Encourage A Paleo Ecosystem

How do you get the whole family to participate in the magic that is paleo?

If you’ve been a follower of the paleo diet or in fact have tried any other way of eating for any length of time, you have more than likely come across some sort of friction between your family and yourself when it comes to dietary choices.

Most of the time this friction will occur where your choices in food is out of the ordinary. No bread, pasta or sugar in your food will probably get some sort of response from most people who eat according to a western style diet. Some people will worry about you not getting enough carbohydrates, or that your fat intake is going to destroy your waistline, or that your cholesterol is going to turn your heart nuclear.

None of these worries are founded in proper wisdom, and whether you like it or not it will become your responsibility to educate those you care about on the troubles of eating high carbohydrate diets based heavily in grains.

Don’t worry too much though, you don’t have to take the responsibility as seriously as you may imagine. It is more a guiding hand sort of responsibility than ruling with an iron fist. At the end of the day, it is each person’s responsibility to make the right decisions when it comes to what you eat, how you exercise and how you view and embrace health.

primal_family_cooking

Making a game of food buying

Why not take the kids to the store and make a game of the actual food buying process?

This time is a good place to teach your children, no matter the age, what healthy food looks, smells and feels like. Let them touch the fruits and vegetables on display and decide which ones are their favourites. Avoid the aisles that are psychologically designed to feed into what a child is exposed to. Giant, happy, friendly cartoon characters punting sugary, basically poisonous breakfast cereals which are void of any nutritional value. These foods are designed to get a child to eat them, get addicted to them, and ultimately contribute to that child’s understanding of what makes up basic nutrition. 

This is wrong to me. I think that if there were no breakfast cereals available people would instantly be healthier

Especially children.

A simple way of getting the little people to buy into the food buying game is to allow them some freedom to learn what they like. Allow them to choose one food that will go towards making dinner, for example. Try and keep to the healthy areas, and encourage them to make better decisions. Allow them to choose whatever they like, but if they make an obviously bad choice, say, bread rolls smothered in cheese, guide their focus to something more nutritious. Sweet potatoes perhaps.

Feed their senses

This step is not only limited to the little members of your family, but the old too. Farmers markets are much more vibrant and colourful than a supermarket, and give a more “real” representation of what good food actually is. Wether its hand selecting vegetables or asking for specific cuts of meat, the experience is engaging and attractive.

Make it a mission

Outlining goals for a shopping trip keeps kids engaged and lets them take responsibility for what they eat, and consequently you eat too. Allow your kids to choose foods based on requirements you need. “Two green vegetables and some meat please!”

Let them go out and find what they think would work well together and make dinner with what they bring back. It is a fun, simple and very rewarding experience  not to mention it totally changes the shopping experience for the little guys.

But don’t be militaristic

Remember that all of this is about having fun, spending time together and bonding. The beauty here is that you are instilling in your kids vital good nutrition making skills from an early age. It’s all about future proofing their health. Why not start on day one by associating pleasure with healthy foods.

Let everyone in the family contribute to dinner in simple ways. Don’t assign overly complicated tasks to people when they obviously aren’t interested in doing them. Fortunately, being paleo means not many peeling of vegetable jobs will be passed around like a hot potato. Keep the mood light and make it a family event rather than a chore.

This level of participation may only work for preparation, as certain dishes need only require one chef.

Get primal

Let everyone eat with their hands. This obviously works best if the food is actually hand friendly. Ribs, broccoli and chicken wings are great primal eating foods that carry with them a simple primal eating experience. Broccoli snaps in your mouth and the eating of ribs requires the use of some of your oldest teeth, the canines. If kids are involved who aren’t ready for this sort of eating, pre-prepare the food for their consumption and sit with them when you both eat the same food with your hands. There is no reason why the little ones can’t eat what the big ones are eating.

To me this is hugely important. I’d love to experiment with removing a level of “difference” between how kids and adults eat and see what sort of dynamic is would create between a family unit.

primal_family_life

 

It’s all about the fun

Foraging, preparing and eating foods in as real a way as possible will help ingrain some really great food principles in young ones, but I’ve found that even older people are ready to reexplore the food and nutrition parts of their lives. We are all human, and we all want to experience new and old things everyday.

