How to Start Paleo to Lose Weight





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Recently my husband and I decided that we wanted to eat healthier. So like the good little researcher I am, I went on the hunt for the perfect diet. In doing so, I reviewed a few of the more popular diets that have a focus on healthier foods and removing processed junk from the diet. I also chose to look at diets that were more than just a 12 week fix, I wanted lifestyles. In doing so, I made up ‘information quick guides’ for myself so that I can remember my key points of each one and give my husband the options. (Due to my love of everything health and fitness, he usually defers to me for these things).

I figured that I could also share these information quick guides with you guys so that you can have a brief overview of the diet to see if you want to look more into it.

Overview and History



The Paleo Diet first hit the scene in the early 2000’s. Around this time, I’m sure there were people already eating this way, but it wasn’t really sensationalized. The diet really took off with a book from Robb Wolff called The Paleo Solution which was published in 2002. It outlines the ins and outs of the diet and the lifestyle. Robb Wolff also opened the first and fourth CrossFit gyms, so he is kinda like a ‘founder’ of the lifestyle.

The Paleo Solution focuses on removing most industrialized foods and focuses on lean meats and lower carb vegetables and fruits. Some nuts and seeds are included, but fats are not prioritized. Note that at the time that this book was published, fats were still a public enemy.

A second book by Robb published in 2018, Wired to Eat, which included newer research findings into fats (like how saturated fats aren’t the devil) and cholesterol (eggs won’t stop your heart). This second book, to me, seems more like a Primal Diet rather than strict paleo, but there are still a few differences.

Below are guidelines that I have combined from both books and research on the interwebs into a, hopefully, overview guide of the diet.

The Diet

Focus on eating lean meats and seafood, fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
No legumes, dairy, processed foods, added salt, refined sugar, dried fruits, potatoes (inc. sweet potato), bacon, chicken wings, pepperoni, honey. I included some of the specifics because some people think that because it’s a healthier version (like honey) it can be eaten, but the diet rules out all sugars except fruits.

Macro Break Down

I love to have hard targets to meet (even though I may not meet them every day) because I feel that it gives me structure. The breakdown for macros is a range for this diet, because you want to focus more on quality than on quantity. Also, you are eating for health, not necessarily for weight loss, so you get to have a lot more variety. Now don’t get me wrong, you’re probably going to lose some weight on this diet, but that’s mostly because you’re cutting out all of the high calorie, processed garbage that the Standard American Diet includes in addition to the water weight you’ll lose from the lowered carbs.

19-35% Protein
22-40% Carbohydrate
28-47% Fats

In addition, you will be eating 55% of your calories from lean meats, fish, and seafood and 35% from fruits and vegetables.

In the updated version of the diet, macro break downs are not given as percentages, but rather as general guidelines.

4-6 ounces of protein per meal
75-150g Carbs per day
Fill in remainder of calories with fats for flavor

The updated version also recommends 3 meals a day and that you shouldn’t be starving, or hangry between meals if you ate enough at your last meal and if you had the correct amount of carbs at your last meal.

For example, if you eat 80% of your carbs for lunch, you may get hangry around dinnertime because eating so many carbs at once gave you a blood sugar spike (even if it was from vegetables). Around dinner, you’re crashing and feeling the hangry. Try to spread your macros out throughout the day to reduce spikes and crashes.

Foods to Eat on Paleo
Lean meat (trimmed of visible fat)
Flank steak
Top sirloin steak
Extra lean hamburger (no more than 7% fat, extra fat drained)
London broil
Chuck steak
Lean veal
Pork loin pork chops
Chicken (white meat only)
Turkey (white meat only)
Game hen breast (white meat only)
Egg 6-12/week enriched omega 3
Rabbit meat
Goat meat
Organ meats (livers, tongues, marrow, sweetbreads)
Game meat
Fish and Shellfish

Fruits (No limit):
Apples
Apricot
Avocado
Banana
Blackberries
Boysenberries
Cantaloupe
Carambola
Cassava melon
Cherimoya
Cherries
Cranberries
Figs
Gooseberries
Grapefruit
Guava
Grapes
Honeydew melon
Kiwi
Lemon
Lime
Lychee
Mango
Nectarine
Orange
Papaya
Passion fruit
Peaches
Pears
Persimmon
Pineapple
Plums
Pomegranate
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Star fruit
Strawberries
Tangerine
Watermelon
All other fruits


