A friend recently asked me what I thought of the paleo diet. Never short on opinions, I decided to put these 5 tips into an article. Here goes....
What you need to know....
. If it's directly from the ground or the animal its paleo enough for now.
. If you want muscle, you have to eat muscle
Men who use BBQ's and crock pots get more sex
. Fat doesn't make you fat
. Water gave birth to you...or something like that
. Men wouldn't buy pants at lulu lemon if they didn't want to be ridiculed
The word paleo refers to the paleolithic era and suggests that by following it you are getting in touch with your ancestors by eating foods only cavemen had access to. The human blueprint hasn't changed since then, yet what passes for food in the modern diet has changed drastically. To put it in laymen's terms; our bodies were never meant to digest that crap, and still can't.
This is all very true. But how complicated does it have to be? I've seen literally thousands of paleo recipes, each one more complicated than the next. I'm sure they all taste "yummy," or whatever cute word the 130lb male yoga instructor with toothpick arms and tight lulu lemon pants uses to describe them.
He is fascinated by his own ability to spend days foraging through the natural food pantries of his city and he drives all the way across town for a more authentic parsley in order to cook meals a paleo Martha Stewart can be proud of.
But neither his Prius nor the bottled spring water in his console, and certainly not his pants, were ever available to his ancestors. So he can either hike it in the nude and scoop water from the river with his manecured hands or he can stuff his superiority in the trunk.
If you are busy with those pesky things called jobs, families, and oh, lives; here are some simple guidelines to help you get started eating clean and getting one step closer to fighting that sabre toothed tiger.
1. If it comes from the ground or the animal, its paleo. If it doesn't, it isn't.
Pretty friggin' simple right? This is where the wisdom of the OMP's of strength training comes into play. For years they've been saying to eat whole foods. What are whole foods? Foods that are whole, of course.
Foods that are in the original state they came in.
Fish that hasn't been processed and broken down into a breaded tasteless stick. Beef that hasn't been swept off the cutting room floor and thrown into a vat of chemicals to become a hot dog. Vegetables that haven't been dehydrated and put into a box of magic powders to be later rehydrated and microwaved and called "soup."
If you have the time and money to track down all organic vegetables and free roaming grass fed beef that was given relaxation therapy every night and did pilates twice a day that's great. And it brings you a little closer to captain plum smugglers' version of paleo too.
But if you're currently buying margarine and eating low fat yogurt then you really need to grasp the basics first.
What I'm saying is you can eat all the gluten free paleo cookies you want from Mr. Fancy Pants' recipe book but if you're not already eating the building blocks of energy and muscle, then you are getting in way over your head by trying to get too complicated.
2. EAT RED MEAT.
If you want muscle, you have to eat muscle. period. I'm not saying we all have to look like Arnold, but you should have some basic male features and be able to do the heavy lifting in your household. It starts with nutrition.
Red meat has been given a bad rap for way too long. It is full of essential amino acids. ESSENTIAL. We weren't given teeth that rip and tear, and bodies for which the amino acids found in red meat are ESSENTIAL, just to avoid it. That would be absurd.
Back in the day the eating habits of the typical red meat eater also included little to no vegetables, a 6 pack of beer every night, and a pack a day of Marlboro Red. Somehow in their infinite wisdom someone decided it was the red meat causing these people all the problems. Let that sink in for a while.
But thankfully we've gotten smarter, we pride ourselves on being a gluten-free, paleo society. We can go online and find elaborate recipes for paleo egg nog and gluten free fruitcake any time we want.
But you know what else is gluten-free and paleo? Steak. Steak and a salad. Steak, salad, and what the heck, throw in a potato. wow, awesome. You are now a paleo god!
If your wife does all the cooking and says beef is bad for you and you just can't add red meat to your diet, then you're probably on the wrong website. But just in case you're still reading, here are some words of wisdom for you...
Buy a steak, throw it on the bbq and eat it. While your'e at it, throw paleo out the window along with everything I just said above, and have a beer and a cigar too. Invite a few friends over to enjoy these things with you. Do this every friday and saturday night until you grow a pair. After that you can figure out your own schedule.
3. The Crock Pot is Your Wingman
It's simple. Buy a roast, dump it in with fresh vegetables and spices of your choice, fill it with water, turn it on and walk away for 6-8hrs and presto, you are once again a paleo god. If you do steps 2 and 3 weekly your testosterone will increase, and your wife will appreciate the help. These 2 things lead to improved performance in the bedroom. Its a fact.
And if captain yoga pants doesn't like that your onions weren't grown organically in the mountains, nourished with spring water blessed by Budha himself, and carried to market on the backs of virgins, he can stick it in his paleo pipe and smoke it. You'll be too busy getting some action to care. Buy a crock pot and use it to cook whole foods. End of story.
4. Fats are Friends
I'm not talking about your heavy set friend who's nickname is Tiny. I'm talking about dietary fats.
Fats don't make you fat but the absence of them can.
Put some avocado's in your diet. Slice them and put them in your eggs in the moring or in your salads or just on the side of your plate at lunch or supper. While I'm on the subject, don't throw out the yolk or I swear I will hunt you down. Do you really think our caveman ancestors would get lucky enough to come across an egg and then throw out the yolk for fear of cholesterol?!
Cholesterol is self-leveling, you either have aproblem or you don't. Its not brought on by food intake, its hereditary, a genetic predisposition. So if you're not predisposed just eat the damn yolk already.
Add nuts and seeds to your salads and snacks.
Don't buy a friggin' chocolate bar at the gas station when you're hungry. Buy some nuts, sunflower seeds, mabe some beef jerky, or a banana. Once again you are a paleo god.
Coconut oil is good for you. Don't just cook with it. use it directly on your plate. I add it directly to my chicken or white fish to moisten it up. I also add it to sweet potato with a little sea salt and, you guessed it, I am a paleo god.
5. Water is Your Mother.
It gives you life. Yes this sounds like something Fancy pants would say and by now you probably think I hate him. I don't. I just like making fun of his pants. But seriously, bring your water bottle everywhere. Drink it. Refill it. Drink it again.
Most people are chronically dehydrated and don't even know it. Yet they complain about low energy and trouble losing weight. You can't have good energy and a healthy metabolism if you're dehydrated.
If you're on the road and you forget your water bottle, buy some. Yes it feels like getting kicked in the nads to buy water, but you're kicking yourself even harder by being stubborn.
People think nothing of spending $5 for a designer coffee and dehyrating themselves but its a sin to pay $1 for water. Just do it. Hopefully paying for water makes you mad enough to never forget that damn water bottle again.
Thats my take on the Paleo diet. Is it authentic in the guru sense? Not even close. Do I care? Not one bit. Obviously there is more to nutrition than what's in this article. I have many different approaches for many different clients but these are the basics that I start everyone with or have them return to when life spins out of control.
WIth this simplicity you can lose weight and keep energy levels high, get stronger, and have time to enjoy other things in life other than shopping for seven different types of organic mushrooms and cooking 75 meals per week.
I'm not trying to discourage you from going further and getting more serious about a paleo diet. I'm just stressing that its important to grasp the basics and have the discipline to follow them first.