Are you planning to get started with paleo but don’t know how to start? If you’re new to my page or new to Paleo diet, you may be overwhelmed by all of the information available. Here I share with you 9 simple steps to paleo diet. This step by step guide will help make you and your family’s transition to paleo diet more easy.
Simple Steps to Paleo Diet
1. Find your why
If you do not have a strong reason for going Paleo you may not be able to stick with it. For me it was realizing I had thyroid problems along with extreme fatigue. I was an active and healthy trainer one day and the next I could not get out of bed. I would have done anything to improve how I felt at that point. Going Paleo was a no-brainer for me and I have felt better and better everyday since I changed my diet in 2010. Maybe you want to lose weight, balance your blood sugar or fix your skin issues. These issues can all be helped by an elimination diet but your “why” has to be a driving force for change that is pulsing deep inside of you.
2. Purge the pantry
No you don’t have to throw food away but please give it away to a friend or food bank. It is too much temptation especially the first few weeks when you do not have your Paleo sea legs yet. Once the tempting food such as bread, pasta, chips and cookies are out of the house it will be more trouble and expense than it is worth to bring them back in. If you live with others at least put all your trigger foods behind closed doors or cabinets. Even the sight of the tempting treats can set off the bell in your head like Pavlov’s dog.
If you are dealing with intense sugar cravings read my article here or here.
Also a tsp of this supplement on the tongue a few times a day between meals can help so much.
3. Go shopping
Restock your house with the the right foods that will encourage you on your new healthy lifestyle. Stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store and choose vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, and seafood. When starting out, worrying about food quality can be a little overwhelming. Little by little as you stay on the plan try to upgrade your produce to organic, meats to pastured/grass fed and seafood to be wild caught. The best way to do this is by seeking out farmers markets and local farmers in your area (check eatwild.com to find one). Rome was not built in a day and this can be a learning curve so just go at your own pace and based on your budget.
4. Keep your blood sugar stable
It is extremely important to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day for long term health. Many studies are showing that stable blood sugar over the years can strongly influence the chance of many chronic diseases. Normalized blood glucose also helps to keep moods and energy on an even keel through the day. It is important to not skip any meals and make sure to eat protein and fat 3 times a day for best results. After blood sugar is more evened out after a month or two people can experiment with fasting, if desired, based on personal adrenal health. Remember this is not a diet so stop counting calories instead shift your focus towards increasing the nutrient density of each meals.
5. Change your priorities
People often complain that Paleo is expensive and I am not going to lie, it does cost more, but so does cancer, diabetes and heart disease. I got really sick from eating conventional foods so it was a little easier for me to take the plunge because I had no choice. If you’re are free of health issues then I am happy for you. When I started eating this way food quality became a priority and there had to be shifts in how I spent my money. I cut back on other expenses because feeling better became the most important thing to me. I may not have the coolest name brand clothes or drive a shiny new car but my freezer is always full of grass fed beef that’s for sure!
6. Get your mind right
Life will throw you curve balls and it will not be easy to change your diet at first. Family and friends will heckle you (a lot) because they will feel threatened by the change. They will reflect back on you the guilt they feel about their unhealthy eating and it may be (really) hard at first. But after a few weeks it will be like riding a bicycles and you will forget you ever ate bread and pasta. Also other people’s opinions about what you eat will matter less and less. The best revenge will be when people see you losing weight, having more energy and showing off your glowing skin. Soon people will be begging you to teach them the way to feel and look great!
7. Don’t forget the fat
Some people think Paleo is all about lean meat and nothing could be further from the truth. If you try to have a low fat diet you will not be successful on this plan. The whole idea about lean meat comes from the idea that wild or grass fed animals on their natural diet are leaner than unnatural corn fed animals but that is where the leanness ends. Traditional people prized animal fats such as the brain, organs and tallow or suet. Very lean meat was often given to dogs or even discarded. Tribal people also knew that excessive consumption of lean meat could lead to rabbit starvation where malnutrition and even death is caused by a lack of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K. I used to see many clients making the mistake avoiding fats then complain of hunger and dissatisfaction. The fat phobia is so ingrained that people forget this vital (and tasty) element, then they wonder why they can’t stick with Paleo/Primal.
8. Plan ahead
Following a Paleo lifestyle does take a little more planning because it is not based around sandwiches and packaged food. It is crucial to take meat out of the freezer before work. Also your new best friend on a Paleo diet will be your crock pot. Throw some meat and veggies and spices in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a hot meal after a long day. Also dont for get to add some homemade broth.
It is important to keep your fridge full to avoid the temptation of grabbing convenience foods. Also try to keep some frozen vegetables on hand for when you run out of fresh. Keep some frozen berries, gelatin, and coconut milk on hand for a quick smoothie before work. Eggs have endless possibilities for breakfast lunch and dinner so never run out (preferably pastured on grass, eating bugs) Try my frittata recipes here, here and here. Keep some cans of wild salmon and sardines on hand for the times when you don’t have any meat thawed out.
* Also it is a good idea to map out some Paleo friendly choices around the office or on the way to work. See my article about eating healthy out on the road here and here.
Yelp is a helpful app where I type in organic or grass fed when looking for restaurants nearby.
9. Throw out the diet mentality
Paleo is not an off and on type of thing, it is a lifestyle. Once you do it a while it will become second nature and eating any other way won’t feel “right”. Does that mean your never slip up or make a choice that does not agree with your stomach, no. This lifestyle is not about guilt or self-flagellation. It is about staying in the middle of lines and not going off the rails too often.
It is common to eat too many Paleo treats and grain free breads when beginning but that doesn’t make someone a bad person. It is often a phase that people need to go through to see that they feel better with the basics (meat, fish, eggs, veggies, and fats). Once or twice you may forget your lunch and fall for the free office pizza, but your gut will remind you to plan better for the next time. Find your Paleo groove so you can steer clear of the plus size section and get good grades from your doctor.
Bonus Tip: Find Community
It is very important to find supportive people that are like minded. There are tons of Paleo groups on meetup.com. Also the Weston A. Price Foundation has many chapters full of real food lovers worldwide. Also there are tons of facebook groups that can help your motivation, especially if you live in an isolated area. When your family or co-workers are giving you a hard time it can be a real refuge to make friends in these groups, near or far. Being around similar people has helped me so much and now pretty much everyone I know is Paleo or Primal. It is funny how like attracts like…
Changing your lifestyle can be hard at first because your ego will fight back. The first few weeks are tough but if you stick with it a while you will never go back. Can you ever have bread again? That is up to you…Maybe once some gut healing has occurred you can try adding some things back in your diet. Will you be interested in eating bread in a few weeks or months? Maybe not…
Walk before you can run. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the different protocols when you first go Paleo. Should you try Autoimmune Paleo, Keto Paleo, intermittent fasting, or even no fodmaps?
Well maybe, but those are all advanced ideas that will overwhelm and confuse the new person. Stick with the basics for a while and then experiment and tweak as you go. If you try too many different things at once you may find your self fed-up and back in the McDonald’s drive through.
Remember that sometimes stress is the biggest barrier to getting healthy so don’t let Paleo perfectionism talk you out of good enough. If you fall off the horse just get right back up and start riding again. Tomorrow is a new day full of healthy possibilities! You can do it!
I hope these simple steps to paleo diet help you make the most important decision of you and your family’s life and your transition to healthy life more easy.
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Want to go Paleo the right way?
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