Start a Paleo Diet and Lead a Paleo Lifestyle
First of all, good for you for starting a Paleo Diet; it will certainly change your life.
Incorporating this diet will soon become second nature to you. You will feel better, have more energy, enjoy the natural taste of food and cook like a champ. I’m excited to walk you through this transformation – this lifestyle change – and support you the whole way.
If you’re new to Paleo you’re probably new to my site and meeting me for the first time.
Hi, I’m Tanya.
I adopted a Paleo Lifestyle back in 2013 after I found out I had severe Kidney Disease. My doctor put me on dialysis, which if you are familiar, is not a very easy thing to handle, especially with a family and a growing career.
After being on dialysis for a year, I started to visualize my future. If I didn’t make a change now, my situation would only get worse, and getting worse, was not an option.
Around that same time, a friend introduced me to the Whole30 Challenge, which is a 30-day-cleanse and follows the Paleo concept. It essentially purges your body of all the toxins that cause serious problems throughout your body. Similar to an iceberg, only a small portion of these serious problems are noticeable at the surface, and a majority of them go unnoticed, hidden well within your body – wrecking havoc on your digestive system, immune system, hormones, and even your brain.
The best part is…you have 100% of the power to make a change. The most effective and powerful change you can make for yourself and for your future, is to take responsibility for the food you ingest, eat as clean as you can, make a complete lifestyle change and stick to it. Each time you sit down to a meal or a snack, you have the power to decide what foods you select.
With the help of my loving husband, Josh, I completed the 30 days of the Whole30 and felt great. I felt like a whole new person. I had energy to work a full day at work, exercise 3-4 days per week and still keep up with my 2-year-old son, Wyatt. I must give a shout out to my husband, who really helped me accomplish such a huge change. It helps when you don’t have to make the change on your own.
After about 6 months of following the Paleo diet, my doctor took me off of dialysis and said I didn’t need it anymore.
Wait…what. I was honestly in a state of shock. I had an inkling that, maybe, this would work. I was trying to be optimistic about it. But it did…actually…work!
Years later, I’m still running around with my son, have a ton of energy, I’m quite a few pounds lighter and in better shape that I was in high school. I am the prime example of the profound health benefits of following the Paleo diet. I’m so glad to be the one to introduce you the concept and help guide you through every step of the process.
Read My Struggle Made Me but Doesn’t Define Me post for my complete path that led me to this Paleo Lifestyle.
Paleo Diet – Eat Lots of These
The Paleo diet teaches you to understand how the food you eat affects your body’s functions and your mind’s enjoyment. By eating clean and natural foods that our bodies can easily digest and extract nutrients from, our body can function normally and do the things nature intended.
Beef, chicken, pork, bison, etc. Choose different sources and cuts. If you want to save some money, but not skimp on nutritional value, choose organ cuts, like liver. Always select from organic or the cleanest sources you have access to.
Friends don’t let friends buy farm-raised fish. Just don’t do it. Always find fresh, wild-caught fish. Depending on where you live that could be easier said than done. Keep in mind, a lot of places will flash freeze wild-caught fish and ship directly to you. You can also order wild-caught canned fish from Wild Planet Foods.
Eggs for breakfast, eggs for lunch, eggs for dinner. You can never go wrong with eggs.
Fun fact on eggs: the color of the yoke is directly proportional to the chicken’s food source – the bright, rich orange yokes represent a more nutritious food source than the pale, yellow yokes. So choose organic, farm-raised eggs whenever possible.
You can never have enough vegetables. Seriously. The longer you follow a Paleo diet, your love of vegetables will grow. Stock up on fresh or frozen vegetables and have one or two with every meal.
Paleo Diet – Eat in Moderation
Fruit still contains sugar and still breaks down as sugar in your body. Just limit the amount of fruit to 1-2 servings per day, and remember, dried fruits have an even higher sugar concentration than fresh.
