53 Tips for Eating Paleo – Paleo Diet Guidelines
Why should you eating Paleo like a caveman? Doesn’t it make more sense to use our modern farming practices and food manufacturing tools when you develop a healthy eating plan?
Humans living in the Paleolithic era didn’t have modern marvels like refrigeration, preservatives, many dairy foods and grain processing. It has been more than 2.5 million years since the Paleolithic period began.
Humans living in the final years of that era, which ended roughly 11,500 years ago, have been practicing smarter nutrition and eating practices than we do today.
As it turns out, they probably were.
Processed foods from 21st century
Your paleo ancestors did not benefit from the practices food manufacturers use today to keep food fresh as long as possible. In some cases, this means you are better off than early humans. Eat some bad fruit or meat and terrible things can happen.
Unfortunately, as processed food manufacturers strive to squeeze every dollar out of the products they sell, you and I are consistently eating more and more things that are more food-like than real food.
By the way, did you know to make most all food last longer than it naturally does, manufacturers remove a lot (or all) of the nutrition, vitamins and natural goodness that food contains. This is replaced with artificial preservatives, binders, unnecessary artificial flavors and other “junk” designed to make the food taste great and last longer on your grocer’s shelves.
This means that modern-day eating habits deliver little to no nutrition, and instead fill your body with things that should not be considered food, by a paleo-person or a modern-day human. This practice has caused a massive spike in the following health problems.
Modern nutrition in health and disease
Eating more like a typical modern human and less like a caveman automatically increases your risk of dying from anything because your immune system becomes damaged, and you are not getting the nutrition your body needs.
Nowadays people give into the temptation to eat fast, quick and processed foods. 2 out of every 3 Americans is at least overweight, and many are obese. Obesity is linked to a higher chance that you will die from coronary artery disease, kidney disease, gallbladder disorders, stroke, and diabetes.
Incidentally, things like heart disease and diabetes simply didn’t exist in the Paleolithic period of human history. They seemingly popped out of the blue and became common problems when humans started adopting food manufacturing and storing processes that removed the natural goodness from the things we eat.
The Benefits of Paleolithic Eating
When you choose to eat only those foods which were available to your paleo ancestors, you skip the nightmare side-effects of eating predominantly processed foods. You will be eating fresh, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish and other seafood, free-range and pasture-raised eggs, and plenty of vegetables. You’ll eat some nuts, seeds and fruit, and drink lots of water.
Most dairy products, like milk and cheese, are off-limits. Refined sugar is definitely out, and so is added salt. Processed grains and legumes are a no-no. Aside from better mental and physical health and well-being, you will experience more emotional balance. Your emotions are influenced by hormones and chemicals in your body which are in turn regulated by your diet.
For a lot of good reasons, including a longer and healthier life, weight loss, better skin and hair and a stronger brain, it makes sense to try the paleo diet on for size.
If you need a simple cheat sheet to make sure you are adhering to smart paleo eating practices, you have come to the right place. The following tips will help you get the most health benefits from this way of approaching mealtime.
Paleo Eating: Do’s and Don’ts
Stock up on eggs. Nutritionists consider the humble egg as a “perfect protein”. Eggs are full of so many nutrients your body needs, and they are versatile enough to fit into just about any meal. By the way, eