Focus On: The Paleolithic Diet

Let’s get all caveman up in here….

image Source

and talk a little bit about the Paleo style of eating.

It’s gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and is huge among Crossfit devotees. When I first heard about it while we were living in Valdosta, GA, I diverted my attention as soon as I heard “no grains or goat cheese.”

Um, no thank you.

Here’s what the Paleo food pyramid looks like:

paleo-food-pyramid-boot-campSource

Entirely based on whole, organic foods but no grains, dairy, beans/legumes, sugar or salt.

So what is it: The Paleolithic style of eating is based on the foods that our ancestors, hunters and gatherers, used to ingest before the introduction of agriculture (10,000 years ago). The idea is that humans are intended to eat certain foods, and evolution hasn’t caught up to digest or utilize the highly processed foods we see today. The Paleo diet was first suggested by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin, who claimed that a carnivorous diet, high in fats and proteins and low in carbs, would improve health and prevent digestive problems. Since then, many doctors and nutritionists have jumped on the Paleo bandwagon and offer alternatives to the original plan which can include diary and starches.

Pros:

Paleo emphasizes whole foods, which is always a winner for me. I also think it’s great that many followers of this style of eating also pay close attention to the origins of their food and strive to buy organic products. Wayyyyy back in the day, when we had to hunt for our meat, it wasn’t pumped up with antibiotics and hormones, and fruits and veggies weren’t sprayed heavily with pesticides and chemicals.

Health benefits. No matter what style of eating you follow, eating whole foods will provide health benefits. Whole foods are higher in nutrient value and by avoiding processed foods, you’re also avoiding chemicals that make the foods more difficult for the body to recognize and digest.

Lower carb. I agree with the fact that society eats way too many starches and carbs as a whole, but don’t think they should be eliminated.

Cons:

Can be high in saturated fat. From what I understand, meat is pretty unlimited as far as Paleo goes. There a ton of lean options (chicken, turkey, bison, elk, etc), but also the potential to consume a lot of saturated fat, thus promoting health complications such as heart disease. Meat is extremely high in protein (a serving will give ya 20g or so) and too much of any macronutrient will be stored by the body as fat.

Activity level. One thing I’ve always wondered about the Paleo diet is that it’s a diet intended for our ancestors who lead an entirely different lifestyle than modern society. We sit at desks and computers all day, they were gathering food and battling mastodons. They had to work for their food, we get in a car and drive to the grocery store. They needed more fuel in general, which includes high fat and protein.

Here’s a video that explains Paleolithic food:

It’s obviously one-sided –many doctors will educate and emphasize whole foods and good nutrition- but breaks it down concisely.

My verdict?

Paleo isn’t something I’ve tried, but I don’t recommend it to my clients or to readers who email asking my thoughts on the diet.

I can totally see that it’s a method that works for many people –otherwise it wouldn’t be so popular- but don’t agree with eating styles that totally eliminate entire food groups. I do understand the beef with dairy, as I don’t consume cow’s dairy myself, but think that starches and grains are beneficial if used in moderation, especially if you’re active. Salt is also a beneficial in moderate amounts.

One of my friends, who is Paleo, told me that by eating so little carbs, you’re tricking the body to use fat as fuel instead. This isn’t something that I’ve heavily researched, so I can’t say whether I know if it’s true or not, but it seems a little unnecessary to me.

Paleo seems to be very hard to follow in everyday life, especially if you’re social and have and non-Paleo friends. I prefer to recommend diets based on whole foods, lean meats, veggies, fruits, whole grains and lowfat dairy if desired. Not only does it provide health benefits, it’s an easy and feasible plan follow.

Do you or would you follow a Paleo style of eating?

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Comments

  1. That video was great! I’ve heard so much about Paleo lately and have done a little bit of research but I always love learning more. I’m with you, I could not give up quinioa, oatsmeal, and greek yogurt! I think any diet that is that strict makes it very hard to stick with!

