The one thing that people ask me the most is what I eat. The last time I wrote a post about what I eat was over a year ago. I often will look for ways to improve my diet or make small changes to hopefully create some big results. In the past year I quit drinking Diet Coke completely and I have adopted a “eat real food” mentality with my diet. In my last post. Things I Eat, I spoke about how I really monitor my diet during the week and then on the weekends I let go a little bit. I still do that. Before you all think that I am crazy I am a man of habits and almost every Saturday morning you can find me at the Swiss Chalet in Morristown having coffee and donuts before I go for my run. I also have dessert with Saturday dinner most weeks. However, monday-friday I adhere to a strict calorie allotment and then Saturday is a cheat day and often Sunday Dinner is a cheat meal as well. I try to eat for fuel 80% of the time and eat for enjoyment 20% of the time. That being said I never eat anything that I don’t like. I look forward to eating and I really enjoy everything I eat but I save the things like sweets for my cheat days. One of the differences between what I eat now and what I ate then is my focus on eating real foods. Nothing from a box or a bag. Basically my motto is if it has a label it is a product and not a food. In that previous blog I listed things like frozen meals, fast food items such as Dunkin Donuts egg white sandwiches, chips and salsa, greek yogurt, and many other things that I no longer eat. My old mind set was that as long as I stay under my calories the food doesn’t matter. Now, I don’t think of food as a diet but as fuel for my lifestyle. I work out quite a bit and without proper nutrition that would not be possible. The other switch that I have made is my protein requirements. My goal is one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. When I wrote that last article protein wasn’t really a concern. Since I ran the NYC Marathon in November I have cut down on the running quite a bit and been focused more on CrossFit. I still run on the weekends but primarily focus on speed and hill work rather than distance. Nutrition is about abundance and not deprivation. In order to fuel my current workout style the protein is a major concern as well as good carbohydrate options around my workouts. Things that I have cut out of my diet completely (Monday through Friday) are cheese, milk, soda, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and anything processed. Because of my extremely busy schedule and time constraints I do buy frozen vegetables and pre-cooked proteins but I make sure to read the labels. Frozen spinach needs to have one ingredient only. Spinach! Not all of them do. There are a few items I will also buy in jars and boxes but I have a 5 ingredient rule. If it has more than 5 ingredients I don’t buy it. Another rule that I have is that I use spices to flavor food and not sauces. Sauces have excess calories and are often heavy cream or flour based. StoneWall Kitchen has a great Salsa Verde that I use a lot on all types of meats. It has only 4 ingredients which is a much better option than Tostitos salsa. Basically it is tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro pureed. Just how you would make fresh salsa at home. I buy Organic produce whenever I can and I am not afraid of fat. For those of you who follow me on Twitter (JoeLopez55) you know that I often write about how sugar is the enemy when it comes to diet and health and not fat. The worst thing for dietary fat is that it is called fat and people associate it with body fat. I eat butter and eggs every day and steak and avocados once a week. When I make vegetables I often cook them in bacon fat or use butter to flavor them. My macronutrient goals are 40% fats, 35% carbohydrates, and 25% protein. I am up 10 pounds since I ran the marathon on November 3rd but my body fat percentage has stayed the same. I want to lost about 3 percent body fat so I am in the process of making another adjustment and experimenting with some other diet changes but more on that another day.
Here is a sample day of eating for me:
5 eggs, 3 cups Kale, 3 slices Bacon, One Sweet Potato, 2 pats Butter, Double Espresso, Stevia
Protein Coffee courtesy of Sparta Nutrition Store.
Grilled Salmon no skin 8 oz, Salsa Verde, 1 cup of Spinach, 1 cup of pureed Winter Squash, 2 pats Butter, Double Espresso, Stevia
Homemade Chia Bar, Protein Shake 2 scoops Optimum Nutrition, 1 Orange.
Carbohydrates 175 grams
Fat 98 grams
Protein 189 Grams
Fiber 42 grams
Sugar 59 grams
The popularity of Paleo, often referred to as the “caveman” diet, is gaining in popularity. It is also referred to as the Stone Age diet or hunter-gatherer diet, and the theory behind it is that your nutritional intake should be based on consuming plants and wild animals, just like what cavemen are presumed to have eaten during the Paleolithic Period. Based on several clinical trials, Paleo diet is shown as effective in lowering the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The American Dietetic Association also agrees that Paleo diet has a lot of great aspects; however, some people can’t sustain this type of nutrition due to lack of variety, cost, and nutrient inadequacies.
What you can eat
There are no special pills or starvation techniques involved in the Paleo diet. All you have to do is eat similar foods our Paleolithic ancestors ate long ago. Here are several foods that you could eat with Paleo diet and those that you need to stay away from:
✓ Grass-produced meats — poultry, turkey, steak, pork, beef, buffalo, bacon, veal, bison, rabbit, goat, goose, kangaroo, wild boar, ostrich, quail, elk and emu
✓ Fish and seafoods — crab, oysters, salmon, bass, halibut, tilapia, tuna, mackerel, clams, lobsters, scallops, mussels, squid and shrimp
✓ Vegetables — asparagus, carrots, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, cauliflower, eggplant, celery, Brussel sprouts, parsley and artichoke hearts
✓ Fruits — apple, avocado, raspberries, mango, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, grapes, lemon, tangerine, oranges, plums, peaches, lime, papaya and strawberries
✓ Nuts and seeds — almonds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nut, walnut abd sunflower seeds
✓ Healthy oils — avocado oil, macadamia oil, , olive oil, canola oil and coconut oil
NOT TO EAT
✖ Dairy — butter, cheese, powdered milk, cream cheese, nonfat dairy creamer, skim milk, yogurt, pudding, ice cream and low fat milk
✖ Soft drinks — all kinds of soft drinks, since these have high fructose corn syrup and sugar content
✖ Fruit juices — are also high in sugar so try to stay away from them. Examples are apple juice, grape juice, orange juice, strawberry juice, star fruit juice and mango juice
✖ Grains — cereals, bread, toast, sandwiches, crackers, English muffins, oatmeal, corn, wheat, pancakes, pasta, lasagna and hash browns
✖ Legumes — black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, red beans, green beans, white beans, chick peas, snow peas, peanuts, peanut butter, lentils, miso, tofu, soybeans, and all soybean products and derivatives
✖ Fatty meats — spam, hot dogs and other processed meats
✖ Salty foods — French fries, ketchup
✖ Alcohol — Beer, whiskey, tequila, rum, vodka, and other alcoholic mixes
✖ Sweets — sugar, candy bars
- Lose weight – Paleo diet helps your body to lose weight naturally since the stored fat in your body is being converted into energy. With Paleo diet, you are consuming foods that have a high-nutrient density without the bad calories. You also tend to lose food sensitivities and you feel more satiated because of all the healthy fats you’re consuming.
- Increase energy levels – Several studies show that following this diet will increase your energy since you’re eating foods that are low in carbohydrates but high in fat, which provide more sustained and lasting energy.
- Sharpen the mind – By following the Paleo diet, you are getting a well balanced meal from natural sources. It gives you more energy without having to resort to caffeinated beverages or energy drinks. It also allows you to eat until you feel full, or eat whenever you’re hungry, so you don’t risk running low on energy when you need it.
- Detox your system – Paleo helps you detoxify your body, so you lose the unwanted substances in your food like MSG, gluten, refined sugar and caffeine. Ingesting more antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber from the fruit and vegetables you’ll be eating will help your body to purge out toxins.
- Helps you sleep better – by cutting out the chemicals and additives in your diet, you tend to sleep better. This is because of the serotonin in the brain, which releases the signal that it’s time to sleep, is not overridden by these chemicals.
- Leaner muscles – Because this diet plan relies heavily on consuming meat, a healthy amounts of proteins are then used to feed your muscles. This helps you have a leaner physique and better muscle development, (with the help of a little exercise.)
- Reduce your risk of diseases – this diet allows you to eat more anti-inflammatory foods and less foods that causes inflammation. You’re also eating more foods that have antioxidants and phytonutrients, which are known to ward off diseases such as cancers and heart ailments. Naturally avoiding fast food and junk foods also help in improving your overall nutrition.
David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline. To visit his other stories on Healthline, visithttp://www.healthline.com/.