Category Archives: diet

Learn How To Lose Weight Today

Loosing Weight With today’s on-the-go lifestyle, we tend to eat quickly. Eating right gives us a healthy weight, a good mood and overall wellbeing. We surely are what we eat. While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s our overall pattern that is most important because sometimes it can be non-food related. Focusing on how we feel after eating. The more healthy food we eat, the better we feel after a meal. With a healthy life style we are filled with vitality and vibrant health. Ghrelin hormones that increase appetite are secreted every four hours. To maintain low levels of this hormone, it is necessary to follow a diet over periods of four hours. The secret is in certain foods rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, mainly consisting of carotenoids, Omega 3s and flavonoids. Consuming 3 cups of tea daily helps to overcome leptin resistance. The tea is rich in catechins, flavonoids and polyphenols, all anti-inflammatory elements. Tea, whose effect on weight control is well-known, will help restore the role of leptin. Flaxseed is one of the richest dietary sources of omega-3 anti-inflammatory properties and a natural food source rich in polyphenolic substance which helps the liver to eliminate toxins and fats from the body. A good night sleep helps us maintaining our leptin appetite hormones at a good level, it’s a major factor of balance and healthy weight people. It’s also helpful to acknowledge and be aware of our thinking, being and living in the present moment. It’s very efficient to increase our mind and body awareness by listening to all the powerful messages that it sends us. Changing our habits one by one is better, one week at the time. An habit is a reflex and it becomes an automatic action that can be done without thinking. Once we will have taken a good habit, it will not be necessary to use our motivation, it will remain anchored to our subconscious effortlessly. Going outside for a walk or any other activities, whether in the morning, the lunch hour or in the evening, moving is a great way to lose weight, but also improves mood by increasing the energy level. Nourishing ourselves with an activity/passion is a good and healthy long-time occupation and it’s crucial for sustaining long-term positive habits. Watching a 5 minutes cardiac coherence on YouTube is a good relaxation method. When we breathe this way-of-life everyday, it becomes naturally part of ourselves. Together we can live better & healthier.

5 Healthy Vegetables To Include in Your Diet

As we all know, vegetables are a paramount source of nutrition and vitamins to include in your diet. They reduce many chronic diseases including heart attacks and strokes and are important for keeping a fit and healthy body. Below are 5 vegetables that one should include in their diet: Broccoli – they are full of Vitamin K and C which provide a great source of fiber, folate and potassium. Vitamin K is essential for many proteins used for blood clotting while Vitamin C develops collagen used repairs cuts and heals wounds through the formation of body tissue. The fiber keeps the digestive system healthy whilst the folate allows for the necessary formation of new cells. Garlic – used through ancient civilisations due to its medicinal and health benefits. Garlic contains sulphur compounds called allicin that is formed when it is chopped or crushed and provides potent biological health effects through the digestive system. The vitamin C content in garlic can cause it to act as an anti-inflammatory and prevent against nasty viral and bacterial activities Garlic also has very few calories so is great against weight-loss and obesity. Zucchinis – Many people avoid zucchinis due to their lack of taste however they hold an abundance of goodness. They have many anti-oxidants which assist in weight loss and cholesterol reduction. You could also just eat the zucchini flowers and there are many recipes online on how to cook zucchini flowers. Tomatoes – rich in the anti-oxidant lycopene which is important for bone health. A study revealed removing lycopene from a diet of postmenopausal women caused an increase in the risk of osteoporosis. Tomatoes are also great for having a healthy heart as they lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Spinach – is an extremely valuable source of vitamins A, B2, C and K as well as having manganese, iron, folate, calcium and potassium. Research has found that eating 300g of spinach everyday will lower the amount of oxygen required to energise the muscles of people exercising by 5%. Spinach also reduces the risk of skin cancer. Overall, vegetables are a necessary part of any diet to keep oneself healthy and prevent the body against cancers and disease. Vegetables contain an array of nutrients and vitamins which will also assist with lowering blood pressure, preventing the development of kidney stones and increasing bone density. Hopefully these reasons will get you kickstarted into eating more of the wonderful things that are known as vegetables.

10 Ways to Add Summer Fruit to Your Diet

Living in a colder climate, I find summer to be a wonderful time of year for delicious fresh food. The cost and availability of fresh produce is limited in the winter months and now is the time to enjoy what is in season. We get a variety of nutrients from different foods and changing with the seasons can help you to have variety in taste as well as nutrition throughout the year. Summer fruit options Let’s start with a list of some of the delicious summer fruits you may find at your local farmers market or at your grocer: Blackberries Boysenberries Blueberries Cantaloupe Cherries Mangos Nectarines Peaches Plums Pluots Raspberries Tomatoes Watermelon Selecting the best fresh fruit Buying these summer fruits in season will save you money at the store and offer delicious and nutritious food options. But you may find you struggle with choosing the best of each of the fruits. Here are some tips for choosing these fresh fruits at the store. Berries – Look for blackberries or boysenberries that are shiny and plump. For all berries look at the package, tip it upside down to look for signs of mushy fruit. Once berries start to deteriorate it will quickly spread to the other fruit and may ruin the entire package. When choosing cherries look for fruit free of blemishes. Blueberries are the berry that will be found with a dull/matte finish. Melons – All melons should feel heavy for their size. Cantaloupe will have a fragrant smell, but watermelon will not have a noticeable aroma. When gently pushing on the stem end of a cantaloupe it should have a slight give when it is ready to eat. Nectarines, Peaches, Plums and Pluots – Choose fruits that are heavy in size, have a sweet smell and are free of blemishes. When ripe they should have a slight give when you push gently on the fruit. Mangos – Look for fruit that gives slightly when gently pressed. The color may vary though darker green is most likely not yet ripe. Tomatoes – Look for fruit that is unblemished and red in color. Adding summer fruit to your diet Make it simple – chop up a variety of fruit for a mixed fruit salad or simply choose any of the fruits for a snack or for dessert. Prepare mango salsa for topping on fresh fish or chicken – peel and seed 1 mango and dice, mix with 1 chopped green onion, 2 TB fresh cilantro, 1 TB lemon juice and 1 TB lime juice. Add berries to pancakes, waffles or muffins. Snack on fruit kebabs with diced melon or other fruit you enjoy. Add protein such as diced cheese or meat to make it a more filling snack or a small meal. Mash ½ C blueberries and mix with 1 lb. hamburger for added moisture and nutrition to a hamburger patty. Slice tomatoes on a sandwich or in a salad. Add diced nectarines or peaches to a lettuce or pasta salad. Make a blackberry cobbler. Recipes often contain twice the sugar that is needed for a sweet dessert – cut the added sugar by 1/3 to ½. Prepare fresh fruit jam. Mash 1 lb. very ripe fruit (strawberries or other berries, plums, peaches or nectarines), add 2 TB chia seeds and 2 TB honey or maple syrup. Add it to plain Greek yogurt for a delicious breakfast or snack. Dice plums or pluots in cooked oatmeal, add cinnamon for a flavorful breakfast. If any of these foods have not been a part of your diet in the past, be adventurous and try something new. When choosing good quality, adequately ripe fruit you will find wonderful tastes to enjoy all summer long. Happy summer!

You Eat What Your Food Ate!

