Posts

The Slow Paleo Transition primal diet-min

The Slow Paleo Transition

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 Slow Paleo Transition primal diet-min

Whole 30 paleo network sq-min

Whole 30 – Halfway Through

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen that I’m currently in the middle (day 18, to be precise) of a Whole30.

Whole 30 paleo network-min

So, what is a Whole30?

The Whole 30 is a strict 30 day Paleo program, which is designed to remove all inflammation causing foods for a 30 day period.  This is very much in line with the 30-day trial Robb Wolf suggests.  At the end of the 30-days the idea is to evaluate how you look, feel and perform – compared to how you looked, felt and performed on day -1.  You can then slowly start to reintroduce other foods, if you wish to do so, to gain a better understanding of how your body reacts to specific foods.  In the 30-day program you eat good quality, lean meat, fish, eggs, seasonal fruit & vegetables as well as fat sources such as coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.  Strictly off limits are dairy, grains, legumes – and of course all processed foods and alcohol.

How to go about it?

The weekend before I started my 30-days, I got organised.  I went through hundreds of recipes and gave them the Whole30 treatment.  There are differing degrees of Paleoness, meaning some recipes have dairy and sweeteners which aren’t allowed for this period.  Once I had a collection of recipes for meals and snacks selected, I then went through the ingredients, one by one and compiled a huge shopping list – right down to the herbs and spices I didn’t already have.  I assigned meals for the week ahead and bought everything I’d need.  I can’t stress enough how much easier this made it!

What is a typical day’s menu?

Take today for example.  Breakfast was (organic) bacon & (omega 3 enriched organic) eggs cooked in coconut oil.  Lunch was a small bowl of leftover chicken curry cooked in coconut milk – and dinner today will be the slow cooked lamb that I hope is currently cooking itself in my slow cooker at home!  Probably under 20 minutes of cooking & preparation time required today for three completely different meals.

The verdict so far?

I’d been about 90% Paleo before this recent Whole30 for a long time, so the biggest change for me has been cutting out dairy.  Not having to make huge dietary changes has meant I haven’t had “carb flu” which a lot of people seem to go through.  It has made me realise I just don’t need the dairy!  Before starting, I’d been convinced I’d go back onto dairy once the 30-days were up.  Now however, I just can’t see why I’d do that.  Dairy gave me no nutritional benefit that I don’t get elsewhere in my diet, and I’m become increasingly convinced that dairy and I might not be so compatible.  I’m always in a happy mood, but this has definitely been turned up a notch in the last 18 days.  I’m also feeling a lot less tired – and for the first time since I can remember I’ve started to wake up before my alarm clock!  This seems to have kick started my sleeping patterns too, as I’m now actually tired at bedtime.  Win win!  I’ll report back on my progress at the end of the 30 days, but more interestingly my housemate who has been doing this Whole30 with me, from a completely different way of eating!

Are you doing a Whole30 too?  I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences below