Day 1 of the 7-Day Paleo Challenge is always very exciting because everyone is enthused and motivated. Take advantage of this positive mindset and aim for the highest score possible (at least 10 points).
Back to 7-Day Challenge Home.
Here is your 10-point checklist for Monday:
Stick to paleo guidelines – 4 (this one is compulsory)
8 glasses of water – 1
No alcohol – 1
Include fish or seafood in one of your meals – 1
Include green vegetables in one of your meals – 1
Include fermented food – 1
30-minute workout of choice – 1
Meditate for 10 minutes – 1
Check in on Facebook or Instagram – 1
Cup of bone broth – 1
Sticking to paleo guidelines is the compulsory item in that list but you can choose between the remaining 9 items to make up the last 6 points for the day.
Day 1 is typically easy as you will be feeling very motivated and the cravings won’t start showing their ugly heads until tomorrow. If they do show up, have a cup of tea, a piece of fruit or munch on a carrot to keep them at bay.
Make sure to focus your meals on protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables. Eat until you’re full and avoid snacking if possible. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to help your body copy with some incoming detox symptoms.
Perfect dinner meals for today:
Fish & Seafood
Fish and seafood are a great source of protein and trace minerals that help to improve cognitive function and balance hormones. Oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel or anchovies and seaweeds are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain function and help reduce inflammation. Leafy greens and pasture-raised eggs are also good sources, if you don’t or can’t eat fish or seafood.
Choose any of the following: salmon (smoked, tinned or fresh), tuna (as salmon), mackerel, sardines, anchovies, cod, any other white fish, prawns/shrimp (frozen or fresh), anchovies, mussels, oysters, clams, squid/calamari, octopus, crab meat and so on.
Green vegetables, especially leafy greens, are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, vitamins and many minerals essential for optimal health and wellbeing. Kale, collard greens, watercress, broccoli and spinach are some of the densest foods on the plant, so I encourage you to emphasise those in your diet.
Choose one or more of the following: kale, collard greens, spinach, chard, silverbeet, rocket/arugula, watercress, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, zucchini, Asian greens, cucumber, avocado.
Try one of these green vegetable dishes:
Kale, chicken & apple salad
Brussels sprouts with cranberries & garlic
Braised collard greens with bacon
Broccoli & celery slaw
Broccoli soup with olive & nut pesto
Steamed broccoli with pan-fried garlic, olive oil and lemon
Cabbage salad or stir-fry
Rocket salad with cucumber
Fermented foods are great for your gut health and will provide your body with beneficial bacteria. Having a healthy, balanced gut flora is essential for a strong immune system, maintaining a healthy weight, healthy digestion, hormones, skin and even your mood.
If you can, include a small portion of one of these fermented foods: sauerkraut (unpasteurised, found in the refrigerated section), kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage), or other fermented vegetables (aim for ¼ to ½ cup); kombucha or water kefir fermented drinks (aim for 1 cup); coconut yoghurt (aim for ½ cup).
Bone broth is a great source of minerals and amino acids that help to heal your gut, boost nutrition, and keep your skin, hair and nails in top-notch condition. Ditch expensive anti-ageing creams and have a cup of bone broth instead.
In the U.S, try Kettle & Fire – they use organic ingredients and grass-fed beef, and their bone broth has a fantastic flavour. They’re also non-frozen and shelf stable, so you can store a few cartons in your pantry. You can buy their bone broth online AND if you use the promo code EATDRINKPALEO15, you’ll get 15% off your first order.
Depending on your fitness level, you can choose any kind of activity for this challenge: walking, running, cycling, swimming, yoga, hiking, boxing, pilates, rock climbing, dancing, gardening and so on.
The key is to keep moving a little bit every day, especially if you have a desk-bound job. When you think about evolution and our ancestors, the most striking difference is how little we move in comparison. Adding this challenge was important for me because I believe that movement is essential to well being and longevity.
Another difference between our current society and our ancestors is the amount of stress we get subjected to on a daily basis. While some acute stress is healthy and necessary in our life, it is the chronic stress (both mental and physical) that can cause some serious damage to our health.
There are many ways to manage stress from simple breathing techniques and avoiding the triggers in the first place, down to art therapy and daily mediation. You have to do what works for you but introducing a small meditation session into your daily routine can make a big difference in how you cope with stress. Give it a go, if you haven’t tried it before. I recommend an app called Headspace that provides a few free guided meditation sessions.