I started my paleo journey in September of 2011. I jumped into a 63 day challenge at my CrossFit box. That means that one day I was eating my usual foods and the next day I wasn’t. In one day I stopped eating all grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, & alcohol. Yup, I jumped into this challenge cold turkey and never looked back. But just because a challenge-type introduction to paleo worked for me doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone. There is no shortage of challenges out there: from Lurong, to Whole30, to 21 Day Sugar Detox, these are all great programs, but they can be intimidating.
Eating “paleo” means different things depending on who you ask, what you read, & what your goals are. My personal paleo diet focuses on eating nutrient-dense whole foods that promote a healthy gut. For me, this means that not only do I avoid eating gluten, but I avoid eating all grains because I don’t feel well when I eat them. I also avoid eating legumes & dairy. I know that feeling bloated, nauseous, & frequent trips to the bathroom means that I am intolerant to these foods and they are damaging my gut when I eat them. So for me, choosing to not eat grains, dairy, and legumes has nothing to do with whether or not our ancestors ate them or if they meet the paleo criteria, it has all to do with how eating those foods makes me feel.
Remove foods that are known to be gut irritants for a period of time and see what happens. How do you feel? Do you sleep better? Do you look better? Do those pimples seem to clear up or do the bumps on the backs of your arms go away? Do your seasonal allergies get better? Does your mood level out? Does the bloat in your belly subside? Does your afternoon slump improve? Does your libido increase? Do you lose weight? Are you stronger or faster in your workouts? Does the random pain & stiffness in your muscles & joints feel better? Pay close attention to how you feel during this elimination period. Then reintroduce the eliminated foods and see what happens. When you eliminate these foods from your diet for a certain period of time, you allow your body to heal and your immune system to settle down. What you may find is that you are intolerant to some of these foods too.
I created the Ease Your Way into Paleo Plan to no be stressful. I want you to take your time in learning and understanding why these foods are eliminated. I want you to take your time in learning how to grocery shop & cook when you focus on eating whole foods. I do not want you to be overwhelmed; I will be here to answer any questions.
My plan takes the 5 basic tenets of the paleo diet: grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, & alcohol and removes them slowly and one at a time over the course of 15 weeks. I’ve written a post for each of the 15 weeks and linked it to them below. Not only do I walk you through each step weekly, but I teach you the basic premise behind why the food is eliminated and at what time. Most weeks I give you a recipe too 🙂
Fit Moms & Full Plates
15 Week Ease Your Way into Paleo Plan
Week 1: Breakfast with no grains
Week 2: Breakfast and lunch with no grains
Week 3: All day with no grains
Week 4: Reduce dairy consumption to a maximum of 3 servings per week
Week 5: Reduce dairy consumption to a maximum of 1 serving per week
Week 6: Eliminate all dairy (substitute coconut or almond milk products if desired)
Week 7: Reduce added sugar consumption to 3 servings per week
Week 8: Reduce added sugar consumption to one serving per week.
Week 9: Eliminate all added sugar consumption from diet
Week 10: Substitute nut or seed butter for all peanut products.
Week 11: Reduce legume consumption to 3 times a week
Week 12: Eliminate all legumes
Week 13: Reduce alcohol consumption to Friday & Saturday only
Week 14: Reduce alcohol consumption to Saturday only
Week 15: First week of full strict paleo & how to reintroduce eliminated foods.
So what do you say? Will you give it a try? See if you can get some friends to do it with you. Having a spouse, family member, co-worker or friend who has similar goals will help keep you both on track. If you have any questions let me know in the comments or send me an email at pam at fitmomsfullplates.com.