how to adopt the ancestral diet in practice

Le régime paléo en pratique

Do you want to enjoy the benefits of ancestral food? Most people feel them after just a few days: more energy and less energy, better transit and less bloating, improved sleep, mood, etc. Here is the user manual.

Have you been convinced by our article on the benefits of the paleo diet and are you ready to take action? But how and what to eat? here is the modus operandi and menu proposals for a week.

Evaluate the impact of the paleo diet on your well-being

In order to quantify your progress and the possible effects of a paleo diet on your quality of life, I suggest that you self-assess before and after this week of changing your diet.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no symptoms and 10 being severe symptoms, how would you rate your:

– your energy level;

– your transit (1 here corresponds to a minimum of one bowel movement per day and the absence of diarrhea or constipation);

– your digestive health (bloating, reflux, flatulence, cramps);

– your mood;

– your sleep;

– your mental clarity.

Keep your answers aside and redo the same questionnaire at the end of the experiment.

A few tips before you get started

Before getting to the heart of the matter, it is important to clarify a few basics. The paleo diet is necessarily an unprocessed diet. The prerequisite for this week is therefore the pleasure of returning to the stove, knowing that paleo recipes are very raw and easy to make. The goal of this week, let’s remember, is not to count calories, but rather to focus on the quality of your calorie intake, in other words to increase the nutritional density of your daily diet.

What fats?

The fats to favor, which should constitute about 40% of our daily calorie intake, are olive oil, coconut oil, raw butter or ghee, animal fats, such as duck fat or even beef tallow. Other interesting food sources of lipids are fatty fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring), eggs, but also avocados, seeds (sesame, squash, flax, sunflower) and nuts (walnuts, cashew, almonds, hazelnuts).

All low-end, omega-6-rich vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil, peanut oil, and grapeseed oil, should be avoided, including canola oil. The latter, very consumed in Europe in particular for its contribution in omega-3 essential fatty acids, however contains more omega-6. In addition, the plant form of omega-3 present (alpha-linolenic acid) has a low conversion rate that varies greatly depending on the individual.

The intake of omega-6 is more interesting through seeds and raw nuts, in order to avoid any risk of oxidation (rancidity) of these lipids.

Remember that a good ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 is a key factor in the so-called “anti-inflammatory” diet. For more information on these balances as subtle as they are essential to health, we invite you to read the article below on the sources of good fats.

Read also
Where to find the good fat to stay healthy?

Carbohydrates yes, but of good quality

Except for specific pathologies, the carbohydrate intake generally recommended in the healthy population is 40%. As part of the paleo diet, the main providers of these carbohydrates are vegetables and, to a lesser extent, fruits. Regarding vegetables, we will mix two types:

– Vegetables “above” the ground, such as cabbage, leafy vegetables, tomatoes, zucchini, etc., low in starch (therefore in carbohydrates), but rich in fibre.

– Vegetables “below” the ground, such as parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, rich in starch. Tubers and root vegetables are indeed an excellent source of complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic load. They are also high in micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) and fiber.

Fibers are complex carbohydrates that our body cannot break down into simple sugars, which is why they contain so few calories while also having several key benefits, such as improving transit, maintaining a healthy microbiota and increased feelings of satiety. The combination of the two vegetable families provides the ideal mix of soluble and insoluble fibre. Fruits, meanwhile, are limited to two per day because of their high fructose intake, as is honey, which should also be consumed in moderation.

Read also
Fibers to live longer

Proteins mainly of animal origin

Legumes being excluded in the paleo approach because of their excessive intake of phytic acid which can disturb our digestion and reduce the absorption of certain micronutrients (this question is however debated as explained here), the sources of proteins will be mainly animal. Red meat, white meat, poultry, fish, seafood, egg, offal… The more variety you have the better, avoiding of course all processed forms, such as cold cuts and sausages. Where possible, quality should be favored over quantity. Meat from animals raised, fed and slaughtered in the right conditions has a better nutritional profile, a better taste and a lower carbon footprint.

Read also
Update on anti-nutritional factors

How to compose your meals?

With a distribution of intakes around 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 40% lipids, the simplest way to compose your plate is to aim for one-third protein, one-third vegetables called “above”. soil and a third of vegetables “below” the soil, all seasoned with a good fat, quality salt (not refined white salt), fresh or dried herbs and spices. When food is not eaten raw, gentle cooking methods (steam) or, failing that, fast (meat and fish cooked in the oven or pan-fried rather than simmered for a long time) are preferred.

Typical paleo menus for a week

While respecting the distribution above, the possibilities are multiple, here are some examples.

Breakfast (alternate the four options):

  • Slice of smoked salmon, half an avocado, fresh fruit, coffee/tea.
  • Banana pancakes (mix a mashed ripe banana with two eggs and cook in coconut oil, serve with berries), grapefruit, coffee/tea.
  • Walnut and banana porridge (soak almonds, cashews and pecans overnight in lightly salted water, rinse then add coconut milk, banana and cinnamon and strain everything in the blender), a coffee/tea.
  • Two boiled eggs, spinach cooked in ghee, fresh fruit, coffee/tea.

Lunch :

  • Salmon papillote, fennel and orange salad, mashed sweet potato.
  • Marinated pork chops (marinade made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, thyme and mustard), spinach salad and roasted beets.
  • Thai-style niçoise salad with egg, anchovies, tuna and crispy plantains (instead of potatoes).
  • Salmon quiche without dough (eggs, coconut milk, smoked salmon, onions, carrots baked at 150°C) served with green salad.
  • Lamb skewers and cauliflower tabbouleh.
  • Sea bream ceviche, avocado, mango, shallot and coriander salad with parsnip fries.
  • Salmon patties, coleslaw, carrot and Granny Smith. For the galette, mix two cans of canned salmon, preferably organic, with two eggs, finely chopped fresh onion, a little mustard, rosemary, salt, pepper and a little coconut flour. Form patties and cook in olive oil.

Having dinner

  • Veal cutlet, pan-fried vegetables.

  • Gazpacho, mixed salad, oilseeds.

  • Omelette with mushrooms and fresh herbs, pickled turnips and green salad.

  • Shrimps and homemade pesto (replace the parmesan with walnuts), carrot and zucchini “tagliatelle”.

  • Salad of fresh spinach, nectarine and grilled pine nuts, fish soup with saffron and homemade aioli.

  • Tacos (using salad leaves) made with ground meat and assorted vegetables with guacamole.

  • Cucumber salad, sweet potatoes confit in the oven and grilled trout fillet with mustard (marinate the fish in an airtight container with mustard, salt, olive oil, honey and fresh parsley a few hours before cooking).

As you will have understood, it is not a question of making haute cuisine, but rather of making your life easier by combining quality products and using herbs and spices according to your tastes. By choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables, you will benefit from a better price, a better taste and probably a greater nutritional density.

Without forgetting…

By reducing carbohydrate intake, we tend to lose more water, because our glycogen stores decrease. However, this reserve of glucose stored in our liver and in our muscles retains in the body three to four times its weight in water. It is therefore important, with this low carbohydrate diet, to stay well hydrated. Alcohol is obviously to be avoided during this week, both for its impact on blood sugar and hydration. Finally, to complete and accompany the dietary reform, favor long nights of sleep as well as daily movement.

Under no circumstances is the information and advice offered on the Alternative Santé site likely to replace a consultation or a diagnosis formulated by a doctor or a health professional, who are the only ones able to adequately assess your state of health.


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