The Paleo Diet: What You Need To Know
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Before you decide to drastically change your lifestyle, for any reason, you've got to also decide if it's worth it for you. If you don't know enough, you may make the mistake of jumping head first into a new diet you weren't mentally, emotionally, or financially ready for, and this can derail all your good intentions before they even start. That's why we've created this handy guide for going paleo. The Paleo Diet: What You Need To Know will touch upon some of the main pros and cons of choosing to adopt this lifestyle.
We'll discuss how your body may react in the first stages after abandoning your old diet and the challanges and rewards of sticking to a paleo lifestyle. Below, we've also included some paleo slow cooker recipes that we hope come in handy if you choose to make this change or would simply like to explore paleo meal options. Enjoy!
The Paleo Diet: What You Need To Know
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When deciding if the paleo diet is right for you, there are some things to consider. First off, you've got to decide if you're going to hit the ground running at 100%, or if you're going to make the transition gradually, over the course of a few months. There are costs and benefits to both routes, so let's dicuss these options.
If you've attempted diets in the past, but always find yourself giving in to temptation in the early stages, or going back to old habits when the going gets rough, you might consider taking the gradual route. This way, you'll simply start replacing your non-paleo food items with paleo-friendly items as you run out. Your body will be less shocked by this gradual shift, and won't "freak out" like it could if you make too many drastic changes all at once. Gradual changes are also better in preventing you from running back to your beloved carbs and processed foods for comfort.
This less painful route will yield less dramatic, immediate changes to your physical appearance (which could prove frustrating), however, it will be easier to handle in the beginning, not to mention, easier on your wallet since you won't be replacing everything in your kitchen at once. This approach is more ideal if you lead a stressful, rigid or busy lifestyle, as most of us do. The brightside here is that you'll have eased yourself into a new lifestyle over the course of a few months. Instead of shocking your system right away, which can often lead to those unpleasant side effects you've heard all about, you'll become used to it over time, making it a more sustainable lifestyle in the long run. Instead of thinking of this as a diet, you'll find it becomes second nature in time and not at all hard to stick to or manage.
If you're more inclined to take the plunge, do the work, and get through the pain straight away, let's talk about what this will mean for your body and mood. If you're someone who turns to carbs for energy without a second thought, as most of us do, or someone who regularly eats porcessed and fast foods, this route is going to be a little tougher. The paleo diet essentially retrains your body to pull energy from fats rather than carbs, which means a huge change for most of us. You'll need to cut out all dairy, starches, legumes and grains, processed foods, refined sugars and artificial sweetners, and replace them with non-starchy vegetables, fruits, lean meats and fish. This is where the term the "caveman diet" comes from because your diet will now consist of only natural foods -- nothing processed or artificial.
While you'll see results much more immediately with this approach, you're likely to feel sluggish and irritable, uncomfortable, and even depressed in the early stages. You may experience headaches and digestive issues, feel the need to nap, and notice a negative shift in your mood. This can last for weeks while your body transitions and adjusts. If you've ever experienced caffeine withdrawal, this is similar, so prepare yourself. During this period -- often referred to as the "carb-flu" -- you may find yourself questioning the decision and feel tempted to revert back to your old habits. Once you body adjusts, however, it's smooth sailing. You won't even miss your beloved pizza, doughnuts, or pasta because your body has found a new way of sourcing energy, which is much more sustainable. You'll find you're more energized, your mood will likely improve, and you'll feel healthier overall. Better yet, you won't be a slave to overly processed foods that offer no nutritional value.
Now for the harsh reality: the "cans" and "can'ts." This may be a turning point for some people, for others, who can't imagine a world without peanut butter, you may want to reconsider. Here are just a few examples of some basic food substitution options you can make when you're out at a restaurant or cooking for yourself at home.
Lastly, it's important to note that with any diet, do what suits you best and is right for your body, goals and overall well being. It's easy to modify any diet to fit your needs, and the paleo diet is no different. Say you really like the idea of cutting out dairy, soda and fast foods from your diet, but homemade breads and pastas are too much to ask. Do that! Sometimes, it's great to pull ideas and elements from different diets to create a lifestyle that is best for you. So long as you're happy and healthy, that's really the most important thing.
For even more information about the paleo diet, I found Paleoleap.com extremely helpful.
Featured Recipe: Paleo Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
Whether you're strictly paleo or not, this easy orange chicken recipe is sure to become a new family favorite. Paleo slow cooker recipes, like this one, make great dinners you can be proud of and feel great about. Made with a cauliflower "rice," you'll be able to enjoy this Chinese chicken slow cooker recipe even without the addition of white or brown rice. This unique recipe will make you a super versatile chef, and give you options to make whether you're keeping a paleo diet or simply trying to be a little healthier.
Other Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes to Enjoy:
- Easiest Ever Paleo Broccoli Beef
- 5-Ingredient Paleo Cowboy Chicken
- Slow Cooker Paleo BBQ Pulled Pork
- Paleo Slow Cooker Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Paleo Italian Beef Stew
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