  2. i totally get paleo and im sure it works well if you’re trying to lose weight…but for me, its just not realistic. i tried it this summer (while working at a bakery btw haha) and obviously, did not last. i honestly dont think any strict diet would work for me….so instead, ill just try to focus on clean eats and giving myself a break once in a while. it totally works for some people though so thats great!

  3. I could never eliminate grans from my diet! I love oatmeal too much! I do though, sometimes eat paleo-esque meals, but rarely! I believe that grains are necessary (at least for my body) so that I can function at my maximum! Did just make a paleo protein cookie for desert though – yummy!

  4. My co-worker was just talking about taking the Paleo diet on…the thought of not eating my Cho is too much to bare. Sent him the link so he can think about running from a mammoth and missing a little bit of bread and butter:)

  5. Anyone who says that they *could not live* without any certain food is in denial. Or scared. Or lazy. The point is that its wrong to poo poo something that you have never tried for a significant length of time. I was eating paleo well before it was a “fad” as you say and I have never been healthier or more fit. The reasons I did it aren’t relevant, but for sure there were things that I thought, omg, I am going to die without. I did not die. In fact, I have never eaten better in my life.
    Point is, no one should be afraid or turned off of trying this way of life. There is no more natural or healthy way of eating.

  6. What are your thoughts on feeding cow’s milk to your daughter once done breastfeeding? My daughter is almost 10 mos. old and I am still breastfeeding. She will soon be getting to the age where doctors start suggesting dairy, but I am not entirely sure how I feel about it….just wanted your opinion on this. thanks!

    • Fitnessista says:

      i think it’s going to be one of those “cross that road when we get there” things. as of right now, we think she may have a milk protein allergy because the formulas we tried when we had to supplement upset her stomach so badly, she would scream in pain. the ped recommended a hypoallergenic one and she was fine with it. i’ve read that she may grow out of it by the time she’s one, but who knows. if she isn’t intolerant, we’ll probably feed her the same way the pilot and i eat. he eats cheese, but doesn’t drink a ton of milk

      • Thanks for your reply! We went through the same thing with Lily… poor girl was so gassy and irritable until I cut out dairy. She has been amazing ever since! Instead I go for the coconut milk and almond milk and have been loving it! Do you ever teach classes in Phoenix? If so, let us know…you have fans here who love to take a class! :)

        • ps. meant to say we never had to supplement with formula, but through nursing, she was receiving whatever dairy I would have.

        • Fitnessista says:

          yes, liv is like a different baby since i stopped eating so much goat cheese and we switched to the hypoallergenic.
          i don’t teach classes in phoenix, but we were talking about taking a road trip very soon! if so, i’ll post on the blog when we’ll be there and maybe we can do a meet-up?

    • Jessica A. says:

      Hey Brittany, I just wanted to say congratulations on breastfeeding your little one for 10 months!! The health benefits of breastfeeding exclusively for more than 6 months are dramatic, and it is no easy task!! I am in medical school currently, and we just spent 6 weeks learning so many of the benefits. Very few Mothers are able to maintain that lifestyle after the first few months because it is so challenging!! That is just so awesome! Keep up the amazing work :)

  7. calichelle says:

    I started my paleo journey in January 2011. I had already lost 35lbs with relatively clean diet and exercise but needed a change to overcome plateau. I have maintained 50lb weight-loss with a modified Paleo. Conclusion-it works for me. But I know it is not for everyone. I would be a happy girl if everyone around me just changed one processed meal a day. It is an uphill battle. After removing dairy and gluten and trying to “cheat” with them, I found myself with a very upset stomach. I believe that they were both bad for my digestive system but since I had never eliminated for extended time period, I never knew. So, my “version” is no dairy, gluten or soy. Rice (I don’t eat at home, only with sushi and my love, thai food), corn, and sugar in moderation. I was never a huge lentil eater so I have no problem avoiding, though occasional enjoy some bean chips with guac. Oh and for everyone saying “I couldn’t imagine a life without ___ (bread, cheese, milk etc), I LOVED bread and cheese and now I have little desire. I do love the smell of bread (I live with a vegan, all she eats is bread!). And miss the occasional piece of pizza. But there are rice crust pizzas and non-soy/dairy cheeses where I can make my own!

