How to Start a Paleo Diet: Free Guide

how to start a paleo dietMy last post, How to Start Eating Paleo, was my most popular one yet. It answered a lot of the questions I get from people who are interested in beginning their own paleo lifestyles, and the fact that the post was so popular helped me realize that there are SO many people out there who are just on the brink of trying a real food, primal diet.

That, my friends, is awesome. Still, a lot of people in that position won’t ever try a paleo diet. Why? Because it’s so different than the conventional norm. Because going paleo means doing away with traditional recipes we’ve loved for years. Because going paleo sometimes means questions from family, friends and complete strangers.

So, in an effort to make it easier for people interested in starting a paleo diet, I turned my last blog post into a FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 Steps to Starting a Paleo Diet. Get your copy and use it to start your own paleo journey, or share it with family and friends interested in getting started.

Click here to download your free guide: 5 Steps to Starting a Paleo Diet

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How to Start Eating Paleo: A Guide to the Paleo Diet

NutritionWhen people find out that I follow a paleo lifestyle, there is one question that is very often asked: “How did you start? And how can I start a paleo diet?” It’s a simple enough question, but one that I often struggle to answer.

You see, how one starts a paleo diet is dependent on so many factors, from the person’s current eating habits and overall health, medical history and activity level, to their reasons for beginning a paleo lifestyle.

If you’re doing it to treat a medical condition, I’d definitely recommend seeking the advice of a holistic medicine doctor or nutritional therapy practitioner for a professional opinion. But if you’re looking to improve your overall health, lose some weight or just get closer to real, local food, then try out my tips below for a smooth transition to a paleo diet.

1. Clean out your pantry. When you’re planning on changing your diet, you won’t be successful if you don’t also change the food that is in your house. You can shop at all the farmer’s markets in the world, but if you have cookies, chips and candy in your pantry, it highly unlikely you’ll choose asparagus over the processed junk. So go through your pantry and get rid of anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce or identify, ditch anything with lots added sugar and get rid of the rice, pasta and traditional flours.

2. Hone your cooking skills (and tools!). If you’re going to be tossing the processed foods in your home, you’re going to need to do a lot more cooking. I’m not suggesting you’ll need to make complicated meals, but you won’t just be boiling pasta any more. So make sure your knives are sharp, invest in some good pans, and then head to YouTube. There are tons of great cooking demos you can find online to about roasting, sauteing, boiling, scrambling, flambe-ing and basically any other cooking term you can think of. Sharpen your skills and you’ll feel confident to begin cooking more meals at home.

3. Find replacements for your favorite traditional foods. While some may find success going completely cold-turkey into a paleo diet, that kind of drastic lifestyle change just isn’t for everyone. Just because you’re no longer going to be eating sandwiches and pasta doesn’t mean you have to move away from your favorite meals all together. Love spaghetti and meatballs? Learn to make spaghetti squash and meatballs. Love chicken and rice? Try some cauliflower rice? Are sandwiches a lunch time staple? Stuff a lettuce leaf full of your favorite clean meats and veggies. If you’re feeling really adventurous in the kitchen, you could even try making some plantain tortillas for tacos or some grain-free biscuits to eat with breakfast. As time goes on, try branching out from some of these replacement foods and try some new things.

4. Don’t be afraid to go slow. Just because you have the motivation to change your life doesn’t mean you’re a super hero. It’s not easy to completely change the way you eat, so don’t be afraid to change slowly. I waited 8 months before cutting out dairy because I couldn’t handle another change to my diet. And guess what? I still lost weight, I still improved my health and I still felt great. I didn’t beat myself up about it either, I went at my own pace and as a result, I was able to successfully made a lifestyle change I know will be life-long. Go too fast, and you may find yourself falling back into your old habits.

5. Find your tribe. Making a major diet and lifestyle change is a lonely road if you try to go it alone. So try to get your family on board, or find a friend interested in changing their health. While you can’t expect everyone in your life to jump on board the real food, primal train, you’re likely to find someone who wants to join you on this journey. If you can’t find a friend or family member to join you, head online. There are tons of Facebook groups and online paleo forums where you can find a virtual support group. Try a nutrition workshop at a local gym, or head to a paleo book signing nearby. Chat with some of the other people in attendance, and you just might find a new friend who can be a support for you during this transition.

Looking for more great tips? Check out the infographic below from Paleo Living Magazine on what to eat on a paleo diet to start stocking your fridge and pantry with delicious, whole foods. Like what you see? Check out Paleo Living Magazine for more great resources! Paleo Diet Food List Infographic ImageVisit us to find out more about what to eat on a Paleo diet.

Have you already transitioned to a paleo lifestyle? Share your best tips in the comment section below. Have more questions? Share those, too!

