The Paleo diet has attracted more and more interest in recent years: Celebrities, athletes, doctors and more and more counselors recommend the so-called “Stone Age diet” for a healthier, lean life.
As with many new topics, there are also some uncertainties: How do I start? Where can I find out more? What applies to me and what doesn’t? Do I have to be strict or can I make exceptions? Which one?
That’s why I have put together a few tips for Paleo beginners, which have made it easier for me to get started or that I would have liked to know earlier.
Why Paleo Diet and Not Paleo Diet? Because this is a long-term, sustainable and natural food transition that leads to better health, proper body weight and more well-being in the long term. Simply because the Paleo diet suits humans better than conventional civilization fare.
Paleo tip #1: Stick to the basics
There are now many variants of the Paleo diet. Like any dynamic topic, this topic is evolving rapidly, which confuses one or the other beginner somewhat. Therefore, at least at the beginning, I would advise on the basics:
- Eat meat, fish, eggs, depending on your appetite. Your body knows how much it needs.
- Plus lots of vegetables, preferably all the colours, as much as you want.
- Round off with fruit, nuts without exaggerating.
- Herbs and spices at will, for the spicy whistle.
Finished. That’s how simple the Paleo diet can be.
This also means that it is important to avoid the following foods:
- Everything that is made from cereals must go away: Bread, pasta, pastries, etc. Because in cereals are toxins that can not only harm the body, but also prevent the absorption of important nutrients.
- No legumes. Similar to the cereal, legumes also contain so-called lectins, which are usually harmful to the body.
- No dairy products. Even if the issue of milk is controversial and some
- Paleo devotees allow certain dairy products to be repeated, one should be consistent at least in the beginning. Exception: Butter. Because butter is good fat.
- No industrially processed foods (ready meals, packs of ingredients you don’t know, etc.).
- No sugar. Because sugar is a poison.
- No vegetable oils, because they are more harmful to the body from the composition and often also industrially altered. Exception: Avocados, coconut milk oil, olive oil.
Sounds radical at the beginning, but after a few weeks you will be surprised what an effect this has!
Paleo tip #2: Meet your carb hangover
The switch to the Paleo diet also means a switch to fewer carbohydrates for most. The Paleo diet is not really a low-carb diet, but it is already quite close to it for various reasons. In any case, it limits the insulin release and promotes the release of glucagon, which is both very good!
This means that in the initial phase, your body will have to build new enzymes that will help it align its energy balance and digestion more closely with proteins and fat. These are things that should be self-evident to your body, but it has “forgotten” over time.
In addition, your body will lose a lot of excess water in the first week, which can also lead to a breakdown of minerals.
This initial phase takes some time, typically a week. In that time, you feel slightly weird: Like after a hangover, something leveled, perhaps with cravings for sweetness. Don’t worry, that’s normal and passes again.
Here are a few tips against the Carb hangover:
- Drink plenty of water to replenish the mineral stock.
- Who wants can ease the switch to Paleo with a few “good” carbohydrates: Root vegetables, sweet potatoes, plantains (look like bananas, but are not sweet), etc. In the beginning a bit more, then gradually limit.
- Address things with a little more rest: Your body is still practicing how this works with fat burning. Therefore, you should not make an unexcessive effort at this stage.
- Enjoy your food and don’t be afraid of fat anymore: This is now your new source of energy and it is much more reliable, healthier and less moody than carbohydrates.
- How much carbohydrates do you really need? The answer is zero. Because your body can supplement its need for glucose from proteins themselves alone. However, it makes sense to cover daily needs through food to relieve your body. This is much less than one assumes: As a guideline for food intake, 100g-150g have naturalized daily in the Paleo community.
And when the low-carb hangover is over, you’ll be happy about more and, above all, consistent energy for the whole day: No more lunchtime lows and even a missed meal is no reason for stress. Because fat as a new energy source is always abundant and reliable even in the slimmest body, quite the opposite to fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Paleo tip #3: Build your breakfast
Most people who start with the Paleo diet still have breakfast problems: What should I eat when bread and cereal are suddenly banned?
Answer #1: Eggs. Don’t worry, because eggs are healthy! You can safely eat heaps of eggs without negatively affecting your cholesterol levels. Because it is influenced by insulin rather than food cholesterol, and insulin is influenced by your carbohydrate content in the diet. As this now recedes thanks to the Paleo diet, your cholesterol levels will also improve no matter how many eggs you eat.
Eggs can be prepared in endless ways: Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelettes, or cooked, garnished with vegetables, meat, bacon or herbs, your imagination are no limits.
If you’re looking for more breakfast ideas, you’ll find them in Felix Olschewski’s primal taste cookbook or in this article: 7 tips for a delicious Paleo breakfast.
Paleo tip #4: Paleo for on the go
Despite good resolutions, there’s a temptation to fall behind on every street corner: Canteens, fast-food stores and restaurant visits with colleagues are full of things that are a no-go in the Paleo diet.
Here are a few tips on how to feast like a primeval man despite civilization-eating institutions:
- McDonald’s, doner and other burger stalls: Sometimes it’s no different and the social pressure or lack of choice on the highway drives you to the burger institution. The solution is simple: Take ‘ the biggest burger döner you can get and omit the bun halves. Döner is often also available as a doner plate, so without bread. Or just take a salad without dressing (because that’s often full of sugar).
- Italians or pizza/Pasta stalls: Spaghetti and pizza everywhere, can that go well? For real Italians, pasta is just appetizers and among the main courses there are an astonishing number of Paleo-compatible dishes. And if the worst-case has a pure pizza menu ready for you, then just eat the topping and leave the dough behind.
- Sushi Local: In principle, sushi is something great for the Paleo friend, if there wasn’t so much rice hanging from it. Here you can either order sashimi (this is sushi without rice) or you just eat the fish and leave the rice behind. Now it is striking how strongly such a sushi eatery uses rice to “dilute” the food …
- Fasting: You don’t always have to eat something, because fasting is a very healthy alternative when the food selection is not very paleo compliant.
- And what about questioning glances from friends, colleagues or waiters? Either you tell about your Paleo experiment, or you simply claim that you are allergic to wheat. This is not even lied: The body is in fact developing a measurable immune response to gluten and other components of cereals. Another sign that the human body was simply not created for the consumption of cereal products! I sometimes tell you that I don’t eat bread for religious reasons. With that, I often harvest laughter and then the subject is also eaten:).
Paleo tip #5: Be consistent – or make controlled exceptions
Both work: If you have doubts about their willpower, you can treat yourself to an exceptional day per week. That’s better than abandoning the Paleo project after the first slip.
For example, I made my exceptional day earlier on Saturday and then ate cakes or pasta. But over time I realized that the exceptions were not so easy for me and I had less and less pleasure in it. And so I became 100% consistent on my own.
Being consistent is often easier than making compromises or exceptions: Then you don’t have to worry about whether an exception is justified or not, or you don’t have to justify why you ate cakes on the last visit and Now it would be better to be more consistent, etc. Those who are consistent always have a clear answer.
Paleo tip #6: Get smart
Anyone who reads into the subject understands more. And those who understand more are more able to stay consistent. In addition, the Paleo diet is an exciting topic full of new and fascinating insights into human metabolism.
Unfortunately, there are few German books on the subject, but there are slowly more.
If you like to read books in English, you already have a larg selection. Here are the most important books:
- Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet: “Perfect Health Diet.” For me, the standard work for modern health teaching! In addition to a detailed book review, you will also find a German food poster behind the link to print.
- The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy (Primal Blueprint Series) *. Loosely and entertainingly written, motivating and easy to understand, Mark Sisson introduces the reader to his “Primal” take on the Paleo lifestyle. It’s not just about food, it’s not just about the sport, it’s not too short.
- The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet. Also beautifully written but peppered with a little more scientific details, this book is also a standard work of Paleo literature. In particular, the mechanisms by which incorrect nutrition damages the body are explained in detail here. Here, too, Paleo is an entire lifestyle concept that includes not only food and sports but also sleep and stress management.
Paleo tip #7: Search for like-minded people
On its own, it’s often hard to pull off a niche theme like the Paleo diet. You certainly make it easier to know like-minded people. Thanks to the Internet, this is very simple:
Also on Facebook is the Paleo group Friends of the Stone Age Diet, which frequently has a stronger connection to the sport. Be sure to take a look.
If you like to play sports, you should take a look at the local cross-fit groups in your city. Just as the Paleo concept revolutionizes nutrition by reverting to the body and its nature, so too is Crossfit a modern alternative to established sports concepts. And so it’s only natural that both issues complement each other.
I hope these tips make it much easier to get started in the Paleo resting! And if one or the other question has remained open, or you have more tips for beginners, just write a comment at the end of this post!