Monthly Archives: April 2015
Paleo Diet for Athletes: Enough Carbs?
The Paleo diet for athletes is a great eating plan, which is high in nutrient dense foods and generally lower in carbohydrates, but not necessarily a low carb diet. This is great for nourishing the body and keeping it healthy, which is important to an athlete in training. The question is, can the Paleo diet for athletes provide the carbohydrates an athlete’s body demands, before and after high intensity training? Let’s take a closer look at exercise, and how athletes can follow the Paleo diet, while still getting the carbs they need.
How Exercise Works
Exercise triggers a release of stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline which raises blood sugars to supply energy during the activity. If the body is moving at a slow pace, it has time to use fat as an energy source. However, when training hard, the body will burn the glycogen stores in the body. Athletes commonly have low body fat percentages to begin with, so maintaining proper glycogen stores from carbohydrate foods is critical to fueling workouts.
The Problem with Low Glycogen Stores
If starting a work out with low glycogen levels, performance and work capacity will suffer as an outcome. If following an intense training or work out, and eating a diet low in carbs, the body will eventually show signs of overtraining and exhaustion. Overtraining is a result of training too long and too hard without the appropriate rest times worked into training. It is alright to push the body to the edge, but it is important not to push it over the edge.
Symptoms of short term low levels of glycogen repletion may include a decreased ability during training, tiredness / fatigue, longer recovery and DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness – the tender feeling in your muscles after a workout). Longer term results of inadequate glycogen repletion include fatigue, decreased strength levels and an increase in muscular weakness.
In order to ensure glycogen levels are adequate before a work out, and replenished afterwards, those on the Paleo diet for athletes should look to the following high glycemic foods. It is recommended to consume high-glycemic index carbs because they enter the bloodstream fast and allow the body to quickly replenish glycogen stores in the first 30 minutes to an hour after training.
Foods to Replenish Glycogen Stores on the Paleo Diet for Athletes
- Starchy High Glycemic Index Carbs – Adding artichokes, pumpkins, all types of peas and/or all types of squash in your diet can help replenish glycogen.
- Root Vegetables- Root vegetables are a great carb choice after a workout, if you bake them the glycemic index naturally rises in foods, like yams, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, yucca, plantains, beets, rutabaga, turnips and potatoes. Yes, even potatoes are a good option while on the Paleo Diet for athletes.
- Dried Fruit- Dried fruit can increase glycogen stores quickly; it is a great option to snack on after an extreme work out. Try snacking on medjool dates which can give you about 36-72 grams of carbs, or enjoy some dried mangos. The key with these foods is not to overdo them as they can lead to lack of fructose sensitivity, which can inhibit the production of energy. Moderation is crucial with this category.
(A list of Paleo Diet for Athletes approved Starchy vegetables can be found at the bottom of this page)
How much do you need?
The amount of carbs that should be consumed after a workout depends on a few different factors, such as genetics, body-fat percentage, training stage, etc. The goal should be one gram of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight- within an hour after a workout (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to find out your weight in kilograms.) This can be repeated about every two hours, for up to six hours after training if you are endurance athlete. It is best to only do it right after working out if you are power and strength athlete.
As you can see, the Paleo diet for athletes is beneficial, but carb intake must be carefully considered. Incorporating more high GI carbs into your Paleo eating plan is commonly what athletes need to do to advance their performance, and ensure the diet is supplementing them properly.
Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Way to Go
If you want to push your body and increase performance levels, you need a diet that supports you. You need foods which fuel you to achieve your goals and put forth your best effort, no matter what the sport or activity. One such diet is known as the Paleo diet for athletes, and here are the reasons why it is a good choice.
High in Protein
Athletes need protein in order to build lean, useful muscles that will be able to support the body in fitness activities. The Paleo diet for athletes is rich in protein from both meat and vegetable sources. While the amount of protein needed may vary depending on the sport, athletes can adjust their intake with no shortage of protein options. When combining the Paleo diet with moderate strength training, you are able to achieve increased muscle tone.
Healthy Carbohydrates: A Must When on the Paleo Diet for Athletes
The Paleo diet for athletes does not allow refined carbohydrates such as pastas and bread, but instead allows healthy whole carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. The carbs obtained can provide the glycogen (stored sugar needed for energy) athletes need, while also supplying them with vitamins, minerals and fiber. These carbohydrates are recommended before and after workouts, in order to maintain glycogen stores.
Next up is the fat component. The Paleo diet for athletes includes healthy fats which promote a balanced weight and sustainable energy. They can also help clear brain fog, allowing athletes to be more attentive for their activities. The fats which can be eaten on the Paleo diet include polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats from natural sources. Examples of mono and polyunsaturated foods include options like almonds, avocados, macadamia nuts and olive oil, while saturated fat can be supplied from coconut oil. By incorporating these into the diet before a workout or tournament, athletes can get the power they need to endure for longer periods of time.
Good Amount of Fiber
The fruits and vegetables which are part of the Paleo diet for athletes, provide plenty of dietary fiber so the body’s digestive system can work regularly. This is important so that the body can extract nutrients, remove toxins and to avoid any irritation due to digestion issues. When fiber is insufficient, the digestive system is slowed and immune system function weakens. A weakened immune system can be a problem for some athletes, especially those involved in endurance activities. As long as athletes maintain a balance between meats, fruits and vegetables, they will have the appropriate amount of fiber. Additionally, the diversity of carbohydrate based foods on the Paleo diet for athletes allows for the selection of fibers such that not too much fiber is consumed prior to an activity, yet the carbohydrate needs are met.
Better Long Term Recovery
Joe Friel, a U.S. Olympic triatholon coach and author said, “[Paleo offers] better long-term recovery, due to greater micronutrient content [than a standard high-starch and sugar diet], allowing the athlete to train with a greater stress load.” This is helpful for athletes as they can train hard and rest assured their diet will help to replenish their bodies afterwards.
Slight Exceptions May be Needed
The main goal is to divide an athlete’s diet into stages. Most of the athlete’s meal should follow the basic Paleo diet, but before, during and right after a workout adjustments may be needed. Almost two hours before a long workout or game, an athlete should eat a meal with a high glycemic index and low fiber matter. Post activity, adequate protein is needed to initiate adequate recovery.
In conclusion, the Paleo diet for athletes is a great way to eat if you are very active. The components support the body during and after exercise, helping athletes can perform to their full potential.
Preparation Free Paleo Diet Snacks
The idea of the Paleo diet is simple in theory, but it can be complicated for people who are just getting started. The Paleo diet is a way of eating based on the way our prehistoric ancestors ate– before the advent of processed foods (things such as refined sugars, grains, and trans fats). This means that people who follow this diet eat real, unprocessed foods. Meat, vegetables, seasonal fruits, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats form the basis of the Paleo diet.
So why is eating such a basic diet so complicated? Unfortunately, most food today is overly processed and eating it can lead to a wide range of health problems. When we walk into a grocery store, we are confronted with aisles full of boxed, packaged foods, most of which is not good for your health. Eating whole foods requires a shift in mindset and, while access to these kinds of foods is becoming easier, getting started with a Paleo diet does require some imagination and more time in the kitchen planning and preparing your meals, but not an excessive amount.
A challenge many transitioning to Paleo face is finding Paleo diet snacks that curb cravings and hold you over until your next meal. Often people plan their Paleo meals ahead of time, but often they neglect to think about what they’re going to do when 3:00pm rolls around and your stomach starts growling and demanding that afternoon candy bar or bag of chips your body is used to eating. This is where Paleo Diet snacks can be helpful.
Planning Paleo Diet Snacks
When planning out Paleo diet snacks for your week, the first thing to remember is Paleo friendly foods are whole foods. Once you get started, it will become easier to pass through the aisles of packaged junk food and go straight for the good stuff: Fresh vegetables, nuts, and whole snacks that will give you the energy boost you need to make it through your day. And you will quickly realize that these snacks are abundant and simple.
Paleo Diet Snack Options
If you’re new to the Paleo diet, planning your meals can be overwhelming enough, let alone planning snacks to fill the time between meals. These simple Paleo diet snack ideas require little to no preparation and are great for people who are new to the diet, or the seasoned Paleo eater who is looking for an easy snack option. With Paleo Diet snacks you will feel confidence that you are giving your body what it needs, not what is available.
