Do you know that feeling of just starting a new diet, only to be cheating on it within a couple of days because you don’t have the right ingredients at home? Or maybe a friend who has invited you to a restaurant where nothing on the menu looks even slightly Paleo friendly?
Most people on the Paleo diet tend to give up on it after a few days, claiming it is too tough to respect. They “sin” within the first week and figure that if they can not perfectly respect their diet, then what is the point of following it all?
Nothing could be more wrong. First of all, let me tell you that unless you never go out eating at a friends house or at a restaurant, you’re going to be cheating on your diet every now and again. If you stop doing this type of thing, your social life will quickly suffer up to the point that your newly gained quality of life thanks to your diet becomes completely overshadowed by your neglected social life.
I’m not telling you to go out and eat whatever is put in front of you. The trick is to plan things right and create a healthy balance in your life.
If you don’t have the correct ingredients at home, and end up running to the grocery store after work every night, you’ll never make it. The Paleo diet, as with any long term project, requires careful planning. If you wait until the last moment to see what is in your fridge, and then head off to the store browsing through shelves, you will lose a lot of time.
Start by picking a fixed day on which you go out for groceries. Make sure you plan enough time to allow you to complete your shopping in a relaxing manner without having to check your watch every two minutes while waiting in line at the store. Dieting, cooking, picking out ingredients should be fun. It’s all part of the Paleo diet. If it helps, our hunter gatherer ancestors spent their entire day doing it.
The night before going out shopping, or on the day itself, plan some time to make a list of all the items you’ll need for the entire week. If you don’t have a freezer, get one. Buying things in bulk reduces the cost of your groceries in the long run and allows you to avoid going to the store all the time.
In order to make your list, select your recipes in advance. Try to combine them in a manner that allows you to cook with some of the same ingredients during the same week without eating the same meal. This will help you avoid throwing things away.
Go out to the store, and buy whatever you need. When filling up the fridge and the cupboards when you get back, you’ll experience that lovely feeling of having completed a crucial step in your diet while having a full fridge! You won’t need to go out again this week.
When you cook your meals, try to cook double portions. Off course, if you don’t have a freezer, this won’t be possible. If you have a life anywhere near as busy as mine, you’ll understand the huge comfort of having frozen meals available that have been cooked in advance. You’ll spend less time cooking, and if you ever face an empty fridge – you’ll have your ready meals ready to save the day!
Simply by planning your meals in advance, keeping a fixed grocery day and preparing double portions, you’ll see that respecting the Paleo diet on day to day basis is much easier.
And if a friend does invite you over, and you find yourself in a restaurant where things are not looking very Paleo friendly, pick out the best thing you can find. You’ll feel a lot less guilty when you know that you can return to your Paleo friendly filled fridge next day.
The Paleo diet in the long run doesn’t get broken because people go to a restaurant every now and then – it gets broken because people don’t plan it into their daily lives.
Especially with Paleo, where many ingredients can be quite specific, planning your meals and recipes is key to enjoing the diet while leading a relaxing and healthy day to day life.