[Image via Kitchfix]
The first time I seriously committed to the paleo diet was in 2010. I had no idea what I was doing, but stuck to it pretty closely and ended up losing ten pounds the first two weeks. Since then, I’ve stuck to it off and on, but never quite as strictly. I’ve been feeling the need to detox the last few weeks, so I’m going to try to stick to paleo strictly through January 31 using the Whole 30 plan.
For those not familiar with paleo, here are the very basics:
- Eat real food: lots of meat, vegetables and some fruit
- Avoid: processed foods, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes
- Whole 30 also requires you to cut out: caffeine and alcohol…the hardest part!
[Image via Kitchfix]
Although I’m not an expert (and definitely not a chef), I have learned some tips along the way:
1. Commit with a friend. Paleo has been most successful for me when my sister or a friend has been committed to it as well. There will be times when you want to quit. Trust me, carb flu is a real thing — but, if you’re committed and cooking with a friend, your chances of getting to the finish line are much higher.
2. Plan ahead. For me, the absolute key to sticking with paleo (or any diet) is to plan out what I’m going to eat for the week — and do any prep work necessary — on Sunday. I’ve found that if I leave the shopping, chopping and cooking for after work on Monday, I’m much more likely to text a friend to grab food at a neighborhood bar instead.
3. Stay hydrated. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: it’s much easier to stick to paleo when you’re not hungover. I’ve made the mistake of having too much wine and thinking I will be fine the next day MANY times while doing this diet and it is a sure-fire path to failure. I’m generally not good at drinking water throughout the day, so I’ve been buying fresh lemons (or lemon juice) and adding them to my water throughout the day to “trick” myself into drinking more.
4. Prepare snacks. As with any diet, having snacks handy so you don’t head to the vending machine is key. Some of my favorites are almonds, Kitchfix paleo granola (available at Chicago-area Mariano’s stores), Larabars, beef jerky (seriously) and kale chips.
5. When in doubt, order in. I am the first one to admit that cooking is not my strength. While I’ve mastered a few dishes, I don’t always take the time to make them. An easy solution is to order from a food-delivery service like Kitchfix, which delivers pre-cooked paleo meals to gyms throughout Chicago. I’ve ordered from Kitchfix off-and-on for the last two years and can attest that everything is AWESOME. (Even if you don’t order meals, find the granola!)
There is so much more to it, so here are a few of my favorite paleo resources:
- Everyday Paleo
- Kitchfix (a Chicago-based paleo food-delivery service!)
- Whole 30
- Mark’s Daily Apple
Finally, here are three of my favorite (read: extremely easy) recipes to get you started:
- Egg Muffins (I use 8 eggs, a package of frozen spinach and whatever veggies I happen to have and it yields 12+ muffins that I keep on hand for grab’n’go breakfast!)
- Pecan Chicken
- Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken