Tuesday, July 31

Stop Emotional Eating

emotional eater

Is emotional eating always as "emotional" as it seems?

We suggest not...

Those of you who have passed through the diet industry will identify strongly with the idea that you are an “emotional eater”. Someone who reaches for food to combat stress, anxiety or sadness; someone who turns to food for comfort, or for whom food is love. Sound familiar? You're in good company. Take a look at these ten famous emotional eaters and their "stories" There’s a whole industry out there determined to prove that you have psychological “issues” around eating and that you are going to have to work hard to make a difference.

We say this is a “diet myth”. And we ask you to pause for a minute and tell us why it is so advantageous to the food and diet industry to have you caught up in this thought? We ask, is emotional eating always as “emotional” as it seems?

Let’s take someone who eats a highly refined carbohydrate diet and for whom blood sugar instability is an issue. When blood sugar levels drop, our bodies respond by secreting stress hormones – like adrenaline (the fight or flight hormone) and one side effect of this is increased anxiety…..Low blood sugar levels can trigger mood changes. Low blood sugar levels can cause cravings for those foods that will push sugar quickly back into the blood stream: doughnuts, white bread, biscuits, chocolate and overeating or binge eating is likely to ensue.

But WHAT caused the craving? What caused the overeating? What caused the low mood? What caused the anxiety? Was it emotions or was it the drop in blood sugar and the physiological response it triggered in your body?

We say it’s easy to write a story around your life that will keep you stuck in a sad place for far too long. Many of us truly believe that we are emotional eaters : the vast majority of us are not. Why do we say this? Because experience has shown that when an “emotional eater” turns to a paleo diet, unstable blood sugar becomes a thing of the past, the mind is calmed and the “emotional eating” issue simply disappears. So the best way to stop emotional eating is to try what we say and see for yourself.

Monday, July 30

Fifty Shades of Grey

Have tried...really tried to read 'Fifty Shades of Grey'..after all 2.3 million women in the UK alone can’t be wrong, can they?

This book is everywhere!

Billed as erotica in every literary review, most people will know the plot....beautiful virgin Anastasia (slim, graceful, naive) “meets” billionaire businessman, troubled (adopted) bondage-sex obsessed Christian Grey, CEO of “Grey Enterprise Holdings”of America.

The book begins slowly, the sex scenes build..slowly but then for some reason the author spends the next 400 + pages negotiating the terms of a contract for Anastasia to become Christian Grey’s “submissive” in a world of fantasy and billionaire indulgence...Intrigued? Well it does seem as if this book has captured the imagination of half the female population of the world.  But how?

And then suddenly it all begins to make sense. Helped along by Victoria Coren writing in the Guardian on Saturday...may be this is what’s attracting us girls to read this book?

It's simple........It's food porn!

And Victoria sums it up like this (and I borrow from her piece):

“So: what is the erotic charge [of the book]? I have a theory.

Here are a few quotes, chosen from dozens of examples in the book's 500 pages.

"'Of course you'll have something to eat,' Christian snaps. 'Pancakes, bacon and eggs.'"

"'Eat what's on your plate.' His mouth sets in a grim line."

"CONTRACT APPENDIX ONE. The submissive will eat regularly to maintain her health and wellbeing."

"'I have issues with wasted food. Eat,' he snaps."

"'As much as I'd like to take you here and now, you need to eat,' he murmurs against my lips.'"

"'We know what we want.' Christian's mouth twitches with a small, sexy smile. 'Two portions of buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and bacon on the side, and two glasses of orange juice.'"

This, I think, is the real 21st-century fantasy.

That's the erotica.

A masterful man who demands, constantly, that our heroine eats.”

Yes, yes, yes!

And, wow! Is that what 2 + million years of female evolution have come down to?

I don't know, may be it's the lawyer in me but I can't get passed that damned contract...I keep scanning the text for legal loopholes, get out clauses and contractual obligations...the text reads like some carefully negotiated costings dispute negotiated over three years and what with all that reading, some how the erotica has just passed me by!

It does also seem to me however, that like most things in life (including pole vaulting, eating paleo, kinky sex) that you're either doing it or you're not.  We can read around a subject to our heart's content but until we let go of the brambles at the side of the river and start to head off downstream, till we embrace life in all its glory and dive right in, we'll never know.

As for Fifty Shades of Grey.. Well today reminds me to give it a go and you, what will today bring for you?

Related Articles:

On Wild Horses and Freedom

Saturday, July 28

Energy In, Energy Out


Energy in energy out (calories in-calories out) or eat less and exercise more is pretty much the standard thinking to lose weight right? Where did it come from? but more importantly does it actually hold water?

Latest research shows that in England over 60% of adults are overweight or obese. I don’t know about you but I don’t know anyone who wants to be overweight, let alone obese.  Let’s take a look at some of the current advice given on how to stay healthy and/or lose weight.

A cosy theory - But wrong!
Typical Advice:
If you need to lose weight, aim to lose about 0.5kg (1-2lb) a week until you reach a healthy weight for your height. You should be able to lose this amount if you eat and drink about 500 to 600 calories fewer a day than you need …..Combining these changes with increased physical activity is the best way to achieve a healthier weight..”
Are we sure about that? Think about it for a moment. Increase the body’s need for fuel at the same time as cutting down on intake? Hang on…is that possible? won’t you at least be hungry? Isn't that like putting less fuel in your car, driving it harder and expecting more from it?

If the above statement was at all true then why do we have an obesity problem at epidemic levels in the UK?    Well as we all know only too well there is something not quite right, something just doesn't sit, if it did there would be no issue with obesity, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimers. Maintaining a healthy weight and managing your general health and well-being would be a walk in the park.

