So you've probably heard about this whole Paleo lifestyle by now. Maybe one of your best friends is now following the Paleo diet and to you, it seems super crazy to not eat whole grains, to swear off French Fries because they're not cooked in the right oil, or to give up gluten and dairy. Life is hard enough, right? Why would you honestly do that to yourself? Aren't there enough decisions to make every single day without putting so much focus on what you're eating? Those are all totally legit and normal thoughts to have, but the truth is that the Paleo diet is about so much more than just food... and you don't actually have to be super afraid of it. It might actually do more good than harm, and it might be the best thing that you ever do for yourself. Here are 15 reasons why going Paleo isn't as scary as you think.
15 It's An Actual Lifestyle
You tend to focus on the idea of Paleo as going gluten-free, cutting out junk food, and swearing off sugar. Yes, those things are definitely part of it, and it's pretty much an overhaul of your entire diet. You don't need to take those things lightly, and you definitely shouldn't. But Paleo is a lifestyle. It's about more than just what's on your plate right in front of you. Being Paleo is about sleeping properly and getting enough rest, not doing crazy workouts if those don't work for you, finding a fitness program that you actually have fun doing, forming close friendships and connections, and most of all, not stressing the big or small stuff. If you can think of going Paleo as making your daily life better and making it work for you much more, that will shift your thinking.
14 It's Not About Dinosaurs
The number one stereotype about Paleo? That it's about dinosaurs, eating like our ancestors, and being cavemen. Nope, that's not the case at all. It's pretty much become a light-hearted joke amongst the Paleo community that people who eat this way and live this way are trying to be like cavemen and cavewomen. Um, nope. Not even remotely close. First of all, you would have to forgo eating utensils (like forks and spoons and knives!) and also pretty much buy nothing at a grocery store... since, naturally, cavemen and cavewomen didn't exactly have access to grocery stores. Plus, you could never get your fancy almond flour and almond milk and all that from Whole Foods or another local organic market. So no, it's not actually about any of that. It's literally just about taking care of your body and feeding it good food.
13 It's Not Low Carb
A lot of people think that because going Paleo means giving up whole grains, that means you're switching to a totally low-carb diet. People are worried about the "carb flu" that can happen when you switch from a high or moderate carb diet to a low one. But you don't have to give up carbohydrates completely if you go Paleo... and you actually shouldn't. Because being hungry all the time and having zero energy to live, work or work out is no fun, and that's pretty much what's going to happen if you stop eating carbs. So just go for Paleo carbs, whether that's sweet potatoes or other root vegetables. Some Paleo eaters even go for white rice and regular white potatoes sometimes, and we all know that those have carbs in them.
12 You Don't Need Processed Food
The thing about Paleo? You're going to have to throw out any and all processed food in your house, whether that's in your cupboard, pantry and/or fridge and freezer. That's just the honest truth. The diet/lifestyle doesn't exactly love processed food and junk food, and you know what? That's just fine. You honestly don't need junk food. You might think that you do -- especially after a hard day at the office when all you want is potato chips or a break-up when it's pretty normal to crave Ben and Jerry's something fierce. But your body and mind and overall health will thank you if you stop eating junk food and processed food products. Think fresh food that are in their whole state, not something that comes out of a bag or a box (besides frozen vegetables, of course -- those still come in a bag and are still really, really good for you).
11 You'll Learn To Love Fat
Healthy fat, that is. If there's one thing that the Paleo lifestyle emphasizes and absolutely adores, that would be eating enough healthy fat in a day to make sure that you have energy, feel clear, and can function properly. Healthy fat can take the form of avocados (aka everyone's food BFF), nut butter like almond butter (peanut butter is a no-go), nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, butter (butter is considered okay on the Paleo diet, or you can go with ghee which removes certain parts of the butter), etc. It's not that scary to embrace fat -- it's not the 80s anymore, after all, and you do need sensible portions of good-f0r-you fat in order to truly live a healthy lifestyle. So go ahead, go Paleo and learn to fall in love with fat. Your body will so happy and you'll feel so much better.
10 You'll Cut Out Sugar
Look, cutting out sugar might be terrifying at first, especially when you consider how much you love cookies, cake, candy, chocolate and ice cream. Okay, yeah, it definitely sounds pretty scary... and pretty difficult, too. But going Paleo isn't that bad after all because cutting out sugar is actually the best thing you could possibly do for your health. Honestly, you should be doing this most of the time, because sugar is a really hot topic right now, and not for any good reasons. More and more people are realizing that refined sugar is hidden is so many foods like salad dressings and pasta sauces and that you can honestly gain way too much weight and just generally be really unhealthy by eating too much sugar. So when you think of it like that, it's actually even scarier to keep eating sugar, and it's not that scary to stop.
9 There Are Grey Area Foods
Going Paleo doesn't mean giving up every single thing you love. Like mentioned above, you can eat white rice and white potatoes if that's your thing. You don't have to give up dairy necessarily, either. A lot of people do fine with higher quality dairy that they get from a better supermarket or higher-end market. So if you still want to eat rice, potatoes and dairy and go Paleo, that's still totally fine. Other grey area foods on the Paleo diet? Those would be sugar and alcohol. Obviously, refined sugar and typical white flour and butter baked goods are pretty much out on this diet, along with gluten. But Paleo desserts often include almond flour or coconut flour and, yes, some sugar, although usually in the form of less refined sweeteners like coconut sugar, maple syrup, maple syrup or honey. So it might not be such a huge switch at all, since you can still eat your carbs, dairy (but better quality!), drink sometimes with your friends, and bake your own healthier but still totally delicious treats. Does that really sound so bad?
