Paleo…so easy a caveman can do it
11 Tips we give our friends when they are thinking about going paleo.
I know there is nothing more boring and annoying than someone talking about their diet all the time. I try really really hard to not bring it up unless asked. I said I try. I am not always successful.
Eventually some people find out that Paddy and I eat a certain way, avoid certain foods and have had a certain success in getting healthy and super sexy and they start asking question. We try not to push our beliefs on anyone, because that is obnoxious. But, when someone reaches out to us and asks for our help with their diet, I see that as GAME ON! I give them all of the tools that they need to change their diet and answer any questions they have as they complete their first Whole30 or begin to clean up their diet. I could seriously talk about it all day and love helping people get started.
So, I thought I would consolidate some of the things I pass on to newcomers in a post for others that may be starting out. This is obviously not the 100% solution, just the info I find useful and pass on to my friends. I encourage everyone to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, but most importantly, I encourage you to be patient. One week of eating paleo will not be the miracle to all that ails you. It takes time, but the changes will happen, I promise.
- Learn about what eating paleo means. Start here and here and here and here. There are some pretty clear guidelines on some foods, and some gray areas on others. Once you get through your initial detox period, you can make your own decisions on what you will add back to your diet and what you will avoid.
- Go to the Whole 9 website, read It Starts With Food and prepare to do a Whole30. You really need to do a 30 day clean eating period to feel the full effect. If you are just dipping your toes in the paleo pool, you may not get the results you are looking for, get frustrated and quit. You can also try the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I haven’t done that one, but the concept is the same.
- Buy a crock pot. The first thing I realized during our first Whole30 was that when you rid your diet of processed food, there isn’t really much left to eat besides things you make yourself. From scratch. We felt like we were slaves to the kitchen. When I say “buy a crockpot” I really mean think of ways to make cooking easier, find a couple fast and easy go-to recipes and make yourself more efficient in the kitchen. Thanks to the cookbook Well Fed, I learned about Sunday cook-ups. We make a TON of big meals on Sundays and get all of our prep work done for the week. We always have a wide variety of staple items that we can build an easy dinner on during the week. My crockpot is usually full of something all weekend. Buy frozen onions and peppers, that will save you SO much time during meal prep.
- Start following blogs and like paleo pages on Facebook. I get SO much information from posts on Facebook. My newsfeed is always full of positive, informative and inspirational posts from other like-minded, health conscious people. Everyone wants to share their experience and help others out. I have already listed a few here.
- Make a good shopping list and head to the closest Whole Foods, or similar, grocery store. Fill your kitchen with approved items. Buy WAY more than you think, because you will go through a lot of food.
- Even though it is pricey buy quality meat- grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, free-range eggs and nitrite-free bacon. In the long run, the cost will even out and the benefits to your health make it totally worth it. No deli meat unless you do the research and it is clean.
- Get ready to Google. Any food item with the term “Whole30” or “paleo” in a google search will help you determine if something is approved.
- Read labels. First of all, if it has a label it is suspect. Try to eat foods that are in their truest form. But, if it does have a label, make sure you can identify all of the ingredients. There should only be a few listed and none should sound like it is part of a science experiment. Learn all of the code words for gluten, sugar and soy and avoid them. MSG is in everything processed; keep a sharp eye out for that as well and avoid it like it will give you cancer…because it might give you cancer.
- Get over the fact that you think you NEED certain things. People will argue with you that you cannot leave out food groups and you need dairy or grains in your diet. You don’t. Anyone that tells you that does not understand. And they are probably fat or unhealthy. And you don’t need creamer in your coffee. As they say on the Whole30 site: “Beating cancer is hard, drinking your coffee black is not.” Get over it. Just make better coffee.
- Lastly, be creative! Because you are not getting the minerals from enriched grain products you need to ensure you are getting a very wide variety of foods to cover all of your bases. Eat different veggies, add meats to your diet you have never had before, eat lots of winter squashes (spaghetti and butternut pack a HUGE nutritional punch), go to a farmer’s market and try something local and in season. Don’t get lazy and eat chicken and broccoli every night because it is safe and easy. You will miss a lot of vital nutrients. Like you have heard before- eat a colorful plate of food.
- I was trying to keep it to 10 items, but I just thought of another one…Forget everything you have been taught about how to eat. As a woman, I have always been told I should eat small meals, limit my fat intake and eat lots of whole grains. Eating paleo goes against ALL of those rules. Do NOT be afraid of fat! As long as your meat is high quality, eat the fat! Add coconut oil to everything- I eat it by the spoonful. As long as your meal is paleo, eat HUGE portions. If you try to eat small portions, you will be starving and end up binging on something unhealthy. If you are hungry- EAT! Fill your plate up with as many veggies and as much meat as you want! It is hard to do at first, but if all the ingredients are on the safe list, you are good to go!!
Just writing this post I have discovered about 5 other posts I can write to compliment it. But, this is a good place to start. Above anything else, be sure to educate yourself. This is not a short term diet plan to help you lose weight, it is a way of life. If you come out of a Whole30 without a completely different view of what you put in your body, I will be completely shocked.