How to Start The Paleo Diet (1)

 

You’ve made the decision to start Paleo and now you are thinking to yourself “How do I start the Paleo Diet”?  It’s not as hard as you think!

Paleo is a way of eating that I enjoyed for years.  I go back and forth between Paleo and Keto and really kind of mix the two. I have to do a lower carb paleo due trying to manage blood sugars, but Paleo is probably one of the healthiest ways to eat in my opinion!  

 

What is the Paleo Diet?

Paleo is a way of eating that goes back to our ancestral days.  It involves eating whole, unprocessed foods that are non-GMO and organic when possible. 

The acceptable foods are meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, nuts, and minimal fruits. 

The unacceptable foods are grains, dairy, legumes, soy, and anything processed or that has added sugar.

The idea is to mimic as closely as possible to what we used to eat before the agricultural age and processed foods.

Paleo can certainly be lower carb.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.  I choose the lower carb version. [1]

 

RELATEDKeto Vs Paleo

 

How do I start the Paleo Diet?

That all depends on your current way of eating.  If you eat relatively healthy, lower sugar and not a ton of processed foods – then it won’t be as hard to just jump in.

If you eat the way many of us (myself included) started out, then the dilemma of how to start paleo includes a few more steps.  EASY steps though, so don’t worry.

Let’s take it from the top!

chips

Eliminate processed foods

Step 1 is to remove processed food.  Unfortunately (at least in America) processed foods are so full of chemicals and man-made “foods” that it hardly resembles anything our body can recognize.

What are processed foods?  Well, most anything that comes in a box or bag.  Mac’n’cheese, Oreos, cheese whiz, frozen dinners, pop tarts, soda, etc…

Start moving towards whole foods that do not have a list of ingredients on a package.

I put GMO foods in this category.

sugar

 

Reduce sugar

Step 2 is to reduce sugar.  This is not going to be a piece of cake.  More like a muffin without frosting.  Doable, but not the most enjoyable.  Most of us are (or were) addicted to sugar.  Our bodies will tell us they NEED it.

You may experience withdrawal symptoms as you decrease sugar.  I did it cold turkey to just get it over with.  Some people may find it easier to take a few weeks and slowly remove sugar.  Either is fine.  Every day that you have less sugar is a GREAT day.

One study [2] shows that “intermittent access to sugar can lead to behavior and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse”.  Isn’t that crazy to think about?

Sugar as also been linked to heart disease[3].  And they blamed fat all these years!

ADDED sugar is just something best to avoid and begin the removal process ASAP.

Remove grains

Step 3 is to remove grains.  Ah…. grains!  We love our bread, don’t we?

I have to say that this was the hardest one to remove for me.  I loved sandwiches and pasta and all the things GLUTEN!  Grains go beyond gluten, but wheat is the most popular grain.

The interesting thing is that some people have withdrawal when this occurs too.

The only thing I can say is to push through it and do the same thing as what you did with sugar.  Either cold turkey or take it slow.

Jump all in

Step 4 – go all in!  Alright, so you’ve removed processed foods, sugar and grains.  Now it is time to take the plunge.

If you haven’t already, time to remove dairy, legumes, and soy.

 

paleo food 

 

What to eat on the Paleo Diet

Meats – beef, poultry, lamb, pork, etv…

Seafood – wild caught vs farmed is best

Eggs – organic, free-range

Nuts – go to town on nuts, just remember that peanuts are NOT a nut – they are a legume

Healthy Fats & Oils – coconut oil, nuts, macadamia oil, olive oil, etc…

Fruits – I aim for lower sugar fruits like berries, but you can pick and choose fruits

Veggies – devour them  

 

When to start the Paleo Diet

Start when you’ll be the most successful.  Meaning, it is a LOT to make a drastic change in your eating patterns so doing it during minimal stress times with maximum support is best.

Basically, start when you can COMMIT. Decide and succeed!          

 

As always, make sure you seek any sort of medical advice (if appropriate and applicable) before starting a new plan. 

 

References

[1] Keto Vs Paleo

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021