A Paleo lifestyle is eating what our bodies were designed to eat.
“Modern humans should go back to eating real, whole unprocessed foods that are more healthful than harmful to our bodies”(Quote from Nom Nom Paleo)
The Paleo Diet generally follows the following Eat and Avoid Eating guidelines. However you will find some versions of the Paleo Diet to be more restrictive than others.
Meat (grass-fed and pastured preferred), seafood (wild caught and sustainable preferred), whole eggs (free range preferred), lots of vegetables (organic and from local produce preferred), some fruit, coconut oil, clarified butter, extra virgin olive oil, some nuts and seeds, spices and herbs.
Avoid Eating: Processed foods, added sugar real or artificial, alcohol, all grains including corn, legumes and beans including peanuts and soy, dairy, additives (such as carrageenan, MSG and sulfites). Soft drink and fruit juice beverages (just to spell them out).
Less Strict Versions Allow: Dark Chocolate (the darker the better), Coconut Sugar for Paleo Treats, Some Alcohol (Red Wine preferred), Full Fat Dairy (raw and unpasteurized preferred), some fruit juice as a sweetener. Some beans like snow peas that are more pod than bean.
For Athletes: Starchy Carbs like yams and sweet potatoes, wild rice, quinoa
Caffeine in the form of tea and coffee is generally accepted.
Links for further reading:
Dr Loren Cordain
Mark Sisson – Primal Blueprint (Paleo)
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig – Whole30/Whole9
- Eat lots of Meat, fish, poultry (fowl) and eggs. The bulk of dietary calories come from the saturated fat and protein. Dietary cholesterol is not the villain it’s made out to be. Eat the egg reds, it’s the best part.
- Try to get localised pasture-raised or certified organic but look out for misleading packaging and terms. If the meat is factory farmed go for the leanest cuts.
- Saturated fat is needed for energy, satiety, cell and hormone function. Protein is used for building blocks and building lean mass.
- Eat lots of vegetables, preferable locally grown, in season and organic. Vegetables are good for flavour, vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.
- Use healthy fats for cooking: animal fats, butter and virgin coconut oil. Eat avocados, coconut products, olives and olive oil (Extra Virgin is best but don’t cook it), almonds and Macadamia.
- Eat in moderation fruits and aim for those that are in season and high in antioxidants (berries and pitted fruits). You don’t need to worry about organic if you are going to peel the skin of the fruit example bananas and oranges.
- Less strict Paleo allows eating in moderation full cream (high fat) dairy as long as you are lactose tolerant. Avoid low-fat dairy for a few reasons such as it lacks the fat soluble vitamins that is in full cream milk. However milk does raise Insulin Growth Factor (IGF) levels and it is said that only growing mammals should drink milk.
- If you’re an Athlete that requires more carbohydrates than choose starchy tubers, sweet potatoes, quinoa and wild rice.
- Eat in moderation nuts and seeds. The less processed the better.
- Use herbs, spices and extracts for enhanced flavour and health benefits.
- Less strict Paleo allows taking supplements as insurance such as a good multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.
- Less strict Paleo allows a piece or two of the darkest chocolate you can get, a glass of red wine. Other high-fat treats like cheese.
- Avoid table sugar and high sugar foods and treats. High sugar diets leads to diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and increases stored body fat.
- Avoid grains most people are in some way allergic to grains and the carbohydrate content is high. Grains drive excess insulin production, fat storage, and heart disease. They are allergenic, immune-suppressing and nutritionally inferior to fruits, vegetables and meat. Whole grains are pro-inflammatory, immune and digestive disturbing agents with excessive fibre.
- Avoid Industrial and polyunsaturated oils (Vegetable oils, Canola oil and so on). They raise inflammation levels in the body and lead to other health issues.
- Avoid beans and legumes (and peanuts are legumes). Beans are not as bad as the other avoids however they tend to be too high in carbohydrates and need a lot of soaking to remove phytic acid. Some people are severely allergic to peanuts.
- Eat when you are hungry, it is okay to intermittenly fast. Avoid excessive snacking.