11 Paleo tips to kick start your journey
11 PALEO TIPS
1. Get rid of any non-Paleo food you have at home.
It's important to do this on the first day - it's no good saying 'I'll do it later'! Why is this important? Because the first few days are the most critical. This is when your body 'misses' all the processed food you've been feeding it for so long. So by getting rid of all that food, you'll avoid temptation.
2. Always carry a snack with you.
This tip is to prevent exactly the same pitfall as in tip #1. Never let your stomach cry out for food! When you're starving, you could drive a hundred miles to buy food, couldn't you? And no, you wouldn't buy a little salad or something healthy - you'd buy something sweet or a packet of crisps. Avoid this situation by carrying some nuts or a piece of fruit in your bag.
3. Drink plenty of water.
Our bodies need hydration, and for this reason it's vital to drink the recommended two litres of water every day. And no, you can't count sports drinks or drinks with added sugar. Drink water. As well as the countless benefits it has for our bodies, it aids weight-loss by suppressing appetite and helps the body to metabolise fat stores.
4. Sleep a minimum of eight hours every night.
Did you smile when you read that, thinking ‘if only…!’? It's not impossible to achieve. You just have to make it part of your life as a priority. With the busy lives people lead these days, the tasks we have to perform every day plus wanting to enjoy our hobbies and social lives too, it's our sleep which usually suffers. Big mistake! Our productivity at work and our health in general will be affected if we don't get the right amount of sleep needed by our bodies.
5. Plan your meals for the week.
It would be amazing to try out new recipes and eat a different dish every day, but let's be realistic: we don't have time to innovate in the kitchen when it comes to preparing each day's food. Choosing a few dishes and rotating them on a weekly basis is a good strategy which will help when it comes to your weekly shop and will also save you tons of time in the kitchen – plus, you won't end up getting bored of eating the same thing every week! For example, plan ten dishes which are easy and straightforward to prepare and rotate them over the course of two weeks, or fifteen dishes for three weeks, leaving yourself two free days to cook something new or go out to eat.
6. Buy in bulk.
Buying the staple foods at large shops like Makro will save you money – or you might even find significant discounts online for products such as coconut oil or ghee.
7. Cook once or twice a week.
Set aside one or two days to cook all your food for the week, then freeze it. The other days all you'll have to do is get your container out of the freezer and defrost it. Easy! In my case, I do my weekly shop on Saturday mornings and on Sundays I cook the dishes I've planned in advance for the following week. I normally do a top-up shop on Wednesdays to get vegetables and some fresh fruit for the rest of the week.
8. Be smart with leftovers.
Another time-saving idea is to double the quantities when you make dinner, and store the excess in containers for other days. It doesn't necessarily have to be for dinner the next day, for example, you could keep the excess vegetables you've cooked and have them with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Forget the old idea that breakfast is toast or something dough-based. (Or maybe you've never had last night's pizza for breakfast?!). Start thinking of breakfast, lunch and dinner as meals involving the same types of food; food you can eat throughout the day (this will make it easier to draw up your weekly meal-plans too).
9. Get yourself a slow cooker.
A slow cooker (also known as a Crock Pot) is an electric cooking pot. You add all the ingredients to it, set the temperature and cooking time and let it do the rest! You can even prepare your dinner the night before and then, in the morning, all you have to do is switch the pot on. It’s one of the key appliances I think every kitchen should have.
10. Always have the basics in your fridge.
If you do your shopping on Saturdays, it's totally normal that by Thursday or Friday your fridge and store cupboard are nearly empty. That's why it's a good idea to have at least those staple foods that'll get you out of a fix until you re-stock.
Here's a small list of the things I always keep in my kitchen:
- Healthy fats: ghee, olive oil and coconut oil
- Fresh vegetables (as I mentioned in tip #7, I usually buy vegetables halfway through the week)
- Fruit (in my case, grapes and blackberries are my preferred fruits for snacking)
- Eggs (at least a dozen, as they are very versatile)
- Herbs, spices and condiments… it's impossible to list all the ones I have!
- Beef mince. I always have a pack in the fridge or freezer, for the same reason that I always keep eggs in stock. You can make an infinite number of dishes using mince.
- Onions and garlic.
- Sweet potatoes. I find these to be essential as they are a good source of carbs after my training sessions.
11. Don't get obsessed, and take it one step at a time
The Paleo diet isn't a quick fix, and it's not going to help you get bikini-ready in a week. It's a way of feeding yourself to achieve a healthy mind and body.
Don't try and follow the diet perfectly all the time (far from it!) or you'll end up getting obsessed with everything you eat and after a couple of weeks you’ll be exhausted - and even worse, you’ll be worrying about it. If you feel like something sweet, go on! Reward yourself! The important thing is to be clear about your motivation for deciding to change your life for the better.