When you first get started on the Paleo diet, or any diet for that matter, one of the hardest things to get adjusted to is the new way of eating. But as hard as a new way of eating is on your tastebuds it is even harder on your body.
You have probably, after all, eaten a certain way for most of your life. If you decide one day that you are going to change things up your body is sure to rebel. You are going to feel physical cravings for the unhealthy foods that you are used to eating, you will detox, get headaches, break out, be tired and irritable and bite off the heads of your nearest and dearest.
But remember, at the end of the rebellion you will find yourself healthier and more energetic than you ever thought possible.
The good news is that you can actually ease your way into a new way of eating. Just a few simple switches in your food will let you take that first step towards a healthy lifestyle without feeling like you are sacrificing your tastebuds to do it.
And once you get the hang of these easy transitions you can move onto other easy transitions.
If you are trying to figure out what things you can start cutting from your diet, here are some easy ideas:
Switch Your Milk
Nut milks aren’t just healthier than dairy, they are also a great source of protein. Instead of using regular milk in your cereals, smoothies, and recipes try using nut milk. Admittedly if you are still on the caffeine than the taste may be a bit odd in your coffee, but when going Paleo we swapped the coffee for Matcha Tea and Turmeric Lattes and Almond milk is the absolute bomb in these!
In general, people move to almond milk, but you could try cashew or macadamia or hazelnut as well. And it’s super simple to make your own.
- 2 cups raw unsalted organic nuts
- 4 cups filtered or purified water
- pinch of himalayan sea salt
- 1-2 tablespoon organic maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1) Soak your nuts for at the appropriate amount of time
- Almonds, Hazlenut, Macadamia – overnight
- Cashews 2 hours
2) Discard the water and rinse your nuts.
3) Place soaked nuts, vanilla extract, honey (or other sweetener), a dash of sea salt and 4 cups of water in a blender. Cover and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. It will be milky and have a bit of foam on the top.
4) Strain milk through a nut bag and squeeze into a bottle. You can reserve the left over nut to use in recipes that use nut meal. We always go for some nut meal pancakes or the gozleme from Pete Evans Fast Food for Busy Families (these are seriously to die for!)
Switch Your Oil
Instead of coating your pans with vegetable, canola or seed oil, try using coconut oil instead. This a healthy fat that is good for your body and is particularly flavoursome in asian dishes. For stovetop cooking, sautéing, or just coating the bottom of a pan coconut oil will work beautifully.
If you are using in baking instead of butter or olive oil, just remember coconut oil has to be melted first, if you throw it into your cake batter in place of butter you might end up with a nasty surprise.
Keep olive oil for dressings and vinegarettes and avoid using when frying. It oxidises at high heats and switches from a nice healthy fat to a nasty!
If you really prefer to fry with butter – try changing to ghee (clarified butter). But it’s dairy right? Well, yes BUT the reason strict Paleo diets remove dairy is because it can cause inflammation. Dairy includes proteins and carbohydrates – which are generally the parts that cause the problems. Ghee is butter fat with out the problematic bits. So unless you are super sensitive to dairy, ghee is a great alternative.
Switch your Sweetners
This one is a mine field. It’s pretty obvious that refined and processed sweetners and sugars should be O.U.T. However there is so much debate around natural sweetners. And not all natural sweetners are created equal.
Things like Agave have been touted as a grat alternative to honey – particulary for vegans… but it’s just LOADED with fructose so should be a big no-no.
Stevia is another one suggested as a health alternative… That’s fine so long as you are using the green leaf or extract. Most people reach for the processed white stuff.
Seriously, if it’s white and powdery, unless you are skiing down it or making snow angels LEAVE IT ALONE PEOPLE!
Try raw organic honey or organic maple syrup (not the fake one which is high fructose corn syrup) dates, sustainably farmed palm sugar or coconut sugar. Regardless it should always be used sparingly. Sugar is still sugar at the end of the day.
Remember, getting healthy isn’t a sprint – it is a marathon. You didn’t get to the place where you are now in a day, it took years of eating a certain way for that to happen. If you just expect your body to ‘get with the program’ of a new healthy lifestyle you will be setting yourself up for failure.
Instead take your time, ease into it, and most importantly give yourself a break. Love yourself enough to have patience with yourself, the end result will be worth it.