Taking our cues from the Paleolithic Era, you can develop a Paleo diet food list that is much healthier than what we eat today. It is time to return to real food, instead of franken-foods that most cause chronic diseases. It completely saved my health and could be the answer to your chronic struggles as well.
Back in the Paleolithic Era, people lived as nomads. They moved from one place to another, living only in small groups with temporary homes. To sustain themselves, they gathered plants and hunted animals. People who lived during the Paleolithic Era were known as hunter-gatherers. What they ate were only organic, all-natural food items such as meat, roots, fruits, and vegetables. They did not eat anything with high levels of preservatives, genetically-modified foods (GMOs) or sugar in them. They just ate what they could find!
With the help of modern-day experts, modern consumers realize that the food choices during the Paleolithic Era are necessary in obtaining longevity and optimal health. Through the natural Paleo Diet, you have the opportunity to normalize your body’s organ systems. Once everything is normal inside your body, you can avoid or eliminate diseases developed from the modern, processed food diet. It is not really about thinking it is “cool” to eat like a caveman, but instead realizing that when we eat these modern “creations” we are actually causing inflammation and chronic disease.
The Paleo Diet is not a weight loss fad, which only lasts for a short while. It is more of a lifestyle change in food choices from processed to all natural. Optimal health in modern humans can be obtained if they go back to consuming real food instead of the ones harvested from grocery aisles. The Paleo way of eating is not reverting to a caveman diet at all…but instead about making more informed choices about the fuel we give our bodies.
The main concepts in the Paleo diet are the following:
- Avoiding food items that contain grains, legumes, sugars, and toxins.
- Keeping away from “Frankenfoods” in grocery stores.
- Eating nourishing, whole, unprocessed foods, such as meat from animals, wild seafood, and fruits and vegetables.
Paleo eating concentrates on consuming nutrient-rich, organic, and sustainable foods. It is difficult not to eat the processed products you have been used to, but avoiding them can change your life.
Rules of the Paleo Diet:
Remember the following rules, if you want to stick to the Paleo Diet:
a) Follow the road map closely. There may be occasional indulgences or off-roading, but getting back on track is what is important. Make sure you avoid too much sugar, gluten, soy, and processed foods as best as you can. If you “cheat,” all the time, you are not giving your gut a change to repair itself and work efficiently.
b) Meals should be delicious. The only put off in diets is the concept of deprivation. You can be creative in creating delicious Paleo meals every single day. Sticking to the Paleo approach does not necessarily mean that you should just eat steamed broccoli and ground beef. Delicious Paleo meals make sticking to the diet more interesting and fun.
c) Keep it quick and simple. Make your Paleo food preparation sustainable and practical. You can use the modern conveniences of cooking tools and appliances in executing shortcuts in the kitchen. It does not have to be complicated and overwhelming at all.
d) Maintain the diet for at least a month. Because you will be removing a significant amount of sugar and processed carbohydrates from your diet, you may feel a bit sluggish (or even SICK!) during the first few weeks. If you are used to eating sweets and pasta, you may experience the “Paleo flu” and complain all the time. This is only a temporary thing. Just keep going and you will eventually feel better and healthier.
e) This diet is not a panacea. The Paleo Diet can most certainly help you improve your general health. Its main goal is for you to have more optimized wellness and health. It is not designed to make you look like a super model. It is designed to make you FEEL better and BE healthlier.
f) Be open to new recipes. Paleo eating does not confine you to the same dishes repeatedly. It may be restrictive during the first few weeks. In the end, you can be adventurous with all the natural food choices. Endless nourishment, variety, and flavors await you as you follow the Paleo Diet.
The best thing about the Paleo Diet is that you can formulate your meal plan based on your preferences and needs.
Paleo Diet Food List Visual Summary:
Paleo Diet Food List of What to Eat
Still wondering what you can eat when you are on the Paleo Diet? Get your shopping list ready! Remember the REAL foods you need to eat!
- Meats. Grass-fed animal sources: lamb and beef; organic turkey and chicken
- Seafood. Wild-caught: shellfish, haddock, trout, and salmon
- Eggs. Eggs rich in Omega-3, pastured eggs, free-range eggs
- Vegetables. Without inorganic pesticides or fertilizers: tomatoes, broccoli, onions, peppers, kale, and others
- Fruits. Blueberries, avocados, apples, oranges, pears, bananas, strawberries, and others
- Seeds and nuts. Sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, and others
- Tubers. Turnips, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and others
- Spices and salt. Rosemary, sea salt, turmeric, Himalayan salt, garlic
- Healthy Oils and Fats. Avocado oil, lard, olive oil, tallow, coconut oil
New Paleo Food Choices You Can Consider Eating
Because of the evolution in the Paleo community, the following foods may be considered in your menu:
- Bacon from pigs that are pasture-raised
- Non-gluten grains
- Grass-fed butter
- Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content (high quality, in small amounts)
- Red wine (high quality, with nutrients and antioxidants, in small amounts)
Hydration is important in the Paleo Diet. Water should be your main beverage. You can add some lemon to your water to flavor it naturally.
