Everyone has goals. We all have things that we want to achieve today, this week, this month, this year, etc. The majority of the populace most likely just keeps this list of objectives in their heads and mentally checks them off as they are accomplished. At least I would hope that not everyone is a compulsive list-maker wherein they have notebooks dedicated to nothing but lists of various items waiting to be marked off and prioritized by the length of time it will take to complete it and the weight of it’s importance to the list-maker. That’s just me, right?
And goals are important. We all feel the need to improve ourselves, our lives, our futures. But there can be a lot of obstacles while trying to achieve some goals and we often don’t know how to hurdle them. I don’t have any solid answers myself, but I do spend a lot of time thinking and reading and I’ve come across some “well don’t I feel stupid for not seeing it that way” ideas that have helped me and may help others.
My favorite metaphor for reaching a goal is the old question: How do you eat an Elephant? The answer, of course, is: One bite at a time.
If you’re like me then you have big ideas and grand schemes where you have taken over the known universe with nothing more than your winning smile. At least in your head. All too often though we get these great ideas (and they are great!) but they stay in our heads simply because we don’t know where to start and the task at hand is SO HUGE.
Here is where our metaphor stops being helpful. What do you start with? This is going to depend on the task, of course, but also the individual. What you have to do is break it down into manageable pieces and take those small tasks on one at a time.
Let’s just look at something basic like cleaning the house. There is a list of things to do (whether imaginary or tangible) a mile long. Do you think about the enormity of the job and simply collapse onto the floor wailing in a dramatic heap? Ok, that’s what I do. But after I’ve lain there for a while and no one has come to my rescue I get up, dust myself off, and get to it. I just pick and room, do it, and move on to the next. It’s the same process with any big project or goal.
Planning to begin a Paleo nutrition regimen is no different than other goals. You start reading about Paleo and you start hearing terminology you’re unfamiliar with and you suddenly feel overwhelmed. It sounds complicated and expensive and so different and you’re just not sure it’s worth the trouble. Please believe me when I say that it truly is worth it and it’s not as complicated as you think it is.
What I love about Diane Sanfilippo’s website http://www.balancedbites.com is that she has such a practical approach. She makes Paleo accessible and easy to do for anyone on any budget. I’ve linked to Diane’s site from my “Getting Started” tab at the top for good reason. She teaches you to start with the basics. You DON’T need expensive grass-fed beef or pastured pork, chicken, and eggs to do Paleo. Are they the better choice? Definitely. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t do Paleo if you can’t buy those things.
My suggestion for starting Paleo is the simple stir fry. Frying pan, meat, veggies, and some good oil to cook it in. It’s easy, it’s simple, and you can do it on the cheap. It doesn’t take long at all for you to start feeling so incredible that you’ll want to learn more and more ways to cook Paleo.
My next step was the crock pot. Throw in a beef or pork roast with some veggies and beef stock and let it cook all day. This is still one of my favorite ways to cook just because it’s ready when I get home.
Next was tackling a number of Paleo recipes found at various sites around the internet. (Some of these are linked at the right.) Some of these dishes turned out great and some…not so great. But every experience was a lesson and no matter how bad it turned out I couldn’t wait to try something else.
You accomplish one task and move on to the next. You get the picture. In terms of Paleo it’s just adding more ways (or meats, veggies, spices) to do it. The more you learn, the more you want to learn. I’m still learning. I still have plans to try some exotic meats, experiment with spices I’m unfamiliar with, and try veggies I’ve never eaten before. Eating Paleo is not just healthier for you, but it can also be so delicious and so fun that looking back to the way you ate pre-Paleo will feel like a different lifetime.
The first time I came across Paleo it honestly freaked me out. I was reading about people actually out doing their own foraging (they even have clothing for this specific purpose!) and I found lists of equipment used to grind their own meat, make their own sausage, puree their own nut milks, etc. and that was just too much for me. The irony, of course, is that even just a couple of months in I’m already thinking along these lines. I’m not about to throw on a loincloth and go spear a wild boar or anything, but I’ve got friends who hunt and for $50 I can have a whole deer processed into any cuts I want. Of course I’m going to want some special equipment for something like that! But that’s a “want” and not a “need”. My point being that just because another Paleo person is roasting a whole pig on a spit in the back yard doesn’t mean that you can’t do paleo just because you can’t roast your own pig. But don’t be surprised if a few months into your Paleo journey you think, “Man, that would be COOL!”
Regardless of whether you’ve just set the goal to begin Paleo or have already started and find yourself struggling, I hope this post has helped to cut that elephant into bite-sized pieces for you.