Looking to start the new year feeling rejuvenated? Maya Nahra, RD and I teach you how to do a 30 Day Paleo Reset in this informational video. Also learn how to create healthy habits that last beyond the reset. Transcript below.
Dr. Emily Parke: The goal of this morning’s short Facebook Live is to really walk you through how to do a Paleo reset successfully. I’m going to go over a little bit of the nuts and bolts on what Paleo is, what some of the health benefits are, and how to get through it. Then Maya is really going to do a great job telling us what, on the habit and behavior end, what strategies you can use to not only get through the reset successfully, but to really maintain a healthy eating plan afterwards.
Dr. Emily Parke: For those of you that don’t know Maya, Maya is a Registered Dietician and Health Coach with Nuuaria. She is the Owner and Founder of the Habit and Behavior Change curriculum and health coaching program that we work with here Arizona Wellness Medicine.
Dr. Emily Parke: Welcome Maya. Thanks for joining us.
Maya Nahra, RD: Yeah. Thanks for having us. This is fun. I love doing these with you. It’s great.
Dr. Emily Parke: Perfect, yes it’s great. Our last one was really successful and fun too. Cool. I’m going to dive right in since we’re getting started a little bit late. Paleo. To go back to explain really what Paleo is. The reason that I have my patients use Paleo is two fold. One, Paleo is an anti-inflammatory nutrient dense food plan. It really is just a great healthy eating plan. But, the purpose of doing the 30 day reset is really more than just healthy eating. For my patients on the clinical side, it also double backs as an elimination food plan, meaning it eliminates certain food groups that are well known to be triggers for symptoms in patients health. That’s the only time that I ever ask people to be 100% strict is for that 30 days, and it’s for a very scientific reason. Right? It’s because it takes the body’s immune system 23 days to calm down by only half if it’s responding to a food. 30 days gets you well past that halfway point to where on the back end … and we’ll get to this in a minute … when we do do food reintroductions it’s very obvious you can tell that that food was creating a symptom. I hope that makes sense to everyone as far as the science behind it.
Dr. Emily Parke: For a quick review, up to 80% of your immune system is located inside the gut, which is why what we put into our gut, the food we feed ourselves makes such a huge impact on our health. I know Maya’s a Registered Dietician. You know all about Paleo and you know how to implement it, and you’ve been working with my patient’s anyway. You’re very well versed on all that. I know this.
Maya Nahra, RD: Paleo is good elimination. Absolutely.
Dr. Emily Parke: For those you out there, Maya … and we’ll get to this at the end again too. But, she has been helping my patients with their overall health plans. If you’re struggling, if you haven’t done a 30 day Paleo reset yet or you need to redo it or your eating got off track over the holidays, or whatever the reasoning is, Maya does have health coaching programs, three months, six months, and twelve months, to help you get back on track. The three month health coaching program would be perfect to get you through the Paleo reset on to the other side to make sure you’re maintaining those healthy habits. Is that pretty correct?
Maya Nahra, RD: Absolutely. Yeah. You mean for using the 30 day Paleo challenge?
Dr. Emily Parke: Yes, absolutely.
Maya Nahra, RD: Of course, there’s always two kinds of people. Right? I fall into this bucket in my past history, but someone … we know that the 30 day Paleo reset challenge, this is just something that needs to happen for health. It is what it is. Somebody can just go and do it, off, they’re on their way, they don’t need us. That’s great. Then there’s this other group over here that, we know what to do, we’re just not doing it. Or you tell us that we can’t have any bread or chocolate or beer and that’s the first thing that we want all of. It’s very all or nothing kind of thinking. This is the category that is very important, because we really do need a crossroad at this point, because there are certain things that have to be done for your health, in order to get healthy, in order to return back to full and complete health. One of those probably being, I need to get some stuff out of my diet, but at the same time, when we match that with a habit of all or nothing thinking, it can be a little … I don’t want to say dangerous. It’s going to make the challenge something that is bigger than it really is. Our mind just make it up to be something bigger than it really is.
