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!
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.
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.
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.
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?