8 You'll Learn To Cook
When you get healthy, no matter what kind of plan or diet or lifestyle you're following, it basically means that you have to get your butt in the kitchen. You can't get around it because you can't eat processed or fast food or order from a restaurant every single night. So what's the downside to going Paleo and learning to cook? There's literally nothing. You're going to be so proud of yourself when you start actually cooking your own meals, because you'll be nourishing yourself with good food and, hey, you'll totally have bragging rights. Your friends and family and boyfriend will be super impressed with you, and they'll be there to reap the rewards, of course. There's no reason to think cooking is a bad thing or to be scared of it, so if that's stopping you from changing your lifestyle, don't let it.
7 It's Super Simple
People love the Paleo lifestyle so much because it's actually super simple, and it's definitely not as crazy or weird or hard as you think it would be. It's basically about eating healthy food that is in its normal state and literally, has one ingredient. Think a sweet potato or avocado or apple, not potato chips or cereal or a packaged granola bar. It's okay to be nervous about starting a new lifestyle or changing the way that you eat -- it would be pretty strange if you didn't feel that way. But think of it like this: when you go Paleo, you're just building super easy meals. Think eggs, ground beef or homemade chicken patties and sweet potatoes for breakfast, salads with protein and avocado for lunch, steak or salmon with broccoli and a starchy vegetable for dinner. It's not that hard to do.
6 You Can Still Eat Your Fave Foods
Sure, you're not going to be eating a sugary, gluten and white flour-filled donut or cookie or piece of cake anymore, because that's not what being Paleo is all about. But you can still have your fave treats and meals... you're just going to be eating them in a much healthier, Paleo-friendly way. You can find tons of recipes online/on Paleo blogs or in Paleo cookbooks for almond flour or coconut flour-based tortillas so you can still enjoy your Taco Tuesday. You can do the same with a Paleo pizza crust, whether or not you choose to keep eating dairy and cheese. You can bake your own treats and make healthier versions of your mom's chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins. You can pretty much still eat the same stuff, just better, healthier versions of them. Sounds good, right?
5 You Will Be Less Tired
Who doesn't want to feel less tired? Of course, you want this, right? If you're sick of waking up every day feeling exhausted as soon as your alarm goes off and fighting to stay awake at the office, then Paleo might be for you. You're honestly going to feel less tired because you'll be fuelling your body with actual, real food that is really good for you, and at the end of the day, that is pretty priceless. Your friends won't believe how much energy and zest for life you have once you change your diet, and you'll be able to tell them that going Paleo is totally the secret to your energetic success. It's pretty awesome when you make a massive lifestyle change that actually works for you and makes you feel a million times better than when you started.
4 You Will Be Part Of A Community
The cool thing about Paleo people is they have pretty much formed an online community. Just search the hashtag "paleo" or "grain-free" on Instagram and you're going to find tons of people who are starting on this health journey just like you, and you can connect with them and offer each other support. Being part of a community is a really nice thing, especially if your friends and family aren't exactly on board with what you're doing. No one wants to feel lonely about anything, especially when you first start doing something new. So if your boyfriend is still all about Chinese food and pizza and you're swapping that stuff for chicken and vegetables and avocado, don't take it out him -- just head to Instagram and find some new people to follow and engage with.
3 You'll Learn To Love Yourself
Self-love and self-confidence can be pretty cheesy things, but they're really important parts of life. You can't really do much without being confident. Well, you can, but you're not going to feel good about yourself and you're not going to enjoy your daily life as much as you should. If you follow the Paleo diet and lifestyle, you're going to automatically see yourself in a different, much more positive light. You're going to be taking care of yourself just by cutting out gluten and sugar and junk food, and that's going to make you love yourself more. You'll see that you have value and self-worth, and you'll make other people treat you with the love and respect that you know you totally deserve. It's a pretty awesome side effect of changing the way that you eat, right?
2 You're Going To Discover New Foods
When you overhaul your lifestyle and start working out more, sleeping better, liking yourself more and eating better, you start trying new things. You can try new workouts, of course, but the number one thing you're going to do is eat new foods that you never even dreamed of before. Maybe you only had avocado in the form of guac (with about a million salty tortilla chips to go with it, naturally) and never realized you love the stuff cut up in a healthy salad for your work lunch. Maybe you never ate any green veggies before and realize that, yeah, you totally get why the world is so into this kale thing. You're going to discover new foods when you go Paleo, and that's definitely not a scary prospect at all. It's pretty fun to try new foods and you're going to be eating so much variety, you'll automatically get healthier.
1 You're Going To Fall In Love
Once the dust settles and you get super used to eating this way, you're honestly going to fall completely and 100 percent in love with being Paleo. You're going to sleep better, live better, have energy, be productive, and pretty much want to jump down the street singing and dancing and laughing. Okay, maybe not that last one, but you never know. Don't you want to love your life, and the way that you eat, and have a normal relationship with food? Of course, you do, right? There's pretty much no reason why you wouldn't want that. So forget your Paleo fear and consider changing your diet if that's what you want to do. You don't have to be terrified -- you're going to eat such delicious meals and have so much fun cooking, you won't know why you were so worried before. Paleo could honestly change your life... if you can get past the fear and stop thinking it's for cavemen.