  8. Natasha H says:

    I love hearing about new diets – I always take away a bit of info even if I wouldnt personally do it. What I am curious about is how is this different then Atkins? I don’t know much about Atkins either, but this sounds to be about the same – except no dairy…..

    • Its not a diet. Its a lifestyle change.

    • It’s very different. Atkins restricts your carb counts and eliminates most fruit and certain veggies.

      Paleo lets you have plenty of veggies, though it suggests limiting starchy ones. It’s a bit less regimented too- some people do a modified paleo diet with extra veggies, and that’s alright.

      Paleo also recommends you avoid processed foods as much as possible, which Atkins doesn’t (hence all the crazy packaged Atkins-approved foods).

    • I don’t know much about Atkins myself and have just started on the Paleo journey so I don’t claim to be an expert. I do know that this article is not correct in saying that it is a high fat and low carb diet. Any reputable writer that promotes the Paleo way of life will state high protein, moderate carb and moderate fat.

      You eat all the lean protein you can as well as all the nonstarchy vegetables you can and fruits as well. Fruits can be in moderation if you are concerned about sugars or weight loss.
      No cereals (grains) of any kind.
      No legumes/beans including peanuts, peas, etc
      No dairy (I’m finding it hard to leave cheese behind)
      No processed foods – no loss if you ask me!

      and yes, it is a lifestyle change but I think that’s more because the word “diet” has a bad reputation :-)

      Check out some books by reputable writers and don’t believe most of the crap on the internet if you are wanting to give it a whirl.

  9. I’ve been primal ( as in I do eat full fat dairy in moderation) with very limited grains for over a year. If anyone is interested in some very good info on paleo/ primal eating check out Robb Wolf (Paleo) or Mark’s Daily Apple (primal). Mark’s site is brilliant! What helped me most was cutting out the sugars from starchy carbs- I suffered from terrible panic attacks and it helped to ease them. My husbands cholesterol and tryglicerides went down all the while eating organic butter, full fat milk and pastured bacon. Heck, I have been drinking/ eating full fat dairy for over a year and have lost weight, so somethings working. As for excercise- it’s something that you do every single day, because that’s what our ancestors did. Lots of walking, lifting heavy things and some sprints here and there. Of course it’s not for everyone, but I was a vegetarian for 12 years and I NEVER felt this great!

  10. I think that this diet sounds very similar to the Atkins diet, which was incredibly popular to start with for a quick weight loss but then received a lot of negative attention. Everybody is different and people have to find what works for them, but I personally wouldn’t want to try this. The video is incorrect too when it shows the picture of the second way of eating vegetables, a caveman would not have grown/farmed his own vegetables he would have foraged for them. Also a lot of the fruits and vegetables we eat now would not have been around then. Grown organically or not, most vegetables are bred and hybrids. Carrots for example were orignally purple and were bred to be orange for a Duke or King. So it seems silly to me to say “eat like a caveman” when that is entirely impossible.

  11. I have some friends who follow the Paleo diet and other friends who have tried it for 2 days and gave up. Personally, it’s not for me. I’m not a fan of “diets”, as I’m more of a eat clean healthy whole foods (80% of the time) and excercise. Since having Sophia, our social life is all about meeting friends for dinner, and the Paleo diet doesn’t really go along with that…in my opinion. ;) Also, being a breastfeeding momma, I shouldn’t cut out any food groups entirely.

