So you have decided to give the Paleo diet a try. There are some great health benefits to this sort of eating plan. But just how do you get started? Here are the basics to help you get the most out of the Paleo lifestyle.
Firstly, it is important to differentiate between this way of eating and other diets. Diets tend to be short-term, calorie-restrictive ways of losing weight. They are usually based around the idea of eating less. Paleo is different. In fact, it really makes more sense to think of it as a lifestyle choice. Most people who start with Paleo eat like this forever because it is satisfying, easy and healthy.
Well, it can vary a little, depending on how you consider Paleo. Here is a basic list of what is acceptable and which you can include in your Paleo diet plan :
Many people are a little more liberal in their choices of meat and fish, simply because it can be tough to source truly organic produce such as grass-fed beef. Generally, it makes sense to find the most organic produce possible if you can (and can afford it).
Here is another list of some of the things you can’t eat and won’t appear on any Paleo diet food list.
When you first look at these two lists, it might seem very restrictive. You might be thinking ‘How am I going to survive on that ?’ Keep calm, it really isn’t that hard !
Firstly, remember that these lists are a sort of ideal approach to paleo. Lots of people follow paleo but use certain dairy products, for example.
The next thing to do, and something which will make this easy, is to manage your transition to the Paleo lifestyle. If you eat a typical western diet, full of processed carbs, refined sugars, and trans fats, it is a bad idea to change your diet radically from one day to the next. You need to change gradually. How do you do this ? Remove one thing at a time from your diet. For example, start by removing refined sugar. When this has become a habit after a week or two, remove something else (perhaps grains).
At the same time, start to increase intake of things on the ‘good’ list such as fruits and vegetables. Lots of people are scared that the Paleo or Caveman diet will get boring fairly quickly. It really doesn’t have to be the case. Find different ways of flavouring your fish and meat with herbs and spices. Use different cooking methods. Combine different foods into your Paleo recipes.
One final thing that is important for paleo. Most of us see food as a sort of entertainment. Without being boring, paleo eating isn’t like this. You need to adjust your way of seeing food. Eating a well-cooked steak and vegetables is extremely pleasant and you can be healthy and creative with good, simple food.
It is also important to organise things a little more in the kitchen. Start preparing meals in advance. This is important because it will help you avoid poor choices like fast food or ready meals that are full of artificial ingredients. Keep a few paleo diet friendly snacks handy.
Of course, as soon as you start to enjoy the health benefits of this lifestyle, any thoughts of boring or limited are quickly forgotten. Energy levels go up, you are leaner, your skin is better. And this is actually an easy way to eat and shop. Fewer choices in the supermarket and simple, tasty food on your plate – all this leading to a new, healthy you.