I am currently reading the book accidentally overweight by Dr Libby Weaver an Australian born and trained nutritionist, with a PHD in Health Science specialising in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has helped many people transform their lives. She also has 2 cookbooks. I own the first one – The Real Food Kitchen. The second one that recently came out is The Real Food Chief. Definitely on my to-buy list. Her theory of healthy eating is eating as organic as you can, only eating foods in their wholeness, eating lots of vegetables and limit, but not eliminate grains (unless you think they may be causing you problems as some people have sensitivity to them). Her cookbooks shows you how you can get extra/adequate vegetables in your diet if you struggle with that.
With that said, my thoughts on paleo?
I think eliminating milk is a good idea, but haven’t been able to do it successfully. We are the only mammals who drink milk at an adult age. I still have a splash of milk in my coffee – but I have been cutting milk and caffeine out the last week and I cope just fine! I have almond milk with smoothies and anything cold like protein shake as a meal replacement.
The rest of paleo, like HEAPS of fat and cutting out even the good carbs like brown rice, quinoa and kumara (sweet potato)… to have ridiculously low grams of carbs a day? I don’t agree with that. There is no research out there (thought underway) to show the long term effects of eating a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet. Being a nurse, there is no way that my mind will allow me to think that 80%fat diets won’t harm you or your vessels. I believe that excessive fat, especially in the form of saturated fat and cholesterol puts you at higher risk of cardiovascular risk. I definitely don’t think you should eat low fat products or “lite” products, as the fat is lowered in these products and sugar is added to compensate, sugar makes fat! I don’t really limit my fat intake, but I don’t go overboard either and to me 60-80% is overboard. I usually eat 30-40%% fat, 30-40% protein & 10-20% carbs. I usually eat around 100-150 grams carbs per day. I don’t strictly measure these.
There is so much information out there now and if you start reading it all it gets really confusing! I feel like I have a relative understanding of nutrition and food especially with my nursing degree- had nutrition papers too. But when I start reading too much on the internet and other publications I start to question my own sound theories. I was taught moderation. There is no “bad food”. (Except refined foods – stay away from them. Refined being : white bread, white rice, white pasta, packaged food, food that have labels, anything thats not in its most purest form, white sugar products etc.) I was never taught that fat, carbs or protein is bad for you, only that they should be eaten in moderation. Excess of anything will make you gain weight. Also eat as much salad and vegetables as your heart desires. Carbohydrates are naturally easier to eat to much of as usually, in our ancestors days, carbohydrates were harder to come by. Also if they did find carbs there was nothing telling them to stop eating- the brain allowed them to stock up while there was supply- like a bear preparing for hibernation. However, there is definitely a switch that goes off to stop us with fat and protein. Adding extra fat to meals and extra protein is a really good way to eat less carbs and get fuller sooner. So yes, some parts of paleo is correct and logical and a great theory BUT I don’t think you should totally eliminate an entire food group for no real reason. If you are someone who can cut out carbs easily and never look back and it works for you – then why not. But I just feel like crying if I try leave brown rice and kumara behind for the rest of my life. I have tried to do it before. It lasts a week and then I HAVE to eat it. When I end up eating the carbs again I feel so guilty and like I am a failure – just because I ate some kumara (sweet potato)! I think thats ridiculous its a whole food, it’s healthy in moderation, there is no need to feel guilty for that. If you are a perfectionist and get obsessed with things, like I do, avoid paleo, it will mess with your head and encourage bad behaviour. I think it’s a fad phase and it will pass. At the end of the say the only thing thats achievable and maintainable for life is moderation and clean eating.
As a rule of thumb, I eat carbs like brown rice-rice crackers, peanut butter and banana before an intense workout. I also might eat carbs in the morning like 1/2 cup oats otherwise I have scrambled egg tomato and avocado or bacon (this is a paleo breakfast actually). I might have carbs with my lunch like kumara (sweet potato), wholemeal and grain bread, brown rice or quinoa. If I have a carb at lunch I might not have my pre-workout carbs. I never have carbs at dinner – I just don’t think you need it as such. Its the last meal of the day, your going to sleep, you don’t need lots of fuel to sleep.
Changes I have made from accidentally overweight
We got into a real bad habit of eating in front of the TV. We would go to the gym, come home, make dinner and then have dinner in front of the TV watching breaking bad. When I started reading the book we had finished watching breaking bad. Eating in front of the TV means you can miss the signal that tells you your full and you keep eating – over eating. So for the past 2 weeks we have been back at the table. It makes a huge difference and I find you interact and communicate with your partner better if you’re at the table. Its good for relationships too! I have also been having my dinner on a dessert plate just to bring back my portions again because I feel like they were creeping up on me.
As a nurse, although I am given 30 minutes for lunch, I never take 30 minutes. I eat as fast as I can so I can get back to work, I always have so much to do! Overtime I have pretty much developed a habit of inhaling my food and not really chewing it. Dr Libby addresses this problem, as it causes digestive problems which can cause weight gain and an array of other problems. I have been having to count the amount of times a chew and actively having to slow my eating down. This has been proven really hard. Even doing things I didn’t know I do, like putting food in my mouth before swallowing the previous amount. Speaking of digestion, I have also been having apple cider vinegar. This has so many benefits as well. Better skin, better liver and digestive health, curbing appetite, correcting stomach pH – the list goes one google it!. I use the brand Braggs, I wouldn’t recommend anything else if you’re taking it as a “supplement”. In the morning I have 2 teaspoons of ACV, 1/2 a lemons juice, 1/3 teaspoon honey and hot water. Then I make breakfast after having my drink. This has replaced my coffee in the morning. I also try have 2 teaspoons ACV twice more during the day (best before each meal) and I just water it down in a cup of cold water.
I have 100% cut out caffeine and milk. I had a headache and was feeling a bit shitty for 3 days – caffeine withdrawal – proves just how much I was lying to myself about how much caffeine I have! I thought I only have a cup a day, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like I have 3-4. Long story short caffeine makes your body release stress hormone adrenaline, which causes weight gain. If you want to know more I suggest your read the book :).
I have also been slowing down on my carbs a little and just reassessing my diet. I think I started eating lollies again more than just a treat every now and then. I spend so much time in the gym working hard, I don’t want to waste my efforts by a bad diet.
Take some time to reassess your diet, fitness plans and goals. It’s good to review it all. Look at how your feeling, looking and your general health such as digestion problems etc. Sometimes you can get carried away, or loose perspective and you just need to reassess everything.
Stay Fit X.