Returning to the Paleo Diet

English: vegetables

Good food is good.

The Cavegirl Cometh.

The lazy part of me is groaning so hardcore, but after reading about the modern science that backs the paleo diet, I found myself challenged.  I could either continue a way of eating and exercising that “fails long-term over 95% of the time,” or I could “eat more and exercise less—but smarter.”  When I reread what I had written yesterday, though, it made me look at these statistics with a new set of eyes.

“[I]n all of the studies that follow, everyone ate the exact same quantity of calories, but one group’s calories were of much higher quality [meaning part of a primal/paleo diet]:

  • University of Florida researcher J.W. Krieger analyzed 87 studies and found that those people who ate [a paleo diet] lost an average of 12 more pounds of body fat compared to those who ate an equal quantity of lower quality calories.
  • C.M. Young at Cornell University split people into three groups, each eating 1,800 calories per day, but at different levels of quality. The highest-quality group lost 86.5% more body fat than the lowest-quality group.
  • In the Annals of Internal Medicine, F.L. Benoît compared a reduced-calorie low-quality diet to a reduced-calorie high-quality diet. After ten days the high-quality diet burned twice as much body fat.
  • Additional studies by researchers U. Rabast (1978,1981), P. Greene (2003), N.H. Baba (1999), A. Golay (1996), M.E. Lean (1997), C.M. Young (1971), and D.K. Layman (2003) all show that people who ate [a paleo diet] lost an average of 22% more weight than those who ate the exact same quantity of lower-quality calories.”

So, if I’m genuinely trying to lose fat and maximize the effectiveness of my workout routine, it only makes sense that I would choose to eat in a manner that has repeatable, quantifiable results that match my desires. Doing otherwise is working against myself, and I don’t want to do that. Life is hard enough without giving yourself unnecessary barriers to success. I’m working as hard as I can to improve my body… I just haven’t been working as intelligently.

It’s funny, though, they never include “doing more dishes” or “spending more time cooking and shopping” in the calculus of whether or not a diet is good for you.  And I guess that tells me something important: those things aren’t terribly relevant. It ultimately comes down to motivation.

Motivation

Last time, the choice to quit eating a primal/paleo diet came down to convenience and a desire to be able to eat with family and friends at restaurants and on special occasions.  If I have any hope of maintaining this diet/lifestyle choice for any real amount of time, I have to address those needs.

80/20 = 100% OK.

Firstly, there is good precedent for not eating paleo 100% of the time. Heck, there are even some folks out there who say “you will get 99% of the benefits of the Paleo Diet if you adhere to it 80% of the time.” That being the case, to avoid the desire to quit because of what other people think of my food choices, I’ve decided to eat whatever-the-heck-I-want when I’m out with family and friends. I will not berate myself for eating a non-paleo meal when the occasion presents itself. I will keep a paleo home, which is where I eat most of the time anyway, and be proud of making healthy choices overall.

Convenience foods/K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) = Good

There was a time when I was very concerned that eating foods that were ready-made was against paleo doctrine. I spent unnecessary time putting together fresh salsas, tomato sauces, and other products that exist in the marketplace with no forbidden foods as part of them.  I also thought of meals as needing to be composed, so I spent a lot of time cooking. I didn’t take advantage of the caveman thought process: grab food and eat it. This time around, I’m going to focus on simplicity.

Sticking with my supplements.

Every time that I go to work out at the gym, I take Assault prior to the workout and on days when I lift weights, I have a whey protein shake afterward.  (Adam and I call them victory shakes.) 🙂 Neither of these things are paleo, but I already have seen the benefits of using them, and I don’t intend to stop.

So what does that mean for this blog?

More paleo posts! I will probably return to posting a paleo recipe-of-the-day and growing the Paleo Compendium, which is now 1470 followers strong.

For now, however, I’ve got some meal planning to do. I don’t want to end up with a Whole30 or 46 that was as repetitive as the ones from my past. There’s no excuse for it when I’ve got 1159 recipes in the Compendium already waiting to be tried.

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One thought on “Returning to the Paleo Diet

  1. Pingback: My Journey with Quantum Paleo | Per Ardua

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