Here is my personal A to Z of following the caveman diet and the traditional Paleo way of life.
When you first start there is information everywhere about what you must do, what you must not do and it can end up rather confusing for someone that is just starting out.
Therefore now that I have lived and breathed the caveman diet I have decided to put down exactly what you need to know about Paleo and the caveman diet so that you can then go off and enjoy this amazing new way of a healthy lifestyle.
Though does “new” sound right? Or should it be the “old way of a healthy lifestyle?”.
Anyway here goes:
Allowed Foods List – It is important to start by having a list of the allowed foods on the Paleo diet. Without this you can not study what you need to eat verses what you can’t eat. It also gives you ample opportunity to starting looking outside the box of all the delicious meals you are going to end up having.
For me I have really changed the way I eat by having things that would have never entered my head before. And wow I have created myself a life without butter and discovered there are alternatives to a sandwich.
Banned Foods List – Sadly, you also have to think about the banned foods if you are going to follow the caveman diet. These are food that you should be cutting out of your life at a rate that you feel happy with.
There are many Paleo followers that remain Paleo for 80% of the time, whereas others are stricter and may follow it on a more 100% scale.
I like the idea of an 80% rule. I can be perfect for 4 out of 5 days leaving me a binge day if I want one. This also means if you have a family event to think about you can say today is my off day and if finding something healthy on the menu is super hard then this is my day to relax.
On the other hand you could have one cheat day a week when you let your hair down and enjoy yourself. In the long run it is not always practical to follow Paleo 24/7 but it is nice to embrace it for the majority of the time.
Caveman Diet Blog – As we discover more and more about the Paleo lifestyle the more information we have to share with YOU our readers. We are so grateful that you stopped by and decided to have a read.
This blog was set up to walk you through us (as a family) lose the rest of the weight that we have been trying to lose and also help improve my husband Dominic’s high blood pressure.
When we learn new things about the Caveman Diet we will share it on here so it is the perfect place for you to hang out and find out more about what we do and how we do the Caveman Diet.
Dairy Free – The dairy has to get a mention after all it’s a big part of a lot of peoples lives. Could you honestly imagine giving up cheese? Or butter? Or Greek yoghurt? Well that it what Paleo is all about and get ready for the ride. There are of course worse things to miss in your diet and you may find (like me) that quitting the dairy is one of the easy parts!
Eggs – Eggs have to have a special mention, after all they are BIG if you are on Paleo. When I first started Caveman Diet Blog I wondered whether it was worth it for me, after all I am not really into the eggs.
I hate fried eggs, hated omelettes as a child and in my mind scrambled egg looks like vomit.
But even though I hate fried eggs I am embracing eggs in other ways. I now love Dominic’s green pepper omelettes that he often makes me for lunch when I am working. I also love boiled eggs with cucumber sticks to dip in and I never get bored of a vegetable Frittata.
At the same time I often see people eating 3-4 eggs a day on Paleo and this is not for me. I am happy (as a family) if we can go through 12 eggs in a week. When it is going four ways this is probably a small amount compared to what some people have.
But the point I am trying to make is that whether you like eggs or not, its your choice how much of them you have on the Paleo diet.
Fruit – I love fruit. My grandad had an allotment when I was growing up and it was lovely to pick the fruit from its natural source and then eat it whenever I liked. There would be every fruit from the berries family, loads of apples and I would be in fruit heaven.
Now living in Portugal there is fruit everywhere! Pineapples, mangos, melons, oranges, bananas, berries and the list goes on and on.
However a lot of people on the Paleo way of life don’t like fruit to excess and sometimes I must admit to bingeing on it. It can also be a negative outcome if you are looking for weight loss, so how much fruit you have has to depend on what you want to get out of it!
Gradual Paleo – It can be a real shock to wake up one day and go Paleo. You’re used to your chocolate, your processed food, your wine, your cheese and don’t forget about your carbs.
Your body is just not ready to handle all these changes at once. With my gradual Paleo I did it one step at a time over a 28 day period. Then come the end of it, it really didn’t feel like I had changed that much. And by the time I was 100% Paleo I wasn’t bothered at all with what I was missing out on.
Healthy Paleo Meal Plans – One of the best ways to start is by researching Healthy Paleo Meal Plans. It is always nice to see what other people are eating and it can give you lots of fresh ideas of what to cook for yourself.
I did this in the beginning and found that mince was something I was going to eat more of. I also noticed that every diary I found involved fried eggs so I avoided those. It is all about swapping things around by seeing what others do. If you read through my blog posts you’ll see a lot of posts about what I have eaten and what food has worked well for me.
Instagram – Instagram is amazing if you are on Paleo or following the Whole 30 programme. You can search by keyword and see what others are eating and drinking. See what recipes they have made and get lots of support in your own Paleo diet. You can find us here.
Junk Food – Sadly the lovely junk food is banned on Paleo. What a shame. No more McDonalds, KFC, Burger Ranch, Pizza Hut or even Subway.
Well you can make an amazing burger at home, you can create your own southern fried chicken and your own meatballs will be much better than any junk food option.
At first I missed my junk food, but something that you rarely have soon gets forgotten about!
Kids On Paleo – If mum or dad embrace Paleo the chances are your kids will too. Not that you want to cut everything naughty out of their diets, but you want them to live a healthy lifestyle too.
I cook healthy Paleo meals and we will eat it as a family. My son may have a bit of bread to go with his dinner, or some pasta but the majority of the time he is very much Paleo.
It is up to you (and your kids) how much Paleo you become, but it is nice to reach a middle ground so that they are healthy but don’t feel deprived!
Learning About Wholesome Food – This is the best bit for me. I often feel like I could train as a nutritionist after everything I have learnt about food. Forget all those adverts that entice us to buy bad foods, we need to be re-educated on Wholesome Foods and why they should be part of our day to day life.
Once you have done this you’ll find the integration into the Paleo lifestyle so much easier to do.
Meat – Believe it or not but I used to be a vegetarian. I stayed away from meat because I was a fussy child and hated the texture, meat that was on the bone and was a big animal lover.
I was vegetarian for about five years and I loved every minute. I went back to meat when I realised how hard work it was. Especially, with me being allergic to nuts and mushrooms as every veggie meal was either with mushrooms or nuts and eating out became a nightmare.
However I have loved my meat for the last 18 years and couldn’t imagine life without it. It is also a very big part of the Paleo lifestyle and it is your chance to really enjoy your meat again.
I love chicken, mince and pork for my day to day meat. I don’t think I have gone more than two days without one of them.
I suggest you find some meat that you really like and then have whenever you like.
No Added Sugar – Forget the added sugar as this is Paleo time. One food that I have fallen in love with since Paleo is honey. Before starting this site I had never even tried it and to say I am in love is an understatement!
It is delicious and really brings food to life. Even though I am a big chocolate addict I can make do with honey and it is great in puddings as well as in savoury dishes. Plus compared to chocolate it is rather low in calories.
If you are craving chocolate and other similar things then go for some honey and some fruit. Or even better make a smoothie with some fruit and honey. It is absolutely delicious and gives you a fast sugar hit.
Organizing Your Meals – I started doing this years ago after watching a television programme about saving money. It is how we are tricked into spending a lot more money at the supermarket than we should. We go to the supermarket with no shopping list and then just end up buying whatever we feel like. We will see some bright and shiny items by the till and before you know it, all these items are in your trolley.
However if you write a list and stick to it and plan your meals and then buy just what you need then you can stop this.
From a money point of view doing this can reduce your shopping bill by about 30% and totally stop your food waste.
Paleo – It would be wrong to not have a part of the A-Z about Paleo. But many still want to know what exactly Paleo is?
Well Paleo is just about going back to the food that man ate from the land well before we were an over crowed world and before we were all spoilt with electricity and other modern day luxuries.
And without even going back that far you can appreciate how healthy people was before technology came along. My Grandad was born in 1917 and even though he has long since passed for his generation it was incredibly healthy.
He had his own allotment, was a fisherman by trade and his signature dish was homemade fishcakes.
Of course he wasn’t perfect and loved his beer, but in my entire life with him I never once saw him with chocolate, cake or any kind of processed food. It just didn’t enter his head and the diet was one mainly of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish.
Just by dropping all these convenience foods that we have got used to, can bring you a long way to embracing the Paleo life.
Questioning Ingredients – The first thing you need to do is start questioning ingredients if you are ever going to get on well with Paleo and follow the Caveman Diet.
Some ingredients you may not consider as not been suitable to eat, yet now you need to think about this. Away from fresh food what else are you putting in your trolley?
If I comes out of a can, a jar, a tube or a carton you need to be looking at what is in it to see if it is suitable for you or not.
For example – when I first went Paleo I really didn’t realize how much added sugar was in mayonnaise and ketchup. Now I make my own as I would much rather do that than put additives through my body!
Recipes – When you first start you need to find some recipes. Most people are not used to cooking from scratch and deciding what to have can often be hard work. You have to plan your week’s meals at once and this can be difficult if you are not used to it.
I recommend that you have a good look for new recipes to try and have certain days of the week set aside for new recipe testing. It is great fun and it will give you loads of new ideas.
Seafood & Fish – Yes please. I love seafood and fish and can never stop eating them. Living in Portugal it is everywhere. They have sardines as the national dish and seafood is also available whenever you want it at a very reasonable price.
We have the fisherman that comes down our country lane everyday with his catch and we can then buy what we like.
I love this because it saves the trip to the supermarket and you are getting it direct and saving some money along the way.
Tolerance & Intolerance – This is why many people end up starting the Paleo or the Whole 30. They have always had IBS and other intolerance problems and they want to rid themselves of it once and for all.
My husband Dominic has never officially been on the caveman diet. He just eats what I make and then has a few extras along the way. He has always had bad bowels and is always complaining of stomach ache from something or other that he has eaten.
Through my Paleo lifestyle he has ended up having things cut from his diet and other things reduced. From this we could pin point certain foods that were setting him off and then remove them from his diet.
That is what Paleo is great for – you can use it to get healthy and it doesn’t always have to be about weight loss. If you are suffering from intolerance then go on the Whole 30 and then re-introduce things and then you can see what the problem is.
Understanding Processed Foods – Crazy at it sounds many people don’t understand what processed foods are. They understand the headline processed rubbish such as ready meals but don’t realize how bad other foods are for them.
My son for example was rather shocked when I explained how all his favorite sauces and his favorite hotdog sausages are all considered to be processed. Though he is making up for it by eating all my homemade sauces instead and increasing our costs on high quality sausages.
So read up on processed foods and you can see how many foods they really affect.
Vegetables – Give me vegetables and some more and don’t let me ever stop enjoying all these lovely vegetables.
I just love vegetables and have always loved them. Before I might have had them in an unhealthy way but I still had them!
Now they are the main focus of every meal I eat. There are no worries with me getting my five a day, it is more like me getting my fifteen a day.
I am also finding that since starting the caveman diet blog that my most used gadget in my kitchen is my soup machine. It makes soup and also steams food so with vegetables being used so much it has never worked so hard before!
You eat three meals a day, have no baked goods and avoid honey. But apart from that it is not that much different and what’s best for many is that it gives you structure and a purpose.
Your Health & Embracing The Paleo Way – The best thing about going Paleo is the difference it can make to your health and what health issues it can solve.
The most common ones are getting rid of high blood pressure and curing type 2 diabetes.
With Dominic his blood pressure was so bad that a few months before we started this blog his doctor had doubled his high blood pressure tablets. Three weeks of me on Paleo and he had halved them. His blood pressure is not perfect but for someone that is only 60% Paleo to have dropped like this is amazing.
We only have one shot at life, so it is important that we put our health first and Paleo allows us to do that.
Zest – For the final letter I wanted to talk about zest. Because that is exactly what I have. Zest for life. A new energy that I didn’t have before.
I love to run, I love to walk, I love to be active and get out there and I love the feeling of enjoying life without feeling run down.
I have never been able to run any further than 100 metres and I can now do 2500 metres without stopping. Now this is something I have never managed before and it feels amazing.
It also makes me want to carry on and stay healthy as going back to my unhealthy old self really doesn’t feel like a good option.
So there you have it my A to Z. I hope you have enjoyed reading about Paleo and the difference Paleo and the caveman lifestyle can do for you. Digest the information and go and enjoy it yourself and get your own zest 🙂