During my weight loss journey (and still today) I have a heavy focus on the food that I eat. I’ve heard it repeatedly from books, coaches, and interviews that 80% of body composition is really determined by what you eat. I have come to really understand this and to fully believe that this is the case. For real weight loss, to increase energy, and have vibrant health it all starts with what you eat.
The Primal Blueprint has provided a solid base on how to manage food in my lifestyle. By taking a closer look at the Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid we have a starting point that enables us to fully optimize our genes for total body transformation. This is certainly different from other food pyramids, my plates, etc.. What you will not see on this is grains. “Grains are merely a cheap source of calories that are easily converted into glucose. They have minimal nutrition value, stimulate excess insulin productions, and contain ‘anti-nutrients’ that compromise digestive and immune functions, promote systemic inflammation, and inhibit absorption of vitamins and mineral.” – Primal Blueprint, Mark Session.
Here are some of the issues I faced during my journey – diagnosed with being insulin resistant and pre-diabetic, having chronic inflammation, and all the signs of being celiac. So, taking out grains was not a matter a choice for me, but more of a matter of wanting to truly re-capture my health.
The Primal Blueprint offers the ability to follow both a sustainable and a practical plan for long-term health. Using the lessons learned and understanding the Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid has been a key aspect of re-capturing my health and creating a strong desire to help others do the same.
Here is a breakdown of pyramid:
Vegetables – this is the base of the pyramid. What has worked well for me is to make sure I am getting in significant number of veggies. Since I am also low carb and ketogenic at times (due to my insulin issues) I make sure that I am choosing vegetables that have a low impact on my carb intake. This still means that I am getting a lot variety in my diet. Much of my focus has been on lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions, olives, bok choy, avocados, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, etc… When choosing vegetables your first choice is locally grown, in season and organic. If you must choose between organic and locally grown always go with locally grown. Small local farmers may not be certified organic, but typically will still be selling cleaner and fresher vegetables then those shipped in from another country or state.
Meat, Fish, Fowl, Eggs – by far my favorite category! I can not say enough of the importance of choosing your items in this area wisely. Partner with local ranchers/farmers that can deliver quality meat, fowl, and eggs. Look for grass-fed, pasture raised, or certified organic. With fish avoid farm raised and always look for wild caught. There is significant difference in the health of the fish between farm raised and wild caught. The healthier the animal was in life the healthier the meat will be for you.
Healthy Fats – Use fat to cook with or to season a dish. You can enhance the flavor of the dish and increase your access to healthy fat by using grass-fed butter, animal fats (sourced from the above areas), avocado oil, or coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil (just to name a few). Include foods that contain healthy fats such as grass fed meat, wild caught fish, avocados, coconut products, seeds and their butters, and olives. Do yourself a big favor and avoid anything with canola oil or soybean oil – these can have a dramatically negative impact on your overall health.
Moderation Foods – this is the area that I can get into trouble in. Anytime that I see myself gaining weight I re-asses this area and see if there is something that I am eating too much of. The food areas in the moderation foods are fruits, high-fat diary, nutritious carbs, and dark chocolate. It is easy to find myself eating too much full fat yogurt or adding in to many sweet potatoes during dinner. By themselves these are not bad, but if you add them in too often you can easily see yourself starting to gain weight. Especially if your body has hard time processing carbs, such as myself.
Herbs, Spices, Supplements – the top of the pyramid. Herbs and spices are great for adding flavor and texture to dishes. Focus on ones that add nutrition to your meals. I use supplements to help me close the loop on areas that I may be lacking in. I can not stress how important it is to take a quality multi-vitamin with no added junk in it. Also, look for quality prebiotic and probiotic to really help your gut heal for optimal health. I will get into vitamins and what to look for in a later blog post, but if you have questions on what you should look for please let me know.
The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid is a practical way to really prioritize my food. As time has gone by this has become easier and easier and really has developed a sustainable way to eat. My hope is that you will find it as useful a tool as I have.