Thursday, January 21, 2016

How Much Weight Loss Can You Expect On The Paleo Diet?

There are many good reasons for adopting a paleo diet plan – to alleviate allergies and autoimmune symptoms, for general good health – but it can also be an effective way to lose excess weight.

So just how much weight can you expect to lose with a paleo/primal diet?

It’s different for everyone…

The answer is it’s going to be different for each individual. One person might lose 14 pounds in the first two weeks, for another it might take six months to a year to lose the same amount.

There are many reasons why weight loss will be different for everyone including your age, gender, current state of health and how much weight you need to lose in the first place.

How many diets you’ve tried in the past, lack of sleep, stress and how insulin resistant your body is are also factors in how quickly and how much weight you will lose.

In any case, it’s far more desirable to concentrate on gaining optimal health and watch your body get leaner and stronger as a consequence rather than concentrating just on weight loss.

The problem with crash diets…

Crash diets for example may be effective for losing weight quickly but they also play havoc with your body’s hormonal balance.  Crash diets elicit the body’s natural starvation response which only works to eventually screw up your metabolism.

The other undesirable effect is you lose lean muscle mass as well as stored fat.  Once you go back to your old eating habits the weight will only pile back on, plus some, and will be mostly all fat rather than regaining any lean muscle back.

How the easy paleo diet plan can help…

By concentrating on nutrient dense, natural whole foods you will be able to maintain and even add to your lean muscle while effortlessly losing excess stored body fat.  And you won’t feel hungry and miserable like you would on a low-fat, low-calorie diet.

You’ll also reduce systemic inflammation in your body as well as remove the toxic foods which are the culprits in fat gain in the first place.

Here are my top tips for fat loss success on the paleo diet plan:-

• Remove gluten containing grains, sugar and omega-6 rich seed oils from your diet (these are the toxic foods that lead to systemic inflammation and fat gain).
• Eat three meals a day and eat a minimum 30g of protein with every meal.  This is especially important at breakfast time.
• Your main protein sources should be from red meat, eggs, oily fish, other seafood and poultry.
• Eat between 30g – 100g of carbs a day depending on your activity levels.  Reduce to the lower end if you’re not losing any weight, increase if you’re losing too quickly or feeling a lack of energy.
• Your main sources of carbs should be from starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, yams and white potatoes.  A little white rice is OK.  Fruit is OK in moderation (1-2 servings a day)
• Over half of your calories should come from healthy fats and oils such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and butter/ghee and from what you get from meat, eggs and fish.
• Fill your plate up with plenty of multi-coloured vegetables either raw, steamed or gently sautéed.
• Eat until your hunger is fully satisfied. No more, no less.
• Go for a 30 minute walk every day and do some resistance/weight bearing exercise a couple of times a week.
• Get a good night’s sleep.

By lowering your carb intake from what you eat normally, you may see a fairly rapid weight loss of 7lbs to 10lbs in the first couple of weeks.

This should normalize to about 2lbs to 3lbs per week thereafter.  Any faster and you may be losing lean muscle as well as fat and you are not eating enough according to the guidelines above.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Is The Paleo Diet Right When It Says Grains Are Bad You?

Despite what you may have been led to believe, whole grains are far from being healthy or particularly good for us. Let’s have a look at why this might be the case…

For starters, cereal grains have only been a major part of the human diet since the adoption of agriculture around 10,000 years ago.  Although this may seem like a long time, in evolutionary terms, it’s too short of a time period for people’s digestive systems to have fully adapted to eating them in the amounts we do today.

The problem with grains…

Grains are the seeds of grasses and are the reproductive part of the plant.  In the wild, grasses don’t really want their seeds to be eaten because then they can’t reproduce.

Because these plants can’t run away from predators, they have evolved certain anti-nutrients, such as lectins and enzyme inhibitors, which wreak havoc on animals’ digestive systems to discourage them from eating their seeds.

“Whole grains” have been marketed to us as healthier than refined grains.  Although whole grains have more fibre which slows down digestion and may not spike blood sugar as much as refined grains, they actually contain more of these anti-nutrients.

These anti-nutrients can cause damage to the human digestive tract and cause disorders like “leaky gut”, a condition of intestinal or bowel permeability which allows partially digested compounds to enter our blood stream (not good and linked to autoimmune disorders).

Worst of all…

Some of the most popular grains we consume such as wheat, barley and rye contain protein compounds called gluten.

You may have heard of or even know someone who suffers from celiac disease, which is a severe autoimmune disorder related to gluten and can be so serious as to be life threatening.

It’s estimated that in Western countries the prevalence of celiac disease is roughly 1% but may be higher due to under diagnosis and is on the increase.

