Saturday, June 30

Temptation of Eve

Working with a client on her food journal we had hoped to find a way out of the plateau that was causing this wonderful woman to feel fed up, low and lethargic.  Encouraged that paleo works and the successes we have had, experience tells us this problem can be as a result of one or several factors.  And sure enough, there it was, nestled in the midst of her food journal entries:  FRUIT: grapes, apples, pears were being consumed with a passion at any time of day or night, snacking and not always with a meal. The point is some fruits in particular grapes and dates contain pure glucose as well as fructose and are therefore faster releasing into the blood stream.  This in turns causes blood sugar to spike giving a short lived lift in mood and energy surge, the problem is any surge is followed by a rapid fall as the body fights to balance blood sugar.

We talked a little about this about the journal entries and the pattern of food consumption.  It was apparent that the fruit had become her prop (treat) and the learned behavior, that thought that we deserve a treat to give ourselves a little boost was still forming a big part of her routine.  To such an extent when days were really bad my friend was literally “gorging” on fruit to deal with the issues instead of… well, dealing with the issues.  Fine if you’re a mountain gorilla but we’re not mountain gorillas.  This can be such a deep pattern of  ingrained behavior it can be hard to spot and it’s only fruit after all…......?

When we think of fruit, fructose, fruit sugar we often associate it with healthy eating.  Indeed, some diets recommend we purchase fructose as a sweetener in our food.  Some diets even encourage us to eat fruit as a ‘free food’.  But the fruit we eat today is very different from that which was present a generation ago let alone in our ancestor’s time.  Our fruit is selected and bred for its sweetness, shape and appearance.  Historically the fruit we ate was seasonal, lower in sugar and higher in fibre.

Over eating fruit causes over consumption of fructose.  Excessive consumption of fructose causes increases in uric acid levels (which raise blood pressure and can lead to gout), raises triglycerides (which elevates risk factors for heart disease) decreases leptin entry into the hypothalamus (leading to prolonged feelings of hunger) leads to weight gain, induces insulin resistance and high levels over a long period may cause fatty liver.

Fruit is not the answer for weight loss due to the presence of fructose.  Cut back on fruit if you are overweight or having trouble shifting the weight whilst eating above average amount of fruit in your daily life.

Thursday, June 28

Zorro Circles and the Paleo Challenge

Have you ever seen the movie “The Mask of Zorro”?  Antonio Banderas is great (for a short Spanish guy in cuban heels ‘n all) but that’s a whole other post!

Some time ago we wrote a post about the stories we carry which keep us firmly rooted in our place wherever that may be:  the stories that frame us and limit us. 

Confronting our excess weight is a classic arena for pulling out all stops on the story front.  To make a difference you have to let each story go.  It’s about transformation on every level.  To do this we simply have to be willing to make a start. 

And by the way we are fat because we have been eating the wrong food.  It’s not your fault and it's nothing to do with being weak-willed or not liking exercise.  And it is fixable.

Let’s return to the movie.  If you recall Zorro is living the life of a beggar.  He is also a poor swordsman until, one day he displays an act of courage and is witnessed by a Master Swordsman who, on seeing his potential agrees to train him.

And so it begins.  A commitment is made.  And this is key.  Circles in the sand are drawn and Zorro is held to small circles of training.  He must fight within the confines of the small circle drawn in the sand and every time he tries to fight outside of the circle, his Master instructs him to return. 

Zorro is frustrated and bewildered in turn until his mentor tells him that he must master fighting in the small circle first before he can progress.  This gives him the element of skill and control.

And in this way we can use Zorro Circles to gain control over weight.  Draw a circle in the sand and master this before seeking to progress.  In your circle commit to understanding what you hope to achieve in losing the weight and how you will do this.  Practise your understanding of paleo food, test out the first principles, talk to others but don’t step outside of the circle until you fully understand what it is you are learning and how you will achieve this. 

And we can help you with this.  With every success you can widen your circle but always, you stay in control.

Zorro circles work because they give us a tiny amount of control in what can seem to be an overwhelming situation.  They can be applied to most problems.   Simply start at where you’re at.  Keep it real simple and work to progress from that.

Tuesday, June 26

Best Healthy Diet

Here's a quick look at some other diets and diet myths that can influence your choice of weight loss.

Very Low Calorie Diets

Have you ever tried a very low calorie diet?  Cambridge Diet, Lighter Life, Medifast, Optifast these are all very low calorie diets.  Each provides dramatic weight loss and fast results - do you remember those pictures of Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke in the news after Christmas and their dramatic results?  But it is an unsustainable weight loss in the long term due to metabollic compromise.  For every day you eat/drink less than 500 calories.  When you return to normal healthy eating that is the equivalent to a slice of ham, a tomato and a piece of lettuce (not literally but you get the idea).  Is this sustainable?  Isn't there an easier way of maintaining a healthy weight eating a balanced, nutritionally-dense and filling diet?  

Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley

These diets are based on calorie restriction dressed up in novel ways and seek to convince us that a life time of dietary restriction and lack combined with the inside of gym are the way forward.  They advocate life style change and yes it is a life style change but is it a life style you or I would seek to subscribe to in the long term?

You are What you Eat

This single quote is responsible for perpetuating the myth that if you eat fat you will become fat and is responsible for most of us believing that it is an unforgivable sin to enjoy good fat in our diet.  Quite the opposite is true.  A clearer response would be you are what you metabolism does with what you you are talking.

