I am so excited to begin my first “Six Week Series” today! As I mentioned in the previous post, the topic for this Six Week Series is “Paleo Basics,” so if you are new to paleo, or just need a little more information to give you a good definition of what paleo is, this series is perfect for you!
Today I am sharing with you my 10 simple rules to living a healthy, paleo lifestyle. These rules are not set in stone, nor are they the ten commandments of paleo, but if I had to give a simple set of rules to define how to better live and maintain a heathy lifestyle, this is it! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know!
Read on, lovely people!
The Paleo Princess’ “10 Simple Rules to Paleo”
1. Eat real foods.
When God created the earth, He gave us plants to harvest fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as animals that provide a useful source of proteins. He knew what He was doing. The earth holds all of the foods we need to eat to nourish our bodies. Yes, Poptarts and Hot Pockets are in the earth, but they are not of the earth.
2. Avoid the bad stuff
We are what we eat. Our bodies need proper nutrients to hold its own and to keep us going. Foods such as grains, legumes, conventional diary, hydrogenated oils and refined sugars are slowing us down and are hindering our ability to perform at optimal level.
3. Processed “foods”-they aren’t food!
If it contains an ingredient that you can’t pronounce and is made in a factory, then it is not food. Read your labels!
4. Be active!
Paleo isn’t just about food. Paleo is a lifestyle. Keeping active and getting exercise releases endorphins, helping us to feel joyful and radiant, it also clears our brain and helps us to think more clearly. In addition to a better set of moods, including exercise that you enjoy into your lifestyle will keep your body looking good and staying strong.
5. Drink plenty water
Okay, I’ll admit: I don’t drink as much water as I should. We all need to be drinking more of it, since it does, in fact, make up 60% of us. Water forms the basis of our metabolism, doing the helpful job of flushing toxins out of our body and keeping our liver and kidneys working properly. To figure out how much water you should be drinking, I like to follow the basic rule of thumb: drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. This goes for those who are sedentary. Active persons should drink even more.
6. Stress Less
Stress impacts our body heavily. When we stress, our whole body responds in a negative way: our heart races, our digestion worsens, and our adrenals get stressed as well. If stress becomes too extreme over a long period time, your adrenals could eventually give out, causing your thyroid and metabolism to crash. While it is basically impossible to eliminate all stress from our lives, trying to lessen stress and remove stressors from your life (no, I don’t mean quit your job and put your family up for adoption) relieves some of the strain that stress puts on your body, allowing for a happier, healthier you.
Trust me, I’m working on this one!!!
7. Start Cooking
Never in a million years did I ever think I would enjoy cooking, but it has now become something I love to do! Even if you are no chef, following the paleo lifestyle does require you to plan meals and cook. Start off by following simple paleo recipes; food does not have to be complicated! If you are restricted on time, meal planning and making foods ahead of time to stick in the crock pot in the morning are a great option for those days you are busy and on the go; it is always great to come home to an already prepared meal!
Find some easy paleo recipes on the internet and get in the kitchen- who knows, you might begin to enjoy cooking a lot more than you ever thought you would!
8. Plan and be prepared
If you are always on the go like I am, it is a great idea to have paleo-friendly snacks in the car and readily available for you and your family. Planning meals at the beginning of the week is also something you will want to consider doing so you can be sure that you have the ingredients you need, and also to avoid the outcome of the family or yourself ordering take-out because there is nothing planned for dinner.
9. Treat yourself once in a while
You don’t have to be paleo 100% of the time, lean for 80/20-eat healthy, real foods 80% of the time, and allow that other 20% to be used as a time to treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally include in your diet. Allowing yourself to have a treat once in a while keeps you from feeling deprived and can actually help keep you on track. Read more about my opinion on cheat meals here.
10. Enjoy the foods you eat
Food should be enjoyed; it is a blessing. Don’t scarf down asparagus just because it is healthy even if you have despised it all of your life. Find and eat healthy foods that you like and explore and try new ones. Experiment with new recipes that contain a variety of spices and different ingredients to excite your taste buds. I like to think of food as an adventure: always enjoy, experience, and don’t be afraid to try new things.