Going Paleo? 5 Things You Need to Know.

lego caveman
“Alright, I’m in. Let’s do this Paleo thing.”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the Paleo Diet. Actually, if you’re living under a rock, you probably are doing a pretty good job at living a Paleo lifestyle…and I’m impressed you’re reading this.

Anyways! Today’s article isn’t going to dig into what the Paleo Diet is, as I’ve already covered that extensively in the “Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet,” which has been viewed over 9.5 million times.

And if you’re somebody that’s quick to point out “the Paleo diet is flawed for [insert some reason about cavemen eating something]” or because you read the China Study, check out our “Paleo Diet Debunked?” article, where we explain our stance on the diet (and why we’re fans).

Today’s article is for those people who have already decided they want to go Paleo or Paleo-ish, but aren’t quite sure what that means or how to officially get started.

We’ll dig into the different ways to go Paleo, if there’s a WRONG way to do it, what pitfalls to avoid, and how you can set yourself up for success.

Is there a Wrong Way to Go Paleo?

“But the big point of the Paleo Diet is that I can eat as much as I want as long as it’s Paleo right?”

For many people, the reason they’re choosing to go Paleo is because they want to lose weight, and have heard plenty of success stories. Heck, many of the success stories here on Nerd Fitness are from people who have done the same thing:

Saint

Staci

However, just as there’s a right way and a wrong way to start eating gluten free, and a right way and a wrong way to love somebody (thanks Keith Sweat!), there’s a right way and a wrong way to go Paleo.

The right way:  Focus on eating real foods (not processed crap), like protein, healthy fats, and plenty of vegetables.

The wrong way: Switching from normal cookies and pancakes to Paleo cookies and pancakes. Eating as much fruit, potatoes, and dark chocolate as possible.

When you’re getting ready to transition to a Paleo Diet, the point is not to find Paleo substitutes of all of your favorite unhealthy foods – but rather to fundamentally adjust how you think about food and how you fuel your body.

Remember, just about every meal should be loaded with vegetables, along with a protein source. Fresh fruit is great, in moderation, and mixing in nutrient rich complex carbs (like sweet potatoes) is awesome too.

But loading up on tons of ‘Paleo friendly’ carb and sugar sources (like baking cookies with almond flour, or covering everything with honey) defeats the purpose entirely.

So, we’re focusing on eating real foods, right? Great! That’s a good start. But should switch 100% to real foods RIGHT NOW? Or slowly switch over?

Should I go all in, or gradually transition?

Great question. I knew you were smart!

THE “WADE IN” METHOD: Instead of going 100% Paleo, you decide to SLOWLY transition to the diet over weeks or months. You swap out a food here and there, eliminate one type of food after weaning yourself off of it for months, and you make adjustments along the way.

PROS: Your change is gradual, and it’s less of a hit on your wallet. Instead of throwing out ALL of your food and going to buy all Paleo items, you simply stop eating certain foods as you run out of them, replacing them with Paleo items.

Your body has to deal with less of a drastic shock, which means you’re less likely to run out of willpower during your transition. You’re slowly transitioning, pushing your body and tastebuds just slightly outside of the comfort zone.

CONS: When you slowly transition to a Paleo Diet, the “oh my god I feel amazing!” change that many people feel is a lot less pronounced. Because you’re not making drastic changes, your results will be, surprise, more gradual and less drastic!

THE “ALL IN CANNONBALL!” METHOD: If the above method is you wading slowly into the deep end of the Paleo Pool, this is you pulling a Ron Burgundy CANNONBALL! and going all in with 100% Paleo on Day 1. You get rid of all non-Paleo foods, you stop eating dairy and grains, and you “rip the band-aid” off fast.

PROS: You get all of the changes over with immediately, and all of the ‘uncomfortableness’ with transition is all done much quicker. It sucks for many, but it’s over with faster. You also don’t have to worry about deciding which foods to swap out next.

Also, because you’re going full Paleo, you’re more likely to have a drastic weight loss story in the first few weeks, which can be really encouraging and positively reinforcing, making it easier to stay on target.

CONS: Because “carb-flu” is a real thing (which I cover below), it requires a TREMENDOUS amount of willpower and self discipline. It’s very easy to slip up when you go all in, because it’s a drastic shock to your system and body. This is especially true if you normally fuel your body with grains and carbs and are used to eating a LOT of them.

Seriously, those first few weeks can seriously suck, which can be enough to cause people to have a bad day and run to their nearest Pizza Hut.