Preparing food in the ways mentioned above is also a great way to help people understand just what goes into a tasty, healthy dish. What does fat do to a meal?  How does it change the flavour of a dish? What does it do to the texture of a meal?

Which fats are healthy?

This sort of learning experience happens naturally when the meals are simple and easy to see. What I mean is that with many western diet dishes such as pasta based meals the foods incorporated all sort of blend into one “food”. With a primal approach to the selection, preparation and cooking of foods, most foods retain their original form. This makes it clear that each food has its place and can open the door for explaining the nutritional differences between meat and vegetables for example.

Keep well,

Andrew The Caveman

 

How To Start Your Day

Waking up…

I don’t know about you, but since I’ve changed my life to a more paleo focused one I’ve had less trouble getting up in the morning. I’m often up at 6AM on the weekends to go mountain biking, and getting up during the week early is no problem either. However, sometimes we forget that the time after awakening from a restful slumber is prime time for some simple activities that will kick start your day. Morning rituals can help set the tone for the day and can even help ease the murkiness of a bad nights rest.

Expose Yourself


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I’m not talking about giving your neighbours a photo opportunity, but sleeping with windows open and allowing for natural light to wake you up will set your biological clock right every morning. Think about how your sleeping patterns change when you holiday somewhere away from cities, where natural light is more dominant than our artificial versions. I find that if there is natural light available I wake up much easier and earlier too.

I’m also a huge fan of allowing fresh air to wash over me while I sleep. I’ve woken up too many times in a sealed room where I’ve been the only method of air circulation for hours. Fresh air also helps to maintain temperatures if its hot. The only time this won’t work is when it’s snowing outside of course!

Quench Your Thirst

primal_hydration

Notice how I don’t mention “hydrate” or “make sure you drink x amount of water”. There really is no golden rule of  hydration. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is pretty unnecessary. Try to judge how thirsty you are by well, how thirsty you are! I’ve noticed that one or two glasses as I wake up is a good start to the day. I probably average around 4-5 glasses of water a day in the summer, and less in the winter months. Some days I am more thirsty than others, and if I’m going to be exercising the following morning I’ll try increase my hydration efforts before I go to bed. This seems to make the biggest difference when the following day is a really hot one.

I’d recommend waking up and drinking a glass of water to quench your thirst, thereafter decide whether or not you want that good old cup of coffee.

Get Some Outdoor Time

primal_outdoors

If you can, wake up earlier and go outside for a while before starting the nitty-gritty of the day. Greet the day by exposing yourself to some glorious rays of sunshine and your day will improve drastically. I’ve started implementing this simple step in my day and I’ve felt really great as a result. Also, the sun is your best source of vitamin D, so why not get the highest quality available? You’ll need around 15 minutes of solid exposure to the sun with as much skin exposed as possible to really benefit from this.

If you love your morning coffee, why not enjoy it outside?

Get The Heart Going

primal_pushup

Waking up to some exercise, no matter what it is will be beneficial in more ways than you could imagine. A simple, single set of pushups will get the heart pumping and wake you up, focus you and provide a great sense of accomplishment. Why not start your day with a bang?

Ideally, a slower workout would be better, unless you enjoy training for strength or sprinting in the morning. Having said that though, it’s the movement that counts. Your body just wants to move. If you have a hard time finding the motivation or the time to do workouts in the evenings then perhaps doing them after you wake up in the mornings is a real option for you.

Some mornings I’ll begin what I think is going to be a simple pushup routine, and end up doing an entire, full body workout. Remember, with crossfit principles a workout doesn’t need to be long at all to be effective, and more often than not its the short intense workouts that provide more benefit to the body.

Contemplate and Uncoil

primal_meditation

Meditation before tackling a particularly stressful day can do wonders for stress management and productivity. Now, don’t think that because I dropped the meditation bomb I’m talking about an incense filled, cross legged ritual pre-work. I like to just take a moment to think about what I’m thinking about. A classic way or focusing your thoughts and bringing yourself to yourself is to simply think about what you are going to think about next. I challenge you to actually give me an answer to that step. I’ve found that when I chase my thoughts in that way they dissipate and I feel an instant, whole body peace upon me.

This is a great way to get into focusing on what your mind is actually occupied with, and who knows, this simple process of waking up, contemplating and understanding your day and your minds reaction to it could produce some massively rewarding calm in your life.

Additionally, you could incorporate some tools like journalling or writing out your thoughts in an effort to externalise-to-internalise whatever is going on in your mind.

Feast

primal_feast

In my life food is pretty important. I’d actually say that it’s one of the things I’m most excited about, most of the time. I love food. I love nourishing my body.

Take the time to make an extra awesome paleo breakfast full of protein, fats and vegetables and you’ll have some great reward for the rest of the day. Why should you only look forward to a couple of meals a day when all of them can be as awesome as one another?

If you need some inspiration, try these out and see how they work for you. I love them.

Focus

primal_focus

Set the tune of the day by allowing the mind to drift amongst its to-do-list. Allow some drifting time to notice what you are really stressed about, and then hone in your ability to fix or complete these tasks. Over time, you’ll become so in tune with what you are really stressing about that you’ll have the power to turn on and off focus at will.

Get Together

primal_family

If you live with family, enjoy breakfast and some chit chat before everyone goes their separate ways and conquers the day. Don’t live with family, or anyone for that matter? No sweat, meet up with a friend for a cup of coffee or call someone. It’s about managing the stress of the morning while still allowing yourself and others to be human with one another. Underneath all of the stress and life-missions everyone has we are all still social creatures looking for love.

Keep well,

Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance Of Finding A Good Paleo Diet Guide

Lately I’ve encountered quite a bit of questioning and in some cases, interrogation when it comes to the paleo diet and why I follow it so proudly. Most of the time people are intrigued by what it means to live free from grains, low quality food and sugar. I find it interesting how so many people focus on what it the paleo diet excludes when it comes to food choices, rather than asking about what the diet actually does for a person.

Often, enlightening people to the benefits of the paleo diet results in them becoming genuinely interested and eager to learn. Others seem to view good health filled with easy weight control, no illness and solid muscle gains as something utopian and out of reach.

This is obviously as far from the truth as possible. A simple Google will result in many, many paleo success stories. Some people have overcome serious illness and diseases and others have lost tons of excess body weight. The beuty of the paleo diet and the primal movement is that the course that these people have followed is available to all. You don’t have to be a special case to benefit from the paleo diet. Even underweight, unhealthy hardcore vegans have recovered their health by following the simple core concepts of the paleo diet.

paleo diet guide
We should all be aiming to learn and teach at the same time

The importance of having a good paleo diet guide at hand…

There are many guides out there on how to eat according to the paleo diet. Each one might be “sold” to you at a different angle, although they will probably be quite similar. While the fundamentals of paleo are easy for anyone to grasp if taught correctly, the nitty-gritty information that you need to really make the changes stick require something more. I’ve found that the more I speak to people about paleo, the more I realise that once you’ve crossed over into this magical, fat-filled world of health and massive energy you forget just how far behind (that sounds really harsh) some people are in their dietary evolution.

For most newbies to the diet, I find that they are still shocked at the fact that a diet exists where there is no allowance for grains of any kind. I’ve ranted on before about how grains are so, excuse me, ingrained into our society. It seems that even the doctors are prescribing people with conditions instigated by poor nutrition bread and legumes as go to meal bases. Not cool, society, not cool at all.

It is for this reason that I actually started writing How To Paleo. I wanted to be able to give people unfamiliar with the paleo diet who already had some sense of “health” a  great guide on how to correctly apply paleo principles to their lives. If you are going to offer advice to people, it should be of a high quality and should be usable by other people. 

If you’ve got friends who are paleo and are loving it and have had some good success, I encourage you to pick their brains about what makes the diet so great for them. What about the paleo lifestyle is it that gets them so committed to health and taking hold of the condition of their bodies. It is these sorts of people who will teach you more about what it is like to live a primal existence than anyone else will, online or otherwise.

Finding great resources online is also very important. I’ve yet to see some explicite paleo focused books in book stores, but then again, I’m rarely actually in book stores in the first place. My point is that you are probably going to find some of the best information on the Internet, and there are some really great sources available. Paleohacks.com is one of my favourites, as well as the cavemanforum and of course Mark Sisson’s very own forum.

Each of those three resources has taught me an immense amount about paleo and learning from others. Some people talk about paleo on a real holistic level, where others will go in to the most minute details imaginable.

Everyone who has experience in something can teach others about it.

