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What is Paleo and How To Do It?

Paleo-Works-katie

Kate - Founder, owner & operator - Paleo Works.

What is paleo, or the caveman diet and how do you do it?

Let’s strip it back down to basics, pull up a chair and remind you.

Also known as a stone age diet, a paleolithic, evolutionary or dna diet, the pitch is simple: its about eating as our ancestors ate before the great agricultural revolution some 10,ooo years ago and thus no wheat, grains, legumes, sugar or vegetable oils, that is: no processed food!

Meals are based around meat, fish, saturated fat (from animals, avocados, nuts etc), green leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, seeds and some low-sugar fruit mostly berries.  Meals are tasty because we eat fat: fat is not the enemy, fat is our friend just as it has been across hundreds of thousands of years of ancestral health.  And by fat we mean good saturated fat not man-made monstrosities like canola oil, hydrogenated fats or margarine.

Why no grains or processed food?  Because these products are making us fat.  Period.  Why are they making us fat?  Because we cannot digest them. We cannot metabolise them.  Our genetic blueprint has not evolved to process this food and the consequence is severely impacting our health.  Evolution is a slow process our dietary habits have revolutionised exponentially and while we have not changed genetically our diets are radically different  and so is our body shape, health and general wellbeing.  Can you see the link?

And it’s not just us is it.  See here the headline in today’s Daily Mail and read this shocking article: in the UK, doctors are medicating babies in the womb for obesity or read this article “Junk food gives you the blues” and begin to understand the link between so called “junk food and our mental health”.  Every day scientists are making new discoveries but even if you don’t understand the science and have no interest in the why, you must hanker for a solution?

Many of us get to the point where we are simply overwhelmed by our fat.  And give up.  Can you see it in your life?  Did you give up too?  We are not helped by the endless round of fad diets that tell us we can have our cake and eat it: weight watchers, slimming world, Atkins, lighter life – it’s not true.  But it does keep you coming back for more when you fall off the wagon and overeat.  Got you over a barrel see – no wonder we give up faced with such extraordinary odds against us, we simply don’t know any different.

What we require then is an approach, a gentle but radical approach that works: not a diet, not a manifesto: paleo works    Think of paleo as a life long journey of continual renewal with you in control.  That’s the difference.  Cut out the junk food and you are more than half way home.

Keep it simple, keep your food real.  Start changing things up, integrating good saturated fat into your diet (butter on your veg, fry meat in coconut oil, eat bacon with the fat on, enjoy tallow, dripping and lard as our forefathers did).  Keep away from processed food: and always remember that the worst combination..that is the combination most likely to put your fat on is sugar and fat (think buns, pies, buttery pastry, white bread, eclairs, cakes, batter mix, cookies) always remember that and you won’t go far wrong.

So, this diet and lifestyle approach is simply based on common sense.

Calorie Counting: Doesn’t Add Up

RDA-Label

Misleading labels like this serve little purpose.

Firstly focusing on removing hundreds of calories from your diet is totally the wrong approach, as to think of calorie restriction being the answer to your weight problem is a disaster waiting to happen. Weight gain is directly linked to the production of a hormone called Insulin, controlling it’s production is the key to not just a healthy weight but to avoiding a whole host of modern diseases.

Here are 10 everyday tastier, more satisfying, healthy alternatives to the low calorie/low fat option, that will result in effortless weight loss and optimal health for those willing to try.

Hold the Toast

Cut out the toast completely if you want to lose weight and avoid some very nasty diseases, it contains refined sugar and concentrated carbohydrate which turns to glucose (sugar) during digestion. This in turn causes an Insulin response which means these sugars are now stored as fat. Throw away your margarines and all low fat spreads they will make you fat and sick. The fat in butter on the other hand is good, spread it on almond or flaxseed bread for a completely healthy alternative.

Tea or Coffee?

Sugar addiction is at the heart of the obesity pandemics, not just the refined pure versions but the hidden sugars within processed foods. If you really don’t want to give up the sweetness in a cuppa use honey though this in moderation but definitely not artificial sweeteners. Milk, all pasteurised homogenised milk is bad for many reasons. One of the main reasons we’re told to drink it is it’s high in Calcium. The altered chemical make-up of milk and lack of magnesium due to processing means the Calcium cannot be absorbed by the body. Also the body can only absorb calcium in an alkaline state, milk is acidic and therefore needs to consumed in the presence of alkaline foods such as most though not all fruit and vegetables. Obtain all the calcium you need from sardines, white bait, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds. Sardines have three times the calcium of semi-skimmed milk. Though if like me you really want milk and are lucky enough to live near a supplier, go for the raw milk option. This is milk that hasn’t gone through the damaging processes in order to prolong its life and make it more transportable.

Chewing the fat…

Fat does not make you fat, fat is packaged very nicely to be used by the body as instant energy. There is no proven science to back up the claims that saturated fats cause heart disease or weight gain. It is a fundamental requirement and should be savored not avoided. Without saturated fat food has no flavor, which is why manufacturers add sugar to make the food tasty. Tran’s fats (artificial hydrogenated oils) on the other hand cause many problems, including weight gain due to their carbohydrate loading and imbalance of omega 6’s. Get rid of vegetable, sunflower, rape and corn oils, margarines, low-fat spreads.

Fry Crisp and Dry?

Never ever cook with processed oils, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated for reasons given above. Olive oil for low temperate cooking or for everything else: Coconut oil, Ghee, Butter, Lard, Goose, Beef Dripping or any other saturated animal fats you have lying around are great.

Going against the Grain!

Bread will derail your weight loss goals more than almost anything else. Though whole grain is better as it takes longer to digest, white should be avoided all together. There are many associated health reasons to remove bread from your diet completely. Leave grains to the crows and pigeons they’re far better equipped to digest it than you are.

You’ve got to be yolking!

Eggs are great, all eggs, the whole egg. We’ve been eating them since the dawn of time and before…chicken, duck, goose, crocodile…whatever, just enjoy them!

Fish out of Water?

Fish in brine or olive oil is great, sunflower oil is very bad…tomato sauce goes without mention.

Cheese-free pizza (like fish without water)

Pizza with no cheese? Never, it’s not the saturated fat in the cheese that makes us fat, it’s the bread base. Unfortunately you will have to ask for these to be made specially or make yourself at home. Make meatza which replaces bread base with an minced beef, egg and almond flour mix. Or if you want a crusty base choose almond or coconut flour, butter and eggs. On top of this throw on your favourites bacon, sausage(gluten free), liver, tomato, anchovies, mushrooms, think you get the picture.

Bun-free burgers – Heaven

Definitely burgers without buns however not for any reason associated to either fat or calorie content but everything to do with controlling refined carbohydrate and sugar consumption.

Fries to Go?

Well the standard potato variety will have to due to the high starch content which has a dramatic effect on blood sugar, couple this with cooking in manufactured oil and you have a pretty potent cocktail that’s not just going to add those extra pounds but can have a pretty dramatic effect on long term health due to high levels of trans fats which are particularly bad. Though all is not lost as there are healthy alternatives that taste a whole lot better too. Use sweet potato or Celeriac root to make chips and fry in beef dripping or coconut oil.

Who said Chips weren’t healthy!

Remember: It’s all about the Insulin!!

Ok so that’s it as you will find there are plenty of real healthy alternatives which will leave you in optimal health.

Obesity, weight gain and sickness are not a bi-product of ageing. They’re result of industrial foods, bad advice and intensive marketing.

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