Eating Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix

Hi, I’m Erin. Eating Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix is kinda my thing.

My health journey began in October 2014 when I went “all in” for my health. I started the 21 Day Fix program with Shakeology and decided to go Paleo at the same time. Talk about taking a leap, right?

I’ve been doing them all together since then with amazing results… I lost 20 lbs in about 6 months and have kept it off to this day (that’s kept it off for over a year as of the writing of this post). I’m in the best shape of my life physically, mentally and spiritually. The many nagging symptoms of my thyroid disease and nearly all of the digestive problems I was suffering through due to my multiple food sensitivities are GONE. Without medication! All through proper nutrition and exercise.

Eating Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix helped me lose 20 pounds and keep it off

I will never know what exactly did it. Was it more the Paleo diet? Was it more the 21 Day Fix program? Was Shakeology the missing piece I needed all along? It’s too hard to tell. I like to think of it this way… those three components came together to give me the perfect recipe for success. That’s my magic formula. My sweet spot. My body responded and everything in my life improved. Everything. So I’m not questioning it and I am darn sure not changing it!

For those of you who don’t know, the 21 Day Fix is a program of 30 minute daily workouts and a simple but explicit nutrition guide. You’ve probably seen the 21 Day Fix color coded portion control containers online. You can learn more about the 21 Day Fix program, read my full review and see my results here.

And while we’re at it, Shakeology is an all-natural, superfood-packed meal replacement shake. I have mine for breakfast everyday with a cup of coffee. You can read my love letter to Shakeology over here.

So how do you eat Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix? I’m glad you asked!

Eating Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix How To Guide

 

To begin, it’s important to understand what foods are considered “Paleo” in the first place. You can look all over the internet and read different books on the subject (I read and recommend “It Starts With Food” by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig) and you’ll find that the definition of Paleo can vary depending upon who you ask.

I’m actually OK with that because I believe in bio-individuality. Every body is different and foods affect every body differently. There is no one “right” answer. There is no one “right” definition of Paleo.

But for my purposes, Paleo means GRAIN FREE, DAIRY FREE and LEGUME FREE.

 

Eating paleo while on the 21 Day Fix how to guide

 

The 21 Day Fix eating plan comes with food lists that list out the foods meant to be eaten for each colored container.

  • Green = Veggies
  • Purple = Fruits
  • Red = Proteins
  • Yellow = Carbs
  • Blue = Healthy Fats
  • Orange = Seeds & Dressing

So to eat Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix you just go through those color coded lists and DITCH THE GRAINS, DAIRY and LEGUMES. Pretty simple, right?

The color coded containers really push you to eat whole foods rather than processed crap anyway, and that is what Paleo is all about too. When you eat simple foods straight from nature (like vegetables, fruits, protein, nuts and seeds) it’s easy to figure out what container they go in.

GRAIN FREE

Heads up! Grain free is broader than gluten free, so don’t think you can pull a fast one! Grains are not just wheat, but also include rice, corn, all your cereal grains, all forms of bread or baked goods. That stuff has to GO if you’re eating Paleo on the 21 Day Fix. That wipes out almost all of the Yellow/Carbs foods.

To go grain free on the 21 Day Fix DITCH these foods, go ahead and cross them right off the list that comes with your 21 Day Fix:

  • quinoa (Yellow)
  • brown rice (Yellow)
  • wild rice (Yellow)
  • corn on the cob (Yellow)
  • amaranth (Yellow)
  • millet (Yellow)
  • buckwheat (Yellow)
  • barley (Yellow)
  • bulgur (Yellow)
  • oatmeal, steel-cut (Yellow)
  • oatmeal, rolled (Yellow)
  • hominy (Yellow)
  • pasta (Yellow)
  • couscous (Yellow)
  • crackers (Yellow)
  • cereal (Yellow)
  • bread (Yellow)
  • pita bread (Yellow)
  • waffles (Yellow)
  • pancakes (Yellow)
  • english muffin (Yellow)
  • bagel (Yellow)
  • tortilla (wheat or corn)
  • masa flour or cornmeal

Goodbye grains! No more empty carbs on this plan. The Yellow/Carbs list is vastly different for those of us eating Paleo. It is a much shorter and more wholesome list of grain free paleo-friendly carbs.

You will note there are peas on the carbs list. I have a confession to make about peas. I think of peas as tiny green sweet veggie balls. I eat peas in two recipes that are in constant rotation in my house, I’ve been eating them weekly throughout this whole journey. Come to find out when making this blog post, peas have been on the Carbs/Yellow Container List this whole time. OOPS!

In hindsight I’m not surprised, peas are carb-y because they are so sweet. The real forehead slap moment for me was in researching whether peas are considered Paleo. The short answer: botanically they are legumes and thus not Paleo, however most Paleo people think peas are way better than other legumes and allow them on the paleo diet. So there you have it. Peas are permitted in my Paleo 21 Day Fix and are to be treated as a Yellow. Aren’t you glad I figured this out for you?!

Eating Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix Carbs Yellow Container

DAIRY FREE

All dairy is off limits for Paleo. No milk, no cream, no coffee creamer, no cream cheese, no cheese, no butter, no food products that contain dairy. Check your nutrition labels, dairy is often a sneaky ingredient added as a filler or thickener. Also stay away from health foods/protein supplements that contain whey, because why protein is derived from dairy.

For the record, eggs are not dairy. They might be in the dairy section of the supermarket, but that’s the only connection. Eggs are not vegan because they are derived from an animal, I think that’s what gets people mixed up. Rest assured, eggs are not dairy. Eggs are fair game and you’ll be eating lots of them if you’re eating Paleo.

To go dairy free on the 21 Day Fix DITCH these foods, go ahead and cross them right off the list that comes with your 21 Day Fix:

  • greek yogurt (Red)
  • yogurt (Red)
  • ricotta cheese (Red)
  • cottage cheese (Red)
  • protein powder containing whey (Red)
  • feta cheese (Blue)
  • goat cheese (Blue)
  • mozareela (Blue)
  • cheddar, provolone, jack cheese (Blue)
  • parmesan cheese (Blue)
  • cojita cheese (Blue)
  • oaxaca cheese (Blue)
  • queso fresco (Blue)
  • milk (special Yellow replacement permitted 2x per week)

When you ditch the dairy, you take a good chunk out of the Blue/Healthy fats list. What’s left on the Blue/Healthy Fats list after the removal of all that cheese? Good stuff only. The Blue/Healthy Fats list is considerably shorter paleo-style: avocado, raw nuts, and coconut milk.

Paleo 21 Day Fix Healthy Fat Blue Container Eating Paleo while on the 21 day fix

LEGUME FREE

Legumes (think lentils, beans, soy and peanuts) are not Paleo, so those come off the list too. You have to be especially careful with soy. That includes all of the soy products and variations like edemame, soy milk, tofu and all the processed foods that have soy lurking in the dark corners of the ingredient list.

To go legume free on the 21 Day Fix DITCH these foods, go ahead and cross them right toff the list that comes with your 21 Day Fix:

  • tempeh (Red)
  • tofu (Red)
  • protein powder containing soy (Red)
  • veggie burger (if it has soy or legumes and it probably does) (Red)
  • beans (kidney, black, garbanzo, white, lima, fava, pink, pigeon) (Yellow)
  • lentils (Yellow)
  • edamame (Yellow)
  • refried beans (Yellow)
  • hummus (Blue)
  • peanuts (Orange)
  • peanut butter (Teaspoon)
  • soy milk (special Yellow replacement permitted 2x per week)

Later legumes! I’m honestly not that sorry to see you go. You were always a poor substitute for real meat. Sorry (not sorry) vegetarians! This girl’s a proud carnivore! The only legumes I thought I might miss were hummus and peanut butter and happily I’ve found paleo-friendly alternatives for both! You can read more about my favorite paleo-friendly alternatives and substitutions here.

eatin paleo while on 21 day fix Paleo 21 Day Fix Proteins Red Container

I make these itemized lists to be explicit. I want to take the guess work out of it for you. It might seem like there is a lot of stuff you CAN’T have while eating Paleo on the 21 Day Fix, but it’s really not bad at all. I like to think of it more big picture than this list of “no no” foods.

