Okay! Okay! Someone else messaged me a couple days ago and asked about getting started with paleo so I’m guessing that was God poking me in the back with his finger! Thanks Amanda 😉 There’s soooooooo much information out there about paleo so when you do start searching don’t get overwhelmed. Stick with the two websites I give you and then GRADUALLY start searching for more information as you start living a paleo lifestyle. Yes, I said lifestyle. Paleo is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. You will often hear or see it referred to as the paleolithic or caveman diet because you are basically following the food template that they did. (But I just
hate strongly dislike the word diet.) BLUF (bottom line up front)…eat meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Avoid grains (Yes people, that means corn and anything with flour including PASTA!), legumes (beans, including peanuts), dairy, modern vegetable oils (canola and safflower) and processed foods including sugar. Manage stress levels, get plenty of sleep, exercise and for heaven’s sake, go outside and soak in some sunshine! Okay! That’s it, good luck, see ya’ later!…………………Just kidding 😉
***Read my blog post first BEFORE you go to the websites in the links.***
The first article I want you to read is this one from Nerd Fitness. I love this article because it’s an easy read, has a silly video and he uses legos for his pictures! The only thing that bugs me is that he doesn’t mention avoiding legumes. Not sure why and one of these days I’m going to email him and ask why, but for now just know, no legumes! Although I love his article, paleo is not the main subject matter of his website. I keep his website in my favorites and browse it every once in a while for fitness articles.
This is the next article I want you to read. Below the second paragraph there are several links in blue. DO NOT click on those…just yet. Finish reading the article and then go back at your leisure and read the others. Sarah’s entire website is dedicated to educating readers about the paleo lifestyle and how it can improve your health. I know most people search out information about paleo because they want to lose weight, but as Sarah points out, it has been known to cure disorders and also free people of medications they have been on for years. She also has a recipe section, but I will tell you that I have not tried any of her recipes yet. So many recipes, so little time!
Okay Connie, I’ve read the articles. Now what? Well, you can go whole hog and clean out your pantry or you can take baby steps. I would recommend going whole hog on the paleo part by cleaning out your pantry and either storing that food away or donating it to a local food bank. I will address “the rest of the paleo lifestyle” in another post.
First things first…make a menu. You are probably eating a few paleo meals already and don’t even know it. Ever had a steak and salad? Grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli? There ya’ go, it’s paleo! Look at that; poet and didn’t know it! Seriously, just think about some of the meals you already eat and write those down. Some may already be paleo, others may just need a little tweaking. I’ve been making weekly menus for years just because I’m a planner and okay, maybe a little OCD. A couple months ago it occurred to me that I should keep my weekly menus and just keep reusing them so I don’t start from scratch every week…duh! It’s a work in progress and I will start posting some of those soon. We are a small family so I’m trying to find ways to use extra food. For example, when I want coleslaw, I usually use half a head of cabbage so the other half will sit in the fridge and rot 🙁 Now I will have coleslaw on Monday and cabbage and bacon on Friday! Or better yet, make a huge roast on Sunday and have it with steamed broccoli and carrots and then shred it for tacos another day. Menus and planning will make your life so much easier. I know, I know! I don’t have time to plan! Trust me, making a plan will prevent the “standing in front of the pantry at 5:30 wondering what I’m going to make for dinner let’s just go to McDonald’s” syndrome go away! Just do it and stop whining! Still need some help? Here’s a menu to kick start your week.
So let’s talk about a few other items of interest before I let you loose into the paleo world.
- Strict paleo vs. My Regular Paleo Life – As you venture into the paleo world you will hear the words “But it’s my cheat day!” Yes, I do have an occasional nonpaleo food. I do not like to call it a cheat. I call it things I eat in my regular paleo life. If I go to a BBQ birthday party and want to have a piece of yummy chocolate birthday cake, I indulge. However, I know my stomach will pay later. I strongly suggest you go strict paleo for 90 days. After completing the 90 days, add things that you missed back into your lifestyle ONE AT A TIME. Take dairy for instance. If you really missed milk, try a glass and see what it does to your body. I found out milk makes me sleepy and sluggish. A lot of people aren’t necessarily allergic to milk, but find out that it affects their bodies in a negative way. As you read more about paleo, you will find some paleoers actually consume dairy. They drink whole organic milk and heavy cream, use real grass fed butter (Kerrygold is a good choice) and eat small amounts of cheese. Okay, put the milk away and try a piece of cake or a couple cookies with refined or processed sugar (white) and flour in it. Sorry to say, it just messes my stomach up 🙁 Doing this will allow you to see what you can and can’t eat as a “treat” and how it affects your body. Pasta is absolutely off my list. I tried pasta after not eating it for almost a year and pretty much got physically ill. I so miss Olive Garden 🙁
- Sugar – Processed sugars are a no-no on paleo but you are allowed to have natural sugars like honey, pure maple syrup or agave (although agave is on the chopping block right now). I have already posted my favorite chocolate chip recipe which I encourage you to try. Just remember, paleo desserts should be a treat. I try to keep my intake to one or two times a week. Even though honey is a natural sugar, sugar is sugar and extra sugar is stored as fat. That goes for some fruits too. Yes, bananas are great, but also high in sugar so be mindful when you are snacking. Fruits are a great post workout food. After working out, your body is depleted of glycogen (stored form of sugar in your muscles…aka energy) so eating a piece of fruit is a great way to replenish those stores. I love frozen grapes or pineapple after a workout.
- Read your labels! You’re really going to have to get used to staying away from bottles and boxed foods. Take a gander at all the labels on the condiment isle: salad dressings, ketchup, mayo, etc. Those foods are filled with sugars, bad oils, and all kinds of other chemicals and fillers. Boxed foods are filled with all sorts of preservatives that usually can’t be pronounced! Grocery store tip; stay on the perimeter of the store which is where you will find most of your fresh foods.
- Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you cave and eat a Snickers! Wipe your mouth, move on and do an extra lap!
That’s it! Well, probably not. I’m sure I’ll post this and think about a million things I should have said, but you get the idea. There’s so much information about paleo out there so don’t get overwhelmed. Stick with Sarah’s website for a couple weeks and slowly learn more. For more paleo recipes just google “paleo recipes” and put your seatbelt on. Go for easy and quick in the beginning. I will begin to post more recipes on my Prayer, Paleo and Push ups facebook page until I figure out how to have a recipe tab here, so hop over and like my page. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Pray, Cook & Move,