Personally, Team Nerd Fitness is a much bigger fan of the “wade in” method, as we’ve seen this be more successful for the majority of people. We’re huge fans of small gradual changes that last permanently, but we know everybody is different. What we don’t want is for somebody to go all-in for a month, lose a bunch of weight, but be so miserable that they go right back to eating pizza and pasta and undo all their work.

When NF Team member Staci went Paleo, it took her a total of eight months to complete the transition – slowly removing each item from her diet one at a time. That was back in 2010 – so while the change took a long time, it’s stuck for seven years now.

The choice is yours as to which method you like, as we’ve seen success stories from both types – it comes down to what’s right for you!

Once you’ve decided HOW you’re going to go Paleo, it’s time to figure how to play it out amongst your friends and family – as they’re going to give you a few weird looks for this “eating like a caveman” thing.

Social Paleo Recommendations

fork

“If you’re a vegan who ran a marathon & got your dogs from a shelter, how do you decide which thing to wedge into the conversation first?” -Ken Jennings

“How do you know if somebody does Crossfit? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.”

Although I’m using the examples above as a joke, you could EASILY mix in “Paleo” or “gluten free” into either of those. When we make a change to our life, we feel like shouting it from the top of the Lonely Mountain. We want to tell anybody and everybody that we feel amazing, and that life is SO much better now that we’ve seen the light. However, doing so is a recipe for getting punched in the face, so here’s how you can still eat healthy without getting ostracized by those around you:

Don’t be a know-it-all: Stay humble, and realize most people need to discover their own path to a healthy life. So don’t preach, and don’t start spouting off facts and figures unless you’re asked; certainly don’t judge those that still eat a typical diet. Remember, that was you. Like, a month ago 🙂

Stay creative when navigating the real world: Look, even if you don’t talk about your dietary changes or tell others to make adjustments for your needs, you still live in a world that is designed and built to make you fat. From a “balanced breakfast” which is just a pile of empty carbs, to snacks that are processed and plentiful, our society that is BUILT around grains…it’s a challenge to live a fully Paleo lifestyle in modern times.

You’re like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, trying to live like a caveman in today’s society.

You may need to ask your waiter to substitute some items or change your grocery shopping habits. And the weird looks? They’ll come with the territory. Embrace the weird!

Don’t panic. Use common sense: We are not a group of Paleo-book thumping fundamentalists that refuse to eat anything because it didn’t exist back in the day. There’s no purity test, and honestly, we don’t care what Fred Flintstone ate.

We just like the “idea” of the Paleo diet, as it makes eating and maintaining a healthy weight easy. So we don’t freak out about every ingredient, or FLIP out if there’s one meal that’s got some non grass-fed beef in it. Do the best you can to use the Paleo diet as an easy guide to eat more real food and less crap… lighten up, Francis!

Just try a little bit of Paleo

berries

Maybe you like the idea of the Paleo Diet, but you’re not ready to jump in 100%.

Or maybe it scares you! Maybe you’ve heard from people that you need your heart healthy whole grains, and that fat is bad, and without dairy your bones will fall apart.

That doesn’t mean you can’t try a Paleo lifestyle, even a little bit.  For example, try swapping out Coke for water. Or try eggs and bacon instead of a cereal, muffin, and orange juice.

A sustainable 10% is better than an unsustainable 100%, or nothing at all. Every little change will have big, long term effects. One Rebel lost 20lb from simply cutting out soda and fast food!

Remember, we’re after long term changes, not a 30-day diet or 10-day cleanse.

If you’re thinking “If I do this Paleo thing, how long do I have to do it for before I can go back to eating normally?” then you need to free your mind and shift how you view these diet changes.

The Paleo Diet isn’t a temporary diet, but a permanent lifestyle change. We recommend making small changes because any change you make should be something you can stick to. Not for a week, ten days, a month, or even a year. It’s a lifestyle change. Forever.

So, we’d rather you make WAY fewer changes, but make them changes you can live with for the rest of your life!

You need to experiment and find the combination of healthy and happy that works long term for you. 

We’ve actually structured our Nerd Fitness Academy around this philosophy, with 10 different levels of nutrition that allow you to pick the level that works best for your goals and expectations, along with instructions on how to graduate and level up when you’re ready!

Carb Flu, Cheat Meals, and More

sashimi

Carb flu is a real thing! If you are somebody that has steadily subsisted on lots of carbs for years (bread, pizza, cereal, bagels, pasta, etc.) and then you switch to a 100% Paleo Diet, your body might struggle for the first few weeks of the transition. When you consumed a lot of carbs before, your body consistently pulled from those carb glucose stores to fuel your body. When you switch to Paleo, your body has to relearn that it can pull from the fat in your body to produce energy…instead of looking for that readily available glucose.

