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Going half-paleo still useful? What if I'm already fit on a sugary diet?

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  • Going half-paleo still useful? What if I'm already fit on a sugary diet?

    Hi there

    I've recently stumbled across the whole paleo thing, and I've been considering giving it a go, but I have some questions. Look at the bottom if you don't want to read a lot of text.

    My 'backstory':
    I'm a university student, 23 years old, 178 cm (5'10"), ~60 kg (132 lbs), and rather fit (can do pull-ups fine). I'm definitely not obese, more like skinny rather. Nevertheless, I feel pretty fit, and don't really pay too much attention to what I eat. I'm one of those people who can eat loads of stuff without gaining weight.

    I've my blood pressure checked a while ago, and it was a bit low, but I don't notice any ill effects really. The doctor also told me "Usually I tell people to be careful with their fat intake, but you can eat a little extra now and then". It's a bit strange, because I don't really skimp on fat or anything. I like meat, I like butter, and I like sweet stuff (actually, I even like eating sugarcubes. Burn me at the stake :P)

    Considering this, I was wondering what use paleo might be for me. Various posts seem to have paleo as a fix for nigh everything, so I guess I might expect a bit more muscle, and no acne, and perhaps higher blood pressure, although that's kind of a fix for problems I don't have yet.

    Next, I've thought about what paleo would entail for me. I live in a dorm with ample cooking facilities, and usually one guy cooks for 5 to 10 people. Getting everyone to cook paleo for me is a no-go, but I guess I could try cooking on my own for a month or so, and if I like it, keep doing it.

    As a university student though, my key criteria are cheap and easy. I'm not going to buy organic meat, but just get some stuff from the supermarket. I suppose I could get cod liver pills from the internet (the local supermarket only seems to have vitamin D + Calcium pills), and occasional fasting will not be a problem (the trick is just doing something else which is more interesting than making a meal).

    I'll sleep enough whenever I can, but I won't shun a party. I also will keep drinking beer socially. If I'm going to eat nuts they're going to be salted cashew nuts. Short bursts of intense activity are already in my life (occasional pull-ups, or cycling fast to avoid being late for class :P). Changing my regular continental breakfast to something heavy will be no problem at all. I like heavy english breakfasts, and even if I never go paleo, I'll probably start doing that occasionally right now :P

    So yeah, I'd like to try paleo, but not absolutely rigidly. Will it still be of use, then? Would I lose my amazing capacity to eat half a pie in a day and not really notice? (:P)

    In the Netherlands the food commonly offered is a bit different. We don't really have a lot of bacon (rashers) on offer. We have something called "spek" which is similar but not as varied as the bacon offered in for example Ireland. Same goes for sausages, while available, they're not really varied or anything. We do have minced meat, both in just beef, or 50/50 beef/pork, and various parts of chicken. I've never seen coconut milk, but I'll keep an eye out for it. Vegetables may differ here and there, but I don't expect problems there.

    As you see I've been reading here and there about paleo, and may have a bit of a chaotic view on it. If you have any tips, ideas, corrections, whatever, please let me know. For some more concrete questions, see the next bit:


    tl;dr:
    Will going paleo only halfway still be useful?
    Can I expect to see some results, and if so, what?
    For people familiar with typical Dutch foods; what are good basic paleo foods in the Netherlands?

  • #2
    Well... I don't have much to add other than that up until my early 20's years old I was skinny and in pretty shape too, I ate pretty much the epitome of the SAD/CW diet... at about your age now that all started to change and I started ballooning... I'm losing weight now on PB..

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    • #3
      Its not entirely about losing weight or getting more fit. It's also about STAYING lean and fit AND healthy. In my opinion any step toward a diet that consists of lots of fresh veggies and fruit, enough protein and some good fats is a step in the right direction. Even if you feel fine eating a half a pie in a day, eventually that will catch up with you if you do that enough. Diabetes, weight gain or heart disease are the 3 big ones to worry about. So yeah. Try cooking for yourself for a month. When you do, try to buy whole fresh ingredients rather than stuff that come in a can or box. Avoid things with an ingredients list basically! And then don't worry about it. If right now it's important to you to go to the party and drink beer then go to the party and drink beer. Just don't drive afterwards!

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      • #4
        Ah yes, I've been told that at some point my metabolism will probably change, but that doesn't seem to be any time soon.
        I'm doing the SAD/CW + pizza when I'm lazy diet :P

        On an unrelated note, I've considered going no shampoo like the free the animal guy, but probably not anytime soon. I'm currently trying to improve my mindset & looks (the reasoning being better looks causes more confidence + better mindset causes more smiling, outgoing nature causes being more liked, socially active and felling better in general), and 2 weeks of greasy hair, and no hair styling products just won't do right now. I'm not vain, but I won't deny the benefits of looking good.

        Noctiluca: I agree that changing my diet to paleo will probably be healthier, also in the long run. But I worry that I might not want to put up the effort if there's not enough real improvements over my current condition.
        Fresh things are usually more expensive I believe, regarding meat anyway...

        Edit: I'm not trying to ignore paleo guidelines or anything, I'm just being realistic in myself. I'm going to want to keep eating some of the stuff I like, I won't want to spend a lot of money on it, and I don't want it to change my normal habits too much. If I can't have those things, I probably won't be able to keep it up, because the benefits might not be enough to counteract the costs...
        Last edited by Mqrius; 01-12-2011, 04:34 PM.

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        • #5
          How about optimum health in the long run? You won't be able to eat this way forever w/o some consequenc. Save yourself some pain later (not to be too pessimistic, I believe that stuff catches up to you) and try paleo/primal now. Be careful of sausage though. I'm living in the UK and all sausages have added rusk or corn as a filler. In the U.S., most sausages are free of this.

          Good luck!

