Paleo Comfort Food is Awesome

When I started my Fighter’s Diet program, the biggest single influence on its design was Robb Wolf’s book on the Paleo Diet.  Since moving from an Atkins-inspired low-carb diet, to a Paleo-style program I’ve dropped weight and seen improvements in my training.  I’m a big convert.

When I started working Paleo concepts into my diet, it was pretty easy at first.  Eggs and fruit in the morning.  Meat and veggies at night.  Wash, rinse, repeat… However, just working off the basic stand by meals can get boring.  That’s why I’m so glad this book was created!

Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen by Julie Sullivan Mayfield and Charles Mayfield gives an awesome introduction to cooking creative dishes using only “real food.”  They give you great alternatives to things you may be missing like muffins, tortillas, fried chicken and (this one is dangerous) chocolate cake!  All of these things made with ingredients that aren’t full of anti-nutrients.

The book covers all sorts of basics like how to make great salsa, guac and even catsup with all the scary stuff you’ll find in the off-the-shelf products.  It offers ideas for how to bake with wheat flour alternatives like almond flour and coconut flour.  The Morning Glory Muffins are awesome, and totally gluten free.  There is also a huge list of main dishes that you can make for you friends and family where they wouldn’t even know you’re feeding them special food.  I served the Chili recipe for a crowd on New Years Eve and got rave reviews!

All the recipes have clear directions and are generally easy to follow. However, they often call for ingredients that I haven’t been able to round up at my local super market.  Thus, you may need to work on shopping ahead.  I’ve had to order some ingredients (like almond flour) on the internet.  Also, while some of these recipes are easy, many are time consuming.  Expect you’ll be spending more time working on these than the simpler recipes inside Mike Dolce’s book.  But, even if it takes more time, the results are simply amazing!

One of the things I love about this book is that each recipe has an absolutely gorgeous photo with it.  It’s just a really attractive books and even my daughters have enjoyed browsing it and picking recipes.  Here’s a picture of my little kitchen ninjas helping me with prep work.

Good Bye Diet Soda!

As I put together the first version of my Fighter’s Diet, one of the things I looked at was my consumption of diet cola.  I drank a fair bit of it.  It had zero calories, so conventional “calories in – calories out” logic says it shouldn’t hurt.  It has zero  carbs, so Dr. Atkins says it’s OK too.  However, Robb Wolf’s Paleo Diet book and Mike Dolce’s writing both made me take a hard look at some of the really artificial things I was ingesting.

In looking around at the research on diet soda, it’s hard to find a smoking gun.  In some sense, I think the impacts this stuff has on your body is so complex that it’s hard to lock up the total impact in just one study.  However, there appears to be a huge amount of evidence mounting against this stuff.  Here is some of what I found

Weight Gain

Diet soda is associated with weight gain.  There are still questions about the mechanics of this — does it bind to the same receptors as sugar and mess with your blood glucose?  That being said, there is now study after study that shows this.  Here are some examples:

  • A 2005 University of Texas study showed that people drinking two or more diet sodas per day were 57% more likely to be obese
  • A long-term study of diet soda drinkers by the American Diabetes Association showed they 70% greater increase in waist circumference than non-users.  Worse yet, those who drank two or more cans per day had a whopping 500% increase!
  • Another study shows that diet soda drinkers are 34% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome

More Scary Stuff

Set all this stuff aside and then there is the question of how much caffeine do you want to be drinking?  Managing cortisol levels and getting sleep has become an important part of my program.  If I’m drinking a caffeinated beverage with every meal (which I used to do) how is that going to mess with my sleep patterns?

So, that covers a lot of the downside.  So, what’s the good side?  Well, it doesn’t have sugar.  That’s good!  However, there’s another good no sugar option: Water!  It’s cheaper, it’s easily available and its tasty (once you get your taste buds detoxed for a few days).  Contrary to what we see above, water has a pretty darn good reputation in the research! How many useful nutrients are you getting out of your diet soda?  Yeah, zero! That’s how many.  Maybe that’s why Coke calls their new diet flavor Coke Zero!

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