The Entrepreneurs Guide To The Paleo Diet

Mark DhammaDiet, Energy, Health, Weight LossLeave a Comment

A client and good friend of mine is New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Manisfesto and the CEO of Wild Ventures, John Durant.

We have a lot in common. Like me, the Harvard grad is into evolutionary biology and psychology. He’s a student of biohacking and is on the quest for optimal performance.

We both have followed a Paleo Diet for years and are regular speakers at the incredible health event PaleoFX. In fact, most of my circe of entrepreneur friends eat that way too because we’ve found that it improves how we look, feel and perform.

Since all my friends eat Paleo, I’m guilty of assuming EVERYBODY does……but they don’t…

You may have heard of the countless diets that people are pushing these days like Paleo, Bulletproof, Vegan, Vegetarian, Macro, Sweet Potato, even the lemonade diet…..and you want to know what’s going to make you look, feel and perform at your best?

In this post you’ll learn why I eat, and encourage my clients to start with the Paleo Diet.

If you’re a busy entrepreneur who wants to increase their energy, focus and results without having to cook or clean I recommend you use a service like TERRITORY FOODS to simply deliver ready made Paleo Meals to your home. That’s what I personally do…..and you can get $25 off your first order using this link.

Here’s the ENTIRE diet in a nutshell:

If you’re late ancestors (think caveman times, also known as the Paleolithic period) didn’t eat it, neither should you.

Things have changed quite a bit since we were running around in tribes, hunting our food with spears while the women watched the children and gathered vegetation to eat (hence, why mankind were known as hunter gatherers). Eating was simple. You ate what you could hunt and what you could gather, avoiding the plants that could kill you with their poison.

Now we have fast food, tv, cars and jobs. So I’m going to cover how you can in eat Paleo in the modern age.

On the Paleo Diet, you can eat anything that we could hunt or gather back in caveman times (or even the modern day period as long as you stayed away from farms) like meat, fish, veggies, seeds, nuts, honey and some seasonal fruits.

You wouldn’t be hunting or gathering pasta, candy, cereal or desserts so they’re off the plate. Anything that you couldn’t hunt or gather in the wild is a no-no.

And there’s no need for you to count calories or eat every two hours or watch your macros etc etc etc you just eat real food when you’re hungry.

Which should make you happy because, I’m sure you can agree, that counting calories is a pain in the ass and we’ve got better things to do, like growing your business!

Back when I was a Men’s Fitness model I used to do the whole counting calories and obsessing over how many grams of a particular nutrient I had and it was a pain in the ass. I used to carry around a little portable food scale with me, even on dates…..it was embarrassing to say the least.

Now, I know that calories are really only half of the battle because they’re not all created equal. 215 calories from a Snickers bar do NOT have the same effect on your body as 215 calories of organic vegetables and protein.

Instead of counting calories you can take the easier EVOLUTIONARY way of eating, The Paleo way. Otherwise known as, just eat real food like our bodies evolved to eat.

By following the Paleo Diet you no longer need to count a single calorie AND you can eat until you’re full and happy. You’ll also experience fat loss, more muscle and potentially, more energy and focus than you ever thought possible.

It’s helped many people achieve jaw-dropping transformations, including my client Arthur Tubman, (whose story you can watch here):

But you need to do it right. You need to have the right mindset, you need to focus on the right foods, and structure your environment so that you’re not tempted to backslide and abandon the Diet after a few days.

So how does the Paleo Diet work?

The Paleo Diet isn’t really a ‘diet’. It’s not a fad. It’s simply the diet that the human body evolved on.

You see, tens of thousands of years ago, before McDonalds, Soda, and microwave meals, our ancient ancestors thrived as hunter-gatherers….and some still do to this day.

Over this time, our genetics haven’t changed that much. And yet…

The average Human back then: lean, athletic, resilient to temperature changes and incredibly agile.

The average Human now: fat, stressed and tired. Taking prescription drugs regularly and dying from preventable lifestyle diseases like diabetes.

So what went wrong? Farming!

A few thousand years ago, humans discovered farming, the agricultural revolution took off, and we went from hunter-gatherers to farmers. We settled down, formed societies, and we moved on to what we are today.

Agriculture allowed to have population booms and create amazing cities like Los Angeles, New York, London, Rome etc etc.

The problem is, our bodies never really adapted to eating the grains  and sugar that we we’re now consuming.

In fact, according to Professor Yuval Noah Harari, the New York Times best selling author of Sapiens & Homo Deus, human brains and skulls actually got smaller when we started eating grains like wheat. Suggesting that the poor nourishment from grains, as opposed to our original paleo diet, may have actually reduced our intellect.

As paleo researcher Dr. Loren Cordain puts it, think of a 100-yard football field. The first 99.5 yards are how long Homo-Sapiens spent as hunter-gatherers. Over this long time period our bodies adapted to become excellent at hunting and gathering. That last half-yard represents our species after the agricultural revolution, where our diet has shifted (but our genetics haven’t). The contrast is huge. Our bodies haven’t had chance to adapt to this drastic change in diet, and it’s causing massive problems for our health.

So, instead of loading up on fresh meat, vegetables and seasonal fruits, we’ve become “dependent” upon grains – bread, pasta, rice, corn, and so on.

The result?

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2013–20142,3,4,5

  • More than 2 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity.
  • About 1 in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered to have obesity.

These stats show that something is obviously wrong with the way we eat. If you don’t want to be another overweight statistic, read on….

The Paleo Diet is essentially going back to how we’re biologically designed to eat, allowing you to tap into your genetic potential so you can look, feel and perform at your best immediately.

So what is the Paleo Diet?

 

As hunter gatherers, grains weren’t part of our diet.  

When we consume grains, our bodies take those grains, which are mainly composed of carbohydrates, and turn them into sugar.

That sugar is then either burned as energy or stored as fat. That’s right: the grains you’re consuming are quickly converted into fat in your body if your not burning them off immediately. Excessive carb intake is likely the main reason you’re overweight.

Next, most grains contain gluten and lectins. 

So what? You may ask….

  • Gluten is a protein found in grains like rye, wheat, and barley. Whether you’re gluten intolerant or not, gluten is one of the most inflammatory substances you could possibly eat and inflammation. Inflammation can speed up the aging and degenerative process. Gluten intake is linked to brain fog, arthritis, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dementia, dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux, and more.

 

  • Lectins are the grains’ natural toxins to STOP US FROM EATING THEM! It’s true. Grains have evolved to keep themselves from being eaten by us. Lectins can damage our digestive tract by causing more inflammation. This leads to digestive issues like bloating, gas, lower belly fat that won’t budge and worse conditions like leaky gut syndrome. ALL BAD. They even bind to certain vitamins and minerals to stop your body from absorbing the important nutrients it needs.

Long story short: Grains don’t like us, and our bodies don’t like them. 

The Paleo Diet hardly contains any sugar. This is because as a hunter gatherer we only got sugar from fruit, honey or a stray sugar cane plant if we lived in the tropics. Sugar we extremely rare in our environment. Today we have an evolutionary mismatch where it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar. One of the problems with sugar is that it causes an energy spike and crash in your system. Sugar turns to fat unless it’s used immediately, and causes all kinds of problems in our bodies.

In summary, no grains, no sugar and no processed foods. With just these three simple changes many of your health ailments would potentially disappear.

But where’s my energy?

Poster created to inform Marine Corps Combat Service Support School students and permanent personnel about the dangers of consuming too many energy drinks that they can lead to an overdose, obesity, dehydration, stroke, heart disease, nervousness, irritability, insomnia and fatigue. (U.S. Marine Corps Poster by CIV Sharon McPeak) 

So, if I’m not eating sugar and grains where do I get my energy?

Your body is incredibly adaptable and can operate on a less carbohydrates than what we’re used to eating. When you eat less carbs, your body will take your body fat and burn THAT for energy in a process called ketogenesis.

That’s why eating less carbs and more fat makes you LOSE FAT.

So, less carbs in your system means your body will start burning fat as your main fuel source. This can lead to more fat loss, more consistent energy and even better brain function. #Winning

Are all carbs bad?

 

No.

Some carbohydrate intake is needed for optimal performance, but in much less amounts than you’re typically used to.

I get my carbs from vegetables, yams like sweet potatoes, roots, tubers, and occasionally fruit. These carbs are unprocessed and closer to what our ancestors would’ve eaten.

The majority of health experts agree that vegetables should make up the largest portion of our food intake because they’re so nutrient dense. Veggies are loaded with so much vitamins and minerals wheras, comparatively grains have very little. Simply put, the more nourishment you eat, the more likely you are to live a long and healthy life.

Remember, a paleo diet doesn’t mean that you are eating a low-carb diet.