Before we consider the energy in energy out balance further, lets take a look at our Eatwell Plate promoted as 'healthy eating' in the UK.
What do you see? Sugar, cornflakes, Weetabix, white flour, bagels, white pasta, sugary baked beans, fruit in syrup, fruit & veg, fruit juice, battenburg cake, sweets, Coca-Cola: in short all of these foods equate to sugar when digested.

Of course this is very bad as it is these sugars that are mobilised in the body by hormones and converted to fat. Therefore contrary to what we are told it is in-fact sugar and not fat the makes us fat. 

OK so back to the energy in energy out hypothesis that in order burn body fat we effectively need to use more energy than we put in. This theory is It seems there are four fundamental flaws in the energy in energy out theory when specifically related to weight loss...here goes:

Flaw 1

Our bodies are extremely complex and do not burn fuel (food) in the same way as it is burned in a Calorimeter

Flaw 2

Not all food consumed is used to provide energy. Some calories from protein for instance are specifically coordinated to repair and build the body. Fat is used to manufacture hormones and bile acids plus essential fatty acids for the nervous system and brain. Thus Counting Calories, the fundamental base of almost all modern dieting is a complete wast of time.

Flaw 3
The common though narrow view that 'a calorie is a calorie' may comply with the first law of thermodynamics, however it is a huge mistake to conclude solely based on this as the second law of thermodynamics states that no machine (us included), is completely efficient.

And thus the dogma that 'a calorie is a calorie is a calorie' violates the second law of thermodynamics.

Flaw 4

Lastly to make things easier proponents of calorie counting have used the following data as a standard for calculating total calorie consumption:

Fat = 9 calories per gram
Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram
Protein = 4 calories per gram

All nice and cosy, if it works... Unfortunately it doesn't for the following reason. 

Fat has various forms, corn oil, coconut, oil, dripping, lard, etc.
Animal fats like dripping actually provide 7.3 calories per gram, where as corn oil gives 8.5. As you can see there significant variation in the data. Likewise for carbohydrate and protein too, it is simply not that easy. We cannot put all forms of a one particular macro-nutrient into a single group and assign it a generic standard value.

Anecdotal Evidence:

The theory simply doesn't work. If it did, there would not be a problem with obesity!

Dietary advice changed in the early 1980’s moving away from “carbs are fattening” to “base your meals on starchy foods” and “eliminate saturated fat”. Open your eyes: do you see the connection with the current obesity epidemic? I don’t recall this level of obesity growing up, do you?

The prediction of the Foresight report is that 90% of our children will be overweight or obese by 2050. Do you want this for your children? Obese children become obese adults, that then become obese parents to continue the cycle, dare we say it...obesity becomes genetic.

Are we to continue on the present collision course with our own destiny? We would hope not, we need to change it fast. The key is to work with your body and never against it.

Eat real food. Eat as nature intended, eliminate refined carbohydrate, Paleo is possible. Get a little knowledge about what's causing you to be fat, robbing you of your health and well-being.

Take it from us, it’s not what you thought!

Related articles:

Process Foods Linked to Cancer & Obesity - Natural News
Eat Less Exercise More - Paleo Works
Best Exercise for Fat Loss - Paleo Works
Best Exercise For Fat Burn - Paleo Works
The Truth About Exercise - Paleo Works
Why Am I Still Fat? - Paleo Works

Thursday, July 26

Paleo Works for Rock Climbing

Last week decided to take a break. It wasn't much.  We didn't go away or invite friends over or visit family. We simply closed the doors and slipped back into our life.  I love these times. They don't happen often but they are moments of ordinariness and comfort that bind us together.

One morning, after the children had gone to school and the breakfast dishes were cleared away, we decided to go for a walk. Our house backs onto the hillside from where it's a vertical climb up to  the Cow and Calf Rocks.  As we walk uphill, I can feel the slight ache and tension in my calves.  The air is crisp and bright and there is a heavy frost on the ground that dusts the heather white and sparkly.  All the way up the hill, the wind whips my hair across my face, numbing my cheeks. Mike shouts back at me but I can't hear his voice. The climb is exhilarating.

We reach the old quarry.  The sides are steep and for a moment I pause and am uncertain. But Mike pulls ahead and starts to climb the rock. I follow, finding foot holds and finger grips as I go, climbing higher and higher.  It feels extraordinary to be using my body in this way.  I am connecting with the rock and doing it and doing it....until just for a second, I experience thought and it interrupts me and I stall.  And I am stuck.  Six foot below the top of the quarry, I am stuck.  It's a long way down and I am suddenly very afraid.

I am perched on the cliff edge.  Mike is keenly aware that the foothold he found is a step too far.  He tells me firmly to keep still and then disappears back over the top to find another way down.  In the moments he has gone I think how far we have come together on this paleo journey and what a difference it has made to my life.  Because I am up a cliff.

I am stuck, granted (!) but I am up a cliff and I am doing it!

The body has such a need to move and play in whatever shape or form that takes.  Movement releases powerful brain chemicals that lift us and shape us and yet how easy it is to forget and compromise and prevaricate and not use it, caught in the daily routine and grind of work, school runs tea and sofa.

The wind is fierce now. Mike climbs up the quarry below me and instructs me to place my foot on his shoulder.  He holds me and lifts me down.  And slowly we climb down together until we reach the ground.  Looking back I realise just how high up we were. I wonder too whether the climb was an experience of that point where everything just is, where we sit perfectly in the flow of life, a moment of being?  And may be I'll never know.  Have you ever challenged yourself? Has changing to cleaner eating changed you?   

Related Articles:
What Is Paleo
Eat More Exercise Less
Play Paleo

Monday, July 23

Help, I've Blown my Paleo Diet!

Some-day soon may be even today you are going to fall off your diet wagon.

Less so if you eat paleo but it happens. 

We might eat too much in the day, eat too late at night, eat something made of bread, a bun, a cake, a pastry.  Like we say, it happens.  To everyone.

But it’s how we deal with what has happened that will determine our future weight loss success.

What we want is to be able to see that slip up as just that and move right along (nothing to see here) to the next hour, the next meal, the next day. 

But what can happen is this. 

We can find ourselves stuck in a period of negative thinking.  And suddenly that small slip (perspective people) becomes a source of shame over which we begin to obsess:  followed by much blame and for some, a period of self-loathing.

This type of thinking is called “catastrophic” thinking being a tendency to catastrophise everything into being an almighty disaster, moving from A to Z in the space of a few seconds.  It runs something like this.

“I have eaten this cake.  I can feel it on my hips.  My tummy is huge.  It’s hopeless.  All that good work I have done over the last three months is over.  I have ruined it.  Everyone was right.  I can’t do this.  I will never be able to do this.  I never have been able to do this.  I don’t know why I bother.  I am useless.  I am going to eat another five buns and finish off the packet.  It is the end.”

Funny thing is if you voice this out loud to someone – you would both come to the conclusion that it was kind of funny but when you are on your own…well, it seems wholly plausible.

Why?  Because the leap from Point A to Z might seem far-fetched save for the fact that it doesn’t quite work like that.  Our minds seem to leap through a number of very plausible links, moving from each semi-logical link to the next in a very smooth sophisticated and wholly convincing way.

Two things going forward:

First: stay in the present and if you can, watch the way your mind is thinking.

Second: to stop the catastrophising you must break the links in the chain.  The easiest way to do this is to write down each step of your catastrophic thoughts and challenge them. 

Assign the thought a number from 1 to 10 depending on the likelihood of it happening.  “10” means it will happen.  “1” means it won’t happen “2” to “9” means anything in between.

So “I can feel it on my hips”.  Unlikely?  So give that one a 1

“My tummy is huge”  Well I only ate it five minutes ago..realistically that’s a 2

“It’s hopeless”  Is it?  Really? What have I achieved over the last two months?  Steady 20lb weight loss..so let's give that one a 2.

“I have ruined it”…what do you honestly think…well I’d say, perspective is key and using that, it’s may be only a 2.

Do you see the way this works.  And keep going back to your list to reassure you.  Discuss it with a friend..talk it out loud..just don’t let it sit there ..use this technique to clear your head and boost your self-confidence.

Now do something positive.

Tea?  What you going to cook for you and your family?  Hit the shops and hit the ground running and don’t allow yourself space to think up any more reasons why not to succeed.

When you were a baby learning to walk and talk you never let set backs hold you back.  You just got up and kept on going.  The same with learning to drive,  speak French I don’t know I am sure you have a list of acquired skills where technique did not come straight away?

Taking action, moving, just doing something  will always make us feel more in control.  Try it and see.

Friday, July 20

On wild horses and freedom

On Freedom

We know that paleo is simple although for some perhaps never easy.  Every day there are moments for setbacks however what we can tell you of our paleo experience is that it is possible to satisfy your physical hunger.  Then it simply becomes a matter of waiting and watching the mind move.  And it does.

There are many who make a commitment to "detox". To us, that's the "old way" of speaking (being hard on your self) and something we have both left behind.  Have you seen the 21 day sugar detox?  Have you tried to challenge yourself in this way?  We have always found the Paleo Works way non-restrictive and for us somehow this shoe-horning of freedom into old school diet packages limits what we have. Can you see that? Always focus on what you can have. Don't set yourself up to fail.

Perhaps the worst result on a sugar detox would be to complete the course and then go out and celebrate with a party meal!  Er.....you didn't did you?

Paleo style eating, primal eating is good eating.  It is steady eating of nutrient dense real foods. It is happy eating (not 'Happy Meal') and it provides a balanced life. Have you ever eaten porridge oats with fruit or maple syrup for breakfast (standard dietary advice for the UK)  and then been crushed at 10.30 am by the need to eat? Simply ravenous. Same with toast and jam (whole grain or other) same with Cornflakes and  Special K you name it eating the wrong food for breakfast can cause the same issues. Experiment and report back!

 "Nothing is more destablising to the brain and nervous system than blood sugar surges (and food sensitivity reactions).  Nothing is more stabilising to the brain than dietary fat"

And this mirrors our experience on a natural, caveman style diet. And this is a constant experience.  It is freedom from the storms of emotion than can rip through so destructively when we eat a high carbohydrate high sugar diet and ride the roller coaster of hormonal response. Life's a gas.

So what do you take from this article?  Simply this.  Eat a constant paleo diet and you may well be surprised at the many unintended benefits that follow.  

On Wild Horses and Freedom...Here Goes!

Related Articles:

Eat Less Exercise More: Does It Work?

    Eat less and exercise more to lose weight.

    How is this working for you? The fact is that when you restrict calories (eat less) you get hungry! Have you tried it? What happens? If you’re like most people you can probably manage your hunger for a couple of weeks even months but it then becomes a test of endurance and we can tell you who will win out in the end…..Hunger will make sticking to your new regime almost impossible and not only that, hormonal imbalance will drive “overeating and weight gain” once the restriction has gone. Why?

    Our bodies have built in something we call a 'set point weight'.  This is a survival instinct brought about during periods of limited resource, stress or starvation.  during these times the body does all it can to maintain what it had set as your 'set weight point' . If you force the body beyond this point it remembers where it was before you put it under stress, when your dieting stops the body stores as much fat as it can to return the known set point. However the bodies set point weight only works in one direction, this is up, it has no limit on gaining weight and is quite happy to to store more and more fat for future periods of lack.