Eat Less Exercise More

This is conventional dietary wisdom: it's your own fault you are fat.  This one makes us cross!  It's the food you see, not you.  It's the processed food industry and the toxic food environment in which we live.  Food processing is the food industry's way of making profit by taking apart natural food and re-inventing them in a more lucrative not you is at stake.  And I don't know about you but when I exercise, I get hungry and when I want to work up an appetite I go for a walk so how does that contribute to weight loss?  Time and again emphasis for the current obesity epidemic is pushed back onto us the individual and our failure to get out appetite under control.  But how can we when the food stuffs we are given by the food industry are designed to fool our taste buds, knock out our "I am full" monitor and deliberately, cynically make us over eat?  With a Paleo Diet we are making a stand and opting out of that.  It's common sense that's all, good old fashioned common sense.  There is not a single piece of evidence in circulation which can prove the Government's theory on conventional dietary wisdom, in fact quite the opposite is true.

No wonder we are confused.

Looking for a signpost out of the current diet traps. At Paleo Works we help you simplify your food life and press your dietary reset button!  It is simple, sustainable and do-able.  How do we know?  Because we live it every day. And get this: Paleo Works!

Sunday, June 24

Why eat a Paleo Diet?

Three interesting questions received over the last week:

Why does a paleo diet work?

What makes a paleo diet different from other diets I have tried?

Why opt for a paleo diet when nothing else has ever worked or has ever been sustainable?  It's a little technical but take a deep breath and read on..

Ketogenic Diet

When you stop eating sugar and starch your body will start to burn excess fat for energy particularly fat stored around your tummy.  This is a natural process known as ketosis.

Your body's design and survival instinct means that it will always look for the fastest, easiest form of energy to burn which is carbohydrates.  Eating a Paleo diet places the emphasis on protein, good fat and reduced carbohydrates in contrast to the standard english diet which is heavily carbohydrate-entered: slice of toast anyone?

All carbohydrates convert quickly to sugar in the blood and the more refined the carbohydrate source the quicker the conversion goes.  For carbohydrates think bread, pasta, doughnuts, strawberry milkshakes, chips, cake and fizzy drinks.

If you feed your body meals low in sugar and starch it is forced to obtain energy from other sources that is body fat and muscle.  Your body will only burn fat when it is starving or when easy access to sugar and starch has gone.

Other Diets

Some diets such as liquid diets (Cambridge Diet, L:ighter Life) induce ketosis through starvation.  But we don't want that!  Why?  Because starvation diets will reduce your metabollic rate.  But when you revert to food you are automatically obliged to restrict your calorie intake to make sure you do not re-gain the weight.  A life-time of dietary restriction and resentment follows.  Doesn't sound like much fun to us!  Is there another way?

Paleo Works Programme

Paleo Works is a real food ketogenic diet.  Our meal ideas are rich in protein and good dietary fats and wholesome simple vegetables.  So you chose: a lifetime of starvation and resentment or good rich simple satisfying real food and a body that functions strong and well: you decide.

When you commit to a Paleo Works programme you will lose body fat effortlessly and without hunger, the way nature intended.  You will find a corresponding increase in energy and a sense of well-being.  Then when your weight becomes normal you will find that your taste buds have changed and your cravings have gone and in this way your weight loss becomes effortlessly sustainable.  Who needs sugar when you can eat good fat?

The choice is yours.  We know through our own experience and the experience of others that this simple approach to weight loss works and will make a profound difference to you life.

Saturday, June 23

How Stress Can Make You Fat

We seriously underestimate the effect on stress on our lives and how stress can make you fat, period.

And we especially underestimate the effect of stress on our bodies and our diet and the impact this can have on maintaining weight loss.

Here is an example.  Not long ago some friends of ours were forced to down size, losing out on a car.  This forced a re-think on how to get to work.  Luckily this did not take too long as the only possible answer was to walk.  Ever a glass half full person, this enforced “walk” was entered into with a positive mind set and a belief that the additional exercise would help sustain weight loss.  To arrive at work on time at 8.30 am it was necessary to leave at 7.45am.  The upshot of this was the family’s three children had to be woken up earlier and fed breakfast (a good healthy paleo style meal) much earlier than had been the previous case.  OK, anyone out there tried to wake up three hormonal teenage kids around 6.45 am?  Kind a stressful?

There followed the long 45 minute walk (down hill all the way in the morning), a full day’s work and a very long walk back up a very long lonely hill, carrying heavy shopping bags in the evening before cooking a supper for the family and dealing with all the other items that come along with well, just having a family really: homework, clothes washing, (mum have got PE tomorrow and no kit) and the ubiquitous letter produced usually around bedtime requesting "Johnny" attend school tomorrow in Mexican fancy dress as we are learning about south american food – oh and if you could also supply a selection of Mexican food to snack on (no nuts) that would be greatly appreciated.   You guessed it, more stress.

And stress has a curious effect on the body.  We have an in-built stress response.  It’s called fight or flight: stand your ground or run – a complicated set of physiological reactions that ultimately keep you alive in a dangerous situation.  For our ancestors this was an absolute necessity. Imagine a sabre-toothed tiger coming at you.  For us, stress produces a reaction in our bodies which can be boiled down to one single thing:  a desire to over eat. Huh?  Here’s the how and the why

Now combine this with our friend's experience of walking to work.  A steady cardio workout – only it wasn't really – it was draining, exhausting and stressful right through winter in any  weather: rain, snow, sleet or shine.  And this coupled with the very real financial difficulties, the boiling sense of resentment against those who had cars, the sheer physical exhaustion from walking one and a half hours everyday out of necessity not choice caused a depressing reoccurrence of overeating and weight gain.  Because the bottom line is: cardio exercise, steady raised heart beat (and it often was due to the run to get to work on time when late and the physical effort of trawling those bags uphill) made her hungry.