They call this “carb flu.” It doesn’t affect every Paleo person, and it affects people in varying degrees…but it can be a real bummer for many people, leaving them sluggish and depressed (and thus infinitely more likely to bail on the dietary changes). If you are in your first few weeks of dealing with Paleo and you feel really sluggish: 

  • Make sure you are eating enough! If you just cut out carbs but don’t increase your vegetable/fat/protein intake, you could simply not be eating enough. Add more avocado/nuts/coconut oil/protein to your meals and see if that helps. We suggest tracking your food intake for a few days while you make this transition.
  • Consider adding in SOME carbs. If you are truly struggling with a very low carb diet, consider upping your carb intake by eating sweet potatoes or fruit and see if that helps. Paleo is NOT a ketogenic diet, and it shouldn’t be. It’s a lower carb than normal, but not to the extent that keto is.
  • Check your sodium levels. Sodium is an essential nutrient, and many who go 100% paleo end up going from an extremely high sodium diet to a diet with almost no sodium at all. Add a bit of salt to your food and see if that helps.
  • Consider trying the wade-in method. You will be far less likely to experience the carb flu if you don’t go all-in.

Cheat meals can be rough! Depending on how intolerant your body is to gluten and/or dairy…don’t be surprised if that “cheat meal” of pizza and ice cream one day wreaks absolute havoc on your stomach and causes you to spend the next day curled up in a ball. You’ve been warned.

Your tastebuds can and will change. For those of you that think you’d never give up [a certain food] or can’t live without [blah blah blah] – that’s fine. Feel free to eat those things occasionally – life is too short. However, don’t be surprised when after a few months of healthy living, those same ‘comfort foods’ start to look gross.

Never say never, and don’t assume you’re going to struggle with giving up certain foods. Get started and see how your body reacts, taking changes as they come.

Teach me how to paleo!

meat

I feel obliged to say one last thing about the Paleo Diet: It’s not going to turn you into Superman.

As with anything that becomes popular, people come out of the woodwork to tell you how AMAZING and life changing it is – along with those that scream the exact opposite.

Yes, the Paleo Diet can potentially help you live a healthier life – you’re going to be eating more real food and lots more vegetables. It can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. But it’s not going to make you superhuman overnight. If you are a skeptic and numbers fanatic, consider speaking with a doctor to get your blood work done, and then get tested again in a few months after making your dietary changes.

Second, results may vary. If you go all in on Paleo, and you used to eat terribly before, it’s possible to see a dramatic weight loss within the first few days.

This is because your body was carrying a lot of extra water weight, thanks to all of the grains, carbs, and sodium you were eating. So when you see that scale drop drastically, it’s easy to get overly excited and irrationally optimistic…followed by irrational depression when you stop dropping tons of weight each week. (This also works in reverse. If you eat like crap for a weekend, your water weight could spike UP!)

This is why instead of basing your self-worth on what the scale says each week, we’d rather you base your success on a few other metrics:

  • How you feel – Are you feeling better? Sleeping better? Less achey?
  • How you look – Compare your before photo to today’s photo (you DID take a before photo, right?)
  • How your clothes fit – Are your pants getting looser? Do you need a new belt? And what’s really happening down there?

If you do slip up, we recommend not even stepping on the scale for a few days until you’re back on the Paleo Train Flintstone Car.

Remember, results vary for everyone. Even among experts there is disagreement on if certain types of food are Paleo or not. There is no one exact right way to “go Paleo”. The best thing you can do is figure out what works best for you…and then go eat more vegetables – even if you don’t like them.

What other questions do you have for me about Paleo?

Do you have a success story, or want to share your struggles with the transition? I can think of about 250,000 people who’d love to hear your story – it might help them in their own transition!

Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them 🙂

-Steve

PS: I wanted to share some of my favorite Paleo and healthy eating articles here on Nerd Fitness:

If you’re looking for more, the NF Academy has recipes, meal plans, and a nutrition leveling system built around Paleo principles.

Over 13,000 Rebels are leveling up in the Academy right now. Come join us!

###

photo sources: Asrar Makrani: cavemanSpelt muffins with cherries and poppy seedApples (019/365)

 

Get The Rebel Starter Kit

Enter your email and we’ll send it right over.

  • The 15 mistakes you don’t want to make.
  • The most effective diet and why it works.
  • Complete your first workout today, no gym required.
  • These are the tools you need to start your quest.

65 thoughts on “Going Paleo? 5 Things You Need to Know.

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for inserting an Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer reference into this email. Gonna start Paleo wade in method right away! Have been mulling it for some time but need to get in shape for summer and being best man at a friends wedding.

    “Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW, and run off into the hills.” Too funny. There’s a few other Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer sketches floating around out there, all hilarious.

    Thanks again,
    Ben

  2. Ben… you have the most incredible surname. I could make a pun about kicking-ass, but I’ll leave it to the pro’s.

    Welcome to Paleo!

  3. Steve,
    I’ve done research on butter and how it relates to the paleo diet and have come to the conclusion that it’s a-okay. I’m afraid that might be a biased opinion on my part though. I would like to hear in your words whether or not butter, while most other dairy is not, is okay or even beneficial.
    Thanks!

  4. http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/04/08/the-paleo-diet-debunked/
    We’re big fans of the Paleo Diet around these parts.
    If you’re not familiar with it, essentially it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’ of consuming certain foods based on we’re how we’re allegedly designed to eat from an evolutionary standpoint.
    In short: cut out processed foods and grains, load up on veggies, meat, fish, eggs, fruits and nuts.
    Okay… so eating the right foods to meet your goals has a name for itself now and it’s called the Paleo diet? Too funny! I guess it’s the ever changing name of diets that has people wanting to be associated with the latest one. It seems that it’s not the foods that change but the names given to the diet.

    I love this website as it is definitely written in a way where many who may not have been athletic in the past or have any experience in that area are able to easily understand many of the fundamentals of fitness including weight loss.

    Essentially eat clean under a calories deficit and you will lose weight. Lifting heavy helps if you want to retain and possibly gain a minimum amount of lean muscle mass. It’s almost impossible however to not lose some muscle mass during this process.

    Eat clean in a calorie surplus while lifting heavy will help with gaining muscle mass while keeping your body% gains to a minimum. It’s almost impossible to not gain any fat during this process.

    There is a serious misconception that you have to cut out carbs for any of this to work and articles such as these certainly don’t help. You can achieve these same goals I mentioned if you keep you protein and carb intake high while keeping your fat intake low. The problem is that the general public seems to associate carbs with junk food. Would you call oats, sweet potatoes, lentils, and fruits junk food?

    Don’t get me wrong fat is an excellent energy source that your body can use but understand that you can’t technically wire your body to strictly use fats. If there is no energy source from consuming carbs than your body will break down muscle in order to use the protein as a source of energy as well.

    Bottom line is there are many ways to reach a goal and you must find the ways the work best for you. Stop falling for the “latest and greatest Hollywood diet craze” and educate yourself and find what works for you!

  5. I generally try and eat paleo-style where I can, and started about a year ago with two very simply changes – I stopped eating bread, and I stopped eating pasta. I used to have a sandwich for lunch every day, and ate pasta at least twice a week. The results of these simple changes were phenomenal – I dropped 5kg in about 4 months! And it’s stayed off, too.

    So while I know you can be a real purist about it, even very simple changes to cut out processed carbs can have dramatic effects.

  6. The general consensus is eliminate it for 30 days and see how you feel. Then, slowly introduce it back into your diet (like, a little cheese in one meal slowly) and also gauge how you feel afterward. If you’re cool, awesome! If you’re on a toilet hating life, well, maybe no dairy is better for you. Dairy tolerance varies for everyone. If you go dairy, opt for grass-fed/pastured and organic, if possible. The nutritional content is more bang for your buck.

  7. Awesome stuff!
    For those interested, if you hear the China Study brought up as an argument ever read the brilliant Denise Minger’s work on it. She goes through all the data and shows how their original findings were completely off and misinterpreted. Too many people use the China Study as a crutch but she really sets the record straight.
    -Jamie

  8. Steve,

    I have 2 questions for you. First (and clearly most important) where do you get all of those epic pictures in all your blog posts from? Every time a read a post, I am like WHOA!! that’s a cool picture…and the content is good too. Second: I have tried doing Paleo all in before, and failed. I am trying a slower approach this time (whoa actually read the article…what?). I know how to cut out the carbs, how to increase the proteins, and increase the veg. Those make sense. How do I increase the fat? Would love to see some articles or something on tips/tricks/recipes on high fat paleo foods.

  9. Oh, this article answers all questions I just was about to type into a mail to the Nerd Fitness Team!!! Thank you so much!!!

  10. Not Steve, but I can offer a couple quick tips on increasing fat intake.

    1. Cook more stuff in fat; Olive oil, and grass-fed butter are best.
    2. Use olive oil as a salad/veggie dressing.
    3. Opt for fatty meats and cuts like beef, rather than lean options like chicken breasts and tuna all the time.
    4. A handful of unsalted/raw nuts every once in a while (but don’t overdo these, very calorie dense!) I’ve found Trader Joes sells them cheaper than regular grocery stores.

