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Friday, September 10, 2010

What's The Dealeo with Paleo?

Jorge Cruise's new plan, the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track gets compared to Paleo a lot, so I thought I would spend a post talking about it. I find most people have never heard of Paleo Diets. Here is my simplistic take on the Paleo diet:

Caveman use spear. Caveman eat meat. Caveman have no time for planting wheat. Caveman eat berry instead. Caveman look good!

And boom, there's your diet plan! Not sure I want to see the take on a Paleo Relationship: Caveman see woman. Caveman grab woman's hair... ummm, no thanks. And plus it's not that simple, but could a diet be?

Paleo diets are based on what our ancient ancestors ate. Think Hunter and Gatherers, a few hundred generations back. The basics of a Paleo diet are made of lots of NOs. Here is what is on the NO LIST:
Processed Foods

(Sugar is misleading, since naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables are allowed.)

One thing I notice in the Paleo community is that the followers are very active and vocal about the benefits. It's Atkins, with an Attitude. I also see lots of athletes and incredibly fit people doing these plans, more for the health benefit and not strictly as a weight loss plan. Although I have read several weight loss stories as well. It is clearly more of a Way Of Life or Lifestyle and less of a diet plan though.

There are several variations of the Paleo diet. Some are extreme, to the point of consuming raw meat/eggs, eating bugs and intermittent fasting (eating once a day). Maybe I should have called it Atkins on Steroids. Some variations allow foods on the NO LIST in moderation or in extreme forms (raw milk, anyone?) There is controversy about the plans, just like there is about Atkins. But honestly, conventional dieting isn't working, so maybe a little controversy will get us somewhere.

One variation is the Primal Blueprint. The author Mark Sisson is a former top tri-athlete, and I was able to chat with him briefly about his book back in April. I found him to be a complete narcissist, but something tells he won't mind that description. He claims no exercise is necessary on his plan. Instead, he encourages lots of "playing". But Mark's version of play is my idea of a serious and strenuous workout! To each, his own. Maybe one day I'll find it fun to pull huge water bottles down the beach, while doing lunges. Or not. Mark's plan speaks of reprogramming your genes, turning genes on and off. Specifically he wants to turn your fat burning genes ON. Really interesting concept that I think we will be hearing a lot more about. You can check out Mark's website Mark's Daily Apple for more info. His message and site is very clear, concise and consistent. If you check it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts because I feel more drawn into it every time I visit.

The Fast Track is not as extreme as these plans, it is a more mild variation. Jorge's plan is easier to do for the average person, in my opinion. But a real Caveman wouldn't have it easy, now would he?



  1. My son and his girlfriend are Crossfit devotees, so they introduced me to Paleo/Primal and Mark's Daily Apple. I have both his Primal Blueprint and Cookbook. I'm trying his 30 day challenge--more to try to go 30 days grain-free to see if helps with my arthritis-type inflammation. Interestingly enough, I am down another % in body fat in the last month so we shall see.

  2. I've posted about this before on your blog. Fast track sounds very paleoish. It doesn't matter too much to me what label you put on it. If you want to lose weight, cut sugar and processed foods completely out of your diet. Replace it with as many nonstarchy veggies has you can possibly eat and make up as much of the balance of calories as possible from fatty meats. Aim for 50% of your calories from fat, mostly saturated.

    The biggest thing I've noted from the paleo sites I follow is food quality. Almost important as what you eat is what your food eats... get a big freezer and buy half a grass-fed cow and a pastured pig. The find a good source for wild salmon and load up. Do a CSA in the Summer. You can't help but get healthier.

    Crossfit helps a lot too.

  3. Loved this post! I have to admit I find Mark to be hard to swallow, would never define pulling huge water bottles down the beach while doing lunges as "play" & resist eating animal organ meats...but that said, I would be lying to say that the Primal Blueprint, when implemented, doesn't have awesome effects on my body. I also agree with what Mike said -- I like that it concentrates on the QUALITY of the food...something Jorge doesn't always worry too much about.

    I figure The Belly Fat Cure is targeted at a whole different audience and it is good to get the ball rolling. Eventually, if you desire even deeper results, you'll have to graduate to something more intense, like the Paleo diet (or Fast Track, though I can't say since I haven't yet read it)...or maybe even a raw food diet.

    It's fascinating, isn't it, the journey for each of us to find the combination of wholistic health and wellness 'rules' that works for each of us...

  4. Some foods I personally can't live w/o and not willing to give up! Such as eggs, cheese, and brown rice... Just discovered I like Kale. Never ate it as a kid because my Mom opened everything from a can. I am now into fresh is best, and spent the morning shopping at our Swap Meet for fresh produce and as organic as can get from our local farmers! Discovering new recipes by web surfing and discovered some good ones so far, since I really can't stand being in the kitchen more than two minutes tops! Keep trying everyone and fresh starts to taste better everyday!

  5. Hello! I was so happy to find your blog. Your story before you lost all your weight sounds just like me. I had my daughter three years ago and I have been gaining weight for the last 4 years. ( now 50 lbs! over what I was) I have had enough and want to get my health and weight back in check. I started the diet 1 week ago and am having trouble keeping up. I feel even more hungry during the day then I was before and am eating lots of low carb/low sugar food all day. I know I have to keep to the 6 meals but I am eating more then that. I have the ratio right but I am sure the calories are off I also love Caesar dressing a homemade dressing I buy regularly from a restaurant but have no idea if it is ok on the diet. Do you have a facebook page? I am trying to connect with others who were or are on the diet for support. Thanks again for all the info you share! =)

  6. my email is beenaretzlaff@gmail.com if you have any thoughts or ideas for me. Thanks so much!

  7. I did Jorge's plan and like you lost 50 1bs, in a year. As a Mom of 3 kids and tons of opportunities to cheat I made this lifestyle work pretty easy. I trainned and completed a half marathon and the full 26.2 mile marathon. I feel great but I am STUCK at the 50 lb mark. Still running 3 weeks post marathon 3-4 times a week at least an hour but I am stuck. Consider Paleo plan but ain't gonna work for me without Coffee, diet coke and an occassional wine. I mentioned I have 3 kids and an iced coffee with truvia is my dessert when needed? ANy suggestions.

  8. Kelsey Ale is offering her Paleo Sweets dessert recipe book for FREE for a limited time only! This FREE Paleo recipe book features healthy and great tasting Paleo dessert recipes Paleo Dessert Recipes