What we write here is not earth shattering more common sense.  We simply re-direct the mirror for you to shine into your own life and discover where you might be experiencing stress.  The average person swims in a sea of small stresses every day.  As a result, that fight of flight response is constantly being triggered.  Cortisol levels become chronically elevated and blood sugar is constantly mobilized for energy.  And when you don’t burn that sugar and you over eat to feed that craving for sugar triggered by the hormonal response and drop in blood sugar that has followed the adrenal rush ……you know the answer already, it gets stored as fat.

So to shift the fat, shift the stress.  Take a note book and pen and make that journey easy for yourself.  Make an action plan, go on , now: do it.

And our friends?  Well it’s not been a straight forward path to lose that regained weight.  Life is a constant journey of renewal and movement forward but never forget the joy a quick peak back can bring to remind you of just how far you've come.

So we wrote a plan together: putting my friend first.  The children were given alarm clocks and told it was their responsibility to get out of bed and find breakfast.  Food choices were left out the night before and there was no chasing.  The husband was given a shopping list along with the car and asked to bring the items home with him from work or the shopping was done the night before.  If anything was forgotten it was forgotten: life goes on regardless and just like that, life found its own balance for each of them.  And the good news?  Well we heard from our friend only the other week.  A new job brought with it a higher salary and both stopped by last weekend to show us her new car!

Monday, June 18

5-a-day? No Way!

5-a-day? No Way!

This has to be the most widely promoted well known public health campaign in the country.  And given that fact, you might be forgiven for thinking the advice was based on medical evidence and scientific fact?

Well, you’d be wrong!  Because there is no scientific evidence.  In fact, this campaign was invented in California in 1991 by the American National Cancer Institute and the Produce for Better Health Foundation who’s members comprise vegetable growers, packers and the logistics world of .....that's right, fruit and veg growing and fruit and veg packing. Yes the very organisations that have the most to gain (financially) by convincing the world to eat more fruit and veg.

So what’s the theory?  Fruit and veg are recommended (in conventional dietary wisdom) to prevent heart disease and cancer because of their antioxidant properties: they are supposed to prevent the creation of damaging free radicals.  Interesting but is it this true?  The most recent study was published in April 2010 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  The study involved 142,605 men and 335,873 women  for the period 1992 – 2000.  The review found that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day had little effect on cancer risk and concluded that the very small difference observed could be attributable to other factors: giving up alcohol or smoking, obesity, exercise, taking the Pill or HRT.

There are a remarkable number of other studies which also fail to support the claims made.  For example, in 2002 the University of Helsinki studied the effects of high and low intakes of vegetables and berries and apples on oxidation in subjects consuming diets high in unsaturated fatty acids.  They found “no significant differences between the diets”

In 2003 THE CARDIO 2000  study results were published.  The study was looking at fruit and vegetable consumption in relation to heart disease.  The study found in favour of fruit and vegetable consumption and concluded that it could reduce the risk of heart disease but signficantly it did not need five portions a day to achieve this. “Consumption of two or more servings a week is associated with a 70% reduction in relative risk” the researchers concluded.  And yes, you read that right,“two or more servings a week”.
In fact,  Professor Sir Charles George (medical director of the British Heart Foundation) said during an interview with the Daily Mail about the study results and the obvious conflict with government guidelines that “there is some argument about how much you need.  I think five may be an arbitrary figure.”

So what’s the problem  and why are Paleo Works flagging this up?

Simply this: what we have is a marketing campaign with no provable significant benefit for public health.  The campaign is based on neither medical evidence nor scientific fact.

Worse still this campaign is fuelling the obesity epidemic.  

Why?  Because of the high levels of fructose contained in fruit and the effect it has on our bodies (not to mention teeth – if parents knew the damaging effect fruit juice had on their children, the likes of Tropicana and Sunny Delight would be out of business by tomorrow).  In summary we state that the high sugar content of many fruits means that they are not something to emphasise in your diet if weight loss and optimal health are your goals.  This is particularly so if you do not tolerate carbohydrate well (specifically: diabetics, type 2 diabetics, those who suffer from metabolic syndrome or are insulin resistant).

If you are going to eat fruit, eat it sparingly and opt for berries which are relatively low in sugar and offer a better deal in terms of nutrient content.  Avocados are also a good choice given the high good fat content.  Every day fruit: apples; peaches; pears; plums; citrus fruits - eat these in moderation and by that we mean watch your body and how it reacts.  High sugar tropical fruits (pineapples, mangoes, paw-paws, passion fruit) : these should be avoided until you hit your weight loss targets  And don’t eat dried fruit, period!

Vegetables are a great choice on the paleo diet especially those that grow above the ground such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.  These tend to be low in carbohydrate and highly nutritious containing folate, vitamin C, phytochemicals and soluble fibre.  If you are looking to increase calcium in your diet choose:  collard greens, spinach or turnip greens.  Vegetables that grow below the ground are richer in carbohydrate content and should be eaten less frequently: carrots, parsnips, swedes, sweet potatoes.  Avoid white potatoes for their effect on your insulin.   Great alternatives to mashed potato are mashed cauliflower or mashed  celeriac (mash with cream or butter or both, add seasoning) Onions are fine (impossible to overeat onions) and mushrooms are relatively low in carbohydrate and rich in vitamin D and tasty (especially in a fried breakfast)!

In summary – avoid fruit in favour of vegetables if weight loss and great health are your goals.  And be selective in the vegetables you chose.  Follow the paleo diet and in this way, your weight will continue to fall off.  Finally avoid those public health campaign messages….or at least investigate for yourself and check that the findings are based on scientific evidence and not fuelled by an industry with a vested financial interest! 

