Paleo diet also known as the cave man diet is not a fad diet but a life style change as far as I know. Our diet is so much dependent on carbohydrates. I could never let a day pass by without having rice. When I was a kid I would happily eat rice for all the three meals a day. But then when I started doing yoga for weight reduction, I decreased my rice intake and added more vegetables in my diet. I nearly lost 15 kg during a period of 6 months. It was such a great achievement for me. And then marriage, kid and Food blogging happened and everything was back to where it started. I was struggling hard to get rid of my weight but my life style didn’t help me. Three months back when hubby came home, he brought with him a book named as Paleo Diet by Neander Selvan. It is a Tamil book which explains paleo in detail. When hubby told me about the diet, I didn’t take it seriously. Nearly after a month, hubby was thinking of following it, but without my enthusiasm, he couldn’t start. I don’t know how it happened, but on Jan 4th we decided to change our food habit and follow Paleo.
I read a lot about paleo before starting my diet. The very first day we had Roasted almond s for breakfast. As the whole menu has changed, I found it very difficult to make the dishes. We regularly started taking Butter tea for breakfast, Cauliflower Rice for lunch and Paneer for dinner. Let me warn you first. The first two weeks were hell. The body takes atleast two weeks to adapt to the new diet. You will have head aches, you will fell lethargic, you will be cranky and have so many mood swings but be patient and get through that phase. Then it will be a wonderful journey. I even thought about quitting the diet on the fifth day, but as I read about body getting adapted, I stuck to the diet.
From the third week, I got stronger. All my pains, mood swings and lethargy were gone. I felt very positive, I saw huge difference in my body shape, dresses fitted very nicely, I could walk for 4 – 5 km without getting tired, I could easily do yoga and I could work whole day without energy draining. And the most important change was that there was no craving for unhealthy food. I used to hate fruits but now I love them. I decorate cakes and make veg puffs, but I don’t crave for that. Before starting paleo, I could never keep my hands off any thing I bake. I couldn’t stop myself from tasting the scraps from the cake or a delicious veg puffs. But now I have the control over my tongue.
In paleo diet there is no calorie counting. You eat when you are hungry and you stop when you are full. Just take only paleo approved foods. As there are so many delicious dishes you can make with paleo ingredients, you will not have the usual craving. I will list out all the ingredients you can use in a vegetarian paleo diet.
Paleo is usually meat based diet. It is a high fat, medium protein and low carb diet. If you can eat meat, then you will find it very easy to follow paleo. But if you are a vegetarian who don’t even eat eggs, then it becomes tougher. Some ingredients which are not included in the usual paleo are included in vegetarian paleo diet. There is a group in FB which gives suggestions for vegetarian paleo dieters. I don’t strictly follow them but combine them and the usual paleo for my diet. While the paleo diet asks you to eliminate dairy from your diet, the vegetarian paleo asks you to include everything dairy in your diet. While paleo includes all types of fruits, vegetarian paleo asks you to eliminate fruits except avocado and guava.
Now let me give you the ingredients you can use in a vegetarian paleo diet:
Carrots, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Beetroot, Green Chillies, Ginger, Garlic, Tomatoes, Onions, Peppers, Eggplant (brinjal), Okra (ladies finger), Pumpkin, Coconut, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts, Greens, Zucchini, Chow Chow, Drumstick.
Coconut Oil, Ghee, butter for cooking.
Olive Oil for salads.
Nuts and Seeds:
Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Macadamia, Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, Cucumber Seeds, Pumpkin seeds.
Fruits: If you are working for weight loss, it is better to avoid fruits totally
Apple, Avocado, Blackberries, Watermelon, Lemon, Papaya, Mango, Lychee, Grapes, Pineapple, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Orange, Peach, Plums, Musk Melon, Figs, Bananas.
Usually in paleo, sugar of any kind is excluded. Though the sugars in fruits are all natural, it is better to have them in moderation. Take very small quantity a day.
Only Dark Chocolate with 90% cocoa content and cocoa powder
Milk, Butter, Cottage Cheese, Ghee, Curd/ Yogurt, all types of cheese, fresh cream, high fat cream.
Usually in paleo, they avoid dairy but in vegetarian paleo, you need dairy to compensate for the meat intake.
Foods To Be Avoided:
Sugar in any form, honey, artificial sweeteners, natural sugars, soft drinks, coffee, tea, alcohol, processed food, legumes, grains, any type of flour, food made with flours like idli, dosa, chapathi and breads, millets, fruit juices, potatoes, any type of beans, soy products like soy milk, tofu, non dairy cream, peanuts, artificial sweeteners, premade sauces and ketchups, energy drinks, sweets, bakery products, branded chocolates.
I hope I have given you a basic introduction to Paleo diet. If you wish to change your life style, I am sure that you will find the result within a week. I wish you all luck for your successful paleo journey.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a dietician. The recipes and ideas I share are the part of vegetarian paleo diet I have been following. I wouldn’t say that this is authentic paleo as paleo consists of meat and very less milk. This one is for those vegetarians who don’t even consume eggs.
Take a look at my Vegetarian Paleo Recipes for an idea of what to cook for the diet.