Please excuse the perhaps ranty nature of this post, but I’ve been thinking about it’s topic for quite some time and just in the past few days I’ve had multiple conversations where my words had a resounding “Ah, that’s interesting” moment with people.

Keep paleo, and pass on your awesome knowledge to others!

Andrew.

Smoked Foods and Paleo, Toss It In The Fire?

How does smoked food tie into the paleo diet?

The paleo diet allows for many different cooking methods, steaming, boiling, frying (in good fats of course), roasting and open flame cooking. There are many ways to cook food so that it is safe to eat and delicious. However, smoking food always seems to get a bad rap. Is it because its name associates itself with burning? Perhaps the burning of food? 

I don’t think so…

Smoking certain foods can actually benefit their nutritional profiles. Take for example salmon. Provided the temperature of the smoke and its associated heat is below 95 degrees Celcius, it appears as though the Omega-3’s found in our favoured fishy friends actually become more stable, and because of that I’m assuming more bio-available, too. I’m not sure how our cavemen ancestors discovered smoking food, but it is historically one of the oldest methods of preserving foods.

paleo-smoked-food
Modern cave smoked salmon…

I think that much like that old saying “It’s not that the wind is blowing, it’s what the wind is blowing” applies to smoking food as well. Most mass produced smoked foods, such as smoked salmon, are probably smoked with whatever is available to burn. Saw dust is a common smoking fuel source, presumably because it’s cheap and burns well. What you really want though is a wood source that is as pure as possible and that won’t alter the flavour of the fish past what will already change as a result of the actual smoking. Sounds tricky, but in reality all this requires is some wood which is easy enough to burn so that it smokes, but not full of pesticides and that sort of thing.

Our ancestors, and in this instance Native American Indians used to expose meat and fish to smoke and the air at the same time. This basically dried out the meat and preserved it for future eating slightly. Strictly speaking, meat “cooked” in this way actually doesn’t cook at all, as heat levels are actually pretty low. Smoke has an effect on foods where it “coats” its surface with antioxidant containing phenolic compounds. These phenolics help prevent meat going rancid and also enhance its nutritional value somewhat.

Quite smart, our ancestors were. That is of course assuming that our common cavemen ancestors were indeed smoking foods. Regardless, it is a huge part of many different cultures cuisine and is simple, resource efficient and necessary for survival in certain situations, such as surviving winter or a drought.

How to ensure smoked foods are as paleo as possible

I’d recommend ensuring that if you do buy smoked foods that they are smoked using real wood and not synthetic or other methods. I’m sure there are some really horrible chemical methods that are used to smoke large amounts of foodstuff, and that is scary.

Keep well!

Andrew

Guest Post: Achieve Optimal Health and Wellness with Paleo Meals

Paleo diet is popular known as caveman diet. It contains natural foods which help in maintaining good health and physique.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, fish etc. Helps in building a perfect body. You need to focus on diet with high proteins and low carbohydrates.

Achieve Optimal Health and Wellness with Paleo Meals

Change your lifestyle with Paleo diet. You can enjoy nature food and can achieve great health. This diet includes eating nutritious, contemporary foods. This diet dates back to Palaeolithic era, where our hunt-gathered ancestors used to collect natural foods from nature. Research conducted by Loren Cordain states that people who eat this diet will be free from chronic illness and other western diseases like :

  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type2 diabetes
  • Myopia
  • Gout
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Glaucoma
  • Osteoporosis
  • Autoimmune disease

Elements present in paleo diet include:

  • Fresh meat of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, game meat
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Fruits vegetables
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Healthy oils like olive, coconut, avocado, Macadamia, walnuts and flax-seed.

It will not include dairy food, legumes, refined sugars, processed food, and cereal grains.

Health benefits: This food optimises your health and reduces the risk of deadly diseases as it contains :

  • High proteins: western diet contains 15% of calories whereas Paleo diet contains 19-35% protein levels. Meat and seafood contain rich proteins.
  • Low carbohydrates: fruits and vegetables are the rich source of carbohydrates. Low glycaemic present in these foods will not point   blood sugar levels and helps in easy digestion.
  • High fibre: Fibre is an essential element that helps in building healthy body. Studies says that non-starchy vegetables contains high fibre compared to whole grains and refined grains.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fats: Not all fats increase the risk of cholesterol levels, heart diseases and type2 diabetes. Concentrate on healthy fats which don’t increase your body weight. For instance take monounsaturated and omega-3 fats. Eliminate Tran’s fats and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats from your diet.
  • Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals: Vitamins and minerals are the essential elements for building a healthy body. Reduce the intake of whole grains. B vitamins present in whole grains will make the digestion complex.