So the very next time you hear a food manufacturer or distributor telling you it's part of your five-a-day, you'll be saying No Way!

Saturday, June 16

Faileo Paleo (or the Yorkshire Pudding Trials)

Somewhere I had heard the term "faileo paleo"
When I searched the internet, it appeared that it was the term coined for all those chocolate brownie "lookie likie" moments that we all go through adjusting to this paleo life..Its where you spend your money on fancy flours (that in your previous life you would only have used to paper walls) in the vain hope that their mysterious gluten free-properties will somehow give back the sugary sweet taste of your favourite doughnut to the stodgy mess you are baking.  (It doesn't by the way for those still tempted to try....)

For Mike and me the moment came at an expensive farmers' market in Otley. Clutching our ostrich burgers and plump wild boar sausages (traditional “bargain” impulse buys), we stumbled across a scruffy bloke with a stall selling “gluten-free” mixes for Yorkshire Pudding

These, it transpired, were knocked up in his kitchen in Halifax. 

Looking at his grey teeth and close together eyes, I wondered if he had begun his kitchen career cooking up something entirely different (crystal meth perhaps) but nevertheless to Mike it appeared we had stumbled upon the Holy Grail. 

Let me explain.

For countless Sundays before, Mike had risen early and begun experimenting.  Later, he could be found  pacing the floor adjacent to our cooker slowly waiting for his “Paleo” Yorkshire Puddings to rise. Oven temperature would be strictly controlled, lights dimmed, no talking  and woe betide anyone who accidentally opened the oven door without permission…….but you know, it never worked.  Without fail the Sunday roast would be served accompanied by shriveled burnt discs of hardened flatness but he did give it his best shot!

Back to Otley and on closer examination, it became apparent that the bloke from Halifax had made his yorkshires with maize starch instead of wheat flour.  Gluten-free, you why bother, you  ask?

I swear I saw Mike suck his teeth in disgust– to this day he denies it but it certainly ended our brief flirtation with “faileo paleo”.  Changing out a few ingredients and sticking the term paleo in front of what's left, is not always a recipe for success.  May be it's time for something new.

When you make a commitment to this life, there is no going back. Once you get past the bit where you feel sorry for yourself and the bit where you try to convert your previous meal schedule into Paleo this and paleo that then you begin to see what works and doesn’t work for you and life starts to become alive with possibility.

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" 
from the Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Paleo Abundance

Often times when we embark on a diet our resolve can be  broken by a perception of lack.  We feel restricted in our choices and can get caught up in an endless mantra of those things we are "no longer allowed to eat".  
We fall try to fall back on will power and then it begins to get really tough because will power alone will always let you down. .  
For me, eating paleo brings with it a profound sense of abundance.  This is my favourite quote to date about eating paleo!

"I've been eating grass-fed ground beef, steak skewers, pecan-crusted chicken, pork and fish.  I've been eating eggs, sausages, yams, deviled eggs, cabbage slaw and curry.  I've been eating spice-rubbed chicken, salmon salad and pear salad with balsamic vinegar.  I've been eating shrimp with red onion, garlic, green bell peppers, salsa verde and chili powder - served with romaine lettuce leaves, spinach, mango and lime. My fridge is filled to the brim with fresh local and organic fruit and vegetables of all colours and my freezer is full of grass-fed beef, turkey, lamb and chicken.  I haven't been scrimping on fat either.  I cook my nutrient dense meals with coconut oil and olive oil and eat plenty of avocados and macadamia nuts and even a little bit of almond butter.  What's missing from the list?  Added sugar, milk, cheese, grains, legumes...."  Yael Grauer

And that's how it is.  Once you recalibrate your taste buds to experience real food, you will wonder why you ever left!

We get to be so creative with this food: the colours, textures, smells they seem to call for a response from us and over time, an ability to cook instinctively and well, will follow.  And yes I still burn the sweet potato chips when something distracts me (ask Mike and the kids)!  Last night the bananas caught fire under the grill ( don't ask me how...........) 

The key is to  keep the kitchen well stocked with a variety of good things: fresh veg, the best meat you can afford, free-range eggs, herbs, spices, good fats, trusty bits of cookware and an ability to step into the kitchen with an open mind and to let cooking occur.  

One of the best things we do is work with clients in their own kitchens teaching new skills in order to create  real food dinners they love.  Take a look at our recipe page.  We like to keep it simple with real food ingredients.  Cooking is easy once you let go of your pre-conceptions!  

Friday, June 15

"The Men Who Made us Fat"

Can you tell what it is yet?

Perhaps the closest the BBC will come to endorsing a real food diet?

We are referring to the “The men who made us fat” which aired on BBC2 last night at 9pm.  Worth a look not least because the show brings together Robert Lustig, Gary Taubes, David Kessler, Phillip James and Dr John Yudkin to explore why we are getting fat.

And we are: two thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four is classified as obese.  The average person in Britain is three stone heavier than they were 50 years go.  What happened?  Jacques Peretti puts forward his view, creating a hit list ranging from Earl Butz, high fructose corn syrup, Ancel Keys, advertising campaigns driving snacking between meal (a finger of fudge anyone) and the rise of fast food restaurants.

So it would seem that decisions made in America 40 years ago continue to influence the way we eat now and continue to have a profound impact on our weight.  Take High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  The sweetener was promoted in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon’s agriculture secretary, Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers.  Cheaper and sweeter than sugar and created by industrial process, it soon found its way into all processed food and soft drinks.  There was a vivid shot in the programme of Peretti eating a burger and chips and demonstrating that the beef in the burger was made from cattle eating corn (natural – I think not), the bread was made with corn syrup, the fries were cooked in corn oil, the ketchup as made with corn syrup and the fizzy drink was made with corn syrup – did you know that?  It makes you feel a bit queasy, doesn’t it?

