The Ultimate Guide to Paleo for Beginners

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Mar 5, 2014
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You hear the phrase all the time around paleo circles, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.” That may be true to the person saying it, but what about the person just trying to get started? 

Are you at a point where you want to adopt a totally new lifestyle? Or, are you just looking for some strategies to help you get in better shape and improve your health? 

The popularity of paleo, primal and ancestral diets has given birth to thousands of blogs, books, recipes and ideas about what it means to “eat like a caveman.” To say there are some conflicting ideas floating around is an understatement. Should you include fermented dairy foods or not? Should you eat regular potatoes? Is beer allowed? Can I just go 80/20 and be OK? Will I lose weight if I do a 30 day paleo challenge?

And the list goes on. It always will.

But if you want to get results with the paleo diet then you’ll need to check the perfectionism at the door. The best thing you can do is take imperfect action and start making some changes immediately. I’m going to show you how to get started with paleo in a way that will have you making changes in big areas of your life. I want you to get some BIG WINS under your belt!

Will this be easy? HELL NO!

Can you do it? HELL YES!

Let’s get you off on the right track with the paleo diet so you can start seeing results while everyone else talks about it.

What is the paleo diet?

“Oh, so you eat like a caveman? I’ve heard of that.”

As popular as the paleo diet has become there are still a lot of people who don’t know what it is. That’s cool. You’re here, so obviously you want to get the scoop.

The paleo diet idea is not as new as people might think. The first book that presented the idea of eating like our prehistoric ancestors was written back in 1975. The book is The Stone Age Diet by Walter L. Voegtlin. For some reason he doesn’t get much recognition. It wasn’t until 14 years later in 1989 that the second book about eating like a caveman showed up. The book is The Paleolithic Prescription by S. Boyd Eaton, Marjorie Shostak and Marvin Konner.

Loren Cordain’s, The Paleo Diet, wasn’t published until 2002. And Robb Wolf’s, The Paleo Solution, didn’t hit the scene until 2010. That’s a span of 35 years! The idea of eating like a caveman is nothing new. Sure there will be more books and articles written that put their own spin on the idea. They are all pretty much saying the same thing. 

While these books will definitely differ in opinion about what “exactly” a paleo diet looks like the overall premise is the same. Eat a diet that mimics as close as possible the foods that would have been available to our prehistoric ancestors.

If you want a technical description of the paleo diet then I think Wikipedia sums it up best:

“The paleolithic diet is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed diet of Paleolithic humans. It is based on the premise that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, which marked the end of the Paleolithic era, around 15,000 years ago, and that modern humans are adapted to the diet of the Paleolithic period.” [source]

What does this mean? Basically it’s saying that as human beings we haven’t changed that much over millions of years and that the recent invention of many of the foods that line the grocery store shelves are not the types of foods we’re meant to eat.

So is this true? That’s where things get a little foggy. There’s no way for us to know exactly what a caveman ate. Here’s a small excerpt from a study entitled Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets that explains the issue with finding out exactly what cavemen ate (emphasis is mine):

“Unfortunately, not a single comprehensive nutritional study evaluating the macronutrient and trace nutrient contents of the wild plant and animal foods actually consumed in completely un-Westernized hunter-gatherer diets was ever conducted. Consequently, all future studies of the traditional diet of preagricultural humans must be evaluated indirectly by examining the ethnographic, fossil, or archaeologic records in conjunction with modern-day nutrient analyses of wild plant and animal foods.” [source]

Basically, their depending on research of human cultures, fossil and archaeologic data. This type of analysis can leave a lot to speculation. Let’s just say that figuring out what our cave brothers and sisters were eating 2.4 million years ago isn’t an exact science.

Before you throw your hands up in the air and lose all hope I want to suggest we put on our common sense hats.

What is all this actually telling us if we really think about it?

What is at the heart of the paleo diet message is to eat real, whole, unprocessed food. [Tweet This]

One thing I’ll never understand is how some people think eating a diet made up of vegetables, fruits, tubers, nuts, seeds, fowl, fish, beef and eggs is radical compared to eating a bunch of food that has ingredients lists a mile long with things you can’t even pronounce. How is that possible?

Have you ever read the ingredients label on whole wheat bread? If you have any in the house you should go read the ingredients list and tell me what you think. How many ingredients are in an apple? How many ingredients are in a piece of chicken? How many ingredients are in an egg? One.

