5 Tips For Your First Week Eating Paleo

by Dr. Christopher on August 8, 2011

My apologies …

This guy has no compassion when you are sleeping. Nature does what it wants.

My commitment to the Humble Observer is to write a post every Monday of every week.

I missed last week.  First miss in a year of writing.

Please forgive me.

I’m currently in Hawaii where the roosters don’t care if I’m sleeping, they go cock-a-doodling at 6 A.M. when there is no hint of sun yet.

Seriously rooster, you can’t wait until the sun has risen? 

I appreciate your wake up call, just let me lay in the darkness a little bit longer.

I digress.

Things You Should Know During Your First Week of Paleo

At Guerrilla Fitness: Crossfit Morristown, I’m inspired everyday how people reach new levels of health, fitness, and happiness.

I think I’m healthy, then I see menin their forties lifting faster and heavier than me.

I think I’m happy, then I realize how much seeing all of these people make me smile.  I only hope that I do the same for them.

Feelings of pride come over me as members start sharing their new perspective of health without medicine’s help with their loved ones.

Recently, a male specimen, who doesn’t know how to shut up (but luckily, has the voice of a male Siren), discussed with me his own successes and failures trying to convert his family to eating Paleo and getting off of their many medications.

Here is what I told him to relay to his family.

1.  You need to plan: If you don’t plan your meals, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

Have health snacks such as fruits, nuts, raw vegetables, or left-overs prepared. 

Know what you will prepare for each meal.

Lack of planning will cause #2 to happen more often than necessary.

2.  You will fall down: Babies fall as they learn to walk.  It’s part of the process.  No parent ever gives up on their child after they’ve fallen once.

Unfortunately, people give up after one fall.

Expect to fall.

It’s not whether you do, it’s how quickly you get back up. 

Here’s what happens. 

You’re eating paleo.  You have been going a week strong and feeling great.  After a long day of work with stress upon stress upon stress, you come home looking for the quickest stimulus of sugar to ease your mind. 

Then, you feel guilty and fall of the wagon completely.  You think to yourself, you failed, it’s over.

No, it’s not. 

It’s ok!  Everybody falls down.  Just get back up and resume where you left off.

Expect the fall and resume the diet the next day.

3.  It will be hard initially and get easier as time goes on:

Normally, people get their energy from carbohydrates.  They also get high off of grains, dairy, and processed foods.

My mom calls my little sisters “The Carb Queens.” 

They eat minimal vegetables or protein.

I told my mom, “If you were 10 years old, why would you eat a vegetable (with no apparent mental effect) when you can get high from a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and pasta for dinner?”

Evolutionarily speaking, feeling good after eating alot of carbohydrates (which quickly turns to fat for storage purposes so you can survive a lack of food for a longer period of time) or after dairy (with its enormous insulin spike, which again, stores energy for the future) is a smart response for the body.

Your body thinks, I feel good when I eat these foods, so I’m going to eat more of it

Your mind benefits by getting high and release feel good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.  Your body benefits by being able to survive longer in the face of famine.

The problem is, my little sisters are in no danger of confronting famine.

When people eat paleo, energy comes from fat, not carbohydrates.  Not only that, but you can get high from having a body running on clean fuel with no comedown like that experienced by a kid who runs out of fuel in the form of sugar.

It’s hard initially becuse your body is detoxing off of the grains, dairy, and processed foods. 

Allow your body to learn to run off of fat and it will run much more efficiently.

4.  You need to enjoy the food you eat:

In chiropractic school, I had a friend who grew up on non-Paleo foods and it visibly showed.

I’d ask him what vegetables he liked.

He couldn’t name one unless it was “French fried.”

He wanted to get healthier, so he started preparing random vegetables that people told him were good.

He couldn’t stick to it. 

I intervened and told him that he must enjoy the food he eats!  If he doesn’t, he will just go looking later for something unhealthy that he doesn’t.

In other words, he needs to find out which vegetables and recipes are the tastiest and experiment until he finds staples that he could lean on.

In this way, he could slowly add vegetables and recipes over time and branch out into more and more colors.

I recommended sweet potato fries, a man salad with plenty of protein and fat, baked vegetables with olive oil and spices (sea salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, parsley) baked at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Over time, he started enjoying more and more vegetables and is now, close to a Paleo convert.

5.  Eating paleo will pay off … Big-Time!

I can recall losing ONE person out of hundreds who’ve tried Paleo and never come back to it.

This person seemed to give a half-assed effort from the start and didn’t truly want it. 

Not only that, but she didn’t allow me to help her.

If someone can stick with eating paleo for a month, they will see the results and not ever want to go back.

Know that this paleo stuff works.

I often say “Try it.  Give it one month.  If you don’t like it, go back to eating the way you normally do.” (I say this knowing that she is going to feel amazing if she sticks to it).

And eating paleo doesn’t mean that you can never treat yourself to your old favorites.  You just do it less often, whether it’s once a week or for a special occasion.

When you do fall of the wagon, the crappy feeling of being bloated and the mental hangover will remind you why you are eating paleo in the first place.

Whether it’s losing fat, getting lean, reducing symptoms such as rheumatoid arthitis, gastrointestinal distress, mental lack of clarity, acne, eczema, or optimizing lab markers for disese in your blood, eating paleo will work for the vast majority of people.

Give it a chance to work its magic.

A Request to Help You

As I said, I’ve been thinking about you and feeling guilty for missing a post last week.

I hope that this post helps you introduce paleo into your lifestyle or into the lifestyle of your family and friends.

I’ve also been wondering how you are and how I haven’t asked you how I can help in a long time.

So here I am asking you again.

How can I help you?

What would you like to learn more about?  Exercise?  Crossfit?  Paleodiet?  Stress?  Depression?  Happiness?  Personal growth?

Do you need someone to talk to in an area of your life that you’re having trouble with?

Do you live in North Jersey and need a ride to the airport?

Honestly, if there’s any way I can make your life healthier or happier, please let me know.

Comment below, or email me at cstepiendc (at) gmail (dot) com.

Since the rooster loves me enough to wake me up every morning, I’m in a loving mood.

Love and cock-a-doodle-do,


P.S.  I’ve become good friends with Diane of balancedbites.com.  She is more knowledgeable about Paleo than me, loves bacon, and is a strong advocate for eating sauerkraut everyday.  I couldn’t support her message any stronger than I do now.

Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Morristown, NJ.  He practices out of Crossfit Morristown.



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