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Getting started

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 20, 2013 at 10:53 PM

I'm new to the Paleo thing. I'd like to be an annoying noob right now and just ask this: how should I get started? Should I even get started? (considering where I'm asking I know the answer I'll get to the second one)

I have no problem eliminating wheat but I love my rice and potatoes. Beans and legumes are also awesome and I'm pretty sure they're very healthy. I was lead here mostly by the realization that wheat and gluten are making me sick. I will get tested for celiac disease when my insurance kicks in but something about this Paleo idea really makes sense. Also something else really doesn't.

Could all this meat be good for you? Am I missing the point? I'm no vegetarian but I minimize meat. ALL the reputable research I've done leads me to believe that excessive animal protein leads to a shorter life span. Most of my research also suggests that it invariably leads to increased cancer risk. Granted - both of those scientific conclusions are based mostly on animal tests. Excessive meat has also been linked gastrointestinal problems, chronic fatigue, increased risk of heart disease, and a whole slew of other issues. Fish seems like a safe bet but I'm still on the fence.

I'm sure plenty of you are eager to sell me on the diet but while you're at it: remember the title of the question and my introduction. I want to know how to most painlessly "get started" IF I DO choose this path and why I should choose it. I'm in good physical health as far as I know and certainly don't need to lose any weight. I need to gain it if anything.

Thanks for welcoming me to your community. Jacob

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on June 18, 2013
at 03:17 PM

What's with all the fly-by, v*gan-in-disguise questions lately?

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 29, 2013
at 07:16 AM

I was trying to emphasize the benefits of switching from a low quality food lifestyle (what I was on), to an optimally drafted plan that you approach with a scientific methodology, fueling your body toward optimal composition and function. I probably did a poor job of this. Beans in general is just one good-enough type of vegetable. I guess it's more the methodology that I'm believing in with the Paleo diet rather than the grocery list. When I buy eggs, I like to know what those chickens ate (I like to be able to taste it in the eggs, be it fish or coconut.)

Medium avatar

(624)

on May 28, 2013
at 05:37 PM

For a while I was cutting out red meat and pork. Later I started to reduce all meat to more of an occasional flavoring. Reading up on the Paleo movement reminded me that there's not enough evidence to believe that rice is any better for you than meat - it boils down to a coincidence. Increased life span / reduced disease in Japanese/Asian cultures. I don't tend to go to extremes with my diet. I'm inspired to take the "quality" of meat more seriously, reduce my grain/potato/starch intake, and go more natural/organic. I hit the "eww - Oreos" point years ago as I improved my diet.

Medium avatar

(624)

on May 28, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I didn't state it above but I actually LOVE fruit and veggies. I just said I'm not a vegetarian - meaning that I do eat and enjoy meat in moderation. I've been slowly cutting wheat out for about a year now and I've gotten it down to almost zero - but mostly by increasing my carb intake from other sources like rice and potatoes. I've always thought beans and other legumes are generally healthy in every way. Can you point to a specific, non-paleo-embracing source suggesting otherwise?

Medium avatar

(624)

on May 28, 2013
at 05:26 PM

I didn't state it above but I actually LOVE fruit and veggies. I just said I'm not a vegetarian - meaning that I do eat and enjoy meat in moderation. I've been slowly cutting wheat out for about a year now and I've gotten it down to almost zero - but mostly by increasing my carb intake from other sources like rice and potatoes.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 21, 2013
at 07:13 AM

(to the downvoters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF0BUZw49oY&t=88)

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 21, 2013
at 06:19 AM

IMO, the way to get started onto the paleo lifestyle is to identify food from a jerf perspective and the numerous unexpected benefits (such as the ones I hinted at) are the reason to 'even get started' at all. Changing the food I ate was absolutely essential and the key to my understanding of the Paleo diet.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on May 21, 2013
at 06:02 AM

This doesn't address the core question. You could have gotten rid of the antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and GMOs without changing any of the foods you ate. Getting rid of soda and juice is a good idea, but I don't think the poster is questioning that parg.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on May 20, 2013
at 11:00 PM

Regarding gastrointestinal problems and fatigue, you don't have to take anyone's word for it. You could eat a lot of meat for a month or two and see how it makes you feel. If you believe in HDL:LDL cholesterol as a good predictor of cardiovascular risk, you could also try eating lots of saturated fat and see what happens to your blood lipids.

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4 Answers

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0
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on June 18, 2013
at 03:12 PM

Gonna echo Axial's note on self-testing (often referred to here as "n=1 testing." In the end, we (and I mean EVERYONE, including researchers on all sides of the spectrum) don't know much about what foods do or don't lead to long term issues like heart disease, cancer, etc. All of the studies that claim to "prove" that certain nutrients are behind these issues (again, whether those nutrients are saturated fats, unsaturated fats, carbs, protein, whatever) are usually observational studies that are using statistics to claim a correlation. Most of the people you'll find here will say that they eat the way they do (and think it'll keep them healthy in the long run) for two reasons: 1. It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective and 2. It makes them feel good right now. Ultimately, you are the arbiter of what will be "most healthy" for you, because you are the only person who can continue to check on and monitor your health (with the assistance of your doctor and his/her expensive tests and machinery...though the time when we may be able to start testing this stuff in home is getting closer :) ) all throughout your life.

TL;DR Give it a shot (but do give it an honest shot; do strict Paleo [look into the Whole30 protocol for a good guide] for at least a month). If you don't feel better in two or three months time, feel free to try something else. I think I speak for most people when I say that you might be surprised by the changes ;)

  1. On the note of the evolutionary perspective, just keep in mind how long we've been eating meat. Don't remember which species of primate started consuming meat (though that might actually be part of the split between primate and ape; anyone better with Biology able to correct/confirm me?) but was far enough back that we've got several million years of meat consumption under our belt. The way evolution works, those ancestors best suited to consuming meat (and consuming meat on a regular basis, especially as we got better at hunting) would have passed on their genes to us; does it seem likely that we aren't NOW well suited to eating meat based on that?

1
Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on June 04, 2013
at 01:59 PM

Most studies show the data connecting red meat and disease is inconclusive, i.e., no connection. Even ones that show a small correlation (note: not causation) are often plagued with numerous confounding variables.

Red meat is, in fact, good for you. It is a rich source of B vitamins, Vitamin D, Iron and other minerals. Although avoiding gluten and other toxins is an important part of the Paleo diet, equally important is eating nourishing, nutrient-dense food. Red meat is one such nutrient-dense food that you should not fear based on outdated, limited studies.

Here are a couple good resources for more info: http://chriskresser.com/red-meat-it-does-a-body-good http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2009/03/will-eating-meat-make-us-die-younger.html http://www.marksdailyapple.com/will-eating-red-meat-kill-you/#axzz2OrxKfn9C

(Seriously, read those links.) (Then go eat a steak!)

0
76810b88f822fe3d8cf5399862d1068a

on May 21, 2013
at 04:39 AM

Hey,

I'm 17 years old and have been doing paleo for about a month. I don't subscribe to the notion that meat is "good" for you, but I definitely feel that you can't go wrong with free range turkey/chicken. A lot of people on paleo choose to snack on bacon, steak, etc. and to each their own, but I personally never eat red meat and probably never will again.

However, I have trouble feeling "full" if I do not have protein in my diet, whether that comes from chicken, turkey, or eggs. So you will probably find that if you cut out wheat and gluten, you will have trouble feeling full without protein (unless, of course, you can eat a pound of veggies in one sitting).

As for gaining weight, I was 117 pounds when I started and I am 118 pounds now. I'm getting noticeably more "toned" (you can see my abs showing through now) but that may be due to my work out regimen. Generally paleo diet can help you gain muscle weight while trimming inches off your waist, and if you have "skinny fat" like I do (appear to be super skinny but its actually all fat and no muscle), this diet really helps.

What I did was I thought about what I liked to eat that was Paleo-approved and went with it. The first few days/week was brutal, but now I feel like it is a lifestyle. This is what I eat everyday:

BREAKFAST: Scrambled eggs, maybe a banana or some other fruit. Usually the eggs fill me up rather nicely because I love eggs and I eat a lot of them.

Lunch: Chicken and broccoli on weekends, and when I'm at school I eat salad with jicama, carrots, olive oil, and vinegar and I get grilled chicken on the side. I try to get some form of animal protein in every meal.

Snack: Baked coconut chips (I'm the world's biggest coconut lover) or these delicious almonds with cranberries that they sell at Starbucks. They have honey in them, which may not be Paleo (I can't remember) but I usually let it slide because I very rarely have this snack anyways. You can also try dipping apples in cinnamon.

Dinner: I like to get creative. BBQ chicken (you can't keep me away from my BBQ sauce...I'm Texan!), hawaiian chicken with pineapple and veggies, chicken tikka masala, the list goes on. If you're craving spaghetti, they have carb-free shirataki noodles in grocery stores. Or you could go for steak and sweet potato fries...have you ever had sweet potato fries with cinnamon? OMG...so good.

As for dessert, there's always fruit or 75-80% cocoa dark chocolate. I like to get the really rich dark chocolate mix and then dip a strawberry in it, but that's just me.

I allow myself a small cheat snack occasionally. For me, it's frozen yogurt -- the froyo shop nearby sells low carb froyo and froyo made with sugars from fruits. They also have "fruit n ice" which is basically just fruit and ice. I love it.

Make the diet your own, seriously. You don't have to be 100% paleo all the time for the rest of your life. I allow myself small cheats on weekends, like I'll eat a sandwich with whole wheat bread on a Saturday or something. I never find myself craving cookies or cake or any other sweets, though I tend to binge on carbs if you put them in front of me. Well, I did in the beginning, at least. I went to a party on Friday and I found myself kind of disgusted by the Oreos, which never happened to me before.

Don't be afraid to let yourself cheat every once and a while, because after you eat two servings of chocolate pancakes and french toast, you realize why you wanted to quit eating junk in the first place. :)

And remember that eating junk feels good in the moment but feels crummy afterwards, and eating healthy may not feel as satisfying in the moment, but you feel great afterwards. Pick and choose. :) Good luck!

Medium avatar

(624)

on May 28, 2013
at 05:37 PM

For a while I was cutting out red meat and pork. Later I started to reduce all meat to more of an occasional flavoring. Reading up on the Paleo movement reminded me that there's not enough evidence to believe that rice is any better for you than meat - it boils down to a coincidence. Increased life span / reduced disease in Japanese/Asian cultures. I don't tend to go to extremes with my diet. I'm inspired to take the "quality" of meat more seriously, reduce my grain/potato/starch intake, and go more natural/organic. I hit the "eww - Oreos" point years ago as I improved my diet.

-1
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 21, 2013
at 04:00 AM

What does your current diet look like? You say you don't eat much meat or vegetables, but enjoy beans, rice and potatoes. What's a normal day like?

Before I started, I would do something like

breakfast - 2 pieces of whole grain bread and non pastured butter, large glass of fruit juice

Analyzing this now, I was starting the day with opiate peptides, antibiotics, pesticides, and an insulin spike, reducing immunity and feeding bad bacteria / yeast, and not providing much nutrition. Half the time, I would skip breakfast.

Lunch - Fast food or hot pocket / corn dog / hot dog / ramen. I don't even have to explain this one, again, lots of weird chemicals and anti-nutrients that lead to issues.

Dinner - Real food half the time (although, low or absent in vegetables) and high in non grassfed meat, often cooked in genetically modified corn oil. With a few glasses of soda to drink. Starches would come from white potatoes and white rice without much nutrition.

Snacks - Corn chips, candy bars, more chips, chip-like things. More weird chemicals.

Now, everything is organic and grassfed and I can feel the difference. Never before had I felt the phrase 'you are what you eat.' I can literally feel the difference in my skin that is now being constructed with better proteins / nutrients. Even my brain is running on different fuel. You've gotta try it. (Also, detox and low carb flu can suck. You might have to push through some bad vibes.)

It's fairly easy to jump on board. You just stop buying / eating garbage. You have to eat something else to stay alive / fed, so buy and eat fresh organic vegetables and healthy grassfed meats instead. (garbage = grains, dairy, processed food, unhealthy animals, etc.)

The difference for me is already strong enough to change my diet for good.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 21, 2013
at 07:13 AM

(to the downvoters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF0BUZw49oY&t=88)

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 21, 2013
at 06:19 AM

IMO, the way to get started onto the paleo lifestyle is to identify food from a jerf perspective and the numerous unexpected benefits (such as the ones I hinted at) are the reason to 'even get started' at all. Changing the food I ate was absolutely essential and the key to my understanding of the Paleo diet.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on May 21, 2013
at 06:02 AM

This doesn't address the core question. You could have gotten rid of the antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and GMOs without changing any of the foods you ate. Getting rid of soda and juice is a good idea, but I don't think the poster is questioning that parg.

Medium avatar

(624)

on May 28, 2013
at 05:26 PM

I didn't state it above but I actually LOVE fruit and veggies. I just said I'm not a vegetarian - meaning that I do eat and enjoy meat in moderation. I've been slowly cutting wheat out for about a year now and I've gotten it down to almost zero - but mostly by increasing my carb intake from other sources like rice and potatoes.

Medium avatar

(624)

on May 28, 2013
at 05:28 PM

I didn't state it above but I actually LOVE fruit and veggies. I just said I'm not a vegetarian - meaning that I do eat and enjoy meat in moderation. I've been slowly cutting wheat out for about a year now and I've gotten it down to almost zero - but mostly by increasing my carb intake from other sources like rice and potatoes. I've always thought beans and other legumes are generally healthy in every way. Can you point to a specific, non-paleo-embracing source suggesting otherwise?

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 29, 2013
at 07:16 AM

I was trying to emphasize the benefits of switching from a low quality food lifestyle (what I was on), to an optimally drafted plan that you approach with a scientific methodology, fueling your body toward optimal composition and function. I probably did a poor job of this. Beans in general is just one good-enough type of vegetable. I guess it's more the methodology that I'm believing in with the Paleo diet rather than the grocery list. When I buy eggs, I like to know what those chickens ate (I like to be able to taste it in the eggs, be it fish or coconut.)

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