A guest post from Cat Smiley.
Q: How do you know when someone is on the Paleo Diet?
A: They’ll tell you!
I’ve kind of seen enough Paleo status updates to last me a while. And yes, sure – it’s got the benefits – why else would it have become one of the most buzzed about celebrity diets right now?
Beauties such as Megan Fox and Jessica Biel crediting this way of life for their red carpet bods can’t be wrong. I mean, even Miley Cyrus (who isn’t exactly known for taking advice or being logical) is raving about her experience “Everyone should try no gluten for a week! The change in your skin, physical and mental health is amazing. You won’t go back!” Cyrus said. “It’s not about weight — it’s about health. Gluten is crap anyway!” LOL Awesome review, coming from an actress who clearly doesn’t value health all that much as told in a Rolling Stones Interview: “I think weed is the best drug on earth,” Cyrus said. “Hollywood is a coke town, but weed is so much better. And Molly too. Those are happy drugs — social drugs.” Now because this blog post is for my buddy Dave, I can’t resist mentioning that this young lady is Justin Beiber’s mentor; perhaps the Paleo Diet makes him feel the need for multiple shirtless selfies? Oh jeez.
So what is it?
You eat anything that can be fished, hunted or gathered. The principal is that you eat high protein and low carbohydrates in whatever quantity you want, and do whatever exercise you want to do…. and if you want to do no exercise, that’s okay too, apparently. Anything that evolved through the development of agriculture is off limits, which includes dairy, salt, processed sugar and oils, legumes. Hippy….much? Maybe a little.
What do you eat?
The main types of foods included in Paleo diet are fruit, vegetables, roots, nuts, fish and meat. Processed foods like salts, sugars, dairy products and grains are prohibited. Adapting to the Paleo diet can help promote weight loss as refined sugar and junk foods are avoided, with instead body fat used as a source of energy.
Weight Loss Benefits
Most people going Paleo eat much more fruit and veges than they’d normally eat. This means that they’re taking in more fibre, a definite benefit in improving gastrointestinal motility – key players in optimal functioning of the digestive system. Improved digestive system means improved metabolism. If you are using Paleo diet for weight loss then meat and fish should also be taken in minimal quantities and focus should be more on fruits, vegetables, root vegetables and nuts.
The good stuff
The Paleo Diet is scientifically proven to help stave off degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. “The Paleo diet is a very healthy diet”, says Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD, Colorado State University professor and the author of “The Paleo Diet”. Benefits of eating this way include improved blood pressure and glucose tolerance, increased insulin sensitivity, decreased insulin secretion and improved lipid profile in healthy non-obese sedentary people.
I did a shout out on my facebook page and one poster, Michael Kovacs said: “I’ve been Paleo for several years now, lost 110lbs. Reversed all my ailments including asthma, sleep apnea, High Blood Pressure, Improved my cholesterol score, Reversed T2 diabetes. Best of all I don’t get sick anymore. I attribute my successes to living a HFLC, Paleo lifestyle which includes a diet with lots of healthy fats, low carb vegetables, and pasture raised/grass fed meats and fish.” Nice work Michael!
The not-so-good stuff
Well for one, I promote a vegetarian lifestyle and the Paleo is all about meat, meat and more meat. And then when you’re done? Have some more meat. The crazed out protein intake can NOT be good for the kidneys. So if you do this diet, stay smart about your portion sizes. Keep your total protein intake the same as you normally would, and don’t go Atkins in your approach.
Secondly. The ‘carbophobic’ mentality. My personal training clients who have sworn by the Paleo cult – because it really is – has led many great people to have really terrible sleeping patterns and even personality disorders. It starts with bad breath and leads to carbohydrate deficit of serotonin being able to be produced naturally in your body, which in turn converts to melatonin in your sleep. Lack of sleep opens a whole other can of worms.
With all its benefits there are also some of its harmful effects on health as some diets such as whole grains, legumes and dairy products also prohibited which are essential for our health. Absence of calcium increases the risk of osteoporosis and also decreases body calcium level, which can put women over 55 years old especially at increased risk of fractures and bone density issues.
If going Paleo, do it for a short period of time. Once you hit goal weight, go back to your regular healthy diet. Oh, and while you’re on it, kick ass workouts should happen on a daily basis. Track your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake in an app on your smart phone so that you are on track with the recommended macronutrient ratio in line with your goals.
Cat Smiley is a leading body transformation expert and has been named Canada’s top trainer three times by the International Sports Science Association. She is the author of The Planet Friendly Diet, and owner of Canada’s première weight loss retreat for women, located in Whistler, Canada.