Not gonna lie to ya. It is not easy. You will find all kinds of
reasons excuses for why you can’t do this. But, I’m here to get you through to a point where this becomes your new normal. I’ve been through what you’re contemplating and I’ve figured out how to make it work. You’re here out of curiosity, or perhaps your doctor has told you to give Paleo a try to fight inflammation or IBS or arthritis, or leaky gut or Crohns…the list goes on. Whatever your reason, preparing yourself is key. Being prepared is vital to you being successful!
Step 1: Set a date.
I have found it is best to go cold turkey, so if you are they type who’s will power waivers around the holidays or a special occasion, pick a date after the holidays. At the time of this posting, picking January 1, 2017 would be ideal. You’ll have the rest of December to get everything in place. In any case, pick a date 1-2 weeks out from today.
Step 2: Detoxify and Repopulate Your Kitchen
That’s right. If you’ve ever dieted before I know you’ve done this step before. Out of sight, out of mind. Set yourself up for success by eliminating all temptations. Trust me…you may think now that you have the will power to resist, but…think about it…this is a lifestyle change. Soon, you’re not going to want to eat those cookies full of chemicals that were manufactured in a factory somewhere.
Detoxify – You are going toss out, donate, or use up before your start date all of the below listed items. You may have to read ingredient labels because lots of no-nos are hiding in the ingredients. Didn’t know soy sauce has wheat in it? Mentos? Really? The second ingredient listed is…wait for it….WHEAT!!! You’d be surprised what’s lurking in the common things we eat.
So…this wasn’t the first time I’ve “detoxed” my pantry. But…February 2016 was the last time I detoxed my kitchen for good. The difference being I now had proof of how these foods were affecting my health. So…let’s detox your kitchen!
Get rid of:
- Anything dairy – milk, cheese, yogurt
- Anything with refined sugar, agave, evaporated cane, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners (except organic stevia)
- Anything with grains – flour, pastas, rice, barley, bread, crackers, cakes, cookies etc. Basically, if it’s in a box and has a huge list of ingredients, it was produced in a food factory. Dump it.
- All beans/legumes – that includes anything soy!!
- Anything with ingredients listed that you cannot either pronounce or trace back to a whole fruit or nut or vegetable. For example, maltodextrin. What the hell is that? Well it’s something they make out of either potato or corn starch, or rice or wheat. All of which are not on our list of keepers.
- All processed sandwich meats – most contain nitrates or nitrates…highly processed.
- White, or red potatoes – starchy starchy that your body turns into sugar. Yep…sugar!
- All sodas, including diet.
- Alcohol. Whoa…did you just faint? Ha. I did when I came to this. You may want to have a friend hold on to your bottles because down the road when you’re happy with your eating lifestyle, you may want to indulge every now and then…and alcohol is expensive to re-buy. If you do indulge (later down the line), try and get grain-free alcohol and gluten free beer.
Repopulate – Before you throw anything out…be sure to first have these things to replace certain items or add to your kitchen! The key is being prepared! If you clean out your kitchen and not have replacements at the ready, you’re setting yourself up for failure! If you click on the product, it will take you to where I buy it from. On some items you may be able to find it cheaper at local stores.
- Arrowroot Powder– used as a thickening agent instead of white flour or cornstarch.
- Coconut Aminos – used in place of soy sauce.
- Almond Flour – used mostly for baking in place of white or wheat flour. I LOVE the Wellbee’s brand I use, I’ve gotten the most consistency from it.
- Coconut Flour – used mostly for baking in place of white or wheat flour
- Honey – Raw, organic, unfiltered if possible, used in place of sugars
- Pure Organic Maple Syrup – used in place of sugars
- Coconut Oil, Olive Oil or Ghee – used in place of butter
- Homemade Almond Milk – (1 cup soaked raw almonds with 4 cups filtered water in a blender). The store bought has nasty carrageenan in it as a thickener or stabilizer
- Stevia – used as a natural sweetener
Step 3 – Detoxify and Repopulate Your Body
This step is optional and if you choose to do it, start it on your start date. We did a 21 day liver detox which I believe “refreshed” my liver so that it would be at optimal performance levels. I believe my liver was overworked with the years of daily toxins I ingested not only from foods (pesticides, alcohol, chemicals etc) but also toxins from my environment (brake dust, herbicides sprayed on plants and grass, particulates in the air, etc). It also helped me go cold turkey in avoiding the foods listed above. Added bonus…I lost 11 pound while doing it. I used Designs for Health Paleo Cleanse (also comes in a 14-day detox) which combined all the amino-acids and proteins my liver needed, but you can research and choose a detox program for yourself. Just be sure that it is not a juice cleanse!
