Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting Started on the Paleo Path

I received a facebook message from a friend tonight that inspired this post. Allow me to begin by pointing out - I'm no expert. I'm about five months paleo now and I love it. Along this relatively short way, I've picked up a few things that might help others who are considering the jump. In no particular order...

  • Go cold turkey. Decide you want to do this (e.g. increase energy, lose weight, lift more, run faster, whatever your goal) and do it. Cart away the crap (food bank is a good option), replace it with real, whole food, and away you go. Stick with it for a month as strict as possible and you'll be amazed.
  • Make sure you get enough fat and protein, but especially fat (it's easy to overlook, as we're so used to avoiding it).
  • Don't worry if your meals have that "weird" factor, that's part of the awesome. Often my lunches are a random smorgasbord of food items. For supper tonight we had grass-fed veal, portabella mushrooms sauteed in butter, and a cauliflower/carrot/coconut milk puree. Okay, that's not so weird. But eating avocado straight up with a spoon at work might raise a few eyebrows. 
  • Get organized. Especially starting out, you'll have to plan a bit ahead. This includes making sure you have enough groceries on hand. I'm getting better and better at prepping meals on the fly with whatever we've got (see previous bullet) - mostly because the food we keep is all good. I'll often do veggie prep at night, especially the more labour intensive, like root vegetables. Earlier this evening I prepped a bunch of turnip and sweet potato fries, and sweet potato chips. They're ready and waiting for some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. (Your increased energy should help with this.)
  • Got other people under your roof? Get everyone on board. There is no one who will not benefit from a clean, paleo approach to eating. If you can make this decision as a family/couple/roomies/whatever, all the better. Tim being diagnosed with celiac disease was a great boost for that effort in our house :-)
  • Don't stress out over it. Eat when you're hungry, stop when you've had enough. If you're not hungry, don't eat (even if it's standard "meal time"). Listen to your body, not the clock.
  • There are lots of great resources out there. Do some research. I'll do a post at some point on some of my favourites.
  • If you can get through that first month and get past the carb/sugar cravings, you'll have won the battle. You may be surprised how easy it can be. At this point I'm hardly ever really tempted to "cheat". And with so many paleo-friendly treats, there's really no need. Once you get a taste of how good you can feel, you'll get it.

If that's not enough to help get you started, consider this: I not only weigh less than before I became pregnant, but less than I did starting university about ten years ago. Even more impressive are the ring dips, handstand pushups--and someday muscle ups??--that I'm owning at the gym. Not too shabby. Especially for someone who eats bacon ;-)

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