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5 paleo weight loss tweaks speed up lose weight plateau paleo diet primal

5 paleo tweaks to speed up weight loss

For the vast majority of people, transitioning to the Paleo diet will often see dramatic improvements in their personal battle with weight loss. However, on some occasions, you may hit a plateau with your weight loss and find yourself struggling to reach your desired weight.

Before I go any further, I must stress that it vitally important not to worry about that number on the scales. If you’re looking and feeling your best, then ignore what the scales are telling you. Chances are, if you’re eating right and training well, you may well have added a little weight in the form of muscle mass.

If, however, you still have that last bit of body fat that you want to lose in order to look, feel, and perform at your optimum level; then you may wish to consider the following ‘tweaks’:

Watch your carb intake

Whilst it is a lot harder to take in excess carbohydrate on the Paleo diet, (largely due to the removal of grains and processed foods) it is still possible – and especially so if you’re not active. You may want to look at bringing your carb intake down to see how this helps you with your weight loss goals. Try cutting back on starchy vegetables like yams, hard squash, parsnips and beets, and replacing them with dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli. It may be worthwhile limiting your fruit intake as well to one portion per day. If you do eat fruit, berries are a very good choice. Otherwise, snack on hardboiled eggs, jerky, nuts and coconut to see you through between meals.

It’s important to tailor your carbohydrate intake to your activity level. If you’re relatively sedentary, then roughly 50g of carbs per day from vegetables is more than adequate. If you’re training more (and especially if you partake in high intensity exercise like Crossfit), you’ll be looking at probably double that. Time your carb intake as well – straight after a heavy workout to replace glycogen stores, and in the evening to increase melatonin and ensure a healthy sleep.

5 paleo weight loss tweaks speed up lose weight plateau paleo diet primal

Try Intermittent Fasting

Proven to break through even the most stubborn weight loss plateau, I can’t recommend Intermittent Fasting enough for fat loss and general appetite control. Try exercising when fasted, so your body turns straight to the fat stores for energy.

Move more

Sometimes, conventional wisdom does get it right. If you’re not seeing the fat loss results you’re after, it could be a case of not exercising enough. Just make sure it’s the right kind of exercise and you’re not slipping into chronic cardio territory. HIIT Training, sprints and Crossfit are excellent fat busters.

Sleep more

When you’re deprived of sleep, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which has been proven to increase fat storage. And, in case you needed any more reason to get a solid 8 hours sleep every night, the biggest spike in growth hormone occurs during sleep – which in turn, burns fat. Try sleeping more, and sleeping better too.

Stress less

As with sleep, if you’re stressed, your body will be releasing cortisol. Try meditating, exercising more, or increasing your sunlight exposure to help you manage your stress levels.

These are just a few ideas to help you break through your fat loss plateau. Do you have any other tips for fellow readers?

six ways to stick to paleo diet hard to stick to paleo network-min

6 ways to make sure your paleo diet is not hard to stick to

A common response to the idea of eating a paleo diet, is that surely it must be so difficult to stick to. All the changes, all the cooking – it seems impossible to keep up, long term, right?

Well, I think once you’ve established a few habits and patterns, it would be harder not to stick to it.

Here’s six ways to make sure it’s not hard to stick to a paleo diet, but becomes an easy part of your life

six ways to stick to paleo diet hard to stick to paleo network-min

1.       Know why it makes sense

If you’ve researched and read about paleo and why it works, it becomes so much easier to stick to

2.       Try it, properly

If you can stick to a strict version of a paleo diet religiously, for 30 days you’ll have the chance to see what difference it makes to you. You’ll observe how differently you feel in terms of energy, skin, sleep, mood and specific health issues. Knowing that eating paleo can significantly improve your health will make it much, much harder to go back to your old way of eating.

3.       Support

Support can make the world of difference. Paleo has got so popular, you’ll hopefully have someone in your life following it too. But as time goes by and people see the changes in you, they’re more likely to give it a try too. If you don’t have any real life support, check out meetups in your area, you’ll find local support and encouragement will make all the difference to your sticking power.

4.       Organisation

A lot of people waiver from their paleo diet due to lack of organisation. You overslept and missed breakfast, or got home too late to cook. One non-paleo meal becomes two, then before you know it you’re more 20/80, than 80/20. I find batch cooking at the weekend helps a lot with this, making sure my freezer is stocked with paleo meals that just need to be reheated. A paleo emergency stash at work (of nuts, jerky and even tinned fish) can ensure you’re not caught hungry with no options. If you know you’re going to a social function that’s likely to have poor food choices, plan in advance and either take something along, or even eat before you go – this way it won’t be hard to stick to paleo.