Although fat is healthy for you, you should limit the consumption to 3-4 small servings per day. This includes nuts, seeds, avocados and oils. Nuts especially are very easy to snack on, which can easily lead to overeating. Be sure not to completely limit fat intake. The healthy fats are more important when following a Paleo diet because so many other fats are excluded. Fat is essential for daily energy, and if nothing else, it’s yummy.
Yes, even though it’s Paleo, it doesn’t mean you can have an all-access pass to binge. Paleo treats are a wonderful addition to the weekly plan, but save it for a single day.
One of the best things about leading a Paleo lifestyle is the food tastes so much better. Your taste buds are not overloaded with processed ingredients, processed sugars and unnatural ingredients. The true flavors are set free. Your Paleo treat will taste amazing, and as an added plus, it won’t make you feel like crap the next day.
Paleo Diet – Forget These Were Even Created
If it’s in a box…toss it. If it’s in a bag…toss it. If it can live on your shelf for years…oh my, double bag it and really toss it.
Read ingredient labels carefully. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or don’t have a clue what it is…yup, you guessed it, toss it.
Grains and Processed Sugar
All grains, including wheat, rice, rye, barley, oats, corn, millet, bulgur and sorghum, are predominately made up of carbohydrates, which break down into simple sugars, or glucose, in the body. All forms of sugar, including natural forms are also processed the same way inside your body.
The pancreas regulates the blood-glucose levels. When it’s too high – from eating too many grains or sugars – the pancreas releases insulin. The insulin then tells the liver and muscle cells to store the excess glucose in case the body needs it later – during exercise.
However, once the liver and muscle cells are full, the liver converts the excess glucose into saturated fat. Only this converted saturated fat combines together and forms triglycerides. To make it even worse, the increased insulin sent out to lower your blood-glucose levels blocks your body’s hormone, leptin, that tells your brain you are full. Once you have too much grains and sugar, your body still wants more because it doesn’t know you’re full.
Be sure to read ingredient labels on all food items very carefully because many grains and sugars can hide within ordinary foods. For example, some grains like cornstarch or flour can be used to thicken sauces or soups. Sugar can go by many different names – sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, etc.
Legumes, including beans, lentils, peas, soy, tempeh and peanuts contain considerable amounts of phytates and lectins. Phytates block some nutrients within the legume from being digested in the stomach and small intestine. These food particles, as they continue traveling through the intestine, remain undigested, which causes inflammation, bloating and gas.
Lectins are carb-binding proteins that cause the undigested food particles, now in your small intestine, to stick and bind to the small intestinal walls. This causes the walls to break down and creates a hole directly into the bloodstream. This allows the waste, toxins and anti-nutrients present in your small intestine to leak into the bloodstream, also referred to as leaky-gut syndrome. Once the waste, toxins and anti-nutrients are floating freely in the bloodstream, your immune system has to work overtime and try to clean the body and return it to normal.
Dairy contains casein, a protein that promotes the deterioration of your small intestinal walls, which can also cause leaky gut syndrome. A few people lack the enzymes necessary to properly break down and digest milk, which causes bloating, diarrhea and other indigestion problems.
You can find better sources of calcium in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and collard greens, and meat, seafood and nuts. The calcium found in these foods are more readily available for the body to digest without causing intestinal problems.
Clean out the Kitchen
If we want to forget about these foods, we have to get rid of them. The kitchen in your home should be the easiest and safest place to eat healthy – free from temptation. The focus is on Real Food and Real Nutrition. Remember, the end justifies the means – the hard work now will pay off later. Believe me, your future self will thank you with millions of kisses.
Now, let’s start cleaning out the kitchen.
Turn on your favorite tunes, read the fine print and get those foods out of the house.
Go ahead…I’ll wait.
Now that your kitchen is clean, you can start adding in some great, satisfying replacements that will make your Paleo lifestyle super simple and care-free. Over the years, I’ve developed an extensive list of the Best Paleo Replacements and I am always adding to it so check back often. I also include nut-free replacements to the list as well for those of you who with nut allergies.
I know this is a lot to take in, but it will get easier.
When you’re ready for the next step in your Paleo lifestyle, check out these topics