Tuesday, 30 April 2013

May 30 Day Paleo Challenge - The Dos and Don'ts!







So, as you may have seen on my facebook page, tomorrow will mark the beginning of my fifth strict, 100% clean 30 day challenge.

I have been following a Paleo diet since July 2011 and like to do a Whole30 style "cleanse" about 3 times a year.

My diet would be about 80/90% Paleo but I do have a few downfalls, mostly red wine and butter!

I have decided that May will be my fifth round of 100% clean eating, my second challenge this year.

What is a Whole30 I hear you say? Well it is essentially a wholefood diet comprising of plenty of good quality protein sources like beef, chicken, pork (including good quality bacon) and fish (oily where possible), plenty of fruit and vegetables, nuts/seeds and good fats. There should be no grains, sugar, processed food, dairy or legumes. Check out Dallas and Melissas page here for full details.

In a nutshell here are the dos and don'ts!

DO

Eat Plenty of Fresh Vegetables
Eat SOME fruit (2 pieces a day max if weight loss is your goal, include protein to decrease blood sugar highs)
Eat protein such as chicken, turkey, beef, fish (oily), game, pork
Eat the best quality protein sources you can afford
Snack on nuts and seeds (limited to a handful only if weightloss is your goal)
Include plenty of good fats such as coconut oil, avocados, olive oil (not cooking), nuts, seeds

DONT
Eat grains of any types - wheat, spelt, barley, millett, buckwheat, rye, oats etc
Dairy of all kinds
Refined sugars including honey, artificial sweeteners, maple syrup, sugar etc
White potatoes
All processed food - everything from scratch!
Vegetable oils such as canola/rapeseed oil, seed oils, crisp and fry, margarines etc
Alcohol

I will be posting photos of all meals consumed as well as recipe ideas and tips on keeping it Paleo.

For a guide on how to shop Paleo, check out my post here 

I hope you will join me!







Thursday, 18 April 2013

Shopping Paleo - My Tips On How Best to Shop Effectively and Efficiently




One area people struggle with when they decide to become Paleo is learning how best to shop. It may seem like an easy task for many of you, but it is surprising how many people never cook and therefore never need to shop properly!  I therefore decided to put together a few tips on how best to fill your shopping basket and also how to keep your budget in check! Careful planning and discipline will mean you have everything you need to feed you and your family effectively and efficiently.

1. Plan Your Weekly Menus 

For many, planning and consideration of what they plan to eat for the week ahead is unheard of. They prefer to decide on a day to day basis what to eat. This is a big no no. Not only do you inevitably spend more money, you are also likely to pick up bad foods you fancy because a) You are already hungry and b) You "deserve" a treat.

The best way to avoid slip ups and picking up less than desirable food stuffs is to PLAN. If you have a rough idea of what you plan to cook for each meal for the week, as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and other snack foods, you are far more likely to just eat good food. I tend to buy the same foods every week and then come up with variations on what to cook with them. For example I will buy a nice rib eye steak for Friday and pair it up with whatever veggies I feel like on the day. I will always have grass fed minced (ground) beef in the freezer (organic if it is pay week!) as well as fresh salmon and free range chicken fillets. By always picking up the staples I know my family enjoy, I can come up with meal ideas day by day. Over time you too will realise you are just buying the same types of meats, paired up with whatever fruits/veg are in season. All you then have to do is make sure you take your protein out of the freezer the night before if necessary and voila, food source sorted! Don't leave your shopping to chance - plan your meals and stick to it.

2. Shop The Outside Aisles Of The Shop! 

Think about it; your local supermarket is always laid out with the fresh produce in the outside aisles. Apart from the baked foods (which is always strategically placed near the door to entice you to smell and buy), all the delicious, fresh fruit and vegetables is always on the outside aisles. In my local supermarket, one of the first things I meet is the fruit, followed by the vegetables and fresh meat and fish. This means that the bulk of my weekly shop is done before I even get half way around the shop! Once a month or so I stock up on store cupboard essentials like tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, nut flour etc. It is therefore entirely possible to avoid the centre aisles altogether and along with them the processed "food", cereals and grains that you no longer  require! Apart from making your shopping trip shorter, it also means you are less likely to be swayed and tempted by all the marketing strategies undertaken by the processed food industry.
Pick up as much different varieties of the fresh produce as you think your family can consume, while keeping roughly within the meal plans you have already set.

