21

votes

What version of Paleo works for you?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 27, 2011 at 8:12 PM

I have enjoyed reading all the different versions of Paleo, Paleo-hackers adhere to.

Zero Carb, Low Carb, High Starch, No (Yes) Fruits, No (Yes) Nuts, No (Yes) Dairy, IFing...

I think a great resource for new Paleo hackers would be a thread where some of us share our own stories, goals, history, and what version of paleo has worked for us. New Paleo hackers could find someone with the same age/gender/weight goals and use their experiments and experience to guide their own self-experimentation.

This is the format for questions I was thinking:

1) How old are you? Male/Female.

2) Goals: weight goals (Lose fat and weight, lose fat and maintain weight, maintain muscle/weight, gain muscle/weight) and overall health goals...

3)What have you tried that didn't work? Other diets and different variations of Paleo.

4) What have you found that thus far works best for you?

There are thousands of factors that go into what will work for one person vs. another so feel free to add and change the questions you answer.

Here are my answers:

1) I am 21 years old. Male

2) Health Goal: Improve digestion and have stable energy levels throughout the day. Weight Goal: Maintain muscle/weight (possibly gain a little muscle)

3) I tried low fat. low carb mixed with low fat (horrible idea). Weston A Price reccomendations with soaked grains and legumes and raw milk. WAPF was an improvement over past diets but I did not maintain low BF %. Within Paleo I have also tried VLC and LC with lots of eggs, chicken, meats and vegetables.

4) As of now what is working best for me is a diet high in ruminants with animal fats (grass-fed beef: muscle meat, ground beef, organs, tallow, marrow) and starches (sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash...) and limited vegetables. Limited eggs and fruit. No dairy or nuts. I eat two large meals a day. I find I can maintain a healthy low BF% on this diet and have the most energy and best digestion when eating this way.

What has your experience been? Please share. :)

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on October 08, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I know right? It's friggin amazing. Eat a bunch of bacon, walk around and lift some stuff a few times, and feel/look amazing. Plus the fact that there's no stress about macro ratios and calories and detailed gym regimens. The simplicity of it all is astounding. I'm glad it's working for you too.

3193ead7a301b741aafa193c4476edea

(213)

on September 28, 2011
at 04:57 PM

Personally I felt wasted going on my 3rd week low carb, until I upped my fat intake (extra olive oil, coconut milk, etc.). After that, everything normalized. I guess it just takes a while to figure out what works best for your body.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 28, 2011
at 03:13 PM

yeah, I noticed that too. Seems like a lot of people in the beginning assume lc is the way to go. I think it does have its benefits at first. Maybe for a leptin reset...but it's interesting to see so many people switching back to starch.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 28, 2011
at 02:42 PM

Incredible how many people added starch back in... Seems like the right thing to do.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:26 PM

btw that's one hell of a name you got there.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:25 PM

I agree with JS' comment. I think added fat can easily be the least prioritized item in a healthy eating plan. In other words, eating whatever fat is on your meat I'd say is just fine. I simply think that that usually is enough for satiety, vitamin delivery, etc. Other than that I don't see fat as contributing much to daily functioning (other than flavor of course), while adding and subtracting carbs can perhaps more directly influence activity level, mood, energy, etc.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 02:26 AM

Good idea for a thread

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:49 AM

Thats a really interesting story. We often hear stories about people (especially women) on LC or VLC whos weight loss has stalled. The common advice everyone gives is to keep lowering carbs but there is definitely something to say for adding safe carbs. Not to say that LC, VLC, or ZC doesn't work great for some people I think many of us function best with safe starches in our diets. Travis brings up the point here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/62110/is-the-initial-phantom-fat-loss-on-lc-paleo-leading-us-astray#axzz1ZCrL4k1h

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:39 AM

Sounds like a good plan. You have very low BF% for a women. Impressive! I am eating similar in what I eat. Pre-paleo I used to work out so hard 5x a week for an hour a day to get decent results. Now I do less than half the weight lifting, more walking and a clean paleo diet. It is amazing how far the diet alone can take you.

A82d8cbea04392ebcb1a819bddc4a259

(190)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:40 AM

Excellent question. I look forward to seeing the responses!