- A handful of raw nuts: While nuts should not be consumed in excess on a Paleo diet, a handful of nuts is filling and will boost your energy. Raw nuts are best; you can also buy a simple trail mix, but be sure to check the ingredient list for hidden sugars or processed components.
- Fresh vegetables: A medley of raw vegetables can make great Paleo diet snacks. Cut up some carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and do some guilt-free snacking.
- Beef jerky: Beef jerky makes a filling Paleo diet snack and will give your body a protein boost. When buying beef jerky, be sure to read through the ingredient list to make sure it is Paleo friendly. Better yet, you can easily make your own with a dehydrator.
- A piece of dark chocolate: Sugar lovers rejoice! Dark chocolate is Paleo approved. Eating a small piece will cut sugar cravings and the antioxidants in dark chocolate will detox your body and give you a nice energy boost. But remember, not all chocolate is equal. You are looking for the highest percentage of dark chocolate available, which is usually greater than 80%.
- Nut butter plain or with fruit: Nut butter is satisfying and filling. You can eat nut butters plain, or eat them with sliced apples, on a banana, or with celery sticks.
With these easy Paleo Diet snack options you will find renewed energy and will feel good about not having choose the standard American Diet foods that rob you of good health.
Paleo Diet Snacks: An Important Part of the Paleo Diet
Many people on the Paleo diet try to plan their meals so that they are delicious and filling, requiring little snacking throughout the day, but when hunger strikes, it is always smart to have some Paleo diet snacks ready. The Paleo diet is a ‘back to basics’ diet, which revolves around eating healthy, unrefined, non-GMO food that is in its natural state. More and more people are choosing to live this lifestyle as the benefits of a Paleo diet become more widely known.
Why are Paleo diet snacks important?
- Paleo diet snacks are healthy! Think of snack time as an additional way to get your body more whole, healthy foods. At snack time you can incorporate things into your diet you may be lacking in meals. For example, if you ate a vegetable-rich salad for lunch, perhaps you will use your afternoon snack as a way to get more protein. Incorporating Paleo diet snacks into your day is also a great way to ensure that you do not overeat at mealtime. If you let yourself get to hungry leading up to lunch or dinner, you will find yourself eating quickly and eating larger portions then you need to. Get more nutrients and eat healthier by incorporating Paleo diet snacks into your day.
- You have a better chance of succeeding: People who do not succeed in diets often do so because they do not plan properly. When you are trying to follow the Paleo lifestyle, you have to be constantly prepared. Having Paleo diet snacks on hand will ensure that you are never caught in a situation where you have nothing to eat. This can happen if you end up at a restaurant or a social gathering where there are no Paleo options. Maybe you are on the road traveling often. This can make it difficult to find Paleo approved food. These are examples of situations where people simply eat the food that is available to them. Avoid this situation by always having healthy Paleo diet snacks on hand.
- Control cravings: Changing your diet is essentially changing habits. You are changing the way you eat, which is a habit-forming activity. Your body becomes addicted to processed grains and sugars, and when you give those things up, you will experience cravings. The best way to control these cravings is by substituting unhealthy foods for whole, healthy snacks. If you used to eat a candy bar every evening before bed, go for a spoonful of nut butter or coconut oil instead. If you used to eat a bag of chips with lunch, eat crunchy vegetables. You will quickly notice your body craving these healthy alternatives that make you feel great.
Planning out Paleo snacks:
- Prepare ahead: An important part of a Paleo diet is planning out meals. This involves extra preparation and ultimately more time in the kitchen. Many Paleo diet snacks can be made ahead of time so set aside some time on your days off to prepare some healthy, whole snacks for your week.
- Keep it simple: Paleo diet snacks do not need to be complex; the Paleo lifestyle can be a simple, basic way of eating. Grab a piece of fruit; keep some Paleo-approved granola bars in the glove compartment of your car or your desk at work; grab a smoothie instead of a soda. There are many simple ways to incorporate easy Paleo diet snacks into your day that take little thought or preparation.
Paleo Breakfast Ideas: What You Could Do With Pancakes, Part 2
In Paleo Breakfast Ideas: What You Could Do With Pancakes, Part 1, you learned how to make egg pancakes and some pretty unique variations for pancakes made with coconut flour. Today we will continue the Paleo Breakfast Ideas using three main concepts – almond flour, herbs and spices, and vegetables.
1. Use Almond Flour in Your Pancake Recipes.
Almond flour pancakes have a subtle nutty taste and are exceptionally satisfying, keeping the cravings away for hours. Loaded with calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins, almond flour is perfect if you need a nutrient boost. At the same time, almond flour added to non-Paleo breads has been researched in scientific studies and has been proven to lower blood sugar levels after a meal.
Use nut flour blends. For example, you could try any of these for your Paleo breakfast ideas of pancakes with nut flours:
- 50% almond flour/50% cashew flour
- 50% almond flour/50% coconut flour
- 25% cashew flour/25% chestnut flour/50% almond flour.
- Or even opt for a little known flour from Arizona – mesquite flour.
Try a blend of 25% mesquite flour/75% almond flour or 25% mesquite flour/25% chestnut flour/50% almond flour. The mesquite flour is high in medicinal constituents that are great for blood sugar regulation. Mesquite has a long history of improving blood sugar levels in native populations.
2. Vary Your Herbs and Spices.
Pancakes stuffed with chicken, thyme, and savory will delight your taste buds. Paleo breakfast ideas of pancakes with herbs and spices should also offer a spike of unexpected flavor at times. Keep your family and friends guessing at what you’ll come up with next.
Consider adding basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, fennel, savory, garlic, cardamom, chili pepper, cinnamon, mint, dill, different types of black peppers and peppercorns, and different types of salts. For example, there are smoked salts, hickory-flavored salts, Himalayan salts, Celtic salt, and other varieties that are exotic and exciting to try.
Every pancake recipe needs at least a pinch of salt – about ¼ teaspoon is better – to bring out the flavors best.
At first, you may think to yourself, “What? Why would I add any of those herbs or spices to my pancakes?” Well, one reason is that variation truly is the spice of life. When you brainstorm spices into your Paleo breakfast ideas, your mind and physiology comes alive in many different ways. Just thinking about them pulls your mind out of a rut of boredom.
When consumed, the herbs activate various physiological and metabolic pathways in the body that other foods don’t activate, enhancing your health in numerous yet hidden ways.
Do you remember when peppermint was added to ice creams years ago? Ask your parents what they thought when peppermint ice cream first came out, and how they all thought it would taste horrible! But now peppermint ice cream is a standard in every grocery store. It’s the same thing with basil ice cream – who would ever imagine it could possibly taste good? Yet it does.
Paleo Breakfast Ideas: Think Outside of the Box
Let your Paleo breakfast ideas reflect new herbs and spice combinations that are totally unexpected – and you’ll no doubt create new pancake recipes that will win over your guests no matter what walk of life they are from.
3. Add Vegetables.
The benefit of adding vegetables to your pancake recipes is the immediate boost of nutrient content. When you include pumpkin, sweet potato, or yams as Paleo breakfast ideas in the pancake recipes, you boost levels of the carotenoids dramatically.
Carotenoids act as antioxidants in the body, help improve vision, and are used as precursors of vitamin A. For about a decade now, one company has tested the levels of carotenoids in the body – and most people who take their test fail it miserably because they aren’t eating enough of these foods. By counting pumpkin, yams, and sweet potatoes as some of your ingredients of Paleo breakfast pancake ideas, you could consistently boost your levels of carotenoids and improve your health.
Wow, with all these Paleo breakfast pancake ideas, you just might open up a restaurant for breakfast!
Paleo Breakfast Ideas: What You Could Do With Pancakes, Part 1
Have you noticed that Paleo breakfast ideas put all other breakfast ideas to shame? They look absolutely delicious, smell wonderfully good, and are packed with up to three times as many nutrients as traditional American diets.
Paleo Breakfast Ideas to Help you Eat Like the Rich
Paleo breakfast ideas are always so rich with color, too – and you may not have noticed but foods rich in color are the ones served in luxurious restaurants to the wealthy. When you eat them, you even feel like you’re as deserving as a king or queen.
There’s another big advantage of Paleo breakfast ideas: When you eat a Paleo breakfast, you feel satisfied for hours. You have no cravings. You get no headaches, no mood swings, no body aches and pains, no problems with focus and concentration, and no irritability or sleepiness. You’re on top of the world every minute of your morning when eating the Paleo diet.