    Both calorie restriction along with willpower and exercise cause stress which should be avoided. You are far more likely to succeed and achieve the weight loss you desire when you are not stressed. When stressed the Adrenal glands produce cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol result in the body going into preserve mode and weight loss stalls. In addition stress hormones are produced which in turn increases glucose levels, which leads to increased insulin production, weight gain and a whole host of other potential health related issues, including diabetes, syndrome x, heart disease Etcetera. The evidence against using exercise as a weight loss tool is huge, one should not be used to enable or enhance the other, always address excess weight issues before fitness. Remember diet is the key to your weight loss goals and exercise is a fitness tool.

    "Reduced fat and calorie intake and frequent use of low calorie food products have been associated with a paradoxial increase in the prevalence of obesity" - Drs Heini & Weinsier

    Let’s take another look at the Minnesota Experiment.  This study was conducted 60 years ago and was an effort to assess the effects of starvation on the human body as well as how best to re-nourish it.  Sound familiar?  It should do because this is what you are doing to your body every time you embark on anther fad diet or weight loss programme…In the final phase of this 56 week long experiment, the 36 male volunteers were given an unrestricted rehabilitation period lasting 8 weeks for re-nourishment following a programme of restricted eating.  What happened?  Left to their own devices they ate huge quantities of food!  Eating more than 4000 calories a day for several weeks driven by a strong desire to overeat…The experiment noted that the “extreme” eating was directly related to the extent of weight lost: the more weight an individual lost, the more the drive to over eat and to such an extent that by the time eating returned to normal, fat levels were 75% higher than at the start of the study.

    So why do we keep doing it?  If your aim is to lose weight and to keep it off in the long-term you must embrace a way of eating that keeps you satisfied and that can keep your hunger at bay. Think diet not dieting and what Paleo will do for you! You must place your emphasis on eating nutrient dense truly satisfying food and become familiar with those foods that will do this for you….and here’s a clue, it’s not carbohydrates!

    As for eat less and exercise more?

    As the evidence suggests, you're probably flogging a dead horse!

    Related Articles:

Tuesday, July 17

Why We Need Vitamin D

Vitamin D  - Vitamins and Supplements Infographic - Healthspan
Vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin - Healthspan
Vitamins & Supplements by Healthspan

By Healthspan - UK's largest direct supplier of Vitamins and Supplements

What is Paleo and How To Do It?

    What is paleo, or the caveman diet and how do you do it?

    Let's strip it back down to basics, pull up a chair and remind you.

    Also known as a stone age diet, a paleolithic, evolutionary or dna diet, the pitch is simple: its about eating as our ancestors ate before the great agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago and thus no wheat, grains, legumes, sugar or vegetable oils, that is: no processed food!

    Meals are based around meat, fish, saturated fat (from animals, avocados, nuts etc), green leafy vegetables, nuts, eggs, seeds and some low-sugar fruit mostly berries.  Meals are tasty because we eat fat: fat is not the enemy, fat is our friend just as it has been across hundreds of thousands of years of ancestral health.  And by fat we mean good saturated fat not man-made monstrosities like vegetable, sunflower and canola oil, hydrogenated fats or margarine.

    Why no grains or processed food?  Because these products are making us fat. Period. Why are they making us fat?  Because we cannot digest them. We simply cannot metabolise them. Our genetic blueprint has not evolved to process this food and the consequence is severely impacting our health.  Evolution is a slow process our dietary habits have revolutionised exponentially and while we have not changed genetically our diets are radically different  and so is our body shape, health and general wellbeing. Can you see the link?

    And it's not just us is it. See here the newspaper headlines and read this shocking article: in the UK, doctors are medicating babies in the womb for obesity or read this article "Junk food gives you the blues" and begin to understand the link between so called "junk food and our mental health".  Every day scientists are making new discoveries but even if you don't understand the science and have no interest in the why, you must hanker for a solution?

    Many of us get to the point where we are simply overwhelmed by our fat.  And give up.  Can you see it in your life?  Did you give up too?  We are not helped by the endless round of fad diets that tell us we can have our cake and eat it: weight watchers, slimming world, Atkins, lighter life - it's not true.  But it does keep you coming back for more when you fall off the wagon and overeat.  Got you over a barrel see - no wonder we give up faced with such extraordinary odds against us, we simply don't know any different.

    What we require then is an approach, a gentle but radical approach that works: not a diet, not a manifesto: paleo works  Think of paleo as a life long journey of continual renewal with you in control.  That's the difference. Cut out the junk food and you are more than half way home.

    Keep it simple, keep it real, your food that is! Start changing things up, integrating saturated fat into your diet (butter on your veg, fry meat in coconut oil, eat bacon with the fat on, enjoy tallow, dripping and lard as our forefathers did).  Keep away from processed food: and always remember that the worst combination..that is the combination most likely to put your fat on is sugar and fat (think buns, pies, buttery pastry, white bread, eclairs, cakes, batter mix, cookies) always remember that and you won't go far wrong.

    So, this diet and lifestyle approach is simply based on common sense.

Monday, July 16

Fat Friends Make You Fat

But with the right support change is possible...

Peer Pressure & Why Your Friends Are Making You Fatter

Early on it became clear that we wanted our children on board and to be fully involved eating the same foods we ate, getting the same nutrition we were getting .  You see, in order to make real changes that last a lifetime it's not something that works with half measures.  And to be honest, the peer support from the children once we committed to a caveman style diet has been invaluable.  Our boys understand through trial and self experiment and through talking about it that drinking fizzy pop and consuming bags of sweets or searching out chocolate digestives has a bio chemical reaction in their bodies.  Our daughter can see that eating potato chips and crisps, chasing pizza and burgers - well, the food doesn't actually taste great and it leaves her with an empty feeling and more hunger.  It's good to share and to learn and to talk more around the table.  It becomes another way of holding us all together and we thrive on love it!