However, celiac disease may just sit at the extreme end of a spectrum we all fall on as it’s also estimated 30% to 40% of us still suffer from some form of low level gluten intolerance or irritation.

This may manifest in many forms including irritable bowels, acid reflux, skin rashes and even joint pain amongst other symptoms.  Gluten has also been linked to making the symptoms of people suffering from schizophrenia worse.

Nutritionally poor…

Apart from anti-nutrients, grains in general also have relatively low nutrient-density when compared to foods like meat, fish, eggs and vegetables.

And even the nutrients they do have are not easily absorbed.  Compounds called phytates bind minerals, such as calcium and iron, in insoluble complexes which prevent their absorption.

So, if grains are so nutritionally poor why do people still want to eat them so much?

Well, you may actually be addicted to them!  That’s right, the same receptor sites in our brain that respond to heroin or opium (opiate receptors) are triggered by wheat.

The effect is only amplified with the addition of sugar and may be the reason why people are so reluctant to give up their bread and bagels – they’re literally junkies to junk food.

Are all grains bad?…

Cooking and proper preparation, such as soaking and fermenting, can help breakdown lectins and phytates in grains. The problem is the grains we eat are very rarely properly prepared in modern foods and gluten can be so harmful to human health it’s just not worth eating it.

Corn and white rice in general aren’t as bad as gluten containing grains, and can be eaten in moderation without causing too many issues in most people.

However, they can still pack a powerful glycaemic punch so should be avoided by people with blood sugar regulation problems – best to stick to the meat and veggies.

Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Quick and Easy Paleo Diet Plan Breakfast Ideas

It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the latest research shows why it’s so important on the paleo diet plan.

Research(pdf) done at the University of Illinois shows that having at least 30 grams of protein at two or more meals, with an emphasis on breakfast, increases satiety, weight loss and combats the effects of aging. source

So what are the best quick and easy breakfast ideas to help you reach this goal?…

#1 Bacon & Eggs…

Two to three eggs plus three to four slices of bacon should easily see you reach your 30 grams of protein in the morning and is by far my favourite breakfast.

Enjoy your eggs boiled, fried, scrambled or poached.  This should take you less than 10 minutes to make.

If you find this a lot to eat you can substitute an egg or slice of bacon by making scrambled egg with some greek yogurt and added cheese to up the protein (if you eat and can tolerate dairy).

I love my bacon and eggs accompanied by a slice or two of tomato and fried mushrooms (and sometimes a good quality sausage).  Add a mug of good coffee and you truly have the breakfast of champions.

#2 Leftovers…

Breakfast is just another meal and there is absolutely no law saying you can’t eat what you would eat at any other time.

So if you have any meat and veg leftover from the night before, there is nothing wrong with keeping it in the fridge and spinning it out with a couple of eggs or even tossing into a quick omelette for breakfast the next day.

A tip is to deliberately make too much the night before and chop an extra little veg so you have some leftovers ready for a quick and easy breakfast the next morning.

Have some pre-prepared boiled eggs in the fridge that can be quickly shelled and chopped as a quick and easy accompaniment.

#3 Fish…

Breakfast makes an ideal opportunity to eat some fish to up your omega-3 intake and get some quality protein into your diet.

You can poach or fry a fillet in some butter and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it.  Or how about some smoked salmon wrapped around balls of cream cheese – beats corn flakes any day of the week.

Canned salmon, sardines or mackerel are also a great and quick way to enjoy fish – just make sure they are canned in olive oil or brine and not vegetable oil.

# 4 Liver…

I know not everyone loves liver, but it truly is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat and is ideal and recommended for a quick breakfast at least once a week.

Try gently frying in butter along with some onion and bacon for a tasty way to enjoy your liver.

I have to admit my favourite way to eat liver is to make a paté beforehand and eat it with carrot sticks, an avocado salad and handful of almonds.

#5 Protein Shake…

I would always recommend eating whole foods over resorting to smoothies or shakes.  However, sometimes I know it can be difficult to eat the recommended amount of protein in the morning if you’re in a rush or just not very hungry.

On balance I would say if it came down to having a protein shake or having no breakfast at all, I’d go for the protein shake.  Better still, try to eat at least something and use the protein shake in addition to bring you up to the recommended minimum protein amount.

Choose an unsweetened whey protein powder.  When I have a shake I also add some coconut milk powder for extra healthy fat and fibre.  If you feel you do need to sweeten your shake, try adding half a teaspoon of sugar-free jelly powder for a fruity take on things.

So there you have it, five quick and easy ways at breakfast to feel fuller longer, lose weight and stay strong into old age.