Paleo: What the cavemen ate…
What did the cavemen eat? Did they follow the best diet plan without knowing it? Did they have a healthy diet and was it a high protein diet or low carb? What we do know is they didn’t have all the diet foods we have available today and they didn’t have diet programs like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or Atkins Diet just to name a few of them. To put it simply, they primarily ate lean meats, some fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and sea food, which are all high in nutritional value. To me when someone asks what’s “the best diet foods” to eat? I simple repeat the sentences above then add the follow sentence. This means no grains, legumes, salt, refined sugars, processed oils, dairy and nothing that is pre-packaged or processed. The introduction of such carbohydrates, since the “Paleolithic Era”, in the human diet has led to a diluted protein content and higher intake of carbohydrates. High carbohydrates have been known to cause your insulin levels to increase which will in turn can cause diseases such as diabetes and obesity (which can lead to heart disease and cancer).
So, you ask, how do I get my carbohydrates? Well, all vegetables and fruits have plenty enough. Let’s take for example a pint of strawberries. A pint of strawberries has 17 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein. Is this a low carb diet? No, you are eating carbs just not indulging and your diet is not primarily based on carbs. Think about this and tell me if you think this is a good healthy breakfast, a glass of orange juice, a bowl of cereal and some fruit. Sugar, carbs and more sugar! No, this is a terrible breakfast and most of our children and us eat this. As parents we used to feel like this was a good breakfast but, all it was doing was sending our children to school and letting them crash. What’s missing? Protein!
A very important aspect of the Paleo Diet is that most of the foods you eat are low-glycemic index foods, meaning that it slows the rise in your blood sugar and insulin levels. Insulin and sugar levels in excess can cause numerous diseases, i.e.…Diabetes. The Paleo Diet is a good diabetic diet. So, fruits that are lower in sugar would be apples, grapes, oranges and all berries. Fruits high in sugar that consist of a higher glycemic index would be melons, bananas, mangos, raisins and guava “the tropical fruits” which are our favorites!
So, what is the best diet? Is there a “best diet” to lose weight? After all, we recommend two different types of diets on our website. Both diets are healthy diets and we would recommend either one! We may even recommend one to start out with and then introduce the other one or principles of the other one at a different time. Everyone is different and everyone’s starting point is different depending on their current diet. What makes a diet successful beside the food we eat; is how much we consume! You must measure your food to get the best results.
Take someone trying to lose weight versus someone competing in the 20011 CrossFit Games or a professional athlete that plays in the NBA, NFL, NHL, etc. They both have the same goal and want the same results they only differ in the outcome. One quantifies their success by the weight loss and the other one by the way they perform. To get the best results, the secret is measuring your food intake. For great Paleo recipes follow our Foodie suggestions on our website in the top, left hand column.
Paleo Foods you can eat:
- Lean Beef (trimmed of visible fat)
- Flank Steak
- London broil
- Chuck Steak
- Lean veal
- Any other lean cut
- Extra lean hamburger (7% fat or less)
- Lean Pork (trimmed of visible fat)
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Game hen breasts
- Eggs (limit to 6 per week)
- Chicken (enriched omega 3 variety)
- Other meats
- Rabbit meat (any cut)
- Goat meat (any cut)
- Beef, lamb, pork, chicken livers
- Beef, pork and lamb tongues
- Beef, lamb and pork marrow
- Beef, lamb and pork “sweetbreads”
- Bison (buffalo)
- Muscovy duck
- Wild boar
- New Zealand
- Wild turkey
- Cervena deer
- Eel Scrod
- Flatfish Shark
- Grouper Striped bass
- Haddock Sunfish
- Halibut Tilapia
- Herring Trout
- Mackerel Tuna
- Monkfish Turbot
- Mullet Walleye
- Northern Pike Any other commercially
- Orange roughy available fish
Fruits and vegetables, rich in vitamins, potassium and fiber, represent an important feature of hunter-gatherer diets
Fruits and Vegetables
- Honeydew melon
- Cassava Melon
- Passion Fruit
- Star Fruit
- All other fruits
- Mustard Greens
- Beet Greens
- Bell Peppers
- Peppers (all kinds)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Squash (all kinds)
- Swiss Chard
- Green Onions
- Turnip Greens
Nuts and Seeds
If you are actively trying to lose weight, you should eat no more than 4 ounces of nuts and seeds a day. Walnuts are the best as they have the most omega 3 ratio.