Tips to make paleo diet as your lifestyle:

  • Breakfast: For breakfast prefer omelette. You can include other elements like
    • Sauté onion
    • Mushrooms
    • Broccoli
    • Turkey
    • Free-range eggs
  • Lunch: Paleo lunch is very easy to cook. Prepare a salad which contains
    • Spinach
    • Radishes
    • Bell peppers
    • Cucumber
    • Carrot
    • Avocados
    • Walnuts
    • Almonds
    • Sliced apples.
  • Dinner: Substitute your pasta dishes with spaghetti squash. Add meatballs, pesto, and marinara to make it a tasty food.
    • Make roasted beets as a side dish for pork.
    • Prepare a desert with berries and succulent fruits
    • Quick Paleo meals include steak& eggs, chicken fajitas, liver& onions, spinach & mushroom casserole, baked salmon, chicken & zucchini hot salad, canned salmon salad, garlic mussels, pork chops.

Follow this healthy lifestyle and stay healthy. These foods benefit a lot to the body as they are free from toxic foods like grains, legumes, sodas, candies, dairy products. It enhances your immune system. It is a great food for people who want to lose their weight in a healthy manner.

About the Guest Author:

My name is Evita.  I am a tech writer from UK.  I am into Finance. At present I am focusing on  ppi claims . Catch me @financeport

Mastering The 30-Day Challenge

What is a 30-day challenge?

A 30 day challenge is a challenge you create and push yourself to conquer. For  example, sugar free February could be one. All you have to do is not eat sugar (within reason) for a 30-day period. These challenges can be created simply by focusing on areas in your life which you currently don’t have such a great hold on at the moment. Diet, lifestyle, even habits, all can be “treated” by building a 30 day challenge for them.

Personally, I’ve made great progress in my health and fitness by implementing a 30-day challenge for a particular “thing” I wanted to deal with. Sugar Free November last year resulted in me losing an easy 11lbs, as well as altering the way I taste foods which are sugary (such as fruit) and even the occasional piece of chocolate. Everything tastes different now. I began to notice just how sweet some foods actually are.

Why a 30-day challenge?

I think that the concept of the the 30-day challenge works because it isn’t tolerant of any failure, it is over a long enough duration that it could make permanent change without being too short to not make you aware of how important it could actually be for you. Thirty days is around one month, a sizeable chunk of time, but not too much to handle. It is amazing just what you can overcome or change in your life in 30 days (or less), and I think that at a core level the fun factor of the experiment is what really drives me.

I also believe that if a 30-day challenge is used for nutritional, health or dietary purposes, thirty days really is a good amount of time to track changes and to allow the body to actually change. Think about trying to promote a state of ketosis: You need to allow a certain amount of time after reducing your carbohydrate intake (to around 50-100 grams per day) to really reach a ketogenic state of all natural fat burning. The same can be said for my Sugar Free November 30-Day Challenge last year, I really only weighed myself at the end of the 30 days and sw that I had lost the weight I had. I am not overweight and the loss really surprised me. It was the first time in quite a while that I dropped down to below 90Kgs/198lbs. All from a simple 30-day challenge.

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30-day challenge rules

Yup, as with any challenge, there are going to be some governing rules. Luckily, there are few rules for a 30-day challenge:

  1. A 30-day challenge has zero tolerance for cheating or breaking the rules. If you do cheat or give in (eat a forbidden food) etc. you start from day 1 of the challenge again.
  2. Be realistic, but not in a way that is limiting. Be creative and bold about your challenge. Choose something that other’s may deem impossible.
  3. Be ruthless. If you are required to label read everything you eat, do so. If you are required to only turn left, make sure you plan your route to work in advance. (Just kidding about the last one, haha. That would be a crazy challenge!)

That’s it really. Remember that the goal here is not to just make it to 30-days, it is to overcome whatever it was that was an issue for you. That’s not to say that you should only make challenges for problems or issues in your life, I can see some great uses for 30-day challenges not born out of frustration or the need for remedy.

