Paleo? Live like a caveman? Why?

So, this is something that comes up every now and then. I am a huge fan of the Paleo diet, but not the diet of cavemen. I don’t, for a minute, believe that cavemen were healthier than us because they ate less beans, soy, dairy, sugars, etc. What I do believe is that this diet that is called Paleo hits upon some food restrictions and recommendations that work for me. They have allowed me to get healthy and, in a roundabout way, get fit.

I know that what I’m saying here is sacrilege to those who came up with the idea and many who wholeheartedly believe in it. I’m sorry. I just don’t believe that part of the origin story of Paleo.

I heard once that Paleo is a good diet but a terrible religion, and that’s how I feel about it. I follow the diet, I believe in the diet, but not necessarily in the origin story. I don’t think I am healthier now because I live like a caveman. I believe I’m healthier now because I live a low-carb life without sugar, dairy, grains, soy, and legumes. That’s all.

What’s in a name, anyway, if it works? It seems so many people get offended by the name of the diet or the idea behind eating “Like a caveman.” Heck, I’ve even seen people shy away from the Paleo diet because of their religion not believing in evolution (therefore, Paleo man was not human). I don’t really care what it’s called. You could call this the PaleoMarine Diet if it makes you feel any better. I won’t be offended.

I’m not the Paleo Police; Don’t apologize for not eating Paleo if you don’t want to

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Yummy blueberry pancakes made by Sherry.

I get this all the time; “I’m sorry I’m eating cookies in front of you.” Don’t be sorry! Eat your food the way you want to! I won’t judge you!

I also get told by people who normally eat Paleo, “I don’t normally eat this, but I am going to just this once.” It’s okay. Eat what you want. It doesn’t offend me, and I won’t think any less of you for eating what you are eating.

I’ve heard, “I feel sorry for you because you can’t have any of this cake or ice cream.” Again, it’s okay for you to eat what you want, and by all means, don’t feel sorry for me. Enjoy your food! I enjoy mine!

One of my favorites: “Well, I’m going to eat this anyway even though you think it’s bad for you.” Don’t let my presence pressure you into not eating something you would otherwise eat. I make my food decisions just as you make your own. Just because I think it’s bad for me doesn’t make it bad for you. That’s a decision for you to make for yourself.

I’m not missing anything by not having regular cake and ice cream. I’m not missing out at all, in fact, because I do have cake and ice cream and cookies and many other goodies. Only, I have them very rarely, and even when I do, they’re Paleo. I will make the occasional exception for a birthday cake or holiday celebration, but normally I’ll just say, “No thanks.”

I am an advocate for Paleo and for Whole30, and it seems I’ve become an advocate for running as well. I am not, however, someone who will guilt or shame anyone else for not eating Paleo or running. Those are very personal decisions and it’s not my place to impose my decisions on anyone else. If I’m asked, however, I will give you my opinion and the best pitch I can for you to eat well and get some exercise. That, I can promise.

Why Ask if You Don’t Care?

dohI get asked every few weeks or so, “So, you never eat bread anymore?” and many variations on this question with bread replaced with the things I don’t eat anymore. I take that as an invitation to discuss diet, so I tell them, “No. Not anymore.” So far, that has always been followed by, “But why? I heard bread is good for you.” I then go into why it’s really not good for us, how the food lobby has paid for studies the government cites as sources of why we should eat more grains and how sugar isn’t as bad as some of us say it is. These people nod, smile, and tell me how shocked they are and then they go (literally, right before my eyes) and take a bite of a donut and wash it down with orange juice.

Really?

Maybe I’m just a curiosity to them. I really don’t know. Ultimately, like I tell people all the time, I’m not the Paleo Police, and I honestly am not going to give you crap for eating whatever you chose to eat. It’s your decision, and I respect that. But if you ask me my opinion on the food you’re eating, you’ll get it. And most likely, unless you’re eating Paleo, it won’t be what you want to hear.

Maybe they’re trying to be polite and have conversation on the only thing they know about me. I’ve become “That health nut guy” or “That Paleo guy.” Now, I have added to that, “That fitness guy” and “That guy who runs.” I’m okay with these labels, I guess. It’s better than, “That really heavy guy,” “That overweight guy,” or “That fat guy.”

The Paleo Fad

dohI’ve been asked from time to time if I’m following the “Fad Diet” of Paleo. Whenever I hear this question, I have to sigh. These people don’t understand the difference between a diet and a weight loss diet.

Adkins is what most people know of as a low-carb weight loss diet. It was designed for people to adopt with the sole purpose of losing weight. The Paleo Diet, on the other hand, is a lifestyle that is intended to be adopted for life. It’s a diet that promotes the eating of meat, vegetables, and fruit while avoiding sugar, grains, legumes (including soy), and dairy.

People think that because the Paleo diet has become very popular lately that it’s a fad. They also believe that people will only achieve short-term weight loss followed by a gain of weight. I haven’t experienced that in my 13+ months of being Paleo. As a matter of fact, I lost weight steadily for the first 12 months, got stuck on a plateau because I ate too little, and then started losing weight again once I realized I was under-eating. My  body will hit a low point one day where equilibrium is reached between my calorie intake and utilization, but until I reach that point, I will continue to lose weight. I look forward to reaching that low. It’ll be a final victory.

Let there be no mistake: this is no fad. This is a diet that is rooted in good, solid science. The detractors who don’t take Paleo seriously come into the discussion with preconceived notions and a predisposition to dismissing any argument that shows that the Paleo diet is efficacious and safe. I just read a blog post from a blogger who is a nutritionist, and her understanding of the Paleo diet was atrocious and dangerously misinformed. She tried to take apart the Paleo diet and show how it didn’t make sense. Well, based on the incorrect information she had, of course it didn’t make sense! But she didn’t take the time to actually visit a Paleo website or even try to understand the actual foods we eat and avoid. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered far more medical professionals with the same view as this nutritionist. This is horrible, because instead of treating the root cause of so many of our obesity-related maladies, they choose instead to treat the symptoms. I guess there’s more money in it.

I am not Paleo because it’s a fad. I am Paleo because it’s made me healthy, helped me get fit, and probably saved my life.

That face you make when someone on Facebook who always posts about their weight loss journey posts about eating something horrible followed by a post wondering why they aren’t losing weight.

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Are they trolling, or are they really oblivious?

Weight loss is 90% diet. Eat right, and your body will reward you. Eat crap, and your body will respond accordingly. It’s a pretty easy concept.

Please, for the love of all things, if you’re going to post about how hard you work out and how hard you’re trying to lose weight and then post about the awesome Cinnabon you ate and a few hours later post about how hard it’s been for you to lose weight, know that while I’m not judging you, I’m making the face in the picture above. You know what to do. You know the right way to do this. You’re making a conscious decision to sabotage your progress. And for that, you get no sympathy from me.

My Anti-Bad Food Rant

sugarIt’s been a while, but it’s time for a rant.

We need to reject the horrible anti-nutritious food that we are being bombarded and inundated with. The vast majority of the food available to us in the grocery stores are filled with either sugar, grains, soy, dairy, or chemicals. The only foods that I can trust are meats and vegetables, but again, only as long as they are unprocessed in any way. Some foods that you would NEVER expect to have harmful or questionable additives do. Try to find tuna fish that is just tuna fish in a can. Bacon? Good luck finding any without sugar and nitrates.

There is nearly nothing good for you in the frozen section except for frozen vegetables and maybe some fruits, but even a lot of the frozen fruits have sugar added to them. It’s maddening trying to find anything good to eat in a GROCERY STORE.

What’s worse is how much of this horrible stuff is marked as “Heart Healthy,” “Healthy,” or “Organic” all while being filled with sugar, grains, soy, and dairy. The low-fat, no-nut, gluten-free labels are all over the place, as if those were really any better for you. Rice is still a grain. I can understand people with Celiac disease avoiding gluten, but everyone else? It’s the GRAINS you need to avoid!!!

Nuts? If you have a nut allergy, sure, avoid them. Everyone else? It’s one of the best foods for you to eat!

I feel like Mugatu in Zoolander: “Am I the only person here not taking crazy pills?”

Is it a conspiracy? Maybe. It is the food industry that has paid for our nutrition research over the past 50 years, and they’re the ones who came up with this whole nonsense of low-fat, not eating eggs, gluten-free, etc that is nothing but BS and causes more harm than good. Now, drug companies are buying food companies that sell high-carb foods. The high-carb foods cause health problems which the drug companies medicate for. Is that not a conspiracy?

Eat meat and veggies and fruits, people. You will get healthier just through eating right. Avoid the middle of the grocery store; shop the perimeter. Your body will thank you.

Extreme Exercise

ej5kI made an admission a few posts back: I actually enjoy running. I also dismissed the idea that I would never be able to like exercise in the future. I clearly have changed my opinion on it. However, there’s one thing I’m very certain about: I will never enjoy extreme exercise.

I get it; some people not only love it, but thrive on it. They truly enjoy pushing themselves to new levels of fitness, strength, and speed. Heck, I understand wanting to get better and stronger; that’s what I’m doing with my running ad push ups. However, I don’t see myself doing two or three different workouts in a row in a single day. I don’t see myself wanting to really push so hard that I’m left a puddle of sweat afterward. That’s not enjoyable to me.

I enjoy the gains I’m realizing after working out. I enjoy the fitness it’s bringing me, and the ability to take a long hike through a new city’s trail system without effort. It was truly pleasurable and a reward of all the work I’ve been doing on my runs. But that’s about it. I run to be fit, not to prove anything to myself or to anyone else.

I am not, nor would I ever begrudge anyone who does engage in extreme exercise. It’s neat to watch, and I enjoy reading the new levels of fitness people reach. I’m forever motivated by these very same people whenever I think about skipping a run for no good reason. However, I don’t want to run so hard that my muscles want to explode, or do so many push ups that I can’t brush my teeth afterward.

I feel fortunate that I’ve found a workout routine that is working for me. It allows me to make gains, get fitter, and not feel hurt or broken afterward. That’s the key for me: a manageable amount of pain for gain. I am not lazy, but I’m not a fan of pain. I accept some soreness, but pain is out of the question. It’s not a badge of honor for me; it’s a matter of quality of life.

The bottom line is that everyone needs to find what works for them. Also, realize what is working for you may not be what’s best for someone else, and vice-versa. What I do and write about is all about my journey and helping others find theirs. If mine works; great! If not, I encourage you to find what does work and go with it!

For the love of all logic, Low-Fat is NOT GOOD!

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I see people on Facebook posting about their healthy meals and then I see what they consider healthy: “Low-fat.”

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It seriously hurts my head to see that in 2016, people still believe that low-fat is healthy. Are there bad fats? Sure! Trans-fat and vegetable oils are inflammatory and not good for us. However, just about every other kind of fat is good for us. Heck, 90% of us don’t get enough Omega-3’s which is found abundantly in fish.

It seems that the fact that what we learned in biology and physiology classes doesn’t match with nutrition “science” has never occurred to anyone. Our brains? 60% fat. Where does our body produce fat? In the liver from SUGAR. What does our arteries an veins need to remain pliable? Fat.

Now, there is a difference in fats. Eating French fries made in vegetable oil are bad for you, while fries made in coconut oil are actually pretty good for you. All fries are not created equally!

There are lots of articles and books out there that discuss this. Scientific research is being released at a frantic pace refuting the bad and sugar industry-sponsored pseudo-science that has masqueraded as nutritional science. Just as we now know that the sun isn’t actually revolving around the Earth, so are we learning that fat in our bodies doesn’t come from eating fat. Our understanding of not only the universe, but of our own bodies is evolving all the time. Fortunately, we have understood for over 70 years that sugar makes us fat. If it weren’t for the bad science of the 50’s and the sugar lobby, we’d all be much healthier now.

Do yourself a favor. Learn about sugar vs fat, and stop eating low-fat. Eating low-fat is actually worse for you, and is now being linked to obesity and shorter lifespans.

Annoyed with my alarm clock

This morning, I planned on waking up at 5:15 a.m. to run, but due to a power glitch last night around 6 pm (that only lasted about a second!), the speakers connected to my Amazon Echo Dot that we use as our alarm clock in our bedroom powered down. I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to find that the alarm didn’t go off as planned and I didn’t have time for my morning run today.

So… that means I get to run in the heat after work.

This is going to be an interesting experiment. It should be a bit cooler than the day’s high temperature since I’ll be running at around 6 pm, but also at a time of peak traffic, so I’ll have to run on sidewalks and try to stay away from the roads as much as possible. Fortunately, I have some new running clothes that are quite amazing at wicking and keeping me cool, so I’ll be putting them to the test today. I’m also looking forward to seeing how much energy I have, and how hard I can push myself to keep a good pace through the planned 30 minutes. Maybe running at the end of the day will be easier for me? Who knows. Hopefully I survive this one.

The Mainstream Media is Finally Taking Note

sugarI’ve been saying it since the beginning of this site: sugar is the enemy. Now, the New York Times is finally on board and saying the same thing. It’s no surprise that the word is finally getting out, and that the facade of the anti-fat lie is finally starting to fall. I’m glad.

Read the article and then do some research. Low-fat is horrible for you, and predicated on bad pseudoscience, at best. I see people eating low-fat foods while eating all kinds of grains, soy, and foods with lots of sugar thinking they’re doing the right thing. Of course, these same people complain about being unable to lose weight and get their health under control. Thanks, sugar industry.