Have you tried every diet you can get your hands on but failed epically? So depressing, right? Don’t worry, though. You are not alone. In fact, you share such sentiment with at least a million people all over the world. This is because not all diet plans work for everyone. There are those that might work instantly for some people. But oftentimes, they don’t. This is not because these nutritional plans are not what they claim to be.
- 1 Why Do Diet Plans Don’t Work for Everyone?
- 1.1 Diets offer no sustainable change
- 1.2 Diets actually slow down the weight loss process
- 1.3 Diets are no fun
- 1.4 What Is the Paleo Diet?
- 1.5 What to Keep in Mind When Following the Paleo Diet?
- 1.6 Best Paleo Diet Recipes
- 1.7 Tomato Basil Frittata
- 1.8 Gluten-Free Blueberry and Coconut Scones
- 1.9 Paleo Pumpkin Granola
- 1.10 Paleo Chinese Chicken Salad
- 1.11 Balsamic Roast Beef Recipe
- 1.12 Ginger Cod with Zucchini Ribbon Salad
- 1.13 Mango Avocado Spiced Chicken Salad
- 1.14 Herbed Calamari Salad
- 1.15 Paleo Mini Meatloaves
Why Do Diet Plans Don’t Work for Everyone?
Since the late 1950s, there has been a sleuth of dietary plans that have been used by millions of people. In fact, this industry has amassed an estimated 33 billion dollars in profit over the years. However, health experts say that more than 90% of dieters gain back the weight after just a year. Yes, that’s right. You are probably shaking your head in disbelief or nodding frantically because you have exerted all efforts to follow every step of every diet plan you’ve come across.
It is indeed so frustrating to have tried every kind of nutritional therapy, from DASH and MIND to TLC and Flexitarian, and still not achieve the body and weight you have been dreaming of. Now, the big question that’s probably on every dieter’s mind would be: why are these weight-loss programs not giving us the result that have been promised to us?
Experts and studies reveal three reasons most diets don’t work for everyone.
Diets offer no sustainable change
Have you ever come across a nutritional program that guaranteed long-term changes? Most of the plans in the market nowadays don’t create sustainable changes. A lot of these diets make us change our eating habits for two weeks to a month or two. They tell us what to eat and what not eat. Although it is important to be mindful of what we ingest, it does not necessarily follow that changing the types of food we take would create lasting results. Why? This is because they do not get to the root of the problem, which includes our beliefs, behaviors and eating patterns, which most of us have been accustomed to for so long.
Diets actually slow down the weight loss process
You might think that this notion is wrong. But, sadly, it’s all true. While you are working your hardest to shed the extra weight by eating what diet plans tell you to eat, your body is working against you. This is because our system treats dieting as a stressor or something that threatens our very survival. Because of this, our bodies produce more stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which slows down our bodies’ ability to burn calories. This means that dieting actually impedes your bodies’ weight loss efforts, which is answers the question why these regimens don’t actually work.
Diets are no fun
Whether you admit it or not, eating less or choosing to only eat certain kinds of foods is no fun at all. In other words, there’s an element of deprivation whenever you are in a diet program. In fact, every nutritional program requires you to have willpower to stick to their rules. All of which are boring and frustratingly restrictive. This is why you experience stress within your body because there is a state of tension whenever you are around food. This results in a rise in stress hormones, diminishing your body’s natural capability to burn calories. To put it bluntly, dieting makes you create conditions that are actually making it extremely difficult for you to lose weight.
Now, you might be thinking that you are doomed, since every diet advertised on TV or magazines are deemed to make you fail in your weight loss goals. Believe it or not, there is still hope. Thankfully, there is a diet program called Paleo, which experts claim to be the safest, healthiest and most effective method to shed off those hard-to-lose pounds for good.
What Is the Paleo Diet?
Paleo or Paleolithic Diet is also referred to as the Caveman Diet or Stone-Age Diet. This might sound barbaric and primitive, especially if this is the first time you’ve heard about it. This dietary regimen is coined as such because it is based mainly on foods believed to be consumed by humans during the Paleolithic Era. In short, the theory behind this nutritional therapy is to eat like a caveman to shed those extra pounds. This means that you’ll only eat anything that you can hunt or find in your garden or farmer’s market – fish, meat, vegetables, fruits and seeds. In other words, this weight-loss plan is basically high in protein and fiber, which can help you become slimmer without keeping track of calories. So, say good-bye to counting calories and boring foods.
According to Loren Cordain, PhD, author and advocate of nutrition and exercise physiology who popularized the Paleo movement, eating like our prehistoric ancestors is key to becoming leaner, healthier and less likely to contract some of the deadliest diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular ailments and diabetes, among others.
What to Keep in Mind When Following the Paleo Diet?
- You are not required to exercise. But Cordain strongly suggests that it helps to work out or engage in physical activities to ensure improvement of overall health.
- You will be required to cut down on salt or sodium intake. So, you will need to check sodium content on food labels every time you plan your meals.
- You will eat like the Paleolithic people, which means:
- 55% of your daily caloric intake should be from lean meat and seafood, evenly divided
- 15% of daily caloric intake from vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts
- Your diet will need to be low in carbohydrates, moderate in animal protein and high in fat. This includes animal organs (heart, liver, kidney, etc.), pork, poultry, red meat and eggs. It is recommended to cook meals with stocks and broths.
- You are advised to opt for meat from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals. Alternatively, you can go for lean meat.
- You should only consume low to moderate amounts of nuts and fruits. It is also important to only eat fruits that are high in antioxidants and low in sugar, like berries. Nuts that are low in omega-6, low in polyunsaturated fat but high in omega-3 are also recommended. But if you are trying to lose weight, it’s best to do away with fruits and nuts altogether, especially if you have a digestive problem or autoimmune disease.
- You should eat generous amounts of vegetables, both fresh and frozen. You can either cook, eat them raw or serve with fat. Yams, sweet potatoes and other starchy vegetables are also allowed as they are excellent sources of non-toxic carbohydrates.
- You are recommended to eat large amounts of saturated fats from butter, clarified butter and coconut oil. Duck fat or lard and beef or lamb tallow can be consumed but only if they are from healthy sources. You can also use macadamia, olive or avocado oil, which are good fats, but only in salads or used to drizzle over food.
- You should take away all legumes and cereal grains, including wheat, barley oats, corn, rye, soy, peanuts, pinto beans, black eyed peas and brown rice. Additionally, you should do away with hydrogenated and partly hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils, such as corn oil, sunflower oil, margarine, soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil and peanut oil.
- You are to avoid foods or drinks with sugar, such as soft drinks, juices and all packaged sweets. So, if you’re shopping for groceries, don’t go to the aisles where the sweet treats are displayed.
- You need to eliminate dairy products from your diet. But butter and heavy cream are okay. But if you can’t live without dairy, use raw, full-fat or fermented or cultured dairy instead.
You might be wondering how eating all these foods would make you leaner and healthier. Well, lean meat, vegetables and nuts and seeds are extremely nutritious and filling that one meal could keep you full for several hours, unlike fatty or carbo-loaded food that can make you feel hungry angry after just an hour or two. This also means that it would be impossible for you to overeat. Aside from that, several studies of the Paleo Diet found that because this dietary regimen makes you fuller easily and controls your blood sugar levels, you’ll be able to lose weight easily.
Best Paleo Diet Recipes
To help you get started, here are some of the best Paleo Diet recipes you can find.
Tomato Basil Frittata
5 bacon slices cut into small chunks
10 large eggs
4 oz. baby spinach
1 large red onion thinly sliced
3 tsp. wholegrain mustard
2 small ripe tomatoes thinly sliced
1 tbsp. Paleo cooking fat or clarified butter
Few fresh basil leaves for garnishing
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a bowl, whisk eggs and add mustard. Season with salt and pepper.
- Put the clarified butter in an oven-proof skillet and place over medium heat. Cook the bacon and onion for about 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is golden.
- Add the skillet to the bacon and onion. Cook until the leaves wilt.
- Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook until it hardens a little. Then, place the tomatoes on top.
- Check the edges of the frittata if it’s already set and the center is still runny. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the frittata becomes golden (about 30 minutes).
- Serve with basil leaves on top.
Gluten-Free Blueberry and Coconut Scones
6 oz. fresh organic blueberries
1 organic egg
1 ½ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup unrefined sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. coarse sugar to sprinkle over the scones (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Use unbleached parchment paper to line a 9-inch round baking pan.
- In a mixing bowl, add the egg, coconut oil and sugar. Use a hand mixer to combine everything. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, except the blueberries, and mix well. Add the blueberries gently incorporating them into the batter with your hands.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan. If you are coarse sugar, you can sprinkle some over the top.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Then, after letting it cool for 15 minutes, cut the scone into 8 pieces and serve.
Paleo Pumpkin Granola
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup almond meal
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup Medjool date, coarsely chopped
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup coconut flakes, coarsely chopped
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 275 F.
- Line a parchment paper on a baking tray.
- Use a very large bowl. Mix almond flour, cranberries, sliced almonds, pecans, dates, coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds.
- In a separate bowl, mix coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir until everything is thoroughly coated.
