Anthony White was one of our First members at MaD. He moved to the UK in February and is greatly missed. He had an interest in Nutrition and offered to write a Paleo Summary on how to get started. I hope you find this helpful on your quest to improve your nutrition:
Eat Good Food for Thirty Days
What are you trying to do?
You are working hard in the gym. Presumably, you want to be strong, fit, and healthy.
But you are only in the gym three or four hours a week. What you put in your body the other 164 hours has by far the most significant impact on your health, strength and fitness.
Your body needs good fuel to run at its best. Good fuel is good protein, good fat, and good carbohydrates.
Good proteins are lean meats and eggs.
Good fats are olive oil, avocado oil, nut oils, nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, avocado, olives.
Good carbohydrates are non-starchy vegetables. Some fruit is good, in moderation.
Most starches are poor quality fuel for everyday use. (Once you’re lean, there are some exceptions, but don’t worry about that until you have leaned out.)
Grains and sugar are straight bad fuel.
So here’s the challenge: put only good food in your body for thirty days, and see how you feel and perform. We bet that you’ll look, feel and perform so much better that you’ll want to stick with eating the good food.
So what’s a good meal?
You need each of protein, fat and carbohydrate in each meal.
To plan a meal, start with a good protein. Add some vegetables. Eat as much protein and vegetables as you need to be satisfied. Add some good oils for cooking, or some nuts or seeds. Maybe have a little fruit for dessert.
This isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating food that is the best quality. You shouldn’t be walking around hungry.
I’ve set out a table below. To build a good meal, take a protein from box one, add some vegetables from box two, and some fat from box three. If you like something sweet for desert, have a piece of fruit. Sometimes the oil you add to cook the meat or veges will be enough for a meal.
Chicken: Breast, Whole
Lamb: Roast, Diced, Minced, Chops, etc
Beef: Steaks, Roast, Minced, Diced, etc
Sausages (gluten free, and preferably with as little cereal binder as possible)
Any other meat you can find
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, etc)
Leafs (spinach, Romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, kale, endive, etc)
Greens (mustard, turnip, collard, beet, etc)
Stems (celery, rhubarb, asparagus, bamboo shoots, ginger, etc)
Roots (carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, turnips, burdocks, etc)
Bulbs (onions, garlic, shallots,etc)
Fruits that are more like veges (tomatoes, aubergine/eggplant, pumpkin, cucumber, capsicum/pepper, squash)
Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes)
Stone fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines, mangoes etc)
Nuts/Seeds (walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios, Brazil nuts)
In New Zealand, grass fed butter is pretty good too.
Ways to make it really easy.
What do I eat for breakfast? For lunch?
Sometimes the change from the way you are currently eating is the biggest challenge. Typically in New Zealand we eat grain and sugar based cereals for breakfast, more grain and sugar for morning tea, grains and a little protein for lunch, grains and more sugar for afternoon tea, and finally some protein and vegetables for dinner. This is all wrong.
A good breakfast at 7am should leave you feeling satisfied through until noon. I eat meat for breakfast, and then have lunch sometime between noon and 1pm. I’m not famished by lunch either.
Eat some meat or eggs for breakfast. Bacon and eggs are good. Throw a tomato on the side.
Colds cuts and nuts, or colds cuts and avocado make a good quick breakfast if you are in a hurry.
Cook extra meat when you are preparing dinner, and have leftover meat for breakfast. This makes it breakfast really quick and easy. If you cook dinner three times as large as you need, it will do for breakfast and lunch as well.
Cook a big casserole of meat and veggies, and then keep it in the fridge. Pull some out for breakfasts or lunches. Take it to work for lunch.
Cook a meat and coconut cream curry, and have some for breakfast or lunch.
Roast a big piece of lamb or beef, or a big chicken. Have some hot for dinner, then eat the rest as cold cuts through the week.
Take a few vegetables to work and throw together a salad to have with your cold meat for lunch.
If you don’t want to eat the same meal three times in a row, you can stagger it – dinner, a serving for breakfast, then the next serving the next breakfast.
