5 steps to slowly ease into Paleo

Paleo diet

Jumping in all at once might be overwhelming, especially if you are not already in a healthy eating routine. Taking one step at a time and watching what you eat can certainly help easing into a paleo diet and make lasting changes.

Here are 5 easy steps to help you slowly reach your paleo or quasi paleo destination. Take a couple of weeks per each step or go at your own pace. I promise you, the journey will be just as exciting as the goal.

1. Eliminate sugary drinks

Sally vouched that her health improved a threefold when she gave up her sugary pop which she had with every meal and sometimes in between. It’s not just the pop, watch out for added sugar in fruit juices, hot chocolates, smoothies and caffeinated cold drinks. Even drinks designed to “help reduce weight” like Slim Fast, contain about 5tsps of sugar. And diet drinks are the biggest rogues.

Switch to fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas or plain water. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, infuse lemons, cucumbers, strawberries or herbs overnight and chug all day long. It’s not only refreshing but also opens up the first step towards detoxification.

2. Cut out desserts and sweet junk

After meal desserts are not the only culprits, watch out for those sugary snacks too… A trip to Tim Hortons or Starbucks will have you walking out with a pastry or a donut (I’d say stay out of these joints altogether, but that’s for another day, no overwhelm). Most commercial breakfast items contain a lot of sugar. Be wary of pancake mixes, cereals, granola bars and instant oatmeal packs that come loaded with sugar, not to mention empty carbs, unnecessary food coloring and additives.

Reach out instead for a fruit or a couple of palm dates. Once most of the sugar is out of your system, fruits and juices will taste way sweeter and high sugar desserts will start tasting… just gross.

3. Say goodbye to simple carbs

Anything white is a no-no. Ok, keep the egg whites, but eliminate white bread, pasta, white sugar, potatoes, table salt and white rice. During this phase replace them with complex carbs like whole grains, honey, oatmeal, beans, peas and brown rice. Complex carbs are rich in fibre and thus are health promoters. Table salt is highly processed, thus stripped of all minerals and is rich in unwanted additives. Go for sea salt or  Himalayan Crystal Salt  in its place. During this phase you are reducing the general glycemic index of your meals and thus maintaining a better blood sugar count.

4. Purge grains and dairy

During this phase you are almost a paleo dude! Skip those grains altogether. If you have grown up with a lot of dairy products and they have no bad effects on you at all, go on a quasi-paleo diet. On a quasi-paleo diet, you’d limit milk, yogurt, cream and cheese to as few as 3-4 servings a week and limit grains to oats, barley and occasional brown rice.

But if you have decided to go head to toe into the paleo direction, switch to dairy alternatives like almond milk, hummus for butter, vegan friendly salad dressings and coconut milk based ice cream or sorbet. I’d stay far away from tofu and soy milk as soy has undesirable hormone disrupting properties.

5. Be cautious while grocery shopping

Oh boy! There’s hidden sugar in every product. Stay on guard while you browse grocery aisles. Read ingredient labels. There’s known to be sugar in sauces, tomato puree, salsa and even curry paste!

What are your options now that you have eliminated most of your comfort foods? Well, now that you have maneuvered your lifestyle to fit into the paleo principles, or maybe the quasi-paleo principles, watch out for more supportive articles and recipes on the Soul Food website!