The “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of a Paleo Diet

So, you’ve decided to follow the Paleo?

There will certainly be changes at your dinner table. No worries though.
The Paleo diet isn’t that strict. In fact, the range of Paleo-friendly products is very broad. Grass-fed meat, fish and other seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and healthy oils form the basis of this diet.

You should, however, avoid eating grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, refined vegetable oils and overly salty foods.

Do’s

  • Grass-fed meats
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Healthy oils

Don’ts

  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Refined sugar
  • Overly salty and processed foods
  • Refined oils

Do’s

Grass-fed meats

Provide you with protein you need throughout the day. The important thing is to get your meat from animals that have been eating healthy.

  • Bacon
  • Beef jerky
  • Buffalo
  • Chicken
  • Eggs (duck, chicken, or goose)
  • Goat
  • Goose
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Lamb chops
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Steak
  • Turkey
  • Turtle
  • Veal
  • Ground beef

Fish

Acts as a great source of the micronutrients that are necessary for proper brain function.

  • Bass
  • Halibut
  • Mackerel
  • Red snapper
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Cod
  • Anchovies
  • Sunfish
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Walleye
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Flounder

Shellfish

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Shellfish meals are very filling and won’t leave you feeling hungry.

  • Crab
  • Crawfish
  • Crayfish
  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Lobster
  • Scallops
  • Oysters

Fruits

Vitamins. Enough said. Fruits are naturally sweet and refreshing. You simply can’t do without them.

  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple guava
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon

Vegetables

Another great source of vitamins, as well as fiber, minerals and nutrients. Vegetables make every meal complete.

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potato
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Green onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Onion

Nuts & Seeds

Contain a good balance of calories and essential amino acids. Good to eat raw.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

Healthy oils

Healthy oils contain saturated fats that don’t contribute to weight gain. Oils are a necessary ingredient if you like healthy fried food.

  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Walnut oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Olive oil
  • Flaxseed oil

Extra flavors

The paleo diet would be too boring to stick to if it didn’t let you spice things up a bit. There are many paleo-friendly ingredients that add flavor to your meals.

  • Tomato paste
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Fresh onion and/or garlic
  • Fresh dill, basil, or lemongrass
  • Dried dill, basil, oregano, cumin, ginger, adobo, curry, mustard
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Chili pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Montreal Seasoning
  • Fresh lemon or limes

Don’ts

Grains

  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Cereals
  • Corn
  • Crackers
  • Cream of wheat
  • English muffins
  • Fettuccini
  • Hash browns
  • Lasagne
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Sandwiches
  • Toast
  • Triscuits
  • Wheat

Dairy

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Dairy spreads
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Whole milk
  • Ice milk
  • Low fat milk
  • Non-fat dairy creamer
  • Pudding
  • Skim milk
  • Yogurt

Legumes

  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Lupins
  • Mesquite
  • Miso
  • Peanut butter
  • Peas
  • Snowpeas
  • Soybeans, soybean products and derivatives
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Tofu
  • Peanuts

Refined Sugar

  • Soft drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Energy drinks
  • Sweets

Salty and processed foods

  • French fries
  • Ketchup
  • Hot dogs
  • Snacks

Refined oils

  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Margarine
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Partially hydrogenated oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Trans fats
  • Vegetable shortening

Paleo Grains Alternative: If You Love It – Let It Go

Grains might be the hardest to remove from your everyday diet, and they make up a large part of the list of foods that those who go paleo need to avoid. The main problem with grains is gluten, a compound that can negatively affect the digestive system. But don’t worry: there are many possible grain substitutes to make your paleo life easier.

You may find these links helpful:

  1. 5 Reasons Grains Are Not Your Friends
  2. Paleo Guide to Grains
  3. 6 Healthy Ways To Replace The Grains In Your Diet
  4. 10 Smart Grain & Sandwich Substitutes

Paleo Dairy Substitutes: Got Milk?

