The Paleo Secret 30 Day Challenge
(This is Chris…he changed his diet for 30 days, lost 6.4 lbs, and 5.7% body fat. He changed nothing with his exercise routine during this time and simply ate according to a whole food paleo type template)
Interested in losing weight, improving health or bettering your performance? Is your energy low, having digestive issues, or skin problems? Looking to reverse type II diabetes, decrease your chances of having heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Or do you just generally want to optimize your health and sense of well being? Then you are at the right place!
The Paleo Secret invites you, your family, friends and co-workers to take part in a 30-day challenge beginning on the 1st of new year! We are looking for people who are committed to bettering their health and changing their lives. Take time to familiarize yourself with this way of eating in the next couple weeks. Clean out your fridge and your pantry. Find out where you can get quality foods (stores and farmer’s markets).
We are also asking for people to take before and after pictures. You can take it a step further and record your pre and post weight, body fat measurements and/or do blood panels to chart progress. We want you to tell us about your experience and your stories. Please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to post these results on our blog with your permission to continue to inspire people. This stuff works…now you just have to do it!
Here’s the deal…
For 30 days straight eat quality meat, vegetables, a little nuts & seeds, a little fruit, and consume healthy fats while avoiding sugar, grains, legumes and dairy. Try to eat a quality protein and fat at every meal. Get rid of all processed and refined foods and get back to the basics. Drink lots of water and do a little movement. Be sure to keep stress levels low, sleep well and get some sun. For more detailed and guided information GO HERE. It’s so simple but SO effective!
Why does this work so well?
You will be maximizing nutrition and minimizing toxicity so you will dramatically reduce inflammation in your body. Inflammation plays a part in all diseases from obesity, to cancer, heart disease, arthritis and so on. From a dietary perspective, it comes largely from poor quality foods with lots of chemicals, preservatives, toxic oils, and sugar. These are foods we’ve been conditioned to eat and refer to as “food”…. but it’s not food, it’s poison and it’s been weighing (no pun intended) you down! You won’t be touching any of that stuff!
You will be consuming significantly less sugar than you would be with a Standard American Diet since you are taking out sodas, juices, grains, artificial sweeteners, and foods labeled as “low fat” and “heart healthy” that just have loads of sugar. In doing so, you will have much more stable blood sugar levels. Your body will transition from getting its energy from sugar to getting its energy from fat meaning you will become a fat burner as opposed to a sugar burner. This is where people start to see amazing results.
You will no longer be eating foods that are gut irritants such as processed & refined foods, grains, legumes and conventional dairy. This will allow you to better be able to breakdown and properly absorb food so your body gets all the nutrients and vitamins it needs and was designed for. Your gut will also begin repair itself from the damage it’s taken from (for most people) a lifetime of processed and refined foods it was never intended for. This allows the gut barrier to better be able to tell what needs to pass through the intestinal lining and into the blood stream (vital nutrients and building blocks) and what is not needed and will be discarded as waste. Gut health is the key to building a strong immune system!
Frequently asked questions
What’s up with beans? Why can’t I have those? When we say beans we are referring to hard shell beans such as black beans, pinto beans, etc. These beans have some gut irritation potential and can hinder digestion. Green beans, and peas for example are ok. Just remember hard shell is bad, soft shell (or a pod) is ok.
What if I can’t buy all organic vegetables or grass-fed meat? Do the best you can with what you have available. We understand there are cost limitations with everyone and not all areas of the country have farmers markets close by, but just do the best you can. You can order grass-fed meat from US Wellness Meats. You will still see excellent results with conventional meat, veggies and a little fruit but you will see even more amazing results with grass-fed meats and local/organic veggies. Do the best you can and make food quality a priority over fancy clothes, big houses, and expensive cars….make that stuff secondary!
What fats should I use? Go here for a run down on what fats to use and when to use them. This is extremely important! You can go a LONG way with coconut oil, grass-fed pastured butter and olive oil. Also, don’t be afraid of fat…you can be fairly liberal here! One area people go wrong with making this transition is they don’t consume enough fat and crash because they’re not getting enough energy. Eat fat!