It also delights me to hear each of them talk loudly and clearly on the subject of food.  One of our sons was the subject of much talk in his class as a result of his weight loss and he passed on details to those interested of how a caveman diet has made a difference.  The group support he experienced has been invaluable in his weight loss. It's about building  a community of devotees and embracing change.  We all benefit from that.
Did you know Arizona University interviewed 101 local women alongside 812 of their closest friends and relatives and discovered the fatter a woman's social circle, the more likely for that woman to be obese herself?  
The Power of Persuasion
Their findings echo earlier research from Warwick University in England which analysed data from 27,000 adults across 29 countries.  The report  they produced concluded that  Europeans judged their weight by comparing it with those around them rather than scientifically through Body Mass Index (BMI) "Human beings compare themselves among their localised peer group even if they are not conscious of it" says Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick adding therefore "Rising obesity needs to be seen as a sociological problem rather than a physiological one."  

How is your peer group influencing you?

Saturday, July 14

There's No Such Thing As An Innocent Smoothie!

A typical fruit smoothie in the supermarket, though Innocent? You decide.

Well it will come as a surprise to most of you but there really is no such thing as an “innocent” smoothie.

"Some carbs are fast, some carbs are furious, some carbs are both but the best are neither" Paul Khanna

Deep breath now here’s a little science, you may not like it but it's very necessary.

Fast Carbs

We are looking at the speed these refined carbohydrates hit our stomach. When this is too fast (like when they are liquified – think smoothie, think liquid food) we face a big problem in that we will overeat. We will eat too may carbs overall. We can’t help it and the net result of that is we will get fat.
This is because too many carbs reaching the stomach too fast sets up a chain reaction – think panic. Our bodies must release lots of insulin to drive the sugar out of the blood stream and too much insulin means that our bodies will convert some of the excess into body fat.  There is no where else for it to go. 


Another reason that fast carbs cause a problem is that too many are consumed before leptin has a chance to warn us that we are taking on too much. Leptin is our body’s natural “fuel guage” but we have to give it a chance to work. Too much food consumed too quickly slips in under the leptin radar and the consequence of that is we overeat. Leptin is there to help us. By preventing us from eating too much , insulin levels are kept low and we get back to burning our fat stores. Remember when inuslin is present we stop burning our body fat for fuel.
It’s hard to measure but there does seem to be a 20 minute delay for our brain to register that it’s full.  Top tip: eat meals and don’t snack.

Natural Liquid Food?

In nature ready to drink liquid food is in short supply for very good reason. It is mainly limited to the milk of mammals and things like pulped regurgitated mush some animal and bird mothers feed their young. In all of these cases the delivered food is highly concentrated and digested very quickly thus resulting in rapid growth. Just what you want if you're a developing youngster, though perhaps not so good if you're not.

Now call in at your local supermarket – we hit Asda this afternoon. And guess what? There is a whole wall of liquid carbs masquerading as healthy. Take a look at some of the packaging for children. Stuck to understand the implications? Well try this TV show which tells the tale quietly and succinctly of how the marketing of such products is targetted at those of us who want to eat healthy and lose a few pounds.

That breakfast smoothie. Each carton proudly lists the number of fruits in each serving. 

Each piece of fruit contains sugar, that is fructose. Think of each glassful we drink as being a glassful of sugar.  

Now watch the inulsin response. Unless we match this with protein we are going to be hungry fast and the insulin spike will deliver a sugar craving urging us to find something else sweet .
Liquified carbs travel fast because they slip down our throats. Like a seagull eating fish. Solid or semi-solid foods travel through our digestive system much more slowly, in waves, a much slower, pulse-like process called peristalsis. Not so hungry then.

Lots of stuff soften’s food: cooking, mashing, chopping, processing. What’s important to realise is that the softer the carbs the easier it is to overeat and trigger that insulin response. And like we say when insulin is present, we stop buring our fat stores. Put simply, drinking food should be kept to a minimum, particularly if your diabetic or concerned about your weight.

So do yourself a favour, the next time you hit the supermarket turn left at the smoothie aisle and just keep walking.

Related Articles:

Fruit Sugar The Enemy Within
The Temptation Of Eve
5-a-Day, No Way!
How Refined Carbohydrates Make Us Fat

Thursday, July 12

Butter Alchemy for a Paleo Diet

Do you remember making butter as a child?  It was like magic pouring the "top of the milk" into the jam jar, screwing tight the lid and then shaking, hard for what seemed like an age til suddenly there in the jar amongst the milky liquid was a piece of butter which appeared to have made itself!

There are lots of ways to make butter.

I like this from Alexandre Dumas (from Dumas on Food translated by Alan and Jane Davidson, London Folio Society 1978 )

"In a few countries where I have travelled, I have always had freshly made butter, made on the day itself.  Here for the benefit of travellers is my recipe; it is very simple and at the same time fool proof.  Wherever I could find cow’s or camel's milk, mare's milk, goat’s milk particularly goat's milk, I got some.  I filled a bottle three quarters full, I stoppered it and hung it around the neck of my horse.  I left the rest up to my horse.  In the evening when I arrived, I broke the neck of the bottle and found, within, a piece of butter the size of a fist which had virtually made itself.."