3. Buy In Bulk Where Possible

I usually find that I buy the same items every week, however I pick up extra meats or fish that are on offer to freeze as a cost cutting strategy.
Sometimes we buy a lamb or pig from a local farmer and have it butchered for freezing. This saves loads of money in the long run as well as allowing you to know exactly where your meat came from. If you ask around, you might even find someone willing to split the costs.

4. Read Labels

This is possibly the single most important tip to consider when keeping your diet Paleo. Most of your food should not come in boxes, we all know this. However we sometimes include some tinned or boxed products in our baskets which can be considered Paleo (coconut milk, tinned tomatoes etc). It is very important that we take responsibility for what we are putting into our bodies, and make sure we read the effing labels. Something may look healthy as sin, but read the label and it is full of cheap vegetable oils, gluten or some artificial sweetener like aspartame. The truth is these processed food industries want to make as much profit as possible and using high quality ingredients wont help them achieve this. It is therefore so important to make sure the product you are buying is not bad quality. If possible also choose organic.



5. Do Not Be Tempted By Processed Foods and Treats - (if necessary leave your kids at home).  

Not everyone has got to the idealistic stage where the whole family is on board with Paleo. I know my own family is not fully on board, they are a work in process. However I keep the overall eating in the house as Paleo as possible (no processed food, good fats for cooking with etc) However we have all experienced it -  the little ones come shopping with us and put their cute little munchkin faces on and say "Mum, please can we have the bagels, I LOVE bagels, we never get bagels anymore" and in a moment of grocery shopping weakness we say "Oh, ok, just one pack". The problem is not just that the little ones will have a freaking bagel.. It is that once the bagels (or whatever processed food your child twisted your arm to buy) has entered the house YOU are also more likely to eat them too. The best way to make sure you don't eat the bad food is to not buy the bad food at all! Simples. If avoiding the processed food aisle is the only way for you to avoid succumbing, then avoid the processed food aisle like the plague. If your children and their damn puppy eyes makes you feel you should buy their love with food (you shouldn't by the way, just say no!) don't bring your children shopping! Even if there is a massive sale on Chicken Pot Noodles and you loved Chicken Pot Noodles BP (Before Paleo) don't buy them! Step away from the pot noodles! As before, the more bad food choices you have in the house, the more likely you are to break your plan and eat them.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Book Review: "A Modern No- Nonsense Approach To Paleo"







When Alison Golden of PaleoNonPaleo gave me the opportunity to be one of the first to read her new book, I jumped at the chance! I had been a long time follower of her blog and she has become an inspiration for me too in many ways.

"A Modern No-Nonsence Approach To Paleo" is a pure gem of a book. Whether you are just considering trying Paleo living, are already started but are in need more information or are a seasoned Paleo follower and on the lookout for new ways to overcome common challenges, this is the ideal book for you!

The important thing to bear in mind about this book is it is neither a cookbook or a scientific run down on the merits of Paleo. Both have been done before. Instead, this is a no nonsense guide to developing your skill set in order to fully take on and overcome many of the challenges faced by us in a Non Paleo world.

Lets face it, even for those of us eating Paleo for quite some time, life throws a lot of challenges our way - parties, birthdays, work lunches, holidays etc, and it is sometimes very difficult to say no and stay strong!

This is where "A Modern No-Nonsense Guide To Paleo" comes in handy!

Alison utilizes her skills in organisational behaviour as well as her own three year personal experience of following Paleo eating tos put together a complete guide for the hows of Paleo rather than the whys.

The book has six sections ranging from sections ones "Understanding Paleo" to Section sixes "Building A Strong Paleo Personal Core" and truely covers everything inbetween. From getting a support group in place early, to getting your kitchen Paleo ready and learning the best ways to do your Paleo shopping, Alison has it covered.

I personally love her section titled "Go Gradually" which basically teaches us that small changes can make a big difference in the long run. She suggests changing one thing at a time like subbing your vegetable oil for coconut oil and taking it from there. This is a great tip - many people take on too much at once and then get bored.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It truely does take a no nonsense approach to a challenging matter and puts in place real, tangible ways to overcome them.

It certainly got me thinking and I will certainly be referring to this book again and again for tips on how to improve my own Paleo living in a Non Paleo world!

Buy it here (US) or here (UK/Ireland)