How many calories should I be eating everyday? Don’t worry about counting calories as it’s not the quantity of calories that matter but rather the quality of those calories. Eat until you are satisfied then pause and wait a little bit to see if you are still hungry. If you are still hungry then we encourage you to go back to protein or fat rather than fruit because it’s much more satiating and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar like fruit will. It’s hard to overeat with this way of eating because the food is rich in fiber as opposed to processed and refined food which keeps you wanting more. Counting calories is not what’s important…it’s all about where those calories come from.
What about snacks? Most people don’t feel the need to constantly snack when they eat this way because you’ll be eating foods that normalize blood sugar. Most cravings and withdraws from food tend to stop when the body becomes adapted to burning fat. If you feel like you need something between meals we always suggest going back to protein and fat as opposed to fruit. Grass-fed jerky, properly prepared nuts & seeds, and avocados would all be good options. Another option that works for many people is simply cooking more food and eating the leftovers between meals.
Can I still drink coffee and booze? We know this is a deal breaker for many people but we also want to be up front here. If you want optimal results whether it be for health, fitness or losing weight then you should ditch the booze, as it can sabotage weight loss and healing for many people. On the same token though we know many people simply won’t take part in this if we take out the booze. A glass of red wine in the evening is sacred for many people so drink sparingly if you must.
If you do choose to consume alcohol, we recommend cutting out all the beer and sugary/fruity drinks and stick with clear booze. We like NorCal Margaritas made with tequila, but anything that is clear that doesn’t have added sugar of some sort is ok. Red wines (not sweet red wine) are fine but we suggest staying away from white wine because of the sugar content.
For the coffee, ditch all sweeteners (artificial or real)… as its all bad! You could drink it black or another option is to “bulletproof” your coffee by adding a tablespoon of grass-fed pastured butter and a tablespoon of coconut oil and mixing it in a blender. It’s amazing!
Again…with both coffee and alcohol we do suggest keeping consumption down to minimal levels, or removing them entirely for 30 days in order to get the best results. Remember this is about you and your health and fitness goals. We ask that you take this time to reset your health and your life and avoid over consuming things that are holding you down. Less booze and coffee are good, no booze and coffee are better…it’s up to you!
What about my cholesterol levels with eating all that meat and fat? Cholesterol and saturated fat have been made out to be the enemy. They are not! In fact, they are vital to the human body. We will be discussing more of this in our blog as there is not enough space here. If you need re-affirmation of this go here or here.
More importantly, if you have any general fear about this process then this needs to be addressed before you move forward. This is not going to work if you are having a near heart attack every time you eat red meat or butter because of your conditioned thinking. Removing grains is extremely safe (very healthy in fact) and your bones will not crumble if you don’t have milk. If you feel worry around this, it’s strongly recommended that you head over to our resources section HERE and educate yourself on the facts. We want you to feel comfortable and safe in this process. There is an incredible amount of new research coming out about what is right and wrong about our diet. Conventional thinking is largely incorrect and it will be a while before this message hits the mainstream. Humans once thought the world was flat;) These videos will help change your mindset when starting this venture…watch them and learn the truth!
Is this going to be hard? What am I going to feel? Change is not always easy for people especially when making changes to diet that have become habitual. Nearly everyone eating a Standard American Diet is addicted to sugar…yes…addicted! And if you haven’t noticed we are in the middle of a health crisis! Some people do experience fatigue, cravings and sugar withdraws in this transition. It all depends on how addicted and dependent your body is at operating on sugar as a fuel source. It can last anywhere from 3 to 14 days or so and we suggest you be prepared for that. We want to stress this again…if you are having cravings or withdraws always go back to protein and fat!
We also want to inform you of what we see in our careers as home health physical therapists and much of our motivation for starting this blog. Everyday we see cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and so on…..it’s the worst suffering imaginable….THAT’S HARD! Planning meals, cooking your own food, doing the dishes, drinking your coffee without sugar, doing a little movement and taking time for yourself is not hard. If you want to avoid the suffering that has become so common in our culture then it’s starts now with the food choices you make. This is about you doing something great for you…EARN IT! Think of it as health insurance but you get to reap the benefits of looking, feeling and performing better! The hardest part is getting started, once you do it’s easy. A new pathway is formulated in the neurological system with 21 days of consistency. We are asking for 30…you can do this! Create new habits!