- Pine Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Pistachios (unsalted)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Macadamia Nuts
Foods You Can Eat in Moderation and or Foods You Should Avoid
4 tablespoons or less a day when weight loss is of primary importance.
- Canola Oils
- Bacon (if trying to lose fat)
- Deli Meat (if possible use low sodium meats)
- Hot Dogs
- Processed Meats
- Diet Sodas
- Wine (2-4-oz glasses)
- Beer Spirits (4oz)
- Pickled Foods (Contains a lot of salt)
- Yogurt (Dairy)
- Olives (Salty)
- Ketchup (Salty)
- Salted Spices
- Sweet Potatoes
- Salad Dressings
- Dried Fruits (2oz)
- Nuts mixed with dried fruit and fresh fruits (no more than 4oz of nuts & 2oz of dried fruit/day)
- All Processed Foods made with any dairy products
- Powered Milk
- Ice Cream
- Nonfat dairy creamer
- Frozen Yogurt
- Whole Milk
- Skim Milk
- Ice Milk
- Dairy Spreads
- Low-fat Milk
- Barley (barley soup, barley bread, & all processed foods made with barley)
- Corn (corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn chips, cornstarch, corn syrup)
- Oats (steel-cut oats, rolled oats & all processed foods made with oats)
- Rice (brown rice, white rice, top ramen, rice noodles, basmati rice, rice cakes, rice flour & all processed foods made with rice)
- Rye (rye bread, rye crackers, & all processed foods made with rye)
- Wheat (bread, rolls, muffins, noodles, crackers, cookies, cake, doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, pasta, spaghetti, lasagna, wheat tortillas, pizza, pita bread, flat bread, & all processed foods made with wheat or wheat flour)
- Wild rice
Cereal Grainlike Seeds
- All beans (adzuki beans, black beans, broad beans, fava beans, field beans, garbanzo beans, horse beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, string beans, white beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Sugar snap peas
- Peanut butter
- Soybeans & all soybean products, including tofu
Most people have heard of the “Zone Diet” by Dr. Sears. If you haven’t, then you may have read it for the first time on our nutritional page or on our paleo page where we briefly talk about it. But here we will talk about it in a little more detail. Is this a diet that works? Yes, we would consider this one of the best diet for weight loss along with the paleo diet. The Zone diet delivery is similar to the more commonly known diet Weight Watchers but the Zone Diet uses blocks versus Weight Watchers uses points. Both are easy diets plans to follow and both diet programs have a common…you must measure your food intake to have success in either weight loss program.
The zone diet is consuming calories by balancing your protein, carbohydrates and fats with blocks. Everyone starts their blocking system off the same and over time we tweak the blocks to the individual. Each meal should consist of 40% of its calories are from carbohydrates, 30% of its calories are from protein and 30% from fat. As you can see this is not a low carb diet, low fat diet or a high protein diet. It is an equally balanced healthy diet which consists of balanced nutrition measured in blocks. So a unit measure per block would look as follows:
|1 Block of Protein||7 grams of protein|
|1 Block of Fat||1.5 grams of fat|
|1 Block of Carbohydrates||9 grams of carbohydrates|
Per the CrossFit Journal, the following table is how you would figure how many blocks you would need in a day (considering your body type): [zone diet chart]
This may sound a little confusing, here is an example of a 3 block meal which would consist of 21 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat and 27 grams of carbohydrates:
Egg Tacos with fruit bowl:
- 2 scrambled eggs
- 1 ounce of shredded cheese
- ½ cup of Salsa
- (Fruit Bowl)
- 1 cup of Strawberries
- ½ cup of Grapes
- 9 Almonds
This is just one of many combinations; we give everyone a packet which includes more samples. The importance of this is meal planning and measuring everything out to make this an effective weight loss programs. We haven’t compared the Zone Diet and the Paleo Diet food platform but that’s going to be the biggest difference besides the measuring blocks. The Paleo Diet recommends you stay away from certain foods the Zone Diet always you to eat those foods and they are accounted for in the nutrition blocks.
