The new year often brings out the desire to make a change and become a better, healthier you. Usually by working out and starting a new diet. I think it's great that the new year inspires people this way and I am no different. I love starting the new year by cleaning up my eating habits and trying to exercise more.
This year I'm focusing on adding Yoga to my daily routine and I'm cleaning up my diet by going paleo this month. I love the way I feel when I eat paleo and it's not hard to follow. It's more of a lifestyle than a diet and it really aligns with me. I find myself naturally eating more of a paleo diet anyway (except when cheese is in the house lol).
Why I'm blogging about Paleo and not Keto...
As a blogger I'm sometimes tempted to go with what's 'in' at the moment and in the food/diet world that would be Keto. I know several people who are on it (including my mother) and they have had great results but honestly I feel like it's a fad diet. I've read up on it and I know I wouldn't be able to make it very long- even though it allows you to eat dairy (Cheese and cream are my number #1 craving when I'm eating strictly paleo). I like carby veggies too much and most of the keto recipes are limited on veggies because of the carb/protein/fat ratio you need to stay within.
There will be some Keto friendly recipes coming up in February for those that have asked but I couldn't bring myself to promote keto for an entire month when I'm not actually doing keto. So I decided that this month I would share how to go paleo, what my favorite recipes are, and tips I've learned for going paleo in the past.
It's all about eating clean...
The Paleo diet is also called the Paleolithic diet, Caveman diet, and the Stone age diet. The idea behind it is to eat more like our hunter/gatherer ancestors would. So no processed foods. No dairy. Or grains, like corn, wheat, oats, and rice. No potatoes or legumes. No refined sugars or vegetable oils. Some people don't even drink coffee (yikes!) while on the paleo diet. Some people choose to be super restrictive with it.
I'm more lax in my approach. I ditch the processed foods, unless they are paleo approved (and even that's rare). Legumes are allowed in the form of fresh beans and peas. I allow Ghee because the milk solids have been removed. I drink coffee on occasion either sweetened with maple syrup and some coconut cream or made into a bullet coffee. And I do eat the occasional potato, I just don't make it a daily thing (sweet potatoes are another story).
I focus on getting lots of different veggies, good proteins, and healthy fats on my plate. Its amazing how satisfying simple food can be when it's done correctly and with quality ingredients. It feels good to eat clean like this and you don't have to count calories or make sure you have the right ratio of things on your plate.
Eat THIS not THAT
With the restrictions on what you can and cant eat you probably have a lot of questions. Below I'll share with you some swaps you can make that will make your life easier.
Want milk? Experiment with different nut milks. The three most popular are Coconut, Almond, and Cashew.
Missing sour cream or cream cheese? Use coconut cream or cashew cream as a replacement.
Want cheese? Try making a Cashew cream sauce or spinkling some Nutritional yeast on your food.
Craving noodles? Thin slice veggies (like zucchini, carrots, or sweet potatoes) and cut into ribbons or run them through a spiralizer.
Wishing you could have rice? Pop some Cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until the pieces are as small as a grains of rice. Then sauté until tender.
Want mayo? Make your own using avocado oil or find a paleo approved mayo at the store.
Missing Soy Sauce? Hunt down coconut aminos (it's a sweet soy sauce alternative).
Want sugar? Try eating sweet fruit. Or use honey or maple syrup in small amounts. Coconut sugar is another option if you sweet tooth wont quit.
Wondering what you can use to thicken sauces? Get some arrow root powder or tapioca flour.
Paleo flours? Stock up on Coconut flour, Almond four, and Cassava flour if you're planning on trying any paleo baking.
How I Paleo
My typical day eating paleo looks something like this.
Morning = Lemon water with honey. Pork sausage or bacon, sautéed greens and cabbage, and a fried egg.
Mid-morning snack = A handful of nuts and Water
Lunch = Dinner leftovers or a salad with tons of veggies, chopped nuts (pistachios are the best), protein like chicken or tuna, drizzled with good olive oil and salt and pepper. More water
Afternoon snack = Celery and carrots or an orange. More water and maybe tea or coffee.
Dinner = Roasted veggies and chicken. Or Spaghetti with zucchini noodles. Or Vegetable stirfry with cauilflower rice. More water
Dessert = Fruit or dark chocolate or a paleo baked good.
All throughout this month I'll be sharing new Paleo recipes like my Paleo Nachos and Paleo Taco Bowls. I also have a few informational posts, like which kind of sweet potato is right for your recipe, so keep and eye out for those.
Below are links to Paleo Recipes already on the blog (like the paleo doughnuts with coconut caramel sauce pictured above!).