Paleo Diet Basics for Beginners

July 20, 2018

As readers of this blog know, it’s primarily about life, love, and the Paleo diet. You’ve probably heard about this diet over the last few years because it has become a popular eating option for many. Not for vegetarians or vegans, the Paleo diet takes its cues from ancient times, when men killed their meals with clubs and drug their wives by their hair. Here is some basic info about this diet.

Basic Premise // The basic premise behind the Paleo diet is to mirror the diet our hunter-gatherer ancestors, the Paleolithic humans, had centuries ago. Rather than eat processed foods from the grocery store, cave humans gathered their foods in the wild. As such, that food was primarily meat and fish, as well as plant sources of nutrition that were not touched by anything other than nature. The reason why people believe it’s healthy to eat this way is simple. Our ancestors didn’t suffer from illness or obesity.

Many believe you can lose a tremendous amount of weight on the Paleo diet, and in some respects, it is also similar to the Atkins diet. The primary source of energy is protein, and you avoid carbohydrates and sugars like the plague. For those who keep up with diet and health news, you’ve likely heard of Author Nina Teicholz. Although she does not call out the Paleo diet specifically, Nina Teicholz does believe that meat and dairy have received a bad rap over the years and they should still be part of a healthy diet.

What You Can’t Eat // The Paleo diet is restrictive, but this isn’t a bad thing when you look at the list of foods to avoid. Those on the Paleo diet refuse foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar in them. This includes candy, fruit juice, ice cream, pastries, sodas, and table sugar among other items. You should also avoid grains on the Paleo diet, even whole grains, and don’t even think about eating beans, lentils, or other legumes. You can have low-fat dairy items, but you should never have full-fat dairy.

Paleo dieters also avoid bad fats. No corn, cottonseed, grape seed, safflower, soybean, or sunflower oils. No hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, including margarine and microwave popcorn among other processed foods. In fact, highly processed foods, especially those with the words “Diet” or “Low Fat” on the labels are a major no-no, as is artificial sweeteners, so it’s time to give up that diet soda habit. The bottom line is if the food is processed in a factory you shouldn’t eat it. Period.

What You Can Eat // So, what can you eat on the Paleo diet? A ton of yummy stuff, so don’t get discouraged just yet. If you are a meat eater, this diet is for you. As long as the meat is not processed, you can eat it, including beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey. The Paleo diet also calls for a ton of healthy seafood, including wild-caught haddock, salmon, shellfish, shrimp, and trout among other options. You can enjoy eggs for breakfast, as these are a part of a healthy Paleo diet routine, just choose free-range ones.

Speaking of breakfast, you can enjoy an omelet and hash browns. Tuber vegetables, those are potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and yams are allowed on the Paleo diet, as are veggies such as broccoli, carrots, kale, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Fresh fruits are encouraged, including apples, avocados, bananas, berries, oranges, and pears, and make sure you enjoy plenty of nuts and seeds. You can cook everything in healthy oils, such as EVOO, and you can season with natural spices.

That’s it! Now you know what cannot and can eat on the Paleo diet. Good luck on your health and weight-loss goals.

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I love hearing from all of you and greatly appreciate all your feedback and comments! xx Kristen