If there is any legume I’d avoid above all others, it would probably be soy (with peanuts being a close 2nd). For why you should be avoiding all legumes, read this article.
If you’re unfamiliar with soy, it starts off life as a cream-colored bean, which can then be made into a variety of foods like tofu, soy milk, soy protein, tempeh, soy sauce, imitation cheese, etc. It’s popular in many Asian dishes and among vegetarians and vegans as a protein source.
There are a variety of reasons for why soy should be avoided:
Have you ever stopped to reflect on the ways that we talk about beans?
Take the most famous beans in history, for example…
Young Jack was on his way to town to sell his family’s only cow, when a stranger talked him into trading the cow for a handful of “magic” beans. When Jack got back home, his mother was so furious about having only the worthless beans, that she threw them out the window. (The rest of that story took a more fantastic twist, of course.)
And even today, you might off-handedly note that something isn’t worth a “hill of beans,” indicating that it’s practically worthless.
However, if you spend 2 minutes on Google right now, you can find hundreds of articles about the health virtues of beans. Many sites praise their nutritional value, their high-fiber content, their ability to help prevent cancer, and even the amount of protein you can get from legumes.
They’re such darlings in the vegetarian and vegan world that you might think beans actually lead to bags of gold, golden-egg-laying hens, and magical harps.
And yet, you’re Paleo. You avoid legumes at all costs. Are you missing out???
Btw, if you want to find out more about Paleo, check out this article on the Paleo diet here. And if you’re confused by what is and what isn’t Paleo, you can find a comprehensive list of Paleo foods here.
One of the cornerstones of Paleo and gluten-free diets is not eating wheat. If you’re already Paleo, then you might have even noticed some of the benefits from giving up wheat (like feeling less bloated and perhaps even shedding some weight).
But what exactly is it about wheat that makes it so bad? Here are just 8 of the most important reasons why you should be avoiding wheat:
I’m not going to beat around the bush. I like to pretend that I write some good and useful content, but when it comes down to it, there are 4 people who you absolutely MUST read if you’re serious about being Paleo
You can find Mark at MarksDailyApple.com.
The fact that I’ve listed 4 individuals as Must-Reads doesn’t mean that there aren’t a bunch of other great sites out there. Here are some of my personal favorites:
I wanted to write an article about the Paleo diet that is geared toward just getting started and the basic things that you should know. And the first thing that occurred to me is that when you’re just starting out, you should be very excited.
So…I actually am writing an article about Paleo for Beginners, but before I write that article, I wrote this one. I feel like there’s more than just good health at the base of the Paleo movement, and I think people need to know about it.
Although there is no magic involved, there are some pretty great aspects of the Paleo diet about which you should be excited. Here are just a few things about which I’m still excited, despite being Paleo for a very long time now:
Is Soy Lecithin Paleo?
This question – or the same question with a different food or ingredient inserted – is probably the most popular question asked in all of Paleo-land.
Lately, several bloggers have argued that we shouldn’t ask if a food is Paleo. They say we should just ask if it’s healthy.
I don’t agree.
Just asking if a food is healthy hasn’t really worked. Paleo works partially because it offers a simple explanation and framework for how to eat and live better.
And yet, asking if Soy Lecithin is Paleo is a DUMB question. (Sorry kids, despite what you were told in school, there are both dumb questions and dumb answers.)
I’m going to explain why it’s a dumb question (probably not what you think), but first…
In the simplest terms, soy lecithin a byproduct of soybean oil production.
It’s extracted either mechanically or using a chemical called hexane. It contains pretty much none of the soy proteins that we try to avoid, although it does contain many of the phyto-estrogens inherent to soy.
It’s used in a very wide variety of foods, including confectionery, doughs, and cooking sprays, and candy bars.
The main benefit of soy lecithin is that it acts as an emulsifier, which means that it stabilized foods like candy bars and makes them stick together instead of breaking apart.
This brings me to Dumb Question #1
Please raise your hand if you’ve got a passion for learning about lectins…
Let’s be honest – lectins are not a particularly popular topic. We read a lot more about gluten, toxic metals, and genetically modified foods.
Many health experts, however, are ardently opposed to lectins.
Why, you ask?
Well, it’s not always clear. Mark Sisson put together a good article about lectins, but I thought I’d give a bit more thorough round-up of the literature on lectins.
Lectins are a group of proteins.
In general, there are 12 major lectins, although there are actually quite a few more (about 119 known types total). I’ll talk about a few particular lectins below, but for the most part, it’s enough to know that lectins are a group of proteins.
Over the past couple years, the Paleo diet and lifestyle have gained quite a bit of popularity and traction. Popularity comes with a price, however.
Bloggers and mainstream media outlets have begun to come out of the woodwork to talk about the Paleo diet and to try to decide if they love or hate it. As with anything, a few people are simply irrational or mean – these people criticize and hate the Paleo diet for any or no reason.
Lately, however, I’ve read quite a few critiques of the Paleo diet that are well-thought-out, but which rely on information that is either outdated or simply wrong. And they’re not doing this maliciously – this misinformation exists, and unless they spend hours digging around, it’s hard to know what’s correct and what’s not.
10 years ago, mentioning that you were “Paleo” would have drawn more than a few blank stares. Today, I’m much more likely to be barraged by an avalanche of…interesting…questions.
Seriously, more and more people at least know what Paleo is, and the popularity is growing even among celebrities. Amazing books and podcasts are proliferating, like this book from Diane, this book from Melissa and Dallas, and this new podcast from Stacy, Matt, and Sarah.
In light of the growing popularity of the Paleo movement, I thought it was high time we take a serious look at the top 6 reasons why Paleo is growing so rapidly. (In countdown fashion.)
6. Paleo Dieters like being Trend-Setters
YOU CAN ALWAYS JUSTIFY EATING CRAP
I know. I’ve been there. I’m still there sometimes.
Bad news: Most of us are NEVER going to completely get over this. There will still be times when we justify eating crap.
Good news: This doesn’t need to happen very often. There are ways to fix ourselves.
This is a long post, but it’s just too important to write piece by piece, and you aren’t going to ever be able to fully take control of your diet unless you tackle the issues addressed in this post.
Perhaps you’ve been in this position before:
Maybe your favorite jeans were a little too tight this morning. Maybe you felt really out of shape when you tried playing a sport or keeping up with your kids. Maybe you received some scary results from a medical exam or blood test.
Whatever the cause, you made a decision: Starting Today, You’re On a Diet. No More Games.
After all, that’s what people do when they get out of shape. You’ll diet a bit, you’ll exercise a little, and, eventually, you’ll wake up one morning incredibly pleased with how much weight you’ve lost.
It’s not so complicated. You’re motivated this time, and you’ve just found a diet that is going to work wonders for you.
But will it?
For 99% of us, it’s only a matter of time before we’re rudely awakened by the unhealthy truth:
It’s gone by a variety of names (the Paleolithic diet, the Caveman diet, or simply the Paleo diet). By any name and in any of its forms, though, the Paleo diet has become increasingly popular and also increasingly ridiculed.
It’s not uncommon to hear critics say that the Paleo diet is a “fad” or simply weird or ridiculous. However, despite all of the criticism, more and more people are adopting the Paleo diet. In addition, a growing body scientific research supports and underpins the core principles that make up the Paleo diet.
What, then, are the core principles of the Paleo diet and lifestyle? And why have so many people chosen to adopt it?
A. The Food (the Diet)
Although many Paleo experts emphasize the need for change in various aspects of the modern lifestyle (stress, sleep, exercise, etc.), Paleo is first and foremost a diet centered around food choices.
The core dietary principle of Paleo is that modern humans should attempt to eat more like our ‘cavemen’ ancestors. No matter where your ancestors originated from, it wasn’t until pretty recently that humans were able to eat certain foods. For most of human existence, foods such as processed sugar, as well as wheat, rice, and other grains were not able to be eaten by humans.
The primary problem with eating these foods is that the human body never evolved to digest these foods very well. And because we can’t digest these foods very well, they can cause a lot of problems in our body, especially if we eat these foods for a long time. Prolonged ingestion of these foods can often lead to long term illnesses, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Highly processed grains and sugars (such as cakes, cookies, breads, and sodas) are particularly bad and are highly discouraged by Paleo experts.
What should someone eat if they want to adopt a Paleo diet?
A MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION
Why might individuals who report eating chocolate more often be more likely to be thin (not overweight)?
A. Because overweight individuals are more likely to be on a diet, and therefore eat chocolate less frequently
B. Because individuals who eat chocolate more often also exhibit more self control and actually eat less total chocolate
C. Because overweight individuals are less likely to honestly report eating foods that are perceived as “unhealthy”
D. Because chocolate contains certain nutrients that make a person fuller and therefore less likely to eat as many calories of other foods
Answer: As you likely already guessed, it’s a trick question, since any of the 4 answers above are entirely plausible. Rest assured that there could be many more than just these 4 explanations for why individuals who eat chocolate more often are more likely to be thin.
It seems, though, that the news media has a limited imagination for explanations, since almost every major news outlet has recently published an article proclaiming that chocolate may help to keep people slim, all based on one study.
I’m a real geek when it comes to scientific studies. I can never get enough, and I get excited every time I read a new study on nutrition, weight loss, muscle gain, or pretty much anything related to health. Like I said, I’m a self-professed geek in this regard.
However, I have to constantly remind myself that we already know most of what we need to know. In the end, our health is mostly determined by following rules that our parents and grandparents told us, even if they didn’t know the full or correct reasons. That’s why, today, I want to discuss something we’ve all known for most of our lives but seems to have become a big secret recently.
So what is the ABSOLUTE BIGGEST SECRET ABOUT DIETING TO LOSE FAT?
Wait for it….
If you’re like most people I know, you probably think, at some point during the day, that you really need to make better choices about what, when, and/or how much to eat. And really, it’s such a valiant and optimistic thought – “if I try just a LITTLE BIT harder, I can start making better decisions and get healthier/skinnier/stronger.”
The problem is, for you, me, and most of the rest of the world, TRYING A LITTLE BIT HARDER just hasn’t been working. So why can’t we stay motivated to diet and not cheat? Because…
MOTIVATION IS A BIG JOKE
Have you ever stopped to count how many times you’ve cheated on a diet in your life? How about your friends? How many times have you heard a friend talk about cheating or getting back on their diet after falling off it? I’ve never taken the time to count, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve cheated on a diet well over 1,000 times in my life (and that’s a conservative guess).
If I had a nickel (or lost a pound of fat) for every time I heard someone tell me that they’re serious THIS TIME or that it will somehow be different on this particular diet…
Give me a break – YOUR NEXT DIET WILL BE NO DIFFERENT THAN YOUR LAST ONE
Here’s the thing – if you want to know how you’re going to act in the future (whether on a diet or otherwise), just look at how you’ve acted in the past. Your actions will ALMOST ALWAYS follow the same pattern. (Unless, of course, you’re a character in a movie, of course, in which case, you’re about to have a life-changing epiphany that no one in the real world will actually ever have). If you didn’t get out of bed and go exercise this morning, then there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t do it a week from now either. (Of course, there will be days that you do, but the chances are, on any given day, that you’ll take the action or actions you most commonly have taken in the past).
We’re well into the 20th century, and there’s a lot of cool research that some smart folks have been conducting for quite a while on behavior, decision-making, and even nutrition (e.g., Brian Wansink at Cornell ). Guess what? All of the research being done by Wansink and most other behavioral economists flies in the face of the notion that any of us can simply decide to change our behavior in any significant way without figuring out a way to change our environment and circumstances.