Welcome to another edition of our Mailbag posts! This series focuses on questions that are frequently asked by the UPG community. Have a lingering question? Ask it here and we might feature you in future posts!
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“I know this is going to sound vague, but my biggest question is this: how do I start? It all seems very overwhelming.”
Ah yes, that first step is usually the hardest. We get this question a lot and understandably so. Big lifestyle changes are not easy to make. Kudos for you for even considering it because that’s further than most people get.
We’re here to help. Read through the tips below for a foolproof way to start the Paleo diet.
Find Your Go-To Resources
To properly follow the Paleo guidelines, you’re going to have to have a solid understanding of the foundation of the diet. As I’m sure you know, there are a TON of Paleo blogs out there. We may be biased, but we think UPG is a great place to get an abundance of information about all-things Paleo. You’re reading this, so hopefully you think the same!
That being said, we aren’t the only ones! Get familiar with what’s out there on the interwebs, and bookmark your favorite places.
Some of our favorites:
Have a question about the Paleo diet? This is your go to guide – perfect for beginners or people who need a refresher about the ins-and-outs of all things Paleo.
A comprehensive list of all foods that are Paleo-approved.
The #1 Paleo app on the market. Be sure to download this so you’ll always know what foods are Paleo when you’re on the go.
Nerd Fitness Beginner’s Guide to Paleo
Fridge and Pantry Reset
Those cookies, crackers, and treats tucked away in your pantry need to go! When you first start the Paleo diet, you’ll more than likely experience some withdrawal symptoms and cravings for the sweet stuff. Don’t make this harder on yourself than it has to be. Go ahead and get rid of those temptations. The last thing you want to happen is to come home after a long day at work and give into those frozen packaged meals in the back of your freezer.
You don’t have to throw these things in the trash. Donate what you can or give them to non-Paleo friends.
Check out our article on Paleo-friendly snacks. Be sure to keep these things on hand for the times when you need something in a pinch.
Restock your kitchen with Paleo essentials. Scour your favorite Paleo sites for the things that will make your kitchen complete..
Keep It Simple
When I first went Paleo, I went way over the top. I felt like I had to make these huge Paleo recipes every night. I was spending SO MUCH TIME in the kitchen – which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing…but looking back at it now, I made it way more complicated than it absolutely had to be. If you feel the same way, take a step back and keep your meals SIMPLE.
The foundation of the diet is high quality protein, vegetables, some fruit, and healthy fats. A “perfect” Paleo meal could be as simple as a baked chicken thigh, steamed broccoli, a cooked sweet potato with some almond butter on top (haven’t tried it? Do it…so good.) This can be done in 30 minutes (less if you meal prep!) and it’s not only incredibly easy to throw together but it’s super satisfying as well.
Find Your Support System
Big lifestyle changes deserve support. Whether you have an in-person support system (a partner, friends, co-workers, etc) or you join an online group, having some sort of community is important. Seek these people out when you have questions, need encouragement or understanding, or are looking for new ideas.
Take the First Step
Yes, the first step is the hardest. But, I promise, you will be rewarded in so many ways if you have the courage to embark on this journey. Even small steps count. Do it today! And know that your community here at UPG has your back.
If you’re looking to simplify your transition to Paleo even more, check out Paleo Meal Plans. You’ll get access to weekly meal plans. All recipes can be made in 15 minutes or less and contain 5 or less ingredients. Super simple. Super effective.
“I can’t drink my coffee black. What can I use as a creamer for coffee?”
If you’re a milk and sugar lover, you have some Paleo-friendly options to try. The first would be coconut milk (or another nut milk that you like). This will lighten your coffee up a bit and chances are you won’t be missing that dairy milk you used to put into your brew.
You can take the creamy-factor up a notch by using the coconut cream instead of coconut milk.
Coconut cream is that thick and creamy stuff that’s solidified at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk.
If you like it a little sweeter, you can add a Paleo-friendly sweetener like liquid stevia, maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar.
If you haven’t tried Bulletproof (or butter) coffee yet, now might be the time to branch out of your comfort zone. Bulletproof coffee is a blended concoction of coffee, grass-fed butter (use ghee if you can’t tolerate ANY dairy), and coconut or MCT oil. Take your coffee and add 1 tablespoon of butter and coconut oil each into a blender. Whip it up until it looks like a latte.
Yes, originally this might sound really weird. I once thought the same thing. But it actually is frothy, warm, and quite delicious. It’s also loaded down with healthy fats that your body can burn quickly and efficiently. If you’d like a chocolate-y spin on Bulletproof coffee, check out our recipe here.
“I’d like to try the Paleo diet, but I’m in college and live in a dorm room. I’m on the school meal plan, but I’d like to some advice about eating Paleo when you don’t have access to a kitchen (only a microwave). Do you have any tips?”
Sticking to a Paleo diet without access to a real kitchen might be hard, but it’s doable! Here’s some tips that I hope will help anyone who is in a similar situation.
You’ll want to keep things in your room that are Paleo-friendly, versatile, and require no refrigeration. Think about items such as apples, pears, bananas, citrus, avocado, and sweet potatoes.
For protein, having canned fish and high-quality jerky (read your ingredient label!) on hand is vital for those times when you need a protein boost.
Don’t forget your nut butters! Having a jar of almond butter (or another favorite nut butter) is great. You can smear this on your fruit or drizzle it on top of your sweet potato for a boost of healthy fats. Nuts and seeds or Paleo-friendly trail mix is also great for dorm rooms when you need a snack in a pinch.
I’d also recommend keeping some dark chocolate in your room for those times that your sweet tooth strikes.
There are a lot of Paleo snacks that you can find in grocery stores. Epic Bars, Rx Bars, Steve’s Paleo Granola are all Paleo-friendly options.
If you have questions about how to stick the Paleo diet while eating in the cafeteria, definitely check out this article!
It’s not ideal, but you can make Paleo work in a dorm room (or hotel room – if traveling.) Just remember – try to stick to it as best you can and don’t sweat it if you can’t stay 100% compliant.
You got this!
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