The primal diet is gaining popularity around the world. It is similar to the paleo diet, as it focuses on consuming natural foods and eating the way our ancestors did. While we encourage focusing on optimal health instead of focusing on dieting to change the way you look, some people still need to lose fat in order to improve their health.
In this blog post, we explore how you can use the primal diet to help you lose fat and improve your health.
Dairy Can Help You Lose Fat on The Primal Diet
If you choose to follow the primal diet and add dairy to your diet, here is a benefit: dairy products like cheese and probiotic-rich yoghurt are high in calcium. Calcium, as a mineral, can help you to maintain your weight a lot easier. Having too little calcium in your body causes the release of parathyroid hormone. This hormone triggers your body to draw calcium from your bones while also increasing fat storage.
You Still Need to Create a Calorie Deficit on a Paleo/Primal Diet for Fat Loss
As calorie restriction can be torture for someone, like me, who prefers large portions, you can extend the time it takes for you to lose fat and only reduce your calories by 250 on your primal/paleo diet plan.
If you are still aiming to reach a 500-calorie deficit a day, which should help you lose around one pound or half a kilo of fat (which consists of around 3500 calories), then you can aim to make up the other 250 calories with exercise.
Focus on Reducing Your Insulin Levels on the Primal/Paleo Diet
Focus on insulin if you want to lose fat. When your insulin levels are high, you cannot lose weight. To reduce insulin levels, you need to reduce your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Add things to your diet that can help your body lower insulin or control blood sugar levels, such as holy basil tea (tulsi tea), apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon. Try to have them around meal times. Also eat a moderately low-carb or low-carb diet. Most of your carbohydrates should come from your vegetables.
Eat a Lot of Vegetables to Lose Fat
You already know that if you want to lose fat, it is a good idea to eat a lot of vegetables. Did you know that you can stretch your meals with vegetables? In order to still be able to eat higher volumes of food, without eating too many calories on the primal diet, increase your vegetable intake. The fibre also fills you up, so you do not feel as hungry.
Eating a lot of vegetables also ensures that you consume enough potassium, which helps prevent insulin from increasing too much.
Eat Enough Healthy Fat if You Want to Burn Fat
Aim to get at least 60% of your calories from fat. It fills you up, and helps you lose weight by training your body to become fat adapted and burn fat for energy. Great sources of fat include avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and fatty cuts of meat.
Improve Your Gut Health for Fat Loss
Having a healthy microbiome can help you greatly with losing fat. Obtaining this is a lot easier on paleo/primal diet, as you are cutting out foods that feed bad bacteria and disrupt gut health like processed food and sugars. To improve your gut health:
Supplement with a probiotic or include yogurt (just make sure that it contains live cultures) or other fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut into your diet.
Make sure that you eat enough fibre-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Healthy bacteria eat fibre in order to grow and multiply.
Include enzyme-rich foods like fermented fruits and vegetables, raw dairy products, coconut, flaxseeds and sprouted legumes, as they help with the breakdown of food. Pineapple and papaya both contain a special enzyme, which is incredibly beneficial for digestion. Pineapple contains bromelain, while papaya’s special enzyme is known as papain. You can also take digestive enzymes before meals to improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
Reduce stress, as it can negatively affect your stomach lining, trigger the breakdown of collagen, and contribute to ulcers and IBS symptoms.
Reduce inflammatory foods, such as sugar and processed foods, and try to identify possible food sensitivities. As previously stated, many people struggle to digest foods like dairy or gluten, which can be a trigger for inflammation.
Consider collagen supplements, or include gelatin into your diet, as it helps repair stomach lining. Gelatin is basically collagen extracted from bones and tendons by cooking them. You can make your own jelly by mixing fresh juice, diluted with an herbal tea, and gelatin, or you can make your own jelly sweets by decreasing the amount of fluid used in comparison to gelatin.
Pair HITT Training with Your Primal/Paleo Diet
High Intensity Interval Training, along with weight lifting, is one of the best kinds of workouts for losing weight, as it increases fat burning for hours after the workout was completed. You only have to do it two or three times a week to see benefits.
If you really want to feel more primal, do workouts that mimic natural movements. Functional fitness and things like wall climbing, obstacle courses, running, martial arts, dancing, lifting and carrying heavy things, etc. are great options.
Meditate and Find Other Ways to Reduce Stress
If cortisol levels are high, most people will not lose weight. So, relaxing has to become a priority. Breathing exercises, yoga, walking, meditation, warm baths, sex, and reading all work wonderfully, and exercise can provide some well-needed tension release. Shopping works too, but can lead you to excess financial weight as well.
Make a list of things that help you to relax and do them often.
What I like about the idea of going primal is that it feels natural. Maybe becoming more aware of how our bodies have evolved, how our ancestors ate, our natural circadian rhythms, and our biological needs, and then eating accordingly is the answer. We have only been farming grains for around 10 000 years, and we have only been eating so much sugar and processed food for less than 100 years.
Whether you would like to try this way of eating 100% or 80% of the time, or not at all, the decision is yours, but find a way to be healthier that makes you feel like your superhuman self.