When I talk to people about leading a Paleo lifestyle, the question that I get the most is "If you don't eat grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugars and processed foods, what can you eat?" This is a very good Question!
What you eat can become as routine as cooking it. Most people who choose to cook at home tend to create the same dishes week in and week out. This can become bland and boring over time for both you and your family. When people hear that, in order to live Paleo, they must remove some of the very staples in their already boring diet (grain and dairy), they tend to shy away from the idea.
I like variety in my diet, so I like to try things that I have never tasted before. This allows me to expand my menu, therefore preventing my diet from getting stale and boring. With the Paleo lifestyle the options for great food are endless and the recipes allow you to use ingredients that are fresh and healthy. It's surprising, the amount of healthy foods that can be used as substitutes for the traditional unhealthy ones. I've learned to use things like unsweetened applesauce to make yummy brownies and cauliflower to make a crunchy pizza crust.
I decided to start this list of Paleo friendly foods in order to show that the Paleo lifestyle has an exspansive variety of delicious foods to choose from. Hopefully this will give you enough information and inspiration to change not only your diet, but also your life.
Acceptable Foods for the Paleo Lifestyle
Beef, pork, lamb, veal, rabbit, goat, sheep, horse, bison, wild boar, …
Deer, pheasant, bear, moose, woodcock, elk, duck, rabbit, reindeer, wild turkey …
Salmon, tuna, trout, bass, halibut, sole, haddock, turbot, walleye, tilapia, cod, flatfish, grouper, mackerel, anchovy, herring, …
Crab, crawfish, lobster, shrimps, scallops, clams, oysters, mussels, …
Avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, clarified butter (ghee), lard, tallow, duck fat, veal fat, lamb fat, fatty fishes (sardines, mackerel, salmon), nut butters, nut oils (walnut, macadamia), coconut flesh, coconut milk, …
Chicken eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs, quail eggs, …
Celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, leeks, kohlrabi, green onions, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, okra, avocados, …
Green Leafy Vegetables
Lettuce, spinach, collard greens, kale, beet top, mustard greens, dandelion, swiss chard, watercress, turnip greens, seaweeds, endive, arugula (rocket), bok choy, rapini, chicory, radicchio…
Carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, radish, jerusalem artichokes, yams, cassava, …
Butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, buttercup squash, …
Zucchini, yellow summer squash, yellow crookneck squash, ...
Bananas, apples, oranges, berries (strawberry, cranberry, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry), grapefruit, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, pomegranates, pineapple, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, cherries, apricot, water mellon, honeydew mellon, kiwi, lemon, lime, lychee, mango, tangerine, coconut, figs, dates, passion fruit, persimmon, …
Nuts and Seeds
Pistachios, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts
Button mushroom, portabello, oyster mushroom, shiitake, chanterelle, crimini, porcini, morel…
Fresh and Dried Herbs
Parsley, thyme, lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, chives, tarragon, oregano, sage, dill, bay leaves, coriander, …
Spices and other Natural Flavor Enhancers
Ginger, garlic, onions, black pepper, hot peppers, star anise, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, vanilla, cloves, chilies, …
So you see! There is an endless array of scrumtious foods out there just waiting to be eaten. If I left anything out, please feel free to comment with any foods that you like that may not be listed. Just make sure they meet the Paleo criteria. Hostess Twinkies don't count!
What are you waiting for? Make the switch. You'll look and feel better.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
When it comes to losing weight, diet and exercise take commitment. It can be a real pain trying to juggle everyday life and keep yourself on track with your eating and fitness routine. You've got a job and family that demand your time and attention. You don't always have time to think ahead with your meals, so you give in to what your family wants and order a pizza instead of taking the time to do what you promised yourself you would do. That's when the pounds start piling on instead of falling off and frustration sets in.
Put Yourself First
If you are serious about dropping pounds and changing your life then no one or nothing should stand in your way. You wouldn't break a promise to a friend or family member, so why would you break a promise to yourself. You have an obligation to yourself to meet your fitness goals. If you want to lose ten pounds before your best friends wedding, then make it happen! If your goal is to run a marathon, do it! Nothing can get in your way if you commit to what you are trying to accomplish. No one is saying it's going to be easy but if you set your mind to it, you might just surprise yourself.
I once read a quote that said, "If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse." Nothing could be closer to the truth when it comes to getting healthy and shrinking your waist. You have to want it! Otherwise, what's the point?
Pat Yourself on the Back
Often times we get caught up in the stresses of life and we tend to forget about the big picture. You are choosing to lose weight because you're worth it and you deserve it. You are entitled to take your life back! Don't get discouraged. Give yourself a pat on the back and push forward.
When things get tough and you just can't get motivated, it's sometimes helpful to have a mantra to repeat to yourself to get you up and moving. "I deserve to reach my fitness goals.", "I deserve to be healthy." "I deserve happiness." "I deserve to be appreciated." These are a few examples of mantras that I have used while on long runs or during strenuous workouts to get me past those walls that I sometimes hit. The same technique can be used when choosing foods to eat. "I owe it to my body to skip the fried seafood platter with greasy fries and choose grilled seafood with steamed veggies instead." You get the idea. Stay strong.
Gather the Troops
Your family may not be on board with what you are trying to do. It's up to you to let them know that this is something that is very important to you and stick to your guns. Let them know that you will set one day a week aside for a "cheat day" in order to allow for a family night. Get them involved in physical activities as well. Go for a bike ride, or hike a local nature trail. There are endless things that you can do to keep them involved. Talk to your spouse and explain to them that you need their support in order to continue on your journey. Express to them how important they are in your success and remind them how hot you'll look in your swimsuit this year. Once you have your family on board, you can instill in them the importance of good health. They'll soon see that eating clean doesn't mean tasteless food and they'll have something to be excited about when "cheat day" rolls around.
Set Short Term Goals that Lead to the Big Picture
You only get one body and you need it to carry you around this great big place we call earth. When thinking about your health, you should be thinking long-term. However, the key to long-term health is short-term goals. The fifteen pounds you need to lose for that upcoming class reunion is a great goal to strive for, but why stop there. You could lose ten more pounds after the reunion if you keep going on your diet and push yourself at the gym. There will be other events that you'll be attending that I'm sure you'll want to look great for as well. Make these events your next goal. Maybe it's an upcoming race. Train for it! You'll lose weight and gain endurance. Who coundn't benefit from that? Over time, your diet will become more of a lifestyle and your fitness routine will be as common as brushing your teeth. You'll notice your stress levels drop and energy levels soar. You'll have your life back!
The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
Fortune favors the brave.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
There's much debate out there as to whether beans (legumes) are as healthy as we've been led to believe. As with everything, there are two sides to every story. Some folks may say that beans are a great source of protein and fiber and are a necessary staple in every diet. Others would debate that they are high in starchy carbohydrates and should be avoided at all cost. I decided to explore both sides of the argument and this is the information I dug up from a blog entitled, "To Bean Or Not To Bean". This was his take on the good ole "musical fruit".
1. Beans are high in fiber and protein! Not everyone enjoys a big hunk of meat at the dinner table. Some people prefer to get their protein from beans and other sources. For these individuals, beans are a great way to get the protein they need and because beans are also a great source of fiber, they are quite filling.
2. Beans provide a steady source of glucose, which is great for energy. Fructose (the sugar found in fruit, agave nectar, and corn syrup) in high amounts has been linked to gaining belly fat, increased risk of heart disease, and higher LDL levels. Table sugar is even worse because it contains both glucose and fructose. It's best to keep any fruit intake in moderation and try to avoid fruit after 4pm.
3. Beans have been reported to reduce the risk of colan cancer. If this is true, then beans do serve a purpose as part of our diets. Colan cancer is serious and any help in preventing it is worth looking into more.
4. Beans provide an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals. They are not void of nutritional value.
1. Beans are high in starch and carbohydrates. Consuming too many beans can restrict weight loss. Individuals trying to lose weight should cut back on their intake of legumes or drop them all together.
2. Beans are difficult to digest. Beans that are not properly prepared before cooking can cause severe digestive issues. Before they are okay for consumption they must be soaked, drained, boiled, drained again, and then slow cooked. Even in doing these things, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a belly full of gas and a sudden drop in your friends. Let the farting begin!
3. Beans contain estrogen mimics which can be bad for your health. Beans contain phytoestrogens, otherwise known as weak estrogen mimics which interfere with hormone function. Male infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of a high bean diet. Causing them to be flabby, high strung, lethargic and sometimes embarrassed by breasts and underdeveloped genitalia. Whatever you do, don't feed your children Soy formula.
4. Beans can upset auto-immune diseases. All legumes contain leptin. Some leptins have been linked to things such as: Type 2 diabetes, allergies, peptic ulcers, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn's disease to name just a few.
5. Beans can make your brain smaller. Here's something to wrap your brain around. A side effect of frequently eating soybean is brain shrinkage.
After hearing both sides and weighing the good against the bad, I am choosing to completely remove legumes from my diet. Although both sides had really valid arguments. I feel that I can get my fiber, carbohydrates and protein from other foods such as meats, green veggies, nuts and seeds. Not to mention, I won't have to walk around with a can of Airwick trying to disguise the smell surounding me like a cloud of smoke. I'll stick to having a lean waistline and large brain. However, I will miss those New Orleans cajun redbeans.