Paleo Challenge meeting #2 is tonight at 6:30pm – hope to see you there!

Here’s what you missed if you didn’t make it last time…

To kick off, I handed out the guides and then shared my personal story of having given up nutritional counseling because my supposedly healthy diet wasn’t actually making me healthy. Now after a year and a half of paleo eating, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. So I started back in nutrition work by facilitating individuals in going paleo and saw impressive changes. This is my first time working with a whole group like this and I’m super excited!

Then nobody fell for my trick of asking people to raise their hands if they thought peanuts were a nut, so I shared my favorite analogy for why to try paleo and how to think about it when you do:

Lost in the Woods
When you’re lost in the woods, the first thing you want to try and do is get back to your last known location. The paleo template is our last known location of health and vitality. Archeological records indicate that as soon a humans started farming, health started to decline. Now it isn’t actually possible to return to the diet of our ancestors because their diets were rich in wild foods that we simply can’t access. That said, the paleo template is our best modern approximation of that last known location of health.

Q&A

How can you say our ancestors were healthy, didn’t they just die earlier?
My understanding is – if you take 10 hunter-gatherer babies, 3 of them will die as infants from infection disease, 2 will die as children from exposure to the elements, and 2 more will die as teenagers from warfare. So over all their lifespan was much shorter with only 3 out of every 10 babies making it to adulthood, but those adults had a life span comparable to ours (minus the degenerative diseases and general falling apart that we like to accept as part and parcel for aging.)

When I did the challenge last year my energy dropped and I was hungry all the time, even though other things felt much better – how can I avoid this?

  1. Are you eating enough? If your total intake has dropped significantly, you’re going to feel tired.
  2. Are you eating enough fat. Non-startchy veggies dressed with healthy fats are a great way to increase your fat intake while also adding more bulk that also increases satiety.
  3. Maybe you need more starchy veggies to help you transition into effectively burning fat for fuel – try adding more sweet potatoes and squashes, especially in the evenings after workouts.
  4. Maybe you’re still doing too many carbs – if you’re sensitive to them they can make you perpetually hungry. Try a day or two on less than 50g of carbs and see how it feels.
  5. If you keep a diet diary (there’s a simple example in the back of the guide) we can go over it together and I can give you ideas based on your specific situation.

Eating for Workouts – when and what is best for building muscle?
It really depends on who you are, how you’re working out, what your goals are, and who you ask. If I were to sum up all I’ve encountered on this it would be:

  • Eat soon after your workout, possibly as soon as within 15 minutes
  • Include some protein and some fat
  • Including carbs is a point of contention, and depends on what you’re trying to achieve

I also did a bit more poking around after and found this old but interesting article from Robb Wolf on the topic and this list of non-powdered post-workout options from his nutritionist.

George had an entirely different perspective on this than me given that his background is in performance and mine is in health, so be sure to ask him for his insight.

Off-topic side note: I also discovered these neat guides for trouble shooting.

Are Protein Powders and Dairy Paleo?
Again, it depends. This time on why you’re going paleo and whether or not they work for you. For dairy, many people are sensitive to it without knowing, and the best way to find out if you’re one of those folks is to eliminate it for the challenge and then test it. If you have sinus, digestive or skin issues, I highly recommend you do this.

As for whey, again it depends on how it works for you. There is a ton of really crappy whey out there, so do your research and get grass-fed and low or no heat processed (for example, the stuff at the gym). But even with all that, some people are just sensitive to specific ones. A whey that works for me might now work for you. As with everything in this challenge, the best way to know how it’s affecting you is to take it out and then put it back in.

So finishing the 30-day challenge with a free-for-all is a bad idea?
Here’s the deal, by the end of 30 days you have created an opportunity for yourself to learn from experience how the foods you took out are affecting you. But the only way to do this is to re-introduce the foods systematically, one-at-a-time, and track the effects. I’ll share more later about the specifics

We ended by sharing stories of success, both personal and by association. Our last year’s victor told us how his sense of taste increased dramatically and there were several stories of relative loosing significant weight and seeing impressive improvements with symptoms and labs.

So that’s what you missed! Hopefully we’ll see you tonight!

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