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Eating like a Caveman: An Argument for the Paleo Diet

carlos
CARLOS FIGUEROA

You see, I hate counting calories.   

I don’t have time for that. I don’t like keeping track of how much I’ve eaten nor do I obsess over how many grams of a particular nutrient I’ve had. One of the reasons I hate counting calories: not all calories are created equal.  Stuffing 400 calories worth of Doritos in my mouth (mmmm!!) definitely does not affect my body in the same way as 400 calories of high-quality vegetables and proteins. I also just hate math.

Enter the Paleo Diet – I don’t have to count calories anymore! Ever! And it’s helped me lose weight, build muscle, and get in the best shape of my life. 

So what is it? Basically, if a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither can you. The Paleo Diet is an effort to go back to eating how we’re biologically designed to eat.  And cavemen didn’t eat grains. Grains are composed primarily of carbohydrates, and those are turned into glucose (a type of sugar) in our system to be used for energy and various other tasks to help our body function. But here’s the thing – any glucose that isn’t used as energy is stored as fat.

Who wants that? Well, turns out a lot of people do. But it’s not for me. The Paleo Diet also almost completely erases sugar from your diet. Unless you’re getting your sugar from a fruit, forget it. Sugar is a dangerous drug, and the sooner you start thinking that way, the healthier you’ll be. 

So, no grains, no sugar, and no processed foods. Bye bye, late night Taco Bell runs! 

To help, here is a basic scheme of what to eat on the Paleo Diet:

Eat: 

Grass-fed meats

Fish and seafood

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Eggs

Nuts and seeds

Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

Don’t eat:

Cereal grains

Legumes (including peanuts)

Dairy

Refined sugar

Potatoes

Processed foods

Salt

Refined vegetable oils

Here are a few easy ways to start changing your daily meals for the better:

carlos2Breakfast is easy – make an omelet.  Sauté some onion, peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli in olive or coconut oil; add omega-3-enriched or free-range eggs and diced turkey or chicken breast.

Lunches are a snap. At the beginning of the week, make a giant salad with anything you like. Need some ideas? Here you go: mixed greens, spinach, radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, avocadoes, walnuts, almonds and sliced apples or pears.  Store the salad in a large sealable container. Each morning prepare a single serving for lunch, and then mix in a meat of your choice. Toss with olive oil and lemon juice and that’s it.

For dinner, try spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. Top with pesto, marinara and meatballs.  Any other grilled meats and vegetables topped with olive oil and garlic will also do nicely. 

Sweet tooth? Turn to berries and other fruits, and skip the ice cream. 

There are many more ways to Paleo your life but these simple suggestions should get you started.

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