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Make Paleo Work For You

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It’s officially 2015 and time to get those New Year’s Resolutions started. People are stocking up on healthy food in their kitchen, spending hours on end at the gym, or just doing something else with their new, blank slate. But if you are visiting my website today, I’m guessing you’re looking for a healthier life. Maybe for weight loss, maybe in hopes of curing an illness, or maybe just maybe, you just want to live longer. I’m down for all of those. And you have come to the right place! Not only do I fill your lives with diary-like stories of my awkward life, but I also share my recipes, my workouts, and even my outfits. I know, I know. What does fashion have to do with paleo? No need to press that thought. To me, eating healthier makes you feel better inside. Which makes you happier. Which makes you want to show others that you are now happier. And that’s where I am now. After eating paleo for almost 5 years, I’ve never been happier in my own skin. With the combination of CrossFit and paleo, I’ve become a better, more energized, and more enthusiastic person. And that’s exactly what I’m hoping to help you do for yourself!

So let’s talk a little bit about paleo. I don’t care about the science sh*t. Nope. If you’re one of those nerds (which I was when I first started) check out Robb Wolf’s website and books. It will throw knowledge at you like never before. His book was what finally talked me into trying this whole paleo bull. Turns out, it’s not bull. I lost about 30 pounds with the combination of CrossFit and paleo and instantly rid myself of all stomach and intestinal issues. I slept better, I had more energy, I was constantly in a better mood. Everything in my life got better and it was truly life changing. This nutrition thing actually did matter and it finally made sense.

Ever since I went paleo about 5 years ago, I haven’t gone back. Do I splurge once in a while on regular gluten-filled cake? F*ck yes. But I pretty much regret it instantly once the stomach cramps come back on. Sometimes I’m a bit more lenient with gluten free foods, but only certain products that aren’t overly loaded with sugar. In summary of the last five years, I’ve gone from strict-strict paleo, to adding in paleo desserts, to randomly having something with gluten in it, to eating gluten free foods when I crave them. Honestly, I do what feels right that day. If I feel myself slipping back into the same food addiction that I had growing up, emotional eating or whatever, I make sure to keep my diet pretty strict until those feelings dissipate.

Ok, let me get to the point that I’ve been trying to make here: make paleo work for you. Make paleo work for your life and your family. Stop putting paleo in a little box. You have to do what works for you. So if taking smalls steps to paleo works for you, do it. If going head first and being strict paleo works for you, do that! Figure out what’s going to keep you on track and make sure you always have a safety net.

Here are some of the things that kept me on the right track when I start paleo:

  1. Clean the house out of sh*tty food. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. And if you dream about it, it won’t be there to help you fall back asleep after chowing down.
  2. Pack meals ahead of time. Everyone has a different schedule but having food readily available or already cooked is the best way to stay on the paleo path. We all know that if we are starving, we will eat the first thing we see. So have meals already ready to go that you just have to pop in the oven or microwave so you don’t give in to temptation.
  3. Get some snacks around the house. 5 years ago, they didn’t have a crap ton of paleo companies out there to help you out with snacks. Now they do! So buy some stuff in bulk, keep it around the house for those desperate moments. And be sure to always have fruits and veggies too!
  4. Make better choices with desserts. We all love desserts (the people who don’t are weird, don’t trust them) so be knowledgeable about what is in your desserts. Have some dark chocolate around the house with a little bit of almond butter is always a great choice because it’s satiating and filling!
  5. Try new recipes. The reason we go out to restaurants is because they spice it up and make food exciting and comforting. But poop, they usually aren’t making their food with the best ingredients. So if you’re craving Mexican food or Chinese food or just comfort food, search the good ole’ world wide web for a recipe. I swear to you, you will find millions to pick from.

These 5 things have helped me begin paleo and continue eating paleo for 5 years now. And I’m never bored. I can get bored with my own recipes, but then I’ll find something inspiring on the web or in books that gets me excited to cook again.

Here are some great things to get you started on your new and improved paleo journey!

Let’s sum things up though, because I forget what I’ve read within 30 seconds of reading it. So, if you’re looking to kick some ass at paleo and get a healthier life for yourself, get the sh*tty foods out, have great, healthy foods available in the freezer as well as the fridge, pack meals and snacks ahead of time, try new recipes, stick with some of the favorites that your family loves, and honestly DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP about the times you don’t eat strict paleo. You have a long life to live, so be sure to still live it up. Enjoy the special moments like weddings, parties, and holidays so you can not only keep your body healthy the rest of the time, but also your mind. Oh, and exercise. Exercise is seriously the best thing ever for your body. You need to be doing it. Just a simple fact.

And if you are still wondering what to cook, check out my last post about the 25 most popular recipes of 2014!

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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39 thoughts on “Make Paleo Work For You”

  1. Agree with all of it. Not beating yourself up about not being “strict” and not viewing it as a diet is key. It’s just about eating amazing food that makes you feel better. Your recipes were a big help for me when I started out and made paleo seem fun and easy 🙂

  2. I the found that your books, Against All Grains books and the internet is what keeps me on track. I get bored so easily, so having a wide range of recipes helps a ton!

