Saturday, March 1, 2014

You Don't Have to be a "Paleo" to Eat Paleo!

Below you will find practical tips and some yummy things that make Paleo more do-able for someone on the go (Please see: the title of my blog). Please also note that this blog is extra long and it's for people who are wanting to get started and don't know how! 

Raise your hand if you are tired of reading fitness/health blogs that suggest the only way you will be a successful person is if you never eat another carb for the rest of your life and "working out" means 2-3 hours a day at a $200/month gym? *hand raised* For me, this just seems so unrealistic for people who want more out of life than being a gym rat and eating the same food every day (a.k.a. me). I will admit that this lifestyle can be a little addicting. You start to crave a good work out and discovering what else out there tastes amazingly yummy and won't add pounds to your tummy. Ugh I hate rhymes. Don't ever let me say something that stupid again. 

So the whole "Paleo" thing can seem extremely restricting, confusing and frustrating at first - I get that. I tried going Paleo multiple times in the past 2 years to lose weight and only lasted a week or two at best before my favorite $3 Taco Bell meal on the way to class got the best of me. Fast food also meant I could watch more Netflix and spend more time doing my nails - the real important things in life. The thing about Paleo is that you almost have unlimited possibilities, you just have to know a little about them. Remember, you are eating: Fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, healthful oils, spices. There is so much more you can do with this than you think! 

On to the actual point of this post: below you will find some things that could help you make the transition to a more healthy lifestyle. I feel like I need to put some sort of disclaimer that you can't sue me if you don't like lose 20lbs by the end of this post or something dumb like that. Disclaimer: don't sue me; I'm broke and you will get nothing. Please also note that below are tips for making Paleo EASIER when you are on the go. I will post more recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks/desserts in the future. For now, you can check out some good stuff on my Pinterest: While you're at it, pin my blog! I have not tired all these recipes but based on my experience making so many paleo meals - these recipes seem pretty legit.  I will say right now that I am still learning and do not know everything there is to know. I just know that I love experimenting with food and I'm feeling better and better the longer I do this. 

Last thing: you have to actually want this for yourself - for your life. No matter how many tips I give you or how many good looking recipes on pinterest you find... you will have to want this for yourself to make it work. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging and who want the best for you too. Spend less time with people who are enablers and constantly remind yourself that you are taking care of what God has given you. 

One more quick thing... don't watch "The Following". Both my roommate and I keep waking up with nightmares and then keep watching it anyways because you just have to know what happens to Kevin Bacon. I hate those shows that reel you in and then damage your emotional well-being with their twisted-ness. 

1. PLAN AHEAD: Even a caveman could do it. Breakfast and lunch are the easiest meals to eat and still comply with your "diet"... your adrenaline and hormones start acting up in the afternoon - making you crave more carbs and fatty things by the time your favorite evening show comes on.  No matter what, ALWAYS pack your breakfast and lunch the night before to take with you to work/school. Giving yourself one option forces you to eat what you already spent time and money on... soon enough you will start to crave these things. Try transforming your breakfasts/lunches first, as a start. This will save you TONS of calories throughout the day. You don't have to be Paleo to eat Paleo meals often. Every little bit counts.

2. THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST. Or the first 5 days. Shocking your system to stop craving bad stuff is the HARDEST part and the stage where most people give up. By day 3-5 you will be grumpy, angry and feeling sorry for yourself. The poor boyfriend had to deal with a week or two of me feeling sorry for myself. Allow yourself to feel like this for a day or two (or 10 for me) and take it out on the treadmill. With Paleo you will be craving bread and refined sugars by day 3. The first two days you will be feeling awesome about yourself. Remember that feeling if you start to go downhill and don't let yourself eat emotionally - go out and do something instead! Yelling at Juan Pablo on the Bachelor is also extremely therapeutic. 

3. "CHEAT" MEALS or "LAME" MEALS. On your first two weeks transitioning into the paleo lifestyle, I encourage you not to eat ANY "Cheat" meals that you are apparently "allowed" on the Paleo website (85% paleo/15% other crap). These are triggers and make you feel you've been "lacking good stuff". Guess what? Fruits and vegetables are carbs. Eat those. If you feel like you are a pretty self-disciplined person- go for it but be careful. Now I use my 15% to eat some gluten-free grains! 

