Recently, I’ve had a number of people ask for more information regarding the food choices my family makes. I’ve made many posts here with tips and articles, but I have yet to give a simple game plan for someone who’s starting from scratch. I’ll do that now!
Why Should I Change What I’m Eating?
If you’re eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), odds are you’re experiencing some of the common side effects: digestive issues, joint pain, skin issues, lethargy, anxiety, depression, etc, etc. Some people think these are just the “pains of getting older”. Others will go to the doctor, who will prescribe you pills to lessen those symptoms, but that won’t address the cause. Changing your diet likely will. Either way, it’s certainly worth a shot to try!
But I’m Already Eating Healthy!
I used to think that too. Orange juice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, pasta, low fat salad dressing, Gatorade, skim milk, peanut butter. Those were some of my favorite foods and I thought I was doing great! But, the truth is many of those foods are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. And the low fat foods combat the simple fact that fat is actually good for you! But, the worst offender may be the grains. Grains (bread, pasta, corn, beer, etc) cause many digestive problems and wreck havoc on our bodies.
So Where Do I Go From Here?
I know most of my food posts relate to Paleo; however, we’ve recently been leaning more towards The Perfect Health Diet. It’s very similar to Paleo, but there’s a bigger emphasis on carbs. We’ve (I keep saying “we” because my wife is the brains behind this operation and does an insane amount of research) read numerous articles – and even seen it in ourselves – that low-carb eating doesn’t work long-term.
Most people don’t have the time and/or the inclination to do a ton of research on changing the way they eat. So, my simple suggestion is read this one page on The Perfect Health Diet and try it out. Give it a few weeks before you form an opinion. Sometimes a few days is all it takes before you start feeling really good. Many of the aforementioned problems will start to magically disappear – joints won’t hurt, skin will clear up, your mind will feel clearer, your mood will improve, and hopefully more. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s all related to what you put in your body.
What If I Want to Read More?
It’s great to take my word for it, but there are so many good resources out there to help you understand what’s going on in your body as well as motivate you to keep at it!
- The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf – the book we read to get us going down this path; it’s great! Minus the few heavy biological chapters, it was funny and informative.
- The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson – I haven’t read this or any of his other books, but I’ve read an innumerable amount of his blog posts. He’s a great writer who backs up everything he says. Plus, wouldn’t you want to look like him when you’re 58!?
- Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet – Admittedly, I haven’t read this, but their diet is spot on with what we believe, so I’m sure the book is great.
Give It To Me In Simpler Terms
I’m trying to keep this simple, but if you’re still wondering what foods to buy, let’s try this. Each meal you should have some of each of the 3 macro-nutrients. Here they are with some example foods:
- Grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, free-range chicken and eggs, bacon, etc*
- Grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, almond butter, macadamia nuts, lard, beef tallow, etc
- Any veggies, fruits, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white rice
* -Keep in mind that whatever animal products you eat, you’re also eating whatever that animal ate. Thus, the emphasis on free-range chicken and grass-fed beef. Same goes with eggs and pork – if you’re able to get them from a local farm or somewhere where the animals are cared for and fed properly (aka no grains), you’re better off. However, that’s not an option for everyone, so do what you can!
Below are some sample meal ideas to get you off an running. Or here are some more. Once you get used to this, it becomes easier and easier. Try experimenting with herbs and spices (especially fresh ones). Look online for Paleo recipes or check out the many great recipe books.
- I posted about this a few times because it’s difficult! But, you can’t go wrong with bacon and eggs with a fruit smoothie
- Hamburger (sans bun, of course!), salad w/olive oil, sweet potato
- Chicken, veggie, white rice stir fry
It’s a big change when you go to the store as you stay only on the outside wall where the produce and meat departments are. You very rarely need to venture through the aisles because that’s mostly processed foods! There are a few processed foods that are okay, but you’re best to stay away as much as you can. For instance, potato chips seem simple enough because the ingredients are potatoes, oil, and salt. However, 99.9% of the time, the oil is one of the awful varieties (sunflower, safflower, peanut, etc), so you’ll want to avoid them. Luckily, we’ve recently found (at Ollie’s, of all places) Olive Oil Potato Chips. These are a decent option if you have kids and are looking for an quick carb option.
The only other processed foods we like are GoGo SqueeZ Applesauce and Bare Fruit Apple Chips. They each have exactly ONE ingredient: apples. Also, I’ve kept a running list of packaged foods we like – including olive oil, butter, and coconut milk – on this Pinterest Page.
- Okay to eat
- Meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, starch, healthy fats, nuts / seeds
- Processed foods, sugars, grains, dairy, legumes, vegetable and seed oils
I rarely write 1,000 word blog posts, so hopefully this was helpful! As usual, I’d love to hear your comments whether you post them here or write me personally.
I love the title of this post for many reasons. It’s a great tagline for Paleo, it’s a good summary of what it’s like to eat Paleo, and it’s a shoutout to my favorite radio show, The Dan Patrick Show.
Anyway, I recently wrote an article for our employee newsletter at AAA Western and Central New York regarding Paleo. I’d like to think I did a good job of summarizing the problem Paleo looks to solve as well as a brief overview of how it works. I’m hoping to get some feedback because so far I’ve gotten very little. What do you think!?
It’s that time of year when people make resolutions! But, the good news is anytime of the year is a good time to improve your health.
I’m sure there’s all kinds of month-long challenges out there, but the 30 Day Challenge I’m referring to is living the Paleo lifestyle for a month. Myself, my wife, and my kids went through multiple 30 Day Challenges in 2011 (we had to keep restarting because we were accidentally “cheating” and didn’t want to short-change ourselves). It was difficult sometimes, but very rewarding in the end.
This challenge really is a test of wills and requires intestinal fortitude and persistence. It’s hard to be different from everyone around you and there are so many temptations out there to make you want to cheat! However, you’ll be very pleased with yourself once you complete it, plus your body will likely feel better than it ever has.
There are a few variations of this challenge, but a really good one to follow is here: http://whole9life.com/2011/10/whole-30-v5/
Here are some other great resources if you’re interested in trying a 30 Day Challenge:
- Robb Wolf’s flagship book, The Paleo Solution, which provides recipes and workouts to get you through the month
- Robb Wolf’s new book, 30 Day Total Transformation
- Robb Wolf’s website has some handy printable documents for shopping lists and food ideas
- Mark Sisson’s book, 21 Day Total Body Transformation (you can extend it 9 more days though, come on!)
- Mark Sisson also has an incredible amount of information on his website, Mark’s Daily Apple
To all of you starting the 30 Day Challenge – good luck! It’s worth it! Don’t cheat!! I’ll do my best to post tips and learnings we gained from our experiences in the coming days.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences in the comments.
Last year, my family found out our two young daughters had many different food allergies (30 and 12, respectively). Sure, I knew some kids could get seriously ill when they ate certain foods, but I never realized “mild” allergies could be such a pain. Seeing my daughters be fussy, irritable, break out in rashes, etc was enough for my wife and myself to seek out a solution. We didn’t want to simply eliminate those foods from our diet because they included just about everything between the two of them (dairy, rice, many fruits, etc).
My wife found out about the LaValle Metabolic Institute in Cincinnati and met with their doctors a few times. They did help her in understanding how the body works, but in the end, we felt like they were helping us out just enough to keep us coming back and using their services. And the fact that they told us to keep the kids off of foods with grains, all while recommending their expensive supplements that included rice, we were fed up.
My wife purchased this book the day she found out about it and read it cover-to-cover (320 pages) in 2 days. It not only changed the way we took care of the health of our kids, but of ourselves too. It turns out just about everyone has problems with “modern” foods (often misdiagnosed as IBS or allergies or depression or ADHD and so on), but they don’t realize it. And if they do realize it, they typically resort to popping pills to “solve” their problems. All that does is treat the symptoms while the body continues to suffer.
The body is an astounding and resilient machine, so it often masks problems and adapts to poor lifestyles. However, when you cleanse your body and give it the food it needs and thrives off of, you’ll be amazed at how you look, feel, and act.
More on this in upcoming posts…