“The paleo diet eliminates foods that put extra work on the digestive system”
Subsistence allowance there are many, hundreds, but not all of them are safe or effective. Others are surrounded by a multitude of myths that arise from their own ignorance of them. In any case, there is a general tendency to eliminate ultra-processed foods from our lives and eat more natural foods, as well as increase our intake of vegetables, all in order to take care of our microbiota.
The paleo diet it goes a little further, eliminating certain foods that make our body work more. This is a way of releasing energy that we can use for other activities such as playing sports or performing better at work. For this reason, dietitian-nutritionist Marc Vergés shares in his new book ‘Paleo diet’ (Amat editorial) the knowledge we need to apply these eating habits to our daily lives and take advantage of their benefits.
What does this diet consist of?
In eliminating foods that are extra work for the digestive system.
What are its benefits?
We must understand that every time we eat we generate a small inflammation. This is improved with the canopy, since the energy that is used to try to recover the consequences of the digestive process is released. Therefore, you will feel more like exercising or you will give up more at work, for example, and intellectually it also has positive consequences.
What foods are left out?
All that are grains, both cereals, seeds, nuts and legumes. They are left out because of their high content of antinutrients, specifically lectin, which is difficult for the body to digest. On the other hand, we also remove dairy products, since they have the problem of the milk protein itself and lactose, which affects many people; It is a complicated food for the digestive system.
And the ultra-processed.
Yes, everything that is made by the food industry and cannot be obtained naturally (from a tree or from the ground).
Alcohol, of course, does not enter either, because it is one of the most harmful habits for our digestive and immune systems, and it costs our liver tremendous energy to eliminate it. And sugar would also be left out. Any added sugar, I don’t care if it’s white, panela or coconut. Here what is allowed is the natural sugar of food, that is, the one that a fruit would have, as would be the case of the date.
And vegetable dairy?
The most interesting would be coconut, but it is difficult to find. The rest would not make sense because they derive from food that we have removed.
What advice would you give to start this diet?
Try it for at least a week. The most difficult and perhaps the most difficult thing is the concept of breakfast, because we are programmed to make them very American, with a lot of cereal. But here it is raised with fruit, eggs and quality protein, such as a good Iberian ham and a good cold turkey. So I would start with that big change. Then, at lunch and dinner it is very simple: salad, some meat, some kind of cooked vegetable and fish.
The most common mistakes
Not understanding that there are different concepts of paleo diet. We know that of the Eskimos, which is to eat only fish, or to eat a lot of vegetables and starches as the Hadzas do. What is the one that I defend? One that is balanced and that nourishes the intestinal microbiota, which is essential for health. This must be made up of a large number of vegetables. So the mistake is in relating it to eating only meat.
Would this diet have to be followed for the rest of my life?
What you prefer. It is a nutritionally dense diet that does not have any problem of nutritional deficit. If you decide to make it forever, your health will thank you. Another option, if you are not able to maintain it, either for social reasons or because you emotionally need to consume some products that are not included, can be done intermittently. It is a way to help balance our health. There are tribes of collectors that currently do it and their results are very good.
How are carbohydrates managed?
This diet helps to reduce them a little, although you do not eliminate them, since you maintain them through fruit, tubers and vegetables. But this is a very noticeable change to improve the level of inflammation.
Is the way food is cooked important?
Yes. We have a habit of overcooking or undercooking the food we eat. Sometimes we can have quality food, but we cook it and spoil it. Cooking too much, speaking of vegetables for example, impoverishes all your wealth and medicine. And cooking proteins too much, speaking of fish and meat, alters their structure and turns them into a protein that is difficult to recognize, even inflammatory for our body.
Should we measure quantities?
No, it is a very intuitive diet. It is true that there are some people who may require more precision due to their circumstances, either because they are professional athletes or because they have a specific pathology, but it is usually done with practical guidelines, with proportions: for each piece of animal protein there must be three of vegetables or salad, at the volume level. In this way, the patient does not have to think, but has in his head a proportionality of what he has to eat.
As a guide in the amount of protein, the piece of fish or meat that is taken must be at least as large as the palm of your hand. With these guidelines it is very difficult to go wrong. It is also a diet that allows you to recover that feeling of satiety.
How can we combine it with exercise?
It’s fantastic for it. You simply have to exercise on an empty stomach or allowing at least three hours to pass since your last meal. From there, if the exercise is very intense and very frequent, you have to incorporate more carbohydrates (from tubers or fruits), but if it is a conventional and moderate practice, simply the constancy of the diet is enough for you to practice consistently. the sport correctly and get a better performance and result.
How many meals are eaten per day on this diet?
We came to our senses and eliminated that anachronistic and inhuman concept of eating five times a day. By having a correct protein content, it gives you enough satiety and energy to last perfectly without having to eat between meals, so eating the main meals two or three times a day is enough.