By Amanda Wilks
If you’ve ever been approached by someone praising the benefits of eating like a caveman, chances are you’ve had at least one moment of hesitation or confusion over what they mean, exactly. After all, not many of us are fit enough to run outside in a leopard skin outfit to club our own dinner. However, it turns out the paleo diet isn’t quite that complicated. So, after a bit of reading, maybe you’re thinking about making the switch to eating less processed food.
As with any major dietary shift, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Namely, paleo is going to involve some very sudden shifts in how you eat, what you eat and how you source it. It’s not always as simple as not buying bread or processed oils. So knowing what you’re about to get into can save you a lot of stress and anguish in the long run.
1. You’re Going to Be Doing a Lot of Cooking
The biggest shock is usually just how many foods you won’t be able to rely on anymore. Sandwiches aren’t the holy grail of quick and easy eats when you’re eating paleo style. Rice and beans are similarly verboten.
Frankly, there are more foods that may surprise you than you initially realize, considering how healthy some of your newly disallowed foods may seem from the offset. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to cook. Furthermore, before diving in, can you fit the prep time of cooking into your daily routine?
The smartest place to start is to take stock of your current cooking implements and make sure you have the proper pots, pans, knives. Not forgetting, accessories to dismantle various meats and vegetables.
Knowing what food slicer to use when approaching your new vegetable-dismantling routine and which pans can actually fit proper protein portions goes a long way towards making your diet transition smooth.
2. Carbs Aren’t Necessarily Evil
After all, paleo isn’t a keto diet. It’s lower in carbohydrates than many other diets yet doesn’t fully cut them out to the point of making them a non-issue. As such you would be wise to brush up on non-grain sources of carbohydrates; Many paleo fans report sweet potatoes making up a large portion of their carb intake, but you can also partake in plantains, beets, squash, carrots, raisins, apples and so on.
If you want to make sure you can get those carbs on the go, dehydrated fruit are easy to take with you on the move and don’t leave sticky, messy residue like fresh fruit. No more hand-washing every hour on the hour!
3. You Might Come Down with the Carb Flu
The carb flu is very real and very possible to suffer through when you’re first switching to paleo. In the simplest terms, your body is likely very used to burning carbohydrates and sugars as its raw source of energy and has to be retrained to extract energy from your fat cells.
You might feel sluggish and depressed or you could even suffer from nausea and headaches in a worst-case scenario, but it does generally clear up in a few days. Just keep in mind that your paleo diet is going to entail a little suffering if you dive in without easing in first.
4. It Gets Easier Over Time
Let’s be entirely honest: Paleo takes a time investment. You won’t be able to pop into a fast food joint to sate late-night dinner needs on a whim unless you’re very, very careful with what you order.
Pizzas are no longer the end-all solution to a packed schedule. Cooking is going to take up a very fair margin of your time and there’s not much that can be done to alleviate this without careful planning that chews up valuable time in other parts of your life.
Over time you’re going to get better at managing your diet and finding ways to fit healthy eating options into your life without losing all of your free time. Just be prepared to re-acquaint yourself with common cooking techniques and don’t let the time sink dissuade you.
5. There Is No One Diet Plan for Everyone
The basic ideas behind paleo may be semi-agreed upon but finding a group of paleo participants who agree entirely on what should and shouldn’t be eaten is going to be nearly impossible. There are still debates about how appropriate non-natural salts are in your diet, so imagine how strange it can be when trying to decide how appropriate wine is.
If you aren’t sure if you can live without a certain food, don’t sweat it. Eating paleo-friendly 90 percent of the time is better than going cold turkey on your old diet and failing to stick with it, only to revert back to unhealthy habits.
You aren’t a machine that is expected to run at peak efficiency every day of your life. If you need a handful of chocolate chips to make it through to your next week of proper paleo diet foodstuffs, do what you have to do!
Find a way to diet that works for you without unnecessary suffering and your health may improve appropriately.