Nutrition is not an exact science – even different scientists come to different conclusions based on the same data! It is infuriating to learn that many of the current dietary recommendations were influenced by powerful corporations, are based on outdated information, and may actually promote ill-health and obesity. (Read Gary Taubes’ books for more insight).
These suggestions can help you enjoy vibrant health and reduce your chances of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, bone loss, muscle loss, diabetes, mental decline, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalance and all types of unnecessary physical deterioration that most people face as they age. The type of diet that seems to be consistent with all these goals is a Paleolithic (ancestral or primal) diet and its variations.
Some of these suggestions are radically different from mainstream consumer diet information, obtained from various resources. The various authors don’t agree on all the minute details, but the major themes are the same. Refer to the references found below for answers to your questions and delicious menu ideas. The blogs will contain the most up-to-date information. I encourage you to read, so you can make intelligent decisions about your nutrition choices. Your future health depends on it!
General Suggestions for Fat-Loss:
• Create a calorie deficit – eat less calories than you burn! Almost any low-calorie diet will result in fat-loss (unless you have hormone imbalances). There are various Fasting Methods for easy ways to do this – Intermittent Fasting, the Warrior Diet, EatStopEat, etc. Other methods would consist of eating approximately 500 calories less than your RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) per day, or maybe increasing your activity level to burn extra calories while keeping calorie intake the same.
• If you want to lose fat, cut way down on your starch and sugar intake – you will see the fastest results eating less than 100g of carbs per day. There is NO REQUIREMENT for carbohydrate intake. Your body can make what you need from protein. You may feel sluggish for the first week or two as your body adjusts to burning fats for fuel, but you’ll feel so much better after that! There is evidence that the brain functions better on Ketones (created from using fat for fuel) than glycogen. You will not lose muscle tissue or brain function. In fact, you will have more energy, less hunger pains, and better concentration.
• Eat primarily whole, unprocessed foods at all meals and snacks (making your priority food Protein) – animal protein, vegetables, fruits, healthily fats, and a few nuts. Your long-term health and rate of aging rely on the quality of the foods you eat.
• Skip the post-exercise carbs, if fat-loss is your primary goal! Only eat starchy vegetables after exercise if you’re training for an endurance event or trying to build muscle mass!
• Eat until you’re satisfied – NOT STUFFED! Overeating stimulates insulin production. Also, eat slowly – You will stimulate less insulin production compared to eating the same meal quickly, and it also takes time for the body to send the brain the signal that you are full.
• Drink mainly water, but coffee and tea are OK in moderation.
• Accelerate your fat-loss w/cold exposure – ice baths, cold shower intervals, ice water, exercising in the cold, and/or ice pack treatments. Read The 4-Hour Body for more information.
• Be prepared for your meals. Plan, shop, prepare foods ahead of time, and carry healthy snacks. If you are not prepared it makes it that much easier to stop and buy fast food. Don’t give yourself the opportunity for those kind of excuses.
• Stay within these guidelines 80-90% of the time. Some people do well with planning out 1-2 “Free” Meals per week. Keep in mind that when you do indulge, try to keep your calories in a healthy range for you, and avoid high fat foods when you are eating high carb (starchy) foods. This is the WORST possible combination to use for your cheats. So cheat with rice, chips and salsa, popcorn, low fat candy, low fat ice cream, pretzels, etc.
• Do at least two sessions of high-intensity strength training each week to maximize HGH production.
• Do at least one session of “sprinting” each week with running, cycling, rowing, etc. You can do up to three interval workouts, if you compete in endurance events, but pay attention to your recovery status.
• Move often at a low to moderate (comfortable) intensity level – fast walking, hiking, easy cycling, jogging, etc. on off—days to speed recovery from hard workouts. Replace sitting with these activities!
• Get enough sleep 7-8 hours per night minimum! A sleep deficit increases cortisol and promotes fat storage. It has been said that not enough sleep puts your body in a state that is similar to a diabetic’s. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY!
• Find ways to reduce your stress. Stress produces cortisol. Cortisol promotes fat storage.
• Avoid excess cortisol production from overuse injuries and over-training with adequate recovery after hard workouts, dynamic warm-ups, rolling, massage, stretching, and technique practice.
- Meals and snacks should consist of an assortment of the following:
Lots of Non-Starchy Vegetables – fresh or steamed (broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, kale, collards, etc.)
Animal Protein – preferably wild caught or free range without hormones or additives (fish, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, bison, game meats, seafood, omega-3 eggs, bacon**)
Healthy Fats (coconut oil, animal fat**, butter*, olive oil, avocados)
Nuts (raw unsalted nuts and seeds – macadamias, fresh coconut, walnuts, almonds, pecans)
Fibrous Fruit – preferably in the morning, if at all. Eliminate fruit first during a weight-loss plateau (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, oranges, etc.) (avoid high sugar, low fiber fruit like grapes and raisins)
Starchy Vegetables – in moderation, best after exercise (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.)
Optional Dairy* (full-fat cream, butter, yogurt, small amounts of cheese – raw, organic, fermented)
*Scientists disagree on dairy recommendations.
**Saturated animal fats should come from free-range, hormone-free animals
NOTE: Avoid Excess Caffeine and Alcohol, because they can stimulate insulin production. Such as, Red Bull, energy drinks, endless cups of coffee. If you cannot give up alcohol drink no more than 2 drinks per week for women, 4 for men.
I am not giving you a list of everything you should avoid because if it doesn’t qualify for the list above of things you SHOULD eat, then assume it is something you shouldn’t eat while trying to lose body fat.
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel
The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith
The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler, MD
The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss
You can find these books in my Amazon Store, under the Store menu item.