paleo

The 3 Biggest Myths About Eating Paleo

I don't know about you, but when I first started learning about Paleo, I thought there was NO possible way I could make it work for me. (Unsure what Paleo means? check out my last post here)

At the time, I was addicted to diet coke, eating Kashi-go lean cereal for most meals, and using Splenda to "cure" my sugar cravings. Eating real food seemed like a novel concept to me, and as much as I wanted to try it out and remove all of the fake crap from my diet, I was scared.

I had so many misconceptions about what eating Paleo meant, that it kept me from successfully improving my diet for years. If I would have been able to change my perfectionistic view, give myself some grace, and do a little research, I not only would have felt much more empowered in my decisions, but I would have realized that I was making it much more difficult than it needed to be.

Myth #1: Paleo means Whole-30ing for the rest of your life

Whole-30 is a month long eating plan that excludes dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and processed/artificial foods. Basically, a strict Paleo diet. Doing a Whole-30 can be an awesome way to re-set taste buds, discover food sensitivities, and improve energy. For all-or-nothing-ers like myself, 30 days is okay - but what if I could do this strict Paleo plan for 60 or 90 or 360 days?! Certainly that would give me perfect skin, hormones, and soaring energy...right? 

Unfortunately, having a perfectionistic and dogmatic view about any way of eating, including Paleo, is what sets us up for failure. It's also the reason why "diets" don't work long term.  Allowing yourself a treat that you love that has no negative consequences is the best way to stay satisfied, sane, and motivated to continue to nourish your body with nutrient dense foods.

Myth#2: If you're not cooking all of your own meals, you're doing it wrong

Bone broth, meal prep, homemade everything...these were the things I believed were non-negotiable if I wanted to eat Paleo. Look, if you do all of these things, I honestly think you are amazing! (Come cook for me?) But I personally have about 100 other things i'd rather be doing in a day than slaving away in the kitchen. Luckily, Paleo eating has become a lot more mainstream in the past few years and it is SUPER easy to get pre-prepped and nutrient dense snack options no matter where you live. Here are some of my favorite resources:

Epic Bars, Rx bars

My favorite chocolate

Bone broth

Thrive Market

Collagen peptides

 Coconut butter (my newest obsession)

Canned salmon

Costco has TONS of Paleo friendly options too, like:

Aidell's chicken sausage, grass-fed beef burgers, organic frozen fruit and veggies, Coconut oil, Love Beets, Hope Hummus (Not techincally "Paleo" but a great example of eating foods that work for you whether they are "Paleo" or not)

Obviously, these options require that you pay a little more for the convenience factor. So decide what works best for you! Do you have extra time to dedicate to planning and prepping? Or would you rather pay a few extra bucks so you can spend your weekends dancing, surfing, brunching, etc? 

Myth #3 Paleo is just another diet

I'm gonna be super honest...when I first started eating Paleo, I told myself it was because my health was declining, and I felt like shit. This was true, but at the time I was still very stuck in the "diet" mentality, and my hope was that Paleo would finally be the answer to my personal war with food. At first, I treated Paleo like it was "just another diet" (albeit a waaaaay healthier version of what I was previously eating) but I made sure I counted every calorie and didn't eat too much fat.

Despite treating it as "just another diet", some crazy shit started happening after only a few short months. My acid reflux went away, my bloating decreased, my hair stopped falling out, and my depression nearly vanished. I even put on some muscle that I had lost (yay for nutrients) and actually stopped obsessing about my body so much. (Improving mental health is one of the GREATEST benefits of a paleo diet, in my opinion) 

This is not to say that I didn't do a lot of work around mindset as well, but I do believe that being properly nourished was a key factor in my ability to do this. 

As I started to obsess less about food and my body, I also become much less perfectionistic around my "Paleo diet" and started incorporating things that, although banned by the Paleo police, worked well for me and my body. (I.e: hummus, legumes, rice, gluten-free treats and the occasional tequila shot ;))

I also stopped viewing food as "good" or "bad" and simply started viewing certain things as more nutrient dense, or less nutrient dense. Both are totally fine, and I know that days or even weeks worth of less nutrient dense foods will always leave me craving more nutrient dense options, because...#balance.

For these reasons, modifying a Paleo style of eating to fit YOUR needs is the farthest thing from "just another diet." This truly requires a mindset shift, especially for those people who have been on the dieting bandwagon for many years. 

Want more info on transitioning to a paleo-ish diet?

3 Reasons You're Still Tired AF + What To Do Now

I wish I had a time machine so that I could read this post to myself 5 years ago. My hope is that if you are feeling the effects of extreme fatigue, that this post will give you a starting point on which daily habits, organ systems, and mindset shifts needing to be addressed before you diagnose yourself thanks to Dr. Google. 

