Going Paleo (ish)

Prompted by a jaunt onto the scales in Boots recently I became resolute in my attempts to lose a bit of weight and some mass from around my waistline. It’s been a blooming long time since I weighed 80+kg and that was before running came into my life and cake was a little more prevalent.

PaleoDietforAthletes

I have read a number of online sources as well as the fantastic book pictured above, but never quite dared to remove wheat, bread, cakes, peanut butter, beer and other sources of badness from my life. However, with this recent revelation, and some spare time on my hands whilst enjoying Easter holidays with my girls, I decided to give it a concerted go.

Using a number of web resources I did an online shop which included a lot of meat including beef steaks, pork chops, chicken, turkey and seafoood. There were a hell of a lot of eggs, some bacon, and a lot of fresh and frozen veggies. It was a relatively expensive shop, but really not much more than a usual shop, because there were a few long-lasting investment pieces in their too.

Bulletproof Coffee

Taking the bull by the horns I set off experimenting with bulletproof coffee (BP) which is an interesting proposition. I usually drink a fairly significant amount of coffee, especially when at work. The idea with BP is that it is your first drink of the day (alongside water) and it fuels your morning because of its unique blend. The “inventor” of BP is a guy called Dave Asprey who picked up the technique from Tibetan monks who drank Yak Butter Tea. With a cafetiere full of delicious coffee, I pour a cups worth into a jug, add 25g of delicious grass-fed unsalted butter and a tsp or so of coconut oil. Blended with a hand blender, this then creates a frothy and really creamy coffee. The fats actually fill you for longer and it really tastes pretty good. I have subsequently swapped coconut oil for MCT which is even better (and less flavoured) because it actually bypasses the GI tract and heads straight to the liver for conversion to energy. There is one caveat though, and it is to be tried with caution as it can reportedly lead to some.. ahem.. explosive movements, if your body doesn’t like it.

It certainly does go some way to filling me up when I wake up hungry on a morning, and staves off hunger for a while though I am not sure it would take me all the way to lunch. It has cut down my other coffee consumption throughout the day though too.

Breakfast

So, in addition to BP I have been enjoying my time off with the opportunity to enjoy breakfasts of eggs, salmon, bacon, and even some broccoli thrown in to an omelette from time to time. I have been enjoying cooked breakfasts at work, but I don’t think the quality is quite so high – so I may well continue eating at home once the holidays are over.

Snacks

I have a big tub of nuts in the kitchen including almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts. This is great to dip into and steal a handful that goes alongside an apple, pear, or some cantaloupe. It is a nice filling snack. I also have enjoyed beef jerky (though not yet attempted making my own at home,) or a whole tin of tuna with some harissa and full-fat mayo as a snack.

Main Meals

The best thing about the paleo-ish diet is that I get to enjoying fantastic meals which are basically made up of some sort of delicious protein with a whole host of veg. Yum. At lunch I have often enjoyed a salad, which is absolutely loaded with leaves, then added to that I have cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, walnuts and some protein in the form of chicken or tuna perhaps. Huge, filling, but actually low in calories which is important to me as I aim to lose a little weight at the moment. It is important to try and carry this on whilst at work and head to the salad bar, rather than the roast dinner bar on a Wednesday!!

Another benefit of this process, is that after dinner I would usually head for a cup of tea and a tonne of biscuits. With this style of eating I can still get my sweet fix with some fruit and maybe even a square or two of 85% chocolate. I don’t feel like I am missing out though, I feel satiated for much of the day.

Exercising

This has been a tricky one during the first week of this experiment. Whilst I have felt OK in myself, when I have stepped out on a run on a couple of occasions it has been almost as though I haven’t actually taken my legs with me. I have felt lethargic and slow, which has not helped my confidence whilst coming back from injury.

As I head towards becoming ‘fat-adapted’ the recovery paced runs that are a part of my rehab training are about all I can manage. My body is not coping with higher intensity work whilst also learning to convert energy from fat.

Drawbacks?

Well, for the first few days I had a few headaches. That might have been some dehydration, it might have been withdrawal symptoms having gone cold turkey. It might have been getting used to the Bulletproof coffee. Whatever it was, it seems to have passed and by and large I feel much better now all the time. One thing I have noticed though: I still need to fit more fibre in – if you catch my drift!

I still need to work on my fueling on days when I am exercising. At the track this week I was really struggling as I simply hadn’t eaten enough! The wheels really fell off.

Benefits?

It’s hard to say at this early stage if there are any hard and fast benefits. However, I do certainly feel fuller for longer, and whilst in these few weeks I have been using myfitnesspal to track my calorific intake I have had significantly less calories than might be required, but still felt full. I have slipped up on a handful of occasions – We had a meal in Wetherspoons this week where I had a pulled pork roll, a small portion of chips and 6 onion rings. In total this added up to over 1500 calories. I still ate at dinner as well as I was hungry.

It just goes to show, that a calorie is not simply a calorie!

Can you guess which day I was at Wetherspoons?
Can you guess which day I was at Wetherspoons?
This weeks intake
This week’s intake

And the upshot of all this? In a matter of weeks I have lost almost 2kg. I feel pretty good and I look forward to continuing this experiment. I’ll keep you all posted!

Do you have any experience of this ‘paleo/primal’ diet. What has it been like for you?

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