Weight Loss
Moderators: spoiled_candy, Mollybygolly, coach_k, devilish_patsy, nycgirl


Can anyone explain to me what it is and what the food restrictions are? A lot of people lately have been trying it and I'm curious about how it works, the benefits, the risks ect.

Edited Jul 19 2012 19:56 by melkor
Reason: Moved to correct forum
15 Replies (last)

The Benefits:

I've been eating "paleo" for over a year and have tremendous health results. Going into the diet, I had recently been diagnosed with:

Type II Diabetes (after being "pre-diabetic" for years)

asthma (severe enough to merit at least one ER visit every year, and at its worst, I was on 5 meds, not counting an emergency inhaler)

arthritis (1 med)

Depression (2 meds)

ADHD (2 meds)

Psoriasis (prescription steroid cream)

high cholesterol (1 Statin, of which I only took one and threw away the rest) 

I was 49 when I started...now I'm 50, and I'm off ALL meds, except the psoriasis cream.  My blood sugar and lipids are perfect (A1cs are 5.5).  I also lost 40 pounds--still can lose some more.  

I have been very strict about the no grains and no legumes, but struggled at first with the no sweeteners.  I used a minimal amount of artificial sweeteners (splenda or polyols) at first, and now only use raw honey...but I can't remember the last time I actually had that.  

Dairy is my biggest difficulty.  As much as I'd like to keep eating dairy, I am determined that this summer I will be saying "good-bye" to it forever.   Why?  I've finally seen a connection between my psoriasis (which I've had since toddlerhood) and dairy.  When I am COMPLETELY off dairy for a good week or so, it gets substantially better...after a few weeks, it is GONE.  When I let the dairy slip back in, it comes back.  

My whole family does it, now, although none are as "strict" as I am.  My already fit 20 year old lost 11 pounds and his skin has never been as clear.  My husband's arthritis and high blood pressure are better...but he is still a huge "cheater" about the grains.

I highly recommend you check out the blogs and books by Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain and Mark Sisson to learn more about the health benefits.  Robb also has a great podcast. 

Good luck.

 

Foods:

It's easier to say what you CAN eat...

Essentially stick to meats (including fish, eggs, wild game, etc.), vegetables, tubers, roots and bulbs, with occasional fruits.  Cook with coconut oil, lard, beef tallow or olive oil.  

If you can get grass-fed/finished meats, that is best, but not essential.

The concept of paleo is really a framework for including foods in your diet.  We have a lot of individual differences about what foods, in what quantity, we can tolerate.

Robb Wolf usually recommends trying it STRICT...no cheats...for 30 days, and evaluating how you "look, feel and perform" and I second that.  Then, add other foods back, if you so desire, and see how you tolerate them.  

I'm not including any recipes, because if you google "paleo recipes", you will have more than enough to keep you fed for a long time.

If you want a "NO" list...

Grains (no corn, no rice, no oatmeal...if it's not really a grain, but looks or acts like a grain...it is a "no")

Legumes (no peanut butter, soy, beans)

Dairy 

Sweeteners (no sugar, sweeteners, artificial sweeteners)

Potatoes (white) are not used by some, but included by others...but should be peeled.

No soybean, corn, canola oils (because they come from foods listed above). 

Substitutions:

I find it usually better just not to have something, than to try to have a fake one.  That being said...

Grains....try making "cauliflower rice" or a "nut cereal"

Legumes...almond butter (or other nut butters) 

Dairy...coconut milk for your coffee.  Instead of cheese, try avocado or hard-boiled egg in salad, they give you good, creamy "mouth-feel."

Sweeteners...enjoy fruit for a sweetener.  I recently made chocolate cupcakes for my husband's birthday party.  The recipe used chopped dates for the sweetener and coconut flour.  They were delicious!!

Probably best reserved to the diet section.

Basically lean meats, green veg, a little fruit, a little nuts, no grain, nothing processed.

Original Post by eb611582:

Can anyone explain to me what it is and what the food restrictions are? A lot of people lately have been trying it and I'm curious about how it works, the benefits, the risks ect.


My cousin does it religiously and just published a slow cooker book about it, actually. It's really just all natural foods.

Nothing processed, including grain and cheese.

If a caveman couldn't find it or kill it, you don't eat it.

That's the basic concept of the diet.

She eats lots of lean meat, green vegetables, and fruit, though I think she limits fruit (because cavemen would not always have had it, thus it is a 'treat')

I don't do paleo, I'm more of a low carb person, but..the benefits of it would be the utter and total lack of fast food, processed food, and junk in general.

 

I found the dairy restriction odd, considering the stance on butter and ghee.

Also, what cavemen or hunter/gatherers eat varies depending on where they lived.  Some would have eaten mostly fruit+veggies and would have foraged for nuts and seeds and eaten meat+fish when they could catch it.

Also, some of them may have had milk.  Not cows milk of course, but rather reindeer milk- is that paleo?

Original Post by smashley23:

Also, what cavemen or hunter/gatherers eat varies depending on where they lived.  Some would have eaten mostly fruit+veggies and would have foraged for nuts and seeds and eaten meat+fish when they could catch it.

Also, some of them may have had milk.  Not cows milk of course, but rather reindeer milk- is that paleo?

Interesting question. Now, I'll have to google to see if they milked things.

History shows when cattle were domesticated and kept/used for dairy and such, but none of my Anthro classes in school discussed whether or not they milked things.

Hmmm.

 

Original Post by ignayshus:

Probably best reserved to the diet section.