Why is butter ok but dairy is not? First off…we are talking about grass-fed pastured butter of the highest quality, this is important! Butter is mostly fat and doesn’t have the insulin-spiking effect or the gut irritation potential that conventional dairy does. It’s also very high in CLA and omega 3s which is extremely beneficial to the body. Lastly…life is better with butter so keep calm and butter on:) If you suspect you have an intolerance to dairy you may want to cut it out initially and add it in later.
What about eating out? It’s a challenge, no doubt about it. Most restaurants always offer some version of meat and veggies on their menu. Get a piece of fish, chicken or steak with some veggies. You can assume that most restaurants are not using the best fats, highest quality meats or local organic veggies…as it’s a business for them. You can always make a request that your food be cooked in butter, because likely they are using a cheap, toxic vegetable oil. Ask to have either butter or olive oil added to your veggies. You can also call in advance and ask if they have a gluten-free menu. Gluten-free menus generally offer many meat and vegetable options. This is another area where we suggest not putting yourself in a bad situation. Be prepared and make good decisions….this is about your life! To avoid the chaos all together, we find it’s easiest to make your own lunches and do the needed research to find restaurants that offer whole, organic local food. These restaurants are out there and they will grow in numbers as long as we keep asking for it…..so…ask for it!
What if my family isn’t on board? Not everyone is ready to make the jump but you have to do what’s best for you…period! Don’t let the actions and opinions of others prevent you from moving forward. This is about YOU! From our experience when one makes the jump and realizes it’s not so bad…it then makes the jump that much easier for others. In other words BE THE CHANGE and notice how those around you will want to change as well. Be patient and see what happens.
How much protein should I eat? Everyone is going to be different here so it’s ultimately up to you to decide. We suggest starting out with .75-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. A palm sized portion of protein would also work. One thing we do want to mention about protein which is far more important than “how much” is to CHEW YOUR FOOD until it’s soup. Most people have gotten in the habit of “chew once, then swallow” from years and years of easily digested refined carbohydrates. That doesn’t work with dense protein sources such as beef, bison, chicken and fish. Your mouth produces vital digestive enzymes to help you break it down and aid digestion but none of this happens if you don’t chew your food…so chew it and CHEW SLOWLY!
What about soy? I always thought that was a health food? We all thought that because that’s what the food industry was selling us on. They spent a great deal of money trying to convince us of this once they had a surplus of soy. Go here for more info. Yes…Asians did/do eat soy but not near as much as Americans do ironically and they almost always ate fermented soy. The soy we are being fed from the food industry is highly processed, likely genetically modified and is nothing like fermented soy. Ditch it along with the idea that soy is a health food.
What if I have autoimmune issues? Is there anything different or special that I should do? Yes, glad you asked because this is important. Along with everything we have mentioned (quality protein, local organic veggies, good fats, no dairy, no grains, no legumes) those with autoimmune issues should stay away from all butter, eggs, and nightshades (potatos, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers (including bell peppers, hot peppers, and spices such as, paprika and chili powder)). Many of our recipes we share are nightshade free since Brenda cannot eat them. Do not eat nuts and seeds, and watch out for emulsifiers in foods…such as gaur gum, soy lecithin etc. It’s also important to limit the consumption of fruit, as all of those things can be gut irritants. Along with this, we suggest implementing homemade bone broth daily which can be extremely beneficial in healing the gut. Up to 80% of all autoimmune diseases can be traced back to poor gut health. This is a process of re-vitalizing the health of your gut by removing foods that could be problematic for the gut and introducing foods that can heal it. We suggest doing this for at least 60 days and see what happens to your symptoms. At the end of 60 days if you’d like to re-introduce some of these foods then do so, but take note of any symptoms that come back. You’re likely reacting to these foods and may need more time before you can bring them back into your diet. You may also need some further professional assistance to implement additional gut healing supplements/strategies. Be aware of how food makes you feel…this will help you do that.