If you think about it logically, the radical thing to do is eat food that is processed, filled with chemicals, refined to submission and that actually require fortification to add nutrients back into them! It’s crazy! But this is what people think is normal. I guess I will continue to be the radical person who eats mostly meat, veggies, fruit and eggs. 

The main thing you need to take away is that the paleo diet focuses on real food. It suggests cutting out certain foods that have been known to cause digestive issues, trigger autoimmune disorders and lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We’ll talk about these foods next…

What Foods to Avoid on a Paleo Diet

This is where things can get messy. Even within the paleo space there are different opinions about what’s acceptable and what isn’t. It’s no wonder people are confused and have a hard time getting started with the paleo diet.

Let’s break down the major categories of food that are to be avoided on a paleo diet and learn what the experts have to say in each area.

Grains

This is the big one. In the strictest paleo circles you are not to consume any grains. No wheat, barley, rye, quinoa, corn or rice. No grains! Period. It’s not even debatable.

However, it’s unrealistic to think that you are going to be able to eliminate these foods from your diet 100% of the time. It's also a bit nearsighted to demonize other "grain" types of foods that might be perfectly acceptable such as quinoa. Is it possible to greatly reduce the amount of foods containing grains in your diet? Absolutely. Do you have to eliminate them all? No. You are an adult and you can do what you want.

To me the quinoa and rice are more a gray area and deserve posts on their own to discuss the merits of eating them versus avoiding them. One thing about including either of these foods in your personal plan is that you can ratchet up your carbohydrate intake very fast. This might not be so bad for an elite athlete but for a majority of people trying to lose body fat too much of these foods can cause issues.

Wheat, barley and rye, or cereal grains, are a different story. My take on these are to avoid them as much as possible. The majority of foods that contain “whole” grains are still heavily processed and refined. They usually contain a bunch of questionable ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and other man-made chemical ingredients. While I don’t subscribe to the idea that “carbohydrates are the devil” I do believe that most people get way more carbohydrate in their diets than is necessary and usually they are the wrong kinds. Sandwich bread, dinner rolls, cookies, cakes, pastries, bagels and doughnuts are the wrong kinds. In case you were curious.

My overall take on cereal grains is to cut them out completely because of their ability to cause digestive stress, inflammation and blood sugar spikes. Usually these health issues are caused by certain compounds in the grains such as gluten, phytates and lectins. I suffered undiagnosed digestive issues for many years and lived in pain. It wasn’t until I cut out grains that my body healed itself. I haven’t had any issues since I cut out the grains.

Here’s what others have to say about grains and gluten…

“Apart from maintaining social conventions in certain situations and obtaining cheap sugar calories, there is absolutely no reason to eat grains. Believe me – I’ve searched far and wide and asked everyone I can for just one good reason to eat cereal grains, but no one can do it. They may have answers, but they just aren’t good enough.” Mark Sisson [source]

“The problem with this particular protein [gluten] is that many people actually can’t break it down within their body and aren’t aware that they can’t. There’s a broad spectrum of those who are either sensitive to, intolerant of or allergic to gluten entirely.” Diane Sanfilippo [source]

“Usually, when you remove allergenic foods (such as gluten) from your diet, your cravings for sweets will diminish, your mood will improve, your weight will drop, and your overall health will soar.” Dr. Mercola [source]

If you're still having some doubt about cutting out grains then I would urge you to read this scientific paper for further discussion on the health benefits of grains.

Legumes and Beans

When you tell someone to avoid beans it might raise some eyebrows. In fact there has been some people recently on well known talk shows saying that beans are OK on a paleo diet. There are definitely worse things you can eat besides beans but we need to deal with reality. Beans have three things working against them. Lectins, phytates and saponins.

However, there are supposedly a host of other issues with beans if you want to check out Cordain’s article here. He also had a bit to say about the person claiming that beans are fine to eat on a paleo diet. Funny stuff.

In order for beans to be digested properly and to give you any hope of absorbing nutrients from them you’ll need to soak them and cook them thoroughly. If you don’t prepare beans correctly you’re basically eating empty calories because the phytates are going to bind to all the good stuff and prevent your body from absorbing things like protein and iron.

“The bioavailability of minerals in legumes is compromised by the body’s difficulty in digesting them (hence the flatulence jokes). If you’re going to include legumes in your diet, preparation is everything. Diligent and tailored soaking processes are necessary for the proper digestion and nutrient absorption of legumes.” Mark Sisson [source]

Saponins are another issue. These guys don’t go away with soaking and cooking. Here’s what Cordain says about saponins in beans:

“The term, saponin, is derived from the word soap.  Saponins are antinutrients found in almost all legumes and have soap-like properties that punch holes in the membranes lining the exterior of all cells.  As was the case with lectins, this effect is dose dependent – meaning that the more saponins you ingest, the greater will be the damage to your body’s cells.  Our first line of defense against any antinutrient is our gut barrier.  Human tissue and animal studies confirm that legume saponins can easily disrupt the cells lining our intestines and rapidly make their way into our bloodstream.  Once in the bloodstream in sufficient quantities, saponins can then cause ruptures in our red blood cells in a process known as hemolysis which can then temporarily impair our blood’s oxygen carrying capacity.  In the long term, the major threat to our health from legume saponins stems not from hemolysis (red blood cell damage) but rather from their ability to increase intestinal permeability. A leaky gut likely promotes low level inflammation because it allows toxins and bacteria in our guts to interact with our immune system.  This process is known to be is a necessary first step in autoimmune diseases and may promote the inflammation  necessary for heart disease and and the metabolic syndrome to develop and progress.” Loren Cordain [source]

You are free to choose to do what you want with beans. I’m going to choose to heavily restrict them. Does this mean I’ll never eat another bean again? No. They just aren’t part of my regular eating plan. The point of this article is to give you a primer of what constitutes a paleo diet and beans are technically not part of the paleo diet.

Dairy

While we’re talking about foods that are in the gray area of paleo let’s talk about dairy foods. Again, in strict paleo circles dairy of any kind is a no-no. That means no milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, kefir or the likes.

The Primal Blueprint is considered a “lacto-paleo” approach in that it allows for high quality forms of full fat dairy foods. Things like grass-fed butter, full fat organic yogurt, kefir and high quality cheese. Even though this style of paleo allows for dairy it’s still treated more like a treat or eaten sparingly. The emphasis on dairy with primal eaters is that there are some health benefits to including high quality dairy in the diet such as reduced risk of CVD, diabetes and obesity. Plus fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir provide healthy probiotics to keep your belly happy. 

At the bare minimum you must stick to organic, hormone and antibiotic free dairy foods. Hopefully these sources of dairy are from grass-fed cows as well. Conventional dairy foods are to be avoided along with all the low-fat varieties.

On the other end of the dairy spectrum is Cordain who says that you shouldn’t touch any kind of dairy. Ever. He sites that 65% of the population is lactose intolerant and can’t consume milk without digestive discomfort. Although, this seems like kind of a blanket statement considering that there are several factors to consider in regards to lactose intolerance such as age, ancestry, premature birth and even radiation therapy.

Our stance on dairy consumption is that there seem to be some health benefits to consuming high-quality, organic, full-fat and fermented dairy foods. A majority of the dairy I include in my own diet comes in the form of organic, full fat cheese, yogurt, kefir, butter, ghee and heavy cream.

One thing to be aware of with milk is that it will spike insulin. Mark Sisson says this in a post on dairy:

“Milk is highly insulinogenic, more than most carbohydrate sources. We’re all aware of the dangers of chronically elevated insulin levels, but that’s also what makes milk such a popular post-workout recovery drink. If you’re insulin sensitive following a tough strength training session, milk’s insulin response can be an effective way to shuttle in protein and glycogen.” [source]

If fat loss is your goal maybe avoid the milk and if you need some dairy stick to a little bit of full-fat butter on your veggies and some full-fat yogurt or kefir with berries as a treat. The choice is yours. The main idea is that you test it out and see what works for you.

If you get all bloated and gassy after consuming dairy you should probably lay off the stuff. If you’re allergic to lactose or casein then you should avoid dairy. Got it?

Alcohol

Here’s the deal. You probably haven’t met too many people with six pack abs that are downing a six-pack of buds every night. If your goal is to lose body fat limiting your alcohol intake is going to help. If you’re happy with your weight, fitness and health overall then imbibing once in a while is not going to ruin your health. Most people enjoy having a drink, especially in social situations or while on vacation and can do so without problems.

