I know most of you have heard me go on and on (and on) about the benefits of Paleo. Today I'm going to talk about Paleo from a slightly different angle.
When you eat a balanced paleo diet of (preferably) grass fed meats, dense leafy veggies, quality fats, and some fruit and nuts, your blood sugar will naturally balance out and remain even throughout the day. This in turn should keep you feeling full longer and in turn will give you constant energy throughout the day.
The problem most people (myself included) run into when they first start paleo is they switch from one sugar source to another. Most commonly, from breads and grains to fruits and nuts. It can be so easy to grab a bunch of fruit for a snack and before you know it, you've eaten an entire pound of grapes within 20 minutes. When I first switched over to a paleo diet 2 years ago, I went from sugary cereals, all sorts of breads to giant fruit smoothies everyday. With the amount of fructose I was consuming on a daily basis, I'm surprised I lost any weight at all.
While omitting grains, dairy, and legumes from you diet will do wonders for your health, that doesn't necessarily give you the license to take down a pound of bacon, a giant fruit smoothie, and a huge bag of nuts all in one sitting (or even one day or week). The main goal for adopting a paleo diet in the beginning is to get your blood sugar stable. The typical western diet of whole grains, fruits, and even some starchy veggies are a huge reason why we're facing such an 'epidemic' of obesity. It's the constant eating of carbs that spikes blood sugar only to send it crashing down again, leaving anyone who eats this way starving for more sugar.
Another pitfall that I see a lot of people struggling with are what I call either paleo cheats or franken-paleo meals. This category includes the foods that aren't paleo to begin with but have been hacked together to create a paleo-ified version such as: muffins, ice cream, and even though I posted one the other week, pizza. Here at the gym, I know most of us are familiar with the paleo muffin. Don't get me wrong, I love the occasional paleo muffin or cupcake, but the key word being occasional. While foods like these are infinitely healthier for you than their traditional counterparts, that still doesn't mean you should think 'oh it's paleo so I can eat them with reckless abandon'. It is very common for someone to come and tell me that paleo isn't working and in fact they have gained weight when they were trying to lose some only to find out that they are mainlining sugar and treats in a different form. You should view these foods as what they are: occasional treats or indulgences and not as every day foods. By doing so, you will have less and less sugar cravings over time which in turn means your blood sugar is finally stabilizing and you're moving in the right direction for optimal health.
If you have any questions on how to get started on paleo or even how much is too much in terms of paleo cheats and such, feel free to shoot me an email and we can set up a consult to get your nutrition dialed in for you. email@example.com
Recipe of the week: Braised Short Ribs
~ Coach Sean (Seamus)
Just as a follow up, for those of you who read my post last week about sleep and of it's utmost importance, ESPN just published an article about the benefits of sleep and performance here.