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Starting Paleo next week...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 31, 2012 at 3:04 AM

So I have been researching the paleo diet for a couple of days now. I feel like next week is the time to make the leap and become a fellow caveman. I had a whole jar full of peanuts that I made sure to enjoy as it will be my last jar ever bought.

I have a few questions regarding the lifestyle change, but first before I ask my questions I will let you know that I have already cut out all processed foods, and I have been like that for about 9 months. In that time frame I lost about 60 pounds. I was 220 lbs and way out of shape. I am now about 160-163 pounds. I had a medical issue last week so I have been sitting around on my butt not really working out and I feel like a bum, but I plan to change it all again next week. This past week I have cut out most starchy carbs. The only thing I have eaten that was starchy was corn, but I can easily give that up.

Here are my questions:

How do I ensure that I am getting enough calories? I used calorie counters and things to give me a sample day and I saw that since I am cutting out these grains and starchy carbs that I cannot seem to hit my caloric intake for the day. I am shooting anywhere between 2300-2500 calories a day. I seem to only get about 1700.

What kind of fats do you use? How much do you use them? What kind of oils are good on what foods, etc.

How do I get a correct omega 3 - 6 ratio? I will be supplementing with omega 3 fish oil, but when I used a paleo calorie counter it said my omega 6 intake was too high.

What are the best nuts to eat? Do you really have to soak them in salt water overnight?

How many calories do you normally make of your meals? Do you eat 3 big ones with snacks in between?

How do you get enough calcium without using dairy products? I will be using a mineral supplement, gluten free!

How much protein should I eat a day? Before that was my main staple to my diet, I would get close to 200 grams of protein a day..or more! My liver is in a mess because of it though. My enzymes are slightly higher than they should be and it seems to be a little tender. So I am going to try to reduce my protein intake. How much fat should I eat a day?

I will let you know that I workout about 5 days a week. I do 3 strength training days and two cardio days. I also do some HIIT after my strength training. Usually 10 minutes HIIT on a treadmill.

I will be looking forward to everyone's input! I really want to get my primal instincts to come alive. I am ready to break free from the chains that the USDA has put us in!

Thanks Everyone!

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on September 01, 2012
at 10:41 PM

I'm 6'2" and 185 pounds. No idea of BF%. My days vary greatly... some days I'm at work most of the day and get little exercise other than walking around. I do have a standing desk at work. Other days, like today, I push my body very hard. I covered somewhere around 6 miles in a weighted run (about 45lbs in a pack), then came home and did some yard work. I'm very inconsistent in my physical activity. I don't like to "train". I do like to do stuff. No problem with you asking. Please know what works for me might not be right for you. It's a self experimentation process.

4ce1a8f61ddb106f793b0b3f1cc9c717

(68)

on September 01, 2012
at 04:41 AM

I would only eat whole wheat breads and whole wheat pasta. Plus the occasional brown rice. Yes this may be 'processed' but they were are whole hell of a lot better than the twinkies I was eating when I was 220.

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 01, 2012
at 04:17 AM

@Sam, I would definitely give it a good 30 days of strict Paleo before you start the IF protocol. Here's some reading to get you started: http://www.leangains.com

Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:31 PM

Fats are definitely satiating - the best way to figure that out for yourself is just to try it. I wouldn't personally recommend jumping right into IF *and* paleo. Try paleo for a month with your current eating pattern. Then once your hunger levels have reset somewhat, try experimenting more with when you eat. Taking on too much change at once is never the best idea. :)

Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:29 PM

The myth is that it's the only source. I personally eat dairy (yoghurt and butter, mainly). :) @PhysiqueRescue - haha! Just goes to show!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 31, 2012
at 11:36 AM

How have you cut out processed foods and yet still eating grains? How is it possible that 800 calories a day are coming from starches without any processed foods? That's a lot of corn...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 31, 2012
at 11:34 AM

And this one http://paleohacks.com/questions/28585/meta-what-are-some-good-threads-for-people-who-are-new-to-the-site#axzz1HAnWOdzd

4ce1a8f61ddb106f793b0b3f1cc9c717

(68)

on August 31, 2012
at 06:28 AM

Thanks for your post. It is really helpful. Can you help me with this IF approach? I feel like I would either over eat or under eat. Plus my digestion isn't all the greatest. I wouldn't be too sure if I can eat that much in such a little window. But I guess that's where the fats come in. Do you feel satisfied eating a lot of fat? Like I mean do you feel full and such? As for working out, I don't really have much else to do besides school and work. All my friends have left for college and I don't like sitting down on the computer all day(although I have been recently).

