Three Tips For Paleo Noobs

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Here are three unobvious tips for Paleo noobs.

1) You need more carbs. Most people source carbs primarily from bread, pasta, and other starchy foods. When you eliminate those things from your diet, you can unintentionally find yourself on a carb-restriction diet. Pretty soon you will go into ketosis which is usually accompanied by fogginess, fatigue, sleep disruptions, and other unpleasantness. This can be easily avoided. Rather than eliminate carbs, replace them with fresh squashes, root vegetables, and maybe a little fruit. At my house we like to bake sweet potato fries, which have a lot of carbs and a very favorable nutritional profile.

2) Turn off the TV. According to the Yale Rudder center kids watch about 14 food advertisements per day and most of those ads are for junk food. Psychologists know that television advertising “primes” eating behavior. That’s a fancy way of saying that watching television makes you eat more crappy food. Eating clean is hard enough without being constantly blasted with imagery of hot-fudge brownie bowls. That toxic nonsense does not belong in your brain or your body. Do yourself a favor and turn off the tube.

3) Get to bed early. The reason ice cream shops and bars are open late is because night time is when people make the worst decisions. This happens because of “decision fatigue”. At the end of the day you are so depleted from making decisions that you are more likely to break down and do something self-destructive. Like a werewolf, you know what the full moon brings, but you don’t need to lock yourself in a cage. But do be self-aware. Understand that feeling tempted in the evening is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you’re human. Short-circuit poor decisions by climbing into bed early.

Be strong, and remember, you are not alone!

To carb, or not to carb

Bread

There is a common misconception that following the paleo way of eating also means you need to stay away from carbohydrates. While this is most definitely not the case, I can understand where some of the confusion comes from.

Following these guidelines is not nearly as much about how much of a specific nutrient group you eat as it is about the quality of the source. With foods like most grains and legumes doing more harm than good to most people’s digestive systems, it is generally recommended that we go without them. Because these foods are very carb-dense, elimination of them can lead to a reduction in your overall carbohydrate intake. This is not a recommendation to go without this important nutrient, but rather a side effect of getting rid of these problematic foods.

Especially if you are following an intense exercise regiment like CrossFit, carbs need to be a regular piece of your diet. It is getting them from a source that works well with your body that can be the tricky part. Everyone’s requirements can be different, but generally having a few servings of fruit, lots of veggies, and some root vegetables on a daily basis (especially immediately following your workouts) leaves most people with plenty of carbs for their body’s needs.