I’m going to be building a 30-Day Challenge Playbook soon, and it will aid you in identifying something which you could make into a challenge, how you can get through the sticky days and what you should focus on after you’ve completed a successful challenge.

 

Here’s to an awesome 2013!

Keep well everyone!

Andrew

Merry Christmas!

We Wish You A Merry Paleo Christmas!

So it’s almost Christmas day, and I bet you’ve been eating a whole array of foods and perhaps doing activities which are less than paleo. Come on, admit it, you’ve slipped a bit, we all have, myself included.

It’s a tough feat having to deal with foods which aren’t paleo that are available during the festive period.

“Would you like some mashed potatoes?”

“No thanks!”

“How about some stuffed turkey?”

“What is it stuffed with?”

“Bread and good stuff!”

“Err, no thanks!”

paleo-christmas
Not exactly paleo!

 

Your’s may have not gone exactly like that, but I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar. Personally, I’ve had to skip or persevere through a meal containing mayonnaise, rice, potatoes and cheese. As you may imagine, my stomach has not been happy.

On the up side however, I’ve been able to make heaps of guacamole and some huge salads. I like to think of these foods in this case as rather than normal foods, they are damage control remedies now. It may seem like a backwards way of eating, almost reminiscent of a “diet” plan or something like calorie counting or food block eating would recommend, and now that I’ve typed that out I guess many diets are like that. That is quite a realisation actually! Are “normal” diets really just damage control diets? Instead of actually treating the causes of problems associated with bad foods (read: non-paleo foods), these diets merely treat the symptoms of said problems. Not the greatest way of doing business I’m afraid.

It’s an interesting topic of discussion in fact; how paleo seems to go right back to the starting point and encourage a diet full of high nutritive value, easy to eat, delicious foods that the body knows exactly what to do with. I think that this is one of the biggest plus points of paleo and how it can positively and in some cases, revolutionise change someone’s life. It changed mine!

So if you’ve got any Christmas paleo stories, please feel free to share them.

Merry Christmas!

PS: I’ve decreased the price of my book for the festive season. If you haven’t checked it out. Please take a look at the sales page or our facebook page! And if you like what you see, grab yourself a discounted copy and like PaleoMunch! on facebook! 😀

Keep well,
Andrew

How Paleo Helps You Sleep

Paleo And Effective Sleep

Everyone knows the effects of a good or bad nights sleep. If you’ve ever had to survive a day with a low amount of sleep, you know that it takes a real beating on your body and your mind. Worse yet, these “sleep hangovers” seem to linger for days after an all nighter or a bad night’s sleep.

Bad sleep, sadly, isn’t always attributed to a late night. There are various factors which can influence how we sleep, and some of them are totally within your control and can be changed starting right now.

Light is your friend, but also your enemy…

It is important that you get your daily fix of light everyday. Ideally, this should be natural light, and that means only light from that big burning fireball in the sky. (Nice caveman reference there… haha) Realistically, this is near impossible, unless you live in a cave or live most of your life camping outdoors. Sadly, this isn’t a possible lifestyle for all of us, but it is ideal.

Our exposure to light doesn’t need to be excessive, but it is required. Roughly 20 minutes of direct sunlight will not only produce a significant amount of vitamin d in the skin, but it will also make you feel good. I for one feel energised and recharged after a quick, 15-25 minute sunbath.

The flipside is that because we are so dependant on light as a species, needing it for vitamin d production and to light up objects for our eyes to see, we are particularly sensitive to it in a multitude of ways. What do you think is really happening when we lie in bed at night reading our smartphones? Our brains are hard wired to recognise light as a signal that day is upon us. When we show our brains light as we go to sleep we are basically telling them that instead of quietening down for the night, that they should wake up.

This obviously does not encourage effective, natural sleep patterns. And we probably repeat this bate and switch every night, forcing our brains to stay awake when all they want to do is drift off into dream land. The process which we are specifically affecting is our circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm in living organisms refers to something which repeats itself every so many hours. In humans’ case, this is generally a 24 hour cycle. When we look at artificial lights when there is no sunlight around, we effectively screw up our natural, circadian rhythms.


