Sunday, 26 August 2012

My Paleo Diet - Week one

The verdict:

It has been almost a week since I took on my new eating plan which is the Paleo Diet! Quickly increasing in populatiry, in a nutshell, the Paleo diet focus' on consuming only foods that are naturally produced from the earth and nothing refined or produced by humans. Often referred to as "primal" foods or the "hunter-gatherer" diet, it involves reverting back to the time of our primal ancestors and eating only foods that would have been available to them.

General guidelines of the Paleo diet include;
Lots of Meat, Fish, vegetables and eggs
Some fruit
Some nuts and seeds
No refined sugar, salt grains or legumes

Following this eating plan would be easier for some than others. Depending on your current diet, opting to follow the paleo diet plan could either be a big change or making small alterations.

Preparing to be Paleo

I decided that after reading a lot about the Paelo Diet, I was interested in the idea and was keen to see how my body reacted and how I felt while following such a plan. My diet already consisted of high levels of vegetables, though I did not eat a lot of meat and regularly enjoyed grains such as quinoa, cous cous, lentils, chickpeas and oats. Other things that I would consume that are not included in a Paleo diet plan are light cows milk or (more recently) soy milk, the occasional multigrain or wholegrain foccacia or wrap and my beloved Acai bowl!

There are also some foods that are included in the Paleo Diet plan that until now, I would have seriously avoided eating. Aside from the increases to meat that would inevitably occur, many Paleo dishes use coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut milk or coconut cream. Up until recently, these products have been on the "DEFINITELY NOT" list, because of their high saturated fat content. I have done my reasearch on this one and much to my surprise (and upon thinking about it logically, it really isnt all that surprising) based on trusted literature, the saturated fats in coconut products are not dangerous to our health like the saturated fats from animal products.

The length of the chains in the structure of saturatred fatty acids (SFA's) coming from coconut products differs to the structure of animal products SFA's. For this reason, SFA's from coconut products do not store in our bodies; instead they promote the use of fats as our bodies primary energy source which as pro-paleo foodies claim is the way our bodies were originally designed to function. It is only through continuous consumption of grains and legumes such as those listed above, that our bodies have converted from fat burning machines to carbohydrate burners. Essentially, it appears that we need to consume fat in order to efficiently burn fat!

It just makes sense doesnt it? Eat foods that the earth provides. Foods that have never seen the inside of a lab and do not come in packaging, but wholesome natural foods that mother nature designed and provides for us to eat. If coconuts were so bad for us, would they really grow in nature? -This idea suits me perfectly as I am TOTALLY looking forward to making a nice clean, natural home

I want to point out that I do not, by any means reject the claims that foods such as oats and quinoa are wonderful sources of nutrition. Up until now they have commonly appeared on my plate and one day I will return to eating them. I am interested however, to see how I do feel while following a diet purely containing natural, unadulterated foods.

So, how do I feel after week one?

Well, somewhat unexpectedly and completely unintentionally, after eating more meat than I have in years and incorporating coconut milk and coconut into my diet (along with the occasional feast on 85% dark chocolate) I managed to lose 1 kg in 4/5 days. I feel leaner around the middle and I feel... clean! Id like to note that while a 1kg loss for a larger person would not be a big deal, I do not have much weight to lose.. and to lose it with very little effort is a big deal.

I did notice on a few mornings over the last week that after my breakfast and then after my almond and sultana snack, I have felt a little sick in the stomach. Nothing major, but at this stage im attributing this to the increased fat content of my daily intake. While previously my breakfast might have been a low fat concoction of either oats or egg whites + fruit, it has now more likely to consist of whole eggs with vegetables and even sometimes meat. Having a snack of roughly 15 almonds with a handful of sultanas approximately an hour or 2 after breakfast is what left me feeling a little off. The combined (good) fat from the egg yolks and the almonds is something that I have not previously consumed. I was aware before beginning my paleo plan that it is normal to feel different and sometimes even a little sick in the early stages, but for the most part, I feel lean and healthy. I am also confident that my body is loving me as I have put nothing but good wholesome food inside it for a whole week.

For a summary of what a typical day in the life of Mel on the Paleo diet, see my diet plan here.

I will hopefully be posting some yummy paleo recipes in the near future, but I hope that this might inspire some of you to explore your options when it comes to what you're putting in your bodies. My adoption of the paleo diet began as an experiement to see how my body would react. So far so good, with the occasional difficulty of what to eat on the weekend - ended up in a food court where all food options were either wrapped in bread or coated in dressing - went hungry for a little while. The end of my Paleo month seems so far away and honestly I would love a tub of yoghurt right now.. but I think I can do it : ).



  1. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next..

    free paleo recipes

  2. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next..

    free paleo recipes