Step 4 – Weekly Preparation
The biggest complaint or concern that I hear most often is “I don’t have time to do all that”. I’m here to tell you, yes, you do. If you prepare properly. Think about it. No matter what eating lifestyle you currently have, you still have to grocery shop and you still have to cook meals, you still have to make lunches to take to work, right? The only difference when you embrace a grain-free or paleo lifestyle is that you are shopping for healthier, whole foods and meats, and you’re cooking using different ingredients. It doesn’t take more time or effort, in fact, you may save some time because you can order your 100% grass fed meats and other ingredients online. Another time saving key is that most of my recipes have leftovers which can be used in a second recipe for another meal. Time saver!!
During your first week or two, concentrate on eating a protein, a vegetable, and some good fat at every meal. No need to try fancy recipes…first just get into the habit of protein, a vegetable, and some good fat at every meal. For example, a chicken breast, steamed broccoli, sliced avocado. Done.
One of the biggest time savers for me is my weekly routine. Every week, normally on a Sunday afternoon, I will do the following in prep for the upcoming week:
- Roast a chicken using my Best Roasted Chicken Ever recipe.
- Cook a pound of sugar-free bacon (How to make bacon in the oven).
- Boil one dozen pasture raised eggs (Easy Instant Pot boiled eggs in 6 minutes).
- Purchase a container of ready made spring mix salad, or cut up my own using romaine lettuce.
- Purchase a variety of vegetables – to use as snacks or sides for dinner.
- Make bone broth. This one is important! The taste (not to mention the health benefits) of homemade bone broth will definitely enhance the recipes!
With these things in my refrigerator every week, I have easy to make breakfasts, lunches and snacks.
Breakfast Ideas: We have a green shake most mornings. However, to change it up, I can easily cook up a couple of eggs, toss the bacon into the microwave and have breakfast in 3 minutes. If you’re running late and it needs to be portable…toss a couple of boiled eggs and a few slices of bacon into a container and take it with you and heat the bacon at work. The boiled eggs also make a great “need-something-quick” snack as well.
Lunch Ideas: Hearty salads are a great way to get a high intake of vegetables, but it’s important to have protein with it. This is where either the roasted chicken, or bacon, or egg comes in. I pack my husband’s lunch each morning and the salad is a life saver. Normally, I will top the salad with the chicken breast. However, if we’ve eaten all the chicken or just to change things up, I’ll top the salad with two sliced boiled eggs and some walnuts. Or…chop up a few slices a bacon and top it with that. Leftovers also make an awesome lunch.
Dinner: So, with breakfasts and lunches taken care of…that only leaves dinner that I have to cook. For those evenings when I’m jammed for time, there are a few recipes that call for pulled chicken which are time savers. Otherwise, I’ll cook something else quick and easy and make sure I’m going to have leftovers for at least one lunch. Always having a jar of homemade bone broth comes in really handy. You don’t want to buy that store bought stuff.
Snacks: I have found that this is where temptation ramps up into overdrive. I keep a handy supply of nuts, fresh vegetables and fruit so that I can easily grab something quick when I’m feeling like a snack. One of my favorite snacks is pork rinds. Yep…also known as cracklins or skins. We used to eat these growing up…doused with hot sauce. It’s important to check the ingredients…avoid the ones with MSG in it. My favorite is plain Clancy’s Pork Rinds, which I buy at Aldi’s. Two listed ingredients: pork skins and salt. Another quick grab and go for me are Larabars. Most are gluten free, dairy free, soy free and non-gmo, however, each flavor is different. Read the labels. If you get the chocolate chip brownie…well, there’s going to be refined sugars and soy in there (hidden in the ingredient chocolate chips). My favorite is the Coconut Cream Pie: only 5 ingredients – dates, almonds, cashews, unsweetened coconut and coconut oil.
Other snacks that do my body good that I love is kimchee and sauerkraut. These help me keep the balance of bad bacteria and good bacteria in my gut in check.
Vitamins – It is hard to intake all the vitamins and minerals your body needs through food alone. Everyday, I take a good quality multi-vitamin, a probiotic and a few other things that my macro-nutrient testing showed I was deficient in. Consult with your doctor or nutritionist or pharmacist about starting a vitamin regimen. Just be sure you are getting a good quality supplements that aren’t filled with fillers and sugars (no…gummy vitamins should not be on your list!!).
Researchers have shown that it takes on average 66 days to form a habit. For some it takes less time, for others more time. Remember the key is being prepared. Set yourself up for success and extend yourself grace. We all slip and go back to what’s comfortable or what we’re used to. Forgive yourself for that and get back on that grain-free horse and continue to ride!!! It will soon be second nature…your healthier new normal.