More DETAILS, please!
So, to start, let's define what a Paleo -ish diet is, typically.
Paleo is a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.
You can find out the 15 Paleo Diet Guidelines HERE. (A VERY good, concise resource)
Paleo truly means eating high quality foods...organic when possible...grass-fed when available...real, whole food all the time.
Now, you'll notice that #10 says no dairy except butter and possibly heavy cream. That's where my "paleo-ish" statement comes in. I've always eaten dairy until recently. I encourage you to continue eating dairy unless you want to drop it. Making lots of alterations to your life all at once can be overwhelming. Allowing cheese, cream cheese & heavy cream will make finding recipes MUCH easier, and help keep family members from going mutinous on you! You should still be able to lose weight, gain health & feel great. If you end up have difficulty losing the weight, or you get into a "stall", you can always opt to ditch dairy later.
Now you know what the "Paleo-ish" part is, so let's explore LCHF more intimately.
Proteins & Fats
LCHF is Low Carb High Fat. There are 3 macronutrients. They are Fats, Carbohydrates & Proteins. If one goes up or down, the others must adjust accordingly. If you lower carbs, then fats or proteins (or both) must go up. Since consuming too much protein can prevent weight loss thanks to Gluconeogenesis (read more about that HERE), you can't eat lots of proteins. Therefore, you need to eat more fats. At our last session, we explored WHY you shouldn't be afraid of dietary fat. There are tons of books out there you can read if you want to explore this subject of "fat safety" more deeply. You SHOULD eat enough protein, but be mindful that you should keep your protein levels MODERATE, not high.
HERE is a CALCULATOR that will help you loosely determine what your protein goal should be. Be sure to be honest about your activity level, ladies!
So, you should know what protein is, and now you know how much you need. Let's explore what carbs are...and how much you need.
Carbs are basically sugars and starches. Most non-starchy vegetables are low in carbs, though some veggies are higher and should be eaten only occasionally and in smaller quantity...such as sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots & winter squashes. And if you do have them, be sure to eat them with plenty of fats to blunt the blood sugar spike they will cause.
A few carbs that are traditionally thought of as veggies but that you need to say goodbye to: corn, beans & peas (legumes) & potatoes. Also, any grains should no longer be a part of your life: wheat, quinoa, barley, rice (white or brown), grits, and ALL products that are made from these grains.
Low Carb Specialty Products
If you choose to use "low carb" processed products, such as "low carb" tortillas, bars, breads, etc., know that they very commonly cause weight loss to STOP. Some people may be able to tolerate them in small amounts, but most cannot without their weight loss and health being affected. I have used them and enjoyed them, but did so after I had lost most of my weight. I try to avoid them now in an effort to lose the "last stubborn 10 lbs", and for my overall health. If you feel like you are going to quit if you don't use some of these products on occasion, then by all means, use them a little. After all, it is better to stay on the wagon and have a little bit of the less-healthy foods than to throw in the towel and quit trying completely.
Low Carb Desserts/Treats
Low carb or sugar free "treats" should be looked at in the same way. You do NOT want to continue to feed the Sweets Beast in you. You need to break the Beast. Make it go away. As a healthy society, we did NOT have dessert daily, or even several times a week. It wasn't until about the last 30 years that we began to indulge in sweets on a regular basis, and look where that has gotten us. Save treats for special occasions, and for times when you feel, again, like you will quit if you don't have some type of sweet treat. There are a few quick, easy sweets alternatives that can be used a little more often, after you go through the "adjustment period", in which you need to break your addiction to sweets and treats. This adjustment period is typically 2 weeks. You need to go cold turkey during that period. After that, you can Google "Low Carb Fat Bomb" and you will find TONS of choices for homemade treats that will help you stay in ketosis (the fat burning state). Pinterest has lots of these recipes, so you may want to start a board on there and pin recipes to it to refer back to. Just beware, looking at all those treats will make you WANT them!
- Become aware of the Carb counts in foods. Start paying attention. If you divide that carb count by 4, you will get the number of teaspoons of sugar in that food. Example: a medium banana has 27 g of carbs, therefore it has the equivalent of nearly 7 teaspoons of sugar in ONE banana! Do not eat bananas anymore! One medium apple has 25 g of carbs, therefore it contains a little more than 6 teaspoons of sugar! Only eat tiny pieces of apple mixed into other things in small quantities...like a tiny bit in flax muffins (after the adjustment period).
- You need to become familiar with how many carbs/sugars you eat in a given day. Then start thinking about healthier substitutions. A nice number of carbs to aim for in your adjustment period, where you detox from sugars and high carb eating, is about 20-30 grams. You'll want MOST of those 20-30 grams to be vegetable carbs, not processed product carbs.
- Start looking collecting LCHF recipes. A favorite FREE source of mine online is Linda's Low Carb. Click on the blue link to the web page where she has all her LCHF recipes broken down into easy catagories. I can't tell you how many recipes I've used off Linda's site! Also, find a few LCHF, Ketogenic or LC Paleo bloggers to follow that have recipes that interest you. You will need a good arsenal! It truly makes a difference in your ability to succeed. A few I like: Maria Mind Body Health, The KetoDiet Blog, Ditch the Wheat, Peace, Love & Low Carb, Buttoni's Low Carb Recipes, and there are SO MANY MORE!
- Tell your family members what you are going to do. Let them know that you are attempting to become healthier for both yourself and them. Ask them to give you support and to have your back. Maybe they will want to join you in your adventure, but maybe they won't. Prepare yourself for either. Figure out if you are going to have everyone eat healthy, or if you need to make 1/2 and 1/2 meals (e.g., make organic homemade spaghetti sauce, and cook traditional noodles, but only serve those to your family, you have shiritaki noodles for yourself, or zucchini noodles...make hamburger patties, and let them have the buns, but you have yours wrapped in lettuce, or just like you would a chopped sirloin steak with sautéed onions and mushrooms...yummm!). Plan on making more & more vegetables for everyone at your meals, regardless. Start weaning them off the starches. It's a good thing for all involved. Most families can live with these small steps, and it's a great investment in your family's future health.
Are you ready to change your health and change your life?