Where do I begin?
So you’ve been reading the blog, using some recipes, and are not sure how to actually start this lifestyle. This blog takes a non-conventional view on diet and nutrition, but one that promises results. The Paleo diet looks at the way our ancestors ate and tries to mimic it the best we can, despite the way our food industry is today. Although we can all argue nit-picky things of this diet like ratio of macronutrients (fats, carbs, protein), we can all agree that refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and processed foods are no good for any of us.
I’ve decided to give two approaches to this lifestyle. Approach 1 will seem very strict to someone on a modern-day diet, but it’s a good way to jumpstart your new Paleo Life and results are guaranteed. I come across many people who don’t believe they could give up all their favorite foods at once. I’m here to say YES you can, but if you are more into a gradual transition pick Approach 2!
Either approach you pick, you must learn how to cook. That’s why I provide new recipes every week. If you need more structure with what to cook, look at this recipe Ebook.
Read this statement to yourself before you begin:
I am ready to take on a new lifestyle. I am ready to change myself for the better. I know this is a journey, but it will be worth it. In the end I will be proud of myself even if it’s a bumpy road.
Approach 1: “Goodbye Old ME, Hello Paleo Me! I’m Ready!”
This approach is for those ready to see immediate results. You’ve been saying for too long that you’ll start tomorrow. Stop putting it off and start now. You may still be picking at the bread bowl at dinner, eating a few candies here and there, and eating out a bit too much. These things are all keeping you from your goals whether it be healing your body, losing some weight, clearing your skin, or looking for general happiness. While the first two weeks may make you turn into an angry green monster, once your body is adjusted you will be grinning from ear to ear. If you’re sick of yo-yoing in your weight, sick of being tired and sick and ready to knock off a few pounds, just follow this advice.
- Make a PLAN. I can give you advice on how to plan it, but when it comes down to it, you have to sit down and say Okay, this is what I want to achieve, this is how I’m going about it, and I will follow through. Many type A personalities won’t have a problem with this planning process, but if you are more of a laidback type then you must work even harder with the planning process.
- Commit to a 30-Day jumpstart Paleo program. My favorite program is The Whole 30. I agree 100% with their recommendations, and I have experienced wonderful results with it. Some other programs are The 21 Day Sugar Detox, or Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Transformation. Now understand that when I say commit, I mean do whatever you have to do to follow through with this program.
- Think ahead. Whenever I work with people who want to start eating this way, I ask what would trigger them to cheat. Many aren’t really sure yet, because they haven’t been on this kind of diet regime. But I know the biggest triggers- stress, no sleep, not enough time to cook, cravings, emotional attachments to food, availability of real food, and peer pressure. There are more than those of course, but I find those to be the biggest ones to mess people up. So look at each of those triggers and ask yourself how you can handle them. Write it down, and when that trigger comes to you (and it will) read your response you wrote prior to the trigger.
- Realize what kind of eater you are. Do you eat to live or you live to eat? If you eat to live, meaning you eat because it’s necessary and you just need to fuel up, you probably won’t have too hard of a time eating Paleo. You won’t be as hungry, so it may actually save you time and money. If you live to eat, meaning you look forward to every meal and take pleasure in eating, you must learn to take pleasure in not only those “Comfort Foods” but take pleasure in a juicy grass-fed steak, or a bowl of fresh vegetables or fruit. I am a little bit of both, I obviously eat to live and I fuel myself this way because I understand what my body needs, but I also enjoy the pleasure of a great meal (who doesn’t really?). I enjoy every meal and the preparation that goes into it.
- Get your facts straight. Don’t go on a program without understanding what those terms mean. When it says no grains, that doesn’t just mean bread. That means everything with grains it in, from crackers to pasta, to additives in dressings/sauces. Start reading your labels. I hear people say I eat Paleo 70- 90% of the time and then I see them eat a sandwich. That’s not Paleo, and that 10% should not be coming from the worst offenders like bread. When you cheat on the worst offenders, the cravings won’t ever cease. Cut it all out and the cravings disappear for good.
- Figure out what happens AFTER the 30 days. What I hate about 30 day programs is what people do after them. They think Okay that was great, just lost 10 pounds now can I have my French fries, coke, and cake again? Nope, you probably shouldn’t. But, but.. I worked so hard. Yes you did and you should reward yourself with something besides food. Stop thinking about food in those terms! Reward yourself with new clothes that fit the new body, or a mini-vacay, or a gym membership, or a pedicure, or that new gadget you’ve been dying to have. Reward yourself with something other than food, and focus on transitioning to make this lifestyle permanent.
Approach 2: “Elimination, One at a Time”
You’ve wanted to do this diet or look into it, but you’re a little iffy. You say I could never give up all those foods, especially all at once! You think it seems like such a strict diet (trust me it doesn’t feel that way), and you’re willing to give it a try gradually.
- Say goodbye to refined sugar first. No more coke, cake, cookies, cereal, granola bars (most all are packed in sugar), non-fat milk, non-fat yogurt, and so on. Start reading those labels and if sugar is added in the ingredients get rid of it.
- Say goodbye to hydrogenated oils. Replace all your oils with coconut oil, olive oil, and grass fed butter. No canola oil, vegetable oil, margarine, spray butters or such.
- Say goodbye to processed foods. When people think of processed foods they usually think twinkies and fast food. I do too, but I also include things like goldfish, crackers, chips, or basically anything in the middle aisles of the grocery (a few exceptions are in there).
- Say goodbye to grains. That means all breads and even the beloved favorite oatmeal. Grains can be hidden in many foods, so read your ingredients.
- Say goodbye to legumes. No beans and lentils. Green beans and snap peas are usually tolerable and pretty healthy. The others are damaging your gut by the minute. Ever wondered why beans made you gassy? The sugars in beans can’t be digested well and are instead fed to bad bacteria in your gut.
- Say goodbye to dairy. I leave this last because its controversial even in the Paleo/Primal world. Dairy can be an extremely inflammatory food because we did not drink cow’s milk as cavemen. Some people have adapted to it and some have not. But even if we have adapted, we should question if it’s right for our health or not. If you decide to keep dairy in your diet, I advise raw dairy products. I advise goat over cow. I advise butter, cream, yogurt and cheeses (in that order) over milk. And full-fat over low/no-fat. Milk is naturally in a full fat form, we should not change that. Try to look for grass-fed cows milk over conventional.
It seems overwhelming, I know. It took me a long time to understand the details and the “whys”. But you have to believe in it, we must have a paradigm shift in the way we think about food. Just trust me on this. I believe removing grains could be the single biggest impact on changing your health and weight. Yes, I’m asking you to defy the food pyramid, but it’s evident the food pyramid is NOT working. Look at the state of our country, the AMA just declared obesity an epidemic. How do you feel about obesity becoming an epidemic? Preventive medicine is powerful. Choose now to not contribute to this epidemic. Educate yourself, your family, your friends, and anyone you care about.