The Slow Paleo Transition

by Suz on May 25, 2012 · 7 comments

in Paleo, Primal

A lot of people seem to prefer to jump straight into Paleo. To clean out the kitchen, buy new cookbooks and go cold turkey on the grains all on the same day.

For others however, jumping straight in is a scary prospect. After eating a certain way for an entire lifetime, a slow, gradual transition into Paleo is the favoured approach for many. So how do you make a slow transition?

There are lots of plans that I think lead very gently into a Paleo diet, making it much easier to become “fully Paleo” without any fuss or issue. A lot of people who used to rely on refined grains, find suddenly cutting off those carbs can result in “carb flu”. This can last for a couple of weeks, and is not an enjoyable experience – but well worth persevering with to come out the other side, feeling like a new person.

Research and Reading

I always think the best start to a new routine is research. Understand exactly what you’re doing and why. Read everything you can Paleo from blogs, ebooks and books such as Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint and Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution.

Replace Industrial Oils

A quick win is to replace industrial seed oils with coconut oil and olive oil. You won’t feel your missing out on anything by throwing away the canola, sunflower, soybean, vegetable oil and margarine – but your body will thank you for it!

Quit Sugar

Giving up sugar is a great next step. Until you do this, you probably won’t realise how much sugar you actually eat. Ebooks like the Balance Bites “21 Day Sugar Detox” and Sarah Wilsons “I Quit Sugar” make the process easier, by taking you through this step by step.

Weston A Price

Once seed oils and sugar are in hand, I think adopting a Weston A Price approach would be an easy transition. This will enable you to focus on the quality of the food you eat. You don’t have to give up grains – yet – but you will be preparing them the minimise the harmful effects. You’ll still be consuming dairy, but you’ll be careful to ensure it’s good quality, raw dairy, which will be a significant bonus to your health.

Primal BluePrint

Once you become used to Weston A Price, it’s time to let go of the grains and address the rest of your lifestyle. Mark Sisson’s Primal BluePrint plan is the perfect next step. You’ll get rid of the grains, but keep the dairy. You’ll see the importance of the rest of your life and start sprinting and lifting heavy things. You’ll see the importance of sunshine, reducing stress and sleeping well. You’ll understand that there will be occasions you don’t make good food choices, but with the 80:20 rule, that’s ok – you’re getting it right far more often than not.

Whole30

One the Primal diet is dialled in, it’s time to go fully Paleo. I think the Whole30 is the best way to start this – and having been Primal, all you’re going to give up is dairy; not a big ask at all. A dedicated 30 days will enable you to see the benefits of eating this way and start to develop habits and routines.

Fully Paleo

After the Whole30, you can assess how you feel and slowly start to reintroduce foods (if you feel you really missed dairy, for example).

With a slow transition, you should be able to go from a SAD to a Paleo diet, without any real hardship or difficulty.

What was (or will be, for those just learning about Paleo!) your approach? Are you black or white, or do you prefer a slow transition? Did I miss any steps in a gradual transition?

The Paleo Recipe Book
Did you enjoy this article?
Get my 2 FREE Paleo eBooks!
Sign up to receive my weekly email, full of Paleo tips, recipes, events and news and download my free Paleo ebooks

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Genni May 26, 2012 at 6:59 am

Thanks for this I find it really encouraging, I seem to have stuck on the 80:20 rule
(Primal Blueprint).I’ve been on this for two years now, started off by cutting out sugar, this took ages to get used to, it’s so worth it though. I do still have diary though, this I find too difficult to cut out.

Reply

Amanda Lindsay May 28, 2012 at 9:43 am

I can’t go back to ‘grains’ without tummy problems – aside from a bit of sugar in a sauce on meat (i.e. a teaspoon in a sitting) or in dark chocolate… But I have not been able to eliminate dairy yet. Generally have a cup of milk in a coffee each day or a bit of yoghurt in a tzatziki over lamb and salad etc… I guess I’d call myself 70-80%… I’m not sure I’ll ever stop dairy altogether but I am letting my body dictate! : )

Reply

Suz June 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Have you tried eliminating dairy? If you tolerate it well and are able to get good quality raw dairy, there may be no need to remove it

Reply

Amanda Lindsay June 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I’m going to do a Whole30 in July… and we will see how that goes. If I don’t see a noticeable improvement then I will probably stay ‘primal’ for part of the day at least…. My ‘meals’ are pretty easily paleo but there may be a bit of cheese (parmesan) or milk or cream that appears when coconut milk isn’t around… Whole30 should identify the weak spots I think! How did Whole30 May work out for you?

Reply

Suz July 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

Hope it’s going well Amanda? It went really well, I really like doing a Whole30 occasionally to refocus.

Reply

Liza January 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

As an auto immune sufferer I have been looking into paleo, this was a great read with useful ideas. I live remote with no health food stores but the local IGA does sell coconut oil, so there is a win. When I told the BF I was going to change lifestyle he thought I would start straight away my response was i need to slowly work my way into it, glad I read this now as it just strengthens my resolve to work my way into paleo, replacing some meals with paleo receipes, slowly dropping out the things I love. Told him he will be doing this too so he might want to look into it a little (I do all the cooking).
Thanks Suz

Reply

Luba Bradford June 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm

great article and very helpful. Thank you. This is my 2nd week of almost starying ‘cold turkey. Doing it to reduce inflammation in my body and also, general wellbeimg. Feeling better already, although I’m glad you mentioneed ‘carb flu’. feeling a little that way without being sick. I’m a woman on a mission.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: