Are you following a paleo template and still not feeling great? Consuming real food is a very important component to any lifestyle, especially the paleo lifestyle. However, there are some things you may be doing wrong.

Here are 5 areas you may need to change to start feeling better while eating real food!

1. Eating Too many treats:  

surprised-baby-faceWhen converting yourself to the paleo lifestyle you want to get off of the “blood sugar rollercoaster” associated with eating large amounts of processed carbohydrates. This can keep you feeling irritable and moody between meals. Paleo “treats” are healthier alternatives to standard snacks and treats. However, they still contain added sweeteners that keep you craving more sweets. In order to start converting your body to burning more fat for energy, you want to stop reaching for these things for the first few weeks. You may have withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and nausea. However, this will pass as your body learns to pull from fat for energy, and not be dependent upon sugar.

Take away: Cut down on paleo treats, get your body use to being off sugar.

2. Not getting quality sleep:

In this day and age we are very distracted by screens…tv screens, iphone screens, and computer screens. We are also pulled in many different directions, as our lifestyles are busier and busier. Often times we forget to wind down at the end of the day. Therefore, even if we fall asleep, we are not getting good quality deep cycle sleep. Screen time right before bed can mess with your circadian rhythm, and make it so the sleep you are getting is not of good quality. One way to help is to get blue light blocking glasses, and wear them during the evening hours when you tend to be looking at screens. It is also important to cut down on screen viewing right before bed, and stick to reading a book, taking a bath, or doing some gentle stretching.

Take away: Wind down before bed and limit screen time so you can get better sleep quality.

3. Not eating enough (being too restrictive):

Eating paleo is not a diet. This may sound cliche and is heard quite often by the paleo community. However, often times when people switch to an ancestral way of eating, they do not get enough calories to nourish their body. Not getting enough calories can leave you feeling low in energy, sluggish, depressed, and can even slow down your metabolism. You want to eat until you are full, and not be afraid of portion sizes. Eating real food does not mean eating less food.

Take away: Eat enough to fuel your body, do not count or cut calories.

4. Stressing Out:

Stress plays a huge role in the health of the body. Stress affects how we digest our food, how we feel, our energy level, and all aspects of our health. We often hear about stress, but are unsure of how to cope with it or manage it. We can’t make the stressors of life go away, but we can take time out each day to nurture ourselves. When we do so, coping with stress can be easier. When is the last time you made yourself a priority? Making yourself a priority will make those around you happy as well, and will spill into all areas of your life!  Walking, gentle yoga, mindfulness, even personal “time outs” to reset your mindset are all helpful ways to give yourself some love. When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself that you are important. Make note of how you are feeling, and take a few deep breaths to refocus inward.  If this is something that does not come easy, put a note up reminding yourself to do so. Set a timer if you need to, even if you give yourself just a few minutes to take some deep breaths, and acknowledge how you are feeling.

Take away: Take time for yourself each day!

5. Not digesting:

You may have the perfect diet, but if you are not digesting well you are not getting the nutrients from those foods. The body needs to fully digest and assimilate food in order to get all the vitamins and minerals. This can leave you with low energy, digestive issues, and still feeling lousy. Digestion starts in the mouth! There are enzymes in our saliva that break down the sugars in food, and start to pre-digest it. It is important to chew your food thoroughly to help break it down before swallowing. You also want to be in a parasympathetic (relaxed) state while eating. In our rush-rush society we tend to eat standing up,  sitting in the car, or  end up wolfing our food down while focusing on other things. When the body is not relaxed, you are not digesting food properly. Do you feel bloated after meals? Many of us also do not produce enough stomach acid. Stress, alcohol consumption, processed foods, and over the counter drugs all contribute to low stomach acid. One gentle way to increase stomach acid production is to take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a little water about 15 minutes before each meal.

Take away: Relax when you eat and chew your food thoroughly.