Knowing which foods you can eat while implementing Paleo Diet will help you design your eating plan without too much of a hassle. Always remember to keep things simple when preparing a meal, use fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies and free range meat and eggs. The more complicated it is, the less Paleo it’s likely to be. By keeping it fresh and simple, you will be able to come up with a list of delicious combinations for your everyday Paleo meals. Here is a list of the foods that you can enjoy safely on Paleo diet:
Meat, poultry and eggs
You can eat as much meat and eggs as you wish but try to aim for products coming from animals that are grass-fed and pasture raised. It is not only a much kinder and more ethical way to consume meat products but they are also much higher in nutrients, because of the way they were raised and fed. At the least, steer clear of meats with preservatives and colour or flavour enhancers, particularly added nitrites, which are very toxic for the body. You can choose any of the following meats depending on your preferences:
- Game Meats (Deer, bear,pheasant, moose, elk, woodcock duck, rabbit, reindeer, wild turkey)
- Organ Meats
Fish and Seafood
Fish and Seafood are a backbone of paleo diet and a great source of high-quality proteins and healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids help to lower your risk of heart disease mainly by lowering triglycerides and fighting the inflammation. Always try to choose sustainable, wild fish and seafood when possible. All species are alright to eat but be conscious of mercury levels and ecological practices. Smaller fish like anchovies and sardines generally have less bio-accumulation of heavy metals and toxins, and high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Try to choose as many fish as you can with high omega-3 levels. Those include:
All veggies are acceptable and highly recommended, including sweet potatoes. Organic veggies are great. Local and organic is even better. The less transit time there is between the farm and you, the more nutrients the produce retains. Incorporate in your diet also some sea vegetables like wakame, kombu, and algae. They’re all great – rich in vitamins and rare minerals.
Most of your carbs on the Paleo Diet will come from fruits. Choose mostly fruits low in sugar like berries and keep high sugar fruit like bananas and mangos for days when you need a higher carbohydrate intake or after the workout. In general, fruit guidelines are the same as veggie guidelines. Organic and local are the best way to go. If you’re really trying to lose weight and you’re not active at all, limit your fruit intake to one or two pieces a day, as the carbs can add up quickly. You can have any whole fresh fruit (no juice), but in moderation (1-2 servings). The best fruits to choose from are berries, apples, apricots, watermelons and melons.
Nuts and seeds
All nuts are good, as well as the butters that are made from them. Also on this list are coconut flour and almond flour. They are nutritious but many nuts and seeds are high in Omega-6 fatty acids which can enhance inflammation, especially if eaten in high quantities and when your diet is not balanced by an equal amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in oily fish mentioned above such like salmon and sardines, eggs and leafy greens. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit nuts, and seeds to about 1 or 2 ounces per day, as nuts are very high in calories. Whenever possible, try to activate nuts and seeds by soaking and then dehydrating them back, which makes them easier to digest.
Spices and herbs
The more the better! If you can’t live without salt, use good quality sea salt or Celtic salt to get beneficial minerals and be sensible with it. The best paleo spices are cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, red paprika, chili powder, rosemary, and thyme. Buy the whole spice (cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, cumin seeds) and grind them yourself. If you want to grind seeds yourself, just use a cheap coffee grinder that you reserve only for spices. Use a microplane grater on larger things like cinnamon and nutmeg. Try to limit your salt intake by using more spices and be imaginative with your combinations!
First of all, eliminate any vegetable oil high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-6. Examples of those include corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil and grape seed oil.Butter is also safe on paleo diet, but if you are sensitive to dairy or you just want to be on the safe side, choose ghee. Ghee, or clarified butter, should not cause any problem because all milk derivates have been removed. You can make it yourself by slowly melting butter in a pan until you see the white parts fall to the bottom, and then straining it in cheesecloth to keep only the pure fat. Incorporate in your diet coconut oil, coconut milk and cream, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, fish oil and sesame seeds oil.
Mustard, fish good, quality vinegars such as Apple Cider or Balsamic Vinegar, home-made salad sauces based on nut oils, olive oil mayonnaise, low sugar tomato sauces and paste, anchovies, olives, gherkins, capers, salsas, and pestos – are all fine, just make sure no chemicals and preservatives are added. Look especially for starches and wheat that are sometimes used as a bulking ingredient and be cautious about sugar in any of its forms – glucose sucrose syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, cane sugar. Wheat free soy sauce such as Tamari and naturally derived oyster sauce are also good to use, but again make sure they are all natural and organic.
Baking on Paleo Diet can be a challenge but there is a number of ingredients you can use to get delicious, grain-free desserts. Use nut meals, coconut flour, tapioca and arrowroot flour, sweet potato flour, chestnut flour. Remember that all of these are still either high in carbohydrates or may contain high amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids, so use them in moderation.Pick one or more of your sweeteners from honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, date syrup, dates, fruit juice, and/or any other sweetener you prefer. The more important is limiting the total amount of sugar in your life, whether it comes from “natural” sources or not, so remember that a treat is a treat. For baking you can also use 100% cocoa powder, plus the darkest dark chocolate you can enjoy (the darker, the healthier; go for at least 85%). You can also substitute it with carob.
There is a number of drinks which you should avoid on paleo diet, including anything with added sugar. Even diet soda is off limits because it doesn’t supply essential nutrients, even if it doesn’t contain any added sugar. Fruit juice is a tricky drink. One hundred percent fruit juice doesn’t contain any added sugar, but it’s also has no fiber that whole fruit supplies. The entire dairy group is prohibited on the Paleo Diet, so you can’t drink cow’s milk either, but you can drink homemade almond milk or any other nut milk in place of conventional milk. You can also drink:
- Filtered or spring water
- Herbal tea
- Coconut water
- Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables
- Alcohol (all kinds)
- Caffeinated teas