I'll just start by saying that it is NOT normal to feel exhausted, day after day, especially if you aren't doing anything to warrant the exhaustion (i.e training for a marathon, taking care of a newborn, etc). 

Here are a few symptoms that I see as big red flags that something needs to change, beyond the usual Paleo-fixes:

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Inability to function without lots of caffeine 
  • "Wired" feeling at night 
  • Digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, or acid reflux
  • Intense sugar/salt cravings 
  • Unable to preform in workouts
  • Brain fog, forgetfulness
  • General malaise 

If this sounds like you, there are the few possible culprits behind why you might still be tired AF:

1. Your diet still sucks

Don't worry, i'm not going to tell you (again) to focus on nutrient dense foods and avoid anything processed (you can read about that here!). The first thing to look at if you are still feeling tired AF is not just the quality but the quantity of food in your diet.

Are you eating enough Carbs? Fat? Calories?  

Also, this may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are expending more energy than you are taking in (i.e lengthy gym sessions) and not giving yourself enough time to recover, this will quickly lead to fatigue and eventually, adrenal burnout. 

2. You aren't digesting your food

Your nutrition is on point and you aren't overly stressing out your body via exercise, work stress, or otherwise. The next thing to look at is the quality of your digestion. 

Do you reach for Tums after every meal? Do you only poop every other day? Do you have diarrhea multiple times per week? (newsflash: none of these things are normal!!!)

These are all signs that something has gone awry in your gut, whether that be low HCL, leaky gut, food sensitivities, or possible gut infection or imbalance of good gut bacteria. Here are a few of my favorite troubleshooting solutions:

Improve HCL/ enzyme production: Swedish bitters, Betaine HCL, apple cider vinegar or warm lemon water before meals

Determine food sensitivities: MRT testing, elimination diet

Balance gut bacteria: invest in a high quality probiotic, and be sure to rotate strains very 3 months or so

Repair leaky gut: L-glutamine, collagen peptides, bone broth, remove food triggers

3. You have adrenal fatigue

(We did a whole podcast on this topic - listen here)

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include chronic fatigue, cravings for sugar/salt, difficulty waking in the morning and falling asleep at night, decreased sex drive, less enjoyment out of life, and many others. 

Your adrenal glands are two pea-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys and are responsible for not only our bodies "fight or flight" reaction, but our output of important hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Levels of cortisol should be highest in the morning, allowing us to wake up with ease and energy. By the end of the day, cortisol (should) be at its lowest, allowing for melatonin production to take over and for us to fall asleep easily. 

When the body has been under chronic stressors such as malnutrition, work stress, a divorce, too much caffeine, or even perceived stressors like finances; the adrenal glands respond by producing either too much or too little cortisol, at the wrong times (depending on the stage of adrenal fatigue). For example, this is why many people will have an extremely difficult time waking up in the morning, but then suddenly feel "wired" once 10PM hits. 

Sound like you? Here are a few things to try, once you've followed the steps from #1 and #2. 

  • Destress
  • Eliminate caffeine
  • Only do low stress workouts such as yoga or walking
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Put self-care first!!!
  • Make sure to get the adequate nutrients needed to support the adrenals - specifically vitamin C, B vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and Essential Fatty Acids. 
  • Remember that you can supplement with these nutrients until you're blue in the face, but if the source of stress is not remedied, you're still going to be tired AF
  • Pinpoint and remove as many stressful stimuli as possible. 

Think you have adrenal fatigue?

Sign up for the FREE 5 Day Adrenal Fatigue Detox Challenge HERE!

 

Tell me in the comments:

Have you tried everything listed but you're still tired AF? (AF= As Fuck :) )

*This post contains affiliate links*

Why You Failed Last Time You Went Paleo (It's Not What You Think)

Last time you "went Paleo" started innocently enough...you did the grocery shopping, meal prepping and planning...but somewhere around day 10 the cravings took over and you dove face first into every carb source within a 5 mile radius - "Paleo" or not. 

This led to feelings of guilt for "falling off the wagon" and not being able to do it perfectly, bringing you back to square one...AGAIN. 

Let me first start by saying that i've been there. I put off making changes in my nutrition for sooo long out of fear that I would never be able to "paleo perfectly" - how would I ever go a day without diet coke or fake sugar to curb my cravings?  

So don't worry - the purpose of this post is NOT to tell you to just "Paleo harder" next time (I am SOOOOO not about that).

It is, however, intended to give you some insight as to why going into Paleo with a "diet mentality" is guaranteed to set you up for failure. A "diet mentality" means viewing foods as "good" or "bad", attaching morality to different food groups, and/or believing you will "fall off the wagon" if you eat some cheese.  

