2

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New to Paleo... any tips/advice/stories?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 26, 2012 at 4:45 PM

I discovered the Paleo lifestyle through the internet about 2 weeks ago, and since then, I have been avidly reading and researching Paleo-related blogs, websites, books, etc. I'm fascinated by the science behind Paleo and by the fact that I have lived the entire 21 years of my life believing a LOT of things about food and nutrition that are untrue. I have been overweight my entire life, mostly because up until the age of 11, I refused to eat anything other than grain products and dairy. No meat, fish, fruits or veggies whatsoever. Thankfully, I got over that and I'm happy to say that I now eat like a normal (neolithic) human being. However, I have a tendency to overeat, and I was still very fond of my grains and dairy... that is, until I discovered Paleo and realized these things are killing me slowly.

So, I would like to begin eating like a cavewoman, to improve my health and (hopefully) lose some weight. However, I've absorped SO much information over the last 2 weeks that I'm a little overwhelmed. I've also read a lot of conflicting information regarding what and what not to eat. I am looking for real life advice from all you Paleo veterans - how did you get started? What do you eat on a daily basis? Are you ever tempted to eat fast/junk food (and how do you deal with this?) Are you strict Paleo, or do you make allowances for non-Paleo items? How has Paleo impacted your overall health? What do you wish somebody had told you when you started your Paleo lifestyle? And any other advice, tips, and stories you have... I would love to hear them all.

Thanks so much! :)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 27, 2012
at 01:14 PM

You're welcome! And good luck with it. There are quite a few people that did not have as difficult a time as me. Some people go paleo and that's it. One of my problems is the rest of my family eats a lot of crap and so there is always junk in the house. Last night I made dinner: grass fed burgers on the grill and sliced potatoes fried in lard and bacon fat. My daughters loved it! Of course, they used buns and had ice cream cake/peach cobbler for dessert... I had some dark chocolate and later snacked on some leftover bratwursts.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on July 27, 2012
at 07:12 AM

No problem! Yes coconut oil is really really good for us. It is mostly saturated fat (which are short and medium chain triglycerides) so our body utilizes it for energy (like carbs except without the insulin spike) unlike other fats which go straight to adipose tissue. You can find lots of ways to use CO on the web. I put it in my tea too. A whole 30 sounds good :)!! You can do it! And you'll feel so much better!

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:55 PM

"Point is we should be able to operate on all types of fuel if we are truly to be considered healthy." Hmm... that's true, I never thought about that. I can't wait to be healthy so I won't have to obsess over what I eat :) Thanks so much!

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:51 PM

Thank you!!! :)

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:50 PM

Thanks for the advice :) I've been trying to eat healthier since I learned about Paleo, but yesterday I cheated (also on pizza) and I felt so awful! Junk food tastes great but it's definitely not worth it... I can't wait until I'm done with it for good.

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:49 PM

Wow this was soooo helpful. I use coconut oil on my hair as a conditioner, but I never thought about eating it - your meals sound so delicious though! I'm beginning to understand the importance of finding out what works for me... I'm definitely going to do a whole 30 first and see how my body takes to it. There was so much useful advice in this comment, thank you!!!

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Thank you for the links and advice! I am in LOVE with Nom Nom Paleo... I want to try out every single recipe!

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Thanks for all the links and helpful advice! I know I will definitely have to remind myself that changing my lifestyle takes time... but I am definitely looking forward to having more energy (and not farting! lol)

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:36 PM

I agree about the inclusion vs exclusion comment... Well put!

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 26, 2012
at 05:22 PM

Well said about a diet of inclusion, instead of exclusion.

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9 Answers

2
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on July 27, 2012
at 12:56 AM

Welcome to PaleoHacks and congrats on starting this healthy journey!!! Here's some of what I can share with you about my Primal experience so far.

How did you get started?
Well, to a large degree, I started a bit slowly, before I'd actually heard of Paleo or Primal. I developed an ulcer and (not that I knew it then) gluten intolerance after taking some prescription medications that really killed my digestive system. So I started out by kicking the processed foods with chemicals and going for organic/free-range/pastured/grass-fed etc ingredients before I knew about Paleo/Primal eating. Then a friend of mine did the Whole30 and I decided to read up on it and give it a try. That's how I figured out that the gluten was my problem.