Are there any supplements I should take? Before we give suggestions we have to say that you can never supplement your way out of a crappy diet…ever…it’s a universal law! Good eating practices are primary…supplements are way down the list. Also, most all of the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs will come from food. If you want the best nutrients for your body then you need to buy the best food at local farmers markets that are raised and grown in ethical, chemical-free ways. If however, you would like to get the maximum benefit for your health and well-being then we suggest the following:
Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO): provides fat-soluble vitamins A and D, rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docasahexaenoic acid (DHA). We recommend Green Pasture’s fermented cod liver oil because it is a high-quality super food AND we like it because it is not heated during the extraction process like most other fish oils. Fish oils are polyunsaturated oils and can be damaged with heat. FCLO is very high in beneficial omega 3 fats, which is critical since we have been consuming large amounts of omega 6 fat in the Standard American Diet. A poor omega 3/omega 6 imbalance leads to inflammation. Supplementing with cod liver oil, along with eating pastured butter, grass-fed meat, and wild-caught fish is a good way to fix this imbalance. Take 1-2 teaspoons of cod liver oil. For more information on the benefits of cod liver oil please go here.
Magnesium: Think of magnesium as a primer that allows you to better absorb all other vitamins and nutrients. It’s also critical in bone density. We hear a lot about calcium for bone density but calcium is not absorbed without magnesium. We are largely deficient in magnesium because it’s been stripped away from our top soil. It’s important in assisting with muscle and nerve function, supporting the immune system & regulating heart rhythm. The RDA for magnesium is 300-400mg but many people do well with 1,200-2000mg. Just be careful…it’s a potent laxative. For more info on magnesium please go here.
Vitamin D3: It’s more of a hormone than a vitamin and it’s vital in fat metabolism, insulin sensitivity, inflammation and in a number of other areas. Most everyone is deficient in Vit D and we are not getting enough from the sun as most people are inside all day under fluorescent light. About 2000-5000 IU’s of vitamin D is a safe level for most everyone but it’s always a good idea to get your vitamin D levels checked and see where you’re at as you may need more. For more information about vitamin D please go here.
*NOTE: If you are taking medications you may want to ask your doctor about any possible interactions with the above supplements
Wait…what the heck am I going to eat? Can you give me some examples? Absolutely….the thing is, you have already eaten this way! You just haven’t done it for 30 days straight with all the crappy food taken out of the diet. It takes a little more planning than pouring some milk over cereal, heating food in the microwave or opening a box of delivery pizza, but this is where you EARN IT! Get in the kitchen…it doesn’t have to be hard, the kitchen is actually a pretty cool place:)
- Breakfast: Smoothie with 2-3 eggs (with the yolk) Tbs of coconut oil, 1/2 cup coconut milk, half cup berries, pumpkin seeds, spinach
- Lunch: Chicken salad with spinach, carrots, beets, pumpkins seeds and home made dressing
- Dinner: Steak cooked over butter with sides of asparagus and carrots
- Breakfast: Quality grass-fed sausage (sugar free!) cooked with butter, half an apple and an avocado
- Lunch: grass-fed meat (ground) with a side of steamed veggies topped with olive oil (cook enough for 2 meals)
- Breakfast: Bacon & eggs cooked with coconut oil, half cup of grapes
- Lunch: (left overs) grass-fed meat (ground) with a side of steamed veggies topped with olive oil
Sweet! Does this mean I can have all the bacon I want? Well…that all depends on the source and quality of that bacon as not all bacon is created equal. Most bacon bought at the store is loaded with sugar, raised in a factory, fed grains, injected with hormones and given antibiotics. They also have lots of nitrates in them to preserve the bacon. This is not good for you, the pig or the environment so we do not suggest you go crazy on this type of bacon. If however you are buying your bacon from the farmer (usually referred to as pork belly) then you can be more liberal with bacon as it is chemical/hormone/antibiotic free and raised in a way that is healthy for the pig, you and the environment. It’s all about the source with everything! Keep this is mind.