  11. 5. Avocado
    6. Olives
    7. Coconut-oli (you can just take a spoon!)
    8. Nut-butters
    9. Eggs are quite fat-dense
    10. Fat fish! Salmon!

  12. I think you have hit the strategy for Paleo spot-on (eat clean and run a calorie deficit) but missed the tactical benefits. I completely agree that it is not the only way to achieve your goals and that purists are (often) missing the point. My experience with low carbohydrate diets (such as paleo) is that it is much harder to over-eat and I am much less hungry between meals. Protiens and fats are more filling while vegetables have very low calorie densities so over-eating them means eating A LOT. Additionally, The reliance on fats for energy helps considerably with the insulin response which regulates the hunger signals (the tactical part that your post doesn’t address).

    I don’t follow paleo fanatically but I have used its more over-arching themes (avoid processed carbs, focus on meat and vegetables). The punchline is, on diets that resemble paleo, I don’t have to track food or use my discipline to fight the hunger demon. “Eating clean and running a calorie deficit” is on auto-pilot. I dropped 30 pounds (210-180, 5’10” male) in under 6 months, and am still losing (about 5-10 lbs to go). This is after stalling out at 50 lbs lost (260-210) on vegetarianism a few years ago.

    Paleo has been lurking in the innovative corners of the fitness world for a while. I have known of its existence for at least 5 years. It is not “the latest Hollywood craze.” It might just now be getting into the limelight but that might just be because it has been shown to be pretty good stuff (or because cross fit got really popular…)

  13. Erik’s good advice. I’m pretty close
    For #1, use virgen olive oil, as it’s cold pressed. You can also use coconut oil for frying.
    For #3, do ease up on the red meat if you’re trying to get your cholesterol numbers back to a good place. If it’s not a problem, have some carnivorous behavior!
    So far, I’ve lost 11 kg on this diet. 4 more to go, then I’ve met my goal. Good luck.

  14. Hey Josh – glad you like the photos 🙂 – We are quite fortunate that there are so many nerds out there who love taking awesome pictures of their lego people and then put them online, for free, with a creative commons license 🙂

    As per your second question, that is a great idea for a full article. One quick piece of advice would be that when you buy meat, don’t be afraid to get the cheaper/fattier cuts. Works with ground meat and with most meats. If you need to find a way to incorporate higher amounts of fat into your diet, this is a good way. Although, it will be saturated fat, which if you have an issue with you are best off going with the nuts, olive oil, avocado route. Most NF Team Members have no problem with sat fat though. For more details on this fat stuff, check out: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2014/05/22/is-cholesterol-killing-us-a-beginners-guide-to-cholesterol/

  15. I had no idea what paleo was about, but a friend at work (we work at a children’s hospital) was talking about it and how good she felt and how much less pain she had. So I did the whole 30 with the goal of cutting my pain medication (arthritis) in half. The first two weeks were hard, I’m not gonna lie. The “paleo hangover” about day 5 was not awesome. But about week three I was feeling alot better. I didn’t have the “3 o’clock slump” everyday and by week 4 I was talking half the pain medication I had been taking. I wasn’t focused on counting calories, i was focused on losing pain meds, not weight. But I did lose 13 lbs. And for a 50+ year old, menopausal woman, that’s saying something. As an added benefit, totally unexpected, it was kinda empowering to know that I COULD be that disciplined about what I put in my body. Now, 18 months later, I stick to a paleo diet pretty much. I do a the Whole30 three times a year, like a reset. I love a good glass of red and the occasional chocolate, but those are not everyday things any more. I The weight loss slowed down after that first whole 30, but continues, albeit at a much slower pace. But most of all I FEEL BETTER, and no mater what all the other “research” says, I have my own experience..

  16. I’ve been full paleo for 9 days now. I have lost 6 lbs and I have way more energy and patience than I had before. Some days have been tough, but overall I was finally ready to do this so my mindset is in the right place and I am successful because of it. I have tried to do this before and failed, but I was always looking at it as a temporary fix not a long term lifestyle change.

  17. I was told by a nutritionist ages ago that unless you suffer from celiac disease, going gluten free is not a good thing, and can actually cause an allergy where there isn’t one. Not necessarily an allergy so much as an intolerance. The rest I agree with and I think the Paleo diet is massively beneficial for a lot of people to getting a healthy lifestyle, but I doubt I could ever get on board with going gluten free without a reason medically to do so.