Paleo Bacon Jam (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free)

IMG_0758What one thing could improve a burger, a breakfast, a grain-free biscuit and even some ice cream? If you guessed bacon jam, you’d be right. Yes, you heard me. BACON JAM. What is this magical concoction, you ask? Well you see, it’s jam made out of bacon. And it’s perfect on literally anything.

I first heard of bacon jam about four years ago while visiting a friend in Virginia. At the time I was a grain-loving, dairy-guzzling fiend, and the bacon jam I had at a local restaurant was slathered on a grilled cheese sandwich. It was the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life.

Since then, any time I’ve seen bacon jam on a menu, I’ve tried it. Unfortunately, that’s become more of a challenge in the last year or so since I’ve been following a paleo lifestyle. Many of the restaurant jams are filled with added refined sugar, and are typically spread on thick slices of bread.

So what is a girl to do? Well I wasn’t about to go without bacon jam! No sir. Instead, I made my own last night when we had a friend over for burgers. And it was awesome. It was perfect. There was nothing I could think of to make it better. I hate to brag, but it’s how I feel.

So make your own bacon jam, keep it in a jar in the fridge, and starting putting this sh** on everything!

Here’s how you can make this in your kitchen: (makes about 3/4 cup of jam)

  • 12 strips of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced into long, thin strips
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp bourbon*
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Cut the bacon strips into small pieces, about a 1/4-inch wide. Place the bacon pieces into a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon has cooked through and is beginning to brown (about 3-5 minutes after the bacon begins to sizzle). Be sure to not let the bacon burn! Once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan, leaving the fat behind, and put the bacon bits on a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Add the onion to the pan with the bacon fat and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, on this lower heat until they have caramelized, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir often to insure the onions brown slowly, bringing out their sweetness.Once the onions are cooked, drain the bacon fat from the sauce pan.

3. Keeping the stove at medium heat, add the bacon back into the pan with the onions. Add the maple syrup, bourbon and balsamic vinegar to the pan, stirring to combine. Simmer the mixture over medium heat until the liquid reduces by about half and the mixture begins to resemble jam (about 5-7 minutes).

4. At this point, you can leave the jam as it is (this is how I served it), or place the mixture into a food processor and pulse a few times to make a smoother jam. Both options are great, and it’s really up to your personal preference.

5. Place the finished jam into a glass bowl or jar, allow to cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes, and then place into the fridge. Allow the jam to cool completely, and then put it on anything and everything. It’s fantastic on burgers and breakfast sandwiches, but the possibilities are endless. EAT AND ENJOY!

*You can choose to leave the bourbon out if you’re not into that or don’t have any in the house, but if you have some available it’s definitely worth it!

Let me know if you try this recipe and share your feedback! What did you put it on? Any ideas to make it even better?

Paleo Coconut Curry Beef (Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

IMG_0758Looking for a quick, simple dish that is both delicious and incredibly versatile? Look no further than this creamy, savory coconut curry beef.  It’s great on its own in a bowl if you’re in a real rush, in a lettuce wrap, or placed on top of a roasted sweet potato. This would also be delicious as the filling for a stuffed pepper, and was delicious as the filling for an omelet the next day.

Better still- this is super easy to make and really inexpensive as well. The hubby couldn’t stop raving about how good this was. So try this out in your own kitchen and let me know what you think!

Here’s how to make this in your kitchen:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 fennel bulb
  • 1 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 3/4 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1. Add your favorite cooking fat to a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the fat is melted add the garlic and fennel to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until it browns slightly and begins to soften, about three minutes.

2. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook, breaking up the meat as you go, until it is browned and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the remaining ingredients (coconut milk and all of the spices) to the meat mixture and stir to combine fully. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid reduces by about half and the mixture is now just creamy and not soupy.

4. Add the meat to a bowl, sweet potato or lettuce wrap, eat and enjoy!

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The Paleovangelist Meets the Ketovangelist: New Podcast!

NutritionI was super honored this May to be interviewed for a brand new podcast, “Ketovangelist,” hosted by Brian Williamson, the author of Ketovangelist.com and the e-book, “The Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet.” (Clearly, great minds think alike when it comes to picking blog/podcast names!) This week, the episode with my interview went live! I’d love so much for my readers to check it out, learn more about my story and support this great new podcast.

Brian’s website and podcast is a fantastic resource for all things keto, and is a great way to learn more about this high fat, low carb diet (which is very similar to a paleo diet). While I personally do not follow a ketogenic diet, it was a lot of fun to chat with Brian and talk about the differences (and similarities) between keto and paleo.

Ketovangelist

In my interview I share more background on my own transition to paleo and how I went about making the change, why I’ll never completely give up cheese, and how other podcasts, including Balanced Bites and The Paleo View, helped inspire these changes in my life.

You can read more about the interview and listen to the podcast online here. Search “Ketovangelist” on iTunes to download the podcast to your phone or device, and while you’re there subscribe to the podcast and/or leave a review!

Thanks to everyone for their continued support! Click here to listen to the episode online.