Hello! I am so happy you have come across my blog! This means you are looking into Paleo or Paleo Zone nutrition and that excites me. When I started paleo zoning the results were absolutely amazing!
I leaned out, my body has regulated itself, my performance output increased, I felt healthier and look younger , my mind is clearer and after years of improper sleep I finally started sleeping through the night! The benefits from eating Paleo Zone just goes on. I know you will have similar results if you make the commitment to clean eating.
I have written this blog with the hope of providing you some guidance, support and helpful tips to ensure your success with the Paleo Zone.
Going Paleo Zone can be daunting for those who are new to the concept so I have put together an easy step by step guide to help you get started. Welcome to Paleo Zone for Dummies!
First I would like to give you a brief explanation of what Paleo Zone is.
What is the Paleo Diet?
Eating a Paleo Diet means you eat food that would’ve been available to you had you existed during the paleolithic era that started about 2.5 millions years ago. It is also referred to as the Paleolithic Diet, Caveman Diet or Hunter Gatherer diet. The idea is that your genes and physiology evolved through the process of natural selection and are most adapted to be nourished with the food in your natural environment. Or in much simpler terms; Eat what a caveman would’ve eaten. This would’ve included the whole spectrum of animal food; beef, fish, shellfish, poultry, pork, lamb, bison, …you get the idea, this also included their fat and organs! (Yes, I know this probably seems gross but remember you’re a caveman/woman damnit!) You would have also eaten eggs and seasonal vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries that were edible in their raw form. The idea is to replicate this way nourishing our bodies to the best of our ability in a modern world, which can be very tricky depending on your geographical location. Just remember to eat like this:
To give you a better visual here are 2 Paleo Food Pyramids:
This Paleo Pyramid is a very good representation of how I eat. I know there is a bit of controversy when it comes to diary and the paleo diet. In thestrict Paleo sense, dairy of any form was not consumed in the paleolithic era, other than human milk in infancy of course. It just wasn’t very practical to milk wild game. However just because something isn’t paleo doesn’t make it bad, and because something IS Paleo doesn’t mean it is healthy. You must pay very close attention to your body and how it reacts to different foods. If you are considering keeping dairy in your meal plans I STRONGLY suggest you do the research of the benefits of non pasteurized/non homogenized diary vs pasteurized/homogenized dairy. If you do chose to keep dairy in your diet I recommend to ONLY consume raw, free range, full fat and grass fed dairy , HERE is a link to help you find raw milk & dairy in your area .
What’s Right For You?
As you can see there are variations of the Paleo Pyramid. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer here. Not everyone’s bodies will have the same reactions to this diet. Listen and pay attention to YOUR body and how it reacts with different foods and you will know what food combinations work best for you. No one knows your body better than you do.
It is up to you as an individual to choose if Paleo is right for you and how to implement the diet into your life
What is Zone Diet?
Zone eating is creating a balance of Macronutrients or what you commonly hear them referred to as:
Protein (lean, natural meats are preferred)
Fat (one of the most important macronutrients!)
Carbohydrate (mostly low glycemic-load fruits and vegetables)
Balancing the ratios of these 3 components in your diet is called a Zone diet or Getting in the Zone. This is simply eating all of your foods in proportions that balance the body’s hormonal response to food.
Hormonal balance affects all important components of your wellness: body composition, energy utilization, blood chemistry, and much more. Food is just like a drug. Confused? But just think about it for a second… Ok your second is up! Ingesting drugs causes physiological changes in your body. Ingesting food has the same effect. It can bring about positive or negative changes in your body. Would you take 17 Tylenol capsules for a headache? Hell NO! Would you consume expired, low-quality medicine? Of course not. Then why would you expect different results when you feed your body more food than it requires and comprise your diet with low-quality processed garbage that has no nutritional value? Ok I think you get the point – lecture is over 🙂
Congratulations! This is your first step to getting into the Zone : CLICK HERE this link takes you to a Zone calculator that calculates how many meals/snacks you are allotted per day & how many blocks per meal/snack you should have based on 3 factors:
1. Body weight
2. Body fat percentage
3. Weekly activity levels
You will get a Personal Daily Zone Prescription, I will explain my Zone Prescription with you as an example so it is easier to understand:
A nifty spreadsheet tool that allows you to calculate your Zone serving sizes!! It does the math for you! WHEW!! Aren’t you relieved!? I certainly was!
