Following a Paleo diet offers a wide variety of advantages. Paleo diet enthusiasts report relief from seasonal allergies, increased energy, relief from migraines, and other positive results. Much of this may be due to the fresh whole foods that make up the Paleo diet. You’ll find yourself enjoying large servings of fruits and vegetables along with high-quality meats and healthy fats.
In a nutshell, the Paleo diet eliminates both grains and dairy from your diet. Instead, Paleo diet followers focus on high-quality protein like grass-fed beef and poultry along with plenty of whole vegetables and fruit. Snacks include nuts, seeds, and fruit to complete the Paleo menu.
Why Are You Following a Paleo Diet?
If you want to be successful, you need to have a specific reason for following the Paleo diet. Do you want to lose weight, stabilize blood sugar, clear up skin issues, or eliminate allergies? Without a specific reason to follow a Paleo diet, you can easily lose motivation. So pinpoint your reason and put it up somewhere where you’ll see it every day. That way, you’ll keep your motivation to follow the Paleo diet in mind!
Clear Away the Bad Stuff
Don’t even allow the temptation to indulge in off-limit foods. Clear all that food out of your fridge, freezer, and pantry! Throw out the milk, yogurt, cheese, packaged foods, grains, and any other off-plan foods that lurk in your kitchen. If you’re going to be successful on the Paleo diet, insider tips like this one need to be strictly followed.
Perhaps you’d prefer to ease into the Paleo diet. You can cut one food group at a time. For example, if you decide to cut dairy first, then purge your fridge of milk, cheese, yogurt, and any other dairy products. After you’ve avoided dairy for a week, then you can move on to grains. You’ll take out things like rice, flour, and other grains out of your pantry. Before you know it, you’ll be following the full Paleo diet!
Eat Good Meat
Meat is a wonderful part of the Paleo diet! It provides a staple source of protein that keeps your body satisfied and strong. However, there is some meat that you’ll need to avoid. Processed meats like hot dogs, chicken nuggets, bologna, or salami should be on the no-eat list. Instead, fill your meals with wild meats like bison and elk. Pasture-fed beef or chicken, as well as wild-caught fish, are also great choices.
Choose Saturated Oils
The Paleo diet eliminates canola oil, corn oil, or soybean oil from your diet. Instead, you’ll use saturated fats like coconut oil or lard for cooking. Pasture-fed butter is another good option for cooking if you plan to use a little dairy. Walnut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil are all good for salad dressings.
Soothe Your Sweet Tooth
It can be hard to give up sugar, especially if you have a sweet tooth! But the Paleo diet doesn’t allow processed or refined sugars in your diet. Instead, get used to having some sweet fruit for dessert or snack. A little bit of dried mango is a great option when you need a sweet tooth fix!
Consider Following the 85/15 Rule
For the first month of the Paleo diet, you need to be super-strict. Don’t allow any off-limit food groups to creep into your meals. After the first month, you may be able to implement an 85/15 approach. That means that 85% of the time, you adhere strictly to the Paleo diet. The other 15% of the time, you can splurge. Perhaps that means a granola bar for breakfast on Saturday. Or maybe it means having a hamburger with a bun at your family BBQ. Allowing yourself a splurge occasionally may help you stick to the Paleo diet in the long run.
What if that splurge makes you feel bloated and terrible the next day? Perhaps you had ice cream while you were out with friends last night, but you woke up with a stomach ache this morning. Now you know that ice cream is not a good splurge – don’t deviate from your Paleo diet to dairy! Maybe an occasional gingersnap cookie is a better option.
Know that You’ll Probably Slip
Most people who follow a Paleo diet will slip back into their old ways of eating a couple times during their Paleo journey. This is normal! Don’t feel like a failure if you splurge once in a while. Instead, you need to jump right back to the Paleo diet. Make it your new lifestyle!
Create your own Paleo diet support system. Join an online support group or get together with friends who also follow a Paleo diet. It’s much easier to get back on track when you seek accountability with others who are following the same lifestyle.
Learn How to Cook Your Own Paleo Foods
After you’ve cleared off-limit foods out of your home, the easiest place to slip up is when you’re dining out at a restaurant. As you begin your Paleo diet, you should avoid eating out. Instead, plan to make your meals at home. And to avoid monotony or flavorless food, invest in some good Paleo diet cookbooks. The cookbooks will help you find flavorful recipes that use ingredients that you know you’re allowed to eat.
When You Do Eat at a Restaurant
Switching to a Paleo diet doesn’t mean that you can never go to a restaurant ever again! It just means that you need to be careful about what you order. Most restaurants have their menu available online. Take some time to look at the menu ahead of time and decide what you’d like to eat. Remember to choose a protein and plenty of vegetables! If you’re concerned with any ingredients in the dish, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter about substitutions.
Change Your Thoughts About a Healthy Plate
Most of us have grown up filling our plate with grains, veggies, and proteins. Sometimes dairy is included in that list also. Now that you’re following a diet, that plate must change. Instead of grains or dairy, you’ll be eating more veggies. So plan to fill your plate with a palm-sized portion of protein and a little fat. The rest of your plate should be filled with veggies!
To get the veggies that you need, you may want to develop a few veggie staples that you make in place of your grains. For instance, bread or rolls may have made a regular appearance on your table in your pre-Paleo diet days; however, now that you’re following a Paleo diet, you can replace that bread with a favorite veggie dish that’s flavorful and easy to make!
Learn to Read Labels
While most of the food you’ll be eating on the diet will be whole and fresh, you’ll still purchase a few processed items. When it comes to finding pre-packaged foods, it’s essential that you read the label. For instance, if you’re purchasing almond butter, make sure that the ingredients are simply almonds and salt. You want to avoid added sugars or preservatives.
Start Improving Your Health Today
With these insider tips to the Paleo diet, you can begin your new lifestyle today! Start by eliminating grains and dairy from your diet. Give yourself a break if you slip up once or twice – you’re still learning – but get right back on the Paleo diet wagon! Surround yourself with a support network of other Paleo diet followers. And enjoy the healthy lifestyle that a Paleo diet offers!