Nutrition Blog

The Paleo Diet: 7 Tips for Starting & Sticking It

paleo chicken legs fitness center blog lombard il

By this point I think we all know or have heard of the Paleo diet; also known as the caveman diet.

If you haven’t heard of it, well then I guess you’ve been living under a rock for the past 3.5 years. Kidding, well sort of.

While we don’t know exactly what caveman ate, we can be sure it did not include breads, gluten, fast food, processed foods and refined sugars. You’re probably thinking “what the hell do I eat then, WTF is gluten?”

The great thing about Paleo is that there are a variety of foods you can eat. Paleo allows you to eat proteins such as meat, seafood, poultry, nuts and seeds, fruits, veggies, and very small amounts of starches. All of these foods are REAL foods, not the processed crap our society is use too. By using the Paleo diet and exercise, you are allowing your body to have a healthier digestive system while losing weight and gaining muscle at the same time.

I use to think just because I did CrossFit and worked out that it meant I could eat whatever I wanted, (such as a whole Tony’s frozen pizza in one sitting) unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Once I tweaked my diet, did my research and found out what worked and what didn’t work for me, I started seeing the results I was looking for.

By going Paleo, I feel better, I have more energy and my performance in the gym has improved. Here are 7 Tips to help you get started with Paleo.

1) Don’t think of Paleo as a diet

No one likes diets. Think of it as a lifestyle change in which you have to modify some parts of your life to make it work. If Paleo doesn’t work for you 100% then adjust it so that it does. I like to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% Paleo with 20% freedom or “cheating”. Let’s be real, we all have jobs and lives that doing Paleo 100% is impossible. The 80/20 rule allows you to stay healthy while still indulging once in a while. Because seriously, what’s better than beer and cheese? Probably nothing.

2) Ease into the Paleo Diet

Don’t jump into Paleo too quickly. Phase each food group out one by one. First gluten, then dairy, wheat, beans, legumes, oats etc. Quitting everything cold turkey might be too difficult and you’ll give up all together.

3) Stick to the Inner Aisles

When you’re grocery shopping stick to the outside aisles of the store. That’s always the produce section, the more you head into the middle aisles all you will find is processed crap in boxes. Beware of fake healthy foods such as “Special K.” Sure they’re low in calories, but they’re high in chemicals and have no nutritional value. Snack on veggies and protein to keep you full and satisfied. I like to keep jerky and nuts in my desk at work!

4) Prep Your Paleo Meals Weekly

Meal Prep! This is a lifesaver and you will need Tupperware for this. Dedicate one night a week to prepping and cooking your meals for the week. The more prepared you are the better. I especially like to make sure I have all my lunches ready for the work week, that way when I get hangry (hungry & angry) I won’t make bad decisions. Damn you chipotle.

5) Do your Research

Look up recipes on Pinterest or other Paleo blogs. Don’t just eat grilled chicken and broccoli every night. You will get bored very quickly. There are so many delicious Paleo recipes available, so you have no excuse not to eat something exciting. This is a great opportunity to cook new things you have never tried before. Make your favorite food but Paleo style! I loooove pizza so I always experiment with different types of Paleo/gluten free pizzas. You might even be surprised with you like the Paleo version better.

6) Stock up

Use oils & fats for cooking such as coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed butter, and ghee. Use almond flour and coconut flour instead of white bleached flour. Use coconut sugar, honey, or agave nectar instead of refined sugar. All of these items can be found at any regular grocery store, you just have to look.

7) Stay positive

Once you see results and feel better inside & out, you won’t even miss those gluten filled goodies.