Friday, August 12, 2016

Day 39 ~ A Peek Into My Paleo Lifestyle

When I first started eating Paleo, I felt completely overwhelmed! There were so many things to remember and it felt like all of my favorite foods were banned. I had to say goodbye to my last donut, my last Everything Bagel toasted with Cream Cheese from Dunkin Donuts, my last Coca-Cola...but, honestly, I'm okay with it. I could also only eat so much chicken that my dad could buy from the store...and I was getting frustrated.
I constantly searched for lists that included everything that I needed to buy, so I can make a bunch of paleo recipes. While I can't tell you exactly what to buy, I have come up with a simple list of the basics that you need to stock a gluten-free, grain-free pantry.

Stocking a gluten-free, grain-free, paleo pantry can be a little intimidating (okay, maybe a lot), but it gets better. It seems EVERYTHING in the grocery store has gluten, sugar or other processed food chemicals. It is absolutely critical to read the labels. I start with the assumption that any packaged food is guilty until proven innocent (remember, I have a degree in Criminal Justice). Haha, moving on... I don't eat it until I've read the label and make sure I can tolerate everything that's in it.

You'll notice during this new lifestyle change that you've chosen - by the way, good for you! - anything that you used to eat that was processed will start to taste funny - the longer you're away from it. You're detoxing your body of processed foods and finally giving it healthy food.

I also keep a good supply of fresh vegetables and fruits, depending on what's in season. I do try to guy a few items that are organic (but only when my budget allows it).

The first thing you're going to need to do is make room for all your new healthy, paleo food ingredients. Start by cleaning out your refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I had a harder time with this, because I share all of those with three adults and a toddler. While I do have my own mini-fridge and mini-pantry, they can only hold so much food.

Now, anything you currently already have in your house, read all the labels. Think of this as practice for the grocery store. A majority of the items in my house had multiple if not all of what I needed to toss, but I have other people in the house that definitely didn't want to make the lifestyle change with me.

The strict paleo lifestyle consists of getting rid of dairy, but I have it only on weekends. But, if you can live without dairy (I can't)... I would suggest that you get rid of the following items: Anything with gluten, grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar or other processed food chemicals.

If all of the ingredients are gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly real foods - it stays. Here is the link to how to read labels to avoid milk, soy, peanuts and wheat. And here's a link to how to avoid refined sugars.

Don't forget that any traditional baking ingredients you may have. Flours, sugars, even baking powder. Many baking powders have starch made from grains added to prevent clumping. I usually stick to baking soda and acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice) for baking.

I don't keep many of these on hand, because of my tiny pantry space...

Almond Butter
Almond Flour
Apple Cider Vinegar
Baking Soda
Balsamic Vinegar
Butternut Squash
Cacao Powder
Cashews, raw
Chicken and Vegetable Broths
Coconut Flour
Coconut Milk
Coconut Oil, Organic Virgin
Egg White Protein Powder (Use for smoothies and power shakes)
Flavored Olive Oils
Herbs and Spices
Honey, local raw
Organic Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Spaghetti Squash
Tomatoes, canned
Tuna, canned
Vanilla Extract

Thankfully, I have 2 shelves in the freezer of items that are mine. However, I do run into some hiccups of family members helping themselves to my frozen veggies (so, I always buy extra).

Bananas, peel and freeze
Homemade Soups (freeze single servings)
Homemade Baked Goods
Shrimp - raw, peeled

As mentioned above, I have my own mini-fridge (limited on space).

Fresh Baby Spinach
Fresh Berries
Cashew Milk
Almond Milk
Organic Eggs
Salad Greens
Seasonal Fresh Vegetables

Have a good night everyone!

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