Paleo Part 2: Starting A Paleo Lifestyle – Beginners Guide

[ 0 ] January 20, 2013 |
paleo beginners

Image Credit: Lord Jim

So in Paleo Part 1 we went through an overview of the Paleo diet, what it is, how it works, benefits etc.

In part 2 we are going to go into much more detail about how you actually start the Paleo diet and lifestyle, what you can and can’t eat, how often, if there are any counting calories involved or other restrictions and all that other stuff you usually need to find out about before you start a diet.

We are also going to dig a little deeper into why the diet is structured the way it is and why it works, before I give my own personal take on it and how I’ve personally adapted this lifestyle into a winning formula for me and how you can do the same.


It’s A Lifestyle Not A FAD

The first thing you need to do is untrain your brain from thinking like this:

“I’m going to go on a diet and lose weight!”

No, No, No, No, Noooooooooooooo!!!!

“Eating Is For Life And So Must Your Diet Be If You Want To Keep The Weight Off!”

This is the single biggest reason we see diet, after diet come and go. Most diets come into the spotlight, get lots of media hype, people see some form of results then can’t stick to the diet long term, pile the weight back on and then the diet loses it’s appeal and the FAD dies off – leaving you fat and with a slightly lighter wallet!

The trick is finding a diet that is sustainable as a lifestyle. Fortunately the Paleo diet is one such plan.

Sooo . . Where Do You Begin And How Do You Start?

Right the way Paleo works is actually quite simple. There are no counting calories or carbs or anything like that so forget those restrictions. It focuses on foods that you can and can’t eat and we’ll get to those in just a moment. Providing you are eating these foods then you can eat:

  • As much as you want . . without counting calories, carbs, fats or anything else.
  • Whenever you want . . and not have to worry about eating every 3 hours or at set times or anything like that.

Ok . . You Got Me Interested But How And Why Does It Work?

paleo and farmingQuite simply it works because it is how nature intended you to eat. Years and years ago back in the days of early man, these foods were all that were available.

It wasn’t until the agricultural revolution where things took a turn for the worse in terms of diet and “grains” were introduced as a main food source (pasta, bread, rice etc).

“So What’s So Bad About Grains? We Get Told Grains Are Good For You All The Time”

I’m not going to get into the debate about grains in this post as that is another post all on it’s own. What I will do is talk about things from a Paleo perspective and tell you about my experience and show you some other people’s experiences and let you form your own conclusions.

Basically your body was never designed to eat grains and it has never really properly adjusted to doing so. Just look at the figures of obesity and overweight people today compared to the lean, strong physiques of yester-year. Sedentary lifestyle + processed food and grains = a fat nation.

Sugary, processed foods and grains turn into glucose in the body. Glucose is basically sugar and your body can’t have too much blood sugar so if the glucose is not burned off through activity, your body releases insulin to bring blood sugar down. What actually happens is the glucose is turned into fat and stored in the cells. What’s more, this insulin spike when it crashes, will cause you to have food cravings and crave more sugary, processed and stodgy carbs.

The below video explains it a little better:

Not good eh? . . It gets worse!!

Grains also contain gluten which our bodies just seem to detest! Sooo many people are intolerant to gluten and many don’t even know it. It basically can cause lots of health conditions from ibs and acid reflux to skin conditions and reproductive issues. There are also lots of people who will tell you that gluten plays a part in much more serious long term illnesses and conditions but this post isn’t about that.

. . basically it’s not cool!

Add to this all the chemicals that are used in preservatives and pesticides and all the other “treatments” the food gets before it hits the supermarket shelves. This is not doing you or your body any favours and is not how nature intended.

So Just Another Low Carb Diet Then?

No! I told you this in Paleo part 1. There are no restrictions on carbs, only the type of foods and type of carbs. The following foods are allowed carbs (see the full Paleo food list here):

  • Fruit
  • Veg
  • Sweet Potatoes – this is a taboo as some people on Paleo eat them as they were around in caveman days whereas others don’t eat them as you can’t eat them raw. I personally would eat them but it’s up to you.

“So Why Won’t Eating As Lots Of Carbs From Fruit And Veg Make Me Fat?”

This is because of the nutrient density of the food. Now I will warn you, don’t go too crazy on the fruit as it is quite naturally sugary. More on things to keep and eye on later.

Because Paleo foods are so nutrient rich, it is actually very hard to eat enough of these foods in order to put weight on. It can be done but I’ll tell you what to watch out for shortly.

For example a McDonald’s meal will contain lots of calories and bad carbs but you will still be hungry shortly after it and go on to eat more food. You would struggle to eat the same amount of calories with Paleo food and you would not be hungry because it is more nutrient dense. A huge portion of veg with a fair bit of protein and a piece of fruit and handful of nuts will keep you full for hours . . minus the calories and bad carbs.

If you want to get creative with tons of delicious Paleo recipes then invest a few bucks in a cookbook:

The Paleo Recipe Book


Will I Have Enough Energy To Get Through The Day And Exercise On Only Those Foods As Carbs?

Not sure, which is why you should eat plenty fat too. . . WAIT!! Did she just say eat PLENTY FAT!! . . . yup!

In the absence of grains and processed, sugary carbs, your body will actually burn fat as fuel. This is how it is supposed to be believe it or not! haha! It is just the media and society has demonised fat over the years. There are different types of fats though. This video will explain better than me:


What About Dairy?

Hmm, well I’ll tell you what I do and what works for me in a moment but the true Paleo way is to avoid dairy because nothing natural stays on milk past infancy and many people are lactose intolerant so it is not fully known if dairy is “supposed to be” a regular food source. Having said that, milk was obviously available and contains natural proteins, carbs and fats in good proportion.

The choice is yours but a lot of Paleo followers don’t (I do).


Summary Of Can And Cant’s

Can’t: grains, processed food, maybe dairy

Can: meat, birds, seafood, eggs, veg, certain oils, fruit, most nuts, tubers – **eat as much as you want, when you want – that’s it!

See full list here – you can even get an app to help. Check it out here: Paleo Food App

 **WARNINGS: If you are trying to lose weight with Paleo and struggling yet following it to the letter then the reason will probably be because you are eating too many nuts/seeds and fruit. Fruit (inc dried fruit) is naturally sugary and can rack up the calories and nuts/seeds are high in good fat and calories. These things should be used a bit more sparingly as snacks rather than eating bags of them.

Keep an eye on these and your calories will drop and so will the weight!

If you think you will get bored then I suggest you get a Paleo cookbook. This will contain lots of recipes that you wouldn’t have even dreamed were possible and you will feel that you are eating “normally” as many traditional meals can be made Paleo like by replacing ingredients.

The Paleo Recipe Book


Who Is Suitable For The Paleo Diet?

who is paleo suitable for

Not For You: If you don’t want to give up your pasta and stodgy carb type foods then this isn’t for you.

In  fact if this is you, then ask yourself really deep down and answer honestly . . are you actually serious enough to stick to a healthy lifestyle and do you want a slim figure enough to cut out food that is no good for you and stick to a healthy lifestyle? Really? You know the answer deep down!

For You: If however you really want a great figure and to be healthy and want to change your lifestyle for the better and are prepared to make some sacrifices but just need some direction then this might be for you. If you think that if you do not have any restrictions on how much you can eat of allowed foods or carbs from the right sources then you will stick to the eating plan for the sake of your figure and health then this could be for you.

In Paleo Part 3 I talk about my version and what works for me.

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Category: Paleo/Primal

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About the Author ()

Kate Robinson is a country girl who never had to worry about her weight until she piled on the pounds in her twenties. After years of depression, self pity, binge eating and yo yo dieting, she finally managed to lose 71 pounds and got back her figure and her life! The experience affected her so much that she vowed to help as many people as possible to do the same. Kate teamed up with some industry experts to provide the right information and support when you need it most.

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The Paleo Recipe Book