 I still don’t fully understand the transformation process, its like alchemy but I do know that humans have been eating butter for a very long time.  Traces of butter fat found on pottery fragments have been dated to 4000 BC, proving humans have been eating butter for at least 6000 years. Strange that, as if butter (fat) did really cause an increase in adipose tissue, we would expect to see the current obesity epidemic starting around this time. And yet we don't..why is that? Well it's because it's simply untrue. Butter does not make us fat, in fact as well as making us happy, there are many other health benefits of eating Butter.

 But don't worry for this recipe, you won’t need a horse or mare's milk for that matter (er unless………)

Use a stand mixer to do the work.  You will need about 2 cups of high-fat whipping cream.  Pour this into the bowl and let it warm up a little.  Whip the cream on medium-low and watch as it begins to break down and separate into a milky liquid with chunks of fat collecting on the whisk.  Be patient, this can take upwards of ten minutes……

Collect the solids and place them in muslin or a sieve with a fine mesh and then pour the remaining liquid through the sieve.  This is buttermilk and you can drink it.  Rinse the butter pieces in the sieve under the tap to remove any remaining whey then squeeze the butter between your hands to remove the excess water.

Make the butter into butter pats or shape as you wish, wrap and store in the fridge.  It will keep for up to a week.

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Wednesday, July 11

For What It's Worth

For what it’s worth: thoughts on a caveman diet budget.

Search the internet and you will find a plethora of articles dealing with economies of budget shopping on caveman style diets.

Here’s what we think: This diet will hit you in the wallet harder than a diet based on low-cost carbohydrate based, processed food.  There's no doubt about it, the most natural paleo style diet packs a punch! Chicken nuggets and chips, a loaf of white bread, a can of beans on toast, fish fingers and chips, pizzas all coming in at less than a pound a piece can look good value to those of us on a limited income or at least better value than splashing out on a slim piece of organic meat that could scarcely feed two adults let alone the three children who follow along behind in our own family?

We say that at least some of that apparent additional cost can be offset by choosing cheaper cuts of meat and learning how to cook them (slow-cooker meals, stews, casseroles, slow roasting).  In this way the meat becomes tender and drops off the bone.

For example a large ham shank is on sale at our butchers for £2.25 each.  This fed the five of us through a process of slow roasting and then returning the skin to the cooker to make crackling for “afters”.  Be creative! You will save money as well by not eating out.  Sit back for a moment and think of all the take - out meals you have ordered in because you were too tired to eat?  Pizza, kebabs, Chinese, Indian delivered to your door: gone.

Too tired to cook stops here!

You will find that as your diet improves you will want to create strong, healthy meals for your family and indeed, may well be compelled to do this as you feel the significant health benefits in your life.  There are financial savings then to be made here.  There are also wonderful and perhaps time-forgotten benefits of eating a home-cooked meal together around a table.  We do this as a family now, every night around six.  It’s a time to check in and talk and laugh and catch-up.  Try it and see.

In addition to the above methods and cost saving ideas further savings can be made by sourcing standard packaged meat off the supermarket shelves. This goes somewhat against the ideal, however it is a necessary consideration if we want easy weight management and better health for all.

You will be aware by now of the dangers of refined carbohydrates and will know that a natural, or stone age, caveman style diet is all about moving away from these foods. Well yes of course this is true, however to do this we have also to be aware that this doesn't just involve ceasing to take things like sugar and bread directly. What we must also consider is that because these foods are cheap and when consumed create weight gain, they are used throughout the food chain to feed the animals we feed on.

Intensively farmed animals fed on corn and not grass are also susceptible to becoming sick and so are given a whole host of drugs and hormones to keep them alive long enough to get to market.  This leaves us with a dilemma, obviously some of the drugs, toxins and anti-nutrients contained in the foods used to fatten intensively reared animals is going to carry through into the animal and thus onto whomever may consume that animal, that said different parts of the animal have different concentrations, offal has the highest concentrations so best avoided from intensively reared stock not fed on grass.

That considered, on the other hand the meat from animals produced in this way litters the supermarket shelves and at low prices. You now have a very important decision to make and this will no doubt be led by your financial situation. Yes, if you want effortless weight management, lots of energy and to be free of worry from disease you need to avoid 'all' direct sources of refined carbohydrate. This is a given and goes without saying, however to do this in the absolute and remove it completely is more expensive than the average shop, though as was pointed out earlier there are cost saving tricks you can do to help.

Whether you choose fully organic grass fed meat or the grain fed, chemical induced substitute comes down to a simple equation, can you afford it? If yes, then get it, it's worth every penny. If on the other hand your budget won't stretch to this level, don't worry you're still doing everything you can to give yourself the best chance in life. If this is you, and this happens to be the vast majority, always buy the best you can afford. Instead of grass fed organic Aberdeen Angus, switch to an organic free range chicken. If you can't afford organic free range eggs, then opt for caged eggs, it's still better than a boxed pizza.

Like many things in life, it's about choices and although perhaps we're forced to make concessions at times, as long as the foods you choose are real foods and not mechanically modified or manufactured by machines you wont go far wrong.

We notice too that when people change direction and begin eating within our diet programs, more fat, more protein, less carbohydrate: they actually eat less (often a lot less) because hunger is curbed and under control and stops being an issue.  In this way you will make financial savings: you will no longer be buying snacks for example to keep you going through the energy slumps that hit around 10.00 am and 4.00pm.

Good fats and protein will see you through.

Finally, step back again and take a look at the bigger picture.  Abiding by a paleo diet can be the gateway to a happier, healthier life.  The “spin off “ from gaining control of your diet and health is more energy more vitality and a reduced risk of chronic disease and this means less time off work, less health care costs: you have in fact brought yourself more time and how valuable is that?

For what it's worth how about, Priceless!

