How to Start The Paleo Diet – Paleo Diet for Beginners
On the surface, the Paleo Diet seems pretty simple. Eat what a caveman would eat. Don’t eat what a caveman wouldn’t eat. It is a nutritional plan based on the concept of returning to the hunter-gatherer roots that still make up for the majority of our genetics. So what’s the problem?
Since most of us are anchored in the modern world, it can be difficult and confusing for someone to “live off the land” as our ancient ancestors did. Along with the complexity that comes with starting any diet, every day we are surrounded by the temptations of fast food, processed oils, trans fats, refined sugars, dairy products, and packaged goods—foods that can make eating the Paleo way seem more like an Easter egg hunt. While the diet is simple, it can also be overwhelming for a newcomer to figure out where to start. Below are some steps that will teach beginners not only how to start the Paleo Diet, but how to stick to it as well.
1. Quit Your Regular Diet
This is obvious. But unless you have experience with kicking habits cold turkey, the best way to switch into the Paleo Diet is to transition gradually. This method will prove less of a shock to your body, will keep you from detesting the diet, will lessen the chance of relapse, and doesn’t rely as much on willpower.
2. Raid Your Kitchen
Once you decide to go for the Paleo lifestyle, you will find dozens of products in your house that you can no longer eat. Take a few hours to check your cabinets, pantries, refrigerator, and freezer for all the non-Paleo foods you have. If you are taking the slow transition, mark these foods so you can work them out of your diet over the next few weeks. If you are quitting cold turkey, toss them out, donate them to a shelter or food bank, or invite some friends over for one last modern feast.
3. Tell Someone About Your Diet
Whether you tell a family member or a group of friends, letting someone know that you are starting the Paleo Diet is very important. One of the first mistakes people make when they begin a nutritional plan is keeping it quiet. If you are the only one who knows about your diet, there is a higher chance of your quitting before you get the hang of it. The logic goes like this: if no one sees you quit, you are not a quitter. So, let someone in on your plans. A little guilt never hurt.
4. Familiarize Yourself With The Food
When you start the diet, you need to have a basic idea about what you can and can’t eat. First, you need your proteins, veggies, fruits and fats—this includes eggs, fish, fowl, fruit, fungi, grass-fed meats, natural oils, nuts, roots, tubers, and vegetables. Second, you need to avoid trans fats, dairy products, grains, potatoes, processed oils, and refined salt and sugar. This means no apple sauce, bread, cereal, cookies, crackers, rice pasta, ice cream, oatmeal, packaged goods, pudding, canned soups, noodles, waffles, or yogurt. Third, your main beverage is water, so you better get used to it.
5. Circumvent The Headaches
They say “no pain, no gain,” but nothing good comes from the aches of withdrawal. While you are weaning yourself off habits like sugar, soda, or caffeine, do it very carefully and help the transition by taking pain medication.
6. Don’t Stray Far From Your Customs
Just because you are making healthier choices doesn’t mean that you have to rearrange your whole life. If you have a morning coffee routine, keep it the same—just switch from coffee to a hot cup of herbal tea. If drinking alcohol is a part of your social life, simply exchange grain-based drinks (like beer, bourbon or whiskey) for something more closely related to the Paleo Diet (like rum, tequila, or red or white wine). Keeping things the way you want when dieting is one step closer to staying optimistic, loyal and dedicated.
7. Avoid Restaurants and Cook At Home
It isn’t easy finding Paleo-friendly meals at cafés or restaurants—especially as a beginner. Therefore, while you are still familiarizing yourself with your new diet, keep the meals at home by shopping, preparing and cooking your own meals. And since we are so used to the convenience of quick food, start filling your freezer with your Paleo-friendly leftovers that you can reheat whenever you get the munchies.
8. Schedule Meals
When you are familiar with the Paleo diet and have gone grocery shopping, prepare a weekly meal calendar. This calendar will keep you organized and calm, as you do not have to worry yourself all day about what it is you are going to eat.
Get out of the kitchen and go for a swim, walk or run. One reason why this food worked for the cavemen is because the cavemen had to work for this food. Use the energy gained from eating right to monitor your fitness level and stay active. Eating right is only part of the battle, after all.
10. Sleep Well
The Paleo diet is great for creating optimal levels of energy in your body, but studies show that the average person still needs at least 5-7 hours of sleep. And since artificial lighting can upset the quality of sleep, Paleo-proponents suggest a night in total darkness. Like exercise, eating the right food can’t be the only thing that keeps you going. To get the best out of the diet, you have to let your body rest and recover as naturally as possible.
Since this guide is primarily for beginners, you won’t need most of these steps once you get the hang of the diet, but they are a good starting point for those who are considering the challenge. Whether you are new to the Paleo Diet or to dieting in general, it is important to realize that even the simplest things can get complicated, and knowing the basics is one step closer to sticking with it and living better.
You may consider taking a look on a guide presented below, it containts everything you need to know about Paleo.