It’s a great idea to brainstorm Paleo breakfast ideas with friends at least once a week. This way you can expand your recipe brain and wildly stimulate your own creativity in cooking. A new recipe idea is like a treasured jewel in the mind, shining brightly with inspirational sparks flying onto every other nutritional idea stored in your brain.
Let’s generate some new Paleo breakfast ideas about pancakes. Paleo pancakes use alternative flours that are not grains. Below are 5 ideas of how to change up your breakfast recipes with dozens of possible variations:
1. Forget the Flour Altogether and Use Eggs.
Traditionally we think of pancake ingredients as flour, milk, egg, leavening and a little flavoring such as vanilla or cinnamon. However, eggs are so versatile that you can bake them in such a way that they look like pancakes when they’re finished cooking. What type of Paleo breakfast ideas could you create with this idea? Maybe:
- Eggs, chicken, hot peppers, sweet potatoes, fennel, parsley
- Eggs, turkey, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, lemon grass, parsley
- Eggs, ground bison, okra, savory, cilantro, parsley
- Eggs, ground lamb, green onions, carrots, ginger, lemon
With these Paleo breakfast ideas, you almost have to ‘imagine’ the final product is a pancake. The egg pancakes may be cooked in a large pie pan, which will flatten out the final product to make it look like an exceptionally large pancake.
You could also still add traditional pancake toppings over these egg pancakes. Butter goes well with every one of them. Maple syrup drizzled on top adds additional flavor notes. Fruit spreads and fruit do the same. Don’t forget the bacon strips on the side!
2. Use Coconut Flour and/or Make Them Tropical.
Coconut flour pancakes generally are flatter than regular pancakes. However, they are so much richer in flavor. With coconut pancakes, you can experiment more with flavor bursts that are sure to wake you in the morning.
Here are some Paleo breakfast ideas for coconut pancakes:
- Coconut Flake Vanilla Pineapple (juice) Orange (segments) Coconut Flour Pancakes with Almond Butter and Fruit Preserves/Steak Strips
- Peppermint Chocolate Flaxseed Coconut Flour Pancakes with Almond Butter, Butter and Bacon.
- Coconut Cashew Raspberry Citrus Pancakes with Almond Butter, Bacon, and Scrambled Eggs
- Grass-fed Ground Beef Crushed Pineapple Coconut Flour Pancakes with Butter and Poached Eggs
Coming up in Paleo Breakfast Ideas: What You Could Do With Pancakes, Part 2:
How to include almond flour in your Paleo pancakes and other nut blends, how to use various herbs and spices in the pancakes, and how to add vegetables to them.
Is Coffee Bad for You?
It is frequently asked is coffee bad for you? Coffee has both negative and positive aspects. Negative aspects are usually related to over-consumption and poor sources of coffee while positive points are much more than the negative. Coffee appears to affect multiple aspects of human health, but the most important thing to consider with coffee is the amount and frequency of consumption.
Reduction of Health Risks Associated with Coffee
Concerning the question, is coffee bad for you, the answer is no but precautions are required. Coffee has many health benefits for the body. Coffee reduces the risk of many diseases. Studies show that coffee decrease the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. In a study published in the Journal Diabetes Care, researchers show that six cups of coffee in a day decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes up to 30 percent. Coffee can be either caffeinated or decaffeinated. Now granted, 6 cups of coffee per day is probably more than is advised to be consumed, but when you consider that a cup is only 5 ounces, 30 ounces of coffee is not out of the realm of consumption for some.
The other major disease where coffee has shown benefit is cancer. Coffee helps to protect the body against many cancers like skin cancer, liver cancer, a kind of breast cancer called estrogen receptor –negative breast cancer and aggressive prostate cancer. Researches show that proper use of the coffee can reduce the risk of such cancers.
Drinking coffee might also help to reduce depression and cognitive loss during Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Because of its neuro-stimulatory effects, coffee may also help with depression to a mild degree. Yet the benefits do not end here as coffee may also reduce fatigue and enhance some of the positive effects of exercise, including fat burning. Quality sources of coffee will also contain antioxidants, the compounds that keep inflammation to a minimum.
Coffee ironically reasonably decreases the risk of depression. A study at Harvard University published in 2011, shows that women drinking 4 cups of coffee a day had 20 % less risk of depression and lived healthier lives. Another study shows that persons drinking three to four cups of coffee in a day were 53% less likely to commit suicide. While this information is correlational and not suggestive of direct cause and effect, it does draw some interesting, and unexpected, conclusions.