There are ways to be intelligent about your drinking. If you’re going out and binge drinking every weekend then it might be time to think about how big of a priority your health really is. Alcohol can mess with things like your sleep cycles, appetite and hormones. Not good if you’re trying to lose weight or be as fit as possible. If you’re the type of person that enjoys going out for drinks with friends then here are some tips for you to do it in a way that will have the least impact on your efforts and results. These don’t give you license to get “blackout” drunk.

These are tips for people who don’t want to enjoy a drink with friends and be responsible too.

  • Try to stick with wine, favoring red over white. But be aware of sulfites in red wines if you’re sensitive to them.
  • Distilled spirits can be a good choice because they are just water and alcohol. They tend to be lower in calories per serving (1 ounce). 
  • Avoid sugary mixes. If you do mixed drinks stick with soda water and fresh lime or lemons. 
  • Limit yourself to a couple of drinks and try not to exceed three.

Try the NorCal Margarita
1. 2–3 shots of 100% agave tequila.
2. Juice and pulp from one lime.
3. Shake it all up with some ice.
4. Add soda water to taste.

Here’s what Robb Wolf says, “Drink as much as you can to optimize your sex-life but not impact performance.” I think he’s joking… a little bit. Here’s the short video he did on the topic of drinking alcohol on the paleo diet.

“Accordingly, alcohol consumption is allowed occasionally, and in moderation. A glass of wine with dinner a few times a week will not derail the therapeutic effects of The Paleo Diet. Similarly, alcoholic beverages from distilled spirits also are allowed, but they should be made with non-sugary mixers.” Cordain [source]

Like most things with the paleo diet you need to embrace the N=1 philosophy. Chad refers to this as the “I Test.” You know what works for you and what doesn’t. And if you don’t know then you owe it to yourself to test things out for yourself to find what works.

Sugar

The idea to avoid sugar to help lose weight is widely accepted. However, sugar consumptions till makes up a large percentage of calorie intake despite recent studies pointing to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from high sugar consumption. Here’s the conclusion of a recent study:

“Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.” [source]

The World Health Organization has even decreased it's daily sugar consumption recommendation to about 25 grams of sugar per day for healthy individuals. It decreased the sugar recommendation from 10% of daily calorie consumption to 5%. As you can see we were not taking the 10% recommendation very serious to begin with.

You’re probably saying “duh.” Yes, we all know that sugar consumption is a problem, especially in the United States. It’s in everything! 

The paleo diet is technically a no refined sugar diet. You might not be able to tell with all the recipe blogs that are constantly sharing paleo treat recipes. There are many substitutes being used to make the recipe more paleo such as palm sugar, raw honey, maple syrup and so on. The truth is that even these things are sugar and if your goal is to lose weight you’ll need to limit total calories you get from sugar. This means that you’ll have to limit the paleo treats. Throwing the word “paleo” in front of a cake recipe doesn’t necessarily make it good for you nor does it mean you’ll lose weight by eating it.

Does a “paleo” cake have some things going for it that regular cake doesn’t? Sure. It’s going to be grain free and probably lower in sugar. But it’s still going to have sugar in some form and once sugar is in the body it’s going to do one of two things, get used for fuel or be stored. Depending on your current health and metabolic situation the storage of sugar can either go into the muscles and liver as glycogen to be used later on as fuel or it will get stored as body fat.

One thing I suggest you try is changing your definition of sugary foods. The body wants glucose and it can get it from a variety of foods… not just table sugar or honey. Food such as breads, pastas, bagels, potato chips and a long list of others are quickly converted to sugar in the body. I view these foods as sugar. Technically they aren’t but the impact on your body is the same.

Another type of sugar to be aware of is fructose. This is sugar that is naturally in fruit. The real danger with fructose is consuming a lot of it in concentrated doses. The main culprit for fructose bombs are big servings of fruit juice. Using fruit juice as a natural sweetener can be just fine but if you’re downing two tall glasses of orange juice every day you’re going to be sugar bombing yourself. Instead opt to eat a piece of fruit. You’ll dramatically cut your fructose intake plus you’ll be eating a nutritious and filling snack.

What is all this sugar eating doing to you? The main thing it does is wreak havoc on your bodies ability to burn fat as fuel. Mark Sisson has an excellent post on being a “sugar-burner vs fat-burner” on his blog. Give it a read here.

The bottom line with sugar is that most of us get too much of it and it’s messing up the way our bodies work. You can reverse the impact of years of sugar and extremely high carbohydrate consumption by following a more paleo approach. Chances are good that if you actually go paleo you’ll see some great results in how you look and feel.

