Ok, so by now you’re probably asking yourself the following question,” Which foods are Paleo friendly, and which foods should I be avoiding?” Good question, we believe Paleo is one of the healthiest ways to eat on the planet. It’s based around avoiding processed foods, gluten, grains, soy, dairy, and legumes, and eating real, unprocessed foods.
Here’s a quick reference guide to what’s considered Paleo and what’s not. In general, a balanced Paleo diet includes foods high in protein and ﬁber not derived from grain products, and it excludes foods high in carbohydrates, reﬁned sugars and those that are heavily processed.
|Do Eat List||Do Not List|
|Beef||Legumes (including beans and peanuts)|
|Eggs||Sugary and caﬀeinated beverages|
|Nuts and seeds||Vegetable oil|
|Animal fats||Fast Foods|
Your Do’s & Dont’s for the next 30 “Paleo” days
Dairy is a controversial topic in the Paleo community. Technically speaking, if you’re strictly following the Paleo diet, dairy shouldn’t be consumed, as evidence shows that our ancestors didn’t have it aGer being breast‐fed as infants. Some types of dairy, like raw and fermented, are much better for you than others. More importantly is the fact that dairy has been known to cause inﬂammation in the gut among a large majority of the general population, and can be typically high in fat when over consumed. For these reasons, it’s out!
It’s been pounded into our brains since we ﬁrst sat at our childhood dinner tables: eat your veggies. Still, the typical Western diet is massively deﬁcient in plant‐derived nutrients.
Generally, vegetables are dense in ﬁber and essential vitamins and minerals and are thus a required part of a balanced Paleo diet. Balance is key here: vegetables, while essential, is best consumed alongside a variety of food groups. They, nor any other food group, cannot alone constitute a healthy diet. More than that, not all vegetables are created equal, nutrition‐wise. They are, however, delicious and provide tons of creative opportunities to diversify your diet!
Although mainstream nutrition claims that soy is basically a superfood, it does not ﬁt into the Paleo paradigm. Not only do they contain the anti‐nutrients that other legumes contain, like lectins and phytic acid, but are also frequently genetically modiﬁed. GMO soy has been linked to health problems like allergies, birth defects, and fertility issues. Beyond that, soy can also disrupt hormone levels and thyroid function. This is all to say that we do NOT recommend including soy in your diet.
Fruit: nature’s sugar. As such, it’s far preferable to reﬁned sugars and sugar products, but it’s also chock‐full of fructose and therefore meant to be consumed in moderation. Still, fruit makes the basis of some awesome Paleo desserts and snacks. Consume one to three servings of fruit a day and limit high‐sugar fruits to special indulgences. It’s also more beneﬁcial to consume fruits in their raw, unaltered form—but we love smoothies, too.
Gluten / Grains -Don’t
Gluten is a protein found in many grains that makes them chewy and stretchy — it’s also used in many processed foods as a thickening agent. Our bodies are not designed to digest Gluten, and because of this, it can cause various issues like inﬂammation, leaky gut, brain fog, and more. Gluten and similar grains are NOT included in the Paleo Diet.
Fats are the main energy source for the body and a vital part of the Paleo Diet. Consuming quality fats daily is critical for brain function, healthy skin and hair, immune function, healthy digestion, body temperature regulation, and aiding in the absorption of fat‐soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Healthy fats to include in your diet include coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Legumes are a category of food that includes foods such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and soybeans. On a strictly Paleo diet, legumes are to be avoided — just like dairy and grains. However, there is some gray area for those who don’t have trouble digesting them. They can be eaten if properly prepared, but it’s generally a good idea to leave them out of your regular diet as they don’t provide much nutrition and could cause problems.
While Paleo tends to lean towards being low‐carb, it is not strictly a low‐carb diet. Paleo includes many starchy, high‐carb foods, including sweet potatoes, squash, and yams. Some argue that eating even these Paleo‐friendly foods can be harmful by increasing your insulin resistance, while others advocate eating a moderate amount of starches to boost your mood, physical performance, and energy levels. We think that carbs deﬁnitely have a place in a
Paleo diet — with the amount depending on your activity level — most of which will come from fruits and vegetables.
Alcohol is a staple in global culture and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. You can maintain proper health while consuming a few drinks a week socially; however, alcohol has many downsides, especially if you have the speciﬁc goal of losing weight.
Dark Chocolate -Do
We’ve got great news — Chocolate is good for you. However, to get the most nutrition and health beneﬁts, it has to be 70% or higher cacao dark chocolate. This type of dark chocolate is high in Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Potassium, and Zinc, along with tons of antioxidants. This type of chocolate can help improve brain function, lower blood pressure, lower the risk of stroke, and a lot more. That doesn’t mean we recommend stuﬃng your face with it 24/7 — it’s best to eat in moderation.
Coffee – One a Day
Coﬀee has tons of health beneﬁts, including assisting in burning fat, decreasing the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and depression, and includes a signiﬁcant amount of antioxidants. However, the ﬂip side of coﬀee is that it also increases your level of cortisol (the stress hormone) and puts stress on your adrenal glands. It’s accepted on the Paleo Diet (Bulletproof Coﬀee is very popular in the Paleo community) but should be consumed with some discretion.
Salt — the right kind of salt — is good for you, and an essential nutrient. We recommend you choose sea salts or Himalayan pink salts, which naturally contain greater concentrations of essential trace minerals.
We love it. You love it. We all love it. Unfortunately, Sugar is a food that is minimized on Paleo. We recommend that as much as you can, stay away from the reﬁned sugar that’s found in most consumer food products. It’s time to cut the crap! The sugar from fruits is
acceptable – although you should be wary of your fructose intake. Reducing sugar intake is oGen a tough transition for those adopting the Paleo diet, as sugar interacts with your brain the same way addictive drugs do. It’s widely known that sugar can have the same eﬀect on the release of dopamine into the brain as cocaine does.
Protein is like a secret weapon when it comes to weight loss and another vital element of the Paleo Diet. Protein reduces your appetite and hunger levels, helps increase muscle mass, improve bone health, reduce cravings, lower blood pressure, and it speeds up your metabolism, making your body a more eﬃcient weight‐loss machine. Protein should be the size of your ﬁst and consumed with all main meals at least..
Nuts & Seeds -Do
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and antioxidants, making them a popular food for preventing heart disease and cancer. They’re popular amongst Paleo enthusiasts, although be wary of the anti‐nutrients in many types of nuts.