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Paleo Feels Good



In the above image, I am pretty sure they are not thinking “oh I sure wish I had some plastic bottles of liquid food.”

The last perspective is less of a Paleo specific idea, but rather the final arbiter of what foods I eat and don’t eat. Generally speaking, it means “follow your gut,” but intelligently so.

It’s worth looking at other people and how often they go on and off diets. I have been doing paleo for 11 years and while I don’t consider my diet necessarily perfect, I tend to look for health improvements in other areas. Many people try “vegan diets” and go out of it. Many people try keto, which usually ends up being a stricter version of paleo and go out of it. Sometimes people do stick to pure keto or pure carnivore. Epilepsy sufferers in particular seem to benefit from keto. Somebody sticking to diet for a long time is a good sign it feels good to them. Every diet has some die-hard supporters, but be wary of something that has a low retention rate.

While others can provide somewhat of a guide, what about something feeling good to you? What foods look good to you? Do you ever look at a colorful salad and get “food envy”?

Once you understand the blue-print of paleo – such as eating what your ancestors ate, avoiding seeds and roots, you might have some questions about whether specific foods are good or bad for you and what combinations are best. This will be determined by a mix of your genetics, gut floura, food you are used to, what is available in your area, what your lifestyle is.

Once you have the above blue print, what is the method to modify it to suit you more specifically? And how do you know it’s working?

The first step is to try to be pretty strict for 3 months or so, eliminating all known allergens, including alcohol. In my experience after 3 months, I was no longer having cravings for a lot of non-paleo food.

The second step is slowly relax your constraints, watch carefully what you eat and note how it makes you feel. Food frequently has a particular feel to it in the first hour after eating, a few hours later and the next day. You can try to do a food diary recording everything, or you can try to note whenever you feel “bad”, such as “low-energy” or “food coma” or general sadness and note which foods you have eaten in the last day or so. More often than not you will find a “culprit” such as either a break from the diet or a food you determined is ok to eat occasionally, such as rice or chocolate that you had a bit too much of. Occasionally you might note that you could be lacking a food you normally eat. Maybe you are lacking a certain food as well. Perhaps you needed a small amount of fresh veggies or a magnesium supplement. Maybe it has not been very sunny, so you actually need some milk or a vitamin d supplement.

This method is similar to the “Elimination Diet”. I generally like their method, however the prior knowledge of elimination diet is not as strict as I would like. One should assume that non-paleo foods are likely bad for you and paleo foods are good as long as you have the proper variety.

You might say that this suddenly seems a lot like a diet which says “eat what you like.” Well, not exactly the main difference that “eat what you like” has from my method is the understanding that food may take up to a day or more to have a noticeable impact on one’s mood. Also, the expectation of what food might be good is not as reliable as what food has had a good impact in the past. Expectations of what might be good are usually related more to the macros rather than specific foods. If you want ice cream you might be lacking fat and can use some eggs and bacon instead.

The general argument here is that after using the prior information of paleo, you can understand your specific use case by getting in touch with your body’s reactions to food. Generally speaking, my guess is that if you are careful enough you will not deviate from the priors that much. However individual experience is an important way to navigate food.

One of my favorite arguments for the paleo diet is less of an argument and more of a guideline of how to try it and see / feel it for yourself.

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