Maya Nahra, RD: It’s 30 days. It’s not the rest of your life, obviously. We’ll set you up in terms of what meal plan. Not an actual meal plan, but what are you gong to do. What are you going to cook? How’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner going to look? How’s it going to be different? What potential dangerous situations are you going to fall into, such as work lunches or dinners out and things like that. Those have to be strategized in advance to really be successful.
Maya Nahra, RD: Then, of course, the most important piece, that’s easy. The most important piece is afterwards. The reason that you’d want to honestly come see us for a three month package with the Paleo reset challenge is afterwards … In habit and behavior change, when we got to change a habit, a physical habit and behavior, there are five steps. Most people … we use willpower unstrategically. We think that it’s a habit we should be able to cultivate, rather it’s more of a muscle. If we don’t use the muscle correctly, we’ll use it up and we’ll get tired. It’s like changing 998 things about my life and falling into chocolate cake by Friday, because we haven’t used that willpower strategically. What happens with a reset in a really cool way … it’s not good nor bad, it just is. I certainly tell a lot of our patients and clients, you have to have a really good inventory of where it is that you’re at, where you need to move forward, and where your heads at in the game. It’s going to be really important to take that mental inventory first, but we use these stepping stone routines to get from here’s where I am right now and here’s how I want to be.
Maya Nahra, RD: What happens is in most challenges in most kickoffs and anything along these lines is most of us will jump right to where it is that we want to be right then. The end game goal would be more of a Paleo-ish diet. Now, again, not right nor wrong, what happens is we’ve skipped the stepping stones to hone in and get stricter on the diet to start feeling better immediately. But what happens afterwards is instead of staying here, we have to reintroduce some stepping stones back here. The cool things is that you haven’t been … you were able to skip these. Now, instead of staying at the ideal, we bring you back to a few different stepping stones in terms of sometimes it’s … to give you an example, it’s like allowances. If you’ve done Paleo and you’re missing bread or alcohol or whatever that is, and we set in little allowance stepping stones that say, okay, over the weekend you’re going to have two drinks on the weekend or something where it’s an allowance built in or it’s a stepping stone to step this into your life. That has to be the stepping stones that we have to use strategically and understand how to do that.
Maya Nahra, RD: Of course, the last piece being that for the long term permanent change we’re looking for, it’s not as much about doing differently as much it is about thinking differently, learning to think differently.
Dr. Emily Parke: Great point. Great point.
Maya Nahra, RD: When we change the physical habits and behaviors and re-work the stepping stones after the challenge then life happens, stress, anxiety, Friday night, Saturday night, vacations, family, in-laws, just stuff, life. Often times it’s when habit and behavior change you can think of … habit is automatic auto-pilot way of living and existing. Stress is a habit. Anxiety is a habit, emotional habits. But we also have thought habits that really tank us, so to speak. All or nothing thinking, perfectionism thinking, obsessive, trying to control what we can’t control, perfectionism. There’s types of thought habits. The mind has 70,000 or so thoughts a day, and there’s types of thought habits that when we fall into trying to be perfect with everything or trying to go hard or go home or get really stressed at work, that’s where the real work begins. We use a lot of techniques and self directed neuroplasticity to really start rewiring the mind and understand, if I start learning how to think differently my behaviors will follow suit.
Maya Nahra, RD: In a very easy example, if I’m not as stressed out all day long, it’s going to be way easier to reach for a vegetable if I’m not so stressed out. It’s really the thoughts that create the motions that create the behaviors. We start with the behaviors but to create the permanence after the challenge, we’ve got to dig into the rest of the stuff too.
Dr. Emily Parke: Perfect. A couple of points that I think are awesome is that the preparation part is key. One of things I always tell my patients are two things. One, I actually have what I call a three week jumpstart plan that is baby steps getting you into before you dive into a 30 day Paleo reset. I tell patients all the time, if you need to take four weeks or six weeks to complete those steps, go for it. The second is that the patients get to choose when they do their 30 day Paleo reset. I never tell them it has to be tomorrow or next week. I always tell them, “Pick a time when you’re ready and you can set yourself up for success.”
