Are you thinking of trying the popular paleo diet? Inspired by the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, the paleo diet emphasizes whole, unprocessed, high-quality meats and vegetables while excluding grains, legumes, sugar, most dairy, and refined vegetable oils.
Many people believe it helps them with health challenges ranging from digestive issues to hormonal imbalances.
Simplicity is Key
When eating paleo, it’s best to keep it simple if you want to increase your chance of success. While a Google search for “paleo recipes” will turn up countless “paleo-ified” versions of everything from bagels to brownies, these recipes can contain expensive, hard-to-find ingredients that aren’t as nutritious as simpler whole foods.
Simple foods that you likely already know how to cook can make a delicious paleo menu: fried eggs with a side of fresh berries for breakfast; a big salad topped with salmon and avocado for lunch; a bunless burger with a baked sweet potato and roasted broccoli for dinner; almonds and an apple for a snack.
As an added bonus, keeping your paleo diet simple will help you stick to a budget. Focus on the basics: meat, fish, eggs, loads of colorful veggies, some fruits, and fats such as coconut, avocado, and butter. If you have extra room in your budget, you can opt for grass-fed meats and packaged paleo snack bars and protein powders.
Another way to spare your wallet (and your sanity) when going paleo is to focus on meal prep. Consider cooking grass-fed ground beef with lots of veggies (think carrots, broccoli, kale, onion, mushrooms, and the like) on the weekend so you can have meals ready to go during the week. Other paleo staples that can be prepared in advance include hard-boiled eggs, baked sweet potatoes, trail mix, and hearty soups. Having your fridge and freezer stocked with premade, healthy options makes sticking to a paleo diet easier during busy weeks.
Finally, as you make the transition to this ancestral way of eating, listen to your body. Rather than seeing a non-paleo indulgence as a slip-up, see it as a chance to observe how your body feels when you eat different foods. At the end of the day, the best determinant of your ideal diet is how it makes you feel.
- The New Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy by Mark Sisson ($34.95, Primal Nutrition, 2016)
- The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf ($24.95, Victory Belt Publishing, 2010)
- Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo ($25.67, Victory Belt Publishing, 2016)