In the last 40 days or so, I have spent a lot of time really paying attention to what foods I am putting into my body. June 1st, I set out on the challenge to try out the paleo lifestyle. Little did I know, it was going to change me for the better. With Paleo, you’re eating whole foods, absolutely nothing refined or processed. I spent time reading labels, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooking nutrient dense foods. Instead of eating whatever was ready and available to me, I took the time to slow down a little and only eat things that were “clean” and “paleo.”
The difference I have seen in not only my physical appearance, but my mental clarity as well is astonishing. Fueling my body with fresh nutrient dense foods, and ditching the “healthy” but totally processed foods was a challenge but was so worth it in the end.
I came up with this list of 5 tips that helped me ditch the processed foods, and focus more on a whole foods diet that I thought would be beneficial to share.
1. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand:
If you’re running short on time, like I do every single day, you don’t have time to sit down and eat a bunch of meals, and you usually end up snacking on small meals throughout the day. Instead of grabbing whatever you have in your pantry, try to focus on keeping healthy snacks on hand that are easy to grab on the way out the door. Fresh fruit, mixed nuts, veggies and cashew dip, hard boiled eggs, and chicken breast are some of my favorites.
2. Get Creative in the Kitchen:
So we all have a food that we love that is probably super processed and not good for you at all. Embarrassingly enough, mine is Panda Express. Though, if you read these blogs you probably already know this. I wasn’t gonna let paleo get in the way of me and some of my favorite foods, so I took it upon myself to become Chef Brooke and recreated some of my favorite Panda Dishes- but paleo. Did it taste the same? No- definitely not, but was it good? Heck yeah!
3. Drink more Water:
Sugary beverages like soda, sweet tea, juice, sports drinks, energy drinks and those beloved starbucks latte’s are SO high in sugar, but SO low in essential nutrients. I started by replacing my daily starbies with a water bottle full of iced cold water, and said goodbye to all of the processed sugars they throw into that Grande Iced French Vanilla Latte. If you find water boring, try adding sparkling water or putting some fresh fruit in your water to infuse some flavor in there.
4. Meal Prep:
The last thing most of us want to spend part of our day doing is meal prepping, but when I tell you that it helps keep me on track I absolutely mean it. When I prep at least my breakfasts, and lunches ahead of time for the week, I’m less likely to order something because I am hungry, or less likely to just grab something nearby to eat regardless of the nutritional value.
5. Change the Way that you Shop:
This one was a hard change for me because I love the cracker aisle at Publix, and that frozen section at Trader Joe’s section hits different. Instead of shopping in the aisles at the grocery store, try to focus on staying on the outside. The FRESH stuff. It’s easy to get lost in the aisles of endless processed foods, but when you focus on the exterior you will find minimally processed healthier options that will make you feel better.
These tips obviously are not gonna work for everybody, but this is what helped me feel healthier, and see changes. Start making small changes to see if they work for you. Try one of these tips at a time, gradually make swaps that work for YOU. We can all feel better, and look better we just have to make an effort.