More Facts to Determine if Coffee is Good for You
It is a general concept that drinking coffee can cause dehydration, but some studies have shown that there is only a small difference in the hydration status between those that consume higher amounts of coffee and those who don’t consume coffee. A study published in the journal PLoS One shows no evidence of dehydration is observed with coffee intake when the total amount of caffeine does not exceed that found in 3-6 cups of coffee. This study was conduct to compare the effects of coffee consumption against water ingestion (No evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake).
Another study shows the same results comparing caffeine and fluid balance. Caffeine has methylxanthine compounds which are diuretics and in persons where fluid balanced is compromised are advised to avoid these beverages. Although when coffee totals more than six cups per day, this can cause dehydration in some cases, especially those individuals that are not routine coffee consumers.
Liver is among the most important organs in the body performing a number of functions. Several diseases and symptoms may be attributable to liver dysfunction. Research show that persons drinking up to four cups a day decrease the risk of liver dysfunction up to 80 %, including in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
However, nature seems to persist on the concept of moderation. Coffee is no exception. Research shows that coffee has some effects that may make routine consumption less than ideal. A woman drinking more than five cups of coffee can have problems during the pregnancy as caffeine present in coffee crosses the placental barrier and reaches the fetus. While the effects are not clearly defined, routine exposure of such a compound to a fetus in the developing state still has unanswered questions. Due to the nature of the research that is needed to answer such a question, we are likely to have an answer anytime soon.
Important Facts to Consider
The major component of coffee that interests most people is caffeine which is known for its effects on the central nervous system. It can charge the brain and help promote work efficiency while also short term reduction of anxiety and tension for some.
The answer to the question, is coffee bad for you, does not have a universal answer. However, it does seem to matter how much you consume. Drinking more than 6 cups a day can have negative effects on physical as well as mental health. The common possible effects on health include:
- Stomach issues
- Heart beat rapidness
- Muscle tremors
An important finding to note is studies show that for those who metabolism caffeine slowly, drinking coffee can increase the nonfatal heart attack. A study published by the American Medical Association found that risk of nonfatal heart attack increases in slow metabolizers of caffeine.
One of the more benign, but relevant, facts of coffee, and more specifically caffeine, are the possible effects we associated with withdrawal. Foremost, if you are having withdrawal symptoms, it probably is a safe bet that you are consuming too much coffee. It is not an easy for most to decrease of even stop drinking coffee suddenly. The withdrawal symptoms if caffeine can be long lasting and are includes headache, irritability, depression, mood disturbance, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.
In summary, coffee consumption in moderation appears to have some long lasting health benefits, including improved glucose regulation. However, there are two important points to remember with regards to coffee consumption. Foremost, coffee contains caffeine, but not all of the health benefits related to coffee are attributable to caffeine. Some are related to chlorogenic acid, trigonelline and antioxidants. Second, more is not always better. The general consensus at this time appears to be that while coffee consumption does appear to offer some benefits, over-consumption may swing the pendulum in the wrong direction and begin to rob you of some of the acquired benefits. And as with all foods and liquids that you ingest, coffee should be as free of toxins as possible. So when you buy it, buy organic from trusted sources.
No evidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-over study in a free-living population.
Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review.
Caffeine and diuresis during rest and exercise: A meta-analysis.
Acute effects of decaffeinated coffee and the major coffee components chlorogenic acid and trigonelline on glucose tolerance.
Coffee consumption and risk of incident gout in women: the Nurses’ Health Study.
Starting Your Day Right- Paleo Diet Breakfast
There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind that absolutely love breakfast and the kind that can live without it. A Paleo diet breakfast can make both kinds happy. There is not hard line rules for what constitutes the ideal Paleo diet breakfast.
Of course you want to avoid the:
Once you review the list above it sort of leaves you scratching your head wondering if you have to avoid all of that stuff what is left to eat. There is plenty left to eat! You may have to get creative but there are plenty of things left to eat.