Then just start with breakfast. Eat a balanced breakfast with protein, carbs and good fats. Make sure it is all REAL food. See how you feel. Particularly, see how long it takes before you are hungry again.
Commit to two weeks of giving up sugar and the sugar cravings will go away. Your body is addicted to sugar right now, it takes time to break that craving. Two weeks without sugar and processed carbs and the cravings will stop. Don’t swap out sugar for natural or artificial sweeteners. That’s like an alcoholic swapping scotch for wine. Your body will stay addicted to sweet things, and keep craving sugar.
Keep a food diary. Write it down. Be honest, write down everything you eat and we’ll go over it together in class. Hold yourself responsible.
What about cheat meals?
Yes, you can have cheat meals. Not every day, but occasionally.
I recommend you save the cheat meals for when you are out for dinner, or visiting with friends and don’t want to inflict your dietary inconvenience on them.
Don’t keep cheat foods in your house. You will eat them.
Why not grains?
The human body can’t eat grains in their natural form. In order to eat grains, they need to be ground up and highly refined – even wholemeal grains are highly refined compared to a kernel of wheat growing on a stalk. Grains come out of the refining process as a refined starch that will immediately spike glucose in your bloodstream.
Grains also irritate your gut. The purpose of grain for a plant is for the grain to stay healthy until it reaches the right soil conditions to grow. To stay healthy, they need to be protected from bacteria that would otherwise rot the grain. There are chemicals in the grain called lectins that protect it from bacteria. Unfortunately, these chemicals will also try to protect it from your gut, and will result in gut irritation. The gut irritation makes it harder for your body to process the good nutrients it needs to keep you healthy. This is why you need to cut out the gluten.
Why not legumes?
Legumes have similar protective chemicals to grains, and can irritate your gut. Legumes are also starchy carbohydrates (see why not starch), and the protein in legumes are not good quality proteins (only short chain amino acids, no branched chain amino acids, if you’re interested).
Why not starch?
Starch spikes your insulin response. Insulin is an important hormone, but an insulin spike tells your body to store fat around your waist. A starchy meal will spike your insulin and your blood glucose very quickly, telling your body to store fat. But because the starch is so easily digested, an hour later it is all gone and your blood glucose crashes, leaving you hungry again.
When you each starchy, sugary foods, this cycle means that much of the starch and sugar is stored as fat, very little of it is used to fuel your muscle, and you are back to being hungry.
How bad is rice?
Rice isn’t as bad as gluten. It doesn’t irritate your gut. However, it is a refined starch, and as such will go straight into your bloodstream. Three tablespoons of rice has about the same effect on your insulin and blood glucose as two teaspoons of sugar. So, sure, maybe have a half cup of rice once a fortnight on your cheat meal (if you want to waste your cheat meal on rice). But don’t undo all your good work by eating it every day.
If you want to lean out, cut out dairy. That’s the simple answer.
And cut it out for the first thirty days anyway.
Then, after thirty days, and if you are already lean (say, 10 percent bodyfat or less) and want to put on some muscle quickly, then maybe consider using dairy post workout. Dairy is a strong growth promoter, but it promotes growth in every cell in your body. If you are still carrying fat, it will promote fat growth. If you are lean, it only has muscle in which to promote growth. There are trade-offs with diary, so only add it once the rest of your diet meets the prescription.
So what else can’t you eat?
I hate those lists of what you can’t eat. Better to focus on everything you can eat, and think about how to make it work. Once you have it working, it really is delicious.
Still, some people want to know what is on the ‘don’t eat’ list, so here goes:
• No grains. This includes bread, rice, pasta, corn, oatmeal, and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains. No baked goods made from grains.
• No legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, lentils, and peanuts. (No peanut butter. You can swap out peanut butter for cashew or almond butter, which are delicious. Don’t put them on toast though.)
• No sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Truvia, Stevia, etc.
• No processed foods. This includes protein shakes, processed bars, dairy-free creamers, no fat, low fat, no taste anything. Processed foods hit you blood sugar too quickly and spike your insulin.
• No alcohol. And, sorry, beer contains gluten.