How To Do The Paleo Diet

Sundays can be a day for brunch, or it can be a day for reevaluating one’s life choices. That’s why we strike a balance between giving you a list of brunch places, and giving you super in-depth cleanses and diets on Sundays. It’s never too late to go paleo either temporarily or attempt to make it a life choice. Let’s face it, the diet is all the rage, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s Elena Kampouris told us she does it, and we’ve tried it for a week and it really does make a difference in overall and – dare we say – body toning.

It’s why we called upon food blogger and best-selling author Danielle Walker to give us a top-to-bottom guide on going Paleo for beginners.

It includes necessary substitutes and swaps, her inspiration for making the change to begin with, and most importantly how to actually be able to eat out on this diet, because that’s always the question we find ourselves (and others) asking first and foremost.

Both of Danielle’s books – Against All Grain and Meals Made Simple –were on the New York Times Bestseller lists. Two best-selling books on going Paleo? If you’ve had any interest in taking those first steps, this is read for you…

After being drastically ill for many years and hospitalized countless times for an autoimmune disease, I decided that enough was enough and began researching how a dietary change could help my symptoms. In an effort to pinpoint which foods may be causing my symptoms, I began eliminating food groups, including all grains, dairy and legumes, following a plan that closely mimicked the Paleo diet. When I finally took the plunge and committed wholeheartedly, I saw a drastic improvement in my symptoms within forty-eight hours. Over time, I was able to wean off of high-dose steroids and avoid surgery and lifelong immunosuppressants. As an avid food lover, one of my biggest concerns was that I was embarking on a lifetime of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli, eliminating all the textures and flavors of foods that I once loved. It became my mission to disprove that myth and continue enjoying food and sharing it with the world. Here are some of my tips and guides to get you started! – Danielle Walker, founder of Against All Grain

YOUR GUIDE TO PALEO

EAT

Fish (Low Mercury, Wild Caught)

Meats (Pastured, Grass-fed, Organic) – Beef, Bison, Lamb, Pork

Poultry (Pastured, Organic) – Chicken, Duck, Turkey, Eggs

Vegetables

Fruit

Fermented Foods

Nuts and Seeds

Healthy Oils and Fats – Avocado Oil, Bacon Fat, Coconut Oil, Duck Fat, Ghee, Grass-Fed Butter, Olive Oil, Tallow

AVOID

Grains – Barley, Wheat, Rice, Corn, Rye, Cereals, Quinoa*, Breads, Oats, Pastas

*While quinoa is not technically a grain, most people find that their bodies process it as such and are not able to tolerate it.

Refined Sugar

Dairy

Soy

Refined, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils

Processed Foods

Legumes – Beans, Peanuts, Lentils

Simple Swaps to get You Started:

Instead of pasta, eat spiral-sliced squash, spaghetti squash.

Instead of rice, try cauliflower rice.

Instead of milk, try coconut milk or almond milk.

Instead of sugar, use raw honey, pure maple syrup, or coconut sugar.

Instead of canola oil, use coconut oil or ghee.

Instead of wheat flours, use nut flours, coconut flour, or arrowroot powder.

Instead of soy sauce, try coconut aminos.

Instead of iodized table salt, use trace mineral rich Celtic or Himalayan sea salt.

Tips for success:

Dive in head first, and don’t look back

It sounds drastic but the best thing to do to get started is clean out your entire kitchen. Donate foods that are off limits to local shelters or make a neighbor’s day by dropping off a big bag of groceries. When those items are left in the kitchen, they become a temptation and can make it difficult to stay on track.

Plan Ahead

Sit down in the beginning of the week to plan and try to do your grocery shopping once a week. This will help make your cooking more efficient and reduce the number of impulse food items you buy throughout the week if you go shopping while hungry and without a plan. Take an hour on the weekend to prep the vegetables you will use for the week. Mince all your garlic for the week at once, chop all your onions, and use your food processor to shred or dice vegetables. Pack them all up in re-sealable bags or containers and store them in the refrigerator for easy access and to shave time off of meal prep.

Double Up

If you’re going to go through the effort of cooking a nice meal and you know that you have a busy week ahead, double or triple the recipe. It may seem like a lot of work up front, but you will be thankful to have leftovers that you can pack for lunches or eat on the run. This will reduce your time and cleanup, plus it will alleviate the stress of cooking for every meal throughout the week.

Utilize slow cooker and one-pot meals

Minimize cleanup and save time on the back end of a meal by utilizing one-pot and slow cooker recipes. Chop up all the ingredients the night before and throw them into the slow cooker in the morning before you leave the house. Or take one day at the beginning of the month and prep the ingredients for slow cooker meals that you can put in the freezer and pull out the day you need them—then the rest of the work is done in the slow cooker!

Have a back-up plan

My backups are grass-fed, organic hot dogs with a salad, grilled burgers wrapped in lettuce, or a jar of organic spaghetti sauce to which I add some seasonings and ground beef and serve over spaghetti squash.

Tips for Dining Out

Asian

These restaurants can be tough to navigate because soy sauce has gluten and is used in many different sauces. Instead, look for curries that are made with coconut milk as a base as they are generally safe and soy-sauce free. You can also ask the kitchen to omit all sauce and carry your own coconut aminos with you. Always specify no MSG.

Mexican

Skip the beans, rice, cheese and tortillas and ask for more veggies. Ask for burrito contents on top of lettuce instead of rice (you can pretend you’re at Chipotle, even when you’re going the more authentic route!)

Toss in some extra guacamole!

American

My go-to is a bun-less burger. Ask for a lettuce wrap for added crunch and nutrients. Skip the bread and potatoes and opt for additional veggies, bacon or guacamole. If your favorite pot roast is typically served over mashed potatoes, try substituting them for sautéed spinach.

Italian

Ask for their grain-free options and order the most appealing dish that contains a protein and veggies. Always double check to make sure that the sauces are wheat free! Wheat flour is commonly used as a thickening agent.

Try making this drink to make you look younger!

Click here, here, and here, for 3 Paleo friendly recipes.

Try this ten day detox  from Sarah Jessica Parker’s Trainer. 

This smoothie cleanse from Mikaela Reuben is both easy and delicious.