OK – What Do I Eat?
(LEANing Challenge Guide to Eating)
- All of the lean meat, fish, seafood, eggs you can eat
- All of the non starchy vegetables you can eat
- Some fruit
- Moderate healthy fats
- Moderate nuts and seeds
- No grains or cereals at all
- No legumes
- No dairy products (eggs are meat)
- No processed foods – make it yourself!
- No sugars. Agave, organic honey, molasses, pure spun golden sunshine….it doesn’t matter. They are all equally bad for you.
- No artificial sweeteners. These are not food! Creepy laboratory products with sketchy safety records, artificial sweeteners have been shown to produce an insulin response.
“In order to get enough protein and calories you should eat animal food at almost every meal” (Cordain, Page 101)
Many different kinds of meat will work well for you. Here are some guidelines:
- Animals, including fish, raised in commercial farms are not healthy so try to get
- Grass fed beef
- USDA certified organic meat
- Wild fish
- Locally raised animals
- If unable to do any of the above, then eat the leanest cuts you can and trim visible fat.
- Eating the fat of healthy fish, birds and animals is good for you. Eating the fat of unhealthy creatures is not.
- Eggs are good. Eggs from birds allowed to forage and run around are better.
- Buffalo, elk, venison and other types of wild game are excellent choices if you can get them.
Time to get creative. Non starchy vegetables should be a big part of each meal. Virtually all vegetables offer excellent nutritional value.
- When possible choose organic, locally grown vegetables that are in season. Each of these factors will improve nutritional value.
- Experiment with sautéing, roasting and grilling your veggies. Try different recipes and different ethnic foods. Learn to use herbs and spices. This stuff should taste good!
- Peppers, squashes, eggplant, garlic, leeks, onions broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, carrots, green, cabbage, celery, kale, dandelion (yes! dandelion) spinach, tomatoes, radish, parsnips, mushrooms….
- Avoid starchy vegetable – potatoes, etc. If you must eat starch (it happens) try yams and sweet potatoes.
- Avoid legumes. Peanuts, beans, peas, lentils and soybeans should be avoided.
A paleo diet allows and encourages lots of fruit consumption. There are a few issues with fruit consumption though. We need to consider how the fruit was grown as well as the type of fruit to evaluate nutritional value. We also need to consider pesticide exposure.
- If you can grow your own fruit or pick wild fruit – go for it!
- Scavenge the local farmers market for fresh local seasonal fruit. Organic is best.
- Try to avoid fruit from far away. Flying in kiwis from New Zealand is not really helping our health.
- Avoid GMO (genetically modified organism) fruit. Period.
- A little fruit juice occasionally can be okay but, fruit juice is really candy.
- Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to minimize pesticides.
- Some fruits like bananas have a high glycemic load and should be avoided if you are trying to loose fat.
Berries! Eat lots of berries!
NUTS & SEEDS:
Filling and nutritious. Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants and lots of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and magnesium. It is possible to screw up your fat profile with nuts though. Lots of nuts have an unacceptably high omega 6 / omega 3 ratio.
Here are the best choices:
- Macadamia nuts
Nuts in moderation are very healthy but overeating them can stall weight loss. Cashews especially are delicious but surprisingly high in carbohydrate and contain too much omega 6.
Peanuts are not nuts. Do not eat peanuts or peanut butter. Peanuts contain lectins and other anti-nutrients which can cause some real health problems.
Note: Lots of packaged, shelled nuts are covered in trans fats! Read the label! Best to buy raw, unsalted nuts and spice them at home. When in doubt, buy walnuts and/or macadamia nuts.
Fat is good for you. Fat is essential to your well being and happiness. (This is not hyperbolic writing. Having the proper fat profile makes a huge difference to your mental outlook and moods). Fat is a great source of energy. Fat triggers our sense of being full. Fat is an essential part of many of your cellular and hormonal processes. We sicken and die fairly quickly without adequate intake of essential fats.
However….there are many bad fats in our food supply.
Fat from healthy animals is good for you! Chicken, duck, goose, lamb, beef and pork fat can all be eaten and is an excellent choice for cooking because of heat stability. Lard is internal fat from around the kidneys. Lard from naturally (not grain) fed pork and beef is a very good choice. Lard from grass fed animals is hard to find though, so butter can be used instead.
Butter. Not really paleo, butter contains milk solids and water as well as fat. Butter from grass fed cows is very good for cooking and enhancing the flavor of steamed vegetables.
Making butter better! (More paleo)
Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Remove butter from heat and let stand for a few minutes, allowing the milk solids to settle to the bottom. Skim the clear yellow liquid from the top and strain into a container. You have just made Ghee! Ghee stores well frozen.
Coconut oil is good for you and a good choice for cooking. Choose organic, cold processed coconut oil.
Olive oil is very healthy. Go for the extra virgin, cold pressed and use liberally. Olive oil does not have great heat stability so use something else for high heat frying.
Flaxseed oil is very good but…it should not be heated at all and oxidizes rapidly. Store flaxseed oil in the refrigerator and use quickly.
Fats to Avoid:
Trans Fats – fats damaged by heat. Trans fats can be extremely destructive to our health. Trans fats can be made at home!! Start with a healthy, unrefined oil, naturally high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids – apply excessive heat and presto!
Health wrecking trans fats. Easy!
Hydrogenated and/or partially hydrogenated oils. Terrible! Reread the last paragraph.
Canola – should be avoided. Canola has a very good omega 6/ Omega 3 ratio. However, to be used commercially it has been genetically modified, highly refined, partially hydrogenated and deodorized. Yikes!
Margarine – see trans fats.
Peanut, cottonseed, soybean and wheat germ oils…Not good!