Primal Info Day 3: How to eat for optimal health, energy, and longevity

As we are on our 3rd day of learning about a new way to look at food, you are hopefully starting to get a grasp on how to eat for good health. Today I’d like to lay out some specifics.

And in case you have any doubts, I want to tell you that you can do it! I’ve been eating this way for over a year now. I started when I was 9 months pregnant and have continued ever since. Because of the way I eat, I was able to lose all my pregnancy weight quickly and get back into better shape than I was before getting pregnant! I think that says something. My baby girl is now a year old. My kids even eat this way most of the time with the occasional treat from their grandparents or great grandparents. That’s not to say I’m perfect…I make poor decisions every now and again but those times are few and far between. And when I do choose to go off the plan, it’s only a very small percentage of the time–usually for one meal or treat and then I’m right back to eating what I should. One small treat doesn’t mean I’m ruined.

Disclaimer: Please don’t take the following outline word for word without considering your context. For example, someone with a certain condition or allergy should avoid certain foods that I’m recommending. If you are relatively healthy with no known allergies and no health risks then I still want you to tailor this plan to what works for you. By the end of 3 weeks, you will be able to see and feel a difference. You will also be able to tell if certain foods work for you or not. Some foods may make you feel a little better than others. Pay attention and make adjustments. I cannot prescribe meals for you, I can only make general suggestions. If you have specific questions or problems that arise, please seek out help.

 

Step 1:

The first recommendation I am going to make is to go through your kitchen, refrigerator, and pantry and throw away all foods that you should not be eating. These would include any processed foods, grains, sugar, and industrial oils.

  • Grains: refined grains, whole grains, bread, pasta, muffins, biscuits, bagels, cereal, baked goods, pancakes. Mainly anything that contains flour. Also included is rice, corn, and oatmeal.
  • Sugar: sugar, candy, baked goods, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, milk chocolate bars, flavored coffee creamer, dried fruit with added sugar, jelly, anything packaged that tastes sweet.
  • Vegetable oils and trans fats: vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, canola, sunflower/safflower, non-stick sprays, margarine, shortening, anything with “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list. (A lot of “healthy” foods are cooked in these oils, so check the labels—even if it’s a package of nuts)
  • Junk food: most of which encompass the previous three “food” categories: potato chips, crackers, “crisps,” Cheez-its, granola bars, pretzels, and just about anything in a box, bag, or bottle.
  • Fast food: Don’t eat fast food period. You don’t know every ingredient—it’s designed to trigger the reward centers in your brain so that you keep coming back for more even though it really doesn’t taste all that good. So, just because you didn’t eat the bun, doesn’t make it healthy.

Step 2:

Here’s what you need to start eating: animals, vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils that nourish our bodies. The following list is in order of what to eat the most to what to eat sparingly. If you think of it like a food pyramid, the first on the list is on the bottom and the last on the list is on the small triangle on the top.

  • Animals: beef, lamb, bison, pork, poultry (and their eggs). Favor grass-fed and pastured animals, which have better fatty acids and contain more vitamins and minerals (and taste better!).  The bulk of your calories should come from saturated fat and protein.
  • Seafood: salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, crab, shrimp, oysters, mussels, clams. Wild-caught fish are best, though farmed shellfish are usually raised exactly like wild shellfish and thus are fine.
  • Unlimited produce: leafy greens of all kinds, colorful plants, berries, cruciferous vegetables, roots. Eat these in abundance. Eat locally grown and organic as much as possible. Provides flavor, nutrition, and antioxidants.
  • Healthy fats: Cooking fats: butter (especially grass-fed), coconut oil, olive oil, red palm and regular palm oil, ghee, and animal fats (lard, tallow, duck fat, etc.). Other great sources of fats to include in your diet are coconut milk and all coconut products, olives, avocados, olive oil,
  • Foods to eat in moderation: Nuts and seeds are meant to be garnishes not the main course: macadamias, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts; pumpkin, squash, and sunflower seeds.
  • Also to eat in moderation:  assorted fruits, starchy veggies and tubers should be eaten only after a hard workout. Try to only eat fruit that is in season. That means you won’t really be eating fruit in the winter!
  • High-Fat Dairy: Raw, fermented, unpasteurized. Try raw cheeses, kefir, plain full-fat yogurt,
  • Herbs and Spices: keep plenty of herbs and spices on hand. Cumin, coriander, thyme, rosemary, sage, chili powder, mint, turmeric, and cayenne are a few of my favorites, but you can use anything else you like. Spices and herbs add flavor to dishes and prevent the breakdown of vital nutrients during cooking so that when you add spices or herbs, your food tastes better and is actually healthier for you. Use these to make the same old chicken taste like something new!
  • Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, red wine

 

If you’re looking for some nice meal ideas or recipes, check out these resources:

http://www.chowstalker.com/ Any of these recipes are options for you! It’s actually a great site because it is a recipe sharing site that features a lot of recipes from different blogs.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-recipes/#axzz28IEH9APp has a list of recipes to try

 

There’s also some great cookbooks out there as well that I can recommend, but the best advice I can give is to think of some of your favorite vegetables, cook them up with some meat that you like, and add in some spices and cooking fat and you’ve got yourself a respectable meal! It’s really simple. The hardest part is just getting away from old habits. But you can do it!

 

I prefer to think of all the things I get to eat as opposed to all the things I shouldn’t eat. And I can think of so many great meals composed of fresh meat, all the veggies you want, plenty of fruit, a few nuts, some delicious fat, and herbs and spices to make it interesting.  What about you?

 

My favorite part of this plan…no calorie counting, no weighing, no measuring, just eating what my body is designed to have until I’m full. I don’t feel deprived and I’ve got lots of energy! You can’t say that on any other diet plan that I’ve seen!

 

Tomorrow we will talk about fitness! See you then!

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