Starting Paleo can seem daunting, but we’re here to make your life easier. It’s been a few years since we started and mistakes? Yeah we’ve made a few! But you know what, that’s how you learn. And you can jump up, dust yourself off and get right back to Paleo any time. So if you’re new to Paleo, or just dusting yourself off, here are a few pointers. Got any tips to add? We’d love to hear them. Please add a comment at the end.
- Don’t think about Paleo being a ‘diet’. It’s not a diet – it’s a lifestyle. If you think about it as a diet you’ll be constantly thinking of all the food you ‘can’t have’. Yes, weight loss can be a great motivator and it is certainly one of the side effects (that we have found) of eating Paleo. But that’s probably a side effect of being healthier in general. Paleo starts with what you do (and don’t) eat, but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll find the way of life quietly creeps into everything you do – it’s all about finding balance in your life. It’s about being well and feeling good.
- Read some inspirational books/stories/blogs. We like: Marks Daily Apple, Paleo Mom, Autoimmune Wellness and Real Everything. Find more of what we like on our resources page.
- If you’re worried that this is going to be an expensive way to eat, you need to rethink your budget. Think about everything you spend on food and drink (not just your supermarket shop) so nights out, restaurants, drinks with friends, snacks on the go, chocolate bars, coffees, lattes, etc etc) and add that up, then compare that to your Paleo shopping budget – it probably works out about equal or maybe even a little less.
- Depending on your personality (are you a rules person or not?) you can either phase out one food at a time (using up all your store cupboard contents as you go) or go cold turkey and throw away everything and start today (I did it this way but only because I had a health issue and it was the best way for me to start – plus I’m a bit of a rules follower too.)
- Another way to do it is simply replace one meal at a time. Do Paleo dinner for a week, then add in lunch, then breakfast. Don’t forget about snacks too though. Although a lot of Paleo people prefer not to snack, for us that’s just not realistic. We are constantly on-the-go and it’s not like we can pop in somewhere and find something Paleo to eat, so we keep a stash of snacks in the car/our work bags, Here are some of great ones: Wilding’s Duck Crackling, & cacao-dusted tiger nuts. You’ll find plenty more in the Paleo & Co store.
- A third way to start is to simply forget about cutting out and ‘add in’. So add in all the good stuff – your body will be more satiated because you’ll be eating good fats (such as avocado oil and tallow), more vegetables and fruits, and good quality proteins and you’ll be too full to add in the typical (aptly acronymed) ‘SAD’ foods. (Standard American Diet).
- Find a local organic veg delivery service. We use Riverford.
- Get to know your local butcher. Ask them questions. Ask which farm their meat comes from. Is it grass fed/pasture raised? Is it grass finished? (Some beef is mainly grass fed but then grain finished to fatten them up before slaughter.) Is it organic? Are the chickens free range AND organic? (It’s not the same thing) We have found if a butcher gets weird, clams up or generally doesn’t want to answer questions we don’t buy from them. We tend to buy from the people who could talk all day about their farming practices. Meat delivery people we like include: Rosewood Farm, Herb fed, and Gazegill Organics. We have also heard good things about Athleat, Devon Rose and Paleo Wales.
- Take a look at the pfla for certified 100% grass fed beef and lamb – this wonderful organisation brings together British farmers committed to producing high quality food in a more natural way. Their ‘Where to buy’ page lists all certified farmers and butchers so you can either find somewhere local to you or buy via mail order.
- Stock up on essentials: Coconut aminos, coconut oil, coconut flour, tiger nut flour, and beef tallow. Plus some things to make your life easier such as herb and spice blends. And consider some speciality ingredients to make your meals a little bit special such as smoked salt or garlic.
- Get yourself a set of measuring cups. A lot of great recipes are American and they use cups instead of weights. It sounds like a faff but we have found it SO MUCH EASIER. We like these.
- Find some good recipes – search Pinterest and take a look at the books we use daily.
- Plan your meals: We have a very simple meal plan each week where we have a simple ‘theme for that day’s dinner – such as ‘fish’ or ‘Plant-based’ and go from there. It means we have a rough plan every week and at the beginning of the week when the veg box arrives we can go through the plan and then make a detailed meal plan and shopping list. It doesn’t require too much thinking as we hate those ‘what do you fancy for dinner… I don’t know what do you fancy…’ conversations. Now it’s more like… “fish on Tuesday – how about prawn stir fry? Yep. Done.”
- Prep your meals: We try to do 2 prep days each week. It doesn’t always work out that way but we try. We tend to do things like chopping veg sticks (Carrots, celery, peppers [for the non-AIPers]) which can either be eaten with dips or thrown into soups, stews, roasts. We chop and roast some sweet potatoes or squash as they are always on the menu. We shred some greens (cabbage, kale, salad and whatever other greens Riverford have delivered). We try to do 2 freeze-ahead meals, such as meatballs, soups or shepherd’s pie. And we make some AIP ‘meat patties/sausages’ for on the go breakfasts.
Got any to add? We’d love to hear your tips. Comment below.