    Seeing the results (Not just weight loss, but relief from many of my illnesses) is also how I stay on track!! I love this life!

  3. Great post, sweetie! I love when you write posts like these 🙂 You inspire me so much and hope you always will share your workouts because they REALLY inspire me too!!!!!!! Wishing you a great 2015 xo

  4. I am a “Paleo virgin” starting now. I have rheumatoid arthritis and am hoping Paleo helps. Your blog was recommended by one of your followers. Thanks! Goldie

    1. Goldie, I started paleo just over a year ago to try and help RA also. I’m an almost 60 year old grandmother-no Crossfit, just lots of yoga. I’ve lost almost 30 pounds and feel great. I am on humira, but my rheumatologist thinks that the diet has really helped. Good luck!

  5. Erika @ Wod Now Wine Later

    Love this! Your blog and cookbook helped me SO much when I first started experimenting with Paleo!! It’s important to know when you first start out that you won’t have to miss your favorite foods!

  6. Thanks Juli! Just ordered some paleonola I saw on your FB post.Totally agree having paleo snack options and packed meals are key! Your smoky bacon chili is now a favorite in our family. My husband freakin loves it! Happy New Year!

  7. Hey Julie, love your posts and we have your first cookbook really helped make the transistion to paleo life easier. I’ve have been eating move along the Zone lines, dont read into that, and its helped keep the energy going on long wods. But in general, if you have to read a label its probably not good for you. Keep the funniness going and the food too.

  8. Such a useful post. I’ve only been on the paleo journey a few months but cannot believe how much better and happier I feel! Besides, your recipes sure help kill any cravings.
    Now I just need more easy paleo foods to make their way across the water to the UK!

  9. You are right that people need to just give up the junk food(though an occasional treat is fine). I have stomach problems, and the paleo diet helps eliminate my cramps like yours.

    Let 2015 be the year when every starts taking care of their body. That means eating food that makes your stomach happy, not just your mouth. It also means exercise (although I’m not a big fan of crossfit xD).

  10. hey juli! Just also wanting to chime in and say thanks! I first found out about paleo 3 years ago when i started crossfit. your blog was the first one i stumbled upon and i have both your cookbooks, the new one preordered and have never missed a blog post since. I love your stuff! thanks for being an inspiration and a role model as my journey to become a healthier, better athlete continues.

  11. Your blog and Elana’s pantry are the ones I visit most often in search of recipes! Also any new paleo or whole 30 peeps check out RX bars for easy snacks or meal replacements 🙂

  12. Juli,

    First let me say, You rock. I couldn’t agree more.
    So, I did Paleo last year for a while I haven’t felt that good in a long time. I fell off the Paleo wagon in my last year of nursing school and now that I’m done I’m ready to get back on track. Monday is my b-day so my gift to myself is healthier living and hopefully losing some poundage. Thanks for your fabulous recipes…and keep rocking on!!!

  13. Ok- starting off 2015 with a lot of baby weight to shift- going paleo- any great tips for a self confessed sugar junkie?

  14. Yes on the snacks! I learned that after I do our big produce buy to prep everything immediately. I am more likely to reach for carrot sticks to snack on if they are already cut up for me as opposed to having to chop them hungry!

  15. I’ve been Paleo for over a year and a half. If I never came across your webpage I probably would have failed miserably. Thank you for having this page! I did stop crossfit about 10 months ago because my ex broke up with me and I didn’t want to see his face at my box! Okay that sounds weird in so many ways. Anyway, love your stuff!! Hopefully I’ll get off my tush and start working out again.

  16. This was a really good post, Juli. I love being reminded that’s it a-ok to be “pretty paleo”. What’s really important is that I don’t feel like keeling over and dying every afternoon at 3 PM anymore from a blood sugar crash and I generally feel pretty badass because I generally feed my body the right things. Can’t wait for your cookbook!

  17. Thanks so much for doing all of this. I wish life could be easier for me on the food-front, but having a great resource like this makes everything *else* easier.

  18. Great post and a really good way to introduce people to paleo! I initially started eating this way 3 years ago by completing a Whole 30, which was extremely helpful to get me into the paleo mindset. Every time I try to do one now though, I feel overly restricted, so I get what you’re saying about moderation. I noticed you don’t have Whole 9 as one of your paleo resources, is there part or all of their philosophy that you don’t agree with?

  19. Great post. I think sometimes people get so focused on being perfect that they get frustrated and give up very quickly. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, so long as the food you’re putting in your body is not damaging your health and is making you feel good.

  20. Struggling a bit with only day two of Paleo. Far out, I’m saladed out lol, so tomorrow I’ll be baking some of your lovely treats:). Now… I assumed rice was not Paleo, can you help me there pls? Also, other than bananas, what other fruits can I eat without worrying about sugar content etc? Sorry, I’m on my “L” plates. I’ve read so much and still somewhat confused, eesh!

