In this post I break down what the Paleo diet is, what you can and cannot eat, as well as my own personal experience on this journey.
Since April I have been on the Paleo diet. I have seen incredible results from changing my diet. Let me tell you I am a hard customer to convince. I have been dieting on and off for the last 13 years and I have done all the fad diets, they didn’t work. I was never happy with the results.
Simply changing the foods I was eating has changed my life. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
Now if you haven’t read My Story yet, check that out here.
Let me give you a quick overview. I have been struggling with my weight ever since I could remember but more specifically after a traumatic doctor’s visit when I was 12. My weight has always been on my mind.
Struggling with my weight at such a young age definitely puts a gray cloud over my head. Dieting on and off for so long it’s totally exhausting. I have tried ever fad diet out there from pills to extreme fastening to shakes and bars.
Going through all this heartache ever year is draining. During this time, food became more than nutrition it became my friend and my security blanket. I developed an eating disorder to just get me through life.
Compulsively over eating is dangerous. It’s an emotionally driven disorder. Bingeing sometimes several times a day can take a toll mentally and physically. Struggling with an eating disorder caused me emotional grief, embarrassment and of course the weight gain. My weight has changed so much over the years. I have slowly gained 100 pounds. I weighed 224 pounds at my heaviest weight.
I went to a recovery center for help and I have been on a healthier road over the last 5 years.
I started going to the gym in November of last year. My cousin actually got me to go. I had just left my job months before to pursue my own business. But I was missing the daily structure of a full-time job. I needed the structure back into my life.
So she got me a week pass to try out classes to see if I was interested. I went to Zumba, Bootcamp, Body Works, Yoga, Pilates and Cardio Kickboxing. Going from not working out at all to having the time and the encouragement to go and work out. I felt great!
I enjoy having my cousin there pushing me, encouraging me to go when I don’t want to but also every week we catch up with life. She is a great workout buddy!
For the first time ever I actually enjoyed and looked forward to going to the gym. I got excited because of the classes. I am surrounded by people who are there for the same purpose to have fun and sweat, like a lot!
I was going 4-5 days a week but I wasn’t showing any results of weight loss. However, I was losing inches and gaining muscle. I wasn’t seeing the weight results that I wanted, so I researched new healthy lifestyle choices.
Ever since starting this diet change my friends and family have been asking me what is this diet? Why am I doing this? Isn’t it so hard to find foods to eat? How do you feel? Hey, can I have that recipe?
I did a lot of research on the paleo diet. I thoroughly wanted to understand this way of eating before jumping in with both feet. Like most people I didn’t know what it was exactly I had only heard somethings about it. One of the things I found is this book. Paleo for beginners!
It had exactly what I was looking for. A science fact based background, recipes, meal plans and a shopping list so I knew I could start this new journey asap.
Let’s get down to what is Paleo?
The Paleo diet is not just another fad diet; it is the diet humans were designed to eat. Also known as the Primal diet, the Caveman diet, and the Stone Age diet, the Paleo diet focuses on low-carb, high-protein meals, and removes all processed foods.
Paleo for Beginners will show you how to adopt a Paleo lifestyle in order to feel healthy, lose weight, and increase your energy level. With Paleo for Beginners, start enjoying the best health of your life today–all while losing weight and decreasing your odds of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and many other modern health maladies.
NO gluten, NO diary, NO sugar, NO grains, NO processed foods, well you must be thinking what the heck can I eat?
Trust ME plenty! And if you like to cook then this is perfect for you!
Here is an overview of different foods you can and cannot eat. For the most information on this diet, check out this book.
An example of what you can eat on the Paleo Diet:
- Grass Fed, Organic Animal Proteins
- Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, duck, turkey, eggs
For any kind of protein including eggs go for grass fed, all organic, cage free and free of any hormones or antibiotics. When looking for what cuts of meats look for lean cuts opposed to high fat content.
- Fish Proteins
- All kinds of fish, shrimp, crab, clams, oysters, lobsters
It is recommended that you prioritize cold-water fish varieties such as cod, haddock, mackerel and salmon to maximize your omega-3 consumption.
- Apple, avocado, banana, cantaloupe, cranberry, grapes, grapefruit, lemon, lime, nectarine, peach, pear, raspberry, tangerine, watermelon
- Artichoke, asparagus, bell pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, lettuce (except iceberg), mushroom, pumpkin, seaweed, spinach, tomato, zucchini
- Nuts, Seeds and Oils
- Almond, almond butter, cashew, flax seed, hazelnut, nut flour (almond and hazelnut are recommended), olive oil, pine nut, pistachio, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts
- Fruit juice (pure and organic, without any added sugar), green tea, herbal tea, water
- Carob powder, dried fruit without added sugar, fresh and dried herbs, frozen fruit and fruit bars without added sugar, raw-organic honey, spices and seasonings
When preparing your meat, poultry and seafood you can use steaming, broiling, grilling, sautéing, pan-frying, baking or boiling. Avoid deep-frying, because neither the batters nor the typical deep frying oils are recommended.
In general, you can eat any fruits and vegetables other than corn and some root vegetables, which have a high sugar and starch content. Carrots can be eaten in moderation, and onions are historically a wild crop and therefore acceptable. Try to select low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are allowed but keep to a minimum. Canned fruits and vegetables are typically overcooked and over-salted and should be avoided.
Food to avoid on the Paleo Diet:
- All foods made with any dairy products, butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, milk
- Cereal Grains
- Barley, buckwheat, corn )corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn chips, cornstarch, corn syrup), oats (all processed foods made with oats), rice (all rice products), wheat (breads, noodles, crackers, waffles, pita bread, pasta, pizza, all processed foods made with wheat or wheat flour)
- All beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts and peanut butter, peas, soybeans and all soy products, including tofu, sugar snap peas
- Starchy Vegetables
- Cassava root, potatoes and all potato products (like French fries and chips), tapioca, yams
- High-Salt Meats and Snacks
- Bacon (use the lean portions occasionally for seasoning/cooking), deli meats, hot dogs, nearly all canned meats or and fish, pickled foods, pork rinds, salted nuts, salami, sausages, smoked dried and salted fish and meat
- Canola oil, safflower oil, sugar, sunflower oil, vegetable oil
Get into the Right Mindset:
I must say though, this is not a convenient diet meal plan. You seriously have to pre plan your meals out. If you don’t then you won’t be successful!
You need to pre plan and buy plenty of fresh produce and groceries that you are actually going to eat. If you are not setting yourself up for success it won’t happen. You will be fighting a losing battle!
Spread the Word:
Tell your friends and family that you are on the Paleo Diet, not to brag but to prepare the people around you for your lifestyle change. This will enable them to support you and help to avoid unintended temptation. They don’t have to join you or agree with you but they should be supportive and respectful.
Find New Food Sources:
Do some research to decide where and how you’ll be getting your groceries. Research your local area and make a plan to shop in those places instead of going to other temptation places in your first week. This is really important and going back to setting yourself up for success.
After spending an afternoon reading the book cover to cover intensely and taking notes, I got excited! The recipe ideas started flowing out of me.
What inspired me the most was when in the book talked about blood pressure, cholesterol, and preventative heart disease, which unfortunately for me, all run in my family. So I feel strongly at the age of 25 I need to get a handle of this now before it’s too late!
Every day spend time preparing for this new life choice.
- Become your own cheerleader: compile some of your favorite motivational quotes and put them in a place you will see every day. I put fun quotes by my bed so I’ll see them every morning and night.
- Know where you are starting so you will know when you arrive there: Take before pictures. Trust me I know it might feel really uncomfortably but when you hit your end goal you are going to take an after picture and you can see and feel proud of your visible progress. Weigh yourself and record your starting weight, also measure your BMI since this will create a more accurate measure of your body. This is a way to help make realistic goals. Start a journal to just quickly write down how you are feeling on a weekly basis. Also make notes for non-paleo diet foods and how they make you feel. I know for me if I eat diary now, I get stomach cramps and feel exhausted. I can definitely feel terrible off the diet plan. So I make note of that so when I’m tempted next I can see exactly how I felt the last time.
- Set your goals: write own goals that you would like to accomplish along with your change to a Paleo diet. Make goals like I will lose 4 pounds this month, I will eat breakfast every morning, or I will cut back to two cups of coffee per day. Put your list in a location where you can see it and mark your progress.
- Make a rewards program for yourself: write down a list of rewards you will enjoy as you meet each of the goals on your list. Every success, not matter how small, should be celebrated in some way. You’ve earned it!
- Clean house: that means get out all the forbidden foods out of the house. One example is to donate unopened foods to a local shelter or food bank. If you live with other people then move the off-limit foods to separate shelves and cupboards that are less accessible and tempting to you.
Now that I have given you a starting point to the Paleo Diet. I hope this makes it less intimating and exciting! This will help you get to that lifestyle change you are looking for.
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