Lately, the Paleo Diet has been generating a lot of buzz within the health industry, with talk of cavemen, meat and weight loss, this diet has everyone wondering if it’s right for them. The Paleo Diet encourages individuals to eat wholesome and unprocessed foods, cut out carbs, and to stay away from foods that are known to cause allergies and inflammation (i.e. gluten, refined sugar, candy). It is also praised for being a high-protein, high-fiber diet that allows people to lose weight without cutting calories. Although paleo may sound less restrictive than other diets, it can be tricky to understand exactly what you can and can’t eat when it comes to Paleolithic foods. Whether you’re thinking about going paleo, or just want to try it out, we’ve highlighted a few simple ways to help you set yourself up for success when following the Paleo Diet!
Understand Your Motivation for Going Paleo
People choose to go paleo for numerous reasons. Whether it’s medical issues, weight loss, or simply because you want to try and improve your health, know your reasons for going paleo and stand by them. Your motivation for going paleo will keep you encouraged throughout the process and help you define your guidelines when following the diet. Those who are going paleo for medical reasons, such as an autoimmune disease like celiac disease, will have stricter rules about what they can and can’t emit from their diet. While those who are focusing solely on weight loss may be more lenient with their carb intake and allotted cheat meals.
Know What You Can and Can’t Eat
While we’ve already said the Paleo Diet encourages individuals to eat more wholesome, unprocessed foods, what does that mean?
When referring to meats and protein, the Paleo Diet recommends eating grass-fed, organic meat, as well as, wild caught fish. This farm-to-table rule also applies when picking out vegetables, fruit and eggs. If this already sounds like too much for you, don’t stress. When starting any new diet, it’s important to know when to pick your battles. Often grass-fed beef will be much easier to find than organic meat and will probably cost less, as well. As for fruits and veggies, try visiting your local farmers market for organic options that are much cheaper than those in the store. Nuts, seeds, and healthy oils are also encouraged to eat when following the paleo diet.
Now that we’ve got what you can eat covered, what can’t you eat on the Paleo Diet? Anything unprocessed and refined. Those following the Paleo Diet tend to stay away from foods such as dairy, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, processed food, candy, potatoes, legumes and cereal grains. It may sound like a lot at first, but, as with any diet, your cravings for these foods will decrease with dedication and patience, and it will become easier to exclude them from your meals.
Remember, you are the one in charge. Take your time, build your way up and don’t force yourself to omit every food you’ve ever loved from your diet at once. By starting slow and removing one or two items a week, the Paleo Diet will be much easier to follow. Rules such as the 85/15 rule have also been created to make sticking to the Paleo Diet easier. Following this rule means that if 85% of your diet comes from Paleolithic foods, then you’re likely to reap 100% of the benefits of the diet and can allow yourself 15% of wiggle room. Eating non-paleo, 15% of the time would mean that you’d get about 2-3 cheat meals each week, making it easier to eat out at restaurants and occasionally indulge in some of your favorite foods.
Make it Hard to Cheat
Even when starting small and following rules like the 85/15 rule, the Paleo Diet can be tough, and temptations are everywhere. After a long, hard day at work, even those who have an abundance of willpower may find a 5-minute premade meal to be a tempting choice. To make following the Paleo Diet easier, do yourself a favor and remove any and all temptations from your home, I guarantee you’ll thank us later.
Note that, clearing out your kitchen doesn’t have to be a wasteful or painful process, though! A lot of the processed food you’ll be clearing from your pantry can easily be donated or given to friends, so they don’t go to waste!
Lastly, Be Proud of Yourself and Enjoy the Benefits
Whether your 100% paleo, following the 85/15 rule, or simply adding a few paleo-friendly meals into your weekly diet you’re taking steps to better your health and should be proud of the efforts you’ve made. The Paleo Diet encourages individuals to introduce more healthy fats, fruits, and veggies, which contribute to the production of healthy cells, muscle production, more energy and better gut health. Caring for your body is essential for a long and healthy life, and you’re on the right track. We have bunch of amazing Paleo recipes that any newcomer should try out while they are easing into the diet!