I wouldn’t use the word “transition” to describe my switch from conventional, and often unhealthy, eating habits to a paleo lifestyle. In fact, my switch was anything but a smooth transition. I specifically remember downing half a carton of almond butter for lunch one day during my first week of experimenting with paleo plans.
Sidenote: Consuming a half carton of almond butter for lunch is definitely not part of any paleo plan.
My point being, there are countless wonderful resources available that tell you exactly what is and isn’t paleo. There are also tons of paleo recipes and dietary guidelines available. But there isn’t a whole lot of advice on how to switch from a pantry full of peanut butter, canola oil and whole wheat bread to almond butter, coconut flour and pure avocado oil. Although transitioning to a paleo lifestyle isn’t difficult, it can be overwhelming if you try and do it all at once. Which is why I’ve compiled this list of three easy ways to become paleo.
Make Gradual Changes
Throwing away a large portion of your kitchen and buying all knew food products can strain not only your patience but your wallet as well. Don’t become discouraged if you’re not able to replace all your foods during one trip to the store. Instead, plan ahead and choose one product to replace every couple of weeks. During week one you can begin by replacing any wheat flour with almond flour and coconut flour. For week two or three you can replace any white, brown or powdered sugar with coconut sugar and natural sweeteners such as pure maple syrup and raw honey. Gradual changes will not only keep you from feeling overwhelmed, but they’ll also give you small goals to attain every week.
I decided to become paleo while I was working full-time and, before I learned to plan my meals, trying to throw a meal together was chaotic and frustrating. Choose a day to spend one hour researching paleo meals and assembling a grocery list. Once you’ve purchased your ingredients (or as many as you can that week) unpack your groceries and begin prepping your week’s worth of meals. I like to spend sunday afternoons blasting my favorite Pandora station and making meals for the week.
Tip: To avoid costly grocery remorse, try choosing breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes with similar ingredients. For example, lunch may consist of a paleo chicken tender salad while dinner includes grilled salmon with greens. This way, the bulk of your cost will come from your protein sources: the chicken and fish. the rest of your less costly ingredients can be reused for every meal, including the salad.
Give Yourself A Day Off
Most people refer to them as “cheat days,” but I think the word “cheat” implies that I’m doing something wrong. Yes, eating a giant bowl of mac n’ cheese may not be the healthiest decision I make, but if I’ve been working hard and fueling my body with nutrient-dense, easy to digest foods, I deserve to treat myself with something I enjoy. That’s why I call my off days “treat days” versus “cheat days.” I’ve been eating paleo for almost a year now and I still give myself a treat meal every sunday night. My partner and I each get a big carton of Ben And Jerry’s ice cream and go to town while fighting over what to watch on Netflix – Ah, young love!
For an easy way to get started becoming paleo check out Three Foods You Should Replace Today.