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My thoughts on Paleo thus far

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ok bare with me. I am just typing out loud this morning. Nothing is quoted, nothing is technical. I am just a sole that is a bit sleep deprived from all these jumbled up thoughts in my head that won't shut off.

Okay, so I have been studying the paleo thing. I am digging it for the most part, and I love researching and learning new information. Initially my thoughts about only eating what the cavemen ate is, how long did a caveman live? About the only thing I think of when I think of cavemen, which really wasn't all that often, but when I did, I thought of bad teeth and bad hair. And I never really thought of them as living much past 30 or 35.

Upon researching, it is suggested they did not have long lives, only about 25 - 35 years, but it was due to viruses, traumas, etc because of lack of a health care system and hospitals and modern medicine, etc. It was not due to heart attacks, diabetes, etc like we have now. I am not very scientific but I assume something in the science world supports this theory since the Paleo philosophy is based on it, so I can go along with that idea. I didn't at first, but I can buy that one if the science is there.

Okay grains etc. I am reading that grains weren't available then, and have only been around for about 10,000 years, not enough time for man to adapt to eating them. I should be okay with that because I didn't start to eat grains until I started to try to lose weight, thinking I should be eating things like wheat, barley, oatmeal, quinoa, etc. Now that I have started to eat them, they seemed to be a nice addition on our plate when I was trying to have less meat. So now I can actually have a little more of the meat thanks to Paleo, so that makes me happy. However, now I kind of like the quinoa and couscous, etc.

I am wondering about this theory of 10,000 years that grains just came to be. Where did they just come to be from? Is it possible that God made the caveman as his first attempt and then thought, hmmm I can do better than this, and so he sent a little ice and started over with a clean slate. So then on the next try, He expanded our food horizons, and gave us other food options this go round. And maybe the caveman was not a failed attempt at all, but just Divine Design.

I am not a Bible scholar either, but have had my share of Sunday school classes, and if we were taught accurately and if our Bibles are accurate, the Bible says that Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, who of course lived in this beautiful lush garden paradise where God said they could eat anything there except from this one tree, until they screwed up and then they were banished to a life of working the land and sweat & toil, oh and pain having babies (thanks for that one too! ha) - so anyways Cain and Abel, one was a hunter and one was a tiller of the ground. Other places in the Bible talks lentils, and about grains and storage during famines, one famous story even talks about a little get together down by the sea one afternoon where they enjoyed a few loaves of bread to go with their fish. And the Lord's prayer says, give us this day our daily bread. So I am just wondering, what is this bread? What did they make it with? What were they using the grains for that they were instructed to save because there would be great famines in all the land. Maybe it was for livestock, but I got the impression for ppl food as well. And did they just invent grains? I know modern day we invent all kinds of new plants when we combine the best traits from this one and that one, but I figure back then, they didn't have the technology and had to rely upon what God had created.

So here is my thing, Bible people lived for hundreds of years. I am sure their medicine evolved a little more by then, than in caveman times. But if we have a fella living to 35 and a fella living to 350 that lived in the land of plenty - which i assume means plenty of meat, dairy, grains, veggies, fruits - it seems like maybe we should figure out what the 350 year old fella was eating. Just saying.

And I am not trying to be a smart aleck. Really. I am just trying to wrap my brain around it all.

Hmmm Maybe it is all in the curse. God then tells Adam that he will have to work and sweat for his food. God tells Adam in Genesis 3:17-19:

"CURSED is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life ... in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread."

So... the Caveman land wasnt cursed, but big @$$ critters that eat you aren't really a blessing either.

Ok so anyways, the idea of cutting carbs makes sense to me. So I have been doing it. Some paleo followers do use grains and milk and cheese. So it is kind of a whatever works for you, so I can dig that. It does seem like as a movement, it should be black and white though, and no gray. I mean either it is or it isn't. Like some places say no dairy, but it is okay to have cream in your coffee, or to have butter, and to have some full fat cheese. HuH? Isnt that dairy? So I guess it is nice to have some gray sometimes, so we can decide for ourselves what parts we want to use and leave the rest. No right and no wrong. I guess there are things that work better than others, so do what you want but realize it may not be as effective. So while there is no right and no wrong, there is a better and best. And that is an individual thing, so that's kewl.