Dr. Emily Parke: Some of the things that you talked about, preparation, figuring out ahead of time. What am I going to do for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? That’s where both you and I are great about supplying patients with resources like, here’s my favorite cookbooks, websites, blogs and recipes. So that people can really start to play around with it a little bit before they are crossing the go line. Because what you want to avoid, what you just said, was getting into that situation where you’re like, “Oh, crap. I’m starving. I didn’t bring my lunch. I’m unprepared.” Then that leaves you more open to end up off plan.
Maya Nahra, RD: Yeah. Yeah. And the variety too. If you’re just going to go into it and say, “Okay. For 30 days, I’m going to have chicken and vegetables, chicken and vegetables.” That’s going to get real boring, real fast.
Dr. Emily Parke: Totally. Yeah. Exactly. I want to back up just a little bit and explain to everyone, because not everyone listening might be familiar with the nuts and bolts of Paleo. What are the components of it. Paleo, like I said, it’s anti-inflammatory nutrient dense food plan. But a Paleo plate … and I want to explain this because a lot of people I think get Paleo wrong. Or they think I’m just eating bacon all day or I’m just eating red meat. Could not be further from the truth. Yes, organic grass fed beef is allowed on Paleo. Actually, I have vegetarians and vegans even following more of a Paleo construct.
Dr. Emily Parke: A Paleo plate looks like this. A Paleo plate, half the plate is non-starchy vegetables of some kind, half the plate, non-starchy veggies. Then there’s a serving of lean protein of some kind. If it’s organic grass fed beef, great. Organic free range chicken, awesome. Wild caught salmon, awesome. Et cetera, et cetera. It doesn’t matter what the protein source is as long as it’s well sourced. Half the plate is non-starchy veggies, then we have a serving of lean protein, then we’ve got a serving of healthy fats. Those are things like avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil. For the most part, it’s not going to be over here as a separate thing. You’re actually going to use that to flavor your protein and your veggies to make things taste yummy. Then there’s a small serving of either starchy vegetables or a piece of medium fruit. That is a Paleo plate. It really is just real foods.
Dr. Emily Parke: The list of things it avoids are processed and packaged, for sure. It avoids sugar, it avoids grains and not just gluten. Gluten is a protein contained in wheat. Wheat is only one grain. Paleo eliminates grains of all kinds. By the way, corn is a grain. That’s a common one that people get confused with the vegetable versus a grain. It takes out grains of all kinds. It takes out dairy of all kinds. It takes out legumes. Legumes are the bean family. By the way, peanuts are a legume. They’re the only nut that’s actually a legume. All the other nuts are truly nuts and totally Paleo. It takes out grains. It takes out dairy. It takes out legumes, and it takes out soy. Those are the most common triggers for symptoms.
Dr. Emily Parke: Another thing I want to be sure to be super clear about is when I say symptoms, I don’t just mean gut symptoms. Gut symptoms are super common. Yes, your gut is extremely important and crucial to your health. I just said earlier, 80% of the immune system is located inside the gut. But, you can have symptoms come out in any way shape or form. If it’s gut, it tends to be easy. We tend to connect that a little bit better. But, what if it’s energy level? What if it’s not sleeping well? What if it’s muscle aches or joint pains or headaches or skin rashes? It becomes a little hard to connect. Furthermore, your body’s immune system can take up to three days to create a response to something. If you’re sitting here today, and you’re like, man, I’m exhausted or I have an awful headache. You have a symptom of some kind. There’s no way to know right now if it’s something you had for breakfast the day before, the day before that, it becomes really, really difficult. That is really part of this elimination of these food groups is why it’s so beneficial. Is to figure out if those food groups are causing you symptoms.
Dr. Emily Parke: Then, of course, there are a group of patients, especially my autoimmune disease patients, where they really need to live within a Paleo construct, 80, 90% of the time. But, just like Maya has beautifully said, “I never ask anyone to be 100% perfect, 100% of the time.” Because it’s not going to happen. It’s actually not healthy, it becomes stressful. Right, Maya? Who’s going to follow that. You end up in this all or nothing trap.
Maya Nahra, RD: Completely.
Dr. Emily Parke: After the 30 days, there is a very targeted way to properly reintroduce foods that you’re missing. Remember I said it that it can take up to three days for a symptom to occur. You’re adding in one serving of that food. Let’s say you’re like, “I want to find out if I can have peanut butter. I miss peanut butter.” By the way, you only reintroduce the foods that you’re really missing in your diet. It’s not to reintroduce everything you eliminated, because by and large I can tell you I’ve done this hundreds of times now with patients. Their symptom scores, the amount of symptoms that they report, they’re cut in half of two thirds on average when they follow through on the Paleo reset. People are really feeling great.
Dr. Emily Parke: But, we all have those one or two things that we really miss. But, you only reintroduce things that you’re going to want to have in your diet on a regular basis. If it’s going to be part of your 20% off plan, your three or so meals a week, you’re not going to need to reintroduce it, because it’s not going to be part of your regular diet. I hope that makes sense to everyone.
Dr. Emily Parke: Let’s say you really are missing peanut butter, for example. You reintroduce it one serving three times a day. I’m talking about a little serving, not just a tiny lick of peanut butter, probably a tablespoon or more. One serving, three times a day and you do it three days in a row. And you track how you feel. Like I said, if it shows up in the gut, y’all get that’s obvious. But what if it turns out to be muscle aches or joint pains or energy levels or you don’t sleep as well, something more subtle. That’s why one new food, three times a day, three days in row. If someone has a response, they have a bad response to something, you don’t have to finish the three days, you just stop eating it right away. You wait until you’re feeling perfectly good, as good as you did before you reintroduced that food to move onto the next one.
Dr. Emily Parke: Your example of alcohol, you’re not going to do it three times a day, three days in a row reintroduction. Take three days off from work and do nothing but that. Ideally in your health plan, it’s only going to be an occasional thing.
Dr. Emily Parke: Maya, tell us as far as getting to past the reintroductions and into maintaining within a Paleo construct. Give me a couple of key points that people can employ, start to think about and strategize about during their reset that will help them be successful beyond the 30 days.
Maya Nahra, RD: Yeah. During the reset or after?
Dr. Emily Parke: I would say after. That they can start thinking about during and so that they’re successful and maintaining 80% or more after.
Maya Nahra, RD: Yeah. How to be successful after. Everyone always thinks that when we go into something, cause some kind of a change, it’s going to be so difficult and require so much time. It’s not difficult, doesn’t require a lot of time. The only thing that really truly does is the heightened level of awareness on a regular basis. Most of us when we’re in this low grade state of stress as a habit or anxiety as a habit for most of our lives, we’re so tapped out, tuned out to how it is that we’re actually feel, because stress is our normal habitual reaction in life. The more that we can be aware in every moment in terms of how it is that we’re feeling, how the body’s feeling, awareness is certainly key for moving forward and creating healthy habits for a lifetime. When you’re aware like that, then you can start to recognize and understand some of the things that have always just thrown you off. Whether that be the all or nothing thinking, perfectionism thinking, typically trying to control things in the future that are completely out of your control producing the stress and anxiety.
Maya Nahra, RD: It’s those thought habits of the mind that when you’re aware of your current situation, when you’re aware of what it is that is throwing you off, most people think time to fall off the wagon. I failed again. See, I’m not strong enough or, see, I don’t have enough willpower. Total lie. You’re more than strong enough, more than capable enough. It’s less about starting and stopping and re-starting going hard and going home and more about really opening that door in an opportunity to say, “Okay. Okay. Cool. I see what’s tanked me all along. Now I have the opportunity to not do that anymore.” Of course, there’s a balance, there’s a fine balance between when you do the 30 day Paleo reset and this is the last thing I’ll say, because I want to keep you on time here.
