Living according to the paleo blueprint, or according to Mark Sisson, the “Primal Blueprint”, is about adopting a set of rules and regulations with regard to what you eat. Although that is an over-simplified analysis of what it actually means to be paleo, the paradigm ultimately begins and ends with what you eat.
Basically, the way normal people eat is completely wrong and unhealthy. For example, when last did you hear someone say something like, “Let’s buy some healthy bread”, or “Don’t worry, I drink low fat milk”.
Both of these statements are completely incorrect. Breads contain grains and milk is a dairy product. Both of these foods are unacceptable, bar the one-day a week caloric binge you should be undertaking, that is however for another article entirely.
Foods Unacceptable According To The Paleo Foods List
Refined sugars: (Read pretty much all sugars) A general rule of thumb here is to avoid sugar and you’ll be fine and see results.
All grains: Yup, that means ALL bread and specifically anything that contains gluten. A note here, corn is a grain. I find this to be a sticky point for me as I enjoy a breakfast meal which is fairly nutritious and incredibly convenient. I have made steps to completely remove corn from my diet though.
General starch: Avoid things like potatoes and in general, any white food, or any food which could be white. This includes flour, rice and as mentioned, potatoes. Potatoes are really just a bad food. You can however eat sweet potatoes, some say no to this choice, but if you are following a relatively strict paleo for life ideology it won’t be a problem avoiding starch at all.
Legumes: According to strict paleo law, legumes aren’t allowed because they have to be cooked in order to be eaten. This obviously goes against what a super old school burly caveman would have been capable of. Having said that though, legumes can be included to maintain a sufficient amount of calories in your diet. I eat legumes to ensure I get enough caloric density in my meals.
Dairy products: Milk would have been fairly hard to come by for old Ugg the caveman. He’d have had to either have killed the animal providing the milk or he’d have to have caught and cared for it like the modern day cow. My recommendation here would be to avoid milk where possible and eat foods such as butter and ice-cream sparingly. Butter, interestingly enough, can be used to lower the GI of food that inherently has a high GI.
Processed meats: This includes any meat which has been overly processed. Meat like polony and vienna sausages are a no-no. This shouldn’t take much convincing as polony is pretty disgusting anyway.
Some oils: Avoid oils like corn oil and rice bran oil. You can cook with things like bacon fat and olive oil. Olive oil should be used wisely though as it has a lower burning point than other more common oils such as sunflower oil, for example.
Foods Acceptable According To The Paleo Foods List
Meats and eggs: Mark Sisson says you should get eggs wherever possible. I agree with this completely, and the whole cholesterol issue surrounding eggs is not accurate. The quantity and quality of nutrients in a single chicken’s egg is worth and cholesterol knock you might receive from overeating on eggs. Eggs also boost testosterone. FIsh are great for the paleo for life long term vision. Make fish part of your eating routine. You can eat meats with a relatively high fat content, as animal fats are good for the body, and because of the generally low carbohydrate intake on the paleo diet, fats are utilised for uses other than just adding body fat for later use.
Vegetables: Load up on veggies like broccoli and spinach. Both contain heaps of good nutrients and spinach covers multiple nutrient columns where it ranks in the top 5 of all foods. A great breakfast in fact is spinach and eggs together.
Fruits: I have oral allergy syndrome, which is partly why I started embracing paleo for life in the first case. Timothy Ferriss states that fruits aren’t necessary, and honestly I’d have to agree as fructose isn’t that great for your body. Enjoy fruits, but perhaps include them in your weekly caloric binge day only.
Nuts and seeds: Watch out here, while nuts are on the accepted paleo foods list, it is a common mistake for new adopters to over do it on the nut eating. Nuts are full of nutrients, but are also high in fat, and contain compounds which retard certain bodily functions. Eat nuts, but no more than a handful or two every day perhaps.
Liquids: Water, litres and litres of water is good. Water is essential for many bodily processes and organs like your liver require a certain minimum level of hydration to operate effectively.
While the lists above are brief, they can guide you in the right direction should you wish to enhance how you are eating at the moment, or if you are interested in what actually makes the paleo diet paleo. I can honestly recommend adopting the paleo for life philosophy, as it is effective and will keep you feeling great all the time. I would recommend a hard adoption, that is overnight. You might experience things such as carbohydrate lows while your body adjusts to the new low carbohydrate intake levels, but after two weeks or so you would have equalised and will have a hard time going back to eating a “regular” diet. Ironic that, as it is the modern day “regular” diet that is in fact irregular and incorrect.
Tips for adopting the “paleo for life” philosophy:
Start with a clear adoption plan: Start buying paleo foods immediately, but plan to replace existing food types with their paleo food equivalents before hand. This will help you build a correlation between what is good and what isn’t as well as make it easier for you to pick foods off of a menu when out for dinner.
Have a cheat day: While this isn’t actually a cheat day, but rather an increased calorie cycle. Calorie cycling is used by body builders to encourage calorie efficiency. You can eat whatever you like for one day a week only. This calorie spike ironically may make you actually lose weight instead of gain weight, and that weight you may gain on the days following the cheat day is for the most part water retention.
Eat more eggs: Eggs are fantastic. Eat them whenever you can, obviously within reason though, you don’t want to rely only on eggs for your protein intake.
Get some good supplements: This will help to build the bigger picture of nutrition that is the paleo lifestyle. I take omega’s, green tea extract and multivitamins. Protein shakes are good, but make sure that they don’t contain substances like maltodextrin for sweetness.
Read: Read all of Mark Sisson’s and Timothy Ferriss’s work. Mark is a middle aged guy who knows plenty about paleo and primal lifestyles, and you’ll possibly learn the most from his website marksdailyapple.com than any other resource. Timothy focuses more on becoming an effective, best possible version of yourself. He teaches life changing techniques to change every aspect of your life for the better. His new book “The 4 Hour Body” is amazing to say the least. His information on the benefits of certain foods to be included in your diet is worth purchasing the book alone. And that’s my article on the adoption of the “paleo for life” principle and philosophy. Ultimately, you have everything to gain from becoming a healthier person. You’ll sleep better, have better sex, and most importantly, be able to see and feel results immediately. Get your caveman on!