Also consider drinking black coffee (Americano, Espresso) and tea (without sugar: oolong, herbal, black, and green). These have antioxidants that help battle free radicals in your body.
Now that you are going to cook a Paleo meal, what spices and flavors can you use? Here they are some ideas:
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh onions
- Fresh lemongrass
- Fresh basil
- Fresh dill
- Dried mustard
- Dried dill
- Dried ginger
- Dried cumin
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
- Chili powder *
- Black pepper
- Red pepper*
- Fresh limes
- Fresh lemons
- Homemade salsa*
- Crushed tomatoes*
- Tomato paste*
* be careful with these this if you have autoimmune issues.
Why You Should Eat These during Your Paleo Diet:
You should understand the foods you can eat when you go Paleo. The most important thing to remember is keep everything free of chemicals and preservatives. The following are clear explanations as to why these foods should be included in your Paleo Diet:
As you know, the cave dwellers of the Paleolithic Era ate meat. The meat they ate was wild game which was free of hormones and other chemicals. Here are some of the meats you should eat during your Paleo Diet:
- Bison or Buffalo. This is leaner than beef. Bison or buffalo meat is not as widespread as cattle meat. It is not saturated with filler chemicals or hormones.
- Beef. A more primitive species of cattle might have been available to cavemen during the Paleolithic Era. Beef is readily available. You just have to make sure that what you get is not treated with chemicals or hormones.
- Chicken. Don’t worry. You can eat chicken wings, legs, breast, and thighs. Chicken breasts are sources of lean protein. It is a good staple for Paleo eaters.
- Lamb. Even if it is fattier, lamb is allowed in the Paleo Diet. You can eat it in chop or shank form, which retains more flavor.
- Eggs. When Paleolithic cave dwellers chanced upon a nest, they ate eggs. Choose organic, free-range eggs. They may cost more, but they are healthier.
- Wild Game meat. This is the closest thing a Paleo eater like you can get to caveman eating. Paleolithic men hunted their meat sources. Wild game is free from antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals. They also eat fresh grass most of the time and grains are not included in their diet.
- Turkey. Roasted turkey breasts are better than lunchmeats, which are saturated with sodium and nitrates. Free-range turkey should be on top of your list.
- Pork. Modern times have pig meat in huge amounts. Meat from wild boar is a rare protein source, confined to hunting communities. Choose organic cuts of pork to adhere to your Paleo Diet.
Paleolithic cavemen also ate fish and seafood. Here are some seafood and fish you can include in your Paleo Diet. Here are some good examples:
- Bass. This species of fish was eaten by Paleolithic cave dwellers. It has Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Just watch the amount of bass that you eat because it is also rich in saturated fats.
- Lobster. You can eat this on occasion, since it is a bit expensive. You can dip it in ghee, made from grass-fed milk.
- Clams. A close relative of clams could have been harvested from the ocean by Paleolithic cavemen. You can have this as a regular source of protein in your Paleo meals.
- Salmon. Salmon has sufficient amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. You can have this regularly. Choose Alaskan salmon because it is wild-caught. It may cost a bit more, but it is worth it.
- Tilapia. This is a popular and delicious fish, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Whether it’s part of a home cooked meal or a restaurant prepared dish, tilapia is a good choice when you’re on a Paleo diet.
- Tuna- Canned tuna can be made into budget-friendly meals. Just make sure that you heck that the an does not list soy as an ingredient. Many of them have it.
3. Vegetables and Fruits
Paleolithic cavemen gathered fruits and vegetables for food. Below are some of the fruits and vegetables you can eat when you go Paleo. Here are some good examples:
- Apples. Apples have been consumed by man throughout history. You can most certainly include this in you Paleo diet. It is filled with minerals and vitamins, which help your body become healthier with every bite.
- Cucumbers. These are filled with water, so they are good for constant hydration. Include cucumbers in your salads or other Paleo dishes. You can also eat them raw.
- Bananas. This fruit is a staple in our house! If you want something sweet, try these! It is a handy source of potassium and other nutrients. You can eat this as a snack in between your Paleo meals.
- Plantains. These are a new favorite in the house. They can even be made into chips, “breads” or fried.
- Blackberries. These berries are close to the wild berries gathered by Stone Age men. They can grow on their own and they do not need to be cultivated at all. Blackberries have antioxidants, so include them on your grocery list.
- Asparagus. This is good with fish. You can steam it or grill it. You can even eat it raw.
- Beets. These are classified as a super food, rich in flavonoids. Paleolithic gatherers could have harvested these as well.
- Squash. Squash is tasty and versatile. You can include it in your Paleo menu on a regular basis.
4. Nuts, Seeds, and Healthy Fats
The Paleo Diet includes healthy fats. These fats, seeds, and nuts can be included in your Paleo meals and snacks. Here are some good examples:
- Butter. Butter can be allowed on most people’s Paleo diet (unless you have an autoimmune response to it!) Just be sure to find the most natural form of butter that you can. Opt for grass-fed butter. Ghee is clarified butter that just contains fats. It has no impurities, so it is ideal to use in a Paleo meal.