          Cara
          http://primroseandpaleo.wordpress.com

          Comment


          • #6
            You're right, of course. Long term health is a pretty important benefit. But similar to procrastination, where you put off something that would be better to do now, it helps if there are immediate results.

            I'll actually probably try paleo for a while, but I'm trying to judge how strict I need to be for it to really show results. If I try it half-heartedly, and after a month I see no results, that would be pretty useless. So I'm wondering if the general idea I have sketched in the first post would be sufficient to get actual benefits. If it would, that would probably inspire me to 'go even more paleo'.

            About sausages; I think the dutch ones are relatively wheat-free...

            Quick question about butter: Is margarine fine to use as butter? Or should I get like cream butter or something?

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            • #7
              when i look at primal elders (primal folks over the age of 60 and 70) who have been doing primal for a while (before they turned 50), they look *ridiculously* younger than non-primal/paleo counterparts.

              being vain, that's enough for me.

              then, i tried it, and, well, it worked.

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              • #8
                margerine is horrible for you. abandon it.

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                • #9
                  Most all of us were healthy at your age, dude. The question is, how much healthier could you be if you did full paleo? You don't know the answer to that. I went to the doctor last year with a long list of whines: headaches, joint pains, blah blah. He was like, yeah, you're getting old. That's how it is. Now: nothing. Basically perfect health. I feel better and have a better bod at 39 than I did at 19. How will you feel? Find out. What do you have to lose?
                  If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                  • #10
                    Couple of clarifications:
                    Margarine is horrible for you and tastes like shite. Buy butter. Don't care if you are doing SAD or Paleo.
                    Seriously, if you are already healthy and young and you start eating properly, you could end up ridiculously buff pretty easily. You probably won't ever need to do the super-low carb thing, or be super strict, either. Natural foods, plenty of protein, easy on the sugar, avoid anything that came through a factory on its way to your table. Simple rules.
                    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Quick clarification about my confusion about butter: In Dutch, we have "boter" describing everything from butter to margarine and stuff like that. If I understand correctly now, actual butter is more commonly known as "roomboter" in Dutch, translating literally to cream butter.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mqrius View Post
                        I feel pretty fit, and don't really pay too much attention to what I eat.
                        [...] I don't really skimp on fat or anything. I like meat, I like butter, and I like sweet stuff
                        [...] I guess I could try cooking on my own for a month or so, and if I like it, keep doing it.
                        [...] I could get cod liver pills from the internet (the local supermarket only seems to have vitamin D + Calcium pills), and occasional fasting will not be a problem
                        [...]I also will keep drinking beer socially. If I'm going to eat nuts they're going to be salted cashew nuts. Short bursts of intense activity are already in my life (occasional pull-ups, or cycling fast to avoid being late for class :P). Changing my regular continental breakfast to something heavy will be no problem at all. I like heavy english breakfasts, and even if I never go paleo, I'll probably start doing that occasionally right now :P

                        So yeah, I'd like to try paleo, but not absolutely rigidly. Will it still be of use, then?
                        Can't help you wrt food choices in the Netherlands, but there's a world of paleo staples available via the internet (e.g. coconut everything, fish oil, etc.). If I were you, I'd do some focused searching for Dutch paleo/primal/crossfit/MovNat/"real food"/parkour/barefoot sites, blogs, meet-up/yahoo groups, etc., and find some like-minded folks who can clue you in to the local scene.

                        Re: your partial paleo approach, you don't mention cutting out grains. I'm not sure what you mean by a big English breakfast, but in my experience it is far from paleo. There are a lot of variations of paleo but few to none would include toast or fried bread, porridge, baked beans, Weetabix, etc. With respect to "liquid bread" aka beer, it's gonna depend on the amount of social drinking you do, as to whether or not that would impede any benefits of the other changes you may make.

                        Personally I'd say that eating grains regularly isn't paleo/primal, and for me the excellent sleep and stress reduction is right at the core of Why I'll Never Go Back. But as some others have said, eating real food & avoiding empty calories in a box or anything with an ingredients label (e.g. processed meats), will benefit your health in the medium run and long term. Every body is different, so you'll have to tell us if you experience any quick or dramatic benefits!
                        "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                        "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                        If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                        beachrat's new primal journal

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                        • #13
                          Butter made from cream is the only butter. The rest is poison.

                          For the remainder of your question, read mark's latest post on mda

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                          • #14
                            Good idea. I've been having a quick look at Dutch paleo stuff, and although there are some sites, I haven't found a large active community yet.

                            Ah yes, about grains, I was planning on cutting out bread/pasta completely, that shouldn't be too hard. Grains coming in from other sources will probably be reduced if I try to 'buy food without ingredient lists'.
                            About the English breakfast; Yeah, I should elaborate on that. 'Continental' countries describe an English breakfast as 'bacon and eggs'. Looking more closely I see that they usually include toast and perhaps beans, so I won't do that of course, although tomato, sausages and mushrooms would be fine.

                            By the way, thanks, everyone, for replying. I appreciate all input and thoughts

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                            • #15
                              If you're looking for more reasons to go full-paleo/primal/whatever, just think about how much easier it is to form habits when you're younger. If you start treating your body the best that you can by giving it the best fuel that you can, it'll become one of the best habits you could have. If you start now, you won't have to worry about breaking bad habits when you're old and fat. (I've heard it's way harder!)
                              And if you eat as clean as you can most of the time, the occasional indulgence in beer and party food probably won't matter.

                              And I dunno how you feel about vegetables and meat, but the longer you abstain from processed shit, the better real foods taste. So if you're someone who doesn't care for veggies, just try it for a few weeks and see if you feel different about them at the end.

                              Best of luck! Btw, where in the netherlands do you live? I've wanted to visit NL for quite a while, because my boyfriend lives there.

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