5.       Work out alternatives

You’re not going to be eating bread, or pasta on your paleo diet. But if you can come up with alternatives and substitutions, you’ll be ready to deal with situations where you’d have eaten those foods. Used to take sandwiches to work? Try taking wraps instead (made with lettuce, or nori). Used to have spaghetti Bolognese every Friday? Try it with zucchini noodles instead. Not so hard to stick to anymore!

6.       Be realistic

It’s important to avoid being too “all or nothing”. It’s easy to slip and have one small non-paleo thing, then tell yourself it’s all ruined, you might as well write the day/ week off. Instead, take a more flexible approach. Maybe agree with yourself to be 80/20 paleo. That is 80% of your diet is paleo, and you’re ok with up to 20% “not paleo”. If you strive for 100%, but achieve 80% you won’t be disappointed with yourself.

How easy do you find it to stick to paleo? What tips would you give to others finding it hard to stick to a paleo diet?

16 Paleo Slow Cooker Tips & Tricks for your Crockpot

16 Paleo Slow Cooker Tips & Tricks for your Crockpot

If you’re short of time and aren’t using a slow cooker – you need to get one! There’s nothing like coming home after a long day, to a freshly made, hot paleo dinner.

16 Paleo Slow Cooker Tips & Tricks for your Crockpot

If you’ve not used a crock-pot before, here are my top tips:

Preparation

They are completely safe to leave turned on all day, however, it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s sat alone on your counter with nothing sat too close to it.

If you can spare an extra few minutes, try searing your meat and veggies too. This makes a big difference with a far richer flavour of the final dish.

For maximum efficiency prepare your vegetables and meat the night before, so all you need to do in the morning is put them in and turn it on.

Along the same lines, I always avoid overly complicate recipes that call for lots of preparation. I figure the whole point of using this method of cooking is to save me time, not add to it.

Try to keep your cubes of meat and harder vegetables in uniform sizes to make sure they all cook at a similar rate.

Don’t overfill your slow cooker. Aim for no more than two-thirds full – and you only need to half cover the ingredients if you’re adding in extra liquid. This method of cooking loses virtually no liquid to evaporation, so once those veggies cook you’ll find you have more than enough liquid.

Put a lid on it

Make sure the lid is on properly – and don’t be tempted to lift it off mid cook for a nosy – it will take a long time to regain the lost heat.

If it’s looking to watery towards the end of the cooking time, this is the time to remove the lid. The extra liquid will evaporate thickening up your dinner.

Set the time carefully, go for a slower longer cook, over a faster hotter cook for deeper flavours and more tender meat.

Buy big

My top tip is to buy big! I stupidly bought a small one. I should have bought one like this. When you go to the effort of making a slow cooked meal, always double up on quantities so you have a few spares to put in the freezer. Cooking in a small one just seems like a waste!

Whilst most crock-pots have a removable “crock”, some are one piece – avoid these models as they’ll be a nightmare to clean!

Finally

Try making stock in your slow cooker – I always get great results and find it needs a lot less attention than when I do it on the stove.

One of my favourite things about slow cooking as that it allows me to use cheap cuts of meat, that would be tough in a faster cooking method. So when you see cheap cuts on offer – buy them and make a slow cooked dish with them!

Whatever you do – don’t use lean meat! Fat not only helps with flavour but will keep the meat moist instead of tough and dry.

For the same reason I also keep bones in and keep the skin on the chicken.

Finally, for maximum flavour wait until just before the end of the cooking time to add in your herbs and spices.

Now try these

Here are some of my slow cooker recipes:

Slow Cooker Chicken Coconut Veggie Stew

Creamy Coconut Slow Cooker Beef

Slow Cooker Jamaican Goat Curry

If you’ve got a slow cooker, which model do you have? Have you got any tip tips to share?

43 Awesome Paleo Cooking Hacks That You Aren't Using primal diet kitchen-min

43 Awesome Paleo Cooking Hacks That You Aren’t Using

Are you using these Paleo hacks? These simple tips and tricks will save you time and hassle – and make your time in the kitchen far more productive – and your Paleo recipes better!

Please share your favourite Paleo cooking secrets in the comments below, or if you have a better method than my suggestions, please share!

1. Before cooking asparagus, coat the stalks in salt and leave to cure for 20 minutes. Rinse off the salt and prepare as normal, you’ll find they taste far better.

2. When you grind meat for homemade burgers or sausages, try adding in some bacon for great flavour. You can also grind in some offal and no one will ever know.

3. When making a salad, always keep the dressing separate. That way it can be added just before serving to make sure your salad is crisp instead of soggy.

4. To reduce tears and keep it together, don’t cut into the root of an onion when dicing.

5. When you buy fresh basil, make it last longer by keeping it at room temperature and with the stems in water.

6. To stop your chopping board (and everything you chop after) smelling of garlic, smash garlic cloves in a sealed plastic bag using the back of a knife.

