As I read the information about what to eat and why, I remembered the diet my Natural-path had put me on a few years back to help lower my cholesterol. It had limited my dairy and carb intake, not my meat or fat intake, and after doing it for a year, it had lowered my cholesterol significantly. Combining that with this new information just clicked in my mind and I decided it was worth a try.
I googled "Paleo" and found a wealth of information in more scientific data as well as recipes and food blogs. I decided I'd start with a 30-day challenge to cut out all the sugar, gluten, dairy and legumes. I figured I could do anything for only 30 days. I completed a 30 day challenge and blogged about it here. It has now been almost 8 months and I'm still here. And I have no plans on going back. I lost weight and feel better than I have in years eating and living this way. I've seen positive results in my family as a result of changing our diet as well.
If you are interested in reading about my 30 day journey, and seeing what I ate/cooked for that month, check out these posts:
Now, I am no scientist or health expert of any kind, so I don't go a whole lot into the why's of Paleo/primal, although I think it is extremely important to know why. How else will you answer someone who asks, "Why aren't you eating bread? It's healthy," or "But you need milk for calcium," or "Won't all that meat and eggs raise your cholesterol?"
Even I don't remember the answers to these questions all the time, the science has a hard time sticking in my brain sometimes, so here's some of the resources I use to educate myself:
Essential Reading or Answering the "WHY":
Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
Here's what I thought.
Mark Sisson'sThe Primal Blueprint
Here's my blog post about it.
Gary Taube's Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
and my review/thoughts on it.
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ -- lots of info, similar to his book
http://robbwolf.com/ -- lots of info, similar to his book
http://whole9life.com/2010/03/the-grain-manifesto/ -- Whole9 are some smart cookies. Love this blog post on why we should cut out grain. They also have one about dairy.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the information available out there. Please let me know if you read anything that I haven't listed here that I should!
Food/Recipe Ideas or the Practical Answering the "HOW":
I highly recommend doing a 21 or 30 day challenge. Just jump in, 100% and give it your whole-hearted effort for just a month. Over at Everyday Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness they have a 21 day Jump Start complete with a menu for all meals. There is also a forum with all the encouragement, help and information you'll ever need when jumping into Paleo. I wish I would've had that option when I started, it would have made the transition so much easier! Joining EPLifeFit would make the transition a piece of cake compared to doing it all on your own.
Some practical advice:
- Take time to plan a menu, because to be successful you need to be prepared.
- Some great blogs/websites for recipe ideas are:
- Everyday Paleo -- She also has a cookbook, Everyday Paleo
- Life As a Plate
- The Food Lover's Primal Palate -- They've also have a cookbook, Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion
- Civilized Cooking Caveman Creations
- Chowstalker -- this one is like a picture menu of lots of different recipes. You click on the recipe and it takes you to that blog. I've found lots of new food blogs this way.
- Paleo Comfort Foods -- an awesome cookbook(Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen) and blog.
- The Clothes Make the Girl, and her cookbook WellFed.
- Plan on making at least a double recipe of whatever your dinner is. You'll want leftovers for lunches, and even breakfasts. Leftovers are good!
- Pack your lunch as you are putting away leftovers after dinner so that it's ready in the morning.
- Spend some time on Sunday (or whatever day ends your weekend) preparing for the week, especially if you work outside of the home. Some things I prep are:
- Make some egg muffins, they are a quick and tasty way to get protein at breakfast without having to always fry an egg.
- Wash and prep your veggies. I like to have carrots and celery sticks ready, also fruit for the girls and usually some lettuce, cucumbers, jicama or whatever veggies are in season.
- Have ideas for what to eat/pack if you run out of leftovers. Need some ideas? Check out the blogs I listed above, there are a ton!
- Explore the non-egg options for breakfasts: bacon, sausage (both pork and chicken), berries and nuts in coconut milk, fruit smoothies with some greens thrown in, or even leftover dinner!
- Make sure your main thing at each meal is protein, then add in veggies, fruit and healthy fats. If the bulk of your meal is protein you will not get hungry in-between meals.
- Try new veggies and new recipes--it helps keep it fun and exciting.
- But also have some go-to quick/easy meals that you can do on the crazy days, i.e. taco's but only with lettuce cups as "shells" or as a salad. It's easy to pull ground beef out of the freezer and have it browned up and seasoned in 30 minutes or less. Or "Spaghetti" again the ground beef, and prepared sauce (that's without the junk) served over spaghetti squash.