First of all, good for you for you for wanting to start Paleo! These 9 Essential Tips to Start Paleo will keep you accountable and help you completly change your life.
Eating Paleo removes all the toxins from your body and leaves you feeling more energetic, healthy, and probably a few pounds lighter too.
These tips are essential for incorporating Paleo into your lifestyle so it will soon become second nature to you.
I’m excited to walk you through this transformation – this lifestyle change – and support you the whole way.
My Paleo Journey
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.
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.
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.
100% of the power to make changes is your hands.
The most effective and powerful thing you can do is to take responsibility for the food you ingest, eat clean, and stick to it.
Read My Struggle Made Me but Doesn’t Define Me post for my complete path that led me to this Paleo Lifestyle.
9 Essential Tips to Start Paleo
Here are 9 essential tips to start Paleo the right way and completely change your life!
Step 1: Clean out the Kitchen
The best way to start Paleo is by cleaning out your kitchen now. You don’t want to open up the fridge or pantry and be surrounded by your old, unhealthy foods.
When making a change, ridding your home of all these foods creates a safe place for you to succeed and transform your life.
The kitchen in your home should be the easiest and safest place to eat healthy – free from temptation.
If you want to forget about these foods, you have to get rid of them. So…
Turn on your favorite tunes, read the fine print, and get those foods outta the house.
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 all processed the same way inside your body.
Sugar is primarly used for fuel, since it’s easier to burn than fat. As we reduce the amount of sugar in our bodies, the body will naturally switch from buring sugar to burning fat for fuel.
Be sure to read ingredient labels on all food items very carefully because many grains and sugars can hide within ordinary foods.
**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 prevent the body from breaking down and absorbing the nutrients within the legume. As the legume travels from the stomach and through the large and small intestine, these undigested food particles cause 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, which allows the waste, toxins and anti-nutrients present in your small intestine to leak into the bloodstream. This is 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 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.
Step 2: Stock up on Paleo Replacements
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 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.
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.
Fruit still contains sugar and still breaks down as sugar in your body.
You may want to 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.
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.
- Spaghetti Squash
- Zucchini Noodles – “Zoodles”
Cured Meat Replacements:
I searched and examined almost every bacon, sausage, ham and chorizo that I could find at the grocery store. The ones I found to be naturally-cured and Paleo-approved are:
- Pederson’s Natural Farms Bacon
- Pederson’s Natural Farms Ham
- Teton Waters Ranch 100% Grass-Fed Beef Uncured Beef Hot Links
- Homemade Sausage beats store-bought any day
Peanut Butter ReplacementS:
Of the legumes, peanuts are the most harmful for your digestion system – hence the reason why so many people have allergies to peanuts. Your body doesn’t lie folks!
Lucky for you, there are some great replacements for peanut butter!
- Nut Butters – Almond, Cashew, and Pistachio are a few of my favorites.
- Sunflower Seed Butter – for those with nut allergies. Be sure to get the organic one that is unsweetened and salt-free.
- Tahini Butter – made from sesame seeds and is also nut-free.
Soy Sauce Replacements:
Don’t worry, Asian food is not lost forever.
These sauces can be used to replace Soy Sauce forever!
Also see this amazing Soy-Free Soy Sauce recipe.
You won’t miss dairy with these replacements:
The best replacements for butter are:
- Ghee – Clarified Butter – This brand by Ancient Organics is so much like butter, I can’t believe it! You’ll LOVE the flavor.
- Avocado Oil – Best for high-heat cooking
- Nut Oils, like Almond, Pecan, and Walnut – Great for salad dressings!
Step 3: Redefine Your Macronutrients
If you’re looking to lose body fat, have more muscular definition, and still lose weight, macronutrients are going to be very important.
Loosing weight efficiently simply means the amount of energy taken in (or food) must be less that the amount of energy expended (i.e. exercise).
BUT…and a very important but, if you want to reduce body fat, increase strength, and show muscular definition, you MUST watch WHAT you eat. Hence, monitor your macronutrients.
Calculating your Macros
Macronutrients (or Macros) are comprised of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Your typical Macro Percentages for the whole day, when you start Paleo, should be somewhere within the ranges indicated below:
- Protein: 10-20%
- Carbohydrates: 20-30%
- Fat: 60-75%
Use the illustration above to calculate the grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to strive towards each day.