Big picture is just 3 simple things: grain free, dairy free and legume free. That’s really all you need to keep in mind.

Eating Paleo is all about eating from nature, so there is an abundance of natural foods you CAN eat. All vegetables, fruits, animal proteins like meat, fish and eggs, potatoes, avocados, coconut, coconut milk, nuts and seeds, nut and seed oils and butters, nut and seed milks like almond milk, and an abundance of herbs & spices.

 

Paleo 21 Day Fix Fruits Purple Container

Paleo 21 Day Fix Seeds Orange ContainerHere is a little glimpse at what beautiful, delicious, healthy meals I’ve enjoyed while eating Paleo on the 21 Day Fix… You can see tons more in the Paleo tagged section of my blog.

/home2/lowcarbh/public html/wp content/uploads/2016/06/Low Carb High Party 21 Day Fix Paleo Recipes Collage

 

It is super simple to tweak the 21 Day Fix to work with a Paleo lifestyle. The main tweaks involve keeping an eye on your Yellow/Carbs and Blue/Healthy Fat containers in particular and making sure they are paleo-friendly. Since I was already eating low carb before going Paleo this was a really easy transition for me. Most of my Yellow containers are used for almond milk in my Shakeology smoothie or the occasional sweet potato or potato side dish. And of course wine. (More on that later!) My favorite ways to use my Blue/Healthy Fat container is definitely avocado and nuts.

As you can see from taking a look at some sample meals, eating Paleo is not just meat meat meat. In fact, it’s actually a LOT of vegetables! Get ready to explore the wonderful world of veggies! I’ve fallen in love. There are sooo versatile, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

Paleo 21 Day Fix Veggies Green Container

Paleo 21 Day Fix TeaspoonPaleo 21 Day Fix Free FoodsPaleo 21 Day Fix BeveragesSo it’s relatively simple, it looks good and it sounds good in theory… but you still have questions. Most people do! In fact, here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get on eating Paleo while on the 21 Day Fix:

FAQ

Q. What does Paleo mean?

A. “Paleo” is short for Paleolithic. It is a way of eating that mimics our ancestors, who suffered from fewer chronic diseases than modern populations. This way of eating is also sometimes called “Primal”, “Real Food”, “Whole Food” or “Ancestral”. The Paleo lifestyle is about eating whole foods that provide optimal, nutrient dense fuel for your body and avoiding processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods. Paleo people and myself included believe that the foods that are the best for the body are the foods that have always been food: wild-caught or properly raised animal products and seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Q. Why go Paleo in the first place? What are the health benefits?

A. I decided to go Paleo after learning of my many food sensitivities and reading the book It Starts With Food. According to the blood test I took through my doctor’s office, the foods I am most sensitive and reactive to include gluten and dairy. Plus I knew from two separate allergic reactions that soy really pushes my buttons. The Paleo way of eating seemed like the perfect fit since it omits everything that hurts me. The health benefits would be different for each person, but for me personally I saw a tremendous improvement in my digestive health, my skin cleared up, my hormones balanced out, my energy level and mood soared, inflammation dropped in my whole system and everything just started working as it was supposed to. You can read up on the health benefits of the Paleo lifestyle and the science behind it in this great article from the Paleo Diet Evolved.

Q. Why do I need to do the 21 Day Fix too, can’t I just eat Paleo?

A. You could just eat paleo, but you won’t necessarily lose weight that way. The 21 Day Fix adds the crucial element of portion control. The program tells you exactly how much of which types of food to eat. Many people who eat clean (myself included!) think they are doing well because they are eating the right foods but aren’t eating them in the right amounts. Too much of a good thing was a problem for me. My concept of portions was outrageously wrong and I had no clue. The 21 Day Fix trained my brain, stomach and eyes on what is the proper portion and proportion of the foods in my diet.