So you’re probably wondering…

What can I eat on a paleo diet?

This is the fun part because the paleo diet is all about eating delicious, satiating foods. You no longer have to fear the fat content of foods such as grass-fed meats, eggs, avocados, nuts and olive oil. These types of foods are embraced on a paleo diet. This makes eating paleo very satisfying and easy to stick with for the long-term.

When constructing your paleo plate you’ll focus around ½ to ⅔ of the plate on veggies, ¼ on protein and ¼ on fat and good starches such as tubers.

Here’s what this paleo plate could look like:
10oz grass-fed sirloin steak, or, 10oz of wild salmon
1 small yam with pat of butter
2 cups of spring greens dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil

If you’re not used to eating this way you might look at this and say that it’s a very fattening meal. I would agree that the fat “content” of this meal might be higher than you’re used to but it will not make you physically fat. Eating like this on a regular basis will have the opposite effect. It will make you lean.

There are endless sources of protein and produce you can create awesome meals with on a paleo diet. To help you out we put together an extensive resource called the paleo food list. You can use the search features to look for ideas for your next meal. You can also try PrimalPal out to plan some of your paleo meals, create shopping lists and build your own personal recipe database with your favorite paleo recipes.

Getting the “what to eat” and “what not to eat” part of paleo figured out is the first step. With the resources I’ve outlined here you should be able to get started immediately. But there’s still the matter of lifestyle and making sure that your lifestyle is setting you up for success.

Paleo Diet Lifestyle Strategies

Many of these strategies require their own investigation and research. These are things I’ve picked up along the way to help stay on track with my paleo diet and to get the best results. I’m not always perfect with these strategies but I try my best.

Sleep

I will be the first one to tell you that I’m far from perfect with this. I’m trying to get better all the time. While there are many tips and tricks that have been written about to help you sleep better I’ve found one that works the best for me. It’s simply shutting everything down a couple hours before bed. That means turning off computers, cell phones and televisions.

Now I don’t always get this right. Sometimes I don’t take my own advice. When I do take this step I find that I fall asleep faster, my sleep is deeper, I wake up more refreshed and my energy is more even the next day. Try it for yourself and see how it works.

Hydration

Try to limit caffeine and increase plain water consumption. I used to drink three to four cups of coffee every day. I love coffee. This habit was increasing my anxiety levels and messing with ability to relax and sleep. When I drink more water and limit coffee to one cup a day, at most two, I feel great. My energy increases and I focus better.

There is some talk in health circles about the risk of drinking too much water. I think that’s a bunch of nonsense for one reason, most of us are walking around in a severe state of dehydration. We pump our bodies full of processed junk foods, alcohol and caffeine. These foods and drinks are not helping us stay hydrated. Are there real health risks associated with overhydration? Sure. But how many people do you know that have suffered from overhydration? It’s zero for me. Dehydration is a different story. All of us probably know someone who has suffered from minor, even severe, cases of dehydration.

My point here isn’t to tell you to drink 8 glasses of water a day. I do believe that thirst is a good indicator of when it’s time to hydrate. I’m suggesting that by drinking more water for your hydration needs you’ll increase your energy and feel more vibrant.

Remember, N=1 and the “I test.” Try this for yourself and see how you feel. Cut out soda, even diet soda, and limit coffee and alcohol consumption. Instead hydrate with plain water. You could even flavor it with fresh lemon and lime. Try it out for a week and notice the difference.

Here's the secret way I cut my coffee consumption. It's a barrier from me making a whole pot of coffee then proceeding to drink all of it.

Stress

There are many things in life that can cause stress. Running late for a meeting, boss breathing down your neck, kids schedules, bills to be paid, health problems and the list goes on.

But how many of us take the time to relax and destress? I’m not talking about sitting cathartic in front of the TV. I’m talking about more thoughtful forms of relaxation. Things like meditation, massage, brief naps, sunny walks, playtime, yoga, journaling, reading inspirational materials and listening to relaxing music. These are all great options.

It used to be that stress was short and brief. Our paleolithic ancestors would get stressed when they saw a sabertooth tiger running towards them. This was the fight or flight mechanism firing up. In today’s world, all of the artificial stressors cause our bodies to be in a constant state of fight or flight. This can lead to all kinds of health problems. At a hormonal level, chronically increased levels of cortisol (stress-hormone) can make it difficult to lose body fat.

Here’s a good article to read on the damage increased stress hormone can cause and some steps to correct the issue 

And finally…

Exercise

You need to move more. Plenty has been said about how sitting is making us fat and killing us. We all know there are major health benefits to regular exercise. The question is always, “what is the best way to exercise while following the paleo diet?”

The most common form of exercise in paleo circles is CrossFit. I’m not suggesting you do CrossFit. I don’t. There are just a lot of CrossFit people that embrace the paleo diet. I like to focus on exercise for maintaining health, function and aesthetics. Maybe you can relate. I want the most bang for my buck when it comes to exercise.

There are three things I do religiously for exercise.
1. I lift weights on average 4 times a week focusing on compound exercises in moderate rep ranges. Usually 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per exercise.
2. I walk. Sometimes I’ll do incline walking on a treadmill. Otherwise I walk outside to get the benefit of sunshine and fresh air.
3. Depending on my goals I will do one or two HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions per week. Essentially these are sprint workouts.

I'm not suggesting you do exactly what I do. You can start out with bodyweight exercises such as pushups, air squats, chair dips, wall sits and planks.
However, the health benefits of lifting weights are too good for me to pass up. If you’re ready to try your hand at lifting weights I wrote a popular post on compound exercises and I recently I put together a free mini-course on building your own customized resistance training program. Check it out.

If losing weight is your goal, you should master what you do in the kitchen before worrying too much about putting the perfect exercise program together. The truth is that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. I was in this camp for a long time. I was working out, lifting weights, doing cardio but I was eating a horrible diet. The result was I got fatter and sicker. Once I got control of my diet the fat came off and my health problems went away. I didn’t make any significant changes to my workouts. I still workout in much the same way I did all those years ago. The difference maker was the foods I eat and my lifestyle habits.

Calories do count but actually counting calories may be unnecessary.

Despite what some people write on their popular blog posts, calories do count. I know. It’s tough. I’ll give you a second to take that in.
Ok… are you ready to move forward? Great. Let’s continue.

The law of thermodynamics is something you have to embrace. Energy you consume in the form of calories is used as fuel in the body due to this law. And it is a law. There is no way around it. You can still overeat on paleo foods. It is more difficult to overeat paleo foods because by nature they are more satiating. But it is still possible. If you eat 5,000 calories of chicken you still ate 5,000 calories. There is no way around it. Your body will still store excess energy as body fat.

Check out these two excellent resources about energy balance and monitoring calories from the crew at Precision Nutrition. If you want to read even further research on why calories do matter then check out this article from EvidenceMag.com.

With the understanding that calories matter it's important that you don't think you have to count every calorie you eat. I like to throw around the idea of a "hierarchy of fat loss." You first need to get your food choices right, fix your hormones, go from being a sugar burner to a fat burner and then, and only then, do you get to a point where you need to worry about cutting calories.

Hierarchy of Fat Loss

​1. Make better food choices by eating a paleo style diet, reducing sugar intake and eliminating processed foods from your diet.

2. Get more sleep and better quality sleep. Reduce stress as much as possible. Sleep will help.

3. Exercise efficiently. Do some form of resistance training three times a week and do steady state cardio like walking for at least 30 minutes every day.

4. If you still need to lose weight after mastering the first three steps then you can cut 250-400 calories per day from your diet.

I talk more in-depth about the "Hierarchy of Fat Loss" in our Getting Started with the Paleo Diet course on Udemy.

Embrace Learning and Self Testing

I’ve mentioned N=1 and the “I Test” throughout this guide to the paleo diet for beginners. It’s essential to your success and health that you figure out what works for you.

We are all the same to a certain degree. The fundamentals will work for you just like they will for me. I’m human and you’re human. With nutrition, the devil is in the details. You might have certain foods sensitivities that I don’t have. Your metabolism and how quickly you burn the calories you consume is probably different from mine.

The point is to master the fundamentals but embrace the differences. Test out all of these suggestions for yourself. Why should anyone care that you eat full-fat yogurt when you look and feel great? All that matters is that you care.

Nobody is going to care more about your personal health and well being than you. [Tweet This]

Testing is all about personal responsibility. You are responsible for you. Educate yourself, test things out and make changes that are appropriate for you. I want you to live an awesome life. The way to do that is to start taking action. Even if you aren’t perfect at first.

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