- Coconut oil. Only choose premium organic coconut oil. Avoid regular coconut oil that may still have impurities.
- Olive oil. This oil is readily available, but you should see to it that you get yourself a bottle of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Use it in cooking Paleo meals and preparing salads.
- Almonds. These nuts provide energy, sustenance, and nutrition. They help build muscle mass, too. Almonds really give Paleo meals a great boost. Make sure you get them when you buy groceries.
- Cashews. Choose raw cashews and not the processed ones. The raw, unprocessed cashews do not have unhealthy fats and salts.
Paleo Diet Food List of What NOT to Eat:
It can be difficult to avoid some foods when you are following the Paleo Diet. Here are some foods you should avoid:
- High fructose corn syrup and refined sugar (table sugar, candy, soft drinks, ice cream, fruit juices, pastries, etc.)
- Legumes (lentils, beans, etc.)
- Dairy (low-fat and other products)
- Grains (spelt, barley, breads, pastas, wheat, rye, etc.)
- Trans Fats (processed foods, margarine; also known as partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils)
- Vegetable oils (safflower oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, etc.)
- Highly processed food items (low-fat an diet foods)
- Artificial sweeteners (Acesulfame potassium, Cyclamates, Sucralose, Saccharin, and Aspartame)
You can include “safe starch” in your Paleo Diet. Safe starch does not have protein toxins after it has been cooked normally. If you are diabetic, it is ideal for you to take in about 400 calories of safe starches (more glucose than fructose) every day. Add sweet potatoes, chestnuts, potatoes, squashes, lotus root, and cassava.
Probiotics are encouraged on the Paleo Diet. Probiotic foods are rich in good microorganisms, which help improve your digestion and immunity. Add kefir, yogurt, pickled vegetables, kombucha, and vinegar. This can help repair your gut from the damage of your old diet and keep you healthy.
Glycine helps detoxify your body. That is why it is included in the Paleo Diet. It targets the liver and eliminates the stored toxins in there. Glycine is also responsible for synthesizing antioxidants (uric acid and glutathione) in your body. It also helps you relax. Rich sources of glycine are the known “odd bits” of animals such as bone marrow, skin, organ meats, and miscellaneous parts.
Why You Should NOT Eat These during Your Paleo Diet:
Foods from cultivation or agriculture are not included in the Paleo purist menu. Because of developments in the Paleo community, certain foods are already allowed. Even so, these food items remain excluded from your Paleo Diet:
- Grains. You cannot eat grains or gluten when you are on a Paleo Diet. If you cut out the grains, such as wheat, you lose weight, you improve your digestion, and you gain more energy. (Here’s why.)
- Fast food. The food products from chains like McDonalds or Burger King are engineered to tantalize consumers. They are not natural at all and they do not give your body the right sustenance.
- Partially hydrogenated Oils. During the Paleolithic Era, oils were not kept on shelves for long periods. Hydrogenated oils do preserve foods, but they are unhealthy fats.
- Dairy. Most Paleo Dieters exclude dairy from the Paleo food list. (Here’s why.) It often triggers lactose intolerance in adult humans. According to strict Paleo purists, milk from other species of animals is not ideal to consume.
- Legumes. Phytic acid in legumes eliminated them from the Paleo food list. Phytic acid is known as an “anti-nutrient”. (Read more: What is Wrong with Legumes on a Whole30 or Paleo Diet?) It makes it difficult for other nutrients to be properly absorbed by your body. Legumes are not that nutritious at all. Therefore, even if legumes negate other nutrients, they do not replace the lost nutrients at all.
- Sodas. Sodas are very high in artificial ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup. They also have empty carbohydrates and caffeine. It may be difficult for you to give up soda if it has been part of your daily diet. As you go on with your Paleo diet, you will eventually feel better.
- Artificial ingredients. Additives you should avoid are calcium sorbate, artificial colors, GMOs, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, potassium bromate, nitrates, saccharin, artificial sweeteners, and sorbic acid. These are all chemicals synthesized in laboratories. The Paleo Diet will not work if you eat these on a regular basis.
- Junk food. Stone Age men did not eat snacks filled with chemicals. Junk food does not have any nutrition at all and can cause severe inflammation in your body.
Indulge? Coffee, Alcohol, and Chocolate: Paleo Treats:
These three are the common indulgences of Paleo dieters:
- Chocolate. If you just cannot live without chocolate, it is best to choose those with 70% or more cocoa solids that are soy, dairy and gluten-free.
- Coffee. Drink decaffeinated coffee. It has a more limited amount of caffeine than regular coffee. Swiss water processed and naturally decaffeinated coffees are your best choices.
- Alcohol. Most beer brands have grain residue and proteins during their fermentation. Choose gluten-free beers. If you want to indulge in wine, red wine is best. It has resveratrol, which is an antioxidant. You can also enjoy pure spirits because they do not have added sugar or grains. Just keep yourself from drinking sugared cocktails.
Going on a Paleo Diet is a good decision. It changes my life!!! Once you get used to it, you will reap the benefits of a healthier, more energetic body with less inflammation.
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