TIME Declares The War on Fat Over

Recently the mainstream media have published a flurry of articles which would seem to suggest that the mainstream media is finally starting to pay attention to the health epidemic that’s taking hold of the U.S. and the rest of the world.

The most recent example is a TIME cover story about The War on Fat and how it’s failed miserably, made us even sicker, and traded heart disease for diabetes. It’s the most scathing report of SAD (the Standard American Diet) that we’ve seen in the mainstream media of late.

While the article doesn’t explicitly mention the paleo diet, its arguments are pretty in line with everything we talk about here at the Ultimate Paleo Guide.


The War on Fat

The war on fat began in the 1980s, in response to an increased level of concern about heart disease. The health industry looked for a solution to its health concerns and found a roadmap in the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet plan that is so familiar to all of us. Unfortunately, this route has turned out to be more of a dead end than the path to healthy living.

But when the FDA published its new recommendations back then, the food industry (and consumers) jumped on board:

The food industry is nothing if not inventive. Faced with a fatwa against fat in the 1980s, manufacturers adjusted, lining grocery shelves with low-fat cookies, crackers and cakes. The thinking for consumers was simple: Fat is dangerous, and this product has no fat; therefore it must be healthy. This was the age of SnackWells, the brand of low-fat cookies introduced by Nabisco in 1992 that within two years had surpassed the venerable Ritz cracker to become the No. 1 snack in the nation. But without fat, something had to be added, and Americans wound up making a dangerous trade. “We just cut fat and added a whole lot of low-fat junk food that increased caloric intake,” says Dr. David Katz, the founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “It was a diet of unintended consequences.”

And those consequences weren’t just small ones either:

Those consequences have been severe. From 1971 to 2000, the percentage of calories from carbohydrates increased nearly 15%, while the share of calories from fat fell–in line with expert recommendations. In 1992, the USDA recommended up to 11 servings a day of grains, compared with just two to three servings of meat, eggs, nuts, beans and fish combined. School districts across the country have banned whole milk, yet sweetened chocolate milk remains on the menu as long as it’s low-fat.

While the TIME article doesn’t explicitly mention paleo, it does refer to a variety of low-carb, high-fat diets that are quite similar to the paleo framework. You can see a full list of low-carb diets here.

Ultra-low-carb diets have come in and out of vogue since Dr. Robert Atkins first began promoting his version nearly 50 years ago. (It has never been popular with mainstream medicine; the American Diabetic Association once referred to the Atkins diet as a “nutritionist’s nightmare.”) Studies by Westman found that replacing carbohydrates with fat could help manage and even reverse diabetes. A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at more than 300 subjects who tried either a low-fat, a low-carb or a Mediterranean-style diet found that people on the low-fat diet lost less weight than those on the low-carb or Mediterranean diet, both of which feature high amounts of fat. Those results aren’t surprising–study after study has found that it’s very difficult to lose weight on a very low-fat diet, possibly because fat and meat can produce a sense of satiety that’s harder to achieve with carbs, making it easier to simply stop eating.

While the article notes that experts still debate exactly which strategies and diets should be followed, we were very happy to see that TIME brought it all back to eating “real food” rather than processed, artificial junk which passes itself off as healthy food.

Nearly every expert agrees we’d be healthier if more of our diet were made up of what the writer Michael Pollan bluntly calls “real food.” The staggering rise in obesity over the past few decades doesn’t just stem from refined carbohydrates messing with our metabolism. More and more of what we eat comes to us custom-designed by the food industry to make us want more. There’s evidence that processing itself raises the danger posed by food. Studies suggest that processed meat may increase the risk of heart disease in a way that unprocessed meat does not.

Whether you’re an avid paleo fan or someone who’s just getting started with the diet, this article is well worth an in-depth read. You can pick it up from newsstands today or buy access to the online version at TIME.com

Photo credit: Horia Varlan

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How Jamie Sterling Trains & Eats For Big Wave Surfing

Last week, Stayfitcentral.com published an interview with professional big wave surfer Jamie Sterling about how he keeps his body is in peak physical and mental condition. So, how does he eat and train to surf 50-foot plus waves?

He works out

On top of his surfing, Sterling began lifting weights when he was 15 or 16. He quickly saw improvements in his performance, and now works out with Crossfit about five times a week. He also completes surfing-specific Crossfit workouts, and at least four yoga sessions a week.

He lets his body recover

To ensure his body is in optimal performance after all that exercise, Sterling drinks plenty of water, and make sure he gets eight hours of good sleep each night. He also uses a foam roller, Polarity therapy, acupuncture, and rolfing to help his muscles and injuries recover.

He eats paleo

Since starting Crossfit and the paleo diet, Sterling has lost ten pounds of fat. He can feel a real difference, and has a lot more mental and physical energy than he had before.

He eats mostly organic and locally sourced meat and produce, and takes a few natural supplements, including Sol Raiz Organic Maca, Sachi Inchi oil, Spirolina, bee pollen, and Jay Robb whey and egg protein shakes.

Whilst he does add in the odd slice of bread, portion of rice, or bit of dairy to keep him going through the two or three workouts he completes each day, Sterling says that, if he were only working out five times a week, like most non-professional athletes, a strict paleo diet would suffice.

If it’s good enough for an extreme athlete, it’s good enough for us!

Thanks to Stayfitcentral.com for the interview.

Original article: The Jamie Sterling Interview – How He Trains & Eats For Big Wave Surfing


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How to Start Eating Paleo Today

The most important step when transitioning to the paleo lifestyle is just getting started. And yet it’s also the hardest. Here at the UPG, we get tons of questions from people around the world who are interested in living a healthier lifestyle, but who are just not sure how to get started. We take the guess work out of it, so that you can get started today, and your transformation can begin.

Step 1: Perform a kitchen makeover

As nice as it is to think you have all the willpower in the world, and that you can resist any and all temptations, especially when it comes to food, the truth is that you can’t. It’s been proven that willpower is a limited resource that actually gets depleted and replenished throughout the hustle and bustle of each day. This is one reason why so many of us have a hard time sticking to our nutrition plans at the end of the day or over a weekend. You use your willpower all day long, doing things like:

  • getting up to an alarm for work,
  • avoiding the pizza in the break room,
  • biting your tongue when someone makes a rude comment, and
  • not flirting with your cute coworker (hey, you’re married).

If there is unhealthy food in your home, it will eventually get eaten. Unhealthy foods are usually easier and less time-consuming to prepare than healthier alternatives, so, when we get hungry, we tend to rip open a bag as opposed to chopping up some veggies.

So make it hard to do the bad stuff, and easy to do the good stuff, by removing the temptations. One of the best ways to do this is by performing a kitchen makeover: out with the bad, and in with the good!

Black bag it!
You want to remove all the junk crowding up your kitchen, and replace it with the foods from our food list that form part of a healthier lifestyle.

1. Grab a large black trash bag…maybe two…maybe three.

2. Open the pantry, and look for items like these:
a. Chips
b. Pretzels
c. Chocolate
d. Candy
e. Baked goods/Hostess/Little Debbie
f. Instant foods (cake mix, mashed potatoes, macaroni)
g. Flavored nuts
h. Cereal
i. Breads/bagels/pasta
j. Crackers
k. Granola bars

3. Open the freezer, and look for these foods:
a. Ice cream
b. Frozen dinners
c. Hot dogs
d. Cookie dough
e. Candy/chocolate
f. Waffles

4. Open up the fridge, and look for these items:
a. Milk
b. Fruit juice
c. Alcohol
d. Any caloric beverage
e. Sweetened yogurt, sweetened anything
f. Processed meats (deli, prepacked)
g. Restaurant leftovers
h. Margarine
i. Breads, bagels, whole grains
j. Peanut butter
k. Condiments (BBQ, ketchup, salad dressings)
l. Cream cheese

These lists do not include everything, but they should give you a general idea. If it comes in a box, bag, or some sort of wrapper, throw it out. If it has more than three ingredients, throw it out. If you cannot pronounce some of its ingredients, throw it out. If you are not sure about a certain food, a good rule of thumb is to throw it out.

What a waste
Absolutely not! What you are throwing away is not food. These are substances that promote disease and an unhealthy lifestyle. Please feel free to feel liberated while throwing this crap away.

Step 2: Go grocery shopping

You have to eat right, and an empty kitchen isn’t going to fix that. Now is the time to hit your local Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, or grocery store, and get your shop on. If you are not already, I recommend subscribing to the UPG newsletter to get a free four week meal plan that should help to get you started. We also have 1 week, 2 week, 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day plans available for free here, so please take advantage.

You can use our complete Paleo food list to help you decided which foods you should and should not be purchasing. For the most part, stick to the parameter of any grocery store. This is where you’ll find all the real food like fresh veggies, fruit, and animal protein like grass-fed beef, lamb, and salmon.

Make sure to learn to read a label as well. Actually, don’t do that, because most of the food you will be buying will not have a label at all. Here’s a good rule of thumb for you:

  • No ingredients – you have a winner
  • One ingredient – you’re good
  • Two ingredients – it’s ok
  • Three ingredients – you’re pushing it
  • Four or more ingredients – forget about it


Quick tip: Not everything you buy needs to be organic. Visit the EWG shoppers guide to get a complete list of the dirty dozen foods you should definitely buy organic and the fifteen clean foods that are lowest in pesticides.

Step 3: Learn to cook

Ok, so you’ve cleared out your home, and hooked yourself up with some healthy groceries. Now what? For some of you, I know the thought of cooking can be terrifying, but you don’t need to be Bobby Flay in the kitchen to make healthy, paleo-friendly meals. Here is the can’t-mess-up process for making your first, second, or one millionth paleo meal:
  • Put oil in a pan (it’s up to you how much, but 1 tablespoon for every 6 ounces of meat is generally good).
  • Brown some meat in the oil.
  • Add in some spices.
  • Add in your veggies.
  • Cover it up, and let it sit. Check on it every 2-3 minutes.

Your plate should be covered mostly with veggies, with animal protein taking up the space of 1-2 palms, depending on your body type and activity level. The amount of cooking oil you use will vary as well – roughly 1-4 tablespoons depending on your body size and gender. Focus on using oils that are solid at room temperature (e.g. coconut oil), as they do much better under heat than liquid fats. Olive oil can be used as well, but use a lower heat.

Eat slowly, chew fully, and eat to satiety. No more calorie counting or weighing and measuring food.

Quick tip: Don’t get too wrapped up in making long and difficult recipes at first. It is much easier to establish healthy eating habits if you simplify the cooking process. Recipes can be difficult and time-consuming, so we suggest using the formula above, or choosing 5-6 stable recipes, mastering them, and eating them until you can’t stand them anymore, and then learning a new batch of recipes. Pick up a cookbook, or check out some of the UPG recipes here.

Step 4: Exercise

Cavemen and women spent the majority of their days on their feet, mixing in bouts of sprinting from predators, and chasing prey, to lifting heavy things, and putting them back down. Most of their rest time was spent walking from place to place in search of a safe cozy night’s sleep. Long story short: they were active.

Fitness doesn’t need to be complicated either. You can use basic body weight movements to start building strength and endurance, and to increase fat loss. Pick up the free No Excuse Workout, and get moving today.

Quick tip: Learn to become more active in your daily routine by parking farther away from places you visit, taking the stairs, and jogging to get the mail. Make more time for play by joining some recreational sports leagues, or by going on walks with friends and loved ones.

Step 5: Sleep

I just heard some of you say ‘YES!’ Sleep is vitally important to establishing perfect paleo health and wellness. You’ll need plenty of it in order to let your body recover from exercise and the daily grind. The benefits of healthy sleeping habits stretch far and wide, and include

  • better performance in athletics,
  • increased energy,
  • improved mood and attitude,
  • stronger immune system,
  • higher tolerance for stress,
  • enhanced memory and mental focus, and
  • decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Get a better night’s sleep tonight and from here on out by applying some of these tips:

