I have spent the last two years learning about the Paleo lifestyle. After 4 decades of overeating and over-exercising I was no better off than your average couch potato. When I was younger I looked to be in phenomenal shape, but never really felt that good. I weight-trained 2 hours per day, trained in martial arts 3-5 hours per day, plus hiking and biking on the weekends. While I have competed in various sports at very high levels across North America, nutrition was never taught to me. I relied on my innate athletic ability. In university they teach from the Canada Food Guide, which is woefully inadequate, and to be blunt, just plain wrong. Even in medical school it is an elective for doctors.
I now wonder what life would have been like had I always eaten like this; would I had to have taken allergy shots and pills for 30 years, would I need prescription antacids, would I have to exercise like a maniac just to maintain a modicum of health, would I suffer from debilitating headaches and neck pain, would every joint in my body ache, would I catch every single cold going around? After nine months of loosely following this diet I noticed significant improvements and biomarkers of health (higher testosterone, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, lower cortisol, dramatically reduced illness). Once I committed 100% the changes were amazing, losing 20lbs in 4 weeks. Now, some may argue that this is a fringe diet, when in fact it is the complete opposite. It could be renamed the “original human diet”, “the anti-inflammatory diet”, “the eat clean diet”, or just plain “the eat real food diet”.
Now, I just try to lead by example. The hardest people to convert are family and friends. As I continue to look and feel better as I age, I am sure some will eventually see that I am doing is not so radical, and in fact the right way to eat.
I must admit, all my knowledge on this has been gained through extensive reading of others works, blogs, podcasts, websites, books etc. But it works, and I am thankful to those willing to do the research.
What was the biggest challenge to adopting a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet?
We are inundated with foods that are so carb-laden, it's impossible to eat out or with friends. The world has been brainwashed into thinking grains are necessary.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
When trying to explain to people about this diet, I try to read them and see what level of commitment they might have. If they seem committed I recommend a full 30 day 100% clean diet. If they waffle about it, I recommend they take slow deliberate baby steps, maybe just changing one meal at a time, like breakfast, which is often the worst of the day.