It looks like this:
Let’s recap shall we:
If you scroll back up to my Personal Daily Zone Prescription, you will remember I am allotted 3 Blocks for breakfast, so I enter “3” where it ask for the number of blocks
If I want eggs for breakfast, 1 egg = 1 Protein Block
I’m allotted 3 Protein blocks for Breakfast so I will eat 3 eggs
Now for Fats, I love avocado! 1 tbsp of avocado = 1 Fat Block
I’m allotted 3 Fat block for Breakfast so I will eat 3 tbsp of avocado
Carbohydrates, let’s have some Cherries. 7 Cherries = 1 Carbohydrate Block
I’m allotted 3 carbohydrate blocks for Breakfast, I can eat 21 Cherries.
Now if you reference my Personal Daily Zone Prescription you will see that I am allotted 1 block snacks, now I go back to the Zone Block Calculator spreadsheet and enter “1” and all the measurements change for 1 block servings. Now I will choose 1 Protein block, 1 fat block and 1 carbohydrate block.
So whatever your block allowance you just plug that number in and all of the measurements will change accordingly!
I suggest that you download the The Food Zone Calculator, It is a great food reference guide & if you’re really smart & you have one of those super smart-smartphones you’ll download it on to that wonderfully evolved electronic device so that you always have it! I personally have it on my phone & a printed copy I keep in my car, in case my phone dies, My “in the car copy” I printed with 1 Block calculated so if ( I will give you more food reference guides later in the blog)
When I first started Zoning I panicked that I would be hungry and that the food allowance wasn’t enough. I held out on meals when I was hungry to avoid eating up all meal and going to bed on an empty stomach…DO NOT DO THIS!! Just eat and make sure you get all of your blocks in and do not exceed your block allowance. It may take a few days for your body to adjust, but I promise, it will adjust and become very easy.
Opps! I almost forgot, Tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet!
The Block Calc The Welcome tab will give you a run down of how the spreadsheet works in it’s entirety.
All of the other tabs are block calculators for the different food categories.
The Block Guides Tab is more of a breakdown of macronutrients. Unless you are seasoned with Paleo Zone and understand “Macros” this really will not be relevant to you. Again I will do a follow up blog on Micronutrients for those interested
Starting to Catch on? Great! Now lets mix things up a bit! You might’ve noticed you are required to eat carbohydrates and ALOT of them especially the green leafy carbs in order to meet your block requirements. If you haven’t gotten this far yet just take a look below:
12 spears of asparagus, 2.25 cups of cabbage and 7.5 cups of alfalfa sprouts!!! Each of those is 1 carbohydrate block! I like to mix them up myself. Instead of 12 spears of asparagus or 2 cups of raw broccoli for a 1 block snack (because my snacks are 1 block) I will divide them in 1/2 and have 6 asparagus spears and 1 cup of raw broccoli or especially like to have vegetables and some fruit for a good carbohydrate mix.
Another good mix for variety, nuts and seeds! For example: Lets say I am having a 3 block meal, I know I am allotted 3 blocks of Protein,3 blocks of fats and 3 blocks of Carbohydrates. I will enter “1” into the Zone Block Calculator and pick 3 different 1 block servings out of the fat category and mix them up. For us visual learners ….
ALWAYS, always Always!!!! Eat out of each category when you eat a meal or a snack. DO NOT hoard or save up your favorite category to eat all at once. For instance, I happen to have a sugar monster that lives inside of me and if that nasty little monster had its way I would use up over half my carbohydrate allotments in one sitting munching up fruit!!
This completely defeats the point of Zone eating. It is pertinent that you follow your Personal Prescription in order to get the awesome results you have heard about. It is all about balancing your macro-nutrients, which I will explain in detail in another blog post.
NOW, on the to the fun part of this: EATING!