  • Turn the television off. The light and noise interferes with the deep and rejuvenating level of sleep required for ultimate health and energy. Cavemen didn’t have TVs; they had dark caves. How lucky they were! No joke, I’ve even slept in my closet before. Scout’s honor.
  • Make use of dark curtains or blinds if street lamps or outside light tends to illuminate your bedroom at night.
  • Shut down the computer, cut off the monitors, and even cover up the alarm clock. You want your room to be pitch black.
  • Sleep in a cool room. You ever wonder why we love air conditioners when the weather gets warm? Probably not. Well, the fact is that when our bodies become too warm or even hot, it’s difficult for us to relax or focus. If excess warmth and heat cause us a bit of discomfort during the day, just think about what’s happening when we’re sleeping. Your sleep is terribly disrupted when you’re too warm or too hot. In fact, many people complain about the inability to sleep when it’s too warm. Although you don’t need your room as to be cool as the North Pole, you do want a cool room in order to maximize sleep.
  • Try getting to bed and waking up consistent times. Getting onto a regular sleep schedule will work wonders. Your body will begin to get tired and wake up effortlessly due to the consistency.

Some things to watch out for

If you’re just transitioning to the paleo lifestyle, the first two weeks may be a bit difficult. As your body is cleansing itself, releasing toxins, and switching from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, you may experience a few side affects like fatigue and sugar cravings. Here is a detailed example of what to expect during the first 30 days of your paleo journey.

You may also get some grief from family members and friends about your new eating habits. Just remind yourself that change is scary, and that when you change, you change things for other people as well, and this can be difficult for them. Here are a couple of things to remember when talking to family members and friends about your paleo lifestyle:

1. Mention what you CAN eat, and not what you can’t. When you tell people what you are not allowed to eat, they can get a little defensive, as they might be eating those foods. It can come off as if you are chastising them for choosing to eat differently from you, and this is the exact same thing you are trying to prevent them from doing to you!

2. Let results do the talking. Plain and simple, paleo works, and it works wonders. Let the results do the talking. When the fat starts melting off, your energy is sky high, and everyone is asking you how you did it, then feel free to share.

3. Keep educating yourself. There are tons of fantastic resources available to learn as much about the paleo lifestyle as possible. Keep learning, so that, when those interested in it start asking you questions, you are well-informed with factual information that they can apply. We have a resources page dedicated purely to that. Please take the time to check it out.

The first step to adopting the paleo lifestyle is simply getting started. The time is right now – you can perform a kitchen makeover in the next few minutes, and head off to the grocery store, and cook a meal within a few hours. Why wait? It’s your health we’re talking about here.

Additional reading: 13 steps to perfect paleo

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Stalking The Paleo Diet In Dallas

The Dallas News recently ran a piece on the paleo diet and what it is. While nothing breathtaking, they trot out several of the familiar critiques of paleo:

“’If we look at our ancestors, they didn’t live very long.’ And a recent article in Scientific American largely debunks the premise for the diet and whether it’s truly paleo.”

Still, they give several great testimonials of strict and super strict paleo dieters who stress results, showing once again that it always comes back to personal experimentation and experience:

“It works very well for people with autoimmune disorders … It’s amazing to see the improvement in health.”

“If you begin to feel better, there’s no better testimony than that.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Read the full article at Dallas News.

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The Paleo Diet Craze on Dr. Oz Pt 1

Recently, the paleo diet was featured on the Dr. Oz show. Now we’re not necessarily huge fans of the show (we’ve never watched an episode), it’s nice to see the paleo diet getting a little more mainstream love.

The Paleo Diet Craze, Pt 1 – The Dr Oz Show

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The Paleo Diet For Vegetarians

A vegetarian paleo diet? Can it be done? After all, with their savage caveman ways, how could cavemen eat . Well, it’s true and vegetarians can do the paleo diet too. After trying a modified paleo approach in Impossible AbsSusan Lacke found that she lost an astounding 19 pounds in 8 weeks.

As you can imagine, the toughest part about doing paleo as a vegetarian is getting all the necessary protein needed. So what were Susan’s secrets for getting healthy fats & protein in her diet without all the meat?

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs
  • Hemp Seed
  • Pistachios
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Spirulina
  • Walnuts

As she adjusted to the diet – she had a rather pleasant surprise:

As I adjusted to the new diet, I realized something surprising:

This isn’t so hard after all.

Yes, it was an adjustment to learn how to get enough protein without my go-to sources, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was certain I’d constantly crave baked goods (my comfort food), but as it turns out, I could be just as satisfied with healthier, real-food alternatives. I couldn’t imagine a breakfast without oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes, but smoothies, fruit salads, and egg-white omelets loaded with fresh veggies gave me more energy than the grain-based foods.

And though it was a “diet,” I was never ravenously hungry. I always felt satiated. The nice thing about paleo diet is that it only provides guidelines for what to eat, not how much of it. In other words, if I was hungry, I could eat as much as I wanted. Only this time, instead of reaching for a nutrition bar or a coffeehouse muffin, I’d grab some veggie sticks or a bowl of fruit.

As you would expect, there’s quite a bit of interest in a vegetarian paleo experiment as most paleo enthusiasts love their paleo foods & meats (especially bacon). As such, there were quite a few comments on the original article. To really give the article it’s due, Susan followed it up with a solid Q&A. A short sampling of the questions are below:

Did you take any supplements?

I took the exact same vitamins I had been taking before this experiment. These vitamins included a daily multivitamin, a Vitamin B complex, and Flaxseed Oil.

Is it possible to do it vegan, no eggs?

I did eat eggs during this experiment (usually one per day), so I cannot speak to a vegan experience. I do believe it’s possible to be a Paleo vegan, and there were several people who commented that they had accomplished this. If you are one of those folks (and you have a blog or other helpful resources), comment at the end of this post to help your fellow NMAs, please!

During the experiment, how did you feel in terms of energy?

The first week sucked. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so “out of it” as I did during that time. With such a huge drop in my carbohydrate intake, my body felt sluggish, my brain felt muddled, and the last thing I wanted to do was get up from the couch, much less exercise.

As it turns out, my experience was pretty similar to what most people go through. If you Google “Paleo First Week,” you’ll find a huge volume of stories of really freakin’ miserable people. For some, this period lasted a few days, for others, three or four weeks.

But then something really weird happens if you get through that first sluggish phase: You start to feel pretty good. I was surprised at how quickly my energy levels turned around. I went to bed one day acting like a petulant child; the next morning, after breakfast, I was my peppy self again. I pretty much stayed that way for the rest of the experiment.

You can see the whole Paleo Vegetarian Q&A here. For more on the paleo diet for vegetarians, check out the two following posts in full at No Meat Athlete.

  1. Paleo Diet For Vegetarians Q&A
  2. How I Survived for 8 Weeks as a Paleo Vegetarian (and Lost 19 Pounds)
  3. Impossible Abs Protocol

via No Meat Athlete

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Paleo Diet Troubleshooting with Robb Wolf

Robb Wolf does it again. One of our favorite minds in paleo is back at it with his free paleo diet troubleshooting guides. Depending on your individual goal with the paleo diet, he provides a visual solution for each of your needs. Check out the trouble shooting guides linked below. They’re all framed as “I’m eating a paleo diet and….” with an individual troubleshooting guide for 4 common issues people run into. Check them out, download them & enjoy!


Paleo Diet Troubleshooting with Robb Wolf 

I’m eating a paleo diet and…

You can download the full guides here.

via Robb Wolf

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Paleo Diet & Power Athletes

Are you a power athlete trying to reach your goals while eating a paleo diet? Check out this visual guide from Robb Wolf on how to tweak the paleo diet to do just that and reach your power & strength goals.

Robb Wolf’s Paleo Diet Guide to Fueling For Power Athletes


via Robb Wolf

To see the rest of the guides, check out Robb Wolf’s troubleshooting guides on UPG here.

Read more about Robb Wolf here.

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Paleo Diet & Endurance Athletes

Are you an endurance athlete trying to reach your goals while eating a paleo diet? Check out this visual guide from Robb Wolf on how to tweak the paleo diet to do just that and reach your endurance athletic goals.

Robb Wolf’s Paleo Diet Guide to Fueling For Endurance Athletes



via Robb Wolf

To see the rest of the guides, check out Robb Wolf’s troubleshooting guides on UPG here.

Read more about Robb Wolf here.

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