Our meddling doesn’t stop with light, we fool it with food, too…

Eating is also a powerful way to train the body to stick to certain circadian rhythms as well. Studies have shown that animals use eating as an effective way of programming their wake and sleep cycles. There is a reason animals rise as early as they do to feed; it is often necessary to survival. Some animals, such as bush babies have evolved super sensitive eyes in order to deal with their feeding habits.

If you aren’t sleeping well night after night, perhaps you are fooling your body into thinking that the best time for feeding is late at night. Try to eat earlier more frequently and see if it makes a difference to your sleeping habits. Paleo sleep shouldn’t be stressful, it should be as natural as possible and effortless.

If you are supplementing for vitamin d, try and take it in the morning if you aren’t getting any sunlight exposure. The body is used to “seeing” vitamin d in its system in the morning as an indication of the break of dawn, and by supplementing at late hours, our bodies are confused, and so our sleep is affected later on.

If you want to pump iron, keep it for the morning…

Exercising in the morning helps with many a bodily function. For one, our testosterone levels are at their highest point in the day. Not to mention, if you workout in the morning you get a spike of feel good hormones pumping right into your veins. Who doesn’t want a natural pick me up?

I look forward to doing my one set to failure push-ups every morning, and it works really well at clearing and focusing my thoughts, never mind waking me up.

I’ve experimented with working out at night and while sometimes it is exactly what I feel like doing, my sleep definitely suffers. This is probably due to me messing up my sleep routine, where the increased body temperature associated with exercise puts my circadian cycle out of whack. Our paleo ancestors probably did most of their heavy lifting in the morning as well.

We aren’t getting enough sleep, paleo lifestyle or otherwise…

This may seem ridiculously obvious, but the less sleep you routinely get, the worse you are going to sleep overall. If you are routinely pushing the limits of your staying awake ability, you are going to be filling the “bad sleep” jar very quickly. The analogy of a piggy bank is actually quite an effective one. If you imagine that for each compromised night’s sleep you deposit one dollar into the piggy. Every time you get a good night of sleep you take one dollar out. That paints quite an effective picture of what it takes to maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

I think that if we focus on what it takes to wake us up, we might workout what it takes to allow us to sleep properly. Less light at night, workouts and feeding in the early morning, and making sure we act like our ancestors may have should afford us with health, effective and super restful nights.

Thanks for reading,

Try get an early night tonight.

Andrew

 

 

Guest Post: Why I Chose a Raw Food Diet

Why I Chose Raw Food Diet

Food is integral for living that is why it is one of our very basic needs. But what if food started to control you instead of the other way around? It’s hard to admit that I am one of those who were enslaved by food which really contributed to my then unhealthy lifestyle. For over a decade now I let my hunger pangs and food cravings rule over me. And this decade long ‘love affair’ with unhealthy food led me to become overweight to the point of being almost obese. I was very heavy back then and this really affected my life in all its aspects. I became more sedentary and had a hard time keeping up with regular exercise activity; even a leisurely walk would tire me so easily. And because of my excess ‘baggage’ (weight) I resorted to being introverted. There were a lot of times that I had to say no to parties and most social gatherings and what’s really harder to admit is that I am starting to lose my self-esteem and self-confidence.

Living this way for quite some time can really bring a toll on my body. I started complaining about muscle aches, joint pains and other sorts of pains. I even had difficulty standing up, can’t no longer play some rough house with the kids. Even the simple act of going down and up a flight of stairs in our home had become a tedious task. I spent countless unproductive hours in front of the TV munching my favorite large pack of chips with a few liters of soda- this was my usual daily routine. Instead of spending quality bonding moment with my kids I’d rather sit and pass the time stuffing myself with junk foods. No wonder that my blood pressure was on an all-time high so thus my sugar blood level. On one occasion that I have to visit my doctor he had prescribed me some meds for my high blood pressure and strongly advised me to eat sensibly and cut down on my calorie intake and have some regular light exercises to reduce my chances of developing a heart disease and diabetes. With history of diabetes in the family I am a most likely to acquire this debilitating disease and that really hit me so hard right on the face. I lost my grandmother from diabetes when I was a child and she was quite young to perish just like that. I love my family and I have to do something about my unhealthy lifestyle and start a new lease on life. And that led me to think to change my diet for the better as my start to living healthy.