Q. How is doing the 21 Day Fix Paleo style different than doing a Whole 30?

A. Let me start by saying I have never done a Whole 30. I read the book It Starts With Food by the creators of the Whole 30 program and I was inspired to eat paleo style. But I didn’t want to commit to a full Whole 30 because it requires that you cut out coffee and alcohol, something I was unwilling to do. The other main difference is Whole 30 is about detoxing your system with a very strict 30 day nutrition plan and then reintroducing foods to see what your body can tolerate. The 21 Day Fix isn’t about detoxing your system so much as it is about setting you up for a lifestyle of healthy, portion controlled eating.

Q. Do I have to shop in specialty stores to find Paleo foods?

A. Nope! With the exception of Shakeology which comes in the mail, I’ve gotten my food from the same places I’ve always shopped: Publix, Sam’s Club and Trader Joe’s. True, I’m staying more on the perimeter of the grocery stores now, focusing on whole foods like produce and meat. I don’t need to go up and down the inner aisles as much since they are full of processed foods and those aren’t coming home with me.

I just so happen to have a Paleo Grocery Shopping Guide that explains what I buy, where and why. You can check out my full post on How to Paleo Grocery Shop over here.

How to paleo grocery shop for eating paleo on the 21 day fix

 

Q. What if I miss a day or eat something that’s not Paleo approved?

A. It happens to the best of us. Don’t sweat it. Just get right back on the horse! You don’t have to be as strict or think that you would have to start over for one slip up. That would matter a bit more if you are doing a Whole 30 for detox purposes, but on the 21 Day Fix Paleo style you are just eating cleaner in the right amounts and don’t have to stress about being 100% strict. I’ve never been 100% strict with it, I don’t think it’s practical or sustainable. I’ve been eating paleo while on the 21 Day Fix this whole time following the 80/20 approach. 80% of the time I am “ON” and 20% of the time I’m more lax. You have to leave a little room for exceptions and for life to happen.

Q. Is Shakeology Paleo?

A. No, but it’s close. Shakeology has a Vegan formula (Vegan Chocolate is my favorite flavor! Vegan Tropical Strawberry is available too) which is pretty rare to find in the market. Almost every meal replacement product out there gets its protein from whey (dairy) or soy (legumes) and is packed will all kinds of processed and artificial ingredients. Shakeology aligns with the Paleo philosophy because it is all natural. No artificial anything. I love that. The Shakeology Vegan formula is dairy free, soy free and gluten free. There are gluten free grains like quinoa and amaranth in the mix, so it’s not fully grain free and therefore not fully Paleo. But it’s pretty dang close.

Want to do this with my help, with the full 21 Day Fix program (daily workouts and Shakeology) and with the support of my online fitness challenge group where you’ll have daily coaching from me, daily motivation and accountability, access to my favorite meal plans and the opportunity to ask me questions as you go? Then join the party! You’re invited! I run private online fitness challenge groups every month. Click the banner below to register for my next group.

Eating Paleo while on 21 Day Fix I want in

If you already have a Beachbody coach that you are currently working with, or if you are already a coach outside of the Arrow Girls Tribe, you are unfortunately not eligible to join my challenge groups. But please feel free to connect with me here, on Instagram, and on Facebook for more Paleo 21 Day Fix inspiration! 

Paleo 21 Day Fix Meatless Italian Salad

Paleo 21 Day Fix Meatless Italian Salad

My Paleo 21 Day Fix Salad today is notably meatless but still totally satisfying thanks to some Italian flavors.

Paleo 21 Day Fix Meatless Italian Salad

  • Spinach, celery, carrots, cucumber and sprouts (2 Green).
  • 2 Hardboiled Eggs… although I ate some while plating cuz I was HUNGRY lol (1 Red)
  • Pinenuts (1/2 Orange)
  • Crazy homemade dressing I whipped up using Trader Joe’s roasted eggplant and garlic spread (think hummus like texture), with some white wine vinegar and a little EVOO, salt & pepper (1/2 Orange)

 

21 Day Fix Sweet and Tangy Brussel Sprout Salad

21 Day Fix Sweet and Tangy Brussel Sprout Salad

Since I’m focusing on nutrition going into April with a twisted knee I figured why not really GO FOR IT. I’m committing to Shakeology everyday (my secret weapon), a stricter 90/10 paleo (instead of my usual 80/20), 21 Day Fix portion control containers (they haven’t failed me yet) and adding some VARIETY to my diet.