Paleo Foods & List
Paleo diet consists of foods that could’ve been hunted, fished and gathered. This includes seafood (caught in the “wild” not farmed) and lean cuts of meat, free of food additives and preferably from grass-fed/free range animals; they typically contain higher levels of omega-3 fats compared to grain-produced domestic meats. Let’s not forget eggs, nuts, seeds and berries that could’ve been gathered!
Here is a detailed list of Paleo Preferred Foods:
Beef, Flank steak, Top sirloin steak, Hamburger, London broil, Chuck steak, Veal, Pork, Pork loin, Pork chops, Rabbit, Goat, Lamb.
Alligator, Bear, Bison (buffalo), Caribou, Elk, Emu, Goose, Kangaroo, Muscovy duck, New Zealand cervena deer, Ostrich, Pheasant, Quail, Rattlesnake, Reindeer, Squab, Turtle, Venison, Wild boar, Wild turkey.
Beef, lamb, pork and chicken livers, Beef, pork and lamb tongues, Beef, lamb and pork marrow, Beef, lamb and pork “sweetbreads”
Chicken breast, Turkey breast, Game Hen breasts.
Chicken, Duck, Goose.
Bass, Bluefish, Cod, Drum, Eel, Flatfish, Grouper, Haddock, Halibut, Herring, Mackerel, Monkfish, Mullet, Northern pike, Orange roughy, Perch, Red snapper, Rockfish, Salmon, Scrod, Shark, Striped bass, Sunfish, Tilapia, Trout, Tuna, Turbot, Walleye, Any other commercially available fish.
Abalone, Clams, Crab, Crayfish, Lobster, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops, Shrimp.
This a link to the American Grassfed Association list of approved meat producers. AGA defines grassfed products from ruminants, including cattle, bison, goats and sheep, as those food products from animals that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and fresh grass or grass-type hay from their birth.
Another great site for grass-fed food & facts is Eat Wild. This link will take you to state-by-state Directory of farms that provide beef, dairy, fruits and veggies.
Now on to Carbohydrates
Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet greens, Beets, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Cucumber, Dandelion, Eggplant, Endive, Green onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Onions, Parsley, Parsnip, Peppers (all kinds), Pumpkin, Purslane, Radish, Rutabaga, Seaweed, Spinach, Squash (all kinds), Swiss chard, Tomatillos, Tomato ( a fruit that thinks it is a vegetable), Turnip greens, Turnips, Watercress.
Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Carambola, Cassava melon, Cherimoya, Cherries, Cranberries, Figs, Gooseberries, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew melon, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Lychee, Mango, Nectarine, Orange, Papaya, Passion fruit, Peaches, Pears, Persimmon, Pineapple, Plums, Pomegranate, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Star fruit, Strawberries, Tangerine, Watermelon and most all other fruits.
Now my Favourite:
Nuts & Seeds:
Almonds, Brazil nuts, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts (filberts), Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Pine nuts, Pistachios (unsalted), Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts.
*No peanuts; they are a legume/ No cashews; Cashews are in the same family as poison ivy and poison sumac. Like the others in this family, the cashew plant contains powerful but natural chemical irritants, so handling and eating raw cashews will cause the familiar itchy skin reaction. They must be baked or roasted to be eaten. Paleo rule of thumb: it is can’t be eaten in it’s natural/raw state: YOU DON’T eat it!
Olive, avocado, walnut, flax seed, coconut.
Helpful Tip for Success!
I had a difficult time remembering what meals I had during the day so I created the food block check list below for myself and found it works very well for tracking meals. I draw it by hand daily and am planning to laminate it and use dry erase markers to conserve paper. I check off the the blocks as I eat to ensure I am getting them all in. The reason I break the meals down by block rather than category is for when I split the blocks. It makes it easier to keep track of what I have eaten.
I know this all seems like a lot, I promise you it gets easier. For the first week or so you will be walking around with that list in your hand constantly, you will feel lost in the supermarket and the days you package your food will seem like forever! Do not be discouraged by this! It is just the beginning! You will find your groove and you will LOVE IT!
A Paleo to Faileo Timeline