Alright time to connect dots and integrate. What does a Paleoish diet look like now, in my view?
Let’s make it really simple. I could shoot you tons of research, references, etc. Best you just give it a whirl for 30 days or more, see how you feel. Any Qs, drop ’em in comments. Calories count, but we needn’t bother counting them. This ought 100% alleviate any need for that (for most folks, anyway). Tons of folks are doing great with this style and it’s easy and flexible, with tons of options.
- REPLACE all wheat and other gluten grains (barley & rye) from bread, pasta, cereals WITH white rice, beans, and potatoes (or other starchy veggies) as your “staple” foods and substrates for your proteins (meat, fish, shellfish, fowl, veggies).
- If you do bread and pasta (but best not often), get gluten free. Whole Foods has a lot of varieties, increasing all the time. I particularly like anything by Udi or Glutino (their crackers are the bomb). http://udisglutenfree.com and http://www.glutino.com. But stay away from all the sweet stuff (cakes, cookies, etc).
- Corn tortillas are fine, too.
- Minimize ADDING fat to stuff, as well as sugar. Eat fruit for sweet; cook with butter, ghee, lard, tallow, bacon drippings, coconut oil, red palm oil, or extra virgin olive oil. My favorite of the later is the Kalamata Greek Olive Oil from Trader Joe’s. Dump all industrial processed oils (canola, sunflower, safflower, corn, etc). One exception is high oleic sunflower oil (often called “high heat”). Completely different fat profile than regular sunflower oil and it’s not GMO, but natural plant breeding. Also, avocado and macadamia nut oil are fine ($$$). 90% of the time, I only use OO raw, on salads or a little drizzle on meat/veggies.
- Cooking white rice. You can use whatever (basmati, jasmine, etc.) but strangely enough, Uncle Ben’s original parboiled rice is the most healthful on a number of levels. Way more nutrition and the parboiling process forms something called “resistant starch” that feeds your healthful gut bacteria critters. To up things even further, cook rice with chicken stock (or beef, or vegetable, or mushroom, etc.). Kitchen Basics is THE BEST and I have tried them all (you can do your own stocks…but pain in the ass). Once cooked, put the leftover rice in the fridge or freezer, rather than letting it sit in the cooker. This forms even more resistant starch. RS, in addition to feeding your critters, also blunts blood glucose spikes significantly by slowing the rate of digestion.
- Stay away from canned beans. Do them yourself the traditional way. Cover with warm water and let them soak for 24 hours or more, up to 48 where they even ferment; drain, rinse well and then cook in beef stock (add water as necessary). The best beans nutritionally, as well as minimal toxins such as lectins (the soaking process removes much of these too) are: BLACK, LENTILS, PINTO. Red kidney beans are probably the worst. For those, minimal only, like a bit on your salad when at a salad bar (but load up on the garbanzos!). A great way to cook awesome pintos after soaking, and in the pot: a sprinkle over the whole surface of real bacon bits, garlic powder, desiccated onion flakes, and black pepper. Salt to taste when they are done cooking.
- Do potatoes any way you like (boiled, roasted, baked, nuked). Rather than deep fry, make oven fries with far less fat. coating with a combo of coconut and red palm oil and oven roasting (400 for 20m or so) is the BOMB. Minimize the butter and sour cream with baked or mashed potatoes. For mashed, better to reduce beef stock by 3/4 and thicken with a potato starch slurry—for a tasty sauce/gravy—than to load up with the butter and cream. Or, just do a classic red wine reduction using onion and shallot you strain out. Splurge with the added fat sometimes, just not all the time or often.
- Dump all the bottled salad dressings because they are all made with those same garbage industrial oils that were originally developed as machinery lubricant. Jet engines use vegetable oils to lubricate turbines. Mouth watering, eh? Instead, use any combo of olive oil, vinegars, lemon, lime, soy sauce, dijon mustard, onion, and whatever other herbs & spices and such you like to make a vast variety of your own salad dressings.
- Veggies. Anything, cooked any way, but blanching or parboiling is far better than steaming. Ideal is a variety of raw, cooked, blanched. Also, fermented veggies such as sauerkraut, kimchee. Eat seaweed for the iodine. Eat BIG ASS SALADS. I’m talking salad bar salads with all those tons of ingredients including the beans, beats, etc. I go to Whole Foods often, load up a box from their bar, then take it home and dress it myself. If you get those packaged salads for lunches like my wife does, toss the dressings and take along your own in a container.
- Fruit. Anything, but avoid juices, except the way they used to be consumed—in those little 4 oz juice glasses for breakfast. The dose makes the poison.
- Nuts. No more than a handful per day (normal handful). Macadamias have the best fat profile by FAR. Brazils are good for the selenium. Filberts are good, but I forget why.
- Meats. Anything, but again, minimal added fat in the form of gravies, sauces, etc. A pat of butter or drizzle of OO is fine. Meat already has fat in it. Try to eat organ meats like liver—the most nutritionally dense food on the planet by order of magnitude. If you can’t tolerate liver, you can: a) hide it in ground beef. You won’t be able to taste 2-4 oz of chopped up liver in a pound of ground beef, or b) eat good quality pâté regularly, or liverwurst or braunschweiger.
- Fish. Anything. As liver is the most nutritionally dense land food, oysters are the most nutritionally dense seafood. Highest source of zinc on the planet. Hopefully, you adore raw oysters, so any time you see ’em on a menu, have some. Trader Joe’s has decent smoked oysters that are packed in olive oil (instead of crap cottonseed oil like most brands—search it out). 1/2 – 1 can per day with your rice, or on some Glutino crackers is excellent. Also, mussels and clams are really fine. When I go to a restaurant, the first thing I check is if they have oysters, mussels or clams.
- Fowl. Anything, but don’t buy into this white meat bullshit. Fowl also has the worst omega 6 to omega 3 ratio (the primary reason all the crap vegetable/seed oils are crap). 6:3 is a yin:yang kinda thing. 3 is anti inflammatory, 6 is pro inflammatory. Traditional diets have a typical 3:6 ratio from about 1:1 to 1:3. The typical American diet is 1:15 to 1:30…way out of whack in the balance of nature, and it’s primarily because of all the cheap, crap “heart healthy” oils used…and the shifting to chicken everywhere. Eat your chicken & turkey, but it’s no panacea.
Ok, so how do I envision “a perfect day?”
A bowl of beans from the fridge (beans also have RS and cooling forms more of it), nuked for a minute while you fry up an egg or two in butter. Place egg(s) on beans, eat with a spoon. A small portion of breakfast meat is fine, but keep it real. 4 oz of juice ought to be fine too. Small glass of milk too, always WHOLE MILK, raw if you can get it. With milk, we’re not only talking nutritional density (it’s designed to be exclusive mammalian nutrition) but relative balance nutrient-by-nutrient as determined by mammalian evolution.
Big ass salad with or without protein; OR, rice bowl with protein (meat, chicken, or fish) and veggies…bonus for fermented veggies and a dusting of dried seaweed.
Smoked oysters or liver products (pâté, etc., as mentioned) on gluten free crackers/toast or with veggie sticks
Meat or seafood & potatoes, meat or seafood with rice, or meat & seafood with beans—or a rice/bean combo. Veggies if you like but my preference is to make dinner more of a starch bomb, with lunch being big ass salads.
Whole real fruit that you chew. Adding some real cream, real cream whipped, or ice cream you made can up the ante for a nice Friday or Saturday dessert after dinner. Dark chocolate (80% cacao or better) can also make an appearance now & then.
- Hike a lot, but make it good. That is, places where you hike for less time but do way more vertical. It’s not a stroll, not a walk. Those you can do anytime as much as you want and they don’t count any more than a walk to to the bathroom to pee.
- Lift heavy things in compound fashion once every week or two.
Here’s my go-to short list. When I use “most days” or “most days but not all,” it means that I mix things up. Sometimes I’ll go 2-3 days or more without any supplements. So, I treat them somewhat just like I treat food. If any is worthy of daily consumption, like eggs, it’s the liver tablets. [Update: since originally drafting this I’ve made a few changes, including learning the importance of soil-based probiotics, which I’ve added. Make sure to read it and check out the most awesomely nutritious smoothie for you and your gut, ever.]
- Carlson Labs Solar D Gems Natural Vitamin D3, 4000 IU, 360 Softgels (1-2 per day, most days but not all)
- Life Extension Super K with Advanced K2 Complex Softgels, 90-Count (1-2 per day, most days but not all)
- Uni-Liver, Argentine Liver Formula, 500 Tablets (5-10 per day, most days)
- Prescript-Assist Broad Spectrum Probiotic, Advanced Orthomolecular Research Probiotic-3, and Primal Defense Ultra (I choose to use all three, 1 cap of each per day; alternatively, one might just take one of one kind per day and rotate)
- Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium (200 Mg Elemental), 240-Count (1 per day, most days)
- Himalaya Herbal Healthcare LiverCare/Liv.52, Liver Support, 180- Vcaps (2 per day, most days)
- Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4) (2-4 Tablespoons most days, taken in cold food or liquid)
- Banana Flour (1-2 Tablespoons odd 7 random days, taken in cold food or liquid)
- Plantain Flour (same as with the green banana flour).
The last three are all about the Resistant Starch, which you can read up on until your heart’s content.
Now, I ask you: Does all this make rational, logical sense over the endless fidgeting and obsessing over calories, portion sizes, avoiding natural fats, and catechismic strict dietary protocols and bored-to-death exercise routines?
I hope so, and if it does, giver it a whirl and see what you think. If you do, I predict you’ll conclude:
- So liberating.
- So flexible. A million options.
- So delicious.
- So filling, satiating. You’ll find yourself skipping meals regularly which is fine, healthful actually.
- Loads of energy.
- Great digestion.
- Feel great.
- Sleep great, and find a new world of vivid dreaming you remember.
- Over lots of time, unwanted pounds melt away naturally, while lean mass is preserved.
- You will love it.
Just a word of caution. When entering the resistant starch realm, you may not have a gut microbiome that’s up to the task initially. You may experience discomfort, headache, and most frequently reported: aggressive flatulence. But most report normalization in a few week as the allies you’re feeding (the good bacteria) overwhelm their enemies (the pathogenic ones). Most will find also that flatulence is both highly dose dependent, as well as dependent upon whether taken alongside food—or just downed in water. So on this score, you are on your own to figure it out.
Here’s what you have to look forward to. It’s only the very best gut microbiome yet tested, counting 5,000 subjects; and the punchline is that he’s collaboratively driven this Resistant Starch emphasis in the diet right along with me: Resistant Starch: American Gut Project Real Results And Comparison (Very Big News).