This is it. You’ve decided to give yourself 30 days on the paleo diet plan. Now you want to know how to eat healthy.
General Paleo Rules.
Like we discussed in the last blog, the paleo diet plan boils down to essentially avoiding all carbs. We talked about why and what those carbs do to your pancreas and the general inflammation and problems with gut health they cause. Of course, we don’t want to avoid ALL carbs. We want to eat tons of vegetables. A great idea that makes it easy to plan meals is to try to include at least 3 different color vegetables. For example, I’ll have a steak, and some spinach with tomato and yellow pepper with a few drops of olive oil and some sea salt (or squeeze a lemon or an orange on that salad for a less rich, lighter salad). Back to the basics, no grains, no dairy, and no legumes. We also want to stay away from starchy vegetables like potatoes, and if you’re doing this for autoimmune disease, stay away from all nightshade vegetables. In fact there is a very strict protocol that is defined for autoimmune sufferers laid out in a million different books about the Auto Immune Protocol Diet. I’ll write an in depth article on the AIP in the near future.
How to Start the Paleo Diet
How do you start Paleo? With some bacon and eggs of course! Seriously though. The reason pretty much every paleo guru will tell you start the day with a little meat and some eggs is because it will jump start your brain. You get some fat and some protein. Protein is super important to for pretty much your entire body. Your body uses to repair tissue, make enzymes (remember how gut health ties into this?), hormones (we’ll talk about this in the benefits heading of this article, but I’ll tell you from personal experience, your libido will increase), and other chemicals in the body. Protein is a building block for pretty much every part of your body. The other benefit of this breakfast is the fat. Fat is food for your brain. There’s some fat in that bacon but the yolk of those eggs is going straight your brain. Not literally of course but it has all the omegas you keep hearing about, and those are brain food. So eat those yolks and don’t buy those egg beaters or egg whites in a carton! To quote Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution and overall paleo authority), “every time someone buys egg beaters an angel dies”. That’s how important the yolk is.
What about lunch? I’ll throw a bunch of spinach in a container, some tomato, a chicken breast (or some kind of meat), and cut up an avocado. Vegetables for all the goodness of vegetables (vitamins, minerals, fiber) some protein and some good fats. Are you seeing the pattern here? Protein, fat, and veggies.
Dinner is easy. You want a protein (fish, steak, pork, chicken, turkey, game meat, anything) and a bunch of veggies. The general rule of thumb is go with a piece of protein about the size of your hand. If you go a little less or more it’s not going to hurt your progress. That’s actually one of the differences between keto and paleo. Keto has strict ratios of fat to protein and paleo is, just an easy way to eat healthy.
What about My Beer?
Some of us love that cold beer with dinner, or want that coctail after work to unwind. Well, I’m truly sorry to say that beer is a no go, it will negatively impact your goal of health and weight loss. Even wine should be avoided because of the sugar. But there is good news here. I decided to get healthy and go paleo and giving up beer was one of the hardest parts. Instead of that after work beer I started reading about scotch, and trying different regions. Distilled spirits have the majority of the sugar fermented out so take some time to become an aficionado of fine scotch, or bourbon or learn to make a martini! Have that cocktail (one without sugary mixers), or a dram of scotch. That’s a fun journey to go on anyway, and without the hyper palatable foods you’ve been eating overwhelming your senses you’ll open your taste buds to a whole new world. I know in my experience I started tasting all the complexities of scotch rather than it just tasting like rubbing alcohol. You might just learn to appreciate some of the finer experiences in life and that is a positive in my book.
What to Expect
You’re going to notice some things in these first thirty days. You are definitely going to be craving sugar. You might not even know you are craving sugar but you will. Don’t give in. These foods are designed to make you crave them. Cookies, donuts, and anything with strong flavors are designed to be hyper-palatable. They taste amazing, but they are killing us. The inflammation they cause though, is a nightmare for your body. Just think of those arteries hardening and blood sugar spiking. Even bread and rice will satisfy these craving you’re having but they are processed into sugar as well so steer clear and stay the course. These cravings will be gone in about a week. After just a few days your going to taste things you didn’t know were there in vegetables like bell peppers, or carrots. It’s a really cool process and you will truly enjoy it.
Something else to expect, unfortunately, is some gas. All those parts of your gut biome that processed sugary stuff are dying off and all the ones that help digest your new diet are growing. This is going to cause some gas. Nothing crazy, but more than you’re used to. It will pass just like the cravings so wait it out. It goes away fairly quickly as your gut adjusts.
Weight loss. You’re going to lose weight. You’re going to see weight start to fall off. If you’re working out, and you should be, the numbers on the scale won’t change as fast the appearance of your body does. Get ready to poke some holes in that belt because you’re waste line will shrink. All those fat stores in the problem areas will melt away, and you don’t even have to watch your calories. Don’t even let yourself get too hungry. Snack on some nuts or seeds, or beef jerky (just don’t eat the whole Costco tub of almonds in one sitting). Eat if you’re hungry but stop when you’re full or just not hungry anymore. You don’t have to worry about calories too much, but this is not a “I bet you can’t eat just one” situation. These are the three major things you can expect for the first thirty days.
The goal of the first thirty days is to eat healthy. That’s it. Be as strict as possible and you will feel and see results. So what happens after the thirty days is up? This is where we can start to add things back in and see how you feel. The next article will cover that, because there are some foods that come down to the individual. For now though, remember, no grains, no dairy and no legume! Good luck and always feel free to leave a comment!