Start-Up Costs: How To Get Started with Paleo

Let's be honest: if you're not already a follower of the paleo diet, or any specific dietary regiment, making the commitment can seem quite daunting. What about all of my favorite foods? Is there still room for them in my new diet? How about eating out? A birthday party? 

Not only can switching your diet be challenging mentally - putting in the time and effort to research what foods you can and cannot eat, prepping meals, etc. - but socially, as well. So much of our interactions with others revolve around eating and food, whether it's social gatherings, work happy hour, or your friend's party. It can be overwhelming to find yourself in these situations and get stuck wondering: what should/can/will I eat? 

If you've prepared yourself to make this type of dietary change overnight, with no transition period, we're impressed. For many of us, however, getting both our bodies and minds accustomed to a new lifestyle takes lots of time and energy. So, we thought it might be a good idea to share a few tips and ideas on how to easily integrate a new dietary practice into your life. For our purposes, we'll be discussing the paleo diet, but these ideas should work with any major change you're ready to take on in your lifestyle.


Ease in gradually.

If you're not already on the paleo diet, or something close, changing your food environment so drastically may negatively effect your body's reaction - and your mental attitude - toward your new food intake. If your body is accustomed to a higher-carb diet, quickly and dramatically slashing your carbohydrate intake could send our energy levels plummeting, along with your mood, motivation, and morale. Instead, take baby steps. Maybe you want to start by cutting out all grains that are gluten free, or eliminate just cheese for a week instead of all dairy products.


Do it with a friend.

Like we said, eating is an incredibly social activity. It may be hard to watch all of your friends pound through their burgers while you eat a salad, or you may feel pressured to throw your hands in the air and give in. What if you challenged your friends to try paleo with you for thirty days? They don't have to stick to it at the end, but maybe it will both help you get off the ground running and help your friends to understand your choices better in the future.  

Don't be too hard on yourself

Very few people are able to change their behavior, on command, overnight. Something as significant as a dietary change is not only about changing the foods you eat, but your behavior, attitudes, and outlook as well. So, if you find yourself accidentally taking a bite of that burger, or eating a slice of cake at that party, don't get down on yourself. Everything is a choice, and the best choice in this case is to say, "I did made that choice, It's in the past, and all I can control from here are my future choices". 

Hopefully, these tips offer just a few nuggets of inspiration to those of you who want to try the paleo diet, or another similar dietary path, but are concerned about all the overwhelming aspects of changing your lifestyle. If you break it down into little bits, garner the support of the people around you, and remember that your are in control of everything that you do, even this daunting challenge won't seem so daunting after all. 

Published on: Monday, July 11