So here are some learnings after completing four [or is it five?] weeks on Paleo. I decided to cap it at five because otherwise you’ll still be reading this tomorrow:
1. Its costs more to eat well.
My grocery bill is almost double – fresh produce and lots of meat, particularly where I live, is expensive. Two adults are eating their way through around $300 food a week. But, like I said, this is due in part to the fact that prices up here in Northern WA are super high because we’re a remote community. Lucky me.
2. Grocery shopping takes about 1/10th the time it used to and is super easy.
It really is true, you just go straight to the fresh produce end, grab fruits & veg, skim along the back grabbing your meat and then pop into the freezer section at the other end to grab any frozens [eg fish, snap frozen veg, shellfish, etc.] Then, unless you need to duck briefly into the darkside (read: the aisles) to visit the health food section [almond meal, organic raw honey, Linseed meal, etc] or the asian section [coconut cream, coconut milk, tapioca flour], you are DONE. Bang! Snap! Straight to the pool room! [For those outside Australia, this is a quote from a very Australian 1997 movie called “The Castle”. Its hilarious but please don’t think all Aussies are like the Kerrigan’s… except for the giant hearts part]. So – it really does take 10-20mins max to get everything you need because you only need to run the perimeter of your local supermarket. Score!
3. Organisation is paramount.
If you’re a meal planner – fantastic! You’re one step ahead of the rest of us. If you’re not a meal planner [read: me] then …. now is a GREAT time to try something [else] new! Failing to plan your meals and do the prep one day a week will not make it impossible to follow the Paleo way – I know this because it describes my journey thus far. It just means that you will spend several periods a week staring into your fridge/pantry/freezer blankly for +/- five minutes, wondering what to eat or cook for dinner. You’ll google several paleo recipes at 1/2hr before dinner time, discarding each as you realise that you don’t have this or that crucial ingredient. You will visit your local grocery store several times a week [albeit briefly, refer point: 2] because you simply don’t have what you need to make an edible menu for the next few days. The lesson here? Sit down on a Saturday or Sunday, grab Robb Wolf’s food matrix [find this amazing tool here: http://robbwolf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/thePaleoSolution_FoodMatrix.pdf] and plan out your week’s meals, as best you can. I am TOTALLY going to recommend that you start leaning towards the whole cook a bunch and eat for lunch method, whereby at least 3-4 times a week your lunch is made up of last nights dinner left overs. It just saves time and energy. And – spend some time ‘prepping’. Not for doomsday, for the following week. Eg: grate carrot/chop onion/slice mushrooms for salads, hardboil several eggs, make mayonnaise, make marinades/dressings, do any baking [muffins, frittata’s, crackers, biscuits]. Yes, it may take an hour or two on a weekend, but I guarantee it will save you hourS during the week. Trust me on this! Plus, you can involve the family and make it an activity, make it fun and encourage and develop their healthy eating/cooking habits. Note to readers: No, I am not currently following my own advice, but its a case of do as I say, not as I do.. 🙂
4. You will consume an enormous amount of eggs.
If you can – buy chickens! I wish I could but our living arrangements [and our Siberian Husky, to be honest] kind of puts a kabosh on that. So if you’re in my boat, at least study up on what eggs are available to you, go for something reasonably priced if you can but do NOT ever, EVER purchase cage eggs – its abhorrent and I think it should be totally banned; strive to purchase free range, naturally fed hen eggs [eg grass fed, not grain fed] and always look for Omega3 enriched eggs. If you can’t tick all the boxes – try finding Omega3 enriched eggs in my town 😦 – tick as many as you can, and at minimum, buy free range. Or go without. Seriously.
5. Snacking is hard if you a) don’t like nuts or b) don’t like fruit and/or are trying to lose weight.
For those of you who do like nuts and or fruit and or are not trying to lose weight – you can skip straight to the end. Do not pass GO, do not expect $100 or a make up learning. You only get four. For the rest, read on.
Sometimes, you just want to nibble on something. Just a little bit of food. Maybe something sweet, maybe savoury. Not a meal. So you go to the fridge and here are some typical choices:
- Left over roast chicken from last night.
Sigh. You close the fridge and open the pantry. Its even more *gulp* bleak:
- Herbs & spices
- Coconut milk
- Various types of flours
- Nut butter
Well. That’s some seriously limited choices. The ‘easy’ snacks are nuts and fruit. What if you don’t like either?? I am not a nut fan and don’t really like fruit overly much. Plus, for those who are trying to slim down, consumption of fruit should be limited until you reach your goal leanness. So what do you do? I think this is where your dedication [or lack thereof] to Paleo will really show and imagination is super useful. Prep time on the weekend can also help here – bake some Paleo muffins, or egg/bacon frittata’s and keep them for snack attacks. Find one fruit or nut that you like. Try celery with a nut butter on it. Google ‘Paleo Snacks’ and then don’t be shocked when they are all healthy. First step though: Have a glass of water. Years of comfortable existence have meant that what humans often translate as ‘feeling hungry’ is actually thirst. So if you feel a little pang of hunger, snack size, there’s a good chance that you’re actually just thirsty. So try a glass of water or cup of tea. Wait ten minutes. If you still feel it, search for a snack.
So there you have it. Five of many things I’ve learned since 1AP [After Paleo]. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go away and think of a title for this post, as the original title I had ‘How do you do what you do?’ no longer applies… as so often happens, once I clicked in the ‘body’ box and started typing, this post became something completely different to my original vision. Oops!
Eck so, eck so,