My Thoughts On The Paleo Diet

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This article was originally published on http://nickpineault.org 

One of the biggest trends right now is the Paleo Diet. Pete Tansley looks at the Paleo Diet to determine if it is right for you.

Paleo has done a few things in recent years – it’s encouraged people to eat more whole foods, it has encouraged foods that are anti-inflammatory, and has made bacon popular.

And anything that encourages bacon consumption is a good thing in my books.

It has also helped a lot of people lose significant amounts of body fat and improved their overall health.

However let’s take a look at the Paleo diet, and review if it’s right for you and your specific goals.

What Exactly Is Paleo?

In essence, Paleo is eating whole-foods. If it were around 10,000 years ago, it is probably considered Paleo.

The Paleo movement believes in real food – that is, food that has not been processed by man, or food that doesn’t cause any inflammation in the body.

According to the diet, you want to include plenty of:

  • Lean meat
  • Vegetables
  • Seafood
  • Fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy fats

Whilst avoiding:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Starches
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods
  • Legumes

The proponents of Paleo dieting claim the approach can reverse Type II Diabetes, decrease or even eliminate autoimmune issues, and increase life span. (References)

As with any fitness related topic, there are plenty of doubters. Alan Aragon provides some very good information on the argument against paleo, here. (Link: http://www.nsca.com/uploadedFiles/NSCA/Inactive_Content/Program_Books/PTC_2013_Program_Book/Aragon.pdf)

 

A Day In The Life

A day in the life of a Paleo dieter would potentially look something like this:

Breakfast – 3 whole eggs, cooked in coconut oil, with sautéed vegetables and mushrooms. 1 long black coffee, with 1 TSP organic pouring cream.

Lunch – large salad with greens, peppers, onions and a serve of meat such as chicken breast. 1 piece of fruit as a snack.

Dinner – 1 salmon steak, roasted zucchini, large salad with extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

 

Whole foods and vegetables are in, man-made or processed foods are out. Loren Cordain has taken an in-depth look into the nutritional characteristics of a Paleolithic Diet here (http://thepaleodiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/The-Nutritional-Characteristics-of-a-Contemporary-Diet-Based-Upon-Paleolithic-Food-Groupsabstract4.pdf)

 

Do I Need To Make Changes?

The Paleo diet has exploded over the last few years. Led by some very intelligent and influential people – such as Rob Wolff – the Paleo philosophy is popular among CrossFitters, and now even has the attention of the medical world

And for absolute beginners and those who have abused their bodies with croissants and cereals (that was me as a kid), it’s brilliant.

What I like about Paleo is its simplicity. I can easily explain to somebody in few words on how to follow Paleo: “Just Eat Real Food.”

That’s it: JERF (hat tip to Sean Croxton for this handy acronym)

So if somebody is weighing up between two food choices, simply apply think JERF and you’ll be fine.

So if you had to choose between…

A muesli bar or a handful of nuts? Choose the nuts

A bowl cereal or a boiled egg? Choose the egg

A packet of Peanut butter M&M’s or Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups? Err, neither are those are Paleo #faileo

 

If a client has poor health indicators (such as poor insulin sensitivity, high levels of body fat, and makes consistently bad food choices) then a Paleo-type diet is just what the doctor ordered. In fact, many doctors are recognizing the power of aligning themselves with the Paleo movement (LINK: http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com)

This person’s body is in a disease-like state. Sadly, they may have permanently ruined their insulin sensitivity (ability to handle carbs) and may never have the need to add carbs into their diet

The Paleo diet is best suited to those who have health issues, or those just getting started on their health and fitness journey.

Anybody who has abused their body with sugary carbs, or those with poor health markers and are perhaps coming back after a lay off from healthy eating and exercise, will benefit.

It even works well for intermediate level athletes.

My problem with the Paleo diet is when somebody needs more performance.

It might seem obvious that if the Paleo diet is suitable to somebody in a disease-like state, or beginner to intermediate level athletes, then you will need some adjustments to take it to the next level.

If somebody is looking to gain freakish strength, build arms like Arnie, or get shredded to the bone, then they are going to need some modifications.

That’s common sense, yet is something that is grossly overlooked within the fitness industry.

Let’s take a client who has good insulin resistance, is under 12-15% body fat, and chooses good food with most meals. Because they have low inflammation (and we know this from their good insulin sensitivity and low levels of body fat), they’re going to need more than spinach and protein to get the job done.

Enter, Carbohydrates

At a certain point in most peoples’ training, they are going to hit a wall when following a strict Paleo diet.

They will probably need a higher amount of carbohydrate, to fuel the anaerobic activity.

The point here is that carb’s may be necessary to support anaerobic activity, but only if you display good biomarkers of health and you exercise at a high intensity.

Somebody training only a few times per week, at a very low intensity, can easily replace their muscle glycogen through a Paleo style diet.

You have to EARN your carbs. More exercise + less body fat = higher carb intake.

Until then, the Paleo diet offers a simple, easy and realistic diet philosophy.

Author Bio

Pete Tansley is a writer, personal trainer, business owner, proud dad and a horrible dancer. Tansley owns and operates PeteTansleyFitness.com, a training and online coaching company.

As a chubby kid, Tansley tried everything to burn fat. After attempting (and failing) every popular diet, Tansley embarked on an educational journey that led him to become a personal trainer.

A decades later, Tansley has helped hundreds of clients lose fat and regain their health. Tansley also owns and operates Priority 1 Gym, a personal training gym based on the Gold Coast, QLD.

Download Pete’s free “Dirty Dozen” fat loss workout for free! Click the link http://petetansleyfitness.com/pete-tansley-fitness-workout/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/petetansley

 

 

  • Bipul Kumar

    So you are a vegetarian and yet you are so intrigued with this Paleo
    diet regimen, can you note then a vegetarian paleo diet still?
    Vegetarian paleo diet regimen is good for individuals that wish to sign
    up with the Paleo parade without consuming an item of meat in any way