I first learned about the Paleo diet in December 2007 when I read Art De Vany’s original essay. Back then there were few resources to get you started. Not anymore. There are several books and thousands of blogs. Where does the newbie start?
This post is a summarized quick-start approach to Paleo. I’ve successfully practiced a mostly Paleo diet for over 3 years now. I’ve read most of the books, watched many of the lectures, and read probably a thousand blog posts on the topic. You don’t need to spend near that amount of time to benefit. Just follow the list below.
#1 Understand that Wheat is the Enemy
The single best idea in the entire Paleo diet is the elimination of wheat. All the other ideas combined will not have a greater impact. There are different factions in the Paleo community that disagree on certain points. They all agree on the health risks of wheat. There is even a growing concern among many vegetarians about the dangers of gluten.
I rank eliminating wheat as the single most positive change I’ve made to my health. People defend wheat because they don’t what to believe the food they love so much could be the cause of so many health issues. I ask people to do their own 30 Day test. Eliminate wheat for 30 Days, reintroduce it for 4 days and then measure how you feel.
#2 Latest In Paleo Episode 39
The single best-hour podcast covering the Paleo diet was episode 39 of LatestInPaleo. Angelo Coppola and Mark Sisson cover a lot of material in a short time.
#3 The Primal Blueprint
Although I have my own personal favorite books when it comes to nutrition and the Paleo diet, I think the best one to get started on for most people is The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.
#4 Buy a Slow Cooker (aka The Crock Pot)
Your success in following the Paleo diet will increase greatly if you start cooking more of your own meals. Slow cookers are perfect for the Paleo diet. Throw in some meat and veggies, turn the knob and wait. What could be simpler?
Crock-Pot SCVT650-PS 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Touch Screen Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
I could probably go on and on, but then it would hardly be a quick start. Follow the 4 steps above and you’ll do great.
Nov 22, 2011 — 11:33 am
thanks. going to give it another shot. I hardly eat and can’t get rid of my midsection fat and I am mostly vegetarian.
Nov 22, 2011 — 3:20 pm
Couple of questions, listened to ep39:
1. Do you have a lot of digestive activity on the Primal diet? Gas, defecation, etc.?
2. How many times a day do you eat?
3. Do you still have urges to eat breads?
I eat a lot of breads. I try not to, but don’t really know how to eliminate it at this point. I am eating a toasted cin-raisin bagel with butter right now. It is delicious.
Nov 22, 2011 — 4:14 pm
2: Varies, but less than before. My eating window is smaller, often all my calories are consumed in an 8-10 hour window.
Bread is most likely the cause of your midsection fat. When I quit the bread, I dropped 3 full inches off my midsection without reducing my calories or exercising more.
Nov 22, 2011 — 4:46 pm
Yes, I heard this when Sisson said that breads turn into sugar. I knew this already, but it is very easy to ignore in daily life.
I don’t really eat a lot at once but subs, pbj sandwiches, and bagels do have a cumulative effect. I also knew that breads cause a lot of gastric activity, due to gut bacteria breaking down sugars. Maybe it is time to stop. I guess I will see what happens.
Dec 18, 2011 — 10:38 am
Mike, I know this is off topic, but why are legumes considered bad?
Are they as bad as grains?
Dec 18, 2011 — 10:43 am
@Ed – Like grains, legumes are not “defenseless when dead”. They have anti-nutrient properties called phytates that block mineral absorption. They are no where near as bad as wheat. Traditional cultures used a soaking and sprouting strategy to make legumes nutritious. I do this occasionally myself.
Check out the bean spouting photo in this post:
Dec 18, 2011 — 8:22 pm
Okay…. Phytates same thing as in nuts then.
Thanks and peace.