  12. I have a theory that the Paleo diet was started secretly by the Meat and Dairy industry big-wigs. It makes total sense…

  13. I have been paleo for a little over a year, and I can attest to many of its benefits. It is great in that it eliminates food that is overly processed or even fake, and emphasizes whole foods. I also benefitted when I removed gluten grains from my diet. I was very low carb for about a year, as this is what many proponents of paleo recommend. However, I have finally started to admit that VLC is not working for me. Since then I have started to add back lots of starchy vegetables, fruit, white rice (no phytates), and sprouted buckwheat and quinoa. I am definitely starting to feel better. I also sometimes eat fermented dairy products like kefir, and goat cheese. The best thing I learned from this diet is that fat is good, and you need it! You mention saturated fat and the negative notions surrounding it, but many of these “facts” are being proven to be myths. Saturated fat can be good, especially if from grass-fed animals. I have also embraced coconut oil, olive oil, fatty fish, avocados, and yummy butter. I suppose my style of eating is more WAPF now (Weston A Price Foundation), and honestly, I have never felt better! Paleo has some great things to teach people, but we all need to find our own niche.

  14. I have elevated insulin (not diabetic…yet) and am taking a med, eating better and exercising more. I’m not any where near my ideal weight but am working on the process of improving everything. I am more or less following a Paleo way of eating. I think the whole “this is the way people ate in ancient times” is marketing b.s. People in ancient times also had much shorter life expectancies.

    I hate any diet that implies that the world will end if one were to very occasionally eat a treat. With all that said, cutting way, way back on refined carbs and dairy has been amazingly beneficial for me and has brought down my insulin levels. Granted I’m not brainwashed, I like oatmeal for breakfast. If I want a piece of cheese, I eat it and move on.

  15. What are the cholesterol/arterial inflammation levels like for those who follow this diet? Also, how are they avoiding vitamin deficiencies or ketoacidosis? Supplements to avoid nutritional deficits would, technically, be cheating, as our ancestors didn’t have a GNC around the corner. I am honestly curious about this diet from a follower’s perspective. I can read about this diet all day. (I am currently pursuing a degree in dietetics). Information on how the diet is maintained in the long-term, however, is rather scarce and usually radical/biased.

    As for the similarities to the Atkins diet, I see a stark difference (and would, actually, much rather be Paleo than “Atkins”). I have yet to see a single Atkins-brand food that is not filled with chemicals and food-like substances. Paleo is whole-foods-based. I imagine both diets are rather hard on the kidneys, as carbohydrates are our bodies’ most desirable source of energy, as breaking down fat for energy creates ketone bodies that, over the long term, can cause some pretty scary side-effects (i.e. kidney failure or going crazy). Ever wonder why Atkins-followers pee on ketone strips every morning? Are Paleos encouraged to do the same?

    • Take a look at Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution website. I listen to his podcast every week – very focused on biochemistry! Many people have gone on the Paleo diet to LOWER their cholesterol, going back and baffling their doctors with their wonderful improvements in their test numbers. Robb’s information is free, and he welcomes questions. Don’t bother buying his book (unless you want an accessible source to easily reference) – he says all the info from his book is on his website anyway. Check it out! http://www.robbwolf.com/

      paleohacks.com is also a good source, if you want to see what the Paleo community is like, and what questions they bring to the community. Be warned that some people take it to the extreme. I like Robb’s philosophy – once you have all your information, don’t make it a religion, just try your best.

    • Paleo does not mean very low carb (VLC). This been something people use an an argument against it, but it seems most people don’t really know what Paleo means. Partially since the community itself isn’t quite sure how to define or categorize things. The big name advocates of Ancestral Health in fact do not recommend being in ketosis long term. Perhaps suggesting for a month to do some fat loss but then to bring back the carbs and not maintain ketosis for a long period of time.

      As for your other concerns, the paleo diet is very anti-inflammatory. A lot of inflammation comes from how grains are processed in our intestines. Reducing systematic inflammation seems to improve bio-markers for arterial health.

      Like you mentioned a big part of eating paleo means eating fresh, local, organic vegetables and meat. Reducing or eliminating as much processed food as possible. What this does is lead to increased micro nutrient levels in our food. Humans seem to be much better at absorbing the proper nutrition from an actual food source than from processed enriched food and pill supplementation. Right now it seems that one of paleo’s biggest problem is people don’t know what exactly it is. In addition it suffers a bit from the caveman image I think. If it was just called “eating real food” it wouldn’t be quite so interesting or easy to crack jokes.

