A number of people at our CrossFit gym started a paleo challenge for April. They added me to their private Facebook challenge group because, I guess, I have a big mouth when it comes to opinions on paleo eating. So, in the spirit of encouraging my paleo friends, but trying not to just tell them things that they already know (e.g., "meat, veggies, good fats".... duh) here are a few things to remember about paleo eating that occasionally get lost in the shuffle ....
1. "Sleep is the most important thing in the whole fucking universe." -- Albert Einstein
OK, he didn't say that, but he should have. Nothing works right without sleep. Hormones are screwed, and everything cascades down a hill named Awful. Get eight hours, in a dark room. Manage your stress or you won't. More about that here and here.
2. Eat a lot of vegetables at every meal.
This was an oft-repeated theme of a number of speakers at this year's Paleo FX. Paleo is not a meatitarian festival. It is a "clean food" way of eating. Remember, also, that green vegetables are going to fit in pretty well with a low-carb approach to paleo. This is not necessarily the case with sweet potatoes and the like. I am not telling you that you need to be low-carb. But you should understand whether or not your food intake puts you in that category and whether to adjust accordingly. And eat some damn vegetables... a lot of them.
3. Bacon is food like mustard or mayo is food.
Bacon is delicious. I love it. But it has the positive nutritional value of cardboard. It is, for all intents and purposes, a condiment. It is also an absurdly delicious condiment, but if your principal source of protein at any meal is bacon, you have fumbled the paleo football and cost your team the game. It is a spectacularly awful protein source. Use it to flavor food, not to provide you with any nutrition. Example: bacon and eggs is a crap breakfast. Bacon, eggs, grassfed beef or lamb plus spinach and avocado is an awesome breakfast.
4. Snacks are dumb.
One of the amazing things about paleo is proper insulin management. Proper insulin management means that you are not spiking and crashing, which means you shouldn't be hungry three (or two) hours after you eat. If you are eating paleo and needing to snack more than very infrequently (maybe once or twice a week?) you aren't eating enough at meal time, and by "enough" I mean "enough good fat." It keeps you full. Pile it on. Or, as a smart author guy once said: "Eat like a predator, not a prey."
5. Try skipping or delaying breakfast, and prolonging the ketogenic/fat-burning state that you woke up in.
Yeah, skip (or delay) breakfast. Really. Coffee or tea is still cool. Coffee or tea with grassfed butter and coconut oil is even cooler because that keeps you full and burning fat. More on that here.
6. If you listen to a paleo podcast regularly, your life will be awesome.
I like Robb Wolf's and Greg Everett's podcast the best because they are funnier than everyone else. But you don't have to listen to them. Liz Wolfe and Diane Sanfilippo do a bangup job on theirs each week. Dr. Lauren Noel does on hers too. Find one (or more) and get hooked. It is a great way to get more useful info on paleo than you ever thought possible.
Now go be awesome.
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