So I was kind of bumming about the thought of no dairy and no bread. I dont eat much now. In fact I hardly ever eat bread. But since trying to change my lifestyle, I thought I should add in more grains, and I have discovered these little wheat sandwich thins and I was enjoying an egg sandwich. But I can do without it also if it is scientifically bad for you. It was just nice having other options for a lesser expensive food like quinoa, couscous, beans, etc. Beans! I had just been learning to enjoy those and hearing about how good they are for you and you should eat some every day. I also learned to enjoy yogurt and I can get that so cheap at my Dutch Store.

So anyways, I was bumming at the thought of not having it, until I realized at some point this morning, that I am just cutting carbs short term and not long term. I will eventually be able to find the magic number that works for me. How much I can eat before I gain weight. Right now, I just want the weight gone, and then I can stay on top of it and monitor things. I had lost a fair amount of weight after my 3 children. I was looking gooood if I do say so myself. Then I had a 4th and all that kind of went out the window. I really don't know why I didn't try to get back on top of it. I just don't know why. But I do know that if I can ever get the weight off again - and I gained way more this time - but if I can ever get it off... WHEN I get it off, it "ain't" coming back.

Okay so anyways. I am mostly focusing on my carbs. The protein & fat numbers are a little all over the place but at the end of the day, it seems to be about a 3 way split percentage wise. For me, if I can fit in some yogurt, etc into my carbs for the day, then I will have it. It is easier knowing that at some point, I will bump my numbers back up. This is just temporary.

But should I be doing things that I know I can't keep up? Maybe not, but the way I see it, that is something I will have to monitor forever. It is just part of lifetime maintenance. If I start putting weight back on, then time to limit carbs again. So I think that is just the way it is going to have to be, the price I pay for keeping my weight under control. I mean the way I was doing it before was not working, so I am okay with trying a new lifestyle and way of eating.

I should add - because I didn't word that like I meant. I meant some ppl say if you can't keep it up don't do it. So if I cant keep up low carbs like 50 or 100, then maybe a person shouldn't do it to begin with. But it is sort of like watching calories. They are lower while you are losing, right? And a little higher for maintenance? So I feel like this is the same.

Ok so anyways, I was reading Jack Kruse's page last night. He is saying some of the same things that I had been hearing, which is load up on protein in the morning, 30 minutes from rising. That's kewl. I can do that. He says 3 meals a day, because you will be full, and maybe even work to 2 meals. He says NO!! to snacks as that just consistently raises your insulin levels and promotes fat storage when you are leptin resistant. Okay so I guess that makes some sense, even though I had been programming myself to eat structured well planned snacks in an attempt to stop the highs & lows. But those snacks were usually fruits, which send my carb count soaring (and insulin too, huh?) so if I can stay full longer from breakfast and make it to lunch, I can save some carbs. Okay so that's kewl. And in practicing it, I do find that I can make it from breakfast to lunch. He says if you can't, then you need to eat more breakfast. Okay that's kewl.

One confusing part for me, he says to eat most of your carbs in the morning. So I am assuming this is in addition to all the protein? That part might be tough. But I could eat my carbs at lunch time. I am usually ready for lunch by 11:30 so that technically is still morning, right? I have breakfast anywhere from about 5 - 6, so 11:30 is about right, that is on the days I stay full from breakfast. On the days I was working in a snack, that would be around 10 and then lunch around 12. So I am going to have to work on this. Proteins (along with fats) with my carbs in the morning. And maybe some for lunch. And then limit carbs at night.

