘it’s costs a fortune to eat this way!’? Well, health issues are not cheap….have you priced cancer? Or flu tablets even. Or doctors visits? You have to factor in all the variables
Ok enough now, I’m done. Happy Thursday!