Unless you’ve been living in a cave like, well, a true caveman, you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz about the paleo diet. This way of eating is becoming more and more popular, thanks to its healthy nutrient-rich foods and the elimination of commonly allergenic foods. High in protein, healthy fats, fiber and complex carbs, the paleo diet is definitely worth a shot if you’re looking to eat clean and feel great. It might feel intimidating to dive in! Follow these steps to easily start a paleo lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed.
Learn the Guidelines
The paleo diet is quite simple: you eat the foods we ate as hunter-gatherers, before the agricultural revolution. That means plenty of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, and poultry, meat and seafood. There’s no need to count your calories, but instead, focus on getting plenty of produce, healthy fats and protein in your meals. Avoid dairy (though some people eat grass-fed butter or even cultured yogurt, and ghee—clarified butter—is an exception), legumes (including peanuts), grains, and processed sugar. A lot of people who follow a paleo diet avoid white potatoes, but there’s no strict rule about them either way. Our article, Stocking a Paleo Pantry
, goes into detail about many of the items you can and can’t have on a paleo diet, and it’s a great reference when you’re unsure of a sweetener, fat or flour.
Create a Recipe Bank
Once you’ve learned the paleo guidelines, you might feel like you can’t eat anything you ate from your past! Luckily, the next step to going paleo will totally dispel that myth (and will have you craving paleo cupcakes!). Head to Pinterest and create a Paleo Recipes board. Start searching for paleo recipes and pin anything and everything that looks good. Pinterest will adapt to your new searches and show you more and more paleo recipes. You’ll find paleo breakfasts and dinners and treats and drinks—almost anything you could possibly think of! It’s nearly impossible not to get excited about these new dishes on your horizon, and you’ll think less about the beans you’ll miss and more about the coconut waffles you can’t wait to make. And, having tons of delicious recipes at your fingertips makes meal planning and getting dinner on the table easy—simply reach for your smartphone!
Stock Your Pantry
Trying to stick to a paleo diet without plenty of paleo ingredients in the house is a recipe for disaster. When you decide it’s time to go primal, fill your pantry with the paleo foods you need to make the dishes you want. Our article, Stocking a Paleo Pantry,
outlines these must-haves, from condiments and those healthy fats, to flours and sweeteners. With a well-stocked pantry, you’ll be able to whip up whatever you’re craving, making it easy to switch-over to a paleo diet. While you’re at it, check out the Top Paleo Products at Sprouts
, and get ready to load up that cart with delicious, caveman-inspired foods that’ll make your life easier!
Let’s be honest, as fantastic as a paleo diet can make you feel, it can be hard to do it alone! Try to find a buddy to make the switch with you—bonus points if you can get your spouse and family on board! If not, no need to throw in the towel, there are plenty of resources on the internet to help you find the support you need when going paleo. Facebook groups make it easy to find like-minded people who are either converting to a primal diet with you or who have been paleo for a while. Either way, they’ll be fantastic resources when you have questions, want to know if your “carb flu” is really real or need a great recipe for paleo carrot cake. Search for the paleo Facebook group
that’s right for you and get to know a new community of culinary cavemen!
Cheryl Malik is the blogger behind 40aprons.com