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on September 27, 2011
at 10:27 PM

Awesome thread. Great question.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Done. Good suggestion. Thank you.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on September 27, 2011
at 08:59 PM

Great question. Will be very interesting to see the answers. i would suggest 'goals' rather than 'weight goals' though. Some people (like me) don't want to change their weight and have completely different goals.

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15 Answers

5
2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on September 28, 2011
at 10:58 AM

1) How old are you? - 28, female

2) Goals - To be healthy and happy

3) What have you tried that didn't work? Have never "dieted" per se, just thought I was eating healthily before (whole grain everything FAIL) and lived in Migraine City, population me, beacause of it.

4) What have you found that thus far works best for you? - Cyclic low carbing, so really using it as a tool. Pretty standard Paleo gig, ie protein and good quality fat with every meal, veg & fruit I eat seaonally, locally and organically where I can. At the moment I am trying an auto-immune paleo thing for a few weeks to see if my scalp psoriasis clears, but usually I am relaxed enough with the food to really enjoy life while still gaining the health benefits, although I try to stay the hell away from gluten other wise I have a miserable couple of weeks. I try not to talk about Paleo too much with my friends and especially family (unless they are intersted of course) and I make sure I spend as much time as I can in the sun when it's here, I make good quality sleep a priority, and I spend as much time as I can with fabulous people who make me laugh my head off (metaphorically of course) as I truly believe THAT is the best medicine, BY FAR.

5
0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on September 27, 2011
at 11:53 PM

1) How old are you? Male/Female: 33/Female

2) Goals: Lean out (I still have an easy 5-10 lbs. of fat hanging around on my belly/hips/thighs) and improve muscle tone

3) What have you tried that didn't work? My answer barely six months ago would have been completely different, but I've had to come to terms with the fact that I seem to have hit the proverbial low-carb paleo wall. I've been at it for nearly 3 years without any major falls of the wagon, and aside from the initial water weight (glycogen?), I haven't lost much of anything. And honestly, that was okay - as long as I was feeling great, eating foods I love and maintaining effortlessly. But lately (say, the last six months) I've become increasingly tired, sluggish 24/7 and my libido had gone buh-bye. My skin was starting to look crappy too - tired, dull and I swear, a bit wrinkly. I was definitely looking and feeling older than I am. Trouble was, I felt like I was doing everything "right." I already ate a super-clean, paleo/WAPF-style, low-carb diet - so what was there to improve? I rarely cheated, and I go to a hell of a lot more trouble to prepare traditional food than anyone I know - fermented vegetables, bone broths, yada yada yada. So why, then, did I feel so lousy?? Couldn't figure it out. Adding carbs seemed out of the question. Potatoes and starch are fine for already thin, healthy people, but I assumed it was off limits for me, since I hadn't lost the weight I wanted to lose yet. The general advice in the low-carb world if you're not losing weight eating LC, is to lower your carbs even more. Well I've tried that, and it doesn't work that well for me. The more I thought about it, the more the lower-your-carb-count-as-much-as-possible advice started to sound suspiciously like the old lower-your fat-intake-as-much-as-possible advice. Not good.

4) What have you found that thus far works best for you? It's still early, but adding a few starchy carbs back into my diet have helped my well being immensely. I was terrified that I would gain weight after adding back the carbs, but so far that hasn't happened. Possibly, I've lost a bit of weight (not sure, but I feel slightly thinner). I feel worlds better though - tons more energy, moving a lot more, and the libido perked up again (hubs is thrilled, lol) Thankfully, my skin looks healthy again and the dryness/fine wrinkles have disappeared. I'm also following Dr. K's leptin reset protocol and eating a high-protein breakfast each morning. It's made a huge difference in my appetite. I've gotten to the point where I don't need lunch, so I typically IF until dinner, about 10-12 hours. Breakfast is still low carb, but I make sure I get some potato or other "safe starch" with dinner every night now. I feel a lot better for it, and it may even be key in breaking my 3-year weight-loss "stall."

