I'm a big fan of simplicity. Especially when it comes to diet and exercise.
Theres a tendency to make the paleo diet and lifestyle harder than it needs to be. There's a lot of science and jargon that gets thrown around on the blogosphere and in forums. Sometimes the intentions are good but a lot of this information just adds to the noise and confusion.
Being successful with any lifestyle change takes some dedication. But the more complex the change is the harder it is to stick with it. If you can find a way to simplify your objective it will be a lot easier to follow through.
So how do you make the paleo diet and lifestyle simple and easy?
Start by making your meal options simple and easy. This means having a few simple meal ideas that you can make at any time.
We've committed a few simple recipes to memory that we can make anytime we're stuck wondering what to have for dinner. It's easy to start the paleo diet and see all the wonderful recipes you want to try. And you should try these recipes... eventually. You can use PrimalPal to save these aspirational recipes for a time when you're ready to make them.
Don't make the mistake of trying to tackle intricate paleo baking techniques and recipes that ask you to use 25 ingredients. Some of those recipes can be delicious but they can take more time. And we all have limited time.
Commit to learning recipes with 10 or fewer ingredients first. The fewer the ingredients the better. We're rolling out some search features inside of PrimalPal that will make this a lot easier for you.
Along with committing simple recipes to memory, make sure you don't jump into using ingredients you're not used to. Sure, there are some ingredients that are easy to use such as coconut oil, coconut flour and almond flour. But the paleo diet is really based on protein, veggies, fruits and nuts that are as close to their original state as possible.
Stick to recipes that use ingredients in their whole state and that you're used to using or that you could easily learn how to use.
The other night we had bbq chicken thighs with mashed cauliflower and steamed squash. The whole meal took less than 30 minutes to prep and cook. I can make this meal at anytime without following a recipe and know that I'm having a healthy paleo meal. Don't make this stuff harder than it needs to be.
In the morning I usually eat the same thing... eggs. Sometimes I do a protein shake but if I have some time to cook breakfast I'll go with eggs or some kind of egg dish. You can also make little egg muffins that are portable and easy to make.
I do the same thing with lunch. I usually have a big salad or leftovers from dinner.
The overall idea is to scale back the ingredients you use in your diet. Think about how many things you can cut out before you start adding new things in.
Simplify your exercise!
I chuckle when I see people at the gym standing on a bosu ball doing arm curls with fifteen pound dumbbells. Who told them to do that? Meanwhile I just go back to squatting, pressing and dead lifting.
The basic lifts are the best lifts. If you're going to a gym just do some basic compound movements. If you get really good at the basic lifts then you can add complexity into your routine with different lifts and reps/sets schemes. But don't do this stuff until you're ready and after you've mastered the fundamentals.
This applies to cardio too. Stop thinking you have to run three miles on the treadmill every day. Now, if you enjoy doing it then keep doing it. But if you're on the treadmill because you feel like you have to do it then take a step back and re-evaluate what you're doing. Mix up your exercise routine with some basic strength training, walk more and participate in physical activities you enjoy.
If you can simplify your diet and exercise you'll see great results with the paleo lifestyle.
Simplify other areas of your life.
Can you cut things out of other areas of your life that are no longer serving you?
Cut anything you can! Extra information that is not helping you like TV, blogs, magazines, books and news papers. Keep the things you get actual value from and get rid of the rest.
Decreasing the overall number of "feeds" you have will make you feel a lot better. This is one I struggle with but I'm getting better at cutting out feeds and digital clutter. This stuff does tax you even if it's in the "cloud."
I'll write more about this topic in the future. But I want to stress the importance of the basics. Every sport you play has fundamentals that must be learned. It's easy to look at diet and exercise and want to jump straight into the advanced stuff before you're ready. Don't be fooled by the "experts" who shout about all the latest science and tactics you should use. Just do the basics first. After you master the fundamentals and have seen great results then move onto adding some complexity to your routine. And only add it in if you want to.