ONE of the misconceptions about the Paleo diet is that it’s all about protein and fat. What many don’t realise
ONE of the misconceptions about the Paleo diet is that it’s all about protein and fat. What many don’t realise is that by eliminating refined carbohydrates, we supplement with loads of vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, berries and fruit, all of which are full of minerals and vitamins. Combine that with the improved gut health and increased nutrient absorption which happens through avoidance of grains, and you get a very balanced diet. You’d be surprised that we can get pretty much all required nutrients from animal, seafood and plant based foods.
Eat real, whole foods. This automatically eliminates a whole range of preservatives, hidden sugars, sodium, additives, colouring, artificial flavouring and who knows what else. As a result you eliminate unnecessary toxins and consume more nutrient-dense foods, plus it tastes great!
By eating this way and keeping active, most people experience weight loss and muscle growth. Clients also experience better digestion, which can help with sleep problems and reduce stress. It also reduces flatulence and the feeling of being bloated.
The paleo diet provides lots of fibre, which together with adequate water intake and a smaller intake of sodium helps to decrease the bloating many people experience on a carbohydrate-dense diet. Plus, the paleo diet helps to improve the gut flora essential for keeping a healthy digestive system.
Hunger strikes and mood swings are common symptoms for many people suffering from acute or chronic hyperglycaemia. This also happens when the blood sugar drops and the person gets a rapid onset of hunger accompanied by irritability, fatigue, disorientation, and “brain fog”. Meals consisting of protein and fat are very satisfying. The energy your body gets from fat, protein and some glucose from low-sugar carbohydrates is released slowly and evenly throughout the day. As a result, the blood sugar levels stay stable and you rarely experience energy drops. Hunger develops gradually without the crazy mood swings.
It’s also important to realise that the right fat does not make you fat. The paleo diet promotes healthy, saturated fat from grass-fed meat, poultry and seafood as well as butter and coconuts, monounsaturated fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds, a small amount of polyunsaturated fats and a healthy ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids. Trans fats are not included. The right types of fat are essential in maintaining healthy arteries, brain function and healthy skin, as well as decreasing systemic inflammation.
People following the Paleo/Primal diet experience many of the following benefits:
Increased and more stable energy levels
Clearer skin and healthier looking hair
Improved mood and attitude
Improvements in those suffering from depression or anxiety
Less or no bloating, decreased flatulence
Sustained weight loss and fat loss
Muscle growth and increased fitness
Lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
Higher immune function and a general feeling of wellbeing
Improved glucose tolerance, a decrease in insulin secretion and increase in insulin sensitivity
Healthier gut flora and digestion
Better absorption of nutrients from food
Reduced allergies including hay fever
Most people experience reduction of pain associated with inflammation due to the anti-inflammatory properties of this way of eating
Improvements in those with respiratory problems such as asthma
To summarise, eat high-quality, locally produced (if you can get it) meat and fish. Fill your plate with vegetables and some fruit with a sprinkle of herbs and spices. Snack on nuts, seeds and berries and low sugar fruit. Eliminate grains, and low quality dairy and refined sugars. Next month we will talk about how to move, and how to live.
lRichard Hawkins is a personal trainer at Expert Fitness Studio on Bell Street. Contact (01491) 413416 or go to www.expertfitness.com
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