Just this past weekend I was chatting with a woman who informed that she was going on a diet. Her goal? To lose approximately 15 pounds by Spring Break. Not an impossible feat by any measure, except she didn’t know how she should approach her diet.
“I’m going to hit the gym hard core and do lots of cardio. I’ve also heard a lot of good things about the Paleo diet, and I think I want to try that. What are your thoughts on the Paleo diet, Doc?”
The Paleo diet, or Caveman diet, is basically about going old school and eating all natural to boost your metabolism and facilitate fat burning. As far as what you can eat, the diet is very simple and the #1 food rule of Paleo is this: If a cavewoman didn’t eat it, neither can you.
And what does that mean exactly? Well that means sayonara to sweets and candies. Au revoir to dairy. And farewell to processed food. Which means things like pasta, rice, bread, bagels, cereal, and all other refined grains have to go. And I know what some of you are thinking, “Seriously Dr. Phoenyx?! No pasta?! No bread?! No pizza?! No potato chips?! For God’s sake, what’s left for me to eat?!” Actually tons of stuff- which we’ll get to shortly. But first let me say with this:
Paleo can be a bit challenging, especially if you’re a diehard pasta/pastry/cereal/bread/rice loving carb-oholic. Which to be honest, many of us are nowadays.
And that said, if you are a carb lover who’s also having a rough time dropping weight, I’d seriously suggest putting those refined carbs on the backburner for atleast 30 days and giving Paleo (or low carb diets in general) a shot.
Here are six tips for going Paleo:
1. Drink plenty of water and nix the sugar-filled drinks and sodas (even diet soda and sports drinks have gotta go)
2. Eat lean meat and wild fish. When you do eat meat, you want to go as natural as possible. So skip the processed meats and try your best to eat grass-fed meat, free-range meat, organic meat and wild fish.
3. Eat mostly veggies (and some fruit in moderation). While the Paleo diet does give the OK to meat, it’s important to note that meat wasn’t always available. Remember, cavefolk had to hunt for their food and snagging din-din wasn’t always a guarantee. So what did cavefolk rely mostly on for food? Yup, you guessed it. Veggies, and fruit in moderation because of it’s sugar (i.e. fructose) content.
4. Eat nuts and seeds, and cook with all-natural oils. Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats and are good for you, so eat them. But if you have to drop pounds, you definitely shouldn’t go nuts on nuts- mainly because they are also high in calories. Also when cooking, use natural oils like coconut oil and grape seed oil which also contain healthy fats.
5. Eat eggs, but cut out dairy and all processed foods. Eggs, like meat and fish, will be your source of healthy protein. As far as dairy, fact is there were no domesticated cows in cavewoman days, so dairy’s a no-no when it comes to die-hard Paleo-ers. Same goes for processed foods, as well as “low calorie” and “low fat” prepackaged meals. Remember, we’re going all natural.
6. Workout like a cavewoman. Cavewomen were very fit and if you want that lean, toned cavewoman look too, minus the hairy legs and underarms of course, you should try working out “Paleo style” by doing things like fasted training, lots of walking, interval training with short and fast sprints (to simulate running from a dinosaur), pull-ups (to simulate climbing trees for fruit), as well as simple, strength building exercises (like pushups) to build strong muscles for when you have to toss large boulders or wrestle saber-tooth tigers.
Bottom line, the Paleo diet is very simple and really it just boils down to living your life like a hunter and gatherer. Or you can“think like a caveman, act like a cavewoman.” 😉
One more thing: For those who are curious about my diet- No, I’m not a 100% Paleo. I practice a more flexible, modified form of Paleo-low carb diet which permits certain types of food like dairy. I also exercise regularly, focusing on jump rope workouts and strength training exercises. That’s what works best for me.
Either way you slice it, Paleo is an excellent diet grounded in science and healthy-goodness. And ultimately, by following most (or all) of the main principles of the Paleo diet, you’ll be able to shed pounds quickly, healthily, and you’ll get in fantastic shape!
Have you ever tried the Paleo Diet? Did it help you lose weight? Any Paleo tips you’d like to share with me and readers? Sound off in the comments! – Doc