What do you eat on a daily basis?
I gave a pretty good list of what I eat, including my "cheats" on this question over here s few days ago (it's kinda long). http://paleohacks.com/questions/137364/paleo-standards/137475#137475

Are you ever tempted to eat fast/junk food (and how do you deal with this?)
No, but I think it's mostly because I was a "foodie" long before I went Primal. My cravings are usually for beans of some sort, usually in soup, or a really good grilled cheese or a Reuben on rye pumpernickel swirl. The beans I eat several times a month since they don't have immediate consequences for me, but since I'm gluten intolerant I only give into wheat temptations a few times a year because my tummy will be very upset and I get a rash.

Are you strict Paleo, or do you make allowances for non-Paleo items?
I call my eating style Primal, because I do eat full-fat dairy products. I do cheat on some things, like some white rice and beans a few times a month, and a little dark chocolate and coffee a few times a week, but other than that I'm pretty compliant.

How has Paleo impacted your overall health?
My digestive upset has ceased and my ulcer has healed! I was already a pretty healthy person before that happened, at a good weight, and have always had a ton of energy, so I didn't have a lot of problems that Paleo could "fix."

What do you wish somebody had told you when you started your Paleo lifestyle?
I wish I'd gotten a book sooner instead of just getting information online from a bunch of different resources and individuals. I ended up with Mark Sisson's The Primal Blueprint and really like it. I think having a book that kind of gives you a whole, integrated picture of one style of Paleo really helps you a cohesive mental framework of what you want, what you can expect, and how to get it.

2
93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on July 26, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Welcome! Congrats for realizing you want to take control of your health! What an empowering decision.

TO answer your questions:

How did you get started?

I read The Paleo Solution first, by Robb Wolf, and then the Perfect Health Diet by the Jaminets-- both provided valuable and useful information (they both supplemented each other)

What do you eat on a daily basis?

I eat two meals a day, however, when starting out I would not suggest doing this. When starting out I would start out strict with the foods, but slowly transition with everything else (intermittent fasting, no snacking, exercise, etc.) since as you said it can become overwhelming. I think the most important thing to do is implement good strict eating first. I would do a whole30 and eliminate grains, legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods, sugar, dairy, even starches for a whole 30 days (I would also limit the nuts and fruit, but if it is too much well I guess a little is OK). Once the 30 days is up, feel free to add in starches to see how your body reacts and more nuts if you choose to do so (when I did this my body told me yes to the starches and an absolute NO to dairy and nuts).

Since I did this and figured out what my body loves, here is what I eat:

Meal 1:

A piece of salmon baked in lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper A salad with spinach, broccoli, raw green beans, cauliflower, apple cider vinegar, and EVOO If still hungry, about a cup of boiled sweet potatoes drizzled in coconut oil or coconut milk (I skin about 4 sweet potatoes and boil them and then save them in the fridge for the whole week-- I usually eat about a cup a day so the 4 last me a week). I think coconut oil is an essential item to stock up on in your food pantry!!

Meal 2:

A bison burger grilled and drizzled in coconut oil (soooo good!) A bowl of dandelion greens boiled and sprinkled with lemon 3 Brazil nuts (for Selenium for thyroid function) A cup of brussel sprouts sauteed in coconut oil

As you can see my diet is very vegetable heavy (I love veggies and think they are really important to include in the diet for all of the nutrients they contain!!) They are also really filling because of their high fiber content. There is such a wide variety and so many ways to cook them they never get boring and you will learn to love and crave their taste!

Are you ever tempted to eat fast/junk food (and how do you deal with this?)

No I never am because I make sure I am getting all my macronutrients met. You have to find your n=1. Are you active? Then you will need more carbs. Paleo doesn't have to be LC despite what you read on this website. I do better with a decent source of carbs (from starch, not fruit) every day because it is filling. I also need a fat-heavy diet. I don't need too much protein so don't like to over-eat on it. My macronutrients are usually 60% fat, 20% protein, 20% carbs on a daily basis.

Are you strict Paleo, or do you make allowances for non-Paleo items?

I am strict paleo as much as I can be. I never eat grains, dairy, legumes (except for green beans), or vegetable oils. I will occasionally eat rice because I think it is good to eat post-workout. However, I think when first starting out it is best to stay strict for the first couple months to avoid more cravings for junk food.

How has Paleo impacted your overall health?

My blood lipid profile is amazing! I have much more energy. And my sleep has much improved.

What do you wish somebody had told you when you started your Paleo lifestyle?

I wish somebody had told me to really learn and understand fats (and not be afraid of them!). I also think being on these website and subscribing to blogs like Mark's Daily Apple helps you to continuously learn new information. DOn't forget to listen to your body and do what makes you happy. I have been doing this for almost a year and by eating whole foods, my body craves what it needs now (natural whole foods) instead of junk, so I feed the cravings.

Let me know if you have questions! Sorry it was so long!

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:49 PM

Wow this was soooo helpful. I use coconut oil on my hair as a conditioner, but I never thought about eating it - your meals sound so delicious though! I'm beginning to understand the importance of finding out what works for me... I'm definitely going to do a whole 30 first and see how my body takes to it. There was so much useful advice in this comment, thank you!!!

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on July 27, 2012
at 07:12 AM

No problem! Yes coconut oil is really really good for us. It is mostly saturated fat (which are short and medium chain triglycerides) so our body utilizes it for energy (like carbs except without the insulin spike) unlike other fats which go straight to adipose tissue. You can find lots of ways to use CO on the web. I put it in my tea too. A whole 30 sounds good :)!! You can do it! And you'll feel so much better!

2
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 26, 2012
at 06:32 PM

how did you get started?
I ran across this: http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

What do you eat on a daily basis?
Coffee with half-n-half and stevia, eggs, cheese, big salad, beef or chicken, tuna or salmon, broccoli, other veggies, butter, cocnut oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Less than daily: fruit, nuts, seeds, avocado, dark chocolate, red wine, bourbon, starchy tubers, white rice, bacon, pork, shrimp, liver, pork rinds. Sometimes fall into a box of cookies or a bag of fries (oops).

Are you ever tempted to eat fast/junk food (and how do you deal with this?)
Sure, I am constantly tempted. There is a ton of crap in my house right now. (brownies/ice cream cake/Pringles/bread/bagels/etc.) I can't say that I always deal with it very well: http://paleohacks.com/questions/83438/am-i-this-bear#axzz21knMpdeU

Lately, I have been doing very good. I guess I'm just in a better place mentally. I can't really say that I did X and it worked for me. I just had to fail over and over and keep trying anyways. There is a Japanese (or Chinese) proverb that goes "Fall seven times, stand up eight." Another Japanese saying goes: "...the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop on the twelfth, how can you admire the moon over the capital?" I guess I just keep trying and eventually it got easier. Only took a couple of years...

Are you strict Paleo, or do you make allowances for non-Paleo items?
I would say I'm Primal (see Mark's Daily Apple) as I do include dairy, very dark chocolate and some white rice/white potatoes. Lately, I'm not doing as much carbs, maybe more like Dr. Eenfeldt's LCHF. http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf

How has Paleo impacted your overall health?
Well, when I am on plan, my blood sugar is controlled (I am a T2 diabetic), my skin rashes/dandruff/peeling/acne all clears up, my joint pain goes away and I have pleasant, non-messy poops. I also don't fart or stink. I have more energy and want to exercise and get out and do things. I am mentally much more positive.

What do you wish somebody had told you when you started your Paleo lifestyle?
That almost everything you read and hear in MSM about nutrition and exercise is either flat out wrong or at best only partially correct. That I would have to read widely, including scientific papers, to understand why. That paleo is a highly individual thing and that I would have to try many ideas to see what really works for me.

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Thanks for all the links and helpful advice! I know I will definitely have to remind myself that changing my lifestyle takes time... but I am definitely looking forward to having more energy (and not farting! lol)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 27, 2012
at 01:14 PM

You're welcome! And good luck with it. There are quite a few people that did not have as difficult a time as me. Some people go paleo and that's it. One of my problems is the rest of my family eats a lot of crap and so there is always junk in the house. Last night I made dinner: grass fed burgers on the grill and sliced potatoes fried in lard and bacon fat. My daughters loved it! Of course, they used buns and had ice cream cake/peach cobbler for dessert... I had some dark chocolate and later snacked on some leftover bratwursts.