About 3500 years ago, the Israelites were given instructions about foods they should eat and foods they should avoid. These instructions were written in several places in the Bible, including in the book of Leviticus, chapter ll. Any fish you eat should have both fins and scales. Any animal you eat should chew the cud, part the hoof, and be cloven-footed. Two of the most popular foods that most people think of as healthy are catfish and pork. Why would it be written in the Bible that neither of these should be eaten? Were the instructions meant only for the Jews or is it possible that neither catfish or pork is actually good for you? Since when you eat, you are actually eating what your food ate, let’s look at what catfish and pigs eat. WHAT DO CATFISH EAT? Catfish live on the bottom and eat whatever ends up on the bottom of rivers, ponds, and lakes. Their foods include: dead fish, snails, worms, animal feces, aquatic bugs, rotting plant vegetation, minnows, leeches, and carrion from animals that died in the water. They will eat just about anything! The Bible says that the fish should have both fins and scales, such as a bass, for it to be good for food. A catfish does not have scales. Thus, it is not good for food. In addition to the idea of how repulsive it is to eat something that feeds on dead, decaying, nasty things, when it comes to the omega fatty acid content, neither catfish or tilapia is really good for you either. Both have some omega-3 fatty acids and that part is good; however, both have far more omega-6, which is not good. WHAT DO PIGS EAT? Pigs eat both plants and animals. They will eat almost any kind of food, including dead insects, worms, garbage, and dead pigs. They will eat rats, rabbits, carcasses, and their own feces. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are over 100 viruses that come from China to the United States each year through pigs. A majority of the flu viruses we encounter actually comes from the lungs of pigs. Pigs may be infected with toxins that help cause diseases. Pork is the main source of tapeworms and certain bacteria that spread throughout the body and may go undetected for years. The bacteria robs our cells of needed nutrition and can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, acid reflux, fatigue, and depression. A retrovirus lives in all pork cells. It even survives through heat so cooking does not kill it! Thus, when we eat the meat, we put a retrovirus into our body. How bad is a retrovirus? HIV is a retrovirus. Retroviruses have been responsible for causing leukemia. Retroviruses cause tumor growth and certain cancers in animals and humans. They can also be responsible for neurological disorders. God, our creator, created some things that were meant to be eaten, and some things that were not meant to be eaten. Science is still uncovering many of the reasons to consume certain foods, and to ignore others because of the foods being healthy or unhealthy for us. It looks to me that if people paid attention to the Bible’s instructions, they would be much healthier!

Low-Carb Diets and Diabetic Issues

In a low-carb diet plan, the carbohydrate consumption is restricted to between 5 to 10 percent, such that healthy protein and also fats (Like Coconut Oil) take precedence in one’s eating practices, to be able to remain satisfied also stay clear of food cravings. It remains in keeping that sensation of fullness that people have the ability to prevent the desire for sugary foods, as well as this is a good factor for diabetics to take on a diet plan that is reduced in carbs to manage their problem. Following this type of diet plan protects against extreme usage of carbs, which causes greater degrees of blood sugar level. Diabetic issues is a problem where the physical body is not able to effectively absorb carbohydrate as well as sugar. For a diet plan to operate in support of a diabetic, it needs to be reduced in fat, rich in fiber, as well as had with minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and also anti-oxidants. Keeping to the sort of food with reduced glycemic index is likewise crucial. Foods that are allowed in low-carb diet plans are meat, chicken, eggs, cheese, fish, as well as some chosen veggies. Although some resources claim that to remove carbs entirely is not suggested for diabetics, as carbs in the diet plan are important, due to the fact that they act as the primary source of power as well as nutrients within our physical bodies. In a diabetic’s diet plan, carbs in too high quantities could be opposed, yet authorities suggest an everyday dose of not less than 130 grams. On the other hand, researches have actually revealed that the low-carb diet plan induced no unfavorable results on the levels of insulin, sugar, blood stress or cholesterol. It is additionally rewarding to keep in mind that people could change a diet plan saying his/her certain demands. Here, prior to adhering to any type of diet plan, make certain to get in touch with your doctor making certain you will certainly be getting all the best nutrients that will certainly aid you to manage your problem. Doing this will certainly help aid you to identify parts of the program that you maybe change for a better eating habit. The impacts of restricting the quantity of carbs in your diet plan are shown as loss of weight as a result of a lower calorie consumption, or the effective upkeep of your optimal weight. Keep in mind that with weight-loss, the physical body’s blood glucose as well as insulin degrees normally boost. Also merely a 10 percent weight-loss is a significant renovation in the direction of remaining in far better control of diabetic issues. When weight loss is your objective and getting into much better health and wellness makes your problem much more acceptable, after that a very carefully prepared diet plan is ideal coupled with a workout plan that is very easy s to comply with. Daily walks as well as a number of load repetitions with barbells excel low-impact workouts you could start. Normal a workout does not just assist battle with diabetic issues; it likewise adds a feeling of wellness that helps you keep the best perspective to living a much healthier life permanently. The benefits of Coconut oil… Coconut oil is basically a free fatty acid. It is a medium length compound. What that means is it is used by the body a fuel and not stored as fat in the tissues. 1 Tbs (tablespoon) of coconut oil contains 120 calories. That’s as much as 8 tsp (teaspoons) of sugar. The difference is that the sugar is stored as fat. If you are looking for a good oil for cooking or baking or weight loss. Look no further than Coconut Oil. If you want to weigh 125 pounds. You need to maintain 1875 calories a day. Any more you gain weight. Any Less you lose weight. When using coconut oil DO NOT count the calories into your daily intake. They are FREE calories. Long length fatty acids like olive oil, corn oil and even lard is much harder for the body to digest. The calories that are not burned by the body is stored as fat.