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 31, 2012
at 05:41 AM

Props on a good answer, although dairy is a perfectly good source of calcium for those of us who choose to eat it, no myth there.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on August 31, 2012
at 04:42 AM

I suggest you read this! http://paleohacks.com/questions/141594/what-are-the-top-5-things-every-paleo-newbie-should-know-but-probably-doesnt#axzz254kjhOCh

4ce1a8f61ddb106f793b0b3f1cc9c717

(68)

on August 31, 2012
at 04:12 AM

Thank you for the advice! I plan on going to the farmers market this weekend and picking up a bunch of fruits and veggies for damn cheap. I will post what I get after I shop and see if what I buy is good paleo. Thanks again!

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on August 31, 2012
at 04:07 AM

Wow, talk about simiar answers, I'll go with great minds think alike or great minds think Paleo!

4ce1a8f61ddb106f793b0b3f1cc9c717

(68)

on August 31, 2012
at 03:34 AM

whats a typical day for you? Also what is your body comp(height, weight, BF%) If you don't mind me asking. I just want to make sure I am getting this down right. Thanks for you answer :)

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3 Answers

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3
Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on August 31, 2012
at 03:51 AM

Calories - eat more good fats and don't worry too much about it. As you adjust to paleo, your body will let you know when you aren't getting enough.

Fats - I use a lot of coconut oil and avocado, plus grass fed butter which is great in coffee in the morning. Olive oil goes best on colder foods, coconut oil is wonderful for cooking in. Experiment! :)

Omega 3/6 - If your 6 intake is too high then figure out what you're eating that is the worst offender, and try to replace that with something that has a better ratio. I personally don't sweat this one too much so I don't have much advice here. I supplement with fish oil on the days I don't eat salmon.

Check out http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nuts-omega-6-fats/ for some more info.

Nuts - Macadamias are the best, check out this table: http://primaltoad.com/macadamias/ Personally, I eat a lot of almonds too.

Calories/meals - I don't personally count calories and most of the Paleo people I know don't either. I tend to eat two bigger meals in the day with a light pre-workout breakfast and post-workout snack. When I'm strict paleo I don't find any need for other snacks, though sometimes I get into emotional eating territory. :)

Calcium - Dairy isn't the only source, and I've read that dairy contains other compounds making calcium less likely to be absorbed, so we actually don't get all that much of the calcium we think we're getting. It's one of those "SAD myths". Green leafy veg have a ton - http://www.marksdailyapple.com/calcium-supplements-goitrogenic-foods-high-mufa-seed-oils-and-jogging/ - just eat whole real food and it generally takes care of itself. See also http://milk.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000817

Protein - between 1 and 2 grams per kg of body weight is the general rule, if you are sure high amounts of protein caused your liver issues, then listen to your body and don't go the high end. Fat - if you are doing this for fat loss you want <150g of carbs (a rule of thumb is around 75g on non workout days and up to 150g on the activity heavy days, with the denser starches consumed after workout), so work out the math and everything else should be fat. Yes, this is pretty difficult at first :)

Depending on your cardio days you might want to switch the HIIT to those days and ditch long steady state cardio, which can cause chronic stress and inflammation for some people. Intervals all the way!

Glad to see you are so excited and ready to go. Given the number of questions and thinking you are doing, you might find it easier to follow a pre-set plan such as Robb Wolf's Total Transformation or Mark Sisson's 21 Day Total Body Transformation, or the Whole30 Daily (out of the three I'd personally recommend Whole30). Try not to over-think.. I know it's hard, but part of this is all about learning what works for you - there aren't any set in stone numbers so you will have to experiment on yourself and see what your sweet spot both mentally and physically is. Good luck!

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 31, 2012
at 05:41 AM

Props on a good answer, although dairy is a perfectly good source of calcium for those of us who choose to eat it, no myth there.

4ce1a8f61ddb106f793b0b3f1cc9c717

(68)

on August 31, 2012
at 04:12 AM

Thank you for the advice! I plan on going to the farmers market this weekend and picking up a bunch of fruits and veggies for damn cheap. I will post what I get after I shop and see if what I buy is good paleo. Thanks again!

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on August 31, 2012
at 04:07 AM

Wow, talk about simiar answers, I'll go with great minds think alike or great minds think Paleo!

Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:29 PM

The myth is that it's the only source. I personally eat dairy (yoghurt and butter, mainly). :) @PhysiqueRescue - haha! Just goes to show!

3
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on August 31, 2012
at 03:27 AM

Wow... been paleo for 3 years and have no answers to your questions. :)

I don't measure anything. I know I'm getting enough calories when I'm not hungry. I eat the widest variety of good foods possible so I know I'm getting all the "stuff" I need.

Never been in better shape in my life.