Maya Nahra, RD: The healthy eating and the feeling good … I should say that. The feeling good after the reset or any kickoff or anything like this, the feeling good becomes a habit. If you are eating or drinking something that doesn’t make you feel good, you’re going to notice that. You’re going to start desiring feeling good as a habit as opposed to feeling sick. At some point, what happens is the desire to feel good becomes stronger than the desire to play out old patterns and habits of all or nothing thinking or sugar eating, which is cool because it helps you get there faster.
Maya Nahra, RD: As far as just practical tips, of course, I mentioned the awareness. But food, I see this every single time, and it’s going be really important. You plop you in from one lifestyle to another lifestyle, go online, go to Pinterest, go to our websites, find new recipes, try new things. We want whole health in our diet so we’re going to have to make a little time in our life for that, even if it’s cooking one new Paleo recipe a week just to get new stuff in your rotation.
Dr. Emily Parke: That’s a great point. There’s all kinds of amazing recipes out there, but it doesn’t have to be fancy at all. Sometimes … we’re both normal people. Right? You get home from work and it’s like, okay, I have … like today I can tell you I’ve got Brussels sprouts I made on Saturday that we’re going to eat. That’s going to be my vegetable. And I’m going to make a different protein tonight. It’s doing combinations of things, but I do find prepping and batch cooking especially for those that have a busier lifestyle, they really do help set you up for success. The preparation is definitely key. And keeping it interesting. I think a lot of people look at Paleo … not even just Paleo, but it’s like any diet. Oh, yeah. They think of it as a suffering. I definitely encourage people to think of it as a new pathway, a new way of thinking. Get excited about tasting new foods and new recipes, because I can tell you … I’ve been living a Paleo lifestyle for years now. The cooking is so amazing. You can find great recipes out there.
Dr. Emily Parke: If you had a dinner party … I do this for Thanksgiving. I did my third Paleo Thanksgiving this past year. Nobody knows. Nobody will know it’s anything different. It’s just really good food. That’s just a take home, something to remember. Of course, it’s not about suffering. It’s actually about, I think, exploration and new direction and finding new things.
Maya Nahra, RD: Absolutely. Yeah. If your honed in on a thought that, oh my God, I can’t have this, I can’t have this, I can’t have this. We have 60-70,000 thoughts in our mind. Thoughts create emotion, so if we’re attached on one that says, look what I can’t have and all of the lack, that feels bad. You have the ability to choose other thoughts that feel better and typically that’s look at the life that is opening up to me. It is truly a perspective shift that will change the game.
Dr. Emily Parke: That’s awesome, okay. Great. Maya, thank you so much for joining. I’m Dr. Emily Parke with Arizona Wellness Medicine. You can find out more about my practice on our website at dremilyparke.com. Maya, tell us how people can get in touch with you and potentially work with you.
Maya Nahra, RD: Perfect. Absolutely. Yes. Of course, Nuuaria and our Habit and Behavior Change Health Coaching program. We’re fully integrated into Arizona Wellness Medicine. The three month package would be a great package to integrate with the 30 day Paleo reset challenge. You can always just go to our website. It’s Nuuaria, N-U-U-A-R-I-A. /pizza. Nuuaria.com/pizza. You can schedule a completely complimentary consult. Feel free … I’m sure we’ll around this video we’ll put links to our website in the page. Feel free to reach out via email or phone call, and we’ll schedule that for you and we can talk more about your individual goals, where you want to go, and make sure that this fits into what you need.
Dr. Emily Parke: That’s great. Awesome, Maya. Thank you so much, have a great rest of your day. Thanks for joining.
Maya Nahra, RD: You too. Have a great patient day. Take care.
Dr. Emily Parke: Bye.