The good thing about the Paleo Diet is that it is not difficult to get started. You don't have to count calories or grams, or cook up fancy meals with hard to find ingredients. However, it can be tricky at first to overcome the habit of eating processed carbohydrates several times a day.
The rules are simple, but give yourself time to adjust if needed:
- All the lean meats, fish, and seafood you can eat
- All the fruits and nonstarchy vegetables you can eat
- No cereals
- No dairy products
- No processed foods
It is a good idea to clean out the refrigerator, cabinets and pantry of items that are not part of the Paleo Diet. It is easier to stick to a plan if there are no temptations within reach. Plan ahead and make sure you have plenty of the ingredients at home. Take baby steps and replace one or a couple of meals a day if you need to.
The first step is to become familiar with the guide lines, let's review what The Seven Keys of the Paleo Diets are:
- Eat a relatively high amount of animal protein compared to the typical American diet.
- Eat fewer carbohydrates than most modern diets recommended, but eat the good kinds that come from fruits and vegetables, not from grains, starchy tubers, and refined sugars.
- Eat a large amount of fiber from nonstarchy fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a moderate amount of fats.
- Eat foods with high potassium content and low sodium content.
- Eat a diet with net alkaline load.
- Eat foods rich in plant phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Some of you may wonder if you will be hungry on the Paleo Diet, but it is actually the opposite. Protein has the highest satiating value of the macro-nutrients so a high protein diet it will keep you fuller longer. The Paleo Diet will increase your metabolism and shrink your appetite as you include more lean protein in your meals.
Simplicity is the key
Remember, the guide lines are very simple, you can eat all the lean meats, poultry, fish, seafood, fruits (except dried fruits), and non-starchy vegetables you want. The high quality protein is the mainstay of the Paleo Diet. Make an attempt to get a little bit more than half of your calories from lean meat, fish, organ meats, shellfish, and poultry. Make sure the rest come from plant foods. It is important that you eat animal food at every meal to make sure you get enough calories and protein. You need to include fruits and vegetables to make sure you don't get sick eating too much undiluted protein. The body needs fat or carbohydrates to process the protein. Switch out the high-carbohydrate breakfast for a piece of salmon steak or chicken. A cold salmon steak and half a cantaloupe make a delicious and simple breakfast.
Quick list of the specifics:
- Eat as much meat as you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Cook the meat simply without too much added fats - broil, roast, sautee, or bake the meat.
- For ideal health you should eat fruit and vegetables along with some nuts with every meal. Include plant foods rich in healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil in moderate amount.
- Dried fruits should be eaten in small amounts.
- Wine can occasionally be enjoyed in moderation.
What to buy
I recommend that you purchase grass feed meat if you can. Many of the organically raised animals are fed grains, which reduce the omega content of the meat. I am working on a resource list that I will post shortly. Research what kind of foods you can get locally. Join a food Co-op and buy meat, nuts, and oil in bulk, and go to farmers markets.
High protein foods
Skinless turkey, red snapper, beef sweetbreads, lean pork tenderloin, beef heart, sirloin steak, chicken livers, skinless chicken breasts, beef liver, lean beef flank steak, lean pork chops, and mussels are some of the high protein foods. On the Paleo Diet you are protected from the protein toxicity since you have unlimited access to fresh fruit and vegetables. The Paleolithic hunters were protected from the toxicity by eating meat with higher fat content. The omega 3 fatty acids and other fats in the diet will protect you too according to Cordain
Typical meals and meal preparations
You might have to plan a little bit in order to provide lean meats, fruit and veggies at every meal. After a while it becomes a habit. If you work you probably need to prepare your food at home.
A simple lunch to brown bag or eat at home
An easy lunch can be made of a few slices of previous night's lean roast beef or skinless chicken breasts, tomato wedges, a few carrot sticks, and an apple or a fresh peach.
It is as simple as ordering a tossed green salad with shrimp (if you eat shrimp) or chicken breast, but without the croutons and the fattening dressing. Sprinkle olive oil and lemon juice over the salad. I order a piece of steak with greens and so far I haven't had any problem asking for it. For breakfast out, try half a cantaloupe and a couple of pouched eggs.
Here is a sample of how a day can look like:
- Breakfast omelet- made with omega 3 rich eggs, and stuffed with avocado and some meat/seafood, and covered with peach salsa.
- A file of sole simmered in wine sauce (a little wine is allowed) with a salad, and a gazpacho salad for lunch.
- A roast, tossed green salad dressed with flax seed oil, steamed broccoli, a bowl of blackberries sprinkled with almond slices would be a delicious dinner.
If you are used to eating a lot of grains, refined sugars, and processed foods it might seem challenging to come up with meals. I like that the Paleo Diet is very flexible and offers a lot of delicious and healthy foods. You don't have stop cold turkey with the food from your current diet, it is possible to gradually wean them from your diet.
I hope this post helps you to figure out what it means to be on the Paleo Diet. I will cover many of the things discussed above more in detail in future posts, so keep an eye out. I found a couple of good resources when I was browsing the internet a while back. Here they are:
The Paleo Diet
Thanks for visiting! Please stop by my new blog, The Paleo Lifestyle, where I am adding new information about grain,dairy, legume, and sugar free diet.
Johanna is an aromatherapist and an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils and Nature's Sunshine. She is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. She also runs Naturally Sports & Wellness together with her husband.
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This post is linked up to Fight Back Friday hosted by the Food Renegade and to WFMW hosted by We Are That Family.