 

Here are the 3 biggest reasons why you failed last time you "went Paleo" and what you can do this time, instead:

Mistake #1: Going too low carb

Removing gluten and other grains is one of the best ways to improve digestion, heal the gut, discover food sensitivities and more.  However, the problem with this occurs when these grains are not replaced with something else.  For example, continuing to eat a Standard American Diet (think sandwiches, burgers, etc) and simply taking away the bread component is a great start, but leaves you with much lower carbs and lower calories than you were to start.

This is likely going to result in quick weight loss initially, due to the lowered caloric intake, but it is not going to leave you feeling satisfied or energized for long.  When removing gluten and other grains, make sure to replace your sources of carbohydrates with nutrient dense, whole food sources such as sweet potatoes, root vegetables, green veggies and fruit.

Mistake #2: Going too low fat

Similar to #1, going too low fat is often a result of the “diet mentality” that many of us have been plagued with for years. Eating too little fat while transiting to a Paleo diet looks something like this: egg whites, grilled chicken, and broccoli for every meal. Yes, these are all “real foods” (well, maybe not the egg whites…) but they definitely leave something to be desired in terms of flavor and nutrient density.  

When eating real food, don’t fear the fat!  Especially when you are eliminating inflammatory foods like grains, dairy and soy, it is important to replace these calories with nutrient dense fats like egg yolks, ghee, avocado, coconut oil, etc.  As a bonus, these added fats will help nutrient absorption, skin health and vibrance, and most importantly - they make your food taste better and keep you satisfied. 

Mistake # 3 You tried to do it alone

Filling up on nutrient dense foods like grass-fed meats, eggs, fish, veggies, fruits and tons of healthy fat seems easy enough, right? You already have access to the education and tools you need to make eating real food easy... (get them here!)

Unfortunately, lack of support from friends and family is the number one reason why even highly motivated people slip back into old habits of eating out, nutrient-poor food choices, caffeine, sugar, etc. 

How much easier and less stressful would it be knowing that your next holiday party or family dinner would have tons of nutrient dense options, and no one would give you weird looks or question your sudden interest in health?

Until that day happens, it is extremely important to find a group of like minded women who can support, share, ask questions and understand exactly what you're going through as you navigate the world of real-food, Paleo, self-care and healing - like a boss. 

This is why I created the PaleoBossBabe Facebook group - Join here!

Looking for step by step instruction to discovering your personalized paleo nutrition plan?

5 Ways Eating Paleo Will Change Your Life

There are tons of misconceptions about the Paleo diet. I even wrote a blog post criticizing it's perfectionistic and dogmatic "rules" that discourage people from following it's nutrient dense template. What comes to mind when you think of Paleo?

 

Low carb?

Hundreds of aesthetically pleasing containers of meal prep - a la instagram?

Ripped dudes in a cross-fit gym talking about PR's and protein?

Whatever comes to mind, there's no question that this way of eating is a popular trend, and although it can be rigid and restrictive, I believe that Paleo, when modified to fit your nutritional needs and goals, is the best way to nourish your body and mind. 

So, just to clarify, when I use the term "Paleo", what I really mean is: a diet based on eating nutrient-dense, real food ingredients in order to nourish your body and mind. "Paleo" just happens to be much easier and shorter :)

 

What does the Paleo diet include?

- Grass fed meats

- Pasture raised eggs and poultry

- Wild caught seafood

- Healthy fats like olive, coconut, avocado

- Plenty of veggies and fruit

- Nuts & Seeds

 

What does the Paleo diet exclude?:

- Processed foods

- Dairy

- Grains

- Legumes

- Starches

- Addes sugars

- Alcohol

 

Do I follow these recommendations to a T? Hell no. I like to think of the Paleo diet as a road trip, with (Insert health goal here) as the destination. Eating strict Paleo is probably going to be the fastest route, but if you drive straight through without stopping to pee, or stretch your legs, or get a snack...you're going to lose your f***ing mind. 

Besides being proven to prevent diseases like diabetes [source], parkinson’s, and alzheimer’s (which is amazing) I find that most people are more concerned with current, chronic symptoms that will unfortunately get dismissed by your MD or given a bandaid to cover up.

These are things like fatigue, digestive problems, weight gain, anxiety/depression and acne. Although seemingly insignificant compared to something like Alzheimer's, daily symptoms such as fatigue or depression can seriously lower a person's quality of life.

In mypersonal experience (and experiences with clients) the most effective way to alleviate these symptoms (without a rx) and greatly improve your quality of life is first through a Paleo -style nutrition plan. Here’s why:

1. Fatigue

Think of a “healthy” Standard American Diet (SAD):  Whole grain cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner.  You eat a diet similar to this, day in and day out, and wonder why you can’t seem to function in the morning until a verrry large coffee hits your lips.  So what’s going on?  Every time we consume a meal high in refined carbohydrates, blood sugar levels (glucose) increase rapidly (think sugar rush).  The pancreas responds by releasing insulin to bring blood sugar levels back into balance. Without energy-sustaining nutrients like fat and protein, this balance does not last long. Soon enough, the liver becomes involved by releasing glucagon in attempts to bring blood sugar back up. 

Glucagon provides a quick surge of energy, followed by another crash, leading us to reach for more sugar, caffeine, and refined carbs. Once again, insulin is released in the bloodstream to bring blood glucose levels back into balance. (Repeat this process multiple times a day for all the years you have been alive, and it is easy to see why your body is pissed off!) Unfortunately, processed carbohydrate meals (like in the SAD example) do not keep us satisfied for long, and soon enough after the initial energy “spike” we are back to where we started, craving more sugar or caffeine or highly refined carbs in order to get on with our day.

Additionally, our adrenal glands often have to step in to combat these insulin surges with an output of cortisol. When cortisol rhythm and other adrenal hormones become out of balance, an entire cascade of hormone dis-regulation results….and it ain’t pretty. This often looks like hormonal acne, infertility and thyroid disfunction, but most commonly, the result is crippling fatigue, aka all-I-wanna-do-is-watch-Netflix.

Eating a Paleo-style diet full of healthy fats, proteins, and nutrient dense carbohydrates will take you off of this blood sugar rollercoaster for good, allowing your adrenals to heal, your hormonal balance to become regulated, and best of all - your energy to return!

2. Poop problems

If you’ve ever gone to doctor and been diagnosed with IBS, you know the frustration of having a weird combination of constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for IBS, besides figuring out which foods are triggering unwanted digestive reactions, and/or determining other areas of dysfunction like low stomach acid or stagnant bile flow. This is why one of my first digestive protocols is a simple elimination diet (basically, a strict paleo diet) that gets rid of gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol, and added sugars. I know this sounds intimidating, which is why my podcasting cohost and fellow NTP, Andrea, created a Free 7-day course that will break down EXACTLY which foods to eat, as well as the “grey area” foods I mentioned before. (Enroll below)

3. Acne

Our skin cells regenerate every 27 days, which means that the foods we eat become the raw material necessary for creating beautiful skin. When we continue to consume inflammatory foods like refined oils, processed food and added sugars, the result is lackluster skin with an excess or absence of proper levels of skin sebum, which often leads to painful acne. Incorporating a wide variety of Paleo foods is the best way to get the appropriate amount of skin healing nutrients like zinc, vitamin A, Vitamin K2, selenium, collagen and essential fatty acids. 

4. Weight gain

Did you know that weight gain is actually a symptom of a greater issue, rather than just a problem in and of itself? Often times, our weight will fluctuate based on what our hormones are doing (our hormones control everything from energy levels to fat storage to sex drive). For example, estrogen levels that are too high in relation to progesterone (due to certain foods, alcohol consumption, or environmental toxins) actually encourage amounts of fat storage, particularly around the butt and thighs. Weight gain can also be indicative of the body’s impaired ability to detoxify.  When all avenues of detoxification are not working to expel toxins properly (the digestive tract, skin, etc.) these toxins must be stored in fat cells, thus causing increased fat storage -> weight gain.  Luckily, eating a Paleo diet has not only been proven as an effective method of balancing hormones, it also provides the adequate nutrients such as choline, antioxidants, and amino acids for proper liver detoxification. 

5. Anxiety/Depression

One of best kept-secrets of the Paleo diet is that it actually can be used as a therapeutic approach to heal anxiety and depression. I've talked about my experience with this before, too)

How is that possible?! Neurotransmitters such as GABA, Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Endorphin and Dopamine are directly responsible for our personal brain chemistry - meaning lack or imbalance can lead to things like anger, depression, hyperactivity, memory loss, drug/alcohol cravings and bad moods.

The levels of these neurotransmitters are directly affected by our nutritional choices; including intake of amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. This is where intake and absorption of high quality protein is essential. Sources like pasture raised eggs, grass-fed beef and wild caught fish are all great options.

Sounds awesome right? I know nearly every single one of us has struggled or is still struggling with at least one of these symptoms.

...So what's holding you back?

For most people, there is a disconnect between wanting to change your diet, feel better...

...and not wanting to spend hours per week meal prepping, cooking, or turning down social events out of fear you want be able to find anything to eat. 

 

Tell me:

- What's your biggest Paleo misconception?

- What's holding you back?

XO,

Amie