Did you also know that HFCS is much sweeter than sugar but that does not mean less is used in the production of food.  Why?  Because HFCS also interferes with leptin, the hormone that controls appetite so once you start eating and drinking you don’t know when to stop.  That signal to the brain has gone as a result of consuming this product  Bad news for you and me…great news for food manufacturers!

Meanwhile a US Congress Report blames fat not sugar for the disturbing rise in heart disease.  Dietary guidelines are established and low fat foods are invented with the food industry purveying a range of “low fat” heart healthy” products with all the fat removed…trouble was without fat the food tastes like cardboard – solution, replace fat with sugar.  Genius! Trouble is we don’t realize that low fat does not mean it’s not fattening!  It’s all about the insulin and you know, as Peretti says “while obesity has boomed so have profits”

Want to know how important the sugar industry is in America?  Listen to Peretti’s final story.  In 2003, we were preparing to invade Iraq.  In America there was another battle on – only this time against…the World Health Organisation.  They were about to publish a report to set world-wide limits on the consumption of sugar.  That is until the Sugar Association wrote to the WHO, threatening $406 million dollars of US funding would be withdrawn if the publication went ahead.  The US Health Secretary even  travelled to Geneva to put the case and do you know something, that recommendation was never made.  Makes you think doesn’t it? 

Final comments?   Next time programme-makers please reduce the repeated shots of obese people wandering around in” leisure wear” and perhaps you could think carefully about juxtaposing commentary on the rise of obesity encouraged by the large number of fast food outlets and the fact that virtually every interview was held in a fast food restaurant!

Take a look and send us your thoughts.  And if you are looking to start a real food diet, give us a call….. 

...It may be Paleo Works is just the thing,

 you need to get started!

Related Articles:

Obese: A Year to Save My Life


Name: Claire
Weight before show: 26st 7lbs
Metabolic age: 47
Actual age: 32

“Obese: a year to save my life” 

Claire's story...

Claire is 32 but feels twenty years older.  She is constantly juggling a busy and stressful job with the needs of her energetic four-year-old son. And when the stress spiralled out of control, Claire took comfort in food.

Since adolescence Claire would go from yo-yo dieting to extreme binges, and on a bad binge day she could pack away more than 8000 calories.  She turned to food to heal past emotional problems and even though she's undergone therapy, she's never been able to take control of her eating disorder. She was also at the point where she worried that she couldn't keep up with her son.

Claire longed to break this vicious cycle and desperately wanted to get her life and her weight under control, so she could play a more active role in her young son's life.

It’s a familiar story?  And handsome weight loss coach, Jesse Pavelka flew in from America and told Claire to eat less and exercise more.  That’s it in a nutshell really.

And Claire did lose weight.  A staggering amount of weight……BUT…

What happens when the cameras leave and the attention fades?  Can you fill in the gaps?  What’s your experience of conventional dietary wisdom?  And why don’t these shows ever record a follow up 6 months, one year, two years down the line?  Because you’ve probably guessed it, Claire will have put the weight back on.  In the interim, the staggering transformation makes for perfect “fairy tale” television.

Sadly,  anyone watching this type of show with excess fat to lose can’t help but take on board the fact that to get from morbidly obese to “normal” involves getting up at 6 o’clock in the morning; putting in 2 to 4 hours of training per day and eating less that 1500 calories for each meal.  At least that’s what conventional dietary wisdom tells us.

And watching Claire’s secret diaries recording her binge eating during her diet when the stress of it all got too much for her (6 large bars of caramel chocolate in 4 hours on one occasion) suggests that things are not under “control” and that the long cycle of yo-yo dieting may well return.


Oh and did you catch Jesse Pavelka’s response when Claire fell so spectacularly off his wagon?  He blamed her and her “issues”.  This is horribly common amongst health professionals who will always blame the slimmer's lack of will power and tend to believe that slimmers delude themselves about their eating and exercise habits and don’t stick to the rules.

At Paleo Works, we say that it’s not because people don’t work hard enough at “eating less and exercising more.” People don’t succeed because the strategy itself is based on flawed science and simply doesn’t work!  We say so called 'healthy eating' causes more problems than it solves and even leads to weight gain and ill health. We say "Eat More and Exercise Less!" This may go against the grain of what we're told to believe but it's absolutely true. If you just want to lose weight then it is entirely possible with diet alone, remember exercise is a fitness tool, diet is the weight loss tool.

Take a look at the Minnesota Starvation experiment.  Read the conclusions (and this was on a diet of 1560 calories per day)

 "Among the conclusions from the study was the confirmation that prolonged semi-starvation produces significant increases in depression, hysteria and hypochondriasis as measured using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Indeed, most of the subjects experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression. There were extreme reactions to the psychological effects during the experiment including self-mutilation (one subject amputated three fingers of his hand with an axe, though the subject was unsure if he had done so intentionally or accidentally). Participants exhibited a preoccupation with food, both during the starvation period and the rehabilitation phase. Sexual interest was drastically reduced, and the volunteers showed signs of social withdrawal and isolation. The participants reported a decline in concentration, comprehension and judgment capabilities, although the standardized tests administered showed no actual signs of diminished capacity. There were marked declines in physiological processes indicative of decreases in each subject’s basal metabolic rate (the energy required by the body in a state of rest), reflected in reduced body temperature, respiration and heart rate. Some of the subjects exhibited edema (swelling) in their extremities, presumably due to the massive quantities of water the participants consumed attempting to fill their stomachs during the starvation period." - Source Wikipedia

Claire needs to lose the physical addiction to sugar (and grains) and to build her diet up around good fats and protein with carbohydrates taking a back seat.  In this way, Claire will create balance and space for other good things to come into her life.  Once this process is up and running, Claire’s body will become a fat burning machine taking energy from fat stores and using the surplus fat in her body to fuel her life.