2
474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 26, 2012
at 05:15 PM

First, congrats on seeing through the nonsense that is conventional wisdom. Given that I started from "healthy sad" my transition wasn't terrible. My biggest takeaway is that you can't eat what isn't there. If there isn't junk in your house, it'll be exponentially easier to reduce your cravings. Additionally, as you remove carb-based, faux healthy products labeled "skinny cow" or "100 calorie", you'll find you aren't as ravenous and overeating will be much easier to resist. Also, I try to view Paleo as a diet of inclusion rather than exclusion. If you focus on eating real food, there will be much less space in your life for the industrial/processed crap.

There are a lot of people here who are much smarter than I as it pertains to actual food choices. I'll leave them to give you the specific advice.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 26, 2012
at 05:22 PM

Well said about a diet of inclusion, instead of exclusion.

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:36 PM

I agree about the inclusion vs exclusion comment... Well put!

1
Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

on July 26, 2012
at 07:03 PM

Tip #1: paleo is not a list of set-in-stone rules. Sure, there are general guidelines that most people follow (i.e. no grains, seed oils, refined sugar), but everything about this way of eating is an n=1 (your own experiment).

What works for you might not work for everyone else. Try cutting all the bad foods out and see how you react. You might be okay with some grassfed dariy, you might not. Just take it day by day, and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Your body will tell you what it wants and what it doesn't - if you just listen close. :)

Welcome and good luck!

A few of my favorite sites for paleo-related questions that will (surely) come:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/

http://nomnompaleo.com/

http://whole9life.com/

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Thank you for the links and advice! I am in LOVE with Nom Nom Paleo... I want to try out every single recipe!

0
2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

on July 27, 2012
at 12:23 AM

For me there is one basic mantra, if there is more than one ingredient or has to be processed to be consumed (flour/wheat/sugar/soy/some forms of dairy,especially low fat) its not food!Otherwise make the plan work for you. Just remember low carb flu is an uphill battle. For some it doesn't happen, for others it can last a while. It is especially important you eat to satiety and use liberal amounts of fat in the beginning. Just let the calories fall as they may for a while until you adapt. Focus on high quality coconut oil (best source of fat other than whats in your meat, fish and eggs). Terrific for metabolism and memory. Just keep plugging away. Paleo is about quality not quantity. And realize its worth it to invest your money in good food and nutrition. Drop your cable or that pair of shoes for instance to afford grass fed meat if necessary. Prioritize!

0
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 26, 2012
at 06:56 PM

Avoid grains, legumes, and dairy for a good long while. At least until you feel you have good energy and good digestion.

Then incorporate a nice bit of starch. More and more, making sure your digestion is always good.

Then you're prolly good to bring back in whatever you want.

In general it's prolly best to avoid processed foods throughout life but you should have a robust enough system after taking the long slow healing process above to handle anything. Once one is healthy I believe they should be able to eat a hamburger and fries and be fine. They should be able to eat the happiest grass fed steak and organic sweet potatos too. Point is we should be able to operate on all types of fuel if we are truly to be considered healthy.

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:55 PM

"Point is we should be able to operate on all types of fuel if we are truly to be considered healthy." Hmm... that's true, I never thought about that. I can't wait to be healthy so I won't have to obsess over what I eat :) Thanks so much!

0
C116f7e54620c6003b67cd4450a298cd

on July 26, 2012
at 06:45 PM

plants (green and colorful) and animals!!! ...and keep reading!! This is a whole new world awaiting you!! Good luck and enjoy the ride.

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:51 PM

Thank you!!! :)

0
2c7026111493687e2d619c9e20e47915

(693)

on July 26, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Welcome! I'm a relative newbie (3 mos) too and yes, the amount of information and the variations on what's Paleo are overwhelming. I'd start by eliminating grains and sugar. That's hard enough. For me this seemed to get my energy steady and in balance, although it took a couple of weeks.

As for cheating, yes, I've been tempted, and yes, I've given in and felt like CRAP! One night I gorged on pizza and thought I was going to die the next day my stomach was so upset. Now that's my motivation for not cheating. Even if it's not that bad, I notice if I start to stray, my energy leaves me. I just keep focusing on how great I feel when I'm eating Paleo and that keeps me focused.

Good luck!!

A0b7cd4ec74d73e724920191d946976c

on July 26, 2012
at 11:50 PM

Thanks for the advice :) I've been trying to eat healthier since I learned about Paleo, but yesterday I cheated (also on pizza) and I felt so awful! Junk food tastes great but it's definitely not worth it... I can't wait until I'm done with it for good.

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