Five Benefits of Eating Paleo

*I’m on a two-month blogging vacation while I backpack around Southeast Asia. Until I return, I’m posting excerpts from my book, Freedom Twenty-Five: A 21st-Century Man’s Guide To Life. If you like this post, you should buy a copy for yourself and everyone you’ve ever met in your life.*

1) More energy

When I was eating a conventional diet, I hadn’t even noticed how much my energy levels had plummeted. I was dragging my ass through workdays, while drinking gallons of coffee and diet coke. I would get home and have no desire to do anything, even though my job wasn’t particularly taxing. Since eating Paleo, I wake up in the morning full of energy, drink one mug of coffee at my desk (for taste and habit – I no longer “need” it) and I’m usually a raging ball of energy. I’m more focused and less distracted. I feel like a Brawndo commercial.

2) Fat loss

At my chubbiest, I was a soft 235lbs. Not the end of the world for a 6’3 guy with a lot of lean mass, but I was definitely fatter than I wanted to be. After starting Paleo, I lost 10lbs while adding quite a bit of muscle and working out less. More recently, I decided to cut down some lean body mass for speed and injury prevention, so I dropped another 15lbs with only minor hunger cravings.

3) Muscle and strength gain

Eating Paleo has made me more energetic and greatly improved the quality of my workouts. The Paleo diet will increase your free testosterone levels, and cut down on fatty, estrogen-secreting tissue in your body. If you’re trying to gain muscle mass, a Paleo diet will effectively guarantee that your body has the proteins, fats and nutrients it needs to grow, while ensuring you have the energy to lift heavy.

4) Less time spent cooking and eating

I eat 1-2 meals per day, and I’m almost never hungry. The conventional wisdom states that you should eat five meals a day, which is true if you’re eating a typical American diet and need to constantly snack to maintain your blood sugar. On a high-fat Paleo diet, your body gets used to using dietary and stored fats as its primary energy source, meaning you can go long periods without feeling tired, “hangry” (hungry + angry) or like your stomach is eating itself.

I now frequently go 18 hours without a meal, and by the 17th hour, I feel a vague sense of “Oh yeah, food would be nice right now, wouldn’t it?” But I could just as easily work out, play a game of hockey, or take a nap.

I had never realized how much time I had spent on food in undergrad and high school, when I was a moderately serious athlete and following the five balanced meals per day advice. I was constantly cooking and eating. Eating Paleo saves me many hours of my life.

5) Less food-related stress

Calorie-counting? Macro-nutrient proportions? Meal timings? Forget it. I eat whatever I want from a long list of deliciousness, and avoid a few easily-recognizable junk foods. The majority of my meals consist of variations on a small number of simple recipes.

Occasionally I find myself in social situations where non-Paleo food is being served. Often there’s an easy fix, i.e. ripping apart a few sandwiches and making a salad from the innards. Sometimes, I’ll just eat a sandwich, non-Paleo bread and all, and accept that I’m a human being who bleeds and shits and occasionally deviates from a perfect and rigorous diet. Eating Paleo would only be difficult, if you were required to adhere perfectly to it at all times. Fortunately, you’re not.

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