Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
November 5, 2017
Okay, so we talked last week about the awesomeness of the plant based diet. With the lack of saturated fats and other additives you may get from eating a meat and dairy dense diet, getting healthy and losing weight with that methodology can really be easy as you expunge a lot of the reasons why you are overweight. Now not all plant based food is perfect, much like Gardein products or standard potato chips that didn’t use any dairy products. So if you utilize a lot of those products and eat a lot of sourdough breads and tortillas much like yours truly, then sometimes you can gain weight from being on a plant based diet (which happened to me when I stopped running so often). Anyway, you have plenty of options from a plant based diet, and a lot of people think that is too hard. Well, here is something they may even be a step up for you…..the Paleo Diet. I’m sure you have heard this before, especially if you know anyone that pertains to be a part of Crossfit. They talk incessantly about the diet, telling people how it has made them more cut and more energetic in regards to their workouts. The foundation for the diet is this…if the cavemen couldn’t eat it, then neither should you! This all starts with the idea that anything that has multiple ingredients and/or is processed has no place on your plate. Of course, this lifestyle does have some merit, especially when you look at the health aspect. The reduction of major ingredients (i.e. the 500 or so chemicals that scientist have at their disposal that can constitute some of our “food”). https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/
Think about the food you might eat and really take a look at the labels. I will give you one of the simplest that I used to eat like crazy…Frito Corn Chips. Salt, corn and oil….a lesson in simplicity. Under some levels of the paleo method, that bag of chips would be prohibited! To be fair, you probably should not eat Fritos anyway, considering they are addictive as hell and go with just about any dip and suddenly you have eaten half a bag in five minutes (oh wait, that was me). Now of course there are levels of paleo devoutness, for some people take it as far as single item whole foods while others just buy anything that has “paleo” listed in from of it (i.e. the Crossfit people that end up on Fail Army…yup, pitching some shade). You can cook some good foods under the diet, just remember you won’t be using too many spices and whatnot. https://paleoleap.com/10-easy-paleo-recipes-beginners/ Paleo has been a recent phenomenon with the first seeds being planted in 1975 when Walter Voegtlin wrote the book “The Stone Age Diet,” primarily to help people with stomach issues since Voegtlin was a gastroenterologist. In recent years people cite the “The Caveman Diet” with a lot of “bros” talking about the effectiveness of this diet despite varying results. Now the good thing about this particular diet is the fact they praise the idea of whole foods and lots of plant eating. Protein and low carb intake are the main principles. Much like plant based eating, the diet likes to focus on nutrient dense foods like deep greens and beans. Legumes and beans are also looked at with high regard, especially since these are the primary carbohydrate sources within the diet. This of course leads to the other big selling point within the diet…the elimination of grains and processed breads. There is a bit of controversy with this part of the methodology, for paleo lovers have been a large part of the disinformation network against the idea of gluten. Listen, if you eat a lot of bread, it will make you feel sluggish. Back in the day I would eat a loaf of sourdough in one sitting and felt like “blah.” It had nothing to do with eating gluten and everything to do with eating a loaf of bread in the span of an hour. Anyway, if you feel you would have a hard time getting rid of your bagels and doughnuts, then this diet might not be for you. The main reason they try to expunge this part of your diet is because the natural sugars in processed carbs can be turned into fat if not used right away. Paleo people even state “good” carb based food is off limits. Now of course, there are been plenty of evidence and studies illustrating that rice, quinoa and grains are fine to eat and excellent sources of nutrition. I mean, millions of Asians and South Americans are totally wrong, right!! Anyway, get used to yams and potatoes when looking for your carb intakes. Now the one part that most people become laser focused on is the inclusion of meat within the diet. Too many people interpret the paleo diet as a very meat heavy diet, which is really not the point of the diet (but that will be subject for next week). In fact, if you know anything about the true origins of so called cavemen, people would realize that most of our ancient ancestors were gatherers with hunting as a side profession when the animal stock was available for consumption. So if you eat a ton of meat while on the paleo diet, you are really doing the diet a disservice. While protein is vital to the foundation of the diet, the types of plant foods you eat are held in high esteem due to the fact they are efficient protein sources along with nuts. Of course the main prognosticators of the diet say to eat hormone free meats and grass fed beef. Truthfully, this makes me laugh because you will still get unhealthy amounts of saturated fats no matter what “type” of meat it is. I look at these labels the same way I see high end bottled water….is the label really true or a gimmick to sell at a higher rate?
Anyway, when you look at a lot of cook books for the diet, you mostly see whole cuts of meat, so don’t think it will be a green light to eat bacon and sausage and bratwurst. That stuff would fall under the “processed” category of the diet. If anything, if you are thinking of finding a good segue into plant based eating, the paleo diet might be a good middle ground to start with. Much like plant based eating, dairy is a big no-no within this diet so you better get ready for that. Depending on the restrictive level you take with the diet, the nut milks on the market might have too many ingredients as well. And depending on who you talk to, such drinks like tea, coffee and even light beers are bad for you and should be removed from your diet. Truthfully, with so many restrictions on the diet, I would have a hard time following due to my own issues with the diet. Typically there is no real restriction on calories but a lot of sources try to limit the amount of fat and natural sugars (i.e. fruits). There is a subculture of vegans in my world that prescribe to a paleo vegan diet, so it is clear this diet is on the cusp of being a plant based philosophy. Here is some good tips if you are thinking of doing this diet. http://www.activebeat.co/diet-nutrition/the-8-ins-and-outs-of-the-paleo-diet/?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=AB_GGL_US_DESK-SearchMarketing&utm_content=g_c_181427325530&cus_widget=kwd-17809803&utm_term=paleo%20diet&cus_teaser=
The biggest question is can you stay on this diet forever? Much like plant based eating, if you keep your diet open with various sources and pay attention to what you eat, you can definitely do it for the long haul. The trouble is, your body might adapt to a life without certain foods and you might feel some side effects if you eat, say some bread. This would be natural if you removed something from your diet for a long time…but some paleo people say that this is proof we cannot handle these type of foods. Listen, I have not eaten meat in five years, so yeah I am gonna get gassy and probably feel weird after eating it. I have accidentally eaten dairy and I can tell right away due to the overpowering taste. I have not had a soda or sugary energy drink in four years, so when I drink a lightly sweetened drink like Izze it is overwhelming and I find myself wanting more (which is why I only drank Izze once). Anyway, take the plunge and try this method of eating out!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.