If you are not a big breakfast person and don’t feel the need to break your fast right away then its fine to grab a black coffee (or with a little added coconut / almond milk and stevia if you prefer) and head out the door. However keep in mind that this is not a fit for those that have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or wake up with headaches and is probably a better option for those applying intermittent fasting. It is highly recommended to eat breakfast, but if you just do not like breakfast and prefer to eat later on then it is okay to grab a coffee and head out, but it is better to grab a coffee and maybe a half avocado and spoon or some high quality protein as can often be found in some bars.
If You Are Not Big On Breakfast
If you are not big on sitting down to a meal in the morning, there are some Paleo diet breakfast ideas that may work perfectly for you. You can make a quick smoothie with kale, carrots and some fresh squeezed juice of your choice and a little added protein powder. It will give you the energy boost you want but since you are technically drinking breakfast it may suit you better.
Grab a handful of almonds and seeds (if you are cutting fat this is not for you).
If You Are a Breakfast Lover, Mix things up with a Paleo Diet Breakfast
When you think Paleo diet breakfast think outside the box. A lot of Paleo diet recipes for breakfast mimic traditional breakfast foods in an attempt to make the food more appealing to people that are making the transition from “foods that are bad for you” to “foods that will really feed your body”.
If you are big lover of breakfast then using recipes that mimic traditional breakfast foods are going to help you to make the transition to healthier eating. Pure unrefined foods are your best choice. Plant based foods that are organic or home grown are excellent options as ingredients in your breakfast meals.
If you are a committed to a bowl of cereal in the mornings that is fine as long as you are using Paleo ingredients to make your own cereal and opting for unsweetened Almond milk or Coconut milk to splash on top. You can create cereals like Honey Bunches of No Oats. You may have to put a little extra work into it but if you make a large enough batch it can carry you over for the week.
Eggs are NOT dairy. That is surprising to some people because eggs are always sold in the dairy section of the supermarket, but they obviously do not come from a cow, so therefore they are not a dairy product. However if you are on an autoimmune Paleo diet then eggs are not always a Paleo diet breakfast option for you. Eggs may also not be great for anyone that is struggling with gluten allergies / sensitivities because they may also be reactive to the protein in eggs. You can use eggs technically on a Paleo diet but that is really up to personal preference and diet goals.
Get creative with your morning meal. It will be worth the effort.
What’s on the Paleo Diet Breakfast Menu?
Coming up with a Paleo diet breakfast menu can seem a bit daunting. If you are new to the idea of the Paleo diet and you are struggling with what to grab in the mornings it is understandable. It can seem like the Paleo diet limits options for breakfast foods but that is only because you have yet to rearrange how you think about what breakfast food is.
Breakfast foods do not have to be rooted in grains and dairy. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so doing it “right” really pays off.
The Benefits of Paleo Diet Breakfast Foods
When you start your day out the Paleo way you are going to experience more energy, you will be more alert and you will not experience that mid-morning crash that you do with other breakfast foods because you will not be getting those empty carbs and temporary highs from the grains that are found in traditional breakfast foods.
The Paleo diet breakfast can include things like:
- Anything green
- Coconut flour (great for making wraps)
- Oat free oatmeal (made with seeds and nuts)
- Berries, nuts, seeds (by the handful or as a muesli type cereal served with almond milk)
- Coconut/Almond milk
- Almond meal (instead of grain flour)
Personal taste will guide which foods become your favorites. Some people like to have something sweet in the morning. Many people that are new to the Paleo diet are simply floored when they find out that sweet can come from a lot more places that refined sugar.
Honey, Molasses, fruits all contain natural sugars that can be worked into many different recipes that are friendly Paleo Diet breakfast foods. Whipped coconut cream is a nice replacement for whipped cream and goes nicely with berries.
Make it Ahead of Time
If you are like most of us, morning time is go time. It can be tempting to grab something at the drive thru when you are running late and super hungry. So to ward off any potential slip ups make your Paleo diet breakfast ahead of time. It does not have to be elaborate. You can make a nice breakfast salad (yes salad remember you are working on changing how you look at breakfast foods).
Your breakfast salad could have kale, spinach, nuts, berries and some good quality olive oil drizzled over it. Pop it in the fridge and grab it on the go in the morning. How about a trail mix that you prepare over the weekend and put into individual bags so you can grab the bag as you head out the door.
