Food confusion - am I doing it right?

by (607) Updated October 01, 2012 at 10:46 PM Created October 01, 2012 at 9:40 AM


This is my first post in PaleoHacks but I have been a fan for the past 3 weeks as I have started the Paleo Diet. I have been easing myself into the diet slowly and now feel I am ready to go fully paleo with the only cheat being perhaps alcohol. My main concern is that I was unsure of how well or not I was doing Paleo; I was reading so many different articles and posts and blogs, all after ready The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolff that I became so confused. I had been making the focus of each meal protein but protein with fat and then adding in carbs in the form of non-starchy vegetables. I then cam concerned I was eating too much protein so I plugged my data into Cron-o-meter and was really taken aback by just HOW much I was over eating. I do want to lose weight but not weight as such, body fat. I want to become toned and muscular but my original, main reason for going Paleo is Grok; I believe this way of life makes sense and I want to be healthy. I want to look after my body and 'become one' as it were.

I am female, 26, 5ft 10inches and weigh 11 stone (154lbs). I have from the word go, eliminated dairy, legumes, all starchy/processed/refined carbs and nightshades. I have been existing on eggs (on alternate days as if I have 4 everyday for breakfast I get gas), vacuum packed smoked mackerel, fillets of salmon, Tesco chicken drumsticks with skin, bacon with rind, steak, pork ribs from the chinese (that was only at the beginning - had cravings for them out of nowhere!) almond butter, nuts and seeds, avocado, spinach, green salad ingredients (no peppers or tomatoes), mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and carrots (though I have been limiting carrots as I read they were quite high energy) I don't eat fruit. I want to do at least 30 days Whole30 - my weakness is the alchol (I'm Irish :) ) I recently just acquired coconut oil and milk/cream so have now been using tha liberally too.

I apologise for the long post but I want to make sure I give all the details.

Is it too much to have:

1)Coffee with cream and 3 chicken legs for breakfast (maybe with some carrots and celery with almond butter <-- love it!) but the coffee will be first thing and the food a couple of hours later

2) 2 smocked mackerel fillets with spinach, rocket, cucumber, avocado and sometimes mushroom salad sprinkled with seeds for lunch

3) Large Steak/tray of diced lamb/beef mince/few slices of beef roast/pork joint with brussel sprouts bag of country vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (if I had carrots earlier I won't have the carrots now) for dinner?

Snacks are none except the aforementioned nut butter and celery and/or carrots.

How do you get high fat without so much protein? I love protein though, I enjoy eating it but I just worry what damaging effect it has on me? What about rabbit starvation/glucogenesis am I destroying any chance of becoming leaner? I have lost a few pounds but I assumed that was water weight....

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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16858 · October 01, 2012 at 10:24 AM

You're doing fine, and 3 weeks is really too early to see much in terms of fat loss results. It is however, long enough to start seeing changes and feel better.

I know you say you love almond butter, and that's fine, but it can cause problems if it's not balanced out by higher fish - you can do that with actual fish, or fish oil, which you seem to be getting enough of. Nuts and seeds can stall fat loss, and can contain too much omega 6's - if you can find Macadamia nuts, use those, but they are pricey. (Obviously avoid peanuts as they're legumes, not nuts, but you probably know this already.) Some seeds can be problematic in terms of phytates, but in general they aren't going to be too big a deal.

Avocado is a good source of fats, as are butter, bacon, coconut oil, high quality extra virgin olive oil, so unless you're eating very small amounts of them, you don't have to worry about rabbit starvation. You can do something like bullet proof coffee if you want to get higher fat, but from the sounds of it, you're doing all the right things. Just take your time, and let it work its magic. (Bulletproof coffee is coconut oil + grassfed butter with hot coffee in a blender, and it tastes amazing.)

If you're eating raw carrots, I wouldn't worry too much about the carbs, it's hard to eat too many of them. If you eat them cooked, the fibers are gone/soft, so it's easier to get at the sugars, so then I'd limit them.

Alcohol is fine as long as it's not beer, which is made from grains. Distilled alcohols, even whiskey is fine since there's little possibility of gluten/gliadin making its way into the drink. So stick to spirits, and it'll be fine, but it will prevent fat loss, so go easy on the booze - also beware of what it's mixed in with (i.e. if it's some commercial flavored drink, it may have tons of fructose, or carbs and artificial flavors.)

BTW, the whole dairy and nightshades thing is temporary, not everyone has issues with these. Certainly dairy is questionable for some, I myself have issues with cow dairy, though I do fine on goat/sheep/buffalo dairy - but cow dairy almost instantly causes me acid reflux the night after eating it. Dairy in high amounts can cause fat gain because the whey is insulogenic, but in small amounts, it's not a problem.

Nightshades (and in some cases eggs) are a source of problems for some, nightshades causing things like arthritis, and eggs causing indigestion.

The idea is to do at least 30 days without those foods, then to reintroduce them slowly, one at a time, and see if there are any negative results, and if not, enjoy.

If you do eat too much protein than you actually need, it will be effectively the same as eating too many carbs as the excess will get converted. Typically, you'd calculate your ideal lean mass target weight, then eat 1 gram of protein (not meat!) per lbs of lean weight. Now meat is anywhere between 25%-33% protein, the rest is going to be mostly water, along with a bit of fat. So to size up portions, a chunk of meat the size of your palm at every meal, or multiply grams of protein by 3 or 4 to get at the protein.

There's this effect where if you eat higher fat, especially in the morning (which is why I mentioned bulletproof coffee earlier), it turns off your appetite. However, carbs, especially those containing fructose (you said you didn't eat fruit, so that's good) will cause you to get hungrier later on, but so will very lean meats to some degree.

Exercise will not cause much fat loss, but will signal muscle gain if it's resistance/weight lifting. Cardio however, will cause muscle loss and increased appetite, so careful with how you work out.

Ignore the scale, it's not going to tell you anything useful unless it's one of the ones that measures water, muscle, fat, bone levels, and even those are notoriously inaccurate.

130 · October 01, 2012 at 10:46 PM

We all fall it's getting back on that matters, forge on!

607 · October 01, 2012 at 9:48 PM

3 weeks easing in until I was able to acquire all the right things; in those three weeks I was cosuming soy sauce I had a guinness for Arthur's Day, I fell off the wagon twice with a baguette and some chips on two separate occasions and I had used butter a few times too. Now I have my cod liver oil tablets, solid 100% coconut cream block which I made into milk and cream today (weird texture but I'll get used to it and I am taking the water that came off the top into work tomorrow as a nutritious drink?), coconut oil and organic raw virgin coconut oil (much nicer than the plain coconut oil!) I feel prepared to go for it properly though I have to admit, my cheat if you can call it that will be nitrates/trites as I can't always get bacon from the butchers and end up getting local bacon from shops which is in a pack and has those preservatives in it. So now I have all that stuff I can do this properly and have been for a few days. I don't feel 'alive' and bubbling with energy but I expect that will come....I hope....

I don't use too much almond butter, I have had 2 jars: one in work and one at home, for 3 weeks now and I am only about half way through each one, both are 170g.

Yeah I am not drinking too much, a glass here and there but it's either red wine or gin and soda with lime or tonic with lemon.

Oh no I know the elimination is temporary, I wanted to erradicate everything so I am a clean slate and then reintroduce everything one at a time.

I'm glad you are so precise about the protein issue, it's my main concern. M y problem is how much I love meat and protein. in general. I could easily eat 2 packs of bacon or 1kg of steak (have done in the past!) Clearly this isn't ideal! Would what I am currently eating sound ok or is it too much?

I LOVE the idea of bulletproof coffee!!! I had read about fats in the morning and that's what I now aim for; that's why I would eat chicken legs with skin or the leg and back with skin or something of that nature in the mornings, particularly after a gym session.

Workouts are cardio Mondays (circuits) and Wednesdays (5k/30min run/jog) and weights Tue and Thur though the Tue and Thur weights sessions are preceeded by a 30 minute spin class. I would also try and do something at the weekend but if I don't that's fine. I like to be active, always have, it's not weight loss it's a mind break and helps stave off low moods.

Thank you so so much for the detailed response and so quickly too!! I very much appreciate the time and effort to write all that!

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