March 18, 2017

Welcome To Paleo. This'll be fun!

Relax, this’ll be easy. 

Paleo isn’t a super strict diet, it’s a set of healthy guidelines.  The guidelines are easy to learn, and once you understand a few of the quirks of Paleo the whole thing will snap together.  

Sure, some folks go deep down the rabbit hole of “maximum optimization”, but you don’t have to.  It’s definitely not necessary in order to feel better, and feeling better is your goal, right?

I’ll make one big assumption at the beginning of this:  You’re interested in good health, not extreme performance or wringing the last .02% out of your diet. 

While Paleo can work for professional athletes, hard chargin’ CrossFit Games competitors, and ultra runners, it needs some significant tweaks and more dedication to do that.  For you, someone interested in being healthy and feeling good, Paleo is really simple.

Let’s start with something really easy:  A paleo dinner.  I can describe it in two short sentences:

  1. A piece of animal or fish protein about the size of your palm.
  2. Cover the rest of the plate with salad or vegetables.

Easy, right?

How about lunch?  The same thing, although you could cut down to half as much protein.

What about breakfast?  This is one of the “quirky” areas of Paleo.  The main thing to remember is to cut down your sugar intake.  For most people, that just means to remove fruit from your diet except as a dessert (more on paleo desserts later, there are DEFINITELY better options than fruit.)  :)

Many of us Paleo peeps just have a “fat” or “butter” coffee for breakfast (recipe here.)  You can totally have a “regular” breakfast with pancakes (recipe here), eggs (recipe here), and bacon. Just drop out the fruit and juice.  I know, I know, it’s a little weird.  Try it for a week, I think you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel during the day.

That’s it.  The Paleo diet, tadaa!

I promise you, if you eat a “Standard American Diet” right now:

  • Breakfast: Cereal, smoothies, fresh fruit, granola, oatmeal, juice, pancakes, waffles, syrup, etc
  • Lunch: Sandwich, burger, fries, milkshake, bread, pasta, etc
  • Snacks: Soda, dried fruit, jerky, salted nuts, chips, etc
  • Dinner: Steak, potatoes, fried anything, cooked veggies, corn, bread or rolls, etc

And you switch to the Paleo meal examples given, you will 100% experience the following:

  • some weight loss
  • better sleep
  • sharper, clearer thinking throughout the day
  • lessening or elimination of energy levels, especially in the late afternoon
  • lessening or elimination of gastric distress (gas, bloating, cramping, loose or tight stools)
  • better overall mood
  • improvement of skin condition if you have any rashes, acne, dry skin, etc

It’s not magic and these aren’t guesses.  You WILL experience these changes.  We’ve seen it happen in thousands of people.

Why?  The short version is that what you’re currently eating (The Standard American Diet, or “SAD” from above) is causing inflammation in your body through too much sugar, gluten, grains, or dairy. 

That inflammation results in all the problems listed (from weight gain to terrible skin conditions.)  Eliminate the inflammation and you’ll reduce or eliminate the problems.  I promise.

There are 2 more vitally important things to cover.  

First, desserts.  Pretty obviously we’re a dessert company and we make strictly Paleo desserts.  Yes, you CAN have dessert on the Paleo diet.

If you jump straight into Paleo from SAD, you will experience sugar cravings.  To explain why, I’m going to give you an ultra short course in brain nutrition.

Your brain can run on 2 types of fuel:  Sugars (glucose) and ketones.  If you’re eating the SAD, your brain is running on sugar and it’s not used to running on ketones. 

Sugars are like dirty fuel; they explode with lots of heat in very little time and they leave lots of icky residue.  Ketones are like super clean fuels; they burn hot and long and VERY clean.

You don’t have to do anything other than remove 90% of your current sugar intake from your diet in order to switch over to burning mostly ketones.  Heck, you don’t even have to know what they are!

As you remove all the sugar producing fuel from your diet, your brain will start to complain.  You’ll feel this as headaches, cravings, and irritability.  It’s OK to feel those.  They will pass. 

Once you start training your brain to run on ketones, you’ll start to feel that strong energy level, clear thinking, and mood elevation.  Trust me, your body WANTS to run on ketones, but your brain can be a greedy pig for sugar.  

It’s also OK to have *some* sugar.  Many will gasp with horror at this idea of some sugar being OK, but you and I know that any diet that doesn’t have dessert won’t be one you stick with.  Let’s make you successful on this journey, right?  

In order to do that, we need to plan for dessert.  You don’t have to buy Paleo Treats from us, that’s just the easiest way to do it.  You can Google “paleo desserts” online and find a few thousand recipes.  

The only caveat is you’ll need to make sure the online recipes don’t sneak in extra sugar.  No coconut sugar, no evaporated cane juice, no sneaky stuff.  We advocate for honey as a good natural sugar as long as it’s in limited amounts.  You can go with stevia or erythritol if you want, although we don't really like the taste.

So that’s dessert.  What’s the other vitally important thing?

Knowledge.  

As you start down the Paleo path you’re going to come up with a TON of questions about why, how, who, where, what.  Relax, we’ve got your covered.  We wrote an eBook called “For The Love of Paleo” to help fill those knowledge gaps. 

It goes in depth into all aspects of Paleo including what we call The Seven Pillars of Paleo and it has all of our favorite recipes, from pancakes to mousse to butter coffee and a fantastically good paleo pizza crust.  

You can pick it up in the Recipes & Downloads part of our store.  

Ok, that’s all you need to know to get started.  There is way more to Paleo than just the diet, and we've put the last 8 years into discovering the secrets of how to make Paleo work really well, so make sure you pick up a copy of "For The Love Of Paleo" to help you leapfrog over the "trouble spots".   

In the meantime, if you want to join our email list and get Paleo ideas, recipes, and guidance delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here.


Nik Hawks

Author

Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!


Too much reading...
How about dessert?

Too Much Reading...How About Dessert?

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