At the beginning of September, I decided to have a go at the Paleo Diet. In brief, you could call this the caveman diet, the stone age diet, the “don’t eat anything invented in the last 10,000 years” diet. So you can see that there’s a lot of things that you can’t eat when eating Paleo(lithic)ly. No:
- Dairy (Milk)
- etc etc
Now I should say, that I agree with most of that, but I wasn’t doing the Paleo for the reason most do. I wasn’t doing it to lose weight. There’s no doubt at all, that if you follow a classic western diet, or even the recommended high carb, low fat diet, you will definitely shed the fat on this diet. No question. Not only that, you will feel full of energy and probably the healthiest you’ve felt since being a hormonal teenager.
But I am already at a good weight. In fact, many of my friends and family think I should be putting a few pounds on! I also have good energy levels and rarely feel tired. That’s what 2.5 years of the Zone Diet has done for me, a story I’ve told a few times on this blog. So the reason for trying Paleo, was to see if it would make me feel even better… and the short answer is: it didn’t.
You see my diet was already close to a Paleo Zone diet, as recommended by Crossfit. The Crossfit dietary recommendation is simply:
“Eat meat and veg, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar.”
However for me, I would have to rewrite it slightly, to be more like:
“Eat meat, fruit and dairy, nuts and seeds, some veg, little starch, occasional sugar, no wheat.”
Yes my balance of fruit to veg is probably off, but that’s down to lifestyle and lack of time to prepare veg for every meal. I also don’t eat wheat as I’ve discovered it simply doesn’t agree with me. The major addition is the dairy though. I drink a pint of milk a day + eat cheese regularly. That was the thing that really put the stopper on a proper paleo diet. Removing dairy would mean no:
- Chocolate *
- Ice Cream *
- Cakes, even wheat free ones *
- Even salami!
* = these foods can be “zoned in” on the Zone diet, and so are not taboo from a Zone perspective.
Milk crops up in a lot of places that I must confess, I hadn’t originally thought about. I like the zone diet, because you can eat anything you want, so long as you adjust portion sizes to compensate. So that occasional chocky bar, whilst not condoned, can be fine, so long as you balance it with some protein. Or indeed, a few glasses of wine are ok with a meal, as long as the meal is light on carbs to compensate. The point is, with the exceptions of bananas, offal and egg yokes, nothing is off limits on the zone. (And they are only strongly advised against, at least in most circumstances.)
Whereas a straight Paleo diet is the opposite. It heavily regulates *what* you can eat, but places no limits on when or how much you eat. The zone diet is quantitative; the paleo diet is qualitative. So ironically, doing a Paleo Zone diet is actually the worst of both worlds, you are restricted in what you eat, and you can only eat certain proportions!
Either way, I simply decided, that for the gains the paleo might have brought me, it simply wasn’t worth the sacrifice. That’s a personal choice and I applaud the Paleo diet’s goals and ideals and heartily recommend it, if you are hoping to lose weight and currently struggling. Personally, I’d try the Zone diet first, it’s worked for me. And indeed I mostly follow a paleo zone diet, but with dairy and the occasional sugar and wine, however 90% of the meals I eat are simple meats, nuts and fruit & veg. A healthy and balanced way to live in my opinion.