I came across the Paleo concept when i first got into Crossfit www.crossfit.com/cf-info/start-diet.html It's all right here, pretty simple. Paleo means to eat only foods a caveman would have access to. So, no beans,rice,wheat (bread/cereal), corn,potatoes,dairy, sugar, alcohol, or "processed" foods. For 4 weeks I ate only meat, fruit, vegetables, raw nuts, and eggs. I cheated a little, beer, coffee (w/milk), protein bars and drinks for convenience. My logic was - this can't be a "diet", it needs to be a lifestyle - something permanent. I would not be infinitely strict (although, with time if find myself getting stricter). Supposedly, this was a cholesterol lowering diet. My father and grandfather both suffered from heart disease, both had open heart surgery. Was I destined? I had my blood checked after 4 weeks. Total Cholesterol/HDL was the lowest it had ever been in 6 yrs of testing. Triglycerides were actually UNDETECTABLE - 1st time in ~ 10 yrs. WTF? I was actually eating eggs, red meat, apple slices fried in bacon fat! Was it so simple? Why didn't my doctor tell me? This needed further investigation. I read all i could - Neanderthin, Enter The Zone, Protein Power, Good Calories Bad Calories, Lights Out and talked to Crossfit NSC trainers - Jason "J-Dogg" Highbarger, Dan Grant, Robin Boose - to learn of their experiences. This was too logical. I had to do an experiment on yours truly.
The Experiment: For 12 weeks i would eat Paleo and exactly control the proportions in order to get 1 gm protein per lb of lean body mass and insure 30-30-40 - % calories from protein, fat, and carbohydrates respectively. AND i would not take my Lipitor!
I made a spreadsheet and looked everything up on calorieking.com If my ratios were not within 3% of target, i adjusted proportions. I did not follow zone blocks because i thought that was too dumbed down - too many approximations/assumptions. My experiment would be "exact".
The results: After 12 weeks of Paleo-Zone and no Lipitor, my Total Cholesterol / HDL was 239/82 = 2.9 About 6% lower than it had been, on average, for 4 years while on Lipitor and 35% lower than my base line before Lipitor while on a "healthy" diet. My HDL, @ 82 mg/dl, was 27% higher than it had been, on average, over the previous 6 yrs - and i've always exercised a lot and "watched" my diet. HDL is the "good" cholesterol. Most shocking, my triglycerides were "undetectable" on 3 separate measurements. My body fat decreased from 13% to 7%. These are the quantifiable differences. Subjectively, i just plain felt GOOD. To be fair, it wasn't a perfect experiment. I started crossfit just before the Paleo Zone diet - most likely a positive influence, but i've always been very active. I adjusted the fat content of my diet mid-stream because I was losing weight too fast and my lean body mass started to suffer. Lastly, because my weight was not held at a constant, I cannot isolate the effects of bodyfat vs diet. However, in total, the results were astounding to me and at the last 6 week checkpoint, I was losing body fat (1.6 lbs) while gaining muscle (2.5 lbs). This brings me to the purpose of this Blog. Paleo foods are plentiful, but not necessarily exciting. There is naturally less variety compared to a standard Western diet. On the bright side, this makes shopping REALLY easy - literally, you avoid 90% of the supermarket. To keep it interesting though, you need to be creative. In addition, you need to pay attention to the "math" if you want to eat in zone proportions. I don't know HOW important the zone proportions are but I believe it's a good starting point. I spent a lot of time balancing my meals and I continuously spend time making them interesting. So, the goal of this blog is to share with you recipes for zone balanced paleo meals. For you Zoners, my meals are about 5 blocks. Scale appropriately. (for non-Zoners, read Barry Sears book Enter the Zone - it's worthwhile reading). I'm a little lazy - I wash all my cloths together, lights darks, cotton, wool. I cook the same way. So these meals will be "easy". Not every meal is an adventure - you'll see some basic stuff but that's just so you can get an appreciation for proportions and see what's been working for me. I've always been comfortable with cooking - I was a cafe cook in the summers while in college, and have cooked for myself my whole life, and I like to experiment with foods - ask my kids. They'll tell you about "Steve's Surprise". I hope you're surprised how tasty Paleo cooking can be..
Feedback - don't let me sit here all by myself ;-) If you follow this blog, try the meals, and post your comments! My goal is to offer a new recipe once/week minimum with a simple prep description and pictures.
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