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~ This is the 2nd post in the Healthy Momma series on Paleo Living ~
Check out the day 1 here: Weight Loss Success With Paleo
I was tired of eating and not feeling full.
I was tired of my pants getting tighter.
I was tired of being tired.
All of these tireds led me to making the leap into the Paleo Lifestyle. And I haven’t looked back!
What Is The Paleo Diet?
It’s really not a diet. It’s a lifestyle. Sounds cheesy, but hear me out…
Diets are temporary means to reach a goal – weight loss, lower cholesterol, sugar moderation. They can be cheated on. You can use them with a 80/20 mentality – following the diet 80% of the time and allowing “cheat” foods 20% of the time. Paleo doesn’t work like that. It’s all in, all the time.
That’s why I say it’s a lifestyle. Paleo covers 100% of your food intake and your daily routine. It covers your sleep to food prep to food consumption.
A Paleo lifestyle also stops the damage (and potential damage) that the Standard American Diet (appropriately nicknamed the SAD diet) has done to your body.
What Can You Eat On Paleo?
It is best to start by explaining what you can eat on Paleo, because there are more things you can eat than you can’t eat.
Ideally, a Paleo diet includes grass fed organic meats. You want your food to be as healthy as possible before it becomes fuel for your body.
What if you can’t afford grass fed? Don’t sweat it. It is better to eat meat that you can afford; rather than ditching the whole Paleo idea. You can load up on grass fed meats when they are on sale or marked down for quick sale.
- Pork – BACON!
- Wild Game (step out of your comfort zone and try something new!)
- And more!
Pretty much all seafood is Paleo friendly. Some ideas include:
This section might be a surprise to those new to the Paleo mentality. Mainstream society tells us to avoid fats, but Paleo spells it out like this: load up on healthy fats and you will nurture your body and satiate your appetite!
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Grass fed butter
- And more!
Nature’s candy! You can retrain your brain to see these as a sweet reward – just like candy used to be! And come on, who doesn’t love to sit down with a bowl of fresh fruit?
- And more!
Feel free to eat lots and lots of veggies! When bought in season and frozen they are an affordable star of every meal!
- Leafy greens
- Brussel sprouts
- And more!
These are a great way to get your carb fix without going out of bounds. (Limit your intake of these if you are trying to lose weight.)
- Squash (butternut, acorn)
- Sweet potatoes
Nuts & Seeds
(Limit your intake of these if you are trying to lose weight.) These are great for snacking and adding to salads. You can even make your own milk from cashews and almonds!
- Macadamia nuts
- Sunflower & pumpkin seeds
You can use a few natural sweeteners – in extreme moderation.
- Real maple syrup
- Coconut sugar
What Can’t You Eat On Paleo?
Don’t worry, this list is a lot smaller than what you can eat. A good rule of thumb is to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. All of the things in the middle aisles (packaged and processed foods) are almost always a no go.
- Cane sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Sour Cream
- Butter (negotiable to some Paleo peeps – personally I choose to use it)
No more sweet drinks…
- Soda (regular & diet)
- Sweetened coffee and tea
- Fruit juices
- Peanuts (yes, they are indeed a legume)
- All beans (pinto, kidney, chickpea, etc)
- Soybeans (and all soy products)
This is a hard group to say goodbye to. Grains make up a large part of the SAD diet, and they are cheap! I’m mean, who can resist 33¢ boxes of mac n cheese from Aldi’s? It’s all about mind over matter – yes the mac is good but it will not give your body the fuel it needs. Choose your fuel wisely.
Keep reading to the end of this article to get your free checklist of common non-compliant foods to help you as you clean out your cabinets!
No white potatoes!
How To Start
So you’re ready to go all in and start your Paleo lifestyle? Sweet!
Here’s what I recommend for everyone starting out on Paleo:
- Go through your pantry and get rid of all non-Paleo foods. If you are doing this solo and still plan on feeding your family SAD foods you should at least get rid of (and stop buying) your trigger foods – yes, even your Oreos and Reese’s stash momma…
- Make a list of what foods you will start your Paleo pantry with.