4ce1a8f61ddb106f793b0b3f1cc9c717

(68)

on August 31, 2012
at 03:34 AM

whats a typical day for you? Also what is your body comp(height, weight, BF%) If you don't mind me asking. I just want to make sure I am getting this down right. Thanks for you answer :)

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on September 01, 2012
at 10:41 PM

I'm 6'2" and 185 pounds. No idea of BF%. My days vary greatly... some days I'm at work most of the day and get little exercise other than walking around. I do have a standing desk at work. Other days, like today, I push my body very hard. I covered somewhere around 6 miles in a weighted run (about 45lbs in a pack), then came home and did some yard work. I'm very inconsistent in my physical activity. I don't like to "train". I do like to do stuff. No problem with you asking. Please know what works for me might not be right for you. It's a self experimentation process.

1
06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on August 31, 2012
at 04:06 AM

(Holds Breath) . . .(Deep exhale) Here goes . . .

How do I ensure that I am getting enough calories? I used calorie counters and things to give me a sample day and I saw that since I am cutting out these grains and starchy carbs that I cannot seem to hit my caloric intake for the day. I am shooting anywhere between 2300-2500 calories a day. I seem to only get about 1700.

Look into adding more fats into your diet. Coconut oil, MCT oil, grass-fed butter, and possibly some nut butters (almond, sunflower seed, etc.) You can pack on calories fast with nut butter. if you are worried strictly about calories. I'm a big fan of Bulletproof Coffee myself. Unless there is some specific fitness goal you are trying to reach, I wouldn't worry so much about the calories and just eat when your body tells you it's time to eat, especially if you've been eating close to a paleo diet for a while.

What kind of fats do you use? How much do you use them? What kind of oils are good on what foods, etc.

Coconut oil and grass-fed butter and ghee and especially animal fats. I'll use some olive oil to make a salad dressing but won't cook with it. Butter is just awesome all the way around.

How do I get a correct omega 3 - 6 ratio? I will be supplementing with omega 3 fish oil, but when I used a paleo calorie counter it said my omega 6 intake was too high.

Eat grass-fed meat, and I eat fish a couple times of week (salmon, sardines). Supplementing with fish oils has come under a lot of scrutiny lately. Fermented Cod Liver Oil seems to be your best bet if you are worried about deficiencies but the jury is still out.

What are the best nuts to eat? Do you really have to soak them in salt water overnight?

I really like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. I also eat 5 Brazil nuts every day(selenium and claims of increasing testosterone). I have a weakness for cashews (technically not a nut) so those are rare treat for me. As for soaking, yes ideally you should although i don't think all of us are perfect in that regard.

How many calories do you normally make of your meals? Do you eat 3 big ones with snacks in between?

I follow the LeanGains approach(16 fasting/8 eating) with occasion bouts of 24 fasting with the exception of I have a Bulletproof coffee in the morning. It's a grand total of two meals a day plus coffee with no snacks. It has worked well for me. I don't count the calories anymore, but it is substantial.

How do you get enough calcium without using dairy products? I will be using a mineral supplement, gluten free!

Cooked spinach, kale, and broccoli. Almond milk or raw dairy if you have access to it can also supplement your calcium.

How much protein should I eat a day? Before that was my main staple to my diet, I would get close to 200 grams of protein a day..or more! My liver is in a mess because of it though. My enzymes are slightly higher than they should be and it seems to be a little tender. So I am going to try to reduce my protein intake. How much fat should I eat a day?

I'm probably in the vicinity of 100-150g per day depending on what type of workout day. My macronutrient is probably close to 65% fats. Some may look at that as being low but it has worked for me. I've got pics up on my site if anybody has questions about it @ physiquerescue.com

With that much exercise it sounds like you're really putting your body through the ringer. Exercise is stressor, you've lost a lot of weight and it's easy to lose sight of life as its passing around you. I love to workout with the best of them, but I also enjoy writing and spending time with my wife. Sounds like you've made wonderful progress and congratulations for being committed to changing your life. I hope you attack this next chapter with the same intensity as the other.

-Matthew [email protected]physiquerescue.com

4ce1a8f61ddb106f793b0b3f1cc9c717

(68)

on August 31, 2012
at 06:28 AM

Thanks for your post. It is really helpful. Can you help me with this IF approach? I feel like I would either over eat or under eat. Plus my digestion isn't all the greatest. I wouldn't be too sure if I can eat that much in such a little window. But I guess that's where the fats come in. Do you feel satisfied eating a lot of fat? Like I mean do you feel full and such? As for working out, I don't really have much else to do besides school and work. All my friends have left for college and I don't like sitting down on the computer all day(although I have been recently).

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 01, 2012
at 04:17 AM

@Sam, I would definitely give it a good 30 days of strict Paleo before you start the IF protocol. Here's some reading to get you started: http://www.leangains.com

Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:31 PM

Fats are definitely satiating - the best way to figure that out for yourself is just to try it. I wouldn't personally recommend jumping right into IF *and* paleo. Try paleo for a month with your current eating pattern. Then once your hunger levels have reset somewhat, try experimenting more with when you eat. Taking on too much change at once is never the best idea. :)

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