And then there is the night time snack. I usually don't need anything after supper but sometimes I like popcorn. Oops, that is a grain, right? Probably high carb too, huh? And I was just starting to process in my brain that it doesn't matter what time of day you eat, just stay within your calorie range - that your body doesn't care what time it is. But if you have trouble with indigestion, etc then of course you don't want to eat too close to bedtime. Jack Kruse has a whole 'nother theory on this. Don't eat after 7:30 or so many hours before bedtime, which I can't recall at the moment, but it has something to do with your body needing to start whatever process it is has to do. Again, not very technical on my part - that was at 2 a.m when I was reading all this so I am just typing out loud, trying to make sense of it in my brain.

And then he talks of leptin reset and I have seen that around on the boards and blogs, so I need to check this out more. He also suggests to hold off on the exercise until a future point, after you are no longer leptin resistant, or else you will use your limited stem cells to repair muscles, etc while you are in this period. (What? No aerobic exercise?! My Hero!!) Okay before I get too excited, after this period, it is okay to exercise, in fact you must. But your body has been retrained due to the leptin reset, so it pulls what it needs from other sources therefore you are not using precious stem cells. So that makes me wonder if I should be doing my workouts now? I am in no way over doing it, but doing it enough. I picture the fat melting away and I would have a jump start on some lean muscle already. I also thought the exercises would be good to help the skin go back into place. Is that just wishful thinking? And maybe that isn't important since it will go back eventually anyways, so don't waste stem cells for the hopes of that. I just need more information. I really need to dive in and study all this.

And I think it is saying that the carbs will be okay too, good not bad, after a leptin reset also. This seems to be a very important piece of the puzzle - this leptin reset. I really need to research this and what it means to me.

Okay so anyways, my conclusions thus far, it is all very interesting. I think for me, it is working limiting the carbs. My net carbs are around the 50 mark, and not over the 100 the last few days. I have been doing a circuit training of sorts, for about 48 minutes M-F for the past couple of weeks. More strength than aerobics though. Only about 30 minutes before I started this series. I have been doing several things, so I am not sure which is working or if it is a combination. But I was losing weight before also, when my carbs were up around 150. I am sure that is way better than it ever was, and these 150g were all good stuff too.

My Primal notes say 0-50 for ketosis & accelerated fat burning. 50-100 is the sweet spot for effortless weight loss. I can so do 100, especially if we are talking net. And 100-150g for maintenance range. I can so do that. But I am wondering is it okay to bounce from under 50 (ketosis) to 50 - 100 some days? Assuming I ever hit ketosis in the first place, but if I get close and then go back and forth, is that okay? Especially since I am relearning what I can eat.

Some would say you need to figure this all out before you ever start. Probably a good idea, but I am kind of a jump right in and wing it type of person sometimes. I am thinking that if all I know, and if all I do is lower my carbs, that is going to produce results. I have pretty much eliminated all bad carbs. No sweet tea, no sweets, no cookies, no chips, no white flour stuff, not much out of a box. And water -- I drink a bathtub full every day it seems.

So anyways, back to Mark's Primal Blueprint carb numbers, 150 is a number I can live with long term, and when I started SP, I was losing on 150 & even a little more some days, so I can so do that forever! And for now, if I can lower it just to get the weight off, and then I think increasing it at some point with good carbs, not any bad ones, I think I can sustain it. If not, then I guess I will have a decision to make. So I will worry about that and cross that bridge when I come to it.

That's all I got for now. I have so much to learn. I want to be a sponge and just absorb. And I just learned from writing this, that babbling in a blog all morning keeps you from snacking.

OH I do have one more thing. What is up with being so hot all the time, or like little micro-mini bust of a heat wave? Even when I am not doing much of anything. Our days are getting a bit warmer, but not that much. It is just like someone comes over and stokes the fire every so often. What is up with that?
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    Wow! I loved reading through your thought process! Not sure I will ever be able to completely get rid of grains and dairy so probably not a candidate for primal. We are gluten, corn and soy free because we have multiple food allergies in our house. So that pretty much does away with processed food and eating out. I have discovered that I am a bit of a research junkie so I understand the thought swirling fog that can come from information overload! Sounds like you are doing well... Good luck.
    2166 days ago
    It is really hard to know what is the RIGHT way to go about eating. It seems everybody has their theory.
    I have adapted my own way, and that is vegetarian and low fat all the way.
    I guess whatever you feel you want to do, just go for it.
    2166 days ago
    Paleo is basically a theory some guy came up with about cavemen food being better than what we have available to eat today.