- Place the granola mixture on the baking tray. Spread evenly in a thin layer.
- Cook for an hour. Check every 15 minutes. Stir whenever necessary to avoid burning.
Paleo Chinese Chicken Salad
1 rotisserie chicken torn into shreds
2 cups shredded carrots
5 green onions, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 head of large cabbage, chopped very thinly
2 tbsp. white sesame seeds
2 tbsp. black sesame seeds
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
½ cup cashews (optional)
1 tsp. spicy chili oil
3 tbsp. finely minced ginger
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Sriracha (you can add more if you like)
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ cup Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or regular soy sauce
- Put shredded chicken, cilantro, chopped cabbage, shredded carrots, sesame seeds and cashews in a large plastic bag.
- Seal and shake well until everything is incorporated.
- Add as much dressing as you want.
- Pour into plates or bowls.
For the dressing:
- Take a small mason jar with lid.
- Add chopped green onions, toasted sesame oil, sriracha, sea salt, tamari, minced ginger, olive oil, hoisin sauce, vinegar and chili oil.
- Secure the lid and shake well.
Balsamic Roast Beef Recipe
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast
4 carrots, cut into chunks
2-3 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 ½ cup beef stock
1 cup red wine (optional)
2 tbsp. cooking fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Season the boneless beef chuck roast with sea salt and black pepper.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour cooking fat and sear roast for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- In a slow cooker, cook the meat and top with onion, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, beef stock, rosemary sprigs, red wine and bay leaves.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low.
- After adding the sweet potatoes and carrots, set the slow cooker to high. Cook for another 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are soft.
- Remove the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves.
- Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a saucepan. Let it boil over medium heat until you achieve the desired consistency for the sauce.
- Place the roast on a plate or bowl with the vegetables and pour the sauce over it.
Ginger Cod with Zucchini Ribbon Salad
1 cod, filleted and cut into serving portions
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
¼ yellow and orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 zucchinis, cut into ribbons
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
Juice of ½ lemon
- Season the pieces of cod with salt, pepper and ginger power. Set aside.
- Steam zucchinis and peppers for 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain and pat dry.
- Place the vegetables in a mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, place vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, honey, fresh ginger and soy sauce.
- Add the marinade with the zucchinis and peppers. Blend well.
- Fry the seasoned cod in olive oil. Cook and serve with the zucchini salad.
Mango Avocado Spiced Chicken Salad
1-2 cups shredded chicken
1 avocado, diced
1 small head of lettuce, chopped
1 mango, peeled and diced
½ tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper
- In a large bowl, place chopped lettuce.
- Using a small bowl, place the shredded chicken with a bit of water. Pop the bowl in the microwave oven for 12-15 seconds.
- Mix in cumin and chili powder with the shredded chicken.
- Add the chicken to the lettuce.
- Top with avocado and mango.
- Add a light dressing of your choice.
Herbed Calamari Salad
2 ½ pounds uncooked calamari rings and tentacles, cleaned and trimmed
2-3 medium cloves garlic, minced
¾ tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 large lemon
Peel of 1 preserved lemon, thinly sliced
- Defrost the calamari (if frozen). Put in a strainer and run under cold water for 15-20 minutes, tossing a couple of times. Drain and pat dry with paper towel.
- Place a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil. Once hot, add garlic.
- Sautee for 20-30 seconds until you can smell the garlic. Add the calamari and cook. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 2-4 minutes more, or until the calamari is opaque and firm. Avoid overcooking.
- Drain any liquid. Place calamari in a mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt and pepper, preserved lemon rind and herbs. Toss well.
- Add more seasoning if necessary. Chill.
- Serve over some spring greens or lettuce with some grape tomatoes and cucumbers.
Paleo Mini Meatloaves
2 lbs. ground meat (opt for a mixture of grass-fed beef and/or veal and/or pork)
2 carrots, finely diced or grated
1 medium onion, finely diced
10 oz. frozen spinach, chopped
6 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1-2 tsp. oil
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Thaw spinach leaves. Squeeze out the excess water.
- Place a pan over medium heat. Add oil and sauteed onions and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent and liquid comes out from the mushrooms. Let it cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, beaten eggs, spices, mushroom and onion mixture, carrots and coconut flour. Combine well using your hands.
- Use 18 regular size muffin tins to cook the meatloaves. Grease the tins first.
- Cook for 20 minutes or until the temperature of the meatloaves is 160 degrees.
- Let the meatloaves cool. Use a knife to loosen them.
- Serve with marinara sauce.
If you are convinced that this is the diet plan for you, you must be prepared to dedicate your time and money to buying the right foods and preparing your meals.