  21. Love this guide, Juli! Your tips are so helpful; I remember feeling so incredibly overwhelmed when I first started this journey, and this would definitely have been extremely helpful! Dark chocolate + almond butter is one of my favourite indulgences, although I’ve just discovered a date stuffed with my caramel sauce recipe is also ridiculously addictive.. a bit too addictive, in fact! Wishing you a wonderful year filled with joy, laughter, and lots of delicious food!

  22. Hi there,
    Happy New 2015 to you and your cute dog!!!
    I am trying to make sense of paleo (tried to read Robb Wolf’s book but was to much for me). I did it a month and no results (need to loose weight, know someone that is doing ww and she has lost lots of weight. My boyfriend says I have a coconut belly also : ( How can he joined me if he can’t have much greens or nuts (health reasons). Help!!!! Thanks for your blog!
    You are awesome : )

  23. Thanks for such a positive post! I’ve been reading a lot of paleo cook books… Usually while eating cookies (im 32 weeks pregnant and yes… I blame the baby). There are a lot of helpful Facebook groups but also a lot of nit picking and criticism. I did one week of strict paleo and felt HORRIBLE.
    I’m not quitting yet but I’m going to ease into it instead of doing such a drastic change. I definitely needed to hear that it is OK to do it little by little though…. People can be rough out there. Thanks again and I’m loving your blog!

  24. I just found your blog and I’m loving it! I have MS and Crohns! I hope I can tolerate all the vegetables! I have a lot of D and real food scares me. Reading your blog is giving me the confidence to even try this way of eating. Thanks

  25. Hey Juli! I’ve been reading your blog now for over a year and LOVE your recipes! I’ve bought your first 2 cookbooks, and I would love to go paleo.

    Here enters the problem: I’m married to a gluten-addicted husband who also is very attached to his dairy. I make one of your amazing crockpot recipes. He loves it…then goes and eats a bagel afterwards. Whenever I broach the topic of going paleo, he complains that it’s expensive. Any arguments that could face the financial and the addiction-denial fronts?

    1. that illness in the future is more expensive than staying healthy now. medical bills will add up way quicker than clean food. people who use that excuse are just making excuses for themselves, which gets them nowhere. you should pick up brittany angell’s every last crumb cookbook, it has all kinds of gluten free and grain free breads, bagels, treats, etc. etc.

  26. Hi! I’m new to your site and to Paleo eating. I enjoy good, whole foods, but I have the worst sweet tooth. Chocolate is my major downfall, so my ears perked up when you said dark chocolate was okay. What brand of chocolate do you use that is Paleo-compliant?

  27. Hi Juli,

    Great advice…thanks for the post. Wondering…the last post I received in my inbox was Dec. 26th. Not sure why I wouldn’t have received anything from you since. Has anyone else had this problem??? Always look forward to your posts every Friday!!!

    1. haha that’s because I haven’t sent anything. with the holidays and then having bronchitis, i just haven’t had time or energy to post. that will change this week though!

  28. Hi Juli! I stumbled upon your blog a little over a year ago and it was a serious driver that got me going Paleo because of your creative, easy to follow recipes (and all the witty commentary that comes along with them!). I’ve now been eating Paleo for about a year now and it has completely changed my life, I’ve lost 65lbs (and counting!). I appreciate that you don’t take yourself too seriously and you keep things light and fun and remind us all that we’re human and can indulge every now and then! You word it perfect, make Paleo work for you, people get so fixated on following “rules” sometimes and forget that you need to just do you! I just love you and thanks again for getting me going on this fun-filled Paleo journey! Can’t wait for the next JB cookbook!

  29. Yes to all of this! I first tried paleo almost 2 years ago and did a whole30 a few months in because I was feeling so good and wanted to keep going. Fast forward to a few months after my whole30, I met a guy (ex college football player, who 20 years later still eats like one LOL) and I let everything go down the toilet. So, I am starting fresh and doing my own version of a whole30 (#30tohealthy) to kickstart my health again. I love everything you’ve written here – from what it takes to being normal and gentle with yourself…but also keeping an eye out for when that leniency turns into a slip that looks more like eating for emotional reasons or a food addiction habit. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  30. Great tips on starting paleo. I help people get lose weight and get stronger as owner and head trainer of Jackhammer Strength Training. As I start my paleo journey this will be a great resource and help me when I help others down this path as well. Not having bad foods around, having healthy snacks around, and preparing meals ahead of time are all great tips.

    Thanks,

    Nathan

  31. I love paleo, but I haven’t really been able to lose weight. Do you have any tips for losing weight on paleo? I usually have an omelet or paleo banana bread for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch w/veggies, avocado, and oil/vinegar, and protein with veggies and sweet potato for dinner.

  32. JULI,
    You are an insperation. Over the last 6 months or have completely changed my lifestyle. Not 100% I still like my red wine and occasional gin and soda, but I haven’t eaten anything out of a box for at least 6 months. I have one question, over the last month my stomach feels like a volcano and I can’t seem to stop, well as embarrassing as this is passing gas

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