The Power of Protein: Which Protein Is the Best For You?

I want to let you know about the most important part of a fitness diet: protein. Protein can get expensive depending on where you buy and what you buy. There are different types of protein. The four main types are: low carbohydrate/low calorie, whey, high carbohydrate mass gainer, and casein. I will go into detail about these four and give you the pros and cons of each protein. Before I do that, I need to let you know the purpose of the four different kinds. A low calorie/low carbohydrate protein is for people who want to become leaner and lose body fat while getting fit. The whey protein is the most natural protein, it will have somewhere between 20-40 carbohydrates and will help you gain weight, but very slowly. A mass gainer will help you gain weight quicker. A lot of carbohydrates and a high protein powder will not only give you a large amount of protein, it will also give you a lot of carbohydrate to help the body grow. The last protein is casein, which is a slow digesting protein. This protein is perfect before bed since your body is going to be non-active for a longer period at a time. Now that we know what the purpose of each protein is, I will give you the pros and cons to each one as well as the one I recommend. Low Carbohydrate/ Low Calorie Pros: · Easy intake of protein to help you gain lean muscle while also losing body fat · Very cheap ($20-$40 for a 2 pound container) · You don’t take a lot at once so it is easier to consume · Larger assortment of flavors Cons: · Not very many good brands of this kind of protein · Not a good protein for people trying to gain or maintain weight Whey Protein Pros: · This protein will help you gain weight slowly, but surely · All natural protein (no creatine embedded in it) · The price is very cheap (2 pound container for $30) · There are a lot of different flavors to please anyone’s needs Cons: · Not a good protein for anyone trying to gain weight quickly · Not very many good brands for this protein Mass Gainer Pros: · A lot of calories · A lot of carbohydrates · There are a lot of brands for mass gainers · More and more flavors are being introduced · Easily take in a massive amount of protein in one sitting Cons: · This protein is expensive · Not a good protein for people that do not want to gain weight · Can be considered “unnatural” (creatine is usually embedded in the protein Casein Pros: · Great when large periods of non-activity is upcoming (i.e. sleeping) · There are a lot of flavors to fulfill everyone’s wants and needs Cons: · Very hard to mix and intake (some brands has a pudding like texture · Not a very good tasting protein · Small amount of calories · Small amount of carbohydrates · Moderate amount of protein All in all, depending on your fitness or lifestyle goal, there are many different proteins that would suit you. I have tried to give you my recommendations and reviews of different proteins. There are links under each recommendation so you can easily follow those links and do some more research yourself. AS you can tell, I prefer bodybuilding.com. They buy their products in bulk volumes, so their products are usually cheaper than most nutrition stores, like Complete Nutrition and GNC. I would recommend that you try to shy away from those stores because they are making money off commission, so they usually try to push their brands more and they tell you what you want to hear. I hope this helps you on your journey to become whoever you want to become, whether that be a healthy parent or a professional bodybuilder/power lifter.

Could the “Free Zone” Help You Stick to Your Diet?