This is the basis of our diet.  A return to ancestral health.  Learning from our ancestors what drove them forward for in excess of 2.5 million years.  It’s only in the last 100 years we have turned to processed "high sugar" food.  It’s only in the last 30 years we have been told to eat less fat.  Its only in the last 20 years we have begun to develop such an intense problem with obesity....

How many more have to end up like Claire, or worse end up dying as a result of excess fat?  Well given current practices and standard dietary advice the answer perhaps is many more. However there is an alternative, a solution. So if you' re overweight and believe you too only have a year to save your life, or simply want to improve your lifestyle and well being, take a look at what Paleo Works has to offer,  let us empower you to change your life forever.

Thursday, June 14

Fruit Sugar The Enemy Within


As we all know those pure fruit juice's,  especially the thick creamy smoothies are healthy right?'s seems not. Fructose the sugar found naturally in fruit and added to most processed foods, hides a range of not so sweet secrets.
As well are an array of other high risk 'additives' found in packaged, processed and some restaurant foods. Scientists are discovering that fructose appears to be linked to serious modern epidemics such as cancers, heart disease, hypertension, kidney damage, and even dementia. Never a problem for our ancestors not exposed to these chemically enhanced artificial carbohydrates, it seems the very drinks we're told are good for us are actually having the opposite effect.
The research, published by the American Dietetic Association, suggests that the high content of fructose in processed fruit juice may be the trigger.
The problem, the researchers say, is that many substances found in fruit which help protect against bowel cancer — such as fibre, vitamin C and other antioxidants — are lost during processing. This is because the all the fibre present in the fruit in it's natural state has been lost, thus enabling the remaining fructose (sugar) to be rapidly absorbed into the blood stream.
There have been other concerns about the fructose content of fruit juice. Earlier this year, scientists at Bangor University warned that even freshly-squeezed juice contains up to five teaspoons of fructose per glass. This triggers an Insulin response well above normal levels, resulting in the sugar (all carbohydrates = sugar) being stored in the fat cells.
Innocent-smoothieSo that fruit juice or smoothie you drink as a 'healthy' refreshment...isn't. It's making you fat!
Sports drinks you take to the gym...worse! Energy drinks you take to give you a lift...even worse!! If you don't want energy slumps, the advice is don't eat processed foods which cause elevated blood sugar levels together with abnormal lows.
If you need energy, eat fat. Protein to build and repair.
The British Dietetic Association says that because of this we should drink only one 150ml glass of juice a day...Hmmm well this is a tongue in cheek statement so consideration ought be given to timing, especially if your concerned about weight management.For instance if it's within the time frame of additional high carbohydrate sources then even this small amount is going to end up on your hips, back side or tummy.Fattest-Humungous-Man
Nowadays, fructose is cropping up not just in fruit juice, where it occurs naturally, but in all sorts of foods and drinks — from biscuits to ice cream.
Most consumers wouldn’t know: it can be listed in the ingredients under a variety of names. The most common name for industrially produced versions is high-fructose corn syrup. It is a processed form of fructose derived basically from corn.
In the UK, it is replacing beet and cane sugar, because it’s cheap and keeps foods moist, boosting shelf life. It adds texture to food such as cereal bars and biscuits, making them chewy, and thickens ice cream and yoghurt drinks. Special K-K-cerial
High-fructose-corn syrup is used in frozen products, too, as it reduces crystallisation. Another benefit is that it turns baked products an appetising brown, so you can often find it in cakes, pastries and bread rolls, crackers and cereals.
It’s easy to see why manufacturers of food and drink love corn syrup  — and are using so much of it. A low-fat, fruit-flavoured yoghurt, for instance, can harbour ten teaspoons of the fructose-based sweetener in one pot. A can of soft drink can contain as much as 13 teaspoons.
Scientists are now growing increasingly worried about fructose syrup’s health effects, because although it contains around the same number of calories as cane sugar, the body does not metabolise fructose syrup in the same way.
It places a far greater load on the liver, which, in turn, prompts a range of problems, including raised levels of fat in the bloodstream.
In August, a U.S. study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that adults who consumed high fructose corn syrup in fizzy drinks for two weeks as 25 per cent of their daily calorie requirement had increased blood levels of cholesterol and fats called triglycerides, which are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Fructose may also cause liver damage, the U.S. study found. As Dr Kimber Stanhope, who led the study, explains: ‘Fructose overloads the liver. It then gets turned into liver fat, which then increases blood triglycerides, cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease.’
High levels of fructose intake has been linked with the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, which are often seen in people with Alzheimer's
She adds that fructose may also increase the risk of diabetes in this way.
‘The extra liver fat may cause the increased insulin resistance we see in people consuming fructose.’ Insulin resistance is linked to a higher risk of diabetes.
Fructose may also make you more prone to obesity. For example, laboratory research by Princeton University this year concluded that ‘long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup resulted in abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen’.
Such abdominal fat may raise your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Professor Bart Hoebel, who led the study, says: ‘Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different to other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true.’
High blood pressure is another danger, say researchers at Imperial College, London. The study, published in the journal Hypertension earlier this year, showed that people’s blood pressure rose significantly for every extra sweetened drink they consumed per day.
Dr Ian Brown, one of the researchers, says fructose may reduce nitric oxide levels in the bloodstream. This chemical is vital for keeping blood vessels healthily dilated.
Professor Richard Johnson, who led the University of Colorado study, was moved by the seriousness of this result to declare: ‘Excessive fructose intake should be considered an environmental toxin with major health implications.’
Perhaps even more worrying, research by Cambridge University suggests fructose may be helping to fuel rising levels of dementia.
Laboratory studies have linked high intakes of fructose with the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of animals. These plaques are frequently seen in people with Alzheimer’s.
In the U.S., concerns over risks of high fructose corn syrup have led to it being branded ‘the devil’s candy’ — even Michelle Obama has declared she doesn’t want her daughters eating it.
In response, its makers, the Corn Refiners Association, are trying to rebrand high fructose corn syrup as ‘corn sugar’.
This attempt to camouflage the product has prompted a high-level legal case in the U.S. courts —launched by makers of traditional cane-sugar sucrose who don’t want to be sullied by high-fructose corn syrup’s worsening reputation.
However, British health authorities seem un-worried and unwilling  to accept responsibility.
The Food Standards Agency says: ‘The syrup is not classed as an additive. It’s just thick sugar. It’s not even classed as a novel food, so it is an issue about nutrition rather than food safety.’
The agency says any food-safety concerns should be the Department of Health’s responsibility. But the latter says the former should be regulating it.
The problem is that it’s listed under confusingly different names on food labels — it can be known as glucose-fructose syrup, isoglucose and maize syrup.
The food-makers’ Food and Drink Federation does not believe there are problems with labelling, as it ‘fits with current EU legislation’. It adds: ‘High-fructose corn syrup is not widely used in the UK’.
But a quick check at my local supermarket shows ‘glucose fructose syrup’ and fructose are ingredients in many products including: Muller Light Vanilla Yoghurt, Yoplait Petits Filous, Mr Kipling Almond Slices, Bakewell Slices and Victoria Slices, Lucozade Energy drink, Carte D’or ice cream and McVitie’s Hob Nobs, Ginger Nuts and Jaffa Cakes.
As Helen Bond, of the British Dietetic Association, says: ‘There are a lot of frightening trials out there about the potential effects of high fructose corn syrup. What we need, though, is more scientific work.’
So how can British consumers keep an eye on their intake of high corn fructose syrup?
Well while the powers that be are blaming each other or denying it is a problem. It is up to each and every individual to make up their own mind over what's going on here.
But if your at all concerned about your health and longevity, adopting a diet free of all processed foods appears to be the most favourable option.
Source: Daily MailProcessed-food-cartoon-oliver