EDIT: Other non-food-related things that have worked for me are 8-9 hours of sleep in a pitch black room, bi-weekly massages (on the cheap at a local beauty school), a little sunbathing on the weekends and Slow Burn-style weight training at home twice a week. Now that I feel like moving again, I'm even planning to check out our local Crossfit gym for a free class next week!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:25 PM

I agree with JS' comment. I think added fat can easily be the least prioritized item in a healthy eating plan. In other words, eating whatever fat is on your meat I'd say is just fine. I simply think that that usually is enough for satiety, vitamin delivery, etc. Other than that I don't see fat as contributing much to daily functioning (other than flavor of course), while adding and subtracting carbs can perhaps more directly influence activity level, mood, energy, etc.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:49 AM

Thats a really interesting story. We often hear stories about people (especially women) on LC or VLC whos weight loss has stalled. The common advice everyone gives is to keep lowering carbs but there is definitely something to say for adding safe carbs. Not to say that LC, VLC, or ZC doesn't work great for some people I think many of us function best with safe starches in our diets. Travis brings up the point here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/62110/is-the-initial-phantom-fat-loss-on-lc-paleo-leading-us-astray#axzz1ZCrL4k1h

3193ead7a301b741aafa193c4476edea

(213)

on September 28, 2011
at 04:57 PM

Personally I felt wasted going on my 3rd week low carb, until I upped my fat intake (extra olive oil, coconut milk, etc.). After that, everything normalized. I guess it just takes a while to figure out what works best for your body.

4
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:21 PM

  1. I???m 32, male.
  2. I???d like to maintain my current weight and leanness. I???d like to never get sick.
  3. I was a raw foodist for about one year in Japan. I ate raw veg and raw fish all the time. I lost tremendous weight and ended up very ill. I was WAP for maybe three years and always performed well enough. I did always feel ???bloated??? I suppose is the word from eating larger servings of grains, though. Overall I think WAP is just fine for health. I???ve eaten everything from ZC with high fat to ZC with high protein, to the same versions of VLC, to the same version of plain old LC, to my current eating which is just about equal percentages of fat, protein, and carbohydrate. I think I feel the best with my current (what I call) high-starch eating. This was/is all paleo.
  4. My current eating of about equal percentage of calories from protein, fat, and carbohydrate (mostly from starch) I think serves me the best overall. That could be because it???s the one I???m practicing as I write this, though, right? I value fat the least in my eating, aiming to get adequate protein and starchy carbohydrate as a priority and then merely filling in the remainder with fat.

2
D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on September 27, 2011
at 10:38 PM

1) How old are you? Male/Female. 25/Female.

2) Goals: weight goals (Lose fat and weight, lose fat and maintain weight, maintain muscle/weight, gain muscle/weight) and overall health goals... Lose a little body fat (currently 14-15%, would like to tone up more and be around 12%), maintain/gain strength, look and feel my absolute best all the friggin time. ;)

3) What have you tried that didn't work? Other diets and different variations of Paleo. I've always avoided sugar and never been big on grains. Used to be vegetarian and raw vegan (5 years), so I was avoiding grains 100% during those 2 of those 5 years. Been paleo for a year, was doing 100% grain free off-and-on a few weeks at a time, finally fully committed to it a few months ago and have not looked back. Was doing high protein, moderate carb, low fat a la Cordain, but that wasn't working for me.

4) What have you found that thus far works best for you? I have been IFing naturally for years, so I do 16/8 IF with paleo. I eat 2-3 meals per day. High protein, high fat, low carb. My only carbs come from yams and low-GI fruit like berries, with the occasional splurge on almond ice cream or my paleo cookies (maple syrup is the sweetener I use in my cookies). I avoid all dairy except grass-fed ghee. I eat eggs. The only "nut" I eat is almonds and coconut, and they are not botanical nuts anyway. I dropped back to my normal weight within 3 weeks and it's been super easy to maintain. My skin looks great (no dryness, no blemishes), I don't have to micromanage or stress about calories and macro ratios blah blah.

Oh, and as far as exercise goes, it's minimal right now. I wanted to see how far diet could take me. I have a stand-up desk, I go on walks, I swing my kettlebells around, and I do squats, squats, squats.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:39 AM

Sounds like a good plan. You have very low BF% for a women. Impressive! I am eating similar in what I eat. Pre-paleo I used to work out so hard 5x a week for an hour a day to get decent results. Now I do less than half the weight lifting, more walking and a clean paleo diet. It is amazing how far the diet alone can take you.

