Intro to Paleo (And We Won The Rose Bowl!!!)

I got my Rose Bowl champions shirt so I’m a happy Duck fan.

I’m going to start what is known as the Paleo diet on Monday. Paleo stands for paleolithic, referring to the paleolithic era when our ancient ancestors lived and began using basic tools made from stone. Paleo follows the dietary patterns of these people. The diet is also known as the hunter-gatherer diet and the cave man diet among other things. I first started looking into Paleo about a year ago around the time I discovered Gary Taubes. I really started seriously studying the diet a couple of months ago, though. I found a Paleo website by Robb Wolf who wrote a book called Paleo Solution. I eventually bought the book and read it.

So, what did our ancestors eat? And, maybe more importantly, what didn’t they eat? I’ll start with what they didn’t eat. Since it was millions of years ago you can probably guess that they weren’t eating any packaged foods. There was no added sugar and none of their food was processed. Then there are several food groups that were not included in their diet. These include grains (wheat, rye, quinoa, etc.), legumes (lentils, beans, etc.) and dairy. Today grains are considered the biggest offender to our digestion because they contain a protein called gluten that is the cause of the autoimmune disease known as celiac. Of course not everyone has celiac, but it seems that everyone is somewhat sensitive to the effects of gluten. It is true that not all grains contain gluten but all grains do contain proteins that have similar autoimmune effects. Legumes and dairy are excluded from the diet for the same reasons as grains – they contain problematic proteins. Alcohol is also excluded for multiple reasons.

After eliminating these foods, what’s left? Plenty – meat, poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds. This is what I will be eating for 30 days. More specifically I will be following these guidelines: 1) No processed/packaged foods, 2) no added sugars, 3) no grains, 4) no legumes, 5) no dairy (except butter), 6) limited starchy vegetables and 7) no alcohol (some alcohol, like red wine is allowed depending on who you talk to but I have decided to eliminate it altogether). I have decided to use this list to guide me in what to eat. The list comes from a man named Mark Sisson who created the Primal Blueprint which is very similar to Paleo. He has a lot of helpful information and resources on his blog and website. I have created my Paleo guidelines based on a combination of Paleo and Primal Blueprint.

There is also an exercise component to Paleo/Primal Blueprint that includes a lot of circuit training or intervals of strength exercises and some kind of cardio. There are no endurance exercises. Minimal equipment is required – for most of the exercises all that is required is your body. The plan was created to emulate the activities of the hunter-gatherers. I will not be following this part of Paleo because running longer distances makes me happy, and I like to be happy when I workout. Because of this, I will eat potatoes or sweet potatoes if I feel my body needs more carbohydrates.

I’m starting in 3 days. I’m excited to finally be doing this. I think I’m going to really like Paleo. I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going. I hope everyone had a great New Year. Go Ducks!!

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