Stop Positive Thinking!

I was reading a great book by a strong man who teaches at Columbia Business SchoolSrikumar S Rao, Ph. D (Happiness at Work)  He says not to rely on positive thinking.  He says to do so is to acknowledge there is also a negative thought process at work and this causes stress.  Why?  Because we spend a lot of time and energy turning our head away from that perceived negativity, making a judgment around something that may be does not require judgement and in that way we make life a whole lot more complicated and stressful than it needs be.

He writes of a mouse, a lab mouse in a maze who smells cheese.  He runs down one alley.  It ends: no cheese.  He runs round and moves to another.  The same thing.  He runs another way and continues.  At no time does he sit on his tiny mouse butt and say: jeez, this is tough, how do I pick myself up again in the face of such adversity and find that cheese? why is life conspiring against me to make it so hard?  why do I deserve so much suffering.  I have been a good mouse all my life and I just want to taste me a bit of that cheese. Why me, why me, it's not fair!

Nope, he just keeps going til he finds the cheese.

It's kind of funny when you think of it like that.  Drop the judgments and perceived suffering we think we experience every day and life becomes a simple matter of getting on with it.  Accepting what comes my way and dealing with it in terms of practicality: so what needs to be done?

So you have a weight issue.  This is borne out by the fact that you cannot find clothes to fit, running is next to impossible and the thought of being spontaneous in any given moment with the subsequent possibility for exposure of acres of unwelcome flesh fills you with dread.

At Paleoworks, we say: tackle it head on.  Make a commitment and seek out change.  Drop the judgement around size and see it in terms of simple practicality: that is simply what needs to be done.  It is your body after all.  Experiment and find something that works for you.  Small tip: think paleo...For the first time in your life it is possible to escape from the shackles of everyday food addiction and press your re-set button.  Take this opportunity to learn from those who have gone before.  The path is already made for you, you just need to keep walking!

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure? ” 
 Joseph Campbell

Inspired?  Then tell us, shout about it, make some noise, we would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 13

Paleo Side Effects: An Unexpected Bonus

In life it seems we each carry our own story.  These stories can define us, make us who we are.  And we hold onto these stories to excuse our lack, no matter what: my husband left me for another woman - I eat and therefore this has made me fat,  my mother abandonned me at birth - this means I am unloveable, I have red hair so life will be challenging - I'm sure you can find your own story and fill in the gaps.  And for some it can be a very lonely place..

We went primal almost two years ago.  At first it was about weight loss, food, exercise but somewhere down the line I became aware that this had become a lifestyle and there was no going back.  And with that came the realisation that my story had gone, I had stopped living my life from that place.  Every choice every decision made now comes from a much simpler place.  And that is for me, the wholly unexpected bonus of living a paleo life.

“Nothing is more destabilizing to the brain and nervous system than blood sugar surges (and food sensitivity reactions). Nothing is more stabilizing to the brain than natural dietary fat.” writes Nora Gedgaudas and this has been our abiding experience: life before and life after!

What have you found has changed eating a paleo diet?  We'd love to hear from you.

