1. Too low in fat
People get on the Paleo diet still holding dear the myth that we get fat as a result of eating fat. While the combination of high insulin levels from sugary foods and trans fats is a sure fire path to triple bypass the fats from naturally living animal sources have in fact been one of man’s greatest allies throughout evolution. Do you think primitive man ate the muscle meat and threw away the rest when he made a kill? No way, as with todays traditional cultures every part of the animal is valued and consumed. If you fail add fats like coconut oil, lard and palm oil when you go on the Paleo diet you’re likely to get blocked up (constipated) and go searching for your old foods to help get back to regularity. Incidentally a high dose of magnesium or vitamin C can be good option as a laxative if you do find yourself blocked up.
2. Inadequate carbohydrate intake for your energy systems training or hypertrophy goals
If you’re doing high lactate training that uses a lot of glycogen then you need to replete glycogen stores.
(The human liver can convert amino acids to glucose (through the process called gluconeogenesis) but from an evolutionary perspective we aren’t designed to overly rely on this pathway. Cats have proportionally larger livers and function optimally on a very low carbohydrate diet.)
Good Paleo carbohydrate sources for athletes that don’t have gut issues or insulin control issues are sweet potatoes, yams, yuca and plantains. Quinoa, rice and white potatoes are also options for athletes that require a higher intake of carbohydrate.
3. Poor quality protein sources
Eating meat and vegetables is often enough for most people to improve their health, performance, body composition and psychology. The problem is that many of todays meat sources are grain fed in unhealthy environments. In the same way that humans don’t do well on grains neither do cows (I lived on a feed-lot and saw this first hand for 3 months). Eating unhealthy animals doesn’t provide optimal nutrition because they often lack in certain amino acids and nutrients and can be laden with antibiotics and hormones that were used to keep them alive and reach their sale weight quicker.
4. 70% Paleo
Eating mostly Paleo plus a pizza and 2L of chemical sugar crap on the weekend could be enough to stop you getting the results you deserve from what you’re doing the rest of the time. I’m not against using a cheat meal but beware of how you feel and how your skin looks the next day. If you’re bloated with a headache and low energy then your body is sending the message “stop with the toxic shit.” Listen to your body and be smart with your cheat meals.
5. Lack of food variety
If you switch to the Paleo diet, make up a food list and eat the same thing everyday it’s likely to take you 5-6 days before you’re sick of the Paleo diet and reach for a cola and a burger. Using a variety of foods and garnishes will help keep your taste buds interested in natures most nutritious foods and keep you away from chemically engineered flavours!
A Paleo meal option – Marinara mix, coconut rice and garlic green beans with butter
6. Ignoring the Paleo lifestyle
Eating right is only part of the Paleo picture. If you’re living a kamikaze lifestyle then the Paleo diet will help you to survive through it until you get over your suicidal ways but optimal results won’t come until you get your thoughts, sleep and social life in line with your goals.
7. Too many changes too quickly
Changing from a standard boxed food diet to the Paleo diet can require a lot of changes. How you shop, where you eat, how you plan your day and many other things. Making more than 6 changes to your daily routine at one time will result in failure for all but the most disciplined people.
8. Not enough changes quick enough
If you adopted a few Paleo meals a week but you didn’t really see much of a difference so you decided to get back in the bakery line then this was probably your mistake. Being stricter or gradually including more Paleo meals will help achieve the results you need in order to remain motivated and stick to the plan.