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on October 08, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I know right? It's friggin amazing. Eat a bunch of bacon, walk around and lift some stuff a few times, and feel/look amazing. Plus the fact that there's no stress about macro ratios and calories and detailed gym regimens. The simplicity of it all is astounding. I'm glad it's working for you too.

2
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on September 27, 2011
at 09:12 PM

34/m

Maintenance. Slightly better comp but not really buckling down and going after it like I could.

The one that feels good at the time.

I cycle between low carb/high fat and moderately high carb/moderate fat and everything in between. It depends on your goals and how your body feels at any given time.

1
A994080d499afca98cdc9de896701ebd

on September 28, 2011
at 01:51 PM

1) 20, female

2) maintain that awesome energy I have. maintain muscle, even gain a little.

3) eating the "paleo diet" without questioning (jumping right into VLC/high fat, no fruit, starchy carbs only PWO), rather than seeing it as template. Also: thinking about what I eat too much. I don't have the time and no reason to count calories all the time.

4) I now include way more starchy carbs! Thus I eat less fat automatically, I guess. I include soaked legumes too, every once in a while. I feel really good with the way I eat now! And my recovery from heavy lifting is way better than before.

1
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on September 28, 2011
at 09:38 AM

1) How old are you? Male/Female.

49, Female

2) Goals: weight goals (Lose fat and weight, lose fat and maintain weight, maintain muscle/weight, gain muscle/weight) and overall health goals...

Originally, lose about 15lbs that were bugging me. Feel strong & healthy. Then, as I realized what Paleo could do for me, my goals moved to during lifelong digestive problems, skin problems, all sorts of symptoms of food intolerances/sensitivities (acne, sinus headaches, frequent infections, lack of concentration or ability to focus, etc).

3)What have you tried that didn't work? Other diets and different variations of Paleo.

Was "vegan + fish" for 35 years. Starting mid-February 2011, Did strict Paleo for 30+ days. After about 6 weeks, was feeling run down.

4) What have you found that thus far works best for you?

Upped my carbs by adding a bit more fruit and sweet potatoes. Started to experiment with a few things. So now, I'm strictly no dairy, no grains, no legumes. Rarely eat nuts. I do drink ~12oz of good black coffee each day, have some 85% or higher dark chocolate from time to time and drink hard cider on the weekends.

Exercise-wise: I run (now barefoot or in very minimal shoes when necessary) 5-6 hours a week, I bike commute 45 min a day and walk about 1 hr a day (mid-day, also gives me sun exposure). Sleep 7.5-8.5 hours a night (wake without an alarm).

I feel excellent. Weight loss was effortless. Bodyfat% is around 12-15%. Skin is radiant. Stomach & intestines work as they should and what I thought was "inevitable" degradation of focus & concentration due to age has been reversed.

1
954dbd7efe0e7653e8efd377d7776d38

(457)

on September 28, 2011
at 07:39 AM

1) How old are you?

25/M

2) Goals:

To be extremely healthy and maintain stable energy levels all day. Losing weight and looking better is simply a by-product of my healthy life.

3)What have you tried that didn't work? Other diets and different variations of Paleo.

I've been on and off healthy eating, since 9th grade. I never followed too many structured diets, until paleo. I am an extremist by nature, so the paleo diet has caused me problems. I try to avoid being 100% paleo.

4) What have you found that thus far works best for you?

After a major depression spike and a rock bottom experience, I weighed in at 250 pounds. In around 2 months time, I dropped 45 pounds. Going from 29% bf to 17%. The diet I followed was based on loose guidelines and calorie cycling. 3 days a week I did low carb, low protein moderate fat. (about 1500 calories) 2 days a week, I did moderate calories, carbs and protein. 1 day a week re-feeding within the paleo guidelines. (Dairy and some sugar were the exceptions) I also fasted 16-20 hours daily. I am no longer afraid of starch, so I eat white rice and potatoes often.