Total Daily Calories = 1200
Protein Grams = 1200 * 0.20 / 4 = 60
Carbohydrate Grams = 1200 * 0.30 / 4 = 90
Fat Grams = 1200 * 0.50 / 9 = 67
You could also use fitness apps to track your food and macronutrients. Upon completion of your food log, check out your macronutrient percentages and modify them for the next day.
Listen to Your Body
Every BODY is different, so if you need to adjust your percentages, feel free.
After each day, take note of how you feel, how much energy you had throughout the day, and how well you slept.
Sometimes you will find that if you are outside your typical macro ranges, you will experience cravings the next day to make up for deficient nutrients.
Each day will be a slight adjustment, but after a week you will understand macros. It just takes some practice.
The trick is to find the right balance for you where you can eat the lowest amount of calories and provide your body with the exact nutrition it needs.
Step 4: Find Paleo Recipes
My extensive list of Recipes will help guide you to more Paleo meals.
Being a mom, all my recipes are guarenteed to be simple, quick, and use ingredients you can find at your local grocery store.
I’m always adding more recipes so be sure to subscribe to my email list for great tips, new recipes, and other fun stories about living a Paleo lifestyle.
There’s a link to my email list at the bottom of this post. If you sign up today, I’ll gift you with a FREE week of Paleo Meals – including a full shopping list and prep-ahead advice.
Step 5: Master the Art of Meal Planning
- Start with 3-4 recipes per week
- Plan ahead for certain events
- Organize a single grocery list for all recipes
- Stick to your plan
Paleo Meal Plans
For those of you who want a simple list of meals, get all your grocery shopping done in ONE day, and prep meals ahead of time so you have more time with family, then I’ve created these meal plans just for you.
These Paleo Meal Plans are the answer you’ve been looking for!
These plans are the best way to get full planned meals and will help you start Paleo. Not to mention that they also taste amazing.
I guarentee you’ll love it.
Step 6: Master the Art of Meal Prepping
If you’re creating your own meal plans, try adding in these simple, easy prep-tips to reduce your kitchen time and get dinner on the table faster.
- Cook meals ahead and store in the refrigerator (i.e. soups, stews, and salads)
- Chop vegetables ahead and store in zip-lock bags in the refrigerator
- Instant Pot recipes
- Crock Pot recipes
These Paleo Meal Plans also come with detailed prep-day instructions!
Step 7: Paleo and Dining Out
If you’re used to eating out, the starting Paleo can certainly throw a wrench in that routine, but it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat out while following Paleo.
I’ve been around the block several times now and have found several menu items that are Paleo-compliant or can be if you ask the right questions.
- Poached eggs are your cleanest option.
- Order omelets without meat. Most meats like bacon, sausage, and ham contain sugar.
- Request omelets using real eggs not the egg-beaters. (FYI, most places don’t use real eggs…Yuck!)
- Verify ahead of time if meats are marinated. Chicken, especially, is often marinated as well as fajita meats.
- Substitute typical sides with fruit, sliced tomatoes, steamed vegetables, or a side salad.
- Request hash browns or potatoes to be cooked “dry,” which means they will be cooked on the grill without any oils or butter.
Paleo is becoming more popular around the dining scene. Most notable restaurants will provide you with a lovely, Paleo-approved meal.
Check this out if you want even more amazing tips on how to eat health and follow Paleo while dining out.
Step 8: Set Up Accountability
When making a change in your life, having accountability outside yourself is imperative!
As a Holistic Health Coach, I’ve led my clients through this transition to Paleo journey and every…sinlge…one…have reaped amazing benefits.
Every. Single. One.
Click here if you’re interested in starting Paleo and reaping the amazing benefits:
- Eliminate your Sugar Demon
- Completely Free from Cravings
- Weight Loss (Depending on starting point)
- Reduced Body Fat
- Increased Energy
- Efficient Immune System
- Improved Sleeping Patterns
Step 9: Final Tips for a Successful Transition to Paleo
Thanks to advid readers and those of you who commented on the Facebook page, here is a great round-up of Paleo tips and tricks from others who have made it through.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper and have absolutely no clean-up.
- Always have “emergency” food available (Jerky, Sliced Vegetables, or RxBars).
- Plan, plan, plan.
- Keep meals simple and add on later.
- Take it one day at a time.
- Don’t be afraid to say, “No, thank you.”
- Paper plates will reduce the amount of dishes that will pile up.
To sum it all up…Eat…Real…Food!
Everything else after that is simple.
Share Your Story
Did you start Paleo?
Do you have any tricks or tips I didn’t mention above?
Comment below and join the conversation.
We can all learn from each other! #CallaborateToElevate