Monday, July 9

Dieting Doesn't Work!

Sometimes you just got to stick your neck out.
And turning to a natural diet from Paleo Works may be just such a time.  When all around you friends are 'dieting' frantically for the “summer season” and challenging your paleo principles you need to hold your ground, keep focussed and show ‘em what can be done with common sense.

Because dieting is not the answer.  Dieting doesn't work.  Dieting doesn't nourish, dieting is difficult to maintain and dieting make you feel terrible.  The clue is in the first three letters of the word!

The word diet means simply this: food and drink that is regularly provided and consumed.  Nowhere in that definition does it say restrictive, lacking, MEAN, small portions or low-fat.  

And when we talk about the Paleo Works “diet” we are looking at much more than eating, we are looking at a lifestyle that transforms.  Simply by cooking your own food you regain control.  And the emphasis in paleo  is on “how” not why, not yet,  you can and will want to  learn that later.  Paleo is telling you what not to eat, not passing you ready made meals in sachets, bars and shakes.  Telling you how to eat for a simple well-nourished, long life.

We eat nutrient dense food.  And science supports this choice.

There are no gimmicks, no supplements, we are not selling anything, we don’t send you out with pre-packaged food because we don’t think you can cope on your own – for sure, what kind of a message is that telling you?  And our "diet" is based around real food.

And real food gives you plenty of options without limits.

Some think that when they see how a caveman style diet avoids grains, legumes, sugar and sometimes dairy that this is a fad diet.  Some think that "no grains" is a tall order.  Why?  Well, perhaps because all we see out there is processed food.  And our attention is constantly pushed to external advertising as all the big companies want you to spend money and buy into their new food products.  The majority of which are based on processed grains, high fructose corn syrup and colouring.  Because it’s cheap and turns a  good profit.  Where’s the big easy mark up in eggs and meat?  In this way they distract us to such a point that we forget real food exists.

Life is based on evolution, we're currently on the wrong path and need to realign. "humanity is standing on the precipice of change and the western pattern diet is steering us on a collision course with our own destiny" Mike (Paleo Works).  Never have we faced such choice, such ease such comfort and luxury.  Do you think we would have evolved as a species if bronze age man had found himself in such comfort and luxury?  No because there is nothing to fight against nothing to propel us forward as a species.  Our diet is robbing us of our existence: and yes, it’s as fundamental as that.

This paleo diet offers you a lifestyle combined with a template for eating.  Paleo is generous and good to us.  There are no calorie limits or restrictions, no “macronutrient” ratios – no – we have to work this out for ourselves.  We have to get involved and make this diet work for our own goals, our own needs and our own life.  And then tweak it til you get it right.  And just like that, life falls back into our control as we learn how to diet and live longer.

We can support you as you evolve but just like those cavemen, the work, the drive must come from you.  This is not a short term answer but it is a solution based on science, evolution and physiology.  Take comfort in the fact that the paleo "path" has stood the test of time, hundreds of thousands of years of time in fact so that:

"We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us — the labyrinth is thoroughly known" Joseph Campbell

Sunday, July 8

Muhammad Ali, that's who!

Here's a short story entitled "successful people mentally rehearse having it already".  That's you by the way..if not now, soon.

To be successful at something we must start by thinking what we want.  If you are reading this: to lose your excess body fat?  Get fit?  Live longer and in optimal health?

Write it down.

Because it can have a major impact on your thinking and on your life.

Says who?

Why, Muhammad Ali, the world's greatest boxer that's who. He created something called "future history".  And it works like this:-
Sonny Liston, Madison Square Garden, 4 November.

As soon as Ali knew his next opponent he would lock himself away and prepare.  He would mentally rehearse each fight sequence in his mind moving through his arrival at the venue on the night of the fight, to his dressing room preparation, his robe, gloves, boots, his walk to the ring, his victory.

He would train his body to build into the muscle his win, rehearsing physically, practising the moves the punches.  Each sequence would be run until he had his "in flight mental movie" encapsulated in seconds allowing this uncompromising man to appear before each fight with uncanny predictions "He falls in four"...predictions that had uncanny accuracy.

Once, when he lost and was questioned by a reported about the power of future history Ali replied "the other guys future history was stronger than mine!"

What he was telling us was that victory comes mostly from the mind...

And for those of us fighting our own weight battles this can be a useful lesson.

Try applying a little Ali logic to fat loss.

Start seeing the best me and start playing over and over the best me running, the best me jumping, the best me playing with the kids, the best me running and letting my jumper ride up and expose a little firm flesh to the sun and it's not wobbling and it's not awkward, it just is.  I'm being spontaneous and I'm OK.

As with all things, feel into how that works for you.  Persevere.  As the foggy haze of post sugar addiction begins to clear as it does when you change your eating, you will be amazed at the capacity to train your mind to help you achieve you goals.  That coupled with eating a good paleo diet might just give you what you need to see you home.  Inspired?  Well we follow an 80/20 rule here.  Eating being the 80 and mind being the 20.  Take what you can from each new idea and work with it but always focus on your diet first!

Thursday, July 5

A Food Journal

Food Journal Or Working Lunch...
Food Journal you say? But …this is the Caveman Diet, Paleo Works right? remember we moved away from all that prescriptive stuff. Well yes and no. The foods incorporated into our programs  give you the physical means to deal with hunger and cravings and we  find that many of our old issues and difficulties do resolve in the absence of the mood swings, irritability and imbalance we have experienced as carb addicts.

But for those who have ever used food as their “coping mechanism”, it can sometimes happen that, having strived to overcome, we fall back into those old patterns and habits and just like that, the weight starts to creep back on.

The trick is to catch yourself as you fall.

