How Eat Paleo...And Like It!

I have talked before about not making things complicated. I have also talked before about treating your “diet” change as a LIFESTYLE change. Remember, this is your party, so do what works for you. Let’s start with why I don’t like the word “diet”. To me it insinuates a fad, something that is one extreme or another, which will never work in the long run. Diet also suggests that you are taking “all the good things” out of your current diet and leaving all the boring stuff and all you want to do is lose weight. So now let me help you figure out how this is going to work for you.

Many people do change the way they eat for weight loss, at first. There is a point that weight loss becomes second or third fiddle to all of the other reasons you changed your outlook on food. I love the phrase “lifestyle change”. It constantly reminds you that there are many reasons you decided to do this: Your kids, gut health, mobility, mental clarity, better sleep, mood enhancer, all in no particular order. Food is what fuels you, and you need it every day and there is no way to avoid it. If this is the case, embrace it and figure out how to stay on track. You know what your favorite foods and meals are, and to make it simple, you just find healthier recipes for those meals.

Paleo is, essentially, taking out the foods with gluten, dairy, and processed foods, especially sugar. What you are left with is a moderation of lean meats, sweet potatoes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and healthy fats. Am I saying that you can never have a piece of birthday cake, or glass of wine? Absolutely not. Balance. Now, what you don’t want to hear is this: in the beginning, yes, you need to stay away from your triggers. You need to figure out what your limits are and what proper portion sizes are. Cake is a want, not a need. Cake is what got you here, so not to be funny, but you need to learn how to manage your will power. We are a society that was raised on food being a reward, or what we turned to when we had a bad day. Now we have to break this habit. When you want to reward your kids, take them to the park. Had a bad day? Go rock climbing with a friend, or just yourself.

Planning. Stay with me. If you wake up in the morning with no plan, and no food made for the day, you will fail. You will also be stressed out. Sit down and figure out what you are going to eat for the next couple of days, or better yet, the next week. Make a grocery list, go shopping, go to your favorite meal prep store. Don’t worry, I have some suggestions below. This is where you can get overwhelmed if you start to complicate things. Chicken, vegetables (preferably fresh or frozen), sweet potatoes, eggs. That’s it, and yes it is boring, but it is a start. This is also when you need to say “no” to some of the foods that you want, not necessarily need. This is how I started. LOTS of grilled chicken and vegetables. I mean, a lot. It was my kids that turned this around. I actually felt so good that I just sucked it up and kept going, I didn’t want to ruin the goals I had reached. What I started to understand was how to incorporate a bigger variety of foods, while still staying within my food parameters, and it was then I realized the food world was my oyster. Now, if you don’t like to or don’t know how to cook, this where we may differ, but there are options, hang tight! I started experimenting with different paleo recipes, and from there learned how to make non-paleo recipes work for me and my family. This is also where I learned which non-paleo foods that I had excluded that I could put back into my meals. This included red potatoes, rice, oatmeal, quinoa. Remember I mentioned something about gut health? What I found out, but accident at the time, was by going paleo and essentially eating “clean”, my body starting functioning better, therefore creating great gut health. When I ate a food, let’s just say cake, I felt really crappy afterwards. This was my turning point that I realized that food is the common culprit in a lot of ailments. I liked feeling so good, that it made it easier to say no to my original trigger foods.

What is a proper portion? This is what is killing society. The easiest rule of thumb is anything that can fit into the palm of your hand. Chicken the size of your palm, enough sweet potatoes that you can hold in a slightly cupped hand. You just cupped your hand to look, didn’t you? Good, visual learning is the best. A little more precise way is by using an app like My Fitness Pal, or something similar. This is a great way to get started. You enter your current weight, goal weight, height, and what your goal is (weight loss, weight gain, maintenance) and the app will figure out your daily calories and macros. This app will be your best friend. You won’t always have to use it, and you will occasionally go back to it when you hit a plateau. Don’t worry, these plateau’s are where you learn, change things up, and get creative.

Key points to portion control:

  • Start with 3-4 ounces of meat, you may need to adjust as you go.
  • Vegetables are the only thing you do not need to weigh or measure…enjoy the colors of the rainbow!
  • Read nutritional labels, especially for fats such as dressings. Normally a serving is 2 Tablespoons. MEASURE IT.
  • General rule of thumb is ¾-1 cup of complex carbs (sweet potato, red potato, quinoa, rice).
  • Egg is a fantastic protien, but each yolk contains 3.5 gram of fat. If you want more than 2 eggs, or feel like having bacon, try egg whites.

Here is what you have been waiting for, a meal plan. This is a basic meal plan, which is what we suggest to people that are starting out. Meals are based on a 5 meal per day system: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, dollup of salsa and slice of ezekial bread; 2 egg whites, slice of bacon, apple with peanut/almond butter; oatmeal (1/2-3/4 cooked cups), berries

Snack: hummus and veggies; banana and peanut butter; small salad with quinoa and grilled chicken; ½-3/4 cup yogurt* and ¼ cup granola

*If you haven’t given up dairy, that is ok, but there are some great non dairy options

Lunch: 3-4 ounces grilled chicken, ¾ cup sweet potato, veggie of choice

Snack: Pickles and ham; veggies and dip; handful of nuts

Dinner: 3-4 ounces of grilled chicken; veggies of choice; 1-2 slices of avocado

This is just a snapshot into a day of food and should be used as a starting point. If there are foods on there that you don’t like, find the next best thing. The best foods for you are found around the perimeter of the grocery store. Shop there first, and then go into the aisles for a few things. We found some really good dressings and sauces until we created a company that made them, haha. You will struggle, you will make mistakes, but do not give up. Learn from those mistakes and make it to my next blog

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