Guy: In all honesty, I don’t prescribe to any diet. There are simply foods I eat and foods I avoid for long lasting health. The Paleo diet or the ‘clean eating’ framework are great starting points but can be easily misinterpreted.
I was inspired to write this post as Stu and I are now running Clean Eating Workshops to end all of the confusion. We receive hundreds of weekly emails based around peoples confusion and frustrations with food which we can now address.
So with that in mind I thought I’d write a list of the 7 biggest mistakes people make when wanting to improve their diet, their health and overall well-being.
1. Not eating enough natural fat
In fact, studies show how fantastic natural fats are for energy, brain health, glowing skin and reducing inflammation to name a few. But with all this information, a lot people still have a fat phobia and skimp on quality fats with each meal. I always ask myself how can I add more quality fats to each meal and drizzle my meals and smoothies with the good stuff. I include coconut oil, avocados, duck fat, butter, cold pressed olive oil etc.
|Tip #1 Don’t be shy with quality fats and have them with every meal.|
2. Eating way too much protein
Cleaning up your diet usually means lowering your carbohydrate consumption (these levels vary from person to person). So what I see time and time again are people going low carb’, who are also not eating enough fat with each meal and overloading on protein.
I can’t tell you how many times I see a salad loaded with chicken and a small drizzle of olive oil. This is a big no no and a classic example of a low carb’ low fat, high protein diet. For best results (especially weight loss or health issues) I’d recommend increasing natural fats, having moderate protein and moderate to low carbohydrate meals (depending on activity levels & goals).
|Tip #2 High protein, low carb’, low fat is not the answer.|
3. Switching to gluten free bread
They’ve decided to ditch the wheat and go gluten free. This a fantastic decision, but I believe eating gluten free bread isn’t the answer as it comes with it’s own set of nasties. Most high street gluten free breads contain vegetable oils (I do my best to avoid these, period) as they cause cause inflammation (think weight gain & health disruption).
Gluten free breads also can dramatically raise blood sugar levels, and if it’s health, great energy and/or weight loss you are after, this is a big no.
|Tip #3 Check all the ingredients for vegetable oils, carbohydrate levels and crazy numbers you don’t recognise. If you are not sure, simply avoid gluten free bread.|
4. Not eating enough food
This is a super common mistake! You’re all inspired to clean up your diet and you’ve cut out the breads, crackers, most grains and junk foods. So now what? Eating like a limp squirrel with a few nuts, lettuce leaf and a chicken breast is not the way forward either.
Vegetables are by far the best slow burning carb’s out there and I fill half my plate with them (yes, most meals). Combine this with a palm size piece of protein and an overgenerous serving of quality fats, you’ve got a great meal.
|Tip #4 Eating less is not the answer, reducing the bad foods that go in your mouth is.|
5. Switching to ‘natural sweeteners’ like agave or honey
You’ve decided to kick the sugar (awesome) and cravings kick in quickly. So you switch to ‘healthy’ sweeteners like agave and honey. Agave is a fructose fix and will be doing you no favours in the long term. Honey has less fructose but should be used sparingly (especially if you are trying to lose weight).
Rice malt syrup is a better alternative, but it still doesn’t give you a license to eat as much as you want. Your best bet is to push through the cravings until they subside. A little natural stevia is a good alternative to help you overcome that sweet fix, but kicking the cravings altogether so you don’t rely on sweeteners is your best bet.
|Tip #5 Agave is a fructose fix, not a healthy sweetener|
6. Overeating ‘paleo treats’
This one is a classic! I’m the first one to say we have some amazing 180 paleo recipes and treats, but that doesn’t give you free rein because it’s now technically ‘paleo’. Common sense here is needed, especially if they have overdone it with the date juice, agave or honey.
A treat is 180 chocolate ball bound together with coconut oil and a rasberry. Not something rolled into the size of a melon with a bucket full of date juice! There is a difference…
|Tip #6 Paleo treats are exactly that… treats (and go easy on the ‘healthy’ sweeteners)|
7. Giving up because of headaches
So you are all pumped and ready to take action. You ditch the sugar, processed carbs, drop the bread and the junk food! The first few days you are empowered, motivated and keep thinking why didn’t you do this sooner… then, boom! A headache from hell kicks in, the nose starts running and you can barely crawl through the day with a constant fixation of chocolate fudge ice-cream running over and over in your head. Bad moods kick in and you tell yourself what a load of crap this paleo diet, clean eating lark is, and you fall like a landslide and go back to old ways.
If only you knew what lay ahead if you had stuck with it a few more days, as your body is simply detoxing. The fog would lift, the energy would dramatically rise and long lasting great health would follow.
|Tip #7 Stick with it! If your diet hasn’t been the best over the years, change doesn’t happen overnight and you will have side effects. But it’s SO worth it long term.|