Who else read the title and did a silent fist-pump? Don’t worry. I totally get it. *Returns fist pump*
Seriously, though. I’m loving the Paleo diet, because it means I can eat pretty much everything I love and it’s good for me. I know, I know: “What? Bacon and butter? Do you even know how much fat they have?”
Let’s just say Regina George’s all-carb diet from Mean Girls wasn’t a very good idea if she’s trying to lose weight instead of gain it.
First, let’s get introductions out of the way for any dieting-newbies out there. I promise, you’re not alone out here, in the nutrition wild, though it can feel like it a lot of the time. Protein powders? Diet shakes? Weight-loss meal plans? Weight watchers?
All the yammering of “Try my diet!” “No, try my diet!” “I’ll help you lose weight faster than the sound barrier!” “I’ll help you fit into those skinny jeans in four weeks!” “I can do it in two!” from every corner?
Blah, blah, blah, it’s enough to make you scream. After a while, you just tune it out. And you avoid the magazine rack at the grocery store like it’s got the plague. Like hell I want to see those stick-thin pretty models grinning like they were just born like that, all their “fat-loss chocolate cake” and “eat whatever you want, so long as you do this” advertising.
I know it’s not easy for guys, either. Have you seen these hunky swimsuit models, or athletes, or body-builders, or whatever? Unfortunately, not everyone has a super physically-demanding job, or enough time to hit the gym very often.
Moving on: newbies are probably wondering “what the heck is a Paleo diet?” It’s basically a diet made up mostly of meats, fats, some veg, and a little fruit. Ideally, you would be eating no carbs, grains, or artificial sweeteners. That means: no bread or pasta, minimal starchy food like potatoes and rice, and no sweeteners. Gluten-free carbs are generally a bit less bad than gluten carbs, but “less bad” and “good” aren’t synonyms. And rice and potatoes (including sweet potatoes), as far as I can tell, are permissible in serious moderation. They’re made of a different kind of carb, I think. And sorry, sugar-loving diabetics, but that no-sweetener rule includes Splenda, stevia, agave nectar, brown sugar, or white sugar. Not entirely sure about pure maple syrup, natural honey, coconut nectar and coconut sugar, or sugar alcohols, but tread carefully. Less is more when it comes to sweeteners, even “natural” sweeteners. And DEFINITELY no “diet” sodas, which may not contain *sugar* sugar, but sure aren’t good for you.
Here’s a great article I’m fond of: Eat Like A Predator, Not Like Prey. It’s got dieting advice, and motivational speech to boot. I feel like a badass after taking their advice. I’d suggest additional research, if only because taking the advice of any one source is generally a bad idea, but I tend to agree with most of it.
I know skeptics are gonna look at my dieting advice above, and the advice in that article, and raise an eyebrow, or gasp, or faint right off the bat. I mean, how long have we been told by dieting “experts” and health “experts” and nutrition “experts” to avoid fats and red meats, and enjoy a high-carb diet? Because, obviously, anything with the word “fats” in the name must make you fat, right?
Just like eating carbs turns you into carbs? *shudders* I hope not.
But if the “fats make you fat” rhetoric is right, then why is America still so fat? I probably don’t have to tell you that the US has a really high carb consumption rate, compared to, say… Japan? Native Americans before white folks showed up? The Natives tended to live off of meats, and they were fine until we forced them to eat carbs. And the Japanese really like their fish, and I don’t see super high obesity rates over there.
Members of my family have been eating carbs since before I was born, and they aren’t exactly the healthiest folks I’ve ever known. (If you’re reading this, fam, I’m sorry. You know I love you guys.)
I gotta tell you, when I stick to the Paleo diet, and carnivore diets, and stuff like that, I feel great! I lose weight, hardly any exercise required (though it certainly helps!), and I’ve got energy like I’m 12 again.
Our bodies were made to burn fats. We existed off of animal meats and fats for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Grains are a new thing. So why are people blaming old foods for new problems?
So, Sugar-vs-Fats Metabolism 101: the body was designed to burn fats. I already said that, but it’s still true. The main reason I’ve found, in all my research, that we gain weight, is because we’re eating too much sugar. Bread-y carbs turn to sugar inside the body, by the way, which is why I tend to use “sugar” and “carbs” as a synonym in this article. Because high blood sugar is a serious health issue (as any diabetic can tell you), the body wants to get rid of it quickly. Makes sense. So, when we eat excess sugar, the sugar gets burned and the fat just sits where it is, like people sitting on the sidewalk watching the bus drive by. Only after you starve your body of sugar does it switch back over to burning fat, since there’s no more sugar to worry about. The VIPs (sugar) have gotten off, and the bus is free to return for all the average Joes (fat) it left behind on the sidewalk. Fat gets burned, and pounds get shed, and you get your bikini body back.
Or one-piece bathing suit body, if you prefer, because I will never be caught dead wearing a bikini in public.
As a country with a seriously high obesity rate, we should want that fat-burning stage. But a lot of the people I talk to still believe the “fats = bad, carbs = good” myth, despite evidence to the contrary literally everywhere. I don’t get it.
Ok, but real talk: I can live without candy, and cake, and cookies, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Especially since going carb-free (or, relatively carb-free, at least. I don’t have an iron will) helps me to feel so good. The only thing I refuse to give up completely is ice cream, but I remember hearing that ice cream is the least-bad of all desserts, because it doesn’t have as many carbs as, say, cake. There’s sugar, sure, but there’s no wheat in it.
Let me know if there are any other Paleo/carnivore/keto dieters out there. I’d love to hear from you. Or, if you’ve found some other diet that works, I’d love to hear about it. I promise, I don’t bite.
Fellow Paleopeeps: I recommend the cookbook/diet guide Bacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet Cookbook, by Celby Richoux. It’s called “Ketogenic diet” on the cover, but it works for Paleo. I think Paleo and Keto are pretty much the same thing. You might notice where I got my title from. If you’re starved (get it?) for cookbooks, there’s a bunch more out there. I might be recommending some in the future, but this is my guide for right now.
* Note that this link is an Amazon Affiliate’s link, meaning I do get a (very) small commission from any purchases made from following the link. It’s not paid as soon as you click, and only if you buy something less than 24 hours after clicking my link. Please don’t think I’m only trying to make money. I do genuinely enjoy these products and I find Amazon convenient.