  16. I would just like to add (and I didnt read the comments), that being social AND paleo is not any more difficult than if someone is vegan or vegetarian.

  17. PS. Paleo is NOT a diet, its a lifestyle or way of eating long term.

  18. Paleo is NOT low carb! There are lots of natural carbs in fruits and veg and those are not limited like they are on the Atkins diet.
    And like June said, Paleo is a lifestyle not a diet.
    And to answer a previous question, my cholesterol dropped 100+ points while on paleo.

    • Christina says:

      Technically, a “diet” is whatever foods you consume. So the Paelo diet is different from the vegetarian diet is different from the “American” diet is different from…. the comparisons go on. The point is “diet” doesn’t only mean the kind of diet you go on to lose weight.

      Hope that clarifies- I’m pretty sure Gina is using “diet” in the sense of what foods are being eaten, not in the weight loss sense.

  19. Dr. Oz does NOT promote it either…and most dietitians. It is good because it A) focuses on whole foods, B) can be a one-week “detox” cleanse…BUT Dr. Oz and numerous other reputable health professionals say whole grains and dairy should not be feared and are incredibly important (look at diets of longest-living…”blue zones” etc…all the long-term evidence points to balance…paleo is just another “fad” in my opinion).

    • Dr Oz has a staffer who reversed an immune disease through the paleo diet. But he has a wife who is vegetarian and has stories written about that in O magazine. So just how ‘reputable’ or unbiased is he that he has evidence in his own staff of how great paleo is but promotes the diet his wife follows.

  20. Contrary to popular belief, saturated fat is NOT a factor of heart disease. Past studies did not differentiate between saturated and trans fat, leading to huge misconceptions regarding saturated fat.

    Have you read this study?
    http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract
    “A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”

    And to quote Scientific American’s summary: (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=carbs-against-cardio)
    “In March the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a meta-analysis—which combines data from several studies—that compared the reported daily food intake of nearly 350,000 people against their risk of developing cardiovascular disease over a period of five to 23 years. The analysis, overseen by Ronald M. Krauss, director of atherosclerosis research at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, found no association between the amount of saturated fat consumed and the risk of heart disease.”

    If you are more interested, the internet is full of information regarding this topic. A good start is the article “The Truth About Saturated Fat” by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. It can found in many places, including here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/08/17/saturated-fat1.aspx

  21. When I first heard about paleo eating, I thought that it would be impossible. It did sound so restrictive. Now that I have tried it (I have eaten this way for about 9 months), I realize that it is not difficult at all. I now realize how chronically HUNGRY I was all the time from the grains I ate. I couldn’t go longer than 2 hours without eating. Now I go 5-6 hours without even thinking about eating. I have a baby, and find that I don’t need as much sleep. This way of eating (please note that I didn’t say DIET) has been amazing for me. My baby is also eating primal, we don’t feed her any grains. She, like her mommy, is healthy as can be :) I say try it. We don’t completely eliminate dairy, by the way. I actually don’t like using the term “paleo”, I tell people that we just cut out all the processed foods. Yes, this includes bread!! it is so easy and so fun once you get into it, there are resources all over the web to help with recipe ideas. We will never go back to eating the way we did.

  22. So here’s the thing.

    I followed various forms of the paleo diet for two years religiously. I spent at least 6 months on each interpretation (higher protein, lower protein, high fat, lower fat, etc.) I even went all the way to zero carb (and I mean zero carb, meat and water, that was it) when the regular paleo diet kept causing me to gain and gain and gain fat. Not muscle, it was fat. I of course questioned all the message boards as to why this was happening to me and I kept being accused of not following the plan exactly, or not giving it enough time. I am incredibly type A so I did everything to the letter. And I think 2 years was sufficient. Now, I eat like I did when I was a teenager and was healthy and athletic. Mostly vegetarian, with lots and lots of fruits, veggies, greek yogurt, nuts, oats, etc. Mentally, I feel a lot more sane, less like I’m on some crazy diet. And guess what? I actually lost all the weight I gained while eating primal (and later zero carb).

