With all the super size this and large size that fast food options, processed foods and other ‘junk’ food choices available today, it’s no secret that our society is full of the most unfit, overweight and unhealthy people in the world.
There are more food-related health problems (cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and more) than there have ever been. But because you’re reading this report, I want to say congratulations! You’ve obviously made an important decision to take back your health and start eating better. It doesn’t matter what the reason behind it is (if you’re newly diagnosed with a health related disease/issue or you’re just sick and tired of being unhealthy, for example), what’s important is that you’re taking action to make the positive changes in your diet and lifestyle. That’s a huge accomplishment and a very smart decision.
Also, because you’ve picked up a copy of this, I’m assuming you’re interested in a Paleo way of eating. So this report was created to give you some easy to understand information about eating a Paleo diet. It’s broken down into a five day action plan that will help you get started and you’ll even find some sample recipes that are quick and easy but delicious too as well as a seven-day menu plan to ease you into your first week of following this way of eating!
First, let’s cover the main foundation – what the Paleo Diet is and whether it’s right for you or not.
Introduction: What is the Paleo Diet & Is it Right For Me?
The word Paleo comes from the Paleolithic period, or also known as the Stone Age. Another common name for Paleo is the Caveman Diet. It was given this name because the allowed foods are similar to the dietary needs our bodies were originally created to eat and what was once only consumed back during Paleolithic times (cavemen) – real, natural non-processed foods such as nuts, berries, wild animals, vegetables, fruit, etc. In other words, anything that could be hunted or gathered. You may have also heard it referred to as clean eating. Basically, it’s a very simple ‘real’ food way of eating – how our bodies were biologically created to eat.
If our bodies were designed to live on foods like the cavemen did what happened?
The agricultural revolution, that’s what happened! After agriculture and farming were introduced, suddenly our society became accustomed to consuming things like pasta, rice, bread, and so on. Things that the cavemen survived without! Our bodies were not created to consume all these grains…even though the food pyramid recommends we eat so many servings of grains a day!
The Paleo WOE (way of eating) is a way for people to go back to a simple, healthy diet. A diet their body craves and needs – one that our bodies were created to consume. It’s meant to be easy to understand and easy to follow, but it’s also easy to overcomplicate things. If you find yourself making Paleo complicated, remind yourself that really it’s all about whether or not a caveman would eat it.
Is the Paleo lifestyle right for me?
Only you can make that decision, although some doctors may make the decision for you when, because of health related issues, they recommend you follow this way of eating. If you have gluten-sensitivity or inflammation of the joints, going Paleo can be a great asset to helping clear those issues up. You may find it challenging if you’re a vegetarian but it can (and has been) be done. If you’re not willing to commit 100%, then it’s probably not the right choice for you. Without being fully committed, you won’t give it a fair chance and more than likely will quickly and easily slip back into old eating habits. Make a commitment to give yourself at least 30 days of eating this way so your body will have time to go through the adjustments (detox, withdrawal) and start feeling the benefits. In the grand scheme of things, committing to 30 days is ‘easy’.
All that to say, do your due diligence (research, talk to a doctor, etc.) and make an educated decision as to whether it’s right for you or not. Just as with everything else in life, just because Paleo worked for someone else that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you or that it’s the best option for you.
Now, let’s move along and get down to the nitty gritty of this report – your five day action plan.
Day One: Learn the Basics
We already discussed what the Paleo diet is, so let’s move onto some of the basics, or common questions people have when deciding to follow this lifestyle.
How many calories should I eat on a paleo diet?
This isn’t an easy question to answer. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ sort of thing. Each person is different so calorie intake will need to be based on what is best for you. Take into consideration how often you are active, if you’re older or younger, heavier – those will all have an impact on how many calories your body needs. Also, one of the great things about this way of eating is that it’s not meant for you to have to count calories at all, so don’t spend a lot of time fretting over this.
Should I make my entire family eat paleo?
This is entirely up to you. It’s a safe way of eating so even children can eat this way. It’s easier to stick to a lifestyle change like this if everyone in the household is on board. So if you can get everyone to agree, then yes definitely “make” them all follow the Paleo plan.
Will I lose weight?
Most people do. If you find that you’re not, pay attention to how much fruit you’re eating. Fruit is allowed, but it does have sugar in it so if you find you’re not losing then try cutting back on your fruit intake and see if that helps. Don’t just focus on the scale though. Pay attention to the other benefits, the non-scale victories that are also possible when following this way of eating. Many people eating a Paleo diet state that they have more energy, less brain fog (can think clearer), their joints don’t hurt (inflammation goes away), lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, sleep better, and more!
What about dairy?
There’s some controversy around the fact that when you follow the Paleo lifestyle, the only dairy you really consume is eggs. Some say you don’t need dairy for healthy bones and if we think back to the cavemen, they didn’t have access to a lot of dairy and they were fine without it. Sure they had access to cows but did they drag around a cow all day with them for when they wanted some milk? Probably not. And of course, on the other side of the spectrum are those that believe you have to have a specific amount of dairy each day for healthy bones. But if you think about all the people in this world that are lactose intolerant and get along without dairy just fine, that might help you feel better about skipping the cheese, milk, and other dairy foods. (Note: after 30 days, some people recommend that you slowly start reintroducing dairy products to your diet.)
What if I slip-up and cheat?
It’s inevitable that at some point during your Paleo eating journey you’re going to have a slip-up and eat “bad.” Most people say the hardest for them is the first two weeks, but especially the first several days. This is true – your body is going through a huge adjustment and withdrawal from giving up sugars, grains, carbs, etc. Don’t be surprised if you have headaches or even flu-like symptoms. Just remind yourself it won’t last long and once you get past this phase it’ll be so worth it.
Having said that, if you do have a slip-up do NOT beat yourself up and think ‘well I’ve blown it now, there’s no point in getting back on track.’ That’s baloney! You didn’t blow it and there is a point to getting back on track – YOU and your health!
It may help you stay on track and not cheat if you remind yourself that if you do slip-up and eat something ‘forbidden’, you’re adding toxins back into your body and when you get back on track, you’ll go through a detox and even withdrawal phase again.
To help yourself not slip up, it’s time to clean out your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
Day Two: Clean Out Your Pantry, Refrigerator & Freezer
I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. The best way to be successful when it comes to eating this way is to set yourself up for success. By this I mean take the time to clean out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Remove the items that will be a temptation and which aren’t allowed. The most common pantry foods to get rid of are potato chips, cookies, pasta, rice, cereal, etc. But don’t forget to say bye bye to things like legumes, vegetable oils and other baking items like flour and sugar, beans, and lentils just to name a few.
When it comes to your refrigerator, get rid of items such as lunchmeat, pickles, salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and anything else not allowed. Things to ditch in your freezer include ice cream, pot pies, pizza rolls, frozen burritos, etc.
The rule of thumb to keep in mind when going through things is to throw away anything if it has gluten in it, if it’s a processed food, if it is a grain – rice, pasta, etc. – if it’s a dairy product (except eggs) or has soy in it. And keep anything if it’s a real food, grain free or gluten-free (all the ingredients need to be grain free or gluten free).
Some people have a mental roadblock when it comes to this part of the process. I’ve heard the excuse “I’ve spent so much money on all this food I currently have in my house. I need to use it first and then I’ll jump into the Paleo way of eating.” But it’s easy to blast through that roadblock!
Sure, you’ve spent a lot of money on all that stuff. But don’t let yourself use that excuse. Don’t delay starting this journey because the longer you wait, the harder it will be to start. If you’re really concerned about “throwing” away all that money, why not put it to good use and donate to a local food pantry or ask a local church if they know of a family in need that could use some food?
If you don’t get rid of all the non-paleo items, it’s a sure way to self-sabotage yourself. It’s easy to think you have willpower and can resist the temptation to eat those things. But trust me, in the moment of a craving (and there are sure to be some!) it’s not so easy to resist if those foods are in your home and readily available. So do yourself a favor and make this process as easy as possible and just get rid of the temptations!
Once you’ve cleared out the foods that aren’t Paleo friendly, things are going to probably look pretty bare. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the grocery shopping soon.
But first let’s talk about modifying how you cook at home and how to handle eating out.
Day Three: Modifying How You Cook at Home & How to Handle Eating Out
Your current cookbooks or long-time favorite family recipes are not going to cut it when it comes to this way of eating. It’s time to put them aside and modify your cooking repertoire. You’re also going to have to find a way to handle those times you’ll be dining out or eating at a friend’s (or family member’s) place.
First, let’s talk about modifying your cooking at home. Because Paleo has a limited number of foods you can have, you don’t want to get bored with the same thing over and over. Challenge yourself to find different ways to create the same meal (use different spices, different vegetables, etc.). Also have fun with this and challenge yourself to find new ways to create your own sauces and dressings. Make this a time to experiment with new things. For example, look for an unusual vegetable such as eggplant (or something you’ve never tried before) and try a new recipe with it.
Something really important to think about when cooking at home, now that you’re following the Paleo plan, is to pay attention to labels and read all ingredients. You may be surprised to find that some things you thought would be ok to use really aren’t. For example, if you want to marinate a steak and use a prepackaged or bottled marinade, be sure to read each ingredient. If there’s gluten, sugar, soy or preservatives, stay away from it. Your best bet will be to make all your own sauces, etc. This way you know exactly what you’re getting.
What about eating out or at other people’s houses?
It’s bound to happen – a work related luncheon, a friend’s birthday, or any other occasion that calls for eating out at a restaurant. Or a friend invites you over for dinner or you have regular Sunday dinner with family. Whatever it may be, here are some tips to help you handle these situations.
Your first instinct might be to pass the opportunity up because you’re not sure how you can stick to the Paleo way of eating in these circumstances. But you shouldn’t have to skip social activities (and if it’s something work related, you probably can’t skip it anyway). Instead, it’s just a matter of planning ahead!
If you’ll be dining out, do a little detective work. Check online for the restaurant and see if they have a menu available to look at. Most places do these days, so it’s easy to find a couple options that can be Paleo friendly with a little food swapping. For example, if there’s a salmon option that comes with a vegetable and something like rice, ask for double vegetable and skip the rice. It’s a simple solution!
The key to dining out is planning ahead and knowing before you get there one or two options you can have. This way you won’t be tempted to eat off plan. Also, speak up and ask questions. Your server is there to help you and if they don’t know something they can always ask the chef. So ask those questions! Find out how something is prepared and if it doesn’t fit with the Paleo way of eating, ask if it can be changed and prepared a different way. It never hurts to ask – the worst that can happen is they’ll tell you no.
If you’re heading to a family members or friend’s house for a meal, have an open and honest conversation with them about the way you’re eating. Ask them what they’re preparing and if it’s not something you can eat, let them know you’ll be brining your own food, or ask if they’d like you to bring a dish to pass then you’ll know for certain you’ll have something you can eat. Having this conversation with them may even result in a change of menu on their end and they’ll accommodate you.
Now, let’s move along to the next action item – creating your grocery list (and shopping)!
Day Four: Create Your Grocery List
Another way to set yourself up for success when it comes to this way of eating is by creating a grocery list full of foods that will become new staples in your diet. And when you go shopping, actually stick to your list!
Here is a list of important Paleo friendly foods that should be put on your grocery list. Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list. In fact, this is just a handful of food suggestions for each category. It’s meant to give you an idea of things to purchase so you’re not left wondering what to shop for.
Bell peppers – yellow, red, green, orange
Green beans – there is some controversy around whether or not green beans are Paleo friendly. Technically they’re a legume & those aren’t allowed, but many people say they eat them while doing this WOE. Use your own judgment here.
(keep in mind, you don’t want to eat a ton of fruit because of its sugar content but a couple servings a day is ok.)
Nuts and seeds
Beef (should be grass-fed if possible)
All lean meats are acceptable
Organic eggs (free-range)
Sesame seed oil
Olive oil (extra virgin)
Flavors & Spices
Salt (sea salt)
Pepper (ground black pepper)
Trust me on this one, make sure you have some readily available. It’ll help curb chocolate cravings. Also make sure when shopping for some that you purchase something with 70% or more cacao.
Most of these foods are easy enough that you can grab them as a quick snack or use in a simple meal.
This list gives you a great starting point for creating your shopping list. But there are five more food items that are so important they most definitely should make it onto your grocery list! They’re known as super foods (and of course they’re Paleo friendly). Here they are:
These super foods are not only full of vitamins and minerals, but they’re great antioxidant sources. Eating these on a regular basis will boost your immune system and help keep you healthy.
One last thing, when shopping you should always purchase organic if at all possible! Supermarkets will cost more when purchasing these types of items so I recommend checking any local farmers’ markets in your area – they usually have a better selection and are healthier options (don’t have all the chemicals) than what’s found on the shelves of supermarkets.
Day Five: Sample Recipes
Now that you have a grasp on the paleo way of eating basics, here are five recipes that are quick and easy to add to your new cooking repertoire.
Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium zucchini (chopped)
1/2 of a large onion (chopped)
1/2 of large bell pepper, yellow (chopped)
1/2 of large bell pepper, red (chopped)
4 large bell peppers, green (tops & seeds removed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes – 1 can (drained)
garlic, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
While oven is preheating to 350 degrees, wrap each of the green bell peppers in aluminum foil. Place is an oven safe baking dish. Once oven is preheated, place the baking dish inside and bake peppers for 15 minutes.
While the green bell peppers are baking, in a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the ground turkey until browned. Once done, set aside. In another skillet over medium heat, pour the oil and let it heat up until a splash of water sizzles when dropped in. Now add the zucchini, onion, yellow and red bell peppers and cook until tender. Add the ground turkey and mix in the drained can of tomatoes and tomato paste. Season to taste with garlic, salt, and pepper. Stuff the green bell peppers with this mixture.
Place the stuffed peppers back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Deviled Eggs with Guacamole
6 hard boiled eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon jalapeno – optional
fresh chopped cilantro – optional
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Once the eggs are boiled and cooled, peel them. Cut in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and put in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Mash the avocado, yolks, lime juice and if used the jalapeno & cilantro, together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Scoop the mixture into the egg halves. Garnish with paprika if you like.
this will make enough for 1 person. If feeding more than one, you’ll need to use more ingredients – simply double or even triple them.
2 large eggs
1 large ripe banana
pinch of cinnamon (or to taste)
In a medium sized mixing bowl, mash the banana until all the chunks are gone. Add the eggs and whisk together. Now add the cinnamon and whisk until mixed well.
Turn your stove on medium and while it’s heating up, coat your frying pan with butter.
Pour some batter into your frying pan and heat on each side for 2-3 minutes or until brown. (Note: these pancakes are a lot thinner than a regular pancake so use less batter for each pancake)
Eggs with Veggies
In a rush in the a.m.? This is a simple Paleo recipe that only takes a few minutes.
Vegetables of choice (mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, avocado, etc.)
Scramble the eggs with cut up vegetables until done.
Throwing a fruit smoothie together is a simple Paleo friendly snack or breakfast item. Grab a handful of your favorite fruit(s), throw in a blender with some almond milk and blend until smooth. You could even add some nuts if you want.
To conclude this section, there’s one last thing to mention. In every meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – try to include protein, fruit and vegetables.
Bonus: Seven Day Meal Plan
If you need a little more ‘hand holding’ getting started eating Paleo, I didn’t want to leave you hanging. So here you go – a seven day sample meal plan you can follow! Or if you don’t like the options listed here, use it as a starting point and build a menu around these options or alter it completely. It’s entirely up to you. And don’t forget those five delicious recipes in the above section!
One thing to remember when cooking, spices and home-made Paleo friendly dressings are going to be important in making foods not so blah and boring tasting. Experiment and create your own combinations.
Breakfast – omelet with turkey, mushrooms & spinach; fruit of your choice
Lunch – chicken salad (salad greens, tomatoes, avocado & chicken breast)
Create your own dressing (things like olive oil and balsamic vinegar are great choices to mix together or use as a starting point)
Dinner – Salmon & asparagus
Breakfast – Two eggs, scrambled with smoked salmon
Lunch – chicken & vegetables
Dinner – “spaghetti”
For the noodles, thinly slice a couple zucchini and then cook them in butter & sea salt until tender
For the hamburger, use grass-fed beef
Mushrooms & tomatoes, optional
Create a sauce with olive oil & balsamic vinegar
Breakfast – bacon, eggs and a fruit if desired
Lunch – salad greens with Paleo friendly dressing
Dinner – grilled tuna, asparagus and a salad if desired
Breakfast – fruit smoothie (use frozen or fresh fruit of your choice – blueberries, being one of the super foods, are an excellent choice – and some almond milk and blend until smooth.)
Lunch – tuna salad (tuna on salad greens with bell peppers and anything else you want to put in it)
Flavor with a few squirts of fresh lemon and sea salt
Dinner – grilled shrimp, broccoli and pineapple
Breakfast – 2 hard boiled eggs, fruit of choice and avocado
Lunch – chicken breast and grapes
Dinner – pork chop and brussels sprouts
Breakfast – scrambled eggs, bacon and blueberries
Lunch – nitrate-free deli meat and veggies
Dinner – salmon and vegetable of choice
Breakfast – omelet with spinach and salmon (you can also add things like mushrooms, onions, etc. if you want)
Lunch – shrimp salad (salad green, shrimp, mushrooms, carrots, onions and avocado mixed together with shrimp and tossed with a dressing – lemon juice and balsamic vinegar)
Dinner – hamburger and sweet potato fries
A lot of people say that when eating Paleo they don’t find themselves wanting snacks throughout the day because they’re full. If you do find yourself hungry in between meals and feel the need for a snack, here are a few ideas:
Piece of fruit
Deviled eggs (see recipe above)
Kale chips (make your own with a simple recipe like this one)
Almond butter (decide for yourself if you’ll eat this while following the Paleo WOE – some people say yes, it’s fine and others say no.)
Yes, even eating Paleo you can indulge in some mouthwatering desserts. Here are a few that may whet your appetite.
Chocolate Covered Almonds
Raw almonds (unsalted) – 2 cups
Dark chocolate – 8 ounces
Melt the chocolate (on stove or in microwave), add the almonds and stir until fully coated. Put them on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool and then enjoy!
Chocolate Avocado Pudding
6 Tbsp. milk (almond)
2 Tbsp. Paleo friendly honey or vegan agave nectar
2 Tbsp. cocoa power (unsweetened)
Cut avocado and remove pit. Scoop avocado out and place in blender.
Add the almond milk, honey (or agave nectar), and unsweetened cocoa. Blend on high until desired consistency is reached.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Tastes best when chilled)
Here’s a recipe that sounds delicious but is a bit more time intensive and calls for quite a few ingredients
And here’s a great resource for all sorts of recipes, not just desserts but main meals, drinks, snacks, sides, soups and more.
In the next section, I wanted to give you a few more tips for setting yourself up for success when it comes to following a Paleo diet.
Tips for Paleo Success – Food Tracking & Support Community
In a few sections we’ve briefly touched on setting yourself up for success by clearing out the junk food and non-paleo friendly foods, as well as planning ahead for eating out. But what else can you do to give yourself the best chance at succeeding when following a Paleo Diet? Here are two tips for you:
Track your food – there’s a reason things like MyFitnessPal.com and other online tracking software has become so popular. It’s because tracking what you eat and having it ‘stare’ you in the face, shows you exactly how much you’ve been consuming. There’s no room for guessing or underestimating what and how much of something you’re putting into your mouth. If you don’t want to use an app or online tracker, an old fashioned notebook and pen will do the trick.
In your food journal, things to think about at the end of each day as you’re reviewing it are: did you eat only when you were hungry? If not, pay attention to what you were feeling and why you ate (carry your journal with you at all times – or have your app/access to the online tracking via your smart phone – so you can write these things down). What were the serving sizes? Did you consume a standard serving size or more? For example, for meat a normal serving size is the size of your fist. Again, write down in your journal the serving size of each thing you eat.
Second, find a support system – it can be family, friends, someone doing it with you but also check out all the different online resources available (articles, forums, Facebook groups, etc.) This one is the best Paleo resource online to check out.
- Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health by William Davis MD
- Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a WholeFoods Lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo, Robb Wolf and Bill Staley
- Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great by Danielle Walker
Don’t forget the Paleorecipeteam cookbook.
It’s always easier to stay on track when you have a support system around you. Use your offline support as well as some of the suggested online resources (or all of them!). Check out the book recommendations and cookbooks too. Armed with knowledge and a support system, you’re less likely to fail!
Eating Paleo doesn’t have to be complicated and now that you’ve finished this report, you have enough basic knowledge to get a good start with this way of eating. Use the five recipes and seven-day meal plan to get a jump start and ahead of the game. This guide has also given you some of the most important information you’ll need to set yourself up for success – getting rid of all the non-paleo friendly foods, stocking up on the things you can have, modifying how you cook at home as well as planning ahead for eating out, food journaling/tracking what you eat. And last but certainly not least, having resources available to help support you (a spouse or significant other, friend/family member doing it with you, online resources like forums and social media groups where you can connect with other like minded individuals who are there to help support each other.
Keep in mind, I am not a doctor and highly recommend that, whether you’re going to follow the Paleo diet, or another diet, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor first. This is even more important if you are currently suffering from any health related issues like diabetes, celiac disease, high-cholesterol, arthritis, and more. In some cases, due to health problems, your doctor may need to make some changes to what you can eat when following Paleo. With the help of your doctor and knowing your body like you do, you’ll be able to decide the best course of action for your health needs.
Here’s to your Paleo success!