Have you seen that TV commercial for the Sleep Number® bed? It’s the one that comes with a couple of remote controls that let you adjust the firmness of each side of the bed…
Well that TV spot didn’t convince me to send them a $5,000 check, but it did get me to thinking that most people – and especially newbies – should look at paleo as a lifestyle that can be adjusted to fit your own personal comfort level.
For me, paleo has never been an all or nothing diet. I know for others it is, and that’s fine. I just don’t happen to believe you have to be 100 percent paleo 100 percent of the time to enjoy its rewards – even if you break “the rules” once in awhile.
(For those completely new to paleo, the rules are basically no diary, no grains, no legumes, no refined sugars, and of course no processed foods.)
A while back, Paleo Magazine sent around an email that I thought was right on. Its message boiled down to this: everyone needs to discover their own personal paleo plan. I couldn’t agree more.
I look at Paleo as a template. It gives you all the guidelines you need, but it’s not necessarily a hard and fast blueprint. That’s because our bodies aren’t all put together exactly alike – not everyone will respond to the same workouts and nutrition plans the same way.
That’s why I believe the real key to paleo is listening to your body and adjusting your diet and exercise routines accordingly.
I recently did a guest post with Taylor from the GlutenAway blog. He’s a 16-year-old with with celiac and adrenal issues. At one time, he tried to go full paleo. It didn’t work for him – in fact, he got sicker. Taylor said he feels best when he’s about 80 percent paleo. Am I going to question his decision and demand another 20 percent? Of course not. It’s his own personal paleo plan.
When I first started eating paleo, I figured I’d be able to stick with it about 80 percent of the time. Coming up on a year now, my hubby and I have discovered we feel our best eating paleo at least 90 percent of the time.
But see, that’s just us. If 100 percent works for you, that’s awesome. If it’s 80 percent or less, that’s great too.
I would highly recommend reading Robb Wolf’s book The Paleo Solution. It’s entertaining to read, you’ll learn a lot, and you can draw your own conclusions if paleo is right for you.
If you decide to go for it, I think the best way to kick off your paleo lifestyle is with 30 days of eating nothing but real foods. That’s 30 days without refined sugar, wheat, grains, dairy, beans or junk food and buying the best quality fruits, veggies and meats you can find or afford. Of course if you have health issues that might be complicated by a new diet, be sure and check with your doctor first.
After detoxing your body for 30 days, I bet you’ll notice a big difference. Just be aware it may not be easy…it took us almost 90 days until we stopped craving unhealthy carbs, especially breads! Now eating something like wheat toast doesn’t even sound appealing…a little time and tenacity is all it takes.
So if you can hang on for at least a month, you’ll probably realize you have more energy, clearer skin, and an improved digestive system…and that’s just for starters. One of the big benefits for me is that I’m now about 90 percent allergy-free thanks to paleo.
One more thing: I post a lot of recipes for treats on this site and I often get asked why. Well first, we all have built-in taste receptors for sweets, so treats are one way to satisfy them with something more nutritious than a Twixt bar. And second, paleo or paleo-friendly treats are probably not available at your neighborhood grocery store.
Sure you can find things like coconut ice cream in the frozen foods section, but when you take a closer look at the label, you’re likely to see they’ve added refined sugars, preservatives, or sometimes both.
That’s where I come in. My recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, preservative-free and processed sugar-free. Some are not 100% paleo compliant – for example I’ve added dark organic chocolate chips to a few of my treat recipes. So they’re not all paleo perfect, but I think they are way better for you than most of the “healthy” treats you’ll find in your supermarket aisles.
Treats or not, I really hope you find what’s best for you on the paleo lifestyle.
Just know at Paleo Newbie we aren’t the paleo police.
We’re non-perfect paleo people who believe an occasional treat is not a cheat.
It’s just life.
And we like it a little sweet now and then.
Thanks for visiting, and we hope you keep coming back to Paleo Newbie!