    So I guess all I am saying here is that go ahead and try it out if you want. If it works for you, fantastic! I’m thrilled for you, really, I am. But if you find yourself feeling or looking worse over time, please know you are not crazy and that one way of eating does not work for everyone.

  23. Thank you for posting this! I have been needing to change my diet for awhile I now and I’ve been thinking about going Paleo (a friend of mine always raves about it) but the restrictive nature of it has always made me nervous. I had problems with disordered eating in high school and any kind of major diet restriction tends to backfire as a result (I obsess over it until I eventually can’t stand it and usually binge!). I fully support a more clean eating style…and like you, I don’t think I could ever live without goat cheese! Anyway, thanks for the info!

  24. hi gina,
    based on what i’ve learned as a first year med student, i wanted to say:
    1. excess proteins do not get converted or stored as fat
    2. the body uses sugar/carbs preferentially as an energy source (except the heart), so yes, on low carb diets, there is more fat-burning in comparison to a diet with more carbs. the dangerous thing is, you have to have SOME carbs, not NONE at all because the brain ONLY uses sugar and your body can go into acidosis with no carbs.

  25. I have been on the Paleo Diet for 3 weeks, which my holistic cardiologest put me on. I went to him
    3 weeks ago because I wanted to be free of medications that I have researched and felt that being on for the rest of my life was not an option. I had ovarian cancer 4 years ago, and a heart attack 2 years ago. Since then I have lot some weight and I workout lifting weight and cardio. I have gain a lot of muscle and now that I’ve been on this eating plan, I have more definition to my muscles. I am in great health and my cardiologest monitors my blood and treats me with supliments that my body needs based on the blood test. The Paleo eating plan beats being on medications that may be unhealthy for me long term. My doctor has me eating grass fed beef, wild caught fish and shell fish. All good organic veggies, stay away from potatoes, sweet potatoes in moderation, nuts, about 4 oz a day, mostly walnuts, seeds, 4 oz a day, and one or two servings of fruit. Because when I came to him, my blood work showed I am pre diabetic. I gave up milk on my own a long time ago. Soy doesn’t work well in my body or glutin. I do the best I can with the Paleo eating, because I feel great! I’m a 62 year young mom of 5 and grandmother of 14 who loves life and plays and works like I’m 30! Life is fantastic and I’m going to eat Paleo to live! Oh by the way, my diet is low on the bad fats, I don’t eat fatty meats like bacon. Have a wonder life everyone you deserve it!

  26. Actually, Paleo is the way to go. Turns out grains (even whole wheat) are not good for us and can be linked to the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. and other 1st world countries. Don’t believe me? I’ve done the research and suggest that you do too! Here’s a great starting point that links to much of the research that’s been done on the subject. It’s about 90 minutes and I hope you’ll take the time to review the whole thing. Good luck and my best wishes for better health! http://www.hulu.com/watch/196879

  27. Yes! A fantastic healthy way to live! :)

  28. I am pretty shocked when I read people find the Paleo diet ‘restrictive’. Maybe as far as eating out at restaurants, but in that sense it’s not more restrictive then a vegetarian or vegan diet. Eating out is not a factor for me because the whole idea is to try to cut that down significantly in my lifestyle. It’s a diet where you can eat pretty much any fruit and vegetables, most meats, nuts and seeds. It’s modified based on whether your goals are (eg avoid starchy veges if trying to lose weight). The main things is to avoid processed foods, and try to use as many locally produced foods as possible. I guess I am just crazy (or not lazy), but I find it incredibly easy to come up with diverse menus based on those criteria. As others have suggested, I would recommend going to Robb Wolf’s site or listening to his Podcast, because people don’t seem to have a very clear idea of the philosophy of the diet.

  29. Wow, there are a ton of comments on this post about not wanting to give up certain foods (yogurt, cheese, bread, oatmeal, etc). Trust me, I was there. My husband and I were training for Ironman Canada. In my husband’s past two Ironman races, his stomach shut down on the marathon. Our coach suggested we follow the Paleo Lifestyle. After racing Ironman 70.3 Kansas, we talked about it. I kicked and screamed, fighting it during the conversation. I didn’t want to give up my yogurt and cereal breakfasts, nor my cheese. After talking more and more about it, we decided we would just do a trial until Ironman Canada 12 weeks later. I transitioned that first week. Since mid-June, we’ve been Paleo pretty much 90% of the time. I no longer crave cheeses, yogurt, bread, etc. Plus, you can pretty much Paleo-ize ANYTHING. Strict Paleoists would probably shun me for the yummy creations I make (all still Paleo), but I don’t care. I will enjoy my Paleo Lifestyle.

    So, some of the benefits of this lifestyle:
    Losing weight – I lost 10 pounds. My husband has lost 20+ pounds.
    Hair regrowth – my husband had a bald spot on the top of his head. Key word: HAD. The hair follicles turned back on and his hair is growing back!
    PH Balances – alkaline. Cancer and other diseases do not like to grow in an alkaline body. SWEET!
    Faster recovery after training/races – We felt awesome during and after our long bike rides/runs. Keep in mind, we would be riding 100+ miles on the bike and running 18-21 miles during these bouts of exercise (bike ride Saturday, run Sunday as an example). The next day, we didn’t even feel like we had done anything. Very limited soreness. Muscles love the Paleo!
    Ironman Canada – my husband’s stomach didn’t shut down! He made it through the race without stomach issues.

    Paleo Lifestyle for Athletes – you can eat non-optimal foods (grains, dairy, etc) after workouts of 3+ hours in duration. We use this opportunity to eat at some of our favorite restaurants so we can enjoy our gyros, pad thai, mac & cheese, etc.

    We also made the choice to follow a Paleo lifestyle for the rest of our lives. We’ve probably been closer to 90/10 since Ironman, but have agreed that 80/20 will be pretty darn good. We will allow ourselves the freedome to eat non-Paleo foods on occasion. For example, I ate goat cheese on my salad yesterday when I went to eat with a friend.

    Honestly, this lifestyle is very easy to maintain. There are so many Paleo options, especially if you enjoy cooking/baking. My love falls in the kitchen, so this is a cook’s dream! I get to experiment with different ingredients (especially in baking). I share my creations with Non-Paleo folks and they love them too!

    For those of you on the fence – give it a try for 30 days. You’ll be amazed at how many sensitivities you had to dairy, grains and the like. My body doesn’t like heavy dairy or oats (even though I was eating oats almost daily). I thought bloating and pain was normal. If you follow it 80/20, then it’ll give you the chance to still eat some of the non-Paleo foods… but you probably won’t miss them.

  30. To all of the Paleo foes out there I suggest the documentary “The Perfect Human Diet”. Alot of what we eat now (grains) were promoted by the government without any real backing of why whole grain is soooo good for you. In fact, grains make people fat, reduce the absorption of essential minerals, cause chronic inflammation, and are highly processed. I go back and forth with the diet myself. I agree it is hard to stick to but that is because I grew up eating lots of bread, pasta, and cereal. It tastes good, it fills you up, and is easy to prepare. But the older I got the fatter I got. It was harder for me to shed pounds and then I noticed something terrible. My daughter was gaining weight. My 15 year old daughter was nearly 240 lbs. I have to do something. So I am testing it out on myself once again in hopes that maybe I have found that key to make my family a healthy one. After watching the documentary listed above I have a renewed sense of hope that I will make it a lifestyle change and not just a diet. Diet implies that this will be temperary and I myself hope to make it life long. And by the way the process by which the liver starts to convert fat into energy instead of using carbohydrates is called Ketosis. Good luck.

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