    I would agree that it's better to avoid junk food as much as possible, but if we as humans have been eating, grains for thousands of years, why stop now? Personally, I am not willing to give up whole grain products. I enjoy them too much to remove them from my diet based on an unprovable theory.
    2167 days ago
    Oh gosh now that you said that, it does seem to be after I eat. I will have to pay attention next time. My meals have become alot of protein :) Thanks!
    2167 days ago
    With the heat, you are probably readjusting your thermostat. Lots of times, regular dieting reduces your metabolic rate. If you start to eat differently, that can change. I really noticed it after the leptin reset. Since I had then become a good fuel burner, I heated up anytime I ate too many carbs or a ton of protein after a meal. Now it also happens when I eat lots of coconut oil. I see it as a good thing. It shows my metabolism can react appropriately to excess food instead of just storing it as fat. THIS is the reason that thin people don't worrry about calories. They just self-adjust. Most fat people don't do that very well.
    2167 days ago
    2167 days ago
    Thanks for the feedback y'all. At first I felt like I was drowning, but I am learning to swim now and making progress.

    After I posted, I got to thinking about Bible translations so I get what you are saying there. Apples to oranges kind of thing.

    As far as going back to carbs, I did mean your latter. Not back to the bad carbs and not back to unlimited carbs but back to maintenance level good carbs. I was losing on Primals recommended maintenance, so I know this is something I can sustain. I just was digging the ideal of going even lower like ketosis and learning about leptin reset to maybe help it along a little faster.

    So glad to hear all the info. I do feel like I have somewhat of a handle. I was worried at first about my calories being so low. Sometimes under 1000, and sometimes barely over. So I am not tripping on that anymore.

    I don't think I am tripping on my carbs anymore. Like today, 8 so far. But when I started my journey here, I had been cutting back on meat and eating fruits and steel cut oatmeal, etc to get me by, so my head was spinning, trying to figure out what to eat and how many grams of each. I just didnt know what in the world I could eat. So the idea of restricting it now, and adding more back in for maintenance at some future point, I think is very doable for me. And like mentioned, I might not even want them back. I dont miss the bad stuff, but I was digging the fruit. I was having an orange (most days) an apple, a banana (sometimes) and 1/4 cup blueberries most days and I do miss those.

    But no one in the house is that big on chips, cakes, icecream, etc so if it is in the house, it sits for a long time. So I just quit buying it for the most part. My downfall before was fast food and eating out most every meal. When I started to cook at home, things starting changing for the better.

    So, I think I have a decent grip. Now just have to figure out what he was saying about the exercise and leptin reset.

    Thanks for the encouragement. This place is awesome!

    oh... on the power surges. That just started this week. I am 47. My blood work a year ago, said I was okay. So I thought may be my body was reacting ... or rebelling, to the lower carbs or if it was a sign of ketosis or something, I don't know :) My breath is still okay, well not that it was ever great.... but I don't detect acetone so I dont think I have been low enough long enough for ketosis. But if it only takes 3 or 4 days, I should about be there.

    2167 days ago
    I love your ramblings. :) This is part of what Paleo and other low-carb lifestyles area about. We THINK about how we eat, and how we live, and are mindful in relation to our selves.

    So far as how our ancestors lived and ate ... I think we have a limited ability to determine that for sure. We do have some evidence, but then, we have "evidence" of things happening today also that turn out not to be the graven-in-stone thing we'd like them to be. That said, there have been instances of traces of grain found in teeth of our ancestors from achaeologic sites. We did eat some grains. However, they weren't the broad fields of GMO grains, readily available in nearly unlimited quantity, that we have today. You can't compare dem apples to ours.

    When you're thinking about lifespans, the studies I've seen have indicated that they lived pretty much the same amount of time we do ... except they had to deal with things that wanted to eat them, and if they escaped actually being eaten, their lifestyle was such that injury and the subsequent infections took a much greater toll than we suffer today. If not for those aspects, they lived pretty much as we do.

    I don't want to start a theological debate ... But referencing your comments on biblical history, it's my belief that you can't (or shouldn't) take that language literally. It's not the language the book was written in, it's not the culture it was delivered into ... who knows if "bread" was meant to actually mean a loaf as we know it ... or if perhaps the original word should have been translated as "basic sustenance". That puts a bit of a twist on it.

    When considering the brothers, and that one was a hunter and the other an agriculturist ... perhaps that metaphorically intends that we are meant to be the omnivores that we are. The faith and culture those words came from (which wasn't Christianity at the time - there WAS no Christianity at the time!) taught in many metaphors and parables. That makes them no less real or relevant. But it does open some space for speculation. Jus' sayin'.

    But back to the "diet".
    You made a mention somewhere there that this isn't something you'll have to do "forever", and that you can go back to the carbs when you achieve your goal. If that's your plan, you may as well just devise some alternate strategy right now. This is a lifestyle. You don't "go back". Ever. Honestly, once it becomes natural to you, you won't want to. But if you're approaching it with that mindset, it isn't going to work. Yes, if you just mean that you will be able to raise your carb intake to whatever is prudent (not necessarily desirable) for YOU, then you're absolutely right. But in the beginning, you need to try to keep those values low, until your body and metabolism converts. It sounds like that's happening for you. But never think of this as a "diet" as most people think of diets. It's not like that.

    You've already made great strides in cutting out processed foods and most grains and legumes and "junk". Those empty calories go nowhere but on your hips! LOL I believe, if I remember correctly, that the primary issue with legumes (other than they're full of carbs) is the toxins in the ones we produce today. They wouldn't have been anywhere near as widespread in ancient times as they are now, so even if they WERE not the best food choices then, they weren't available in significant quantity to cause the irritations we get from eating the volume of them available to us today.

    In re your wonderment about dairy ... some proponenents do permit dairy, at least of some sorts. Most of those will say that fermented or aged sorts are okay in moderation. I eat cheese, and yogurt, both in moderation. I'm not a milk fanatic, so I don't drink milk ... but I do use plenty of whole milk and heavy cream in cooking. All of those things I buy pastured at every opportunity because of the omega ratios. I guess it depends on what plan you're following and especially your own body's ability to process dairy.

    It can be really hard to let go of old habits, especially when you've been instructed as to their correctness. I know there are plenty on low carb who still count calories. And I agree, there is value to knowing the in-vs-out amount you're expending. But there are just as many (myself included) who NEVER look at their calorie count. I do have a connection with calories, since when I set up my tracker to watch my percentages of fat-protein-carbs, I had to use my intended daily calorie allotment to create those values. But I don't check the graphs and charts on calories, only those three. If you're focusing on calories to a degree greater than that, I'm not sure it's likely to be of any critical value. It's hard, in the weightloss world, to stop thinking in ways we've always done, and that are still being recommended. But this is a wholly new perspective, at least in current awareness (it's been known in progressive medical circles for quite a while). It's just a challenge to reorient your thinking. It sounds like you're doing pretty well, though ... and great that you're doing the research and actually thinking about it and applying it to your life and your body!

    Keep going as you're doing. You'll find your perfect path, and things will just fall into place.

    I can't speculate on your "hot" issue. I will interject, though ... you don't say how old you are. -g- Maybe there's some connection with age? Not ALL hot flashes are "power surges"! lol
    2167 days ago
    I have a friend doing the whole paleo thing and she absolutely loves it and is losing. I know it is not for me but if it works for you and my friend then that is emoticon
    2167 days ago
    LOL! I am confused... no wonder you had to blog all that! I say, whatever WORKS for you do that, when it stops working, try something else! :)
    2167 days ago
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