What happens at the end of 30 days? Do what you want. It is up to you. Did you enjoy the experience? Are you looking, feeling and performing better? Has any pain or symptoms you had before gone away? If so then why would you stop? Make this a lifestyle…not just a diet. We suggest you keep going and further explore your own path to better health and well being. Your relationship with food is just the beginning of the rabbit hole…it goes deep my friends….VERY DEEP! Keep visiting this blog and we’ll take you there! Maybe it’s time to start an exercise program now that you are getting settled with dietary changes. Hate your job? Take the appropriate steps to better align yourself with your values? Do more of what makes you happy! We are waiting for your contributions of which we can all benefit from! Perhaps its taking time to “just be” and look within yourself. Are you stressed? Are you stuck in a bad relationship? Is there fear, resentment, or hate holding you back? We ask this because this has everything to do with your health and well-being and it’s time to become more aware and move forward. That time is now!
Is there anything else I should know about? We can’t harp enough on the importance of sleep. One night of sleep deprivation can make you insulin resistant and put you into fat STORING mode. For tips on sleeping go here.
Keep stress levels low…very low in fact. Don’t let a chaotic world and external circumstances invade your inner space. We suggest taking two 5-10 minute “peace periods” each day. Simply lay on your back, let go of all unnecessary tension in the shoulders, jaw, forward, chest and abdomen and breathe through your belly. Don’t think, just breathe…if you catch yourself thinking then calmly go back to the breath. This is a simple but extremely effective way to keep stress levels down throughout the day and encourage digestion. Make time for yourself! There is a great deal of stress in this world & dietary changes are stressful enough. This is critical stuff. Be calm in chaos! We can’t say that enough! Yoga and meditation are also very useful tools to aid in this process.
Also…rotate your foods. Try not to get in the habit of eating the same things everyday. Not only is it boring but any food that is over consumed can eventually become problematic and reactive to your body. Make this fun! Put some variety, color and art into your cooking! In order to make this lifestyle work for you it has to be enjoyable.
Keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all diet that works for everyone. We like to call our approach to eating a “paleo template or framework” with an emphasis on traditional, nutrient-dense foods. The typical “paleo” diet is a great place to start as it rids the body of toxic and gut-irritating foods. We advise people to go on a strict “paleo” diet for 30 days. The focus here must be on quality of food sources and educating yourself on how food effects the body. EVERYONE will benefit from eating QUALITY, REAL food…this is the foundation. EVERYONE will benefit from removing toxic foods: sugar, vegetable oils, processed foods, and conventional dairy. Once you have done this for 30 days, you may find you have to begin tweaking things to suit your individual needs. It is time to explore your relationship with food and how it effects you. Some people need more protein, some need less. Some people can’t handle nuts, some can. Some people react to other “paleo” foods and have to avoid them. You have to continue to listen to your body and become aware of how certain foods effect your body and overall energy.
Lastly…the term “paleo” has become somewhat of a marketing tactic. There are lots of recipes floating around the web with goodies such as pancakes, brownies, ice cream, etc.. that have been “paleofied.” These recipes have their place, especially for people that are highly reactive to certain foods. They taste amazing and so long as they call for the best quality ingredients then we are fine with them. During these 30 days however we ask that you avoid these “desert” foods as they still have sugar and will spike insulin levels. It’s important to take this time to step away from sugar and regain your sensitivity to insulin. Once you have completed the 30 days and more importantly once you are at your desired level of health an leanness then you can re-introduce these foods and see how you do with them.
One more thing! We are sharing this information because it has truly saved our lives. We feel it’s a message that everyone needs to know about…which is simply, eat real food as nature intended, fat is not the enemy, too much sugar is the enemy, “health food” was never healthy, and do more of what makes you happy…period. We don’t care what you call it…Paleo diet, Caveman diet, Weston A. Price Diet, Mickey Mouse diet…whatever…we just want people to get healthy and eat real food! We are here to get the word out and we would love your help in doing that. If you want to help with this, we ask that you submit before and after pics along with a testimonial from you about what this experience was like. It would also be beneficial if you were able to track before and after bio markers such as weight, body fat % and any blood work. This stuff works, the proof is in the experience and we want to let more people know about it. Please help us with this! We are putting together a testimonial page intended to help others move down this path and make the jump, so to speak. This is how change will happen and how we will get out of this health crisis. You can play a part…it starts with you and the choice you make right now! Get started today…. GO HERE!