More Good 'News' about the Paleo Diet

There really is a trend, at least among CBS affliliate stations to encourage people to follow the paleo diet. Last week we reported on the CBS News affiliate in Philly which gave a Thanksgiving spin to their story.  Dr. Kim Mulvhill started the ball rolling at the CBS affiliate in San Francisco when she lost 30 lbs when trying the Paleo diet. And she decided to stick with it after afterwards as her diet of choice for the rest of her life.  Frank Vascellaro of the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis is the latest to make the leap into the stone age by successfully following the Paleo diet. This is indeed more good ‘news’ about the Paleo diet.

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 The version which Frank Vascellaro is from Dr. Loren Cordain’s book “The Paleo Diet” which is lower in fat and higher in protein.

When it comes to diets, it seems there’s always a new fad or trendy way to lose weight. I started a new a diet a little over a month ago. It’s popular, but it’s not a fad. In fact, its ancient. The Paleo diet is based upon on how our ancestors ate back in the stone age. I turned back the clock 10,000 years, and here’s what happened to me.

I put on some pounds over the summer and during the Minnesota State Fair. Then I went to T.J. McNiff at the Firm to do something about it. He weighed me, measured me and challenged me to come into the cave.

“Because you’re basically eating like a caveman,” he said about the diet. “It’s all meat, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.”

McNiff uses the Paleo Diet himself, and you really do eat like a caveman, focusing on the foods we could have hunted and gathered thousands of years ago…..

…. I also went to my doctor for baseline blood pressure and blood work, and his advice.

“If you can adhere to it and get the exercise in addition, you’ll be successful,” said Dr. Ron Kaufffman of Metropolitan Internists. “If you cheat or eat more fatty foods or fried foods or processed foods, then you’re going to regain the weight.”

He said this diet has actually been around since the mid-1980s, and in general, it’s a healthy way of eating. You don’t need to count calories, but if you follow It correctly, about 55 percent of your calories will come from lean protein, with the remainder from vegetables, fruit and good fats…..

The Paleo diet plan Frank is following also includes more exercise than most plans. For example, Mark Sisson has great success with working out about three times per week and still has tremendous results.

So, I started working out with McNiff and after months away from the gym, it was a struggle. Between the gym and home, I’d work out five days a week for an hour, usually four days lifting weights and one day of cardio.

Here is another difference from other versions of the Paleo diet that I’ve seen, the encouragement to eat MORE frequently…. five times a day?

It’s also hard to feel hungry on this diet, eating five times a day, every two or three hours.  But is it healthy?  We took my food log to a registered dietitian.

“It’s a lot of food,” said Heidi Schmidt of HealthPartners. “But it’s also dense calories, and it’s very satisfying, so calorie-wise he probably isn’t eating that much.”

In general, she said it’s a healthy combination of food, but wonders whether I’d be able to do it long-term. Still, she likes the simplicity of the caveman concept.

“People have a lot of nutrition messages coming at them from all angles,” she said. “So if you find a way of eating that’s easy for you to understand and healthy, I think the packaging is fine.”

So, what was the good ‘news’ about the Paleo diet?

My workouts got better by the week, and so did my energy, but what did my most important critic think? Amelia noticed that my face got thinner, and my jeans were looser. In fact, I think I convinced her to step into the cave.

“Just watching you eat,” she said. “I actually think I want to try the diet.”

After five weeks, I went for the weigh-in. I dropped 17 pounds and my measurements were really exciting. I was down 2.5 inches around my hips, up 1.5 inches (meaning more muscle) in my chest and down five full inches around my waist…..

…. “I think it’s pretty standard,” said Kali Ofstehage of The Firm. “We’ve had a bunch of the trainers do it here and they’ve been right around the same.”

I also had a few changes in my blood work. My blood pressure stayed the same. It was very good to begin with. The doctor checked it again Friday.

So is this this trend going to continue? Stay tuned to this website for more good ‘news’ about the Paleo diet. We will be watching for it!


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