I’d like to share with you a little about my Paleo journey. Not because I think everyone needs to get on board with it, but because I just want to share some of the successful tips and strategies I’ve learned along the way. I am aware that many of you are in a transitional phase in your diet and so it’s understandably difficult to make the switch from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to full on Paleo, Clean-Eating, Anti-Candida, Simmeon’s, or whatever healthier eating habits you are aiming for. I have done Clean-Eating, Anti-Candida, and even Simmeon’s Protocol and they were great at helping me clean up my eating habits. However, my recent journey on Paleo has proven to give me results that I have never been able to achieve before on any other diet. This does not mean that it is the only thing that works. Everyone’s body types are different and will respond differently to various foods. So, understand that this blog is by no means a way to push my Paleo lifestyle on you, it’s just what works for me and so I am sharing my successful tips. If you choose to use them, that’s great! If not, then that’s fine too. This is simply a resource.*

If you do choose to start a new journey on Paleo, you may find that there are obviously some strict guidelines, like any other diet. However, please don’t make the mistake of having the mindset that there is only one Paleo Diet and that eating any other foods “isn’t Paleo”. First of all, each person’s optimal diet is going to differ from another’s. Secondly, not everyone operates best on the standard strict Paleo diet. So, naturally, some experimentation may become part of your lifestyle when you start this journey. However, I have to give you my best advice for starting this journey: don’t try to “paleoize” recipes for at least a good month. That means: no Paleo “bread”, “cakes”, etc. Just because the recipes may be made up of Paleo approved ingredients doesn’t necessarily make them free for all. Even better, if you can eliminate all sugar from your diet for the first 30 days, that would be ideal. I know, raw honey & Grade B maple syrup are technically okay in small quantities, but they are still sugar. And if you’ve had candida issues in the past (who hasn’t?), you know that eating sugar just leads to eating more sugar. Try to detox from that in the first 30 days so you can stick with the lifestyle. After the first 30 days, if you start introducing sugars and realize that it’s becoming a craving, it’s probably time for another detox.

One thing that I have found with Paleo (and healthy diets in general) is that people who are just starting out or going straight from a SAD to Paleo (or other diet) lifestyle, start to either get bored with their choices (particularly if they are not utilizing cookbooks geared towards that specific diet) or begin to have cravings for the “food” they used to eat. So they try to make Paleo versions. Here’s an important tip: if you’re really trying to lose weight, please don’t try to make imitations of your long-lost comfort foods. Just eat real, unprocessed food. Where diets tend to go wrong many times is when people try to twist it so that they can keep their addictions alive. Then they find it just doesn’t taste the same and they’d rather have the “real” thing every now and then. And then every now and then becomes once a week, which soon turns into a few times a week… you get my point. The problem here isn’t that people love food. It’s that most people don’t understand that what they are craving is actually additives, preservatives, man-made oils, over-processed grains, sugars, and an intense amount of sodium. This isn’t food. It’s junk and it’s not what gives us fuel, though it may feel like it at first, it’s actually what robs us of our fuel in the end.

I say all this to forewarn you: if you aren’t willing to take the time to challenge and change your taste-buds, to really discover the flavor of real foods in their natural state (or close to it at least), then you aren’t in the right mindset to make a healthy, life-long change in your diet. That’s what it’s about, right? Life-long. Paleo is all about healing the gut, but it’s also about learning the types of foods that you need to fuel and heal your body with for the rest of your life. So, when I say “diet”, I’m not referring to a strict list of foods you stick to for a month or two to lose a few pounds, just so you can get back to eating the way you really want to. I’m talking about real, lasting change. I’m referring to re-discovering your love for real food and seeing it in a different light. If the diet you are eating is made up of the right kinds of foods (i.e. lots of good fats and a variety of vegetables), you should feel energized, with no cravings for junk.

If you aren’t new to Paleo and have already done a 30-day detox, feel free to be creative with your recipes. That’s the fun part. Sure, cleaning up your system isn’t fun, but it’s necessary if you want to make a life-long changes. And once you kill those cravings, you’ll find yourself craving foods you never thought you’d love. The reason why it’s so necessary to do a 30-day detox before getting really creative, is because it re-boots your system and begins to repair your gut. This means that you will probably find yourself reacting more strongly to the things you already knew you had issues with (dairy, soy, etc.). I know this may sound like a bad thing, however it’s actually very good because when you start to learn the signals your body is giving you to stop eating certain things, you’ll find that you soon begin to lose a desire to even eat those foods. This is a good time to start getting creative with cooking, because you’re more driven to eat the right kinds of foods.

It’s funny. Often, when I talk to people about their eating habits, they make a comment kind of like this: “I just don’t like those kinds of foods. I’d rather eat what I like and then exercise to stay fit.” Problem is, you are probably making it harder for your body to stay fit by doing that (depending on what foods you are pounding away). It can be so much easier for your body to stay in shape, if you just feed it the right foods. Trust me on this. I’ve spend years working my butt off while eating tons of grains and low-fat dairy, thinking I was doing everything right, but still couldn’t lose a pound. And then, I went Paleo. I dropped weight instantly within a couple of days. And now, instead of hour-long (at least) intense workouts every single day, I only work out a few times a week for 20-30 minutes, and I am in the best shape of my life. Not only that, but I have been able to pinpoint exactly what triggers a hormonal imbalance in my system when it happens, which is so key to not just getting in shape but staying in shape! This is my success story. I hope that in it, you find hope and encouragement; that you find a light of realization that pushes you forward to pursue your goals. You’ve totally got this. Now, here’s to a new year!


*Please note: I am not a doctor or nutritional specialist. Make sure to seek the advice of your practitioner before making any major dietary changes.