4. MASON JARS AND PYREX = Gold.  Invest in these!!! Spend $50 on some pyrex containers and 2 different sized packages of Mason jars and this will help you immensely - trust me. I use these things for EVERYTHING. I think my roommate gets like 1 shelf of the fridge and pantry after you take out all the stuff in all my containers. Sorry, Ally. When you buy fruits and veggies or cut them up - put them in these containers in the fridge to avoid having to throw stuff away when it goes bad before you can eat it.

5. SHOP IN SMALL QUANTITIES. This can be frustrating at first. If you are used to shopping at Costco for everything and then eating it for the next 3 weeks... this might not work anymore. Eating food that doesn't go bad after 3 weeks is kind of an indicator it's probably not Paleo. You are going to be eating mainly fruits and vegetables and these go bad... if you don't know that then we maybe need to talk more later. So shop in smaller quantities, more often. Plan what you want to make in the next 3-4 days and only buy enough for that. This will take you a little more time than you are used to but it get's easier!  

6. IT'S NOT THAT EXPENSIVE. With all the money you save not buying cookies, bread, crackers, snacks, starbucks, lunch on your lunch break at work every day... you really aren't spending that much more than you were before. You have to think about this when you go grocery shopping - maybe this bill will be a little higher but you are saving money in the long run by avoiding other things. Unless you do Paleo baking - those ingredients start to cost a crap load of money. I'll spend another blog post in the future talking about that.

7. BREAKFASTS: I never wake up early enough to make my breakfast... so I make it the night before and stick it in the fridge to take to work for later. My breakfast ideas: protein shake w/ almond milk/coconut milk, smoothie with almond milk/coconut milk, chia seed pudding, trail mix, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets made in advance, muffins made in advance, fruits, coconut yogurt. All of these things have some great nutrients to get your morning started: good carbs, good fats and protein. Yum! 

8. LUNCHES: I pack a variety of little things in my lunches the night before. Instead of eating one huge burrito for lunch, I eat like 5 ziplocks of different things and I get SO FULL by the afternoon. Another good thing about Paleo is that most of the food you are eating (besides fats) is extremely low in calories which means you get to eat more and feel full all the time (Unlike weight watchers or South Beach diet where you want to eat your own arm). For lunches: grape tomatoes, leftovers from last night's dinner, broccoli in a pyrex container with some coconut oil and lemon pepper (MY FAV) to warm up in microwave, slices of nitrate-free, all natural lunch meat (Trader Joes has good ones), hard boiled eggs, fruits, plantain chips (T.J's for the win again), baby carrots, salads, grilled chicken cut and saved in fridge to put on salads, trail mix, Larabars. All these things take two seconds to put into a lunch bag and then take to work the next day. Hardly any prep at all. Love it. 

9. DINNERS: Find meals that look good on Pinterest or start learning how to make some of your favorite meals Paleo! Some of my favorites are recipes from Juli is hilarious and comes up with very creative and delicious stuff! Try out one of her recipes this week to start. Her Pizza Spaghetti Pie is to die for. Make something in the crockpot on Sunday that you can warm up for a night or two that week. I don't have anyone else I have to cook for besides myself, so I only end up making 2 or 3 big meals a week and eating leftovers. 

10. PALEO SOME OF THE TIME: Doing paleo when you don't have access to a kitchen or fridge/microwave all day can be tough (living at college, certain workplaces, truck driving, living in Africa...idk). Take little steps to eating more whole foods to the best of your ability. Sometimes this is the best you can do! Maybe your cafeteria has a salad bar or buy protein powder to take in a cup to the cafeteria to fill up and make a shake. Eat way more of the vegetable side dishes than the pasta. Fill up on veggies! If you have to go to fast food - get the salads and then just use half the dressing they give you or choose subway or flame broiler. Obviously these things aren't "paleo" but you are making efforts towards a better you and that's all that really matters. There are probably a bazillion Paleo's yelling at me "blasphemy!!!!" right now. Oh well. Sometimes you just gotta do the best you can and take time to thank God for chocolate. 

Speaking of chocolate... go to Sprouts and buy this ASAP. Straight spoon to jar to mouth action. OMG! 

Some favorite easy recipes coming soon! 

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