  18. Ever since I went Paleo I’ve felt more energetic, more alive and I don’t get sick as often. I must admit that getting rid of grains and cereals (good-bye wraps and cheerios! :() was hard at the beginning, but now I don’t even crave them; not only because I don’t eat them anymore, but hecause I know how the compounds will interact with my body and how they will promote inflamation.
    I don’t regret going paleo, even if I’m only 80% of it (I love eggs and milk), because the changes are really worth it. And I’m not talking only about physical changes, but mentalwise, as well. My brain’s sharper, I can focus better…. Long story short, I feel more alive and healthy than I’ve ever felt.

  19. Hello!
    I would like to start off by saying that as a former athlete and a full-time health nut, I really enjoy your blog.

    A couple of friends and I are trying to revolutionize the way people work out at home, and we have had some great ideas. We are focusing on the use of resistance bands in workouts, as they are both safe, and multidimensional. We are working on our product pitch and we would love some feedback if possible. Best of luck and I look forward to reading more in the future!

    The SomaSole Team

    Check out the video through the link below!
    https://vimeo.com/116519137

  20. If you avoid gains, major part of the paleo diet, then by default you will be going gluten free. Eggs are a major part of the paleo diet.

  21. I’m scared that might be a one-sided viewpoint on my aspect though. I would like to listen to in your terms whether or not butter, while most other milk is not, is okay or even valuable.
    http://sh.st/pNSmR

  22. Well, it’s just been a struggle to keep myself away from non-paleo food. I’m not the only one who lives in my house and the other people who live in my house are NOT into this paleo thing like I am. So they’re still bringing home cookies, cakes, and pastas. Not to mention the pizza! Good god, they’ve eaten more pizza now that I’m paleo than they ever have before. Lucky for me my taste is beginning to change, and now the pizzas and cookies don’t look nearly as tasty as they used to. I just sort of look at them and think, “Meh, why should I eat that? Some veggies in a nice chicken broth would be much tastier!”
    Oh, man that reminds me- next time you go to make paleo chicken soup, wait til it’s at a full boil and then crack an egg or two in there and don’t stir for like 4 minutes. It is the BEST. The egg gets perfectly chewy and it can really turn the soup from something that won’t even fill you up, into a meal.

  23. When are you going to start writing articles that are actually helpful, Steve?!? Kidding of course. I ate Paleo style a few years back and was in the best shape of my life when I did. I got crushed with the carb flu and as the Red Bull toxins left my body, I slowly started feeling better.

    I’m gearing up to do it again starting next week and am in a competition with my girlfriend to see who can get the leanest. The Paleo is my secret weapon as I am already training very hard.

    I will be using your app as well and am looking forward to cutting out the crap from my diet again.

  24. The gluten free craze drives me up the wall. A very small percentage of people are gluten intolerant.

    This is not to say the paleo diet isn’t great. Just that the gluten thing is merely a new label to sell sh##.

  25. I love your site and the stories on here are what made me want to go paleo(although I still eat dairy here and there). I have one question about carbs though. I’m a 19 year old guy, about 5’11 and I weigh about 152. I work out roughly 5 days a week. I run about 3.5 miles and do core work MWF, do legs on Tuesday and Thursday, and Upper body on Monday and Friday. on MWF I eat an apple and 1 cup sweet potatoes and another cup after runming at lunch. My question is, how many carbs should I get if i want to stay lean and gain muscle? Am I getting enough now, too much, or too little?

    Thanks!
    -Mason

  26. Thanks Steve, Its been a week since I’ve had a soda, been eating vegetable soup for a week and cut bread out of my diet. I feel really great and my cravings are starting to curve. Some really great resources here. I can’t wait to try some of these vegetable recipes you have on here!

  27. Hi all it’s great to be here. I’m a big paleo fan & have tried to go 100% paleo 3 times now. The first 2 times lasted a couple of months with varying results as the one thing I couldn’t give up was my beer… you see I’m an Aussie male who loved to home brew (for about 15yrs). I was eating all the right foods but still consuming a small brewery every day, well at least that was the case until about 6mths ago when I decided that after 20 odd years of excessive consumption that I was sick of drinking alcohol & haven’t touched a drop since (even though I wake up every morning staring at about 10 litres each of rum, vodka & Irish whiskey).

    Anyway about 2wks after I gave the booze away I decided to give paleo another 100% try (but let’s be serious & call it 90%). Well long story short, just doing those 2 things alone without doing ANY exercise or physical labour, I have dropped 23kg (50lbs) and am feeling better than I have in many many years.