For several decades now, bad science and bad politics have joined hands to produce what is arguably the most costly error in the history of science—the low fat diet. This fad diet has cost millions unnecessary death and suffering from heart disease, diabetes and, it increasingly seems, a host of cancers and other chronic and debilitating illnesses.
Gary Taubes, the esteemed science writer, has written two brilliant and highly regarded pieces on exactly this subject. The first appeared in Science Magazine in 1999 and the second in the New York Times just this summer. A new age is dawning in nutrition: one where the culprit is no longer seen as dietary fat but excess consumption of carbohydrate—particularly refined or processed carbohydrate. In fact, there’s an increasing awareness that excess carbohydrates play a dominant role in chronic diseases like obesity, coronary heart disease, many cancers, and diabetes. This understanding comes directly from current medical research. Amazingly, the near universal perception that dietary fat is the major culprit in obesity has no scientific foundation. (See Taubes, above.)
There’s a family of popular diets and diet books based on decreasing carbohydrate consumption. Most of them are excellent.
Chief among these books are Barry Sears’ Enter the Zone, Michael Eades’ Protein Power, Atkins’ Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, Cordain’s The Paleo Diet, and the Hellers’ Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet. Each of these is an honest and accurate chronicling the effects of the low fat, fad diet and they all offer a rational, effective regimen for avoiding dietary ills. For those technically inclined, the mechanism by which excess carbohydrate causes disease state is known as “hyperinsulinemia.” Hyperinsulinemia is the chronic and acute elevation of insulin as a result of habitual consumption of excess carbohydrate.
The list of ills linked to hyperinsulinemia is staggering and growing. Just recently colorectal cancer was added to the probable list of hyperinsulinemia-mediated diseases. The evidence linking excess carbohydrate consumption to hyperinsulinemia and coronary heart disease is compelling if not overwhelmingly convincing. Additionally, excess consumption of carbohydrate may soon be shown to be linked to Alzheimer’s, aging, cancers and other disease through a process known as “glycosylation”.
At any rate, a search on “Google” for “hyperinsulinemia” reveals hundreds of ills linked to this metabolic derangement. The rapidly growing awareness of the consequences of elevated blood sugar is one of the more promising avenues of medical advancement today. Though frightening, the diseases brought about through hyperinsulinemia can easily be avoided by minimizing carbohydrate consumption—specifically carbohydrate that gives substantial rise to blood sugar and consequently insulin levels.
There is a singular measure of carbohydrate that gives exactly this information—“Glycemic Index.” Glycemic index is simply a measure of a food’s propensity to raise blood sugar. Avoid high glycemic foods and you’ll avoid many, if not most, of the ills associated with diet. Rick Mendosa has published one of the most complete glycemic indices available anywhere with a listing of over 750 common food items giving values based on glucose’s score of 100.
We can increase the ease and utility of using such a list by dividing commonly eaten foods into two groups —one of high-glycemic foods, “bad foods”, and one of low-glycemic foods, or “good foods.” This is the rationale behind the CrossFit Shopping List. You may notice that the “good foods” are typically meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, whereas the bad foods include many man-made or processed foodstuffs. There are some notable exceptions, but the trend is certainly instructive.
Courtesey ofCrossFit HQ
High glycemic foods, or “bad foods”, are typically starchy, sweet, or processed foods like bread, pasta, rice, potato, grains, and desserts.
More than a few observers have pointed out that low-glycemic foods have limited shelf life and are found on the perimeter of the grocery store where the highglycemic foods have a longer shelf life and are typically found within the grocery store’s aisles.
Though this approach is an oversimplification of much of nutritional science, it has the power to deliver nearly all of what more detailed and elaborate regimens offer such as those by Sears, Eades, Cordain, Atkins, and the Hellers. Eat more of the “good foods” and less of the “bad foods” and you’ll garner much of what the more responsible eating plans offer. Many of our friends have radically transformed their health through this single tool.