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The Paleo Transition – Dive In or Just Dip a Toe?

January 16 2017 – Jessica Timmons

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Last week, we wrote about transitioning from a regular grains-and-dairy diet to a Paleo diet, and what you can expect when you make this switch. Today, we’re looking at how to make this process as painless as possible.

Let’s start with a pop quiz. Are you the “cannonball” type or the “test the waters” type? And does your swimming preference extend to other aspects of your personality? We ask because those are the two ways to move into a Paleo lifestyle. You’re either all-in on day one, or you’re working up to this grain, dairy, sugar-free business one day at a time.

Cannonball!

With this approach, you shake down the fridge and pantry for non-Paleo foods, scour the web for Paleo recipes and stock up on nutrition insurance like, you guessed it, Ice Age Meals. You’ll transition through the low-carb flu much faster and you’ll probably see and feel big changes pretty darn quick.

On the downside, this method is a real test of self-control, since you’ll probably feel terrible if grains and dairy were a big part of your “before” diet.

I'll Dip a Toe, Thanks

The “test the water” method means you don’t have to throw anything out. Instead, you’ll just replace it with Paleo-friendly foods when you run out. That makes easing into the Paleo pool a cheaper method. It’s also easier on the body, so willpower tends to stay strong.

With this approach, you probably won’t get that “bingo” moment that the cannonballers enjoy when they suddenly realize how amazing they’re feeling - and that can be kind of a bummer.

So which method is better? Trick question – there really is no wrong way to make the change, so you do you. Either way, there are a few tricks to keeping the low-carb flu at bay.

  • Water is your friend. So drink up! If you’re dealing with headaches, dehydration will only make them worse.
  • Don't stress about carbs. The idea isn't to cut them out, it's to swap them out - in moderation. Instead of all those empty calories you were downing in the form of refined carbs, shoot for nutrient-dense complex carbs. You'll feel fuller faster, too.
  • Fat is your friend, too. Try incorporating more nuts, avocado and coconut oil - again, in moderation. This will help when you're making that carb transition.
Above all, keep things in perspective. Deciding that you want to eat a Paleo diet shouldn’t be something you’re doing just for kicks. The goal is to make changes that you can stick to – forever. Only you can decide where that sweet spot of healthy and happy can be found, so pay attention to your body and go from there.