Vegetables:
Artichoke
Asparagus
Beet greens
Beets
Bell peppers
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Collards
Cucumber
Dandelion
Eggplant
Endive
Green onions
Kale kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Mustard green
Onions
Parsley
Parsnip
Peppers
Pumpkin
Purslane
Radish
Rutabaga
Seaweed
Spinach
Squash
Swiss chard
Tomatillos
Tomato
Turnip greens
Turnips
Watercress

Nuts and Seeds:
Almonds
Pine nuts
Brazil nuts
Cashews
Chestnuts
Hazelnuts (filberts)
Macadamia nuts
Pecans
Pistachios (unsalted)
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
Walnuts
Limit nuts to 4 oz per day if trying to lose weight


In moderation:
Oils: olive, avocado, walnut, flaxseed (4tbsp or less/ day)

Beverages:
Diet soda
Coffee
Tea
Wine (2- 4oz glasses. No cooking wine)

Sweets:
Dried fruit (no more than 2 oz per day)
Combo of 4 oz nuts and 2 oz dried fruit


In the book, Robb outlines the percentages of protein in a lot of meats and seafood. The original diet, having a higher focus on protein and vegetables with lower fats, really pushed hard for the highest protein percentage. Things like eggs were excluded because the protein wasn’t very high and the fat content was moderately high.

With new research, eggs have since been added back into the diet. In some cases, people add in high quality dairy products, but this is a personal choice and based on how you tolerate dairy. Also, in the second book, Robb recommends doing a 7 day carb test, where you test your carbohydrate tolerance after having removed them from your diet for a month.

This test may show that your blood sugar is more affected by some forms of carbohydrates than others (rice vs potatoes, for instance). It also allows for some carbs to be added back into your diet after the test.

Protein Source Percentages
Higher
Skinless turkey breast 94%
Shrimp 90%
Orange Roughy 90%
Pollock 90%
Broiled lobster 89%
Red snapper 87%
Dungeness Crab 86%
Alaskan King crab legs 85%
Buffalo roast 84%
Broiled mackerel 82%
Roast venison 81%
Broiled Halibut 80%
Beef sweetbreads 77%
Steamed clams 73%
Lean pork tenderloin 72%
Beef heart 69%
Broiled tuna 68%
Veal steak 68%
Sirloin beef steak 65%
Chicken livers 65%
Skinless chicken breasts 63%
Beef liver 63%
Lean beef flank steak 62%
Lean pork chop 62%
Mussels 58%

Lower
Fat pork chops 49%
Lean lamb chops 49%
Pork roast shoulder 45%
Ham lunch meat 39%
T bone steak 36%
Chicken thigh/leg 36%
Ground beef (15% fat) 36%
Eggs 34%
Lamb shoulder roast 32%
Pork ribs 27%
Beef ribs 26%
Fat lamb chops 25%
Dry salami 23%
Link pork sausage 22%
Bacon 21%
Whole milk 21%
Liverwurst sausage 18%
Bologna 15%
Hot dogs 14%
Cereal grains 12%
Nuts 10%

 Omega 3 Sources:

Although fats are not prioritized in the original, some foods to include to ensure that you are getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids are:
Cold-water fish and seafood (salmon, mackerel, herring, halibut)
Flaxseed oil
Liver
Game meat
Free-range chicken
Pasture fed beef
Eggs enriched with omega 3
Salt free walnuts and macadamia nuts
Leafy green veggies
Fish oil capsules

As for supplementation, it is recommended that you get about 15 minutes of direct sunlight per day. If you can’t do this, or if it’s winter time and the sunlight is weaker, it is recommended that you take a Vitamin D supplement (2000 IU/day).

Recipes


For some recipes to get you started here are a few people who have some really good paleo focused recipes:



I hope that you enjoyed this overview. More diet overviews will be coming up in the future so keep an eye out!



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