    I am looking forward to adding an exercise program very soon however I’m still battling with some other serious (self-induced) medical issues which have dramatically reversed to the point where I confidently feel I can start exercising in the next week. This is not a fad or something I have done on a whim just to lose weight, this is my life from now on… & I’m loving it.

    Although I’ve only just found NF & am still skimming through the available info, I can honestly say that my own journey & research aligns quite well with the information I’ve read so far… esp the above info on “How to go Paleo” which is excellent advice for any paleo newbs.

    Great work Steve & Staci.

    And to all you cynical, suspicious & indecisive chumps out there who are still wondering if it will work for them, well all I can say is try it & find out for yourself… oh and all the best with your journey.

    Dan

  28. Id love to see a pin it button along with the other share buttons at the bottom of your articles. 🙂

  29. Try clarified butter or ghee. It removes the milk solids and leaves the fat. Higher heat tolerance so no more brown edges on fried eggs!

  30. so I have been following paleo pretty accurately but have already hit a plateau in my weight lose and I’m not sure if I’m not eating enough or what.
    breakfast:
    Greek yogurt
    pear

    snack:
    almonds

    lunch:
    turkey sandwich on wheat (only grain I consume)
    Apple

    snack:
    grapes

    dinner:
    spinach salad with 4oz protein
    apple

  31. Jersey Cow milk has been shown to not react with those with lactose-intolerance, and a few of my local stores offer it in good price, I’ll try experimenting with regular, jersey, and no milk or dairy.

  32. whenever i get hungry i eat a ton of vegetables and meat some times i feel like i might of ate too much. i do limit nuts and fruit though but i eat a ton of meats and vegetables. is it possible to over eat vegetables and meats?

  33. What an excellent article! Six years ago I went Paleo in an attempt to ease a 40 year history of migraines. I’d battled cancer several years before and during chemotherapy, had gained 50 lbs, and damaged my heart, lungs, and liver. My lab work had been awful for years, and I couldn’t seem to lose the weight. After 6 months on a modified Paleo diet, I’d effortlessly lost 25 lbs, but figured that my labs would still be horrible. Surprise! My liver enzymes were no longer elevated, my cholesterol and triglycerides had dropped into the normal range (my triglycerides dropped over 250 points), Even more surprising, my heart and lung function improved, all my joint pain disappeared, my headaches were gone, my environmental allergies all improved, and my immune system was the best it had been in ages. I never got sick anymore. I continued to lose another 15 pounds slowly over time.

    Then a year ago I moved to France. Can you say cheese? And amazing butter? And incredible baguettes? There are three boulangeries on my block alone. And they bake at different times of day, which means that the smell of fresh bread is always hanging over my neighborhood. I fell off the Paleo bandwagon. Hard. And not at all surprisingly, my lab work went to hell. And my joints began to ache. And my migraines returned. And I was sick all the time.

    A week ago, I made the decision to begin eating healthfully again. This time, the Paleo flu has hit hard (It didn’t happen at all the first time around.) Researching that odd phenomena is what brought me here. I’m so grateful to know that it’s real, and that I’m not alone. It won’t be a problem for me to get through it because I’ve done this once before and remember how wonderful Paleo made me feel. But for those doing this for the first time ever, I can imagine that it would make this lifestyle change tough to stick with.

    For those who are feeling like crap a week or so in, and possibly slipping, let me say this. Hang on! In the end, you will feel better, look better, and improve your health in unimaginable ways. It is so worth it in the end!

    Thanks again for a great article, and for giving me the information I need to not give up.

  34. saturated fats are not healthy, period.
    you did NOT evolve to consume them, you do NOT have the thyroid gland to metabolize saturated fats. only herbivores get atherosclerosis, and guess what? Saturated fats give you atherosclerosis, and it is the only thing that kills more Americans than smoking, and it costs the American tax payer about an extra 414 billion dollars a year in added medical care subsidies when you get diabetes, atherosclerosis, or cancer.

    the Paleo diet goes against EVERYTHING WE KNOW from PUBLICLY FUNDED RESEARCH about NUTRITION and the physiology of the human body

    you have to be either uninformed, delusional, or being cut a pay check to promote the Paleo diet.

    “Is atherosclerosis a disease affecting all animals or only certain animals?

    Atherosclerosis affects only herbivores. Dogs, cats, tigers, and lions can be saturated with fat and cholesterol, and atherosclerotic plaques do not develop (1, 2). The only way to produce atherosclerosis in a carnivore is to take out the thyroid gland; then, for some reason, saturated fat and cholesterol have the same effect as in herbivores.