- If you are still cooking SAD meals for your family, take a look at your meal plan and try to find meals that you can make alongside your family’s. Plan out your own meals for the week.
If you are looking for a little more information on Paleo and a step by step guide on how to start out on Paleo, be sure to check out Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation.
What To Expect When Starting Paleo
I hate to tell you this, but If you are transitioning from a full SAD diet your first week will be rough. I don’t want to sugar coat any of this. There will be some pain before the gain (or loss – as in weight loss)!
You will have to detox from sugar and processed foods. Yes, I said detox. Your body has literally become dependant on sugar.You will be cranky, hangry, and you will get some nasty headaches.
Usually day 3 is the crest of the detox, and you will start to see the symptoms subside after this.
Let me tell you my detox experience…
I was prepared for the sugar withdrawal this time around (and trust me, there will be withdrawals). But the first time I tried Paleo (as a diet) I felt miserable and sick for what felt like the longest week of my life! Not only was I miserable, but I was a nightmare to be around (just ask my hubby). I was also short tempered and slightly irrational. But just when I was ready to throw in the towel (a mere four days after I started), it started to pass. I began to feel human again. More so now than before I started Paleo. You can read more about my Paleo results here.
Seriously, consider yourself warned: withdrawal from sugar and processed food is real! You will be miserable for a short time – but just know it will pass. When it does, you will feel like a million bucks – or a five minute uninterrupted shower (in mom language)!
As much as I still love chocolate, I wouldn’t risk going through withdrawals again… not even for a Reese’s.
Once you get past the withdrawal, you will feel like a new you. Like the veil has been lifted from your eyes.
Pros And Cons Of A Paleo Lifestyle
- More likely to feel full from higher protein and fat intake
- Higher and more regulated energy levels – higher levels of physical activities
- Whole/real food diet with no preservatives and additives – all around healthier diet
- Weight loss – due to healthier food choices (more nutrient dense food)
- Better sleep – less brain fog. Paleo encourages 8+ hours of sleep in dark and quiet surroundings.
- Paleo is a great choice for sahms! We are home all day with the ability to make more scratch meals (for us and our families).
Cons – most of these can be overcome by being simply being prepared – meal prep and pack food when you are out!
- Groceries can get expensive – be sure to shop frugally!
- Paleo can be challenging when eating outside your home – again, be prepared!
- With the elimination of whole food groups, some vitamins may be missing from a Paleo diet – you need to ensure proper vitamins are consumed through other foods and/or supplements
- Paleo (or any food restrictions) can cause friction with friends/family. This is mostly due to their lack of understanding your situation.
4 Keys To Being Successful In Your Paleo Venture
- Eat 100% Paleo foods 100% of the time! No cheat days – no cheat foods. You are only cheating yourself!
- Have a support system. Whether it’s your hubby, gal pal, or Paleo group on social media. Let these people know why you are living Paleo. That way if you are having a rough day and you’re tempted to blackslide, they can help keep you on track. Don’t go it alone!
- Be prepared. Always have a Paleo friendly snack on you or at least readily available. This is true for eating out or at get-togethers. I find it best to always assume that there won’t be Paleo friendly foods where i’m going – so I bring a lunch, dinner, or snack with me. Don’t be embarrassed about this. You have to be accountable to your own body. In my experience, if you don’t make a big deal about it others won’t either.
- Get enough sleep! Paleo experts recommend at least 8 hours of solid sleep every night. Make sure your room is dark (think cave-dark here) and quiet. No bright lights -cell phones, alarm clocks, sneaky lights from around the curtains. Limit your screen time to outside the bedroom.
You can be successful living a Paleo Lifestyle, you just need to be intentional with your time and resources!
Do you have questions about Paleo or some great ideas to share with our mommas? Comment below!
Be sure to grab your FREE “Foods To Toss Checklist” here! Keep it handy while you are making your kitchen Paleo friendly!!
And be sure to check out the next post in The Healthy Momma Series – Stocking Your Paleo Kitchen here!