Greengrocer Love

True story: I stopped at the green grocers on my way home tonight, searching for veg for tea -  something tasty and filling and I happened upon a very large pointy vegetable the like of which I had never seen before.  Pointing towards the shelf  I asked the lady green grocer what that thing was over there that looked like a...."knob?" she kindly offered, finishing off my sentence for me. "That's my husband" she replied "No, the vegetable in the corner?"  I asked again. "Yes" she replied eye's narrowing, "that's him.." I flashed a winning smile and paid my money, taking my purchase with me. It was a horse radish by the way! 

On another note we had a very easy tea tonight.  Burgers made from minced beef, onion, free range eggs (brought from the local farmer,extra large double yolkers) and a light sprinkling of herbs.  We added a little light mix of fried mushrooms and tomatoes in coconut oil.  Sweet potato chips for the kids and a fresh green salad.  To serve we balanced the mix onto the burgers and topped with a fried egg for us adults and for the kids we added some cheese slices! 

Every one satisfied except for Mike who has just seen the ding in the car where I caught the wall and is not happy! Uh oh its going to be a long night.....................

Tuesday, June 12

Why Am I Still Fat?

Why am I still fat?

A friend of ours has just returned from a holiday in the US.  He tells us than in America, everything on restaurant menus has the number of calories for the meal in bold next to it whether you are McDonalds or an exclusive Michelin starred restaurant, it makes no difference.  Even the ice-cream seller at the movies wears a pin badge telling all fans that the $10 ice cream they are about to eat may take you way over your daily allowance without the need for you to eat anything else for the rest of that day.. Is this progress?


Why?  Because a calorie is not just a calorie.  All calories are not born equal.  Food calories affect our bodies very differently depending on their source and the overall context in which they are consumed.  Conventional wisdom would have us believe that the key issue is the total number of calories consumed regardless of whether the calorie comes from carbohydrate, protein or fat.

Weight management is therefore a simple game of maths.  To stay at your current weight, simply consume the same number of calories that your body burned each day.  To lose weight, reduce the number of calories you eat regardless of whether those calories are fat, protein or carbohydrate – Right Weight Watchers? Right Slimming World? Right Rosemary Connelly and your weight loss plans?

It sounds reasonable.  But actually it’s not true.

Because the body processes each macronutrient in a distinct way and these differences have real implications for weight loss.  What is making us fat?

Let’s pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that according to NHS figures in 2010, 24 percent of Britons are now obese – some 15.5 million people - while one child in three leaving primary school is overweight.  Britain is dying young.  And bankrupting the NHS in the process!

One of the first diet plans written was in 1864 by William Banting.  He was advised to cut out carbohydrates.  He lost 35 pounds and having succeeded where he had failed so often in the past and being so delighted with the results, he published a short pamphlet “Letter on Corpulence”.  He lists the foods he avoided noting that they contained starch and saccharine tending to create fat. Hmmm……

This excellent advice was followed for the next century but as coronary heart disease figures rose after the second world war, scientists began to investigate.

In 1953 Ancel Keys published “Atherosclerosis. A problem in newer public health”.  His research at the University if Minnesota appeared to have isolated fat as the primary cause of heart disease introducing the ideas of “diet-heart hypothesis” and “lipid hypothesis” into out language.  Bingo – the low fat diet was born.

In 1977 the US congress adopted his theories and advised a low fat diet for the nation.  This was picked up in the UK and we still follow this today.  But you should know that many questioned Ancel Key’s findings including his later published study the Seven Coiuntries study which whole heartedly supported his science….until you realise that in fact he researched 14 countries throwing out those countries (such as Switzerland) whose figures did not accord with his hypothesis!  John Yudkin, a British scientist went further than that pinpointing sugar and sweeteners as the key to obesity, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Ancel Keys made fun of him.

Hmmmm again.

And now the pendulum swings back the other way.  Carbohydrates are making us fat and are the key to weight loss (just as Banting advised in 1864).    To tackle weight loss we must realise the metabolic issues around fat and fat control.  Do you think however that our Government will stand up and say the advice over the past 40 years is wrong forget everything we have said and lets do the opposite – not likely!  It’s for us (you and me) to get on and do it.

You know current government guidelines advocate between 6 and 11 servings of carbohydrate per day.  No wonder Britain got fat!

How did we get fat eating carbohydrates?  Like we have written before and many times over: it’s all about the insulin.

Listen up: here’s what Dr David Haslam of the NationalObesity Forum has to say on the matter:

“After a carb-heavy meal, the glucose (sugar) in your blood stream rises rapidly and your pancreas pumps out insulin.  Insulin takes glucose out of the blood stream, converts it to glycogen so the excess glucose is stored as body fat.  When you blood glucose levels return to normal., after about 90 minutes, the insulin level in your blood stream is still nearer maximum.  As a result, the insulin continues to stack glucose away in the form of fat.  Ultimately the level of glucose in your blood falls below normal and you feel hungry again”.

So you go grab a snack (twix anyone)?  In excessive carbohydrate laden diets our bodies become insulin resistant: fat stores grow and diabetes follows.

Pre pubescent children are being diagnosed with Diabetes 2.  They are on medication.  They have the following to look forward to : weight gain, blindness, heart attacks, strokes, possible amputations the list goes on.  That’s down to diet.  That’s reversible.

We can make a difference to all of this.  Eat real food.  Ditch processed food.  Avoid all foods that raise the blood sugar in the first place.  And don’t rely on medication that simply suppresses the issue without dealing with the underlying cause.

Looking for practical tips to bring paleo into your life?  Come on lets have some fun and find that life of yours once more!