- Diet & Weight Loss
Paleo Diet Basics
Some basics of the often misunderstood diet.
Back in July of this year, I started a journey. One of discovery both about myself and what I knew about food and how it affects my body and weight. For years I thought I needed tons of carbs to fuel my weightlifting and endurace workouts. And for years these carbs in the form of pasta, noodles and white rice did indeed work for me. I felt OK and also never really had a problem with gaining additional fat.
I've always had a fast metabolism. Keep fat off my frame was fairly effortless. All I needed to do to rid my mid-section of stubborn belly fat was to increase the length and frequency of my workout routine and voila! Gone. That all changed when I hit my fourties.
Since about 2010, Belly fat started to creep up on my frame. In inperceptable increments I'd slowly gain a pound here and a pound there until one day, my normal weight of 168 blossemed to 195. Nothing in my workouts changed so what happened? I started reading anything I could find about metabolism and weight gain. I knew fad diets wouldn't work and I had to try something different.
After about three months of research, I stumbled upon a series of articles written by Mark Sission on his website. His angle was that for millions of years of evolution, humans were living the lifestyle of hunter-gatherers. Almost all of our caloric intake was from a combination of animal meat, tuber root vegetables, nuts/seeds and a small amount of fruit when in season. And our digestive systems evolved to handle that combination of nutrients.
Through the study of Paleolithic archaeology, that diet appears to have had no effect on the health of those early humans. In fact scientists could not find any signs of disease death from diet related causes. Sure many of the subjects showed an early death from trauma or infectious diseases but in the bones of the aged, no signs indicated any food related diseases such as osteoporosis or malnutrition.
And it got me to thinking that for millions of years mankind ate animal fat. In fact for that long of a time he mostly ate just that, so why do we not have any record of heart attack, stroke or obesity in the remains that archaeologists found nor in any of today's small tribes of hunter-gatheres?
According to another author, William Davis of the popular book Wheat Belly, mankind started to domesticate and farm wheat, rye, barley and other crops about 10,000 years ago. And slowly over time our diets transformed from one consisting of mostly animal fat and vegetables to a higher complex carbohydrate diet filled with breads and pastas as a foundation.
This change in the make-up of our diet, according to William Davis, led most of mankind down a road of dietary collapse. For millennia we ate foods that today are "scientifically" proven to cause heart disease and stroke as well as a host of other ailments. And William Davis asks the question; If that's the case why don't we see any evidence in modern hunter-gatherer societies of these diseases? Heck, epidemics like morbid obesity, heart attack, stroke have exploded right along with the increase in the consumption of wheat and grain products. Is there a connection? Mr. Davis thinks so and his book offers compelling evidence.
So armed with a new paradigm, I started on my journey. I simply quit consuming bread, pasta and anything that contained wheat. Just that.
I changed my thinking in relation to what was unhealthy or bad for me. I started consuming more meat, eggs and vegetables. My carbs started coming from tubers such and sweet potatoes and veggies like brussel sprouts, broccoli and the like.
The fat literally melted off!
I started to see the changes very quickly. At first I had what felt like a hangover from my body adapting to the reduction in carbs but a few days later I started feeling what I can only describe as fresh and clean.
Now I still occasionally eat bread but it's not every single day now and my workouts are so much more productive. I seem to recover quicker and I feel that my immune system is stronger because I haven't had a cold or been sick in months.
This change in diet has worked well for me and If you take the time to read more about this diet I'm sure you will find that this way of eating just may be what you are looking for.
Good luck in your journey. More information about the Paleo diet can be found in the links below.