Starting Paleo – leap in or make small changes?
Depending on your personality and current lifestyle starting Paleo could be a big upheaval or could consist of tweaking what is already a relatively healthy diet and lifestyle.
There are many ways to get started with the Paleo diet and it’s not a one size fits all.
You may have a vital health reason or you are the type of person that when they make a decision they go all out, or you may be in the situation where you are tempted to try Paleo but you havea family that isn’t so keen and needs some persuading.
Below are some tips on leaping in and becoming Paleo straight away as well as if you prefer to go a bit slower and start to adjust to a Paleo diet.
If you want to dive straight into starting Paleo here are some useful tips
- Remove all non Paleo food in your kitchen cupboards and fridge. Clearing out your cupboards will take away anything you just don’t need to eat.
- Plan your meals for a week. Planning is key to staying on track and makes the supermarket trip easy. There are so many great cookbooks to choose and a wealth of information on the Internet. My favourites for getting started are Nom Nom Paleo, Cavegirl NZ, Paleoista.
- Make breakfast as easy as possible. The working week is time pressured enough as is so go with easy options like hard boiled eggs with fresh fruit, nuts, and avocados. Try smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with sliced vegetables and fruit.
- Head to your local supermarket, the butcher, or the farmers market and stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables, and good quality organic, grass fed meats, and wild caught seafood.
- Buy good quality herbs and spices to make your meals tasty.
- Have Paleo snacks on hand for when you get a craving. Many stores have ready made Paleo snacks to get you started or have sliced vegetables or fruit with almond butter in your cupboard ready to go. A hand full of almonds is also a great afternoon snack. If you’re missing the crunch of a biscuit or cracker seek out some raw Paleo crackers to have with some guacamole.
Many of us starting Paleo find starting slowly and moving towards a Paleo diet is really successful. Here are some useful tips for
- Start removing dairy and any added sugar from your diet. Try changing from a milky latte to a macchiato and then in time to just an espresso. A macchiato is a great way to have less milk but also make sure that the coffee isn’t too bitter.
- Breakfast is one of the easier meals to change to Paleo. If you like eggs then the fastest Paleo breakfast is some hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, vegetable slices and healthy nuts. You don’t have to go straight to spinach for breakfast but red pepper and cucumber are easy sweet options. Breakfast bowls like grain free granola and Paleo Bircher style muesli are also a great option. These use fresh fruits and coconut and nut milks.
- Start to make smart choices for lunch. If you are going to the local cafe choose a dish with meat and vegetables, or a salad. At the sushi bar choose sashimi with vegetables and hold the soy sauce.
- Start to change your snacks. Take fruit slices with almond butter, a piece of fruit, some jerky or some leftovers from the evening befores dinner.
- Do some research and find inspiring Paleo recipes that you like the look of on the internet. Because there are so many great recipes online you don’t have to jump at buying a cookbook straight away. As you start to cook your new recipes you will be becoming Paleo.
- Make your evening meals bigger than needed because you can then take left over protein with salad and veg for lunch the next day.
Planning your daily meals and what you are going to buy is the key to being able to stick to Paleo. When you have nothing in the fridge then it is too easy to call up for takeout or pop out for a quick meal leading to temptation.
When you make the change to Paleo don’t beat yourself up about a meal that isn’t quite 100% Paleo. It is a process to change and takes time. Our bodies need time to adjust as well as get into our new routines. Follow Loren Cordains 85/15 rule try and eat paleo 85% of the time. The rest of your meals or snacks can include some non Paleo options. As you feel the changes benefit your health and you have tons more energy then you will be hooked.
To help me stay on track I created my own weekly meal plan from the recipes I love. With a husband, toddler and full time job for me planning is everything. Making sure the fridge is stocked with the right foods, having snacks on hand and having simple and easy meal options for during the working week is essential. In the weekends you might like to spend more time with more complicated and time consuming recipes. Perhaps throw a dinner party showing off your new recipes.