By definition diets involve some mix of restrictions that, after the initial burst of determination wears off, can lead to feeling deprived, unsatisfied, and resentful – and ultimately to a “pity party for one” hosted by the refrigerator. It’s exactly that process that torpedoes the whole plan, time and again. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Because there’s a way you can drop-kick deprivation that actually motivates you to stay with the plan. It’s called the “Free Zone” Happily, it can tuck neatly into virtually any self-imposed diet. Those folks on commercial diets may want to check with the administrators about using this tasty technique. In this Zone we can eat whatever we want, and within reason as much as we want. Easy now, we still have to make some smart choices. First let’s look at possibilities for your Zone. It can be a time {first Sunday of the month?}, or a place {favorite restaurant?}, or a food {Mexican?}, or an occasion {birthday parties?}, or a recurring event {monthly lunch with your peeps?}, and so on. Timing is everything in making your selection. It should occur often enough to give you something within reach to look forward to, and yet infrequently enough so you don’t undo all your other good work. The example given for the “time” option already has that discipline built in. If it’s a fave restaurant, be very specific with yourself about how often you’ll go there. Say you decide you want to go all in at all birthday gatherings. If you have a large, extended family and lots of friends that love to party, that would not be a good choice. So maybe you narrow it down to just celebrations within the immediate family, and then you’re doing it right. So, what if your Zone occurs when you didn’t expect it – perhaps friends invite you to that selected restaurant when you’ve already hit your pre-determined quota? Go, and enjoy with the same smart choices you made before you knew anything about the Free Zone. You don’t want to abuse the concept because that is totally counterproductive to both your diet and this diet-saver. Rather look upon the Free Zone as a now and then reward for all the other times you’re sticking to the plan. And when your Zone does roll around, relax, enjoy, indulge without any guilt whatsoever. Tomorrow we’ll be good again, but today we’re zoned for being gleefully “bad.” So then, my Free Zone? Pizza! Since it doesn’t involve a multi-course meal or a multi-food party, I usually have it up to twice a month. And then savor it right to the point I head for the Tums.

Enzymes – The Key to Greater Health and Energy

What can enzymes do for health, energy, and long life? What effect does an enzyme deficiency have on the body? The magic of enzymes is that they are a delicate lifelike substance found in all living animal and plant cells. They are energized protein molecules that are essential for digesting food, repairing tissue, and creating virtually all of the chemical reactions in the body. A recent study from the Medical College of Belgaum in India discovered that protein-digesting enzymes were more effective than aspirin in reducing swelling and inflammation. According to the book “Enzymes: The Foundation of Life,” life cannot be sustained without enzymes, and because one’s body produces only so many enzymes during one’s life, there are less and less of them available with age. This may lead to poor digestion and blocked absorption of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for good health. Digestive enzymes are made in the pancreas and released into the intestine to break down food and turn it into energy. Enzyme supplements are widely known to be beneficial for indigestion. Also a helpful remedy for osteoarthritis, the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology found supplemental enzymes to be beneficial for joint health. Raw food enzymes are obtained from eating raw foods such as fruits and vegetables. Foods high in natural enzymes are avocados, bananas, mangos and sprouts. Cooked and processed foods are depleted of all of their enzymes. Another type of enzyme is a metabolic or systemic enzyme. These are also made by the pancreas and other glands, but they travel directly through the bloodstream and initiate chemical reactions inside the cells that orchestrate life’s processes in every organ, gland, tissue and cell. It is a key part of nutrition to eat raw foods and to take enzyme supplements when eating cooked or processed foods, in order to not rob the body of the metabolic enzymes it must have to keep the body running. When there aren’t enough digestive enzymes, the body forces its metabolic enzymes into use to digest food. This takes them away from their vital duties of repair, maintenance and infection fighting, all of which need constant attention. Enzymes can either be taken with food or on an empty stomach. When enzyme supplements are taken on an empty stomach, 45 minutes to one hour before meals, they stimulate the immune system to engulf and remove waste material such as bacteria, cysts, and tumors (per the article “Oral Enzymes – New Approach to Cancer Treatment.” Munich, Germany: Forum-Medicine, 1996). Studies have confirmed the successful use of proteolytic (protein digesting) systemic enzymes for treating a wide variety of conditions. They have helped healing and eased the pain of sports injuries, they are used to control inflammation and swelling, to bring about faster recovery after surgery, and to maintain good heart health by breaking down fats and cholesterol (The Lancet Journal – “Effects of enzymes in stable coronary artery disease”). Proteolytic systemic enzymes include bromelain, papain and pancreatin. Taken between meals, they can fortify the blood and be stored for later use when needed. Without enough enzymes, the digestive tract deposits a large quantity of toxic material from undigested food into the blood, which is carried throughout the body. It accumulates over time and contributes to many chronic health problems and conditions. The body has to use a great deal of its energy to digest enzyme deficient foods. By eating more uncooked and raw foods and using supplemental enzymes, energy can be diverted right back to the body.

Why Dieting Will Never Work If You Don’t Know Your Body

Let’s face it, at one point or another most of us have had that feeling. We look in a mirror and all we can say is “Wow.” What happened? How did we let ourselves get this way? Usually what follows is looking up whatever diet is the new “in” diet so that we can lose the extra pounds. And therein lies the problem. Each of us are different. Our bodies are made differently and we need to understand and respect that. Plus everyone gets into that situation differently. Some people eat too much fast food, some drink too much soda, some have no idea what portion control is and some just need to restrict certain things like fats or carbs. Whatever the reason, you need to figure out the cause before you can come up with the solution. Fast Food Addict Do you find yourself always on the go? No time to cook, so you’ll just pick something up on the way? You may be a fast food addict. We all know fast food has a huge amount of salt, fat, and additives, but it’s just so darn convenient. If this is you, simply eating more food at home may be the answer to your problems. I know how hard it can be to find the time to cook. At one point in my career, I was working 12 hour overnight shifts at a job that was 45 minutes from my house. The last thing I wanted to do in what little free time I was given was to cook for myself, so, I would just grab something on the way home. I put on 30 pounds in six months. If you have the budget for it, consider getting onto a program where the food is prepared for you. There are several out there, just Google them. If that is not an option for you, then you need to find time to cook. My solution was to prepare a week’s worth of food on one of my days off. I would make one or two different dishes and refrigerate a few day’s worth while freezing the rest. That way, dinner was ready in a couple of minutes while I save a lot of money by not going out to eat. Cooking at home takes a lot of time if you do it every day, however if you spend only one day a week cooking a larger quantity of food, it takes less time overall because not only are you not having to put in the work every day, cooking a larger amount of food only takes a little but more time than cooking a single meal. Junk Food Addict Do you crave candy throughout the day? Maybe you go through a soda or two every day of the week. Junk if is always good even if it is never really good for you. If you find it hard to get through the day without craving something that is all but devoid of nutritional value, you may be a junk food addict. While it if OK to eat a candy bar every so often, having one every day is going to lead to problems. If you simply have to satisfy your sweet tooth, and you want to lose weight, you need to make smarter choices. As much as some people seem adverse to it, fruit really is a good choice. It is sweet while also having a good amount of nutritional value. Plus, eating something natural is always preferable to the preservatives and artificial stuff found in candy and soda. If the whole fruit thing is not your style, you can always try dark chocolate. Just make sure to have no more that one piece a day, and make sure it is very dark. I would recommend 80% or more. Portion Control One common problem is that people simply don’t know what an acceptable portion is. The common misconception is that you just fill up the plate, and your portions just be good. Loading up with a couple pounds of pasta is not the same as having one portion. Portion size is different for all foods, and you should Google “portion size” to get an idea as to what you should be eating. Things that may help at home are a food scale and measuring out what you eat before putting it on your plate. A food scale allows you to see what one portion of chicken or beef you should serve. If you want a six-ounce piece of chicken, you simply put it on the scale and you know you are eating the right amount. Likewise, you can use a simple measuring cup to figure out what a half cup of spaghetti sauce or a cup of vegetables looks like. All of these things can help to get an idea as to how much you should actually be eating for a meal. Low Fat vs. Low Carb This one is big because both sides have supporters and both sides have had fad diets associated with them. The main thing here is to remember not to eliminate anything, but simply reduce whatever one you know causes problems for you. I know through years of trial and error that a low carb approach works for me. The only reason I know that is because I have spent many years trying to lose weight, and have tried just about every kind of diet out there. You just need to analyze what you are eating. Do you eat a lot of bread and potatoes with every meal? Do you find yourself craving snacks like crackers and pretzels instead of sweets? Then you may need to watch your carbs to help you lose weight. If on the other hand you are always looking for snacks high in fats, or filled with oil, then going low-fat me be in your best interest. Just keep in mind that you do not want to eliminate anything, just reduce the foods that may be a problem for you. In Summary Just know that this is simply advice. Do not take any of this as medical in any way, and consult a doctor if you are serious about losing the weight. I simply have been dieting on and off for over 20 years. Last year I was able to lose 80 pounds, but I still have a way to go. Just make sure that before you begin your own weight loss journey that you know your body. Analyze the way you eat, and use it to find you path to better health. My only hope is that you can spend the time to figure out what you need to do to lose weight so that you don’t have to spend 20 years of trial and error to get there.