Basically lean meats, green veg, a little fruit, a little nuts, no grain, nothing processed.

This is true - both of them.

I find the paleo concept a little odd, personally, since it presupposes that we wouldn't evolutionary adapt to locally available food sources in about 100 generations. Which is demonstrably false given the spread of the genes for adult lactose tolerance that shows how rapidly and thoroughly we've adapted to novel foods.

The dairy is the part that is probably the most variable across people who do paleo.  Mark Sisson is much more liberal in his take of the dietary guidelines in "The Primal Blueprint," while Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf are stricter.  I never considered that I might be dairy intolerant, certainly I don't have celiac.  However, for me, it turned out that dairy did have negative consequences (the psoriasis).  

Just have to try it yourself and see what you tolerate best.  If you've always had dairy and grains in your diet, you may not realize what negative things they are doing to your body until you have eliminated them for a month or so. Course, if you're lucky....you might tolerate them very well.  If so, why bother to give them up!!!  

I was just the opposite...had amazing health results.  I thought my doctor's face was going to crack in half when I went back for a check-up recently...his smile was so big.  He wrote down everything I ate, then went home and read Robb Wolf's book and sent me an e-mail about it.

One thing I like about Robb Wolf's position is that that he is quick to remind people that this is not a religion, we are not living in the age of the caveman, paleo is just a framework for building a lifelong diet that is nutrition dense and healthy.

thhq
Jul 19 2012 22:18
Member posts
Send message
#11  
Quote  |  Reply

You left out the amylase in our saliva melkor. Demonstrable proof that most humans have adapted to eating wheat.

In spending a lot of time on paleo blogs, I see a lot of N=1 evidence that avoiding grain induces allergy-like responses when previously non-allergic paleo dieters attempt to add grains back to their diet. When I first saw it I thought it was the conventional paleo anti-grain hysteria, but after seeing it many times it became clear that these were people that had had very bad negative responses.  Their reaction to the cramps, diarrhea, "brain fog", etc. was very disappointing: they made ever-stricter restrictions on their diets, to remove even the smell of fresh bread or other such nonsense. 

We will never be able to exactly recreate paleo in our times, and grain avoidance is to me silly behavior. But most paleos swear by this as being the most important thing. Since no one owns grok, I am my own grok.  I consider it paleo enough to practice hunt-and-gather behavior as many hours of the day as I possibly can, and to eat meat. The rest of the program is focused on selling fish oil and diet books, neither of which the real paleolithic grok would have had ANY use for.

I think the grain restrictions are really unnecessary for someone who doesn't have celiac or something. But, restricting food groups can make it easier to lose weight (think Atkins). The problem is that once you lose the weight it can be hard to maintain such a restrictive diet, and the weight comes back.

I find that idea that cavemen ate much healthier than us ridiculous. Sure, they didn't have processed foods. But no refrigeration meant having to scavenge, forage, or hunt daily. And, eat whatever was available. I'm sure this meant that they were lacking many essential vitamins and minerals much of the time, and I don't even want to consider the frequency of foodborne illness and famine.

And, like melkor said, our digestive system evolved to be very adaptable. It had to be because our caveman ancestors had to eat whatever they could scrounge up.

 I'm from Norway, and my ancestors survived because they could digest anything they were able to choke down, best out of three tries. When the Paleo enthusiasts tell me I shouldn't eat anything I can't catch with a spear, I can't help but wonder how fast a donut can run ;-P

#14  
Quote  |  Reply

Its funny how I never considered myself one to be following a "fad diet". I have been eating as if on the paleo diet without ever knowing it! Last month I read a magazine article about it and I started laughing, recognizing that I've apparently been on the paleo diet without knowing it.

I have cut out MOST processed food (ice cream will never be gone!) and I have been eating as basic (according to friends -- bland) food as I can. I've figured out that I was so darned overweight because I consumed soooo many useless excess calories in things I didn't even like! My chinese food used to be drowned in salty sauce. I never really liked it. It just came with my shrimp and broccoli. Now I eat just steamed shrimp and broccoli, like my ancient ancestors. I ate fistfulls of candy a day. Now I pack grapes and strawberries like I did M&Ms and Wonka Products.  My breakfast always seemed to make me starving and hungry within two hours (lots of heavily processed carbs). Now I eat 1/3 what I used to eat (simple grain cereals and fruit, no milk) and am satisfied til lunch.

I am amazed to see what I cut out that was processed, salty, carbohydrate-y.... and I don't miss ANY of it. I feel so much fuller on whole foods, eat less, and enjoy it more. And its all this thing called the paleo diet. Its just eating simple, pure foods with as little goop added for "flavor".

 

thhq
Jul 20 2012 00:13
Member posts
Send message
#15  
Quote  |  Reply

I'm 1/2 Norwegian melkor, and based on my grandparents Norwegians are adapted to eat any food that's white. White fish, white cottage cheese, white bread, white sugar, white milk. My grandpa varied the pattern a little by drinking a quart of buttermilk for lunch every day, as did grandma's addition of eggs and butter to everything. Of course ham and jello were allowed to give the meals a little color, and because jello was a salad. 

So the part about the Norwegian cast iron stomach rings very true for me.  None of the paleo banned foods cause me any digestive trouble.  My problem - and my grandparents as well - is that we liked to eat anything, sit around and watch the fights on TV, and go everywhere in a car (made worse because grandpa sold Shell).  This life of overeating and inactivity made us fat, eventually killing my grandparents of stroke and heart disease in their 70's.

I would like to do better. 

 

15 Replies
Advertisement
Advertisement