The first instalment of this three part series by guest expert Nell Stephenson, introduced the concept of Paleo and how to tailor its principles to an individual.
In this article we presented Nell with a challenging case study, asking her to explore the practical applications of Paleo and its adaptability. Over to you Nell…
After a client completes the food log analysis, the next step is for me to review the challenges each client has and help them in setting up goals that are reasonable and measurable. Also factored in are current fitness regime, sleep habits, stress levels and any supplements or prescriptions they may be taking.
A common theme amongst my clients is an interest in adapting a Paleo diet, the one similarity between everyone is that there is an implementation period to be expected. Some opt to transition gradually, while others prefer a complete overhaul in one shot. I present the latter during the time in which we work together, in order to allow for more support and success for each client.
Following the analysis, the client might continue with monthly custom Paleo nutritional counseling, or an hourly consult on a regular basis to provide accountability.
Boost Energy, Mental Focus, Stamina, Flexibility.
Hurdles: Vegetarian but will eat fish in small portions.
Fitness Regime: Crossfit, Plyometrics, Sprints, Endurance Cardio.
Supplements: Whey, MCT, Glutathione.
8am Crossfit/Body Weight Circuit
9am Coffee with MCT/Butter
1pm Cardio (Alt. Sprints/Endurance Sessions)
3pm Salad, Macadamias, Salmon, Coffee, Slippery Elm Porridge
6pm Same Salad with Pumpkin, Parsnip or Sweet Potato
8pm Grass-fed Whey and Flax Shake
Fasted training is recommended for everyone; allows the body to become more efficient at being a fat burning machine (using fat as a substrate) which is useful for becoming more lean, steadier energy levels throughout the day and a decreased chance of making poor food choices later in the day as a result of blood sugar crashes, spikes and insulin surges. No food until 3pm is an extremely long period of time to go without eating. Since the client did not indicate that they’re trying to fast intermittently, I’d want to know if this was intentional or simply a result of forgetting to eat or not preparing adequately.
Coffee with MCT oil is a non-issue, but grass fed butter is not Paleo. 3pm caffeine is however likely to interfere with proper sleep.
The lack of protein throughout the day, as well as lack of fat is concerning. Maintaining the macro nutrient ratio of a ‘True Paleo’ regime is far more important than number of calories, and despite the fact that the client hasn’t eaten anything obviously unhealthy, it’s still too high in carbohydrate. Not eating chicken and meat doesn’t necessarily need to be a problem, although it is certainly less than ideal to omit them. However, eating a diet too low in protein is undesirable as it will not provide sufficient amino acids to allow the body to rebuild and repair. Far too little protein, and far too little leafy green vegetables—these should be present at every meal!
The client knows the importance of eating protein as evidenced by the inclusion of whey, however whey powder is far less desirable than actual protein for several reasons: Dairy is not Paleo. It’s one of the most acidic foods we can consume, creating a situation where the body must extract Calcium from the bones in order to buffer the pH back to alkalinity, leading to a compromised skeleton over time, then osteopenia and osteoporosis (Learn more from Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD in chapter 4 of his latest book, The Paleo Answer). Dairy contains a protein, casein, which is cross-reactive with gluten. In other words, one might omit gluten and still experience similar negative side effects from consuming casein. Dairy is linked to increased rates of diabetes, acne, bloating and sinus issues, amongst other undesirable and uncomfortable conditions.
Favourable to see the addition of a little bit of salmon to provide some fresh protein as well as a rich source of Omega 3s to balance out the Omega 6s in the seeds and nuts. Sweet Potato in the salads may be a bit too starchy given the lack of veggies, protein and the physical activity being on the more moderate side as compared to that of an endurance-training plan. Collectively, these will contribute to a feeling of decreased mental focus. By adding protein and good fat, the client is far more likely to experienced increased mental focus, due to a steady balanced energy flow resulting from real fresh food and the lack of sugar spikes, insulin surges and subsequent crashes.
As the client is not local, we are unable to meet for logistical reasons in terms of the fitness component and address any concerns. As such, client would be referred to local physio for analysis.
* Better balance of Paleo Macro nutrient ratio.
* Increased meal frequency.
* Possible post workout meal with starchier carbohydrate (endurance specific).
* Significantly more vegetables-varied, seasonal, local, colorful.
* More fish (varied, seasonal), hopefully including a segue to other protein sources.
To be continued next month, when I’ll discuss a final review of the client’s experience, achievements, and changes to mind, body and spirit.