Is Paleo Right For You?

Paleo has received a great deal of media attention in the last few years. Proponents claim that by eating like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we can lose excess weight, lower blood sugar, triglyceride (a blood fat), blood pressure, as well as risks of heart disease and cancer. With more than two-thirds of Americans being either obese or overweight and growing rates of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, can eating Paleo be the panacea for our health problems? The following explains how paleo came about, what it entails, and whether the paleo way of eating is right for your body. What Changed From Paleo To Now? The paleo diet is based on the idea of eating only foods that our bodies were designed for over the last 2.6 millions years of evolution. During the Paleolithic period, our early ancestors started using primitive tools (made of stone, bone, and wood) and fire. They led a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and ate varying proportions of wild animals, fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, depending on season and availability. Such foods were nutrient-dense, toxin-free, whole foods. Agriculture did not come about until 10,000-13,000 years ago. Humans began eating domesticated animals, cereal grains, beans, potato, and drinking wine. Then dramatic changes came about in the last 50-100 years. Advances in technology have made many new forms of food available for human consumption. We are eating substantially more commercially packaged and prepared foods laden with chemicals, preservatives, and additives. Nutritionally speaking, these foods are a far cry from the unprocessed, natural, whole foods that humans used to eat. What’s worse, we spray herbicides and pesticides (which are toxic chemicals) on our crops, feed our animals and seafood antibiotics and growth hormones, and genetically manipulated the plants that we eat. Well, it is true that we are living longer now but is our quality of health much better than the Paleolithic humans? These days, we are inflicted by a myriad of chronic and debilitating diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. All these inflammatory diseases have only become common in the last 50-100 years. There is little doubt that our modern day food choices have a major role to play in the development of such diseases. So the next question is: can we remedy our current health problems by going back to a hunter-gather diet? But before going into that, let’s first look at what a paleo diet calls for. Paleo Practices The Paleolithic diet was first popularized by Loren Cordain in his best-selling 2002 book named The Paleo Diet. Since then, there have been many other paleo-based diet books which are usually variations of Cordain’s original book. These authors argue that human genome has not changed that much from the Paleolithic times millions of years ago. Hence, modern humans have been unable to properly metabolize the relatively new types of foods, resulting in modern-day health problems. As a result, in order to enjoy a longer, healthier, and more active life, the authors suggest following a diet that is as nutritionally close to that of our Paleolithic ancestors as possible. What to eat: More protein from meat and seafood. Most take on a whole animal approach, including organs, bone marrow, and cartilage. Animal products, such as eggs. Moderate to higher fat intake, like butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Fewer carbohydrates with the main source coming from non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Sweet potato, yam, plantain, and taro root are allowed. Raw honey and maple syrup. What to avoid: Dairy All grains Potatoes (allowed by some versions of Paleo) Legumes, like beans and peanuts. Trans fats and processed oils, such as from canola, soybean, and corn. Refined sugar Processed foods Salt Coffee Alcohol The Pros Of The Paleo Diet The foods emphasized in the paleo diet are, indeed, loaded with nutrients our bodies need. The most nutrient-dense foods are organ meats from pastured animals, grass-fed beef, lamb, wild game, seafood, pastured eggs, fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. Our modern western diet focuses too much on grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, etc.), yeast breads, deep-fried foods, pizza, sweetened beverages, and alcoholic drinks. By eating less of these nutritionally inferior foods, we can make room for more healthier choices. In contrast to high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets that have led to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, obesity, and other inflammatory diseases, people who go on a paleo diet generally report lower blood sugar, triglyceride, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. They also tend to lose weight as well as belly fat. Since paleo is a grain-free diet, it is suitable for people who have Celiac disease or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. For such individuals, they need to strictly avoid gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, and barley. The Cons Of The Paleo Diet The paleo diet is a single approach that may not work for everyone. As a matter of fact, studies show that there were tremendous variations in what our ancestors ate depending on which part of the world they lived in. Case in point, some people clearly feel better on a higher protein and fat intake, but others seem to do well when they eat a lesser amount. Many metabolically healthy individuals feel more energetic and vibrant when they increase their carbohydrate intake. Some may even find that moderate carbohydrate intake can help break through a weight loss plateau. Hence, the key is to personalize your own approach to meet your own unique needs rather than blindly adhering to a specific template. Seafood is no longer an ideal choice of protein. Most ocean fish are contaminated with mercury, PCBs, and toxins from pollution. Farmed fish and shrimp are fed antibiotics, growth hormones, and drugs. Therefore, one needs to be very selective when buying seafood. The better choices are wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, herrings, and squid. Full-fat dairy from grass-fed animals can be a very healthy food if it is well tolerated by your body. For people with digestive problems, autoimmune conditions, and leaky gut, it is probably not a good idea. However, for those who have intact intestinal barrier and who are otherwise healthy, there is no need to eliminate dairy. For example, kefir, yogurt, and raw cheese are full of healthy microbes that are extremely beneficial to your intestinal health. Grains and legumes are nutritious as long as they are properly prepared (to remove anti-nutrients like lectins and phytic acid) and your body can tolerate them. If you are gluten sensitive, you should always avoid wheat, rye, and barley. If you are diabetic or suffering from metabolic syndrome, you should be on a lower carbohydrate diet anyway. Otherwise, most anti-nutrients in grains and legumes can be substantially reduced by properly soaking, sprouting, or fermenting them. For example, the slowly fermented sourdough bread is much healthier and more nutritious than the common bread made from white flour and commercial yeast. Sugar is not toxic, nor is it a replacement for real food. Small amounts of it can fit into a whole food and nutrient-dense diet as long as you do not have blood sugar issues and that it is used for what it is supposed to be – an occasional treat. It is true that natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup are more nutritious than refined sugars. However, those who are eating paleo should make sure that they do not consume these “allowed” foods excessively. Is Paleo The Right Diet For You? Paleo-style eating has a lot of good qualities. It emphasizes whole natural foods, protein from grass-fed animals, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. It is, without doubt, far superior than the standard American diet. Yet, the paleo diet has some flaws too. Not everyone needs to exclude dairy, grains, and legumes as they can be healthy foods if your body does not have a sensitivity towards them. The biggest problem with paleo is that it is a one-size-fits-all approach that will not work for everyone. As discussed earlier, some people need more protein and fat, while others require more carbohydrates to function optimally. Moreover, most people will not be able to follow a strict diet for a long period of time. Once they go off, they go back to their old habits and routine. Therefore, instead of being fixated on following a strict hunter-gatherer diet template, think about making small changes in your modern lifestyle that support your genetic needs. Eat more freshly cooked foods prepared with organic, toxin-free, chemical-free ingredients. Think about variety, balance, and moderation. Know that the fewer kinds of foods consumed, the greater the chance of nutrient deficiencies. Buy less commercially packaged or prepared foods that you might normally eat. Reduce your sugar intake, be it natural or refined. Drink less alcohol. Don’t sit so much. Get moving, go outside for a walk. Aim to have 30 minutes of activity every day. Go to bed earlier and get a good night’s sleep.