Food IS fuel, the problem is, if you want to drive a performance race car, it really needs performance race fuel. You hit the gym 4-5 days a week, and you’re doing everything right to build a performance race body. If you give it 87 octane fuel… you’re not going to perform at your peak performance. You will not be the best version of YOU that YOU CAN BE.
What is the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet is a focus on eating natural, real food that is widely available with little or no processing.
Follow these simple guidelines to get on the right path:
- Eliminate sugar: candy, soda, products made with high-fructose corn syrup, basic junk food items.
- Remove grain-based products from your diet: cereal, bread, pasta, and other processed foods. Supplant these foods with fresh vegetables and some seasonal fruits. Nuts and seeds are good too.
- Eliminate over processed dairy: While dairy isn’t technically on the Paleo diet, I think of diets as more of a framework than a law. Consider the framework as, the more processed a food is, the less paleo it is. So whole milk is better than 2% milk which is, in turn, better than skim milk. Ideally organic, full-fat grass-fed milk will fit fine into your plan, and Grass-fed butter is widely considered to be paleo. Yogurt is a bit of a grey area, and Ice Cream is definitely a no-go at this station.
- Eliminate legumes and most starches: (i.e. beans, peas, peanuts, white potatoes, corn). Again, change these out for fresh vegetables and fruits. Sweet potatoes are okay. Limited white rice is OK too, yes white not brown rice… it’s complicated.
“Brown rice is considered a “health” food typically because it still has the bran – and the bran is where all the nutrients (like vitamins, minerals, and fiber) can be found. BUT – our not-so-good friend phytic acid is there too. And phytic acid binds these nutrients and essentially renders them unavailable for our body to use. Because white rice doesn’t have the bran, it doesn’t have those healthy nutrients…but it also doesn’t carry the phytic acid either. This helps white rice digest in our body much easier. And this is why most Paleo experts say that white rice is acceptable on the Paleo diet.”
- Get rid of processed vegetable oils. Cheap vegetable oil is a primary ingredient used in the processed foods industry. Coconut oil is one of the best alternatives. Other good fats to install into your fueling plan are avocados, olive oil, almonds and macadamia nuts.
So what CAN you eat?
- Lean Meats: Beef, Veal, Venison, Lamb, Chicken, Bison, etc (try to eat the grass-fed versions of these if at all possible).
- Fish: Salmon, Tilapia, Bass, etc.
- Eggs: Go for it
- Vegetables: Load up your plate
- Fruit: Berries and the less sugary fruits are best
- Nuts: In moderation (and not peanuts. They’re legumes remember.)
- Natural Oils: Olive, Coconut and Avocado Oils
THE BEST PART!
80% of the time, follow the guidance above. 20% of the time, you can cheat. The vast majority of the benefits of following this diet plan you’ll get from following it just 80% of the time. Life is too short to give up pizza forever. Being able to go off diet 20% of the time helps you to maintain the diet plan for a much longer period of time.
Need more info?
I’ve been subscribing to Paleo Magazine, and it’s been extremely helpful in keeping me motivated with the diet, as well as keeping the foods seasonal (We all want those fresh fruits in the summer and pumpkin in the fall.) and not boring. Give it a try if you’re looking for inspiration.