Need something a little more substantial in the morning? A can of tuna with some cut up veggies is a great breakfast rich in protein. You do not have to go the egg, dairy, cereal, grain route to have a healthy balanced breakfast, you just have to change the way you look at food.
Drink Your Breakfast
Smoothies are a great breakfast option. They are fast and easy to take with you. Keep some kale, carrots and berries on hand so you can throw them in the blender as you are walking out the door. You can experiment with your smoothie recipes by adding in other fruits and plant based foods.
For The Times That You Have Time
Paleo diet breakfast food is not relegated to raw uncooked veggies (but doesn’t that sound nice) banana bread made with bananas and almond meal is a great weekend breakfast food. Sweet potato pancakes is Paleo friendly and super easy to make. Waffles made with coconut meal and a berry sauce are delicious.
Once you have tried out some of the breakfast food recipes and become more familiar with the Paleo Diet and all its benefits breakfast will become easier and easier to prepare.
Holistic Nutrition for Optimal Health and Wellness
Ideas of what makes for an ideal dietary intake are numerous. The bottom line is that regardless of your dietary pattern, it should be a holisitic nutrition plan and follow the principles set forth by the Paleo Diet. Holistic nutrition conforms to the needs of the body as it changes with time and various demands placed upon it. This is the opposite of the ones size fits all diet idea. Diets are temporary changes that rarely show any long term benefits, and they certainly do not universally apply equally to everyone.
Do you Really Want to be on a Diet . . . Neither Does Anyone Else!
Let’s face it, no one wants to be on a diet. Diets are boring and monotonous. What is worse is that they feel restrictive. The very nature of a diet makes you feel like you are going to give something up. Do you like giving things up? I don’t and you shouldn’t have to in order to obtain an improvement in your health. In fact, since I started eating a more holistic nutrition, or Paleo Diet, pattern, the number of foods that I now consume has vastly increased. The restrictions that are part of a diet also make them not a good fit for most people. We are all unique and have our own requirements. Each person’s body functions different. This is a fact that I have become very understanding of after practicing functional medicine and holistic nutrition for over a decade.
What Holistic Nutrition Offers You
First off, we have to move past the idea that what worked for our friend or the person in the magazine is going to work for us too. This may not be the case at all. Why? The answer is that each person has their own individual makeup that alters the way that they respond to the foods and the nutrients that they consume. There are some core concepts that we should all adhere to, but even within this context, we are all unique. As an example, your friend may be able to lose weight by consuming higher fats and lower carbohydrates. Yet when you need to drop a few pounds, that same dietary approach left you frustrated because the scale would not budge. This was not the right approach for you.
To accurately apply holistic nutrition, there are a couple of key tools that I use. The first of these is going to be advanced lab testing. This is not the out-dated traditional lipid / cholesterol panel that leads to a generic recommendation of eat less fat. Instead I am referring to assessing your genetics and looking at the use of numerous aspects of your nutrition from your diet to any supplements you might be taking. This is the way holistic nutrition is best practiced. Only from this can you establish your inherent dietary and nutritional needs. We are not clones; therefore we have no reason to think that we are all going to respond equally.
What Can Holistic Nutrition do for You?
Holistic nutrition is the basis for good health and wellness. Without it, you have one option, sickness. Do you want to be a statistic of the traditional medical system? Of course you don’t. And the dirty little secret that is rarely talked about is that a growing number of the clinicians that work in traditional healthcare don’t trust their health to it either expect in the most dire emergency situations. This is because most everyone had rather take care of themselves than end up in a doctor’s office. But holistic nutrition is not just about prevention. I run into patients all the time that don’t have a basic understanding of nutrition, so from the start they are on a path to bodily dysfunction that starts as symptoms and progresses into disease.
The great thing about nutrition is that with a little effort the basics are easily understood. So with that said, I want to impart probably the most important concept that you need to understand to set you on the path to a lifestyle that incorporates holistic nutrition to support your entire body. This concept is eating real foods as close to the way that you would find them in nature as possible. It does not matter version of the Paleo diet you are eating, the key is eating real foods. The great part is that this is consistent with everyone’s genetics. Regardless of your most unique needs, your body only wants clean, unrefined, pure forms of food. So therefore, when you are curious about where to start with your journey into holistic nutrition, or even maintaining it, you should always come back to one of the most core ideas of the Paleo diet; eat real food.