7. If you’re not going to finish your lettuce in one go, prevent it from turning brown by wrapping in a paper towel in the fridge and storing in a plastic bag.

8. Clean cast iron cookware by scrubbing with salt; never use detergent!

9. Lay a chicken on onion halves and chunks of leek, instead of using a roasting rack. The onion will make a great gravy after absorbing the chicken juices.

10. Use a very fine grater or microplane to add vegetables to salads and dressings. Try adding microplaned orange and fennel to a vinaigrette dressing.

11. Make sure you keep your kitchen knives sharp, not only is it fast and easier – it’s actually a lot safer too….

12. ….and on the subject of knives, keep the tip in an old wine cork when storing in the kitchen drawer.

13. Add salt early on in your cooking – and make sure you keep tasting your dish as you cook it, and adjust your additions accordingly.

14. When frying salmon, fry with the skin side down. When it has cooked to the stage where over half has gone from pink to white, turn the heat off and flip the salmon over. The remaining heat will cook it to perfection.

15. To make sure onions store for longer, keep them in a glass jar, with the root left as is.

16. Always make stock in the biggest batches you have room for. Freeze any excess stock in small portions, ready to use as the base of a dish whenever you need them.

17. Salt your chopping board before chopping up herbs; this will keep them on the chopping board!

18. Freeze stock, left over wine and any left over sauces in ice cube trays as a great way to make a quick sauce – or add depth to an existing sauce without having to wait hours for it to defrost.

19. Use a skewer of cake tester to check how well done your fish, meat – and even vegetables are.

20. Before pan frying, always make sure your pan is super hot!

21. Add a pinch of salt to the water before boiling eggs. This will help to prevent the shells from cracking.

22. After boiling vegetables, use the remaining water for stock, or freeze to crush later and use in a smoothie. If those options don’t appeal, use the nutrient loaded water to feed your veggie patch or house plants.

23. When making hamburger patties, push a hole in the centre. This will make sure they cook faster and more evenly.

24. Give the contents of your pan room to breath – never overcrowd, or you’ll be steaming your food rather than sautéing it!

25. Before carving and serving meat, always give it a few minutes to rest

 

43 Awesome Paleo Cooking Hacks That You Aren't Using primal diet kitchen-min

26. To prevent a roast chicken having an overcooked breast and tender legs, break up the legs and the breast. This means you can remove the breast sooner, ensuring the whole bird is moist.

27. Before frying fish or meat, make sure it is as dry as possible, by laying it on paper towels for a few minutes before cooking. This will help to make the skins nice and crispy by making sure you’re frying rather than steaming.

28. To make sure your garlic is sweet, rather than bitter, make sure you buy it as fresh as possible – and if it has green shoots – don’t use it.

29. Store empty containers and jars with a pinch of salt, to absorb any odours and keep them smelling fresh.

30. Check your eggs are fresh by placing them in a bowl full of water. If the rise to the top, they aren’t as fresh as they should be! You want an egg that sits at the bottom, or near to it.

31. After blanching vegetables, plunge them in a bowl of iced water. This stops the cooking process and will result in bright veggies.

32. Instead of rigidly sticking to a shopping list, try being flexible without it. Go to the shop or farmers market and base your meals around what ever is fresh, seasonal and local.

33. Try cooking your steak by firstly cooking the fatty edge, holding it in place with tongs. This will release fat into the pan, making sure when you cook each side it is as juicy and full of flavour as possible.

34. The secret to great roasted vegetables is heat! Preheat the oven and empty roasting tin, before adding the veggies, oil and sea salt.

35. If you’re cooking with steak, eggs or butter, bring them out of the fridge and keep them at room temperature for an hour or so before cooking for a far better flavour.

36. Roll citrus fruit in your hands before juicing it to increase the amount of juice you can extract. Also, never store citrus fruit in the fridge as it significantly reduces the flavour.

37. Prepare first. Do all of your slicing and dicing before starting to make your dish.

38. Never try a new recipe or ingredient for the first time before an important dinner! Practice, practice, and do as much of the prep as you can the night before.

39. Make sure you store spices in a cool dark place, not next to the oven. To get the maximum flavour from spices, try toasting or sautéing them before adding them to your recipe.

40. Before working with chilli, rub coconut oil into your hands to propel the spiciness. IF you want to reduce their heat, remove the seeds before cooking with them.

41. To prevent garlic from burning, try slicing it finely rather than mincing it.

42. To make sure your meatloaf, meatball or burger mix is just right, make a tiny patty out of it, enabling you to fry it and give it a try. This way you still have time to adjust your mix, before committing to it.

43. When you need to add in more oil to a pan, add it at the edge of the pan, rather than in the middle. This gives the oil time to heat up before it reaches the centre of the pan – and your food.