Beyond the diet, I stand 12+ hours a day. I walk or bike 30 minutes 5 days a week. I do body weight resistance circuits, 2 days a week and 1 day of H.I.I.T. Also doing meditation and brain training exercises. (Dual n Back) Overall, I've never felt better about my life and my health. I said the same thing, when I first started paleo, years ago. This however is a stronger experience, one I plan to sustain for a lifetime.

1
D5a52362ba91628833829a52acf1c227

on September 28, 2011
at 04:03 AM

1) 28 yr old female

2) Goals are to lose weight (fat) and gain some lean muscle, be overall fit, healthy and happy (make the anxiety vanish!)

3) I tried a high fat & protein paleo diet with low carb, but that just didn't work for me.

4) I've found that I need a TON of various veggies, a lot of protein, and just moderate amounts of healthy fats (especially coconut products!) to feel and look my best. I do have some brown rice, carrots, yams, etc. but it's not the bulk of my diet. I usually only have some fruit if I'm craving it and it's at night. I try not to have much dairy but do have some butter and the occasional old cheddar cheese. I eat tons of eggs, too. :)

1
485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

on September 27, 2011
at 09:47 PM

55/male

Goal is to lose fat. I have been fat all my life; now I just want to be skinny. I do VLC, usually eating just once a day, occasionally fasting a day. I found that going to bed earlier in total darkness helped resolve a plateau. Also dropping caffeine and cream. I eat coconut oil every day. For exercise I walk/hike.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:26 PM

btw that's one hell of a name you got there.

0
65333605eb0e62ccdb9ffaac00727bc6

(150)

on September 01, 2012
at 03:07 PM

This is a great question...Bumping to see if anyone has anything to add or update :-)

0
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 18, 2011
at 11:34 PM

1) I am a 64-year-old Female.

2) Goals: I'm feeling good and moving freely. I'd like to maintain such daily life as long as possible.

3) VLC and ZC didn't work for me; I felt so deprived the next thing I knew I was on a SAD food binge.

4) Moderate carbs ala Mark Sisson work well for me, usually a mixture of fresh and cooked vegetables and either a grapefruit or a small mix of sweeter fruits. This week I started making water kefir at home and I'm experimenting with flavors. I'm liking it a lot and I'm hoping it will be good for my gut flora. I am also going to try counter-top yogurt, vili.

I'm about 7 months in and I've learned better than to declare any dietary change to be permanent, but I feel good about myself and how I'm eating and I think I have a decent chance to maintain the pounds already lost over the holidays, If I pull that off, I will establish a new cycle and shoot for another loss of 20-30 pounds over another 6-8 months.

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on September 28, 2011
at 02:14 PM

1) 26, female. Started 'paleo' in September 09 at 24.

2) Improve health (I had recently been diagnosed with IBS, had terrible acne, hormonal problems, my hair was falling out, I was cold and exhausted all the time, and more), gain some damn weight.

3) Tried eating SAD/lots of junk (to gain weight), being lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegan, eating lots of whole grains and omega-6s, WAPF-style... thankfully always ate high fat (usually lots of butter) and fairly high cal

4) High calorie, high fat, moderate protein, moderate starch (mostly from tubers and roots). Lots of veg and dairy fat. Limited solid dairy products, fruits, and nuts. Focus on nutrient density. Grain-free, except for white rice and some white corn.

I did not do well on VLC.

0
6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:44 PM

1) How old are you? Male/Female. 24F

2) Goals: weight goals (Lose fat and weight, lose fat and maintain weight, maintain muscle/weight, gain muscle/weight) and overall health goals... Lose fat, gain strength, avoid being sick

3)What have you tried that didn't work? Other diets and different variations of Paleo. high fat/low protein and carb, high fat/protein with low carb

4) What have you found that thus far works best for you? High carb/ low protein and fat

-1
D3ba748096c1abedcb777c204f76803b

on September 27, 2011
at 08:33 PM

57/Female/Sedentary. Lose fat, gain muscle, build bone strength. I do low carb/high fat with some sugar alcohols. Some whey isolate protein powder. No grains/seeds/few starches if any. Limited eggs. I eat 6 small meals daily (hypoglycemic). Prefer organic due to carpal tunnel syndrome damage. Presently 29% body fat. Would like about 25%. Don't want to be overly skinny.

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