If you eat sweet potatoes each meal with honey drizzled on and 3 bananas for dessert, that’s a high carb/sugar diet and is likely to make you FAT even though it is technically paleo.

Below I’ll cover some of the mistakes to avoid when going paleo. If you’re worried aboutsticking to the diet, It’s OK, I’ve got some helpful tips below!

What about milk and dairy?

Forget about it….

Ignoring the fact that no other animal in the entire kingdom drinks another animals milk, there are results driven reasons on why you would want to avoid dairy.

Most people, including myself, find that when they remove dairy they experience:

  1. A reduction or elimination of acne
  2. Fat loss
  3. A reduction or elimination of mucus
  4. Less bloating and gas
  5. A reduction or elimination of skin problems like eczema and psoriasis
  6. More energy
  7. Less dandruff and fungal infections

And more..

OK so what should I eat on this Paleo diet?

Quite a lot actually!

  • Meat – GRASS-FED, not grain-fed. Like us, most animals have not adapted to eat grains. The best meat is wild hunted meat.
  • Fowl – Chicken, duck, hen, turkey, pheasant…birds.
  • Fish – Wild caught fish, because farmed fish have other issues with toxicity
  • Eggs – Look for pasture raised eggs.
  • Organic Vegetables
  • Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – NOT vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil or corn oil.
  • Fruits – If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid fruits. Otherwise, eat them no more than once a day. ZERO FRUIT JUICE, it’s too sugary.
  • Nuts – Soak them first to aid digestion. They’re high in calories, so unless you’re trying to put on weight don’t eat a ton of them.
  • Tubers – E.g. Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs, so these are good for right after a workout to replenish your glycogen levels.

A typical day of Paleo eating could look like:

Breakfast: A massive omelet full of vegetables and even chicken, so that it will fill you up for the whole morning.

Lunch: Steak with asparagus and sweet potato fries,

Dinner: Grilled Salmon Salad

Snacks: Apples dipped in raw almond butter and pumpkin seeds.

Basically, eat any of the foods from the list above, and eat as much as you want of them. You’ll look, feel and perform better.

But will I get fat?

Because these foods are so nutrient dense, you’ll be fuller for longer while avoiding carbs.

To get the equal number of calories from pasta or bread (which you can eat A LOT of and never really feel full), you’d have to eat 2-3 EVEREST sized portions of cauliflower and kale.

In short, you can eat more food without overloading on calories from carbs that tend to make you fat.

A GIANT plate of vegetables and a palm sized portion of meat or fish will keep you full much longer than a bowl of oatmeal ever would.

By switching to 100% Paleo you’ll notice significant fat loss within a couple of weeks, especially if you combine it with strength training and some fasted cardio exercise.

But I don’t want to stop eating bread, pasta, bagels and pizza! They taste so good!

Well you’re probably going to stay fat and suffer from brain fog then.

Who doesn’t love the taste of bread, soda and processed foods? They’ve been designed in a lab for us to be addicted!

However, if you want to look, feel and perform at your best those foods are not going to work for you. You have to set your priorities.

If you think you’re performing at your best in your business, you’re happy with how you look, your energy levels are high for the whole day and your convinced that you couldn’t improve, then stick to what’s working for you.

However, if you’ve been struggling to get lean, have low energy, need five cups of bulletproof coffee to make it through the day, hate counting calories, and want to add potentially years to your life, then I suggest experimenting for a month?

TRY IT: If after 30 days you haven’t noticed a marked improvement in how you look feel and perform, just go back to the junk food. It’s important to experiment for a full 30 days before making your choice. Your body needs to make the switch from being a ‘sugar burner’ because of all the carbs you used to eat, to a FAT BURNER, which can take a week or two!

In my experience this is the easiest and most likely to work transition to the Paleo Diet…

We’re creatures of habit, and if we leverage that fact you can make a smooth transition to the Paleo Diet which will last a lifetime….I know because that’s exactly what I’ve done and many who I’ve taught have done the same.

Making a habit of eating a Paleo breakfast for 30 days before moving on to creating a habit for lunch, dinner and then finally with snacks is the most successful strategy I’ve found.

In fact, if you’re an entrepreneur would rather save time and have me take you through the whole transition from being fat, stressed and tired to FIT, FOCUSED & ENERGIZED in the fastest time possible you can learn more about my health coaching program here.

How much should I eat?

Keep it simple: Eat 1-2 palm sized portions of protein with each meal (eggs, steak, chicken, fish, pork) along with 2 fist sized portions of vegetables. SIMPLE.

If you’re feeling hungry constantly or want to add more muscle, add two thumb sized portions of fats to your plate: avocado, a handful of almonds or walnuts, almond butter, olive oil, etc.

If you’re muscles are cramping or your feeling really tired and some sea salt to your food because you’re no longer getting it from processed foods.

Again, fruit contains a lot of sugar, and nuts are high in calories, so if you are following the Paleo Diet but not losing weight, remove fruit from your diet and reduce the amount of nuts you eat. 

Vegetables, Protein & Fat should make up a big percentage of your diet (in that order).

WAIT! Doesn’t fat make you fat?

No! You didn’t hear the news?  In the 70’s and 80’s some flawed research came out saying fat made us fat which started a worldwide war against fat. Since then marketers have been pushing the low fat = health angle and manufactures adding all sorts of chemicals, and sugar to make the food taste good.

Cutting out the fat and increasing the carbs has led to the biggest obesity crisis in the history of the planet.

Really?

Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories discusses what happened in article he wrote for the New York Times a decade ago:

These researchers point out that there are plenty of reasons to suggest that the low-fat-is-good-health hypothesis has now effectively failed the test of time. In particular, that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that started around the early 1980’s, and that this was coincident with the rise of the low-fat dogma. (Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, also rose significantly through this period.)

They say that low-fat weight-loss diets have proved in clinical trials and real life to be dismal failures, and that on top of it all, the percentage of fat in the American diet has been decreasing for two decades. Our cholesterol levels have been declining, and we have been smoking less, and yet the incidence of heart disease has not declined as would be expected. ”That is very disconcerting,” Willett says. ”It suggests that something else bad is happening.”

Healthy fats are ESSENTIAL for optimal brain function among other things. “Low fat” foods were created because the folklore was that fat made you fat. WRONG!

Do I need to eat eat 6 meals a day?

Just eat when you’re hungry.

As hunter gatherers sometimes we’d go for days, without finding any food. That’s why our bodies are designed to use our body fat stores as energy in these situations.

No need to eat every 3 hours or 6 meals a day.

Just eat 3 paleo meals and some snacks if you’re hungry.

Some people even do great on just one or two big meals a day

What are the downsides of Paleo?

Frozen Caveman Grok Lego

The main downside are:

#1) If you’re not careful, this type of diet can get expensive. But if you budget right and shop at the right places (or hunt) you can definitely work it out.

Farmers’ markets often have well-priced meats, eggs, fruits, and vegetables that are locally grown and incredibly healthy.  Remember, your food is an investment in your health, longevity and energy levels. If you’re spending a little more money on healthier food now, you’re likely to save yourself thousands of dollars later on costly medical expenses.

#2) You’ll have to tweak your diet and some restaurants! A normal breakfast in the US consists of pancakes, muffins, toast, cereal, donuts and fruit juice. A brain fogging, waist stretching concoction of carbs, sugar and gluten.

For breakfast, order an omelette with extra veggies. Go for a meat or fish salad for lunch with NO BREAD. And for dinner, ask the waiter to switch out the carbs for more veggies. Steak and veggies is a perfectly good paleo dinner!

#3) “We live way longer now than the caveman lived.” –That’s true, but we also have modern medicine and don’t have to hunt our food. If our caveman ancestors had access to modern medicine they would likely outlive us.

#4 “Isn’t eating meat unhealthy!” 

We’ve been eating meat since we evolved into homo-sapiens. It’s been a core part of our diet for over one hundred thousand years. It hasn’t suddenly become unhealthy for us. The problem is eating meat that is grain fed and full of antibiotics rather than grass fed which is higher in the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.

Don’t trust the vegetarian and vegan crowd (I was one of them for 2 years) who try to sell you on the health reasons on going meatless. Yes, if you eat a standard american diet, you will be MUCH healthier on a vegetarian diet but compared to a paleo diet with LOTS of vegetables in, according to my research on the brain and optimal functioning, Paleo wins hands down.

#6 “The Paleo Diet is too hard.” You know what’s harder? Spending your wealth on medical bills and becoming decrepit in your old age!

In fact, if you’re an entrepreneur would rather save time and have me take you through the whole transition from being fat, stressed and tired to FIT, FOCUSED & ENERGIZED in the fastest time possible you can learn more about my health coaching program here.

 

Recommended reading to learn more about the Paleo Lifestyle:

1.

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