I just wrote a new Wild Guide.
When I say “I just wrote” what I actually mean is, "I finally finished the last edit."
It took 3 full edits… and will probably take more.
But that’s just how writing goes. In fact, I’ll probably end up rewriting/editing this at least 3-4 times.
The best writing you read is never written in a single pass… ever.
Literally, never ever.
Good writing has to be whittled down, like a sculptor carving a block of stone; you keep chipping away until the statue of David is left. (Hopefully it’s David.)
By the way, did you know that the block of marble Michelangelo used to carve out David was a discarded piece of stone that no other sculptor wanted?
Pretty ironic that an unwanted piece of marble ended up as one of the most iconic sculptures in human history.
I know there’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I don’t want to veer too far off track so I'll stay on point.
You know, I think I’m going to write more for the Wild blog. Maybe I’ll call it the “Founder’s Blog.”
I used to write every single day. This was when I was more active with my first blog, A Gym Life.
But I’ve since “retired” from writing about fitness and exercise, for the most part.
But I do miss my daily writing habit. I think I'll try to restart that if I can.
I notice my mental state isn’t as solid when I’m not writing. Writing is therapy, at least for me.
So, back to that new Wild Guide.
It’s called The Wild Foods Guide To Paleo.
Yes, I know; Paleo is a polarizing word — it tends to move people to the far left or right.
Before Paleo came along, you could find plenty of disagreement in the nutrition space. And that’s never gonna change.
But since Paleo has been steadily rising in popularity in recent years, it’s becoming more central in the nutritional “disagreement” raging on the Interwebz.
After all, if you eat vegan or if you love sandwiches, when a diet like Paleo comes along, it feels like a personal attack. Of course, you’re going to have strong opinions about it.
As a general rule, people have strong beliefs surrounding food. Challenge these beliefs and you’re going to get flack.
That’s ok… no big deal. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
But this guide isn’t going to look like most other articles, guides or books written about Paleo. It has our Wild spin infused into it.
This is why you won’t see many dogmatic recommendations (only 1) as well as the beating-the-horse-dead-er focus on Real Food.
For us, no matter what you eat, it needs to be from the best ingredients. It’s all about quality.
Quality Vs Quantity
The “quality vs quantity” debate has been raging on for years in the nutrition space.
Fortunately, one side has been steadily losing the battle and it’s the quantity side — also known as calories in, calories out side.
The basic premise from the quantity side goes like this: *It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you eat the right amount of carbs, proteins and fats.*
I remember, once upon a time, I stumbled on a Bodybuilding forum that was debating the quality versus quantity topic. One forum poster said something like this — I’m paraphrasing, but I remember it vividly:
It doesn’t matter if you eat 2000 calories from M&Ms or from vegetables, if you eat less than your Daily Calorie Expenditure, you’re going to lose weight.
There were mostly supporters in this thread and only a few commenters that seemed conflicted but didn’t have the evidence or confidence to challenge the argument.
Sure, the theory makes sense.
If your body needs a certain amount of calories each day to maintain, gain or lose weight, it should be as simple as eating less than you need to lose weight, eating more than you need to gain weight, and eating what you need to maintain weight.
It makes sense, it’s intuitive, and it’s wrong.
Well, it’s not entirely wrong, but it’s only part of the process, and it’s definitely not that simple.
The calories in, calories out is a theory, and it was formulated before we had the understanding of hormones the way we now do. We now have a good idea of how insulin works, and how carbs contribute to raising insulin levels, among other things.
This was also before we (better) understood how important dietary fat is to weight loss and overall health.
What we (some of us) now know is this: you can eat more than your daily “maintenance” level of calories and lose weight.
I’ve seen it happen time and time again. And each time the formula is the same: carbs are controlled, sugar is limited, processed food is eliminated, ingredients are quality and there is plenty of fat and protein.
Quality matters. Quantity matters much less.
Get quality down and quantity tends to take care of itself.
After all, your body is an amazing machine that’s the result of billions and billions of years of evolution.
Nature’s had time to make your system work damn well.
So when you feed this system the right kinds of food, it goes on autopilot and takes care of the rest.
When this happens, you get all the results. Results you don’t expect, that you can’t even measure.
Many people still believe in the calories in, calories out theory, which is why you still see plenty of “fat free” labels on processed junk food in the grocery stores. It’s why you see shows like the Biggest Loser that have people eating less and exercising more.
There’s a better way. Actually, I should say, there’s a right way.
The right way to lose weight, improve health, and eat the way you are designed to eat is based on EATING REAL FOOD INGREDIENTS FROM NATURE.
This brings me to the only thing we will ever be dogmatic about at Wild Foods…
This: The most important part of nutrition is food quality.
That’s our stance on all things nutrition, diet, Paleo, Not Paleo, whatever.
No matter what combination of foods you want to eat, and what label you want to slap on it, it must be built on a foundation of Real Food ingredients.
If your “diet” is based on anything other than Real Food, you‘re going to fail. Period.
That’s why, in our Paleo Guide, when we cover foods that fall into the “controversial” category — like grains — we don’t say, “Don’t eat it.”
Instead, we say, “Eat it if you first grow it, process it, mill it, soak it and bake it. Otherwise, don’t eat it.”
It’s all about quality. After quality, you can eat just about anything you want and the rest will take care of itself.
I’ve seen this in my life and others.
I used to own a CrossFit gym in Florida.
For about six years, I coached clients, taught classes, gave advice, blogged, wrote articles, and all while training, cooking, running a business and eating a Paleo (ish) diet.
The thing I most observed is this:
- Those that struggle with food, struggle with getting high-quality Real Food onto the table or in a lunchbox.
- Those that don’t struggle with nutrition, that win the the nutrition game, have figured out how to cook/prep/prepare quality food and incorporate it into their lives.
If you want to win with your nutrition, you have to make food a priority. It has to be built into your lifestyle.
Let’s say you decide to start cooking dinner every night. Great start. In this case, I’d recommend making extra food each time so you have leftovers for tomorrow.
Have a slow cooker? Use it at least once a week. 3–5 meals knocked down right there.
Don’t know how to cook eggs? Buy a quality nonstick pan and learn. You’ll be able to cook a healthy meal in minutes anytime you want.
Buy quality ingredients. Cook/prepare them. Win.
In case you don’t know, winning the nutrition game results in fat loss, improved insulin sensitivity, increased performance, more muscle gain, improved overall health, increased longevity, hormone regulation, which leads to increased happiness, better moods, improved mental health, better sleep, and a better quality of life in every way.
Even if you don’t read our new guide, which you can find here, I hope you take away a few lessons from this piece and start moving your life to a life with Real Food.
Yours in Health,