Going Paleo: WEEK 2 Meal Plan

Week 1 Results

My first week of paleo is complete! I didn’t expect to see significant results, but I was pleasantly surprised that even 7 days could make a difference. Although I (stupidly) didn’t weigh myself before starting paleo, I could tell this morning that I appear to be significantly less “plump.” My face went from being round like the moon to being nice and angular, my arms look slimmer, my stomach is flat and light. I wasn’t chubby to begin with, but I definitely looked like I need some toning. After week 1, I would say I look like I’ve toned up quite a bit. I haven’t even started working out (other than light yoga), so I think the improvements is due entirely to paleo. I would say I lost between 2-3 lbs in week 1 (this is just an estimate since I didn’t weigh myself – won’t make that mistake next time!).

Week 1 Challenges

There were tough times, like when I craved sweets and breads and dairy, even though normally I barely have any sugar or milk. Sticking to my paleo meal plan really helped. It’s impossible to slip up when you know what you should be eating, have all the ingredients to make it, and no excuses not to.

Lunch can be hard if you don’t have last night’s leftovers. I assumed that I would find something “paleo” at the cafeteria at work, but that wasn’t always the case. Most of the time, there’s always a salad, but who wants to eat cold, flavorless salad every day for lunch? This week, I will try to plan lunches better.

The foods I missed the most were definitely carbs and starchy sides. I was so used to eating protein and carbs for dinner, that imagining a plate without a pile of pasta or mashed potatoes seemed impossible. Also, eating breakfast without bread. That’s a huge challenge for me. But I learned that there are many substitutes in the paleo world that can easily replace those foods with much healthier ingredients. For example, spaghetti squash and zucchinis are wonderful replacements for pasta. This week, I plan on baking paleo bread, which should help me with those situations when I just don’t know how to approach something without bread.

Eating out was another challenge. My boyfriend (not paleo) wanted some take-out and I spent about 40 minutes looking through the menus on GrubHub, trying to find something that would be acceptable as paleo. I found the only place that had relatively paleo-friendly foods was a Japanese hibachi restaurant. It wasn’t cheap, but it was delicious.

Favorite Meal

My favorite food from week 1 was the Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon – a hearty and delicious, french-y beef stew that happens to be very healthy.

Week 2 Meal Plan:

Saturday

Breakfast: Eggs with bacon and Paleo Bread

Lunch: Cucumber Sliders (cucumber slices with turkey, sliced cherry tomato, onion, and some dijon mustard in between)

Dinner: Man-Pleasing Chicken with Tomato Zucchini Noodles

Sunday

Lunch: Beef, Carrot, Sweet Potato Soup with Paleo Bread

Dinner: Pot Roast with Garlic Thyme Butternut Squash

Monday

Lunch: Leftover Beef, Carrot, Sweet Potato Soup w/ Paleo Bread

Dinner: Coconut Chicken Strips

Tuesday

Lunch: Cucumber Sliders (cucumber slices with turkey, sliced cherry tomato, onion, and some dijon mustard), hard boiled egg.

Dinner: Easy Chicken Spinach

Wednesday

Lunch: Turkey Wraps, Veggies, Hard Boiled Egg, Fruit, Nuts

Dinner: Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles

Thursday

Lunch: Turkey-Cucumber Roll-Ups

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash Carbonara With Chicken

Friday

Lunch: Leftovers Spaghetti Squash Carbonara With Chicken

Dinner: Kielbasa, Onion, Pepper, Potato Hash (replace potato with sweet potato!)

Why Marketers Should Consider Instagram

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Instagram has been gaining popularity in the past couple of years, and some businesses are beginning to take advantage of the app’s growing audience. A couple weeks ago I listened to one of Social Media Examiner’s Podcasts about marketing opportunities in Instagram. SME’s  Michael Steltzner interviewed Sue B. Zimmerman, a Cape Cod fashion boutique owner who successfully uses Instagram to draw business to her store. She also helps other businesses implement marketing strategies within Instagram.

Although Instagram is most effective for businesses that sell attractive, picture-ready products, Sue claims she could make any business successful. The photo app is perfect for showcasing employees, behind-the-scenes projects, inspirational quotes, and other content, even if no actual products are included in the images.

Why Businesses Should Use Instagram

It’s Trending

Many businesses can benefit from an Instagram account. Google Trends shows the growing online interest in the app since 2010:

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Google Trend for “Instagram” from 2010 to 2014

Growing Community

Instagram has over 150 million users who share about 55 million images daily! That is one engaged and consistent user base of potential followers. One of Instagram’s biggest appeals is that it’s predominantly mobile. It is very dynamic and allows for real-time content sharing. In addition, with 20 different filters almost any image can be turned into a photo masterpiece, making Instagram easy and fun for anyone.

Hashtags

Sue spent a lot time during the podcast talking about the marketing benefits of Instagram hashtags. People follow different hashtags that appeal to their interests, and businesses can identify the hashtags their target audience follows and incorporate those in their images. Common hashtags are adjectives that describe the image, brand name, or location. There are also several tools online that marketers can use to identify what hashtags they should be using, such as Tags For Likes and many others.

Analytics and Management

According to this Social Media Examiner list of Instagram tools, there are now several apps that help with the management of Instagram campaigns and offer additional features that the native Instagram app lacks. Marketers can now see what images received the most attention, generated most followers or comments. Some tools offer scheduling, so that you can plan your posts ahead. There are many marketing opportunities within Instagram thanks to these third-party apps, and I highly recommend reading this article and make use of them, whether you are marketing a business or your personal profile.

Top Social Media Trends From Mintel

Mintel, a London-based market research firm, recently came out with 5 top social media trends of this quarter, which are discussed in this article. Some of those trends have actually been trending for many months, even years now. However, their continuous success only reinforces them as good marketing strategies.Image

1. Find your niche.

You may be tempted to portray your business as the best, biggest, and most amazing at everything. But what matters is how much you can satisfy a niche market. A small group that is 100% satisfied is like a “cult” – they will be loyal, they will promote you, and they will share your message with their friends. They are the most dedicated fans a business can have.

2. Bloggers and Youtubers are great assets.

Mintel’s study suggests that blogging and Youtube are the best platforms for the beauty industry and DIY. This is great for marketers in that industry, because blogging is one of the easiest and fairly inexpensive ways to generate a loyal following of people who trust you, are willing to buy from you, and are willing to recommend you to their friends. You can have your own company blog that teachers reader how to do something, or you can find some successful bloggers in your field and do whatever it takes to get your product in their hands.

3. Need for Information-Driven Content

According to Mintel, customers tend to go to websites such as Amazon to do their pre-shopping research. This includes price comparisons, reviews, product photos and detailed descriptions. What marketers can learn from this trend is that customers want to be informed and empowered by knowledge when making purchasing decisions. You can provide this to your customers by including very detailed product descriptions, many photographs, reviews, and recommendations about your products. Give them everything you know about your product and they will be more likely to buy from you (as well as trust your business). 

4. Customer Involvement

Customers respond positively when given the opportunity to be involved in a company’s process. Whether you ask them to send you “selfies” of them wearing your product, or ask them to design your next packaging labels – customers become significantly more invested into your company. Some magazines publish their fan’s top tweets in every issue – something as little as that can generate a lot of conversations and good response on social media. Make your customers feel important and get them involved.

5. Add Personality to Your Social Accounts

Big companies seem more approachable and down-to-earth when customers see real people behind them. This is why allowing your employees be part of the social conversation usually results in more trust from the consumers. It is okay to let them post on the company’s behalf, or include work posts in their personal social media profiles. Of course this involves a certain level of risk, but when done correctly, has great results. 

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