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Old 11-14-2008, 08:30 AM   #10
Emily Mattes
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 727
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Thanks, I am glad I can help!

As for the Paleo Diet, it is fairly simple. In the very strictest sense, it is no dairy, no sugars (not including honey), no grains, no legumes (no peanut butter, alas). That means no bread, no milk, no cheese, no sugar in your coffee, no lentils, no beans, etc. Most everything else--fruits, vegetables, protein, nuts, non-trans-fats, are OK. Honey is also OK, but go easy on it as it will spike your blood sugar. You can approach the diet with varying degrees of strictness. For example, I eat some hard cheeses as my boyfriend can't give them up, and I would rather tear the heart from my chest than give up peanut butter forever. Some people only eat lean meats, others are OK with fattier meats if they come from grass-fed animals, and others are OK with fatty meats, period. Other people go stricter, eliminating high-glycemic vegetables and fruits like carrots, mangoes, and bananas.

Loren Cordain is the man who really started the movement, so check out his book "The Paleo Diet," though recognize that many people use their own modifications on the eat/do-not-eat lists based on what is feasible for them to give up. Recognize that eliminating sugars and gains is pretty key, though. He also has a book called "The Paleo Diet for Athletes," but that is aimed towards serious endurance athletes who do need to ingest something high-glycemic over the course of their races. Unless you are doing serious endurance work, the book probably doesn't apply.

Within the first week or two of eliminating grains and sugars you'll probably feel like crap. Headaches, low energy, crankiness, serious carb cravings. For some unlucky people this lasts as long as a month. This is normal, it's your body withdrawing from carbs.

Finally, the benefits of Paleo are not all-or-nothing. If you eliminate 80% of the grains from the diet, you will get 80% of the results, not 0%. So be realistic about what you're taking in, but go easy on yourself if you cheat.

There are a TON of great Paleo recipes online, by the way. At it's heart it's cooking vegetables and meats really well, but there are cool things people do with almond flour and other nut flours that are still Paleo but approximate breads and things so you can keep having sandwiches and whatnot.

Oh, and as for whey protein powder, that is not technically Paleo. I suggest looking for recipes for "meat cookies" for quick protein snacks.

EDIT: The Paleo Diet is also more of a "lifestyle" diet than a weight-loss diet. By eliminating grains, sugars, and legumes and upping the intake of vegetables and healthy foods it aims to create a healthier person, not just a skinnier person. Through following its prescriptions you're naturally going to be eating a high-fat, medium-protein, low-to-medium carb diet, which is why people almost universally lose weight on it unless they are taking in a LOT of extra fat.
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