Paleo critics are always voicing unsubstantiated claims. Their attacks are easily countered, but they sometimes create confusion and discouragement, especially for those who are new to Paleo. The British Dietetic Association, for example, has called Paleo a “time consuming, socially-isolating diet.” If you’re just starting out with Paleo, it’s probably better to get your advice from people who actually follow the lifestyle, not from critics who simply parrot talking points.
The Paleo Diet shouldn’t be time-consuming or socially isolating, nor should it be overly expensive. Above all, the Paleo Diet is flexible. Whatever your personal circumstances, you can customize the Paleo Diet so it works for you. Here are 5 great tips to get you started.
1. Master the Slow-Cooker
The slow-cooker is one of your best kitchen-friends. It saves you time and money while helping you cook meals that taste like they were prepared by a professional chef…or by your grandmother. With a slow-cooker, you can save money on meat by buying the cheaper, tougher cuts, which are just as tasty (and nutritious) after being cooked for several hours.
The slow-cooker also saves you time, because the cooking is passive. Slow-cookers are designed to be safe even when they are unattended. Most of us would be wary about leaving the oven or stove turned on while we were away from the house for several hours. With a slow-cooker, however, this is perfectly acceptable.
2. Eating at Restaurants
Paleo need not be “socially isolating.” Sure, if your friends are going out for pizza and sodas, you should probably pass, but at most restaurants you’ll find plenty of Paleo-compliant choices. Go for grilled meat or fish plus steamed vegetables or a salad. Salad dressings will typically have canola or other vegetable oils, so ask your server to bring you olive oil and lemon juice on the side.
3. Lunch On the Go
The reality of our modern lifestyles is that you probably won’t be able to eat every meal at home. Get into the habit of taking your lunch with you, especially if you work at an office. Make a Paleo meal, preferably something that tastes good cold, and get some glass or BPA-free plastic storage containers with lids that lock into place. Usually, you can find mini-size containers for sauces and dressing, so as to avoid soggy salads.
4. Strategic Leftovers
Another key to minimizing kitchen time is using leftovers strategically. This starts by intentionally cooking extras, with the plan of using these extras for upcoming meals. For example, you’re cooking steaks. Cook one or two more than you need. Let them cool and then refrigerate. Later, slice thinly with a sharp knife. Add this to a salad. Congratulations, you’re salad has just become a complete meal. You can do the same thing with turkey, duck, lamb, and other meats.
5. Making Fabulous Sauces
A great way to fancy up your vegetable dishes is with sauces. Sure, you could just drizzle some coconut oil or olive oil on salads and steamed vegetables, but sauces bring these foods to another level, which might be important for you, especially if you are seeking more variety and when cooking for family or friends.
Here’s a simple sauce strategy. You’ll need a blender, preferably a small one. Blend a small handful of nuts (cashews, almonds, or macadamia) with a couple spoons of olive oil, a few spoons of lemon juice, and a handful of washed herbs (stems removed), like parsley, cilantro, or mint. Add just enough water to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.
You’ll find plenty more tips and tricks throughout this website. Start the New Year off right. Make Paleo work for you!