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Thursday, March 1, 2012

There's No, "One Size Fits All" Within The Paleo Diet

How's everyone (all 8 followers...wooot-wooot!) doing?  Sorry it's taken me forever to blog again, but with work, wife & kids, and coaching new cross-core fitness classes, life has been quite busy these past several weeks.  Has anyone been listening to the Paleo Summit seminar online?  If not, get to it because it's amazing information.  Not only do they have experts discussing the amazing (I like that word) benefits of the paleo lifestyle, but they have other nutrition experts who believe the opposite.  How cool is that?  Very cool.

One of my followers (that sounds so creepy yet so cool at the same time) has been eating 100% paleo for 30 days straight, crossfitting 3x's a week and has not lost any weight yet.  Naturally this is pissing her off.   Frankly, that would piss me off too, but there are some things she needs to tweak in her paleo diet in order for her to lean out to her satisfaction and I will give you those tips in a second.  Before I give you guys some ideas on how to lean out, I want you to do me a huge favor.  PLEASE do NOT go on a scale for a month when beginning a strict paleo diet for the first 30 days.  In fact, if you can throw out your scale that would be best.  The scale just gives you a number and not the TRUE picture of what's going on in your body.  Instead of weighing yourself, determine your progress by how you look, feel, and perform in the gym or with whatever exercise routine you're doing.  I know this sounds weird or difficult, just like how hard it is to give up bread and those shitty complex carbs we've all been fed since birth, but it's the truth.  The scale is a good tool to use ONCE IN A BLUE MOON!

First thing you need to understand about the paleo diet, is that it's not a "one size fits all" diet and there's a lot of tweaking that you'll need to do to find out exactly what works for YOU and YOUR goals.  I've been living the paleo lifestyle for over two years and have made many changes.  Recently I've ditched the zoning method and have gone to a 3 meals/day with a post workout meal.  That's two meals less a day and I feel great and satisfied.  I've also reduced my nut intake that eventually resulted in me feeling, looking, and performing A LOT better.  Another great tool to use in order to clearly see what is or isn't working in your diet is to log everything you consume for that 30 day period.  Log your food intake to see what combos works best for you.  Take notes and track.  The paleo base line is really SOLID, but everyone's [genetic] make up is different.

So, for those of us who want to lean out and or look aesthetically good for the beach, here's something you can TRY to see if it works for you.  You should eat a low carb, high protein, and high fat diet.  The low carbs should come from NON-STARCHY veggies (lots of greens, peppers, onions, carrots, etc..) and the fats should come from sources such as, coconut milk, coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil, avocados, and a tiny bit from nuts if you want (but DON'T go overboard with them).  Fruits are high glycemic carbs that are insulin spikers!  Try to eliminate those for the first 30 days IF you can.  If you feel the need to have fruit, then eat blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries and have them earlier in the day rather than later.  If you're a crossfitter or someone who exercises HARD and is trying to LEAN out then don't consume a large carb post workout meal, especially if it's in a liquid form because liquid is inherently more insulin spiking than solid food.  Also, for those of you who drink whey protein or other protein shakes, be aware that protein is also a VERY potent insulin spiker as well.  So to give you an idea of what I consume after a WOD (workout of the day) - I blend 4 egg whites, a cup of ice, some cinnamon and a small to med size sweet potato...yummy!  I prefer the liquid form because I want to get it into my system ASAP to help restore the glycogen in my muscles.  I'm also trying to gain muscle mass and not lean out, so my approach is different than someone who's trying to lean out.

So what the hell does all of this mean??  If you're a female you'll want to consume under 30 grams of carbs all coming from low glycemic veggies, roughly 1 gram of protein per body weight, and then some fat from the sources I provided above.  This tends to be very EFFECTIVE for those who want to LEAN out, but not so effective for performance in the box (crossfit gym) or globo gym.

How do we measure 1 gram of protein per body weight with a two pounds of grass fed beef?  Good freaking question!  I was never strong in math, but I imagine you're going to have to buy a food scale and do some math with the metric system.  Maybe there's a paleo food measuring app??  That would be cool!  You'll have to break down the amount of protein (if given on the back of whatever you're eating) into grams and weigh it.  If I find out a better way to break this down, I'll post it.

So, there's definitely A LOT of work to be done, no doubt, but if you TRULY want to feel, look, and perform better, you have to turn over every rock and see what works for YOU.  I never said this would be easy because it's not.  I've made a TON of changes to my diet over the past two years and I continue to do so.  As we evolve so will our diet to help us feel, look, and perform better.  I've echoed what Robb Wolf says and I'll say it again for non-paleo peeps - "GIVE PALEO AN HONEST TRY FOR 30 DAYS AND SEE HOW YOU FEEL, LOOK, AND PERFORM.  IF THE WAY YOU EAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER, WELL, THEN CONTINUE DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING."


If anyone has any specific question regarding paleo or crossfit training, feel free to ask and I will find the answer for you.

Have a great day!

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