    Are human beings herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

    Although most of us conduct our lives as omnivores, in that we eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, human beings have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores (2). The appendages of carnivores are claws; those of herbivores are hands or hooves. The teeth of carnivores are sharp; those of herbivores are mainly flat (for grinding). The intestinal tract of carnivores is short (3 times body length); that of herbivores, long (12 times body length). Body cooling of carnivores is done by panting; herbivores, by sweating. Carnivores drink fluids by lapping; herbivores, by sipping. Carnivores produce their own vitamin C, whereas herbivores obtain it from their diet. Thus, humans have characteristics of herbivores, not carnivores.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1312295/

  35. Paleo is something I think acne suffers should try as well not just those seeking to lose weight. Some people just can process the sugars (carbs) in the amount our society throws at us.

  36. I live in an area where fresh veggies and fruits are rare and quite expensive when they are available. I know they’re considered processed but can a person use frozen instead? We also have limited “grass fed” anything so how do I even begin to do paleo? I’m not interested in vegan anything as I am very much a meat eater.

  37. Sounds like you need less fruit and more vegetables. Change your sandwich into a salad with some homemade dressing- I’m assuming the turkey you’re eating isn’t processed lunch meat? Instead of the yogurt, eggs, bacon etc- there are other good sources of protein besides Greek yogurt. Your menu isn’t bad but it certainly isn’t paleo.

  38. The carb flu is so real. Thank you this entire article is awesome and super helpful!

  39. I’ve done the “all in cannonball method” and feel pretty good emotionally and have more energy. However, (and pardon me for being crass) I’m pooping like a mother!! I don’t feel weak or dehydrated but am extremely gassy. I know this is normal after living on junk food for years but it’s still pretty . . . wait for it . . . crappy!

    On the plus side I did lose six pounds in 4 days (yeah, I know . . . it’s water weight) but I’m pretty hopeful because this is the first time I don’t have the “OMFG-when-am-I-getting-off-this-f’ing-diet” mindset.

  40. Love this. I thought at first that going 100% paleo would be the only way to go until I started thinking about my own diet. I’ve always had a healthier diet, then quit gluten, then processed sugar, alcohol is just not fun for me anymore, and so when I decided to try paleo I didn’t have much to “give up”. I went paleo slowly over a couple of years without the intention of ever being on a paleo diet

  41. Refined carbs cause cvd. My very healthy father just had 2 stents placed, never a history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol. His cardiologist told him no more low fat foods, only full fat and of course in moderation. She said to only eat whole foods.

  42. This is a good foundation for starting to live a more healthy lifestyle. It helps you see why this way of eating is good for you. I lost about 40 lbs and my aches and pains have gone away. There is a down side. You will need to buy at least one to two sizes smaller than you are currently wearing, because your clothes will look like you borrowed them from your older and bigger brother or sister. You definitely do not starve yourself and the spices you will use make eating your veggies a new and better experience. Your taste buds will be awakened.
    http://paleohackebooks.blogspot.com/

  43. Help me please!
    I’ve had issues with food for years, I’ve existed on on juice for years, and then became a binger

  44. Started Paleo a couple weeks ago, but eat sugar more than ever. HELP.
    I’m overweight n not losing weight, even though I workout with weights n cardio 4-5 days a week. I need guidance, I need to lose 45lbs by November and I’m just getting fatter, have I ruined my metabolism after years of neglect and abuse? I’m disgusted with how I look, but I wanted to try Paleo Bc I want to eat food for the first time in my life.
    I eat 2 turkey burger patties in the am with a green apple and 6oz chicken and salad for lunch and that’s it. And then I crave popcorn so I have that with pepper sauce or honey.. I have food allergies so I can’t eat nuts eggs etc. I workout 1.5 hrs 4-5 days a week, which includes weights.. But I do have ice cream or a slice of cheesecake, but no weightloss.. Help help help

  45. So I was kind of forced into this diet immediately due to the fact I’ve been feeling sick. We decided to start over with the paleo diet and then ease back into regular food after a month to see what may be causing me to be sick. However, what should I start bringing back? Is there even a specific food group to start back on or is it whatever?

  46. I have been on this diet for 1.5 years and I feel awful. My LDL level is high as is my cholesterol level. My cholesterol/HDL ratio is 4 (not good). I have very few carbs and the ones I do have are from fruit, nuts, and vegetables (including sweet potatoes). The fat I eat is olive oil, coconut oil, and butter and I do eat much more fat than I use to. My energy is low and my joints hurt. Any idea why any of this is happening? It seems like I have carb flu all the time but my carbs are definitely under 100 g/day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *