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Foods That Make "Paleo" Better
Foods for Beginning a "Paleo" Diet to Make Sure You Stay The Course
Paleo diets, also called caveman diets, consist of food that you always associated with healthy meals. Fruits, veggies, meats. No refined/excess sugar or ridiculous helpings of carbohydrates. Basically, the food that only a caveman could eat. Because, if I'm remembering correctly, cavemen didn't have access to Twix bars or spaghetti or, like, bread.
As I said, it totally blows. But if it blows so much, why is it so popular? People who have lost tens of pounds swear by the process, but then again, they're also people who have three or four types of almond/coconut flour. Or talk about how roots and flaxseed are a great addition to smoothies.
What I'm saying is, I don't trust 'em.
Most often, people say "I tried losing weight on Paleo diets in the past, and it's just too hard to stick to!" I've been that person. And that's where this type of article comes in. Think of it as your Paleo Survival Guide.
This isn't necessarily the "best way" to do a paleo diet - in fact, I bet some might say it doesn't even qualify entirely.
But it's a great way to start and not hate yourself the entire time.
If you're like me (and pretty much everyone else in the world), you like sweets. A little bit of sugar shock is exactly what you need for an afternoon pick-me-up or morning boost. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that we're designed to crave for easy-to-access energy. Tricky part of it is, sugar's delicious, and many food makers have figured this out. They add it to everything - from coffee to potato chips.
But next time you're feeling a slump in energy on a nearly-paleo diet, bananas are the thing you need. They're a twist on the natural sweetness of fruits - which are the main sugar/carb suppliers on paleo diets - in that they're starchier and more filling. They're cheap, a delicious add-in to smoothies or desserts, and have a decent shelf life.
Now, on traditional, stringent paleo diets, starchier fruits and veggies are supposed to be enjoyed in moderation. Bananas, in my opinion, are the exception. They're about 100 calories each and full of vitamins designed to keep you happy and healthy. Just keep in mind that it's not the only fruit you should eat.
Again, another starchy food that you're supposed to limit on paleo diets. But when you're starting out, go to town! Sweet potatoes, also called yams, are a godsend. Most of the "good" veggies, like broccoli and kale, can taste like they've been run over a couple times if you don't like them or cook them right.
But sweet potatoes are - well - sweet.
They taste good.
They go great in skillets, and they work as a crispy side dish if you can cook them right. They're filling and full of vitamin C and manganese. Because you can't have the golden potatoes on paleo diets, sweet potatoes also fill that potato-shaped hole in your heart.
Now we're really getting into the good foods. If paleo diets have you feeling flat and hungry all the time, just stock up on an avocado or two the next time you visit the grocer. They're the "good fats" we've heard about all our lives.
These creamy, nutrient-rich "fruits" provide the satiation you need to get through the day. Add one to your meal as guacamole, or even alone as a side dish, and you'll feel fuller and more balanced. Getting paleo to work for you is about finding the right foods to make it a sustainable diet/lifestyle, and avocados are definitely one of those foods.
A word of warning though - don't stock up on too many. They tend to go bad almost as quickly as you can scarf them down.
Now I'm breaking a lot of paleo rules here. Paleo is supposed to be completely dairy free. We've been told "butter is bad," but you know what's worse? Canola oil. Seriously, if your options are good ol' butter or I can definitely tell it's not butter, no matter what the name is, I'd choose butter every time.
Because it's not that bad. Not when it's the only dairy you're eating. Not when you're using it in moderation. And definitely not if you're already making many strides forward into healthy eating.
Now I'm saying you should eat eggs benedict every day, or buttercream frosting by the tub full. What I'm saying is, if you want to put a teaspoon of melted butter on your corn? Go for it. If you want to add a butter garlic sauce to your steak? Have at it. Adding butter to your meals 1-4 times a week won't hamper your paleo progress, and it'll help keep you sane as you transition into a paleo diet lifestyle.
Soon, you'll notice you won't crave the butter anymore. Or the sugar. Or the bread. Paleo's about reworking your palette to enjoy the original taste of food - the unprocessed deliciousness of strawberries or grilled chicken.
Keep the tricky stuff in moderation, but be patient with yourself. Allow yourself room to adapt; you're changing your diet a lot, and sometimes you can't do that all at once. Keep at it, and you'll see the change.