The Paleo Diet: How To Eat Like A Cavewoman… And Lose Weight
by Dr. Phoenyx Austin
Paleo Orange Chicken! #yummy
Just this past weekend I was chatting with a gym buddy who informed that she was going on a diet. Her goal? To lose approximately 15 pounds by Spring Break. Not an impossible feat by any measure, except she didn’t know how she should approach her diet.
“I’m going to hit the gym hard core and do lots of cardio. But I don’t know if it’s OK to keep eating meat. I heard how carbs are bad, so I’m cutting out carbs. But do I really have to totally give up meat too to lose weight, Doc?”
“Of course not!” I replied. “Ever heard of the Paleo diet?”
The Paleo diet, or Caveman diet, is basically about going old school and eating all natural to boost your metabolism and facilitate fat burning. As far as what you can eat, the diet is very simple and the #1 food rule of Paleo is this: If a cavewoman didn’t eat it, neither can you.
And what does that mean exactly? Well that means sayonara to sweets and candies. Au revoir to dairy. And farewell to processed food. Which means things like pasta, rice, bread, bagels, cereal, and all other refined grains have to go. And I know what some of you are thinking, “Seriously Dr. Phoenyx?! No pasta?! No bread?! No pizza?! No potato chips?! For God’s sake, what’s left for me to eat?!” Actually tons of stuff- which we’ll get to shortly. But first let me say with this:
Paleo can be a bit challenging, especially if you’re a diehard pasta/pastry/cereal/bread/rice loving carb-oholic. Which to be honest, many of us are nowadays.
And that said, if you are a carb lover who’s also having a rough time dropping weight, I’d seriously suggest putting those refined carbs on the backburner for atleast 30 days and giving Paleo a shot. I know countless women who have had incredible success on this diet and you’ll be amazed at how it can transform your body.
Here are six tips for going Paleo:
1. Drink plenty of water and nix the sugar-filled drinks and sodas (even diet soda and sports drinks have gotta go)
2. Eat lean meat and wild fish. When you do eat meat, you want to go as natural as possible. So skip the processed meats and try your best to eat grass-fed meat, free-range meat, organic meat and wild fish.
3. Eat mostly veggies and fruit. While the Paleo diet does give the OK to meat, it’s important to note that meat wasn’t always available. Remember, cavefolk had to hunt for their food and snagging din-din wasn’t always a guarantee. So what did cavefolk rely mostly on for food? Yup, you guessed it. Veggies and fruit. And this is what you want to eat too.
4. Eat nuts and seeds, and cook with all-natural oils. Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats and are good for you, so eat them. But if you have to drop pounds, you definitely shouldn’t go nuts on nuts- mainly because they are also high in calories. Also when cooking, use natural oils like extra virgin olive oil and grape seed oil which also contain healthy fats.
5. Eat eggs, but cut out dairy and all processed foods. Eggs, like meat and fish, will be your source of healthy protein. As far as dairy, fact is there were no domesticated cows in cavewoman days, so dairy’s a no-no. Same goes for processed foods, as well as “low calorie” and “low fat” prepackaged meals. Remember, we’re going all natural.
6. Workout like a cavewoman. Cavewomen were very fit and if you want that lean, toned cavewoman look too, minus the hairy legs and underarms of course, you should try working out “Paleo style” by doing things like short and fast sprints (to simulate running from a dinosaur), pull-ups (to simulate climbing trees for fruit) and other high-intensity, fat blasting moves like squats, lunges and weight-bearing exercises.
So as you can see from above, the Paleo diet is very simple and really it just boils down to living your life like a hunter and gatherer. Or you can“think like a caveman, act like a cavewoman.”
And for those who are curious about my eating habits- No, I’m not a 100% Paleo convert. Mostly because I refuse to give up things like cream in my coffee or my occasional bowl of Haagen Daz Vanilla Chocolate Chip. I basically practice a modified form of Paleo that still emphasizes “clean eating,” with the occasional culinary indulgences (aka, my 80-20 food rule). I also balance things out by working out atleast 5 days a week and going hard in the gym. That’s what works best for me.
Point is, if you want to lose weight you can go full on Paleo or incorporate bits of it into your diet. Choice is yours. So today’s Paleo diet take home message is to a) clean up your eating habits, and b) break a good sweat on a regular basis. And ultimately, by following main principles of the Paleo diet, you’ll most certainly shed pounds, tone up, feel fab, and last but not least, end up looking like a super hot cavewoman version of Halle Berry.
OK, OK- that last part’s not 100% guaranteed. But it’s still a nice bit of positive reinforcement.
Have you ever tried the Paleo Diet? Did it help you lose weight? Any Paleo tips you’d like to share with me and readers? Sound off in the comments! - Dr. Phoenyx
Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, author, owner of Dr. Phoenyx’s Beauty & Body products, and creator of DrPhoenyx.com, a fitness & lifestyle blog. Check out her awesome natural hair care book If You Love It, It Will Grow – available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. And don’t forget to say hello to the doc on Facebook and Twitter!