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How do I start a Paleo Diet?

OK sounds good, but how do you start? I would love to say listen to your body. Unfortunately after years of abuse we need to re-train our bodies. An analogy I love to use is, when you first walk into a room you may notice a different smell. Thirty minutes later, your senses have adjusted. Can you still smell the difference? If we’ve eaten the way we’ve eaten all our life, how would one know what is normal? 

Here’s where the whole 30 comes in.  By whole 30 we mean 30 days of strict Paleo. No cheat meals, no excuses.  Only in this way can we truely gauge how we feel when we finally re-introduce the foods we have been always eating after the Whole30. Only then can we say, "now listen to your body".  Does it still feel great?

At the beginning of the Whole30 you may be weak, tired, cranky, hungry or even nauseous. Each persons experience will be different due to many factors.  The body will require a period to adjust to using fat as the primary source of fuel.  For me, this period was 2 weeks.  2 weeks where I was constantly hungry. Luckily no headaches.  My body was probably looking for the sugar it was so used to receiving. But don't despair. Persist and this feeling should soon disappear.  Once you start it's hard going back. What have you got to lose. 30 days is not much for an experiment that can potentially change your quality of life.

The recommended steps:

  1. Make a commitment to start. Tell friends. Even better get a group together and do a Paleo Challenge. Make it fun. Make it accountable. *
  2. Clean out your fridge and pantry. Temptations in the pantry do not help. Self-control is too difficult. PLAN AHEAD! Remove all the crackers, noodles, rice, bread, cereals, yogurt, soy sauce or any other non-paleo sauces in the pantry.
  3. Do a pre-blood test. A little science will give you confidence on whether things are working.
  4. Go Shopping. See Paleo Pantry Must Haves. As for the weekly fresh produce, stock up on protein, veggies and fruit. Where feasible, buy grass-fed and wild caught meat and local and/or organic vegetables. Beans as your source of protein is not Paleo.
  5. Use Mr Google. There are lots of blogs and shared Paleo recipes. The Paleo community is a big loving family with lots of generous bloggers ready to share.  We've listed some favourites on our Paleo Resource page. This not only helps to get you started but keeps things recipes interesting. After all enjoyment is key to lasting success. 
  6. After 30 days OR maybe even 50 if you are keen, complete a post blood test. Compare the results.

* "Tell Friends" - Please consider the type of friends you have. As Paleo goes against conventional ideas your friends need to be open minded. The early adopters or  alternative types.  You'll find Crossfitters generally are open to Paleo concepts :) The reason for this? You may be discouraged by comments such as:

Wholegrains is good for you. What's wrong with you?

Do you want to lose weight?

Don't get discouraged. The best way to handle such comments is to lead or prove by example. When they can see the benefits you have reaped they will be knocking on your door to find out more.

For a better Understanding on "What is Paleo?" We recommend reading the following books.

  

Paleo Pantry "MUST HAVES"

Fresh is best.  We generally spend most of our time in the fruit and vegetable aisles of the supermarket. Sometime we don't even walk into a supermarket for a few weeks as the local fruit and butcher shops are suffice. However there are still some packaged items we need in our pantry. Special items for that extra kick of flavour and goodness. Here is a list of some of our favourites. You are certainly not restricted this. Feel free to add your favourite items to the list and go shopping.

Fats and Oils

  • Coconut Oil (for cooking, baking, smoothies... the list is endless)
  • Grassfed Ghee (for cooking)
  • Grassfed Beef Suet Dripping (for cooking)
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil (for salad dressing only)
  • Cold press Sesame Oil

Sauces & Seasoning

  • Coconut Amino (Replaces soy sauce. Slight sweeter which is great as you don't need to add sugar to your cooking)
  • Red Boat Fish Sauce (The only Paleo approved fish sauce)
  • Vinegars:
    • Apple Cidar
    • White Vinegar (use a splash when washing vegetables)
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Crack peppercorn
  • Coconut Cream (Great for curries)

Beverages

Superfoods & Supplements

  • Cocao Powder
  • Green Powder such as Nuzest.

Sweets and Treats

  • Coconut Nectar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Blackstrap Molasses
These should be enjoyed only ocassionally as sugar is still sugar.

Spices & Dried Products

With Paleo you do not drown your food in salt or bottled sauces. Hence the key ingredients to flavour are the herbs and spices that are added.  Buy all the spices you can think. Experiment and have some fun.  Spices not only taste great BUT has lots of vitamins and minerals. Some of my favourites are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder 
  • Dukka
  • Nutmeg
  • Madras Curry Powder
  • Vanilla Beans/pods
  • Paprika powder
  • Dried Shrimps (A must in Asian Cooking)
  • Turmeric

Herbs

I LOOOOVE herbs. Makes all the difference. These are some of my favourite.

  • Cilantro otherwise known as Coriander. Great in Asian Cooking.
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Green Onions (sometimes called shallots)
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