And here's where a food journal comes in: it makes you accountable and it makes you think and in this way you start to get back control. Start by opening a new book. On page one make a list of all the things you have been doing that are making you gain back weight. Don’t be shy, dig deep, you already know the answers. Ready?  Now list, like this: too many lattes, too much snacking (be specific) too many nuts (what had started as a few turned into a handful and then the whole packet), grapes by the pound....still paleo  but somehow it's all got out of hand....

So now watch your hand form the letters and write the words. Sometimes being present with the words as they write brings everything up sharp and into perspective. Have you noticed sometimes when things are getting tricky we simply “check out” for moments of our life here and there and pretend these things are not happening, that we don’t have any control. Well you know what - we do. You do. It’s you who is putting the food into your mouth after all. No one else. You simply have to be aware of what you're doing and catch yourself before you fall.

Now draw up a second column and make a note of what you are going to do to change that habit. Walk past Costa’s or change your route to work? Nip out at lunch time and buy something for lunch or pack a little something from home? Change your routine. Shake it up. Become aware of the habit, of what you are doing and change it up. You can do it. Do you want to know something good? The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published this 20 week study confirming  that those who kept a food journal dropped double the weight of dieters who did not record their food habits. But you have to be real with it. Record what you eat not what you think you are eating and not what you think you should be eating.  It's just you and reality sharing the moment and that's all that counts.

And my working lunch? 
Here it is paleo and clean. This little meal kept my hunger satisfied all afternoon.  I ate around two o'clock having fasted through the night from 8pm.  Then ate supper at six with Michael and the kids.  Tomorrow we are going to do it different. We will start with the typical Paleo Works style breakfast and fast through the day for a late tea. Sometimes it's good to change things up a little! 

Try a food journal yourself and let us know how you go!

Wednesday, July 4

Play Paleo!

Play Paleo, a hot topic in the paleo world, a hot topic in our world!

Why?  Because (quite simply) we don’t do enough and in doing that, we forget who we are and why we are here…

Take a moment and look into your life: when was the last time you caught yourself  having fun, forgetting your responsibilities and truly stepping inside the moment and really loving it?  Life is like this “smorgasbord” of delights, a garden of play; and things happen good and bad but the world keeps turning and the sun keeps rising, sometimes we get caught up in ourselves and we just stop paying attention.

And so to conventional play and "best" exercise for burn fat.  You move through the gym after a hard day at work: a bit formulaic, a bit steady: waiting for the guy in front to move on from the “pec” deck so you can throw in a dozen more reps, praying the guy ahead wipes the sweat dripping off the cross track machine and trying not to get impatient waiting again for woman to finish up on the cross bar.  And this has become our play.  Our down time: controlled, defined movement, in a box (dull, boring).  Hey open the door!

"One of the unintended consequences of decades of terrible health advice (eat low fat foods, avoid red meat and saturated fat, do endless cardio on machines while indoors) is that being healthy becomes miserable drudgery.  Good health and diet should be joyous and life affirming, if it isn't we are doing it wrong." - J Stanton Gnolls

Here at Paleo Works that quote has become our defining Self, who knows it may become our slogan.

But play is not defined, its free from form, not structured but unlimited..don’t treat it like exercise because it’s not..and goodness knows we spend too long in this life abiding by the rules of others!  This play time is for you.  Get outside your comfort zone, lighten up! Play Paleo is about dancing, running, skipping, climbing rocks and trees, chasing your loved ones (young and old) watching their faces smiling back at you when you catch them – it’s priceless..

So this is simply a short article to urge you to get outside of yourself, to lift your eyes up a little higher (off the pavement may be) and move. But most of all to have fun doing it.

Play Paleo:  what makes you feel free?

Monday, July 2

How to Escape the Diet Trap

Yo-yo dieting is a very real concept, a very real diet trap and it keeps millions of us unhappy and pre-occupied and, well, generally missing the point of life.

As each new commercial dieting program comes to us (Dukan, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Cabbage Soup, High-fibre, Low-fat, Zone, the list is endless), we sincerely believe it will make a difference to our mal-nourished bodies. And we try again for weight loss.

What we forget, time and again, is that diets don’t work. At best, they are always a short term solution: most of us can lose weight if we set our minds to it but how many of us manage to sustain the weight loss? Short term gratifications (new clothes, new shoes, new hair cut, new man, new party) seduce us down the diet path but what is it that you want, long term?

If your long term wish is to be free to live life fully, to enjoy each day without waking up and venturing into battle with your self, to be “normal” around food and to understand food and the response it can trigger in our bodies then take a little education.

For example, learn about the relationship of sugar and insulin  and the response it has on your body. Further reading here on exactly how our modern diet is fuelling the obesity epidemic and try this excellent item Bad Fat - Good Fat to open your eyes to thebenefits of eating saturated fat in our diet. Challenge your current behaviours, think Human Shaped! Be radical. Eat bacon. Stand up, stretch and take a look around. If you keep doing what you’ve always done you will continue to get what you’ve always got.

Do your reading, do your critical thinking, experiment  and make good choices.

Every day what you do defines who you are.

Get a few recipes under your belt, understand what you can and can’t eat for optimal health , use our ancestors as your point of reference (did they eat it,  would they recognise it as food) and never ever forget the fact that it is the food that is making you fat NOT some lack of will power or failing in you. It is the food that causes addictions and triggers behavioural responses such as overeating. Not you. It is a biochemical response. Chemistry. Not you. Clean up your diet and the bio-chemical reactions go, the behavior triggers go and now you have a fighting chance to achieve those long term goals.

Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley are you going there because you truly believe you can achieve sustainable effortless weight loss?  Or do you secretly harbour doubt?

Are you ready to try something new?