Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eating Primal

So this whole primal thing can be confusing. You might say well I don't eat grains or sugars or processed foods. You are cutting out bad fats. Which is FANTASTIC but what do you do to take that a step further, to really embrace primal eating? Mark over at Marks Daily Apple has a great article on this, plus about a thousand other articles and a book covering all this. So I will sum it up for you this best I can to help break it down and tell you what we do. Tomorrow I will break down the non food parts of this lifestyle.

Step 1: Avoid grains, sugars, processed and unhealthy foods. Even if its a "real" food like dairy and you don't feel good after eating it, AVOID IT!

Step 2: Stop being scared of real foods, butter, oils, red meat, eggs. You get the point, almost every food in history has been demonized for one reason or another. The simplest thing you can do for yourself is to eat real food, the closer it is to the way it grew the better. Eat fat, eat meat enjoy and experiment.

Step 3: Eat more protein. The average American eating an average diet tends to not meet their daily protein needs often enough. " At a minimum you need .5 grams of protein per pound of lean mass/per day on average to maintain your “structure”. If you are moderately active you need .7 or .8, and if you are an active athlete you need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of lean mass. That’s at a minimum, but it’s on a daily average. So a 155 lb moderately active woman who has 25% body fat (and thus) has 116 lb of lean body mass needs 93 grams of protein on average per day (116 x .8). If she gets 60 or 80 some days and 110 on others, she’ll still be in a healthy average range. And even if she exceeds the 110, it’s no problem if she’s eating low carb because the excess protein will convert to glucose, which will reduce her effective carbohydrate needs (see below). At 4 calories per gram, that’s between 320 and 440 calories per day in protein. It’s not that much"
Step 4: Be wary of carbs. By not eating sugars and grains it is really hard to even come close to eating over 150 grams of carbs a day. Eating under 150 and closer to 80 is a sure fire way to keep insulin levels low and help our bodies burn protein, fat and stored fat as fuel. Sure potatoes and starchy root vegetables have a good amount of carbs and so does fruit. A medium potato has 31g carbs, an apple has 17g of carbs, 1 cup of blueberries is 21g of carbs. Even if you ate all of that its only 69 grams of carbs. The problem with carbs is twofold, one they increase our insulin levels. With the outlook being that in the next 10 years 1 in every 3 Americans will be diabetic or prediabetic this is serious. Two, our bodies will use carbs as fuel first every single time, our bodies can easily access and break down carbs and use them quickly while storing all the fat and protein we eat. Which means an hour or so later we are hungry again AND you stored away the fat and protein you just ate. That equals out to weight gain. Our bodies do not do well being overweight, we are programmed to be lean and fit. That is how we thrive and prevent disease by being healthy, ironically enough when you eat healthy your body follow suits and looks healthy.

Step 5: Do not fear fat, saturated fat and learn about cholesterol. Do run scared from bad fats. Bad? Canola, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, soybean and all trans fat anything hydrogenated fats are pretty scary too. Whats left? Olive, fish, coconut, palm, avocado, walnut, macadamia, sesame seed I will add here butter and animal fats as well. Fats are an amazing source of energy for our bodies. Our bodies are made and designed to use fat as fuel.

Step 6: Try to eat more of the animal. Make your own broth or stock from animal bones. Eat liver, heart, etc. We need the vitamins and minerals associated with these pieces of the animal we usually discard. The good thing is they are generally really cheap. The bad thing is, it takes a lot of nerve to start trying it.

Step 7: Eat more seafood, all types. Avoiding the higher mercury seafood and eating not much of the medium mercury.

I think that covers the basics, I also think it helps address the "what now" when you stop eating the grains, sugars and processed foods. Start small and change one thing at a time. It can seem really overwhelming to address this all at once so start with not eating processed foods. Then move on to avoiding sugars and grains. You get the idea, do what works for you or your family. The most encouraging part of eating this way is the immediate result of feeling so much better.

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