In the previous section, Diet, you can find links to food lists for primal diets. Naturally, this will double as a weight-loss “diet” because the foods that promote a healthy and vibrant body also promote a lean body. However, there are some foods which you may find it better to limit or eliminate when weight-loss is the goal. Based on your current weight and overall health, your bodies’ ability to adequately metabolize things like sugar and starches will vary. Here are some things to consider when it comes to eating fruits and starchy veggies.
We love fruit for many reasons: vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, polyphenols, anti-oxidants, the list goes on. However, fruits tend to have fair amounts of sugar (glucose and fructose) as well, which we don’t like so much. Most have negligible amounts, which would necessitate you eating copious amounts to experience detrimental effects. Some fruits often considered taboo because of an elevated glycemic index (GI), such as watermelon, pineapple and cantaloupe, are actually more benign when you consider their more palatable glycemic load (GL). One thing to be aware of, however, is the elevated sugar content of dried fruits. Dried fruits are great in trail mix or perhaps on top of a nice cup of full-fat yogurt, but be sure not to get too carried away as many varieties have more than a fair amount of the sweet stuff.
As much as we love veggies, many sects within the primal community eschew the starchy variety because of their carbohydrate load and perceived hyperglycemic effects. A few of the usual suspects include potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. But who doesn’t love a fully loaded baked potato, right? Well it turns out our ancestors sure did. Evidence tells us that our hunter-gatherer predecessors ate diets full of tubers, roots and corms – starchy foods similar to our modern potato and taro. So from a primal perspective these foods (and others like yams, plantains and squashes) are considered safe starches (meaning they contain minimal toxins after cooking) and are okay in moderation assuming we follow a couple of guidelines: how we prepare them and what we eat them with. Believe it or not, boiling or steaming keeps foods’ glycemic index (GI) lower as opposed to methods using higher temps, like roasting. Additionally, pairing safe starches with fiber, fats, such as butter, cream, and olive oil, and acids such as vinegar and lemon juice, can significantly reduce GI and its attendant toxicity. And if you do include safe starches in your diet, it’s worth noting that a post-workout meal is an ideal time for consumption. After we workout our body is primed for glucose absorption and the carbohydrate load can be more readily absorbed by the cells, reducing any hyperglycemic effect.