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newbie paleo diet questions

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newbie paleo diet questions

Postby pippa8668 » Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:23 pm

hey everyone, i am a college student who has recently become interested in fitness and nutrition. I was looking for a workout to do on my off days from running (I am a new runner as well) and found simplefit. That was all easy enough, but then I discovered the recommendations for a paleo diet. I was intrigued, as I have just finished reading dr. fuhrman's book, eat to live, which agrees with the paleo diet in that it says no dairy and recommends composing your meals mostly from vegetables, fruits, and some nuts. however, the biggest difference is that it recommends eating beans, at least a cup a day but as many as you want, and no animal protein. he allows you one serving of complex starch a day, that is potato or whole grain bread or something. no white flour or sugar.

now i don't know what to think, I am trying in vain to lose weight, have been on a high vegetable diet now for a week and i have lost maybe 2 pounds, which was encouraging until i found your forum. i feel like i am being flooded with contradictory information. i am by no means a strict athlete, i am starting at level 1 of this simplefit program and I can barely run 30 minutes at once. but I am trying. can anyone give me some links, some sort of synopsis or explanation of why the paleo diet works? i can tell you, i would be so happy to eat eggs again!

sorry for the long, rambling post i feel a little overwhelmed but wanted to get my questions out there and introduce myself!
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Postby agoodlysize » Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:19 pm

The Paleo diet operates on the idea that evolution has not yet caught up with the way we live- that is to say, for a group of creatures who evolved hunting and foraging, our biology has not quite figured out how to digest the amount of grain that we generally eat. This is a fairly sound theory.

I would warn caution when switching diets, however. Jumping to full-scale Paleo overnight would put a great strain on your system, and though it might improve your workout results in the short term, there has not yet been sound long-term research on the health effects of high protein, low carb diets (look what became of the Atkin's diet). It is possible that the health benefits that hunter-gather groups whose diet Paleo is trying to replicate are actually derived from the high macronutrient rich soil that has been unstripped by irresponsible agricultural practices.

I would start simple. Cut out products that use high-fructose corn syrup (nearly everything), sugar and artificial sweeteners- diet soda causes the same weight gain that regular soda does. Eat a ton of non-starchy vegetables with every meal, limit your carbs to less than a third of your plate, and make sure you get a decent amount of protein and good fat (olive oil, avacados, etc). Really, cutting out sugar and watching portion size should get you pretty far if you are in college (depending on your body mass ratio).

Be wary of any diet that tells you to cut out anything completely. You have to find what works for you, and what changes that you can make long term. It's all about longevity.
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Postby pippa8668 » Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:30 pm

I have already mostly cut out foods with high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners (I only drink water and tea for the most part. hot chocolate when I can't resist)

I guess my problem is that I eat a lot of beans, thinking they are a good protein source, and little or no animal protein, not even eggs. Should I switch one for the other and eat eggs/meat instead of beans? I like beans, but I also miss eggs and fish (I am not much of a meat eater, although I don't mind it)
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Postby skustes » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:52 am

Meat and eggs are the original protein sources of mankind, with beans being relatively new additions. I wrote a post some time ago about this. Also take note that egg is the most biologically available protein available, hence why it is the reference to which other proteins are compared.

Beans as a whole have a great deal of antinutrients unless they are properly prepared.
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Postby Admin » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:37 am

Great info Scott! For those not familiar be sure to check out Scott's outstanding blog http://www.modernforager.com/
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Postby pippa8668 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:12 pm

That post is definitely informative in explaining what was the original protein source of mankind. But that doesn't explain why beans have low bio-availability of protein.

It is not that I am disagreeing, I am just looking for some sort of explanation as to why beans will not work as a protein source if eggs are not available at the dining hall, for instance. I guess you would then suggest that I eat meat as opposed to beans, but I just don't like most meat.
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Postby agoodlysize » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:46 pm

Scott, I really dig your blog; you've got a new reader! Mega-props for mentions of the value of eating locally and fresh (Joel Salatin FTW), as well as flexibility of view.

As for beans, they are a good source of protein, though not a complete source. It is true that they contain some anti-nutrients, such as phytates that inhibit the absorption of some minerals, but with proper preparation these can be minimized. While it is difficult, and I think silly to try get all your complete protein from plants it can, in fact, be done.

The fact is, meat is good. Really good. And it is nutrient dense and awesome for protein. But look to India and you'll find tons of alternate protein (dhal! chickpeas! SO GOOD). Most societies on the other side of the pacific eat a diet heavy in rice and soy and have the gumption, the GALL to live, on average, ten years longer than we do (to be fair, they eat a lot less than we do and a ton of it is omega-3 rich fishies and other wonderful seafood). Read, do your research, you'll be fine.
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Postby Admin » Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:14 am

one of the issues with beans as a protein source is the notion of bio availability, while many plants contain protein it is often encapsulated within plant cellular material we cannot break down.

The most important thing is what works for you, if you feel good and are getting the results you want with beans then go for it.
Last edited by Admin on Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby changeup » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:08 pm

One solution to get complete proteins and still eat beans etc.. is to add a small amount of meat/chicken fish to your bean dish. Your body absorbs more protein.
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Postby agoodlysize » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:23 am

In my opinion, beans aren't beans without a bit of pork.

:wink:
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Postby changeup » Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:52 pm

Absolutely!
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