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Porkchop

Beginner paleo/primal

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Hi Porkchop :)

I started Paleo myself this challenge, by just jumping into it. I stopped shopping bad stuff a week before it started, and ate it all before the challenge, after that I only bought Paleo food (30% unintentional to 100%). Now this obviously depends on your living situation, if you shop only for yourself it's a lot easier I'm guessing. I've had a ton of success with it so far. Now about 4 weeks in, I only had a single slip up, and intend on staying at 100% for the rest of the challenge.

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There are basically two ways to do it - the gradual way, or the all at once way.  Many people find that making one positive habit change at a time really helps with the transition - for example, start by cutting out the worst offenders, like soda, excess sugars/refined carbs and fried foods, then work your way to things like grains and other non-paleo foods.

 

The easiest way to do this, is to buy paleo at the grocery store and cook at home as much as possible.  It's easy to grab non-paleo stuff when you're away from home and it's.... there, but if you keep your fridge/pantry well stocked with a nice variety of paleo foods, it will make everything that much easier.

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What catspaw said.

 

Also, a lot of people like to do a Whole 30.  It's rough - there's a support thread here. 

 

When we started we went 100% primal first (that was our choice for a variety of reasons) and did a cleaning out of the pantry.  Cleaning out your pantry, if it's affordable, is a good good idea.  Esp get rid of really toxic foods if you can.  If you can't, start gobbling before next challenge and do not replace.  Eg. if you have a giant bag of doritos - start nibbling now and do not replace.  If you have lots of frozen dinners - eat now and do not replace.  Also, you can start stocking up slowly on paleo staples so you don't get sticker shock.  Why not buy a nice olive oil and some other good oil now so you don't have to do it in a few weeks when you are buying grassfed beef?  Little things - they help.

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I second (or third?) catspaw's reading recommendations.  Good stuff there.  I recommend "Well Fed" as well....it's a great basic paleo cookbook, and has some great tips for making paleo work with your lifestyle.

 

I went the all-at-once route back in August.  For me, allowing "some" non-paleo stuff or going for 80/20 is a recipe for failure; it works better for me to define the parameters of my diet (i.e. i will allow cultured kefir but no other dairy, or I will allow chocolate but no other added sugars/sweeteners, etc.) and then stick with that 100%.  Right now I'm following a Whole30-style paleo protocol (but I'm not actually "doing a Whole30"), with the one allowance of whiskey on the weekend.   :)  This means I am not eating any dairy, grains, legumes, or sugars, including raw honey/maple syrup which some paleo/primal followers allow.  Everybody does paleo/primal a little differently, and that's okay.   :)

 

I started my first NF challenge back then by clearing all the non-Paleo stuff out of my house and stocking the fridge and pantry with stuff to get me going on the new nutritional lifestyle.  I haven't looked back yet.   :)  How you make the transition is up to you....and all ways of transitioning to the Paleo lifestyle are equally valid, in my opinion.  The important thing is that you're doing what works best for your body, and nobody else can tell you that.

 

I'd also recommend arming yourself with some good recipes...that's been key for me sticking with it.  I keep bookmarked paleo recipes for when I plan my meals out, and it keeps things from getting boring.  Also, when you're new to paleo and you've been at it for a week or two, and you're getting discouraged about all the foods you can't have, I find it's helpful to browse for recipe ideas to remind myself of all the awesome food I can have.   :)  Nomnompaleo, Civilized Caveman, TheClothesMaketheGirl,  and PaleOMG are my go-to places for meal ideas.

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Thank all of you for the feedback, this is exactly what I was looking for. Looking at it from here, I will dive into it all the way when the next challenge starts. Unless I get the urge to start early in the last couple weeks of this challenge (stranger things have happened). The no grain part looks to be the toughest aspect of the diet. I would gladly give up sweets and garbage food, but a burger is just not a burger without a bun and so on. Cereal would also be a hard thing to replace for breakfast in the morning. So simple, so brain-dead easy to prepare it. My main thing will be packing a lunch and a snack for while I'm at work. From what I've read on it though, it seems to be a healthy way to eat and not just a gimick-y quick fix thing, I'm looking forward to it.

 

Also not eating enough carbs usually results in feeling sluggish and weak. Is there a way around this or is it just temporary and the bodies' way of bringing itself back into some kind of balance?

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Thank all of you for the feedback, this is exactly what I was looking for. Looking at it from here, I will dive into it all the way when the next challenge starts. Unless I get the urge to start early in the last couple weeks of this challenge (stranger things have happened). The no grain part looks to be the toughest aspect of the diet. I would gladly give up sweets and garbage food, but a burger is just not a burger without a bun and so on. Cereal would also be a hard thing to replace for breakfast in the morning. So simple, so brain-dead easy to prepare it. My main thing will be packing a lunch and a snack for while I'm at work. From what I've read on it though, it seems to be a healthy way to eat and not just a gimick-y quick fix thing, I'm looking forward to it.

 

Also not eating enough carbs usually results in feeling sluggish and weak. Is there a way around this or is it just temporary and the bodies' way of bringing itself back into some kind of balance?

 

Re: burgers - I felt similarly when I first started, but now I LOOOVE eating burgers without the bun.  I grill up my patties, put them on a bed of salad greens, and top with bacon, sauteed mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, and a little bit of balsamic vinegar.  So good!  For me the bun wasn't the hardest part to give up...it was giving up my beloved ketchup that made me weep (literally, I got choked up the first time I ordered a burger out and then realized afterward that I couldn't put ketchup on it).   :)  I got over that pretty quick though.  Now I go to restaurants around here all the time and order a burger, no bun, with all the veggie toppings, and I eat it like a salad.  Still delish.

 

Re: breakfast cereal - Yup there's no real paleo exchange item for cereal, other than a bowl full of dried fruits and nuts which we try to avoid eating too much of anyway.  For breakfasts I either eat leftovers from the night before, or I make a hash with veggies and ground meat and I put a poached egg on top.  If that's too much time for you in the morning, you could make up a big pan of hash on the weekend, portion it into freezer containers and just nuke it (without the egg) in the AM.  My favorite hash right now is ground pork with sliced zucchini, sliced sweet potato, and sun-dried tomatoes, with some herbs and spices...I cook all that up in coconut oil and it is a delicious, hearty breakfast that easily keeps me going for 4 or 5 hours before hunger sets in again.

 

Re: packing stuff ahead for work - i do the same thing and I struggled with it for awhile because I kept trying to do it the night before.  now I do in on weekends.  I cook up a BUNCH of meat and veggies on the weekends, maybe a pot of chili too, and portion it out to freeze for individual servings throughout the week.  Last weekend I made 3lbs of breakfast sausage, cooked up 4lbs of shredded chicken in the crock pot, made a pot of bone broth, and roasted two huge spaghetti squashes....all those foods can be combined with fresh veggies and other ingredients throughout the week to make tons of meal variations.  It takes maybe 3-4 hours on a Saturday from start to finish, but it's so worth it during the week to be able to just grab and go.  Also, I cook for 2 people, so if you're only cooking for 1 person it would probably take even less time.

 

Re: carb flu - it should be temporary.  I was lucky in that I didn't experience it.  Every body is different.  Remember, though, that paleo/primal is not necessarily low-carb.  I get a decent amount of carbs from eating veggies, sweet potatoes, coconut, and some fruits, so maybe that's why I didn't experience the carb flu.

 

Best of luck to you on your paleo adventures!   :)

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Thank all of you for the feedback, this is exactly what I was looking for. Looking at it from here, I will dive into it all the way when the next challenge starts. Unless I get the urge to start early in the last couple weeks of this challenge (stranger things have happened). The no grain part looks to be the toughest aspect of the diet. I would gladly give up sweets and garbage food, but a burger is just not a burger without a bun and so on. Cereal would also be a hard thing to replace for breakfast in the morning. So simple, so brain-dead easy to prepare it. My main thing will be packing a lunch and a snack for while I'm at work. From what I've read on it though, it seems to be a healthy way to eat and not just a gimick-y quick fix thing, I'm looking forward to it.

 

Also not eating enough carbs usually results in feeling sluggish and weak. Is there a way around this or is it just temporary and the bodies' way of bringing itself back into some kind of balance?

 

You are getting stellar advice here.  Since I've been in your shoes, I'll weigh in:

 

1.  Burger - DO NOT give up your burger.  Get really good beef (if you can afford it), top with healthy stuff, and use bib or iceberg lettuce as a "bun".  I actually go bunless b/c buns in all honesty don't carry a lot of the taste of the burger - it's the meats, toppings, etc.  You can find a suitable alternative.

 

2.  Cereal - *sigh*  I loved oatmeal.  Absolutely one of my very favorite things in the world.  Slow cooked homemade oatmeal.  I haven't had it in almost 1.5 years.  I just gave it up cold turkey and just live with memories of the love.  I miss it psychologically but know I'm making good choices.  Once in a great while I'll make a paleo substitute which isn't bad.  I just limit it to once every couple of months and not very often.  more as a treat.  I've found other hot and hearty breakfasts like eggs and leftovers suit me well.

 

3.  I pack my lunch pretty much every day.  I eat a nice variety of things and always have a tasty lunch.

 

4.  Carb flu - varies a lot.  I had a bit of it, my spousal unit had more than me.  But it was a few days.  Eat enough fat and protein.  Use it as a time to explore some exciting food or recipe to help get you mentally out of feeling it.  Also, we did a lot of outdoor walking/hiking that first week to get energized that way.  It passes very quickly and it's not really debilitating.  And def look at what you are eating and why.  You don't have to be low carb.  Lower carb is for weightloss (is that a goal?)

 

I will emphasize two important things:  1) paleo is about insulin control so do watch the fruits.  Fruit is desert/treat/etc. and not a staple for all meals.  Once a day, etc. is just fine unless you are low carbing but you don't want to eat a bunch of melon for breakfast, a banana as a snack, apples for lunch, and strawberries for dinner. 2) paleo treats/deserts, etc. are treats.  I have a co-worker who went "paleo" and then complained about not losing weight or feeling better.  Well, every day it was paleo cookies, paleo brownies, paleo ice cream, paleo candy, paleo donuts.... not kidding.  paleo treats are cool and well earned but enjoy in moderation.  It's really about rethinking our relationships to food and one of those things is sweets/sugars. 

 

I think you'll have a great experience.  This is a great forum for support!!!!

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