You might think that abandoning the milk is complete nonsense, but the fact is that removing lactose from your diet is beneficial. This complex sugar is not well tolerated by a great many adults. Dairy also causes an increase in insulin levels. Fortunately, there are many options to keep you happy and healthy without dairy.

Check these links for more information:

  1. Milk Substitute for the Paleo Diet
  2. Questions About Milk
  3. 31+ Recipes for Dairy Alternatives

Paleo-friendly legumes and beans replacements

There is much debate about whether some types of beans can be included in the paleo diet plan. On the negative side, legumes contain lectin, which can interfere with the hormonal and immune systems. Peas and green beans are good to go, provided that you don’t have any immune or digestive issues. But as with grains and dairy, there are many possible replacements.

Links that might interest you:

  1. 10 Reasons to Avoid Eating Legumes
  2. Paleo incorrect: legumes are not antinutrients
  3. 49 of The Best Paleo Chili Recipes

Life sweetener. Paleo sugar substitutes

We need to clarify this one. You don’t have to avoid sugar completely. Most of us like to treat ourselves to something sweet every now and then, but the key things to keep in mind here are moderation and the source of sugar. Raw honey, coconut milk and whole fruits are all OK. Still, eating too much of this stuff will spike your blood sugar level just as fast as unhealthy sweet drinks and candies, so choose carefully.

Check out these links to learn more:

  1. Best Paleo Sweeteners
  2. Paleo Guide to Natural Sweeteners: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  3. 12 Painless Ways to Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet
  4. The Best Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free And Dairy-Free Desserts

Paleo-friendly oils

Certain oils are good to use in paleo diet, especially grape seed, palm, olive, avocado, coconut and sesame oils. On the other hand, avoid wheat germ, soybean, peanut, rice bran, cottonseed and corn oils, which are high in omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can be unhealthy.

More info on this topic:

  1. Healthy Oils
  2. Best oils to cook on a Paleo Diet
  3. Cooking Oils, Mushrooms, And The Paleo Diet

Salt on The Paleo Diet

It’s better to avoid iodized salt in favor of sea salt instead when on the paleo diet. Sea salt requires less processing, which makes it more paleo friendly. Once again, it’s a matter of moderation. As salt in general wasn’t common in the original Paleolithic diet, you should have as little as possible of it on your paleo diet food list.

Make sure to look through these links:

  1. Salt: One of your best friends on the Paleo diet
  2. Shaking Up The Salt Myth: Healthy Salt Recommendations
  3. The Amazing Benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt

Things that make Paleo Diet better

Veggies

Vegetables serve as an endless source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They do great job of filling you up. Veggies don’t spike your insulin level or upset the acid-base balance.

Nuts, seeds, olive oil

The nutrients contained in these foods are essential to human health because of their anti-inflammatory properties. They promote healthy blood flow and help to maintain the proper ratios of omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids.

Grass-fed meat

Grazing animals evolved to eat grasses, not corn, so grass-fed meat is the most natural meat you can get. It’s meat from animals that were raised on what they’re supposed to eat. Also, no growth hormones or antibiotics. No conventionally raised meat can be as healthy as this.

You’ll find more useful information here:

  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables
  2. Which Nuts Are Best?
  3. What You Didn’t Know About Grass Fed Meat

Paleo Diet Case Studies

People go on a diet for various reasons. One of the most popular is, of course, weight loss. The paleo diet has proved to be quite helpful in this case. Studies show that the paleo diet can be more than twice as effective in shedding pounds than a traditional low-fat diet. It’s also been proved that the paleo diet is better for improving cholesterol profiles.

Now let’s dive into the most interesting case studies regarding paleo diet:

  1. Long Term Scientific Verification Of The Paleo Diet
  2. The Paleo Diet and the Case for Primal Living
  3. Long-Term Study on the Paleo Diet: The Results
  4. Paleolithic Diet