Publix had shaved brussel sprouts in a ready-to-go bag, so I scored that for some variety in my salad greens.

Publix had cute little red organic pears on sale, so I scored some of those for snacking, desserts and a salad topper today. I figured those bitter brussels needed some sweetening up. It’s a GOOD pairing!

The preferred deli meat of my husband is turkey, but I decided to mix it up this time and get myself some baked ham. The sweetness of the ham is helping out the brussels too.

I’m normally a balsamic vinegar afficionado but I decided to add some extra tang by using Apple Cider Vinegar in my homemade dressing instead. Homemade vinaigrette: 2 tsp dijon, 2 tsp ACV, 1 tsp EVOO, a pencil eraser size of honey, S&P (I’m counting it as 1 Tsp and pretending the honey is not there… not sure how to count such a tiny amount)

At the last minute I added some diced walnuts for crunch and a little more sweetness. That’s not anything new or adding variety, it’s just yummy! (1 Blue container)

Anybody else working on adding some VARIETY into your healthy eating today too?! Share what’s new, I’d love the inspiration and ideas!

21 Day Fix Sweet & Tangy Brussel Sprout Salad

  • shaved brussel sprouts (2 Greens)
  • 1 small red organic pear (1 Purple)
  • sprial sliced deli ham (1 Red)
  • homemade tangy vinaigrette (1 Tsp)
  • diced walnuts (1 Blue)

Grown up school lunch paleo style

 grown up school lunch paleo style

Today’s lunch is reminding me of my school days. Mom used to pack me turkey sandwiches and carrots in my lunchbox growing up.

This is my grown up school lunch paleo style: turkey lettuce wraps with dijon mustard, paleo hummus and “snack sticks” (aka veggies cut for dipping).

On the 21 Day Fix this grown up school lunch paleo style is: 1 Red, 1 Blue and about 1-1.5 Green.

The paleo hummus is a delicious blend of roasted bell pepper, cashews, tahini, garlic, coconut milk, lemon juice, EVOO and spices. I don’t bother to soak my cashews first and play around with the spice blend to suit my mood, but the bones of the recipe came from a great paleo blog I follow, Meatified. The full no-bean paleo hummus recipe is here.

So satisfying and somewhat nostalgic, this throwback school lunch got me in the mood for reading and lectures and growth. I always did love school! Straight A’s and teacher’s pet all the way! I STILL love to learn today.

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” -Leonardo Da Vinci

Go forth and fuel your bodies and your minds, friends!

Easy Paleo Curry

You are going to love how simple this Easy Paleo Curry recipe is! The secret to keeping it so easy is to take a little help from the store where you can get it. easy paleo curry

Trader Joe’s has several pre-made curry sauces that do the hard part for you. The spices and flavors are JUST right. The sauce is ready to heat. You can’t mess it up!

Normally I am a make-your-own sauce kind of girl because I can’t find any pre-made sauces that pass muster when I read the nutrition label. These sauces are the exception, not the rule. The ingredient list for two of the Trader Joe’s curry sauces are actually pretty clean and paleo friendly. The others have lurking dairy and soy that I typically stay away from.

The winners (That Red Curry Sauce and Curry Simmer Sauce) have earned their place into the weekly meal rotation at our house. You can’t beat easy and delicious. We serve it with lots of chicken, green beans and peas. We like to use frozen green beans and peas since all the prep work is done and you can just drop it into a pot. So simple!

Easy Paleo Curry Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • Spice Blend (Chinese Five Spice, Curry Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Ground Cumin, Tumeric, Paprika, Cilantro)
  • Ghee
  • 1 Bottle of Trader Joe’s Curry Sauce of Choice (either Thai Red Curry Sauce or Curry Simmer Sauce)
  • Fresh Cilantro (optional)
  • 1 lb. Bag of Frozen Green Beans
  • 1-1.5 cup Frozen Green Peas

Easy Paleo Curry Instructions

  1. In a large skilled or Dutch oven, melt the ghee over medium heat.
  2. While the ghee is melting, cut you chicken breasts into bite size pieces.
  3. Season your chicken breasts with the Spice Blend to your taste.easy paleo curry recipe
  4. Toss the bite size chicken pieces in the Spice Blend until you have an even coating. The chicken will take on an orange color from the Spice Blend.
  5. The ghee should be melted by now, add the chicken to the melted ghee and sautee for a few minutes, flipping the chicken over halfway through.Easy paleo curry recipe add spice rubbed chicken to your skillet of melted ghee
  6. Your objective is to get a sear on all sides of the chicken to lock in the spices, not to fully cook the chicken. That comes later.easy paleo curry recipe seared chicken breast pieces
  7. After you’ve achieved a quick sear on your chicken and the outside of the chicken has become opaque then add the bottle of curry sauce to the skillet.
  8. Fill up the now empty bottle of curry sauce about half way with water, shake it up to get the clinging bits of sauce from the bottle, and pour the bottle of sauce leftovers/water into the skillet. Stir well to incorporate.easy paleo curry recipe add Trader Joe's sauce to skillet of chicken
  9. Now let everything simmer on the stove without a lid, stirring occasionally. Your chicken will cook through by simmering in the curry sauce.
  10. OPTIONAL: Add fresh cilantro if you’re feeling fancy and want to freshen things up. I think the fresh cilantro goes better with the Thai Red Curry Sauce, I don’t bother with it for the Curry Simmer Sauce.easy paleo curry chicken in Trader Joe's simmer sauce with fresh cilantro
  11. After the chicken has been simmering in the curry sauce for about 20 minutes, bring a large pot of water to a boil.easy paleo curry recipe
  12. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, add the green beans and cook until tender.easy paleo curry recipe
  13. Add the peas to the green beans pot and cook until tender.
  14. Once cooked to desired tenderness, drain your green beans and peas in a collander.
  15. Add the green beans and peas into the curry and stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.
  16. Serve in bowls, there will be lots of saucy goodness that would be lost on a plate.easy paleo curry recipe

 

Some notes on how to serve this Easy Paleo Curry:

The more veggies you add, the more the curry moves into a pasta-like texture. I wanted to push it more in that direction and that’s when I decided to start adding peas. The peas give a sweetness which is a nice contrast to the heat of the curry sauce. The green beans definitely have a noodle feel about them that I really enjoy.

If you use less veggies and more sauce the curry takes on more of a stew-like texture.

If you are a rice person who can’t imagine eating Indian or Thai food without rice, I suggest serving this with cauliflower rice. Trader Joe’s has frozen riced cauliflower that I’ve been meaning to try with this curry. The ricing is already done for you! You don’t even have to bust out the food processor. The use of cauliflower rice with this curry would definitely soak up some of the moisture from the curry sauce and give a different texture.

Whichever texture you prefer, there will be LOTS of flavor!

The Curry Simmer Sauce has a beautiful Indian spiced flavor and is slightly more savory.

Trader Joe's Curry Simmer Sauce easy paleo curry

Trader Joe's Curry Simmer Sauce easy paleo curry

The Thai Red Curry Sauce has a brighter zing to it and has a smack of lemongrass.

Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce easy paleo curry

Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce easy paleo curry

I can’t decide which one I like more! I hope you’ll try them both and decide for yourself.

These Easy Paleo Curry sauces alone are worth the special trip to Trader Joe’s. They are most certainly a Low Carb High Party kitchen staple and my #1 and #2 picks on what to get at Trader Joe’s. To see what else I can’t live without from Trader Joe’s, check out my post on how to paleo grocery shop there.