I read in some health magazine about Raw Food Diet, and immediately had a eureka moment. I started researching more about it and realized that I had nothing to lose but more good to gain in trying out this ideal diet plan. Raw food diet is basically simple, easy to follow and most of all it will not starve you like most diets around. I started eating unprocessed food, dried and fresh vegetables and fruits, freshly squeezed juices, and what amazes me it satisfied my hunger as well as my taste buds. I began with a 5 day diet plan which was very perfect in eliminating all the accumulated toxins within my body through years of eating abusively. There were even delicious recipes that I easily prepared at home- meal planning was very easy.

raw food diet
Certain foods such as broccoli should be cooked before being eaten as they are notoriously difficult to eat in raw form…

Within my second day of following the 5 day Raw Food diet plan I immediately felt some improvements. I have slowly gained back my energy and begun to feel lighter with each passing day. In the duration of Raw food diet I started to get back to exercising and began to appreciate what it is to be healthy again. And after finishing this amazing Raw food diet I noticed a sudden weight loss in terms of inches off my tummy and waist and felt that I am doing only the right thing. Raw food diet literally saved my life and my relationship with my family and kids are a lot better than ever before. I now have the energy to enjoy life and I regularly incorporate this effective Raw food diet plan as part of my improved lifestyle. There were a lot of changes and as far I am concerned these changes are for the better.

Eating more raw foods is now part of my daily meals and I intend to keep it that way knowing that I have an edge on living healthy. And for those of you who are into unhealthy lifestyle you should give this diet a try and see effective results immediately. It is a commitment to myself and I am very happy about the results that I had achieved and I am looking forward to more fruitful years ahead.

Michelle is a writer for My Food, a specialist in the raw food diet among others.

Guest Post: Grass-Fed Beef and My Paleo Diet

Grass-Fed Beef and My Paleo Diet

Earlier this year I set out to modify the foods I ate to be in line with the Paleo Diet. After some research I found out that it should not have been too hard to change things up, all I had to do was cut as much carbohydrates out of my diet and start focusing on grass-fed beef that was pasture raised. Going beyond that, I had to round my diet out past grass-fed beef to include fish, organic vegetables, some fruit, mushrooms, roots and nuts.

I showed my wife a video on YouTube about the Paleolithic Diet so she’d better understand why I “wanted to eat like a caveman”. She was very supportive of my goal to loose weight (I was only 25 lb. overweight).

I asked my wife that the next time she went to the supermarket to buy pasture raised grass-fed beef, wild atlantic salmon, organic fruits and veggies and as many different nuts that she could find. We already were fungi enthusiasts so that was covered from the start.

Where’s the Beef?

When she came back from the store, she had everything but the meat. I said “where’s the beef?” She told me that our local supermarket was utterly void of grass-fed beef. The only thing available as an alternative was organic beef. I know that organic beef is not the same as grass-fed. Maybe all organic meant was that the cattle ate organic grain and corn from a feedlot. I knew that is not what this diet was all about. We went online and found a ranch that sells grass-fed beef and ordered an assortment of premium steaks. My list of foods was then complete.

Even though my wife couldn’t commit to cutting pasta, milk, bread, pancakes etc from her diet, I did commit and the results were measurable. My commitment to the Paleo Diet was to stick with it for 3 months and see what happened. We ate grass-fed steak the first night and continued eating pasture raised grass-fed meats and wild fish every night after that, it was awesome.

The Results of my Paleo Diet

Not long after I started, I noticed an increased level of energy. I was not sluggish when I woke up in the morning and I was not tired by 5 pm in the evenings like I used to be. Even more than that, bloated belly (I looked pregnant) started to slim down within 1 month after starting. I had to cut new holes in my belt because I was too cheap to buy a new belt. I actually used my belt to chart my progress. By the end I had cut 3 holes in my belt within my 3 month commitment.

It has been 7 months since I first started the diet and I no longer consider it to be temporary. Eating grass-fed beef, wild fish, organic vegetables, nuts and avoiding carbs now feels normal. I do not miss donuts or spaghetti or even refined sugar one bit. I lost the flab and actually feel like I can build muscle faster when eating like a hunter. I would not go back to the old ways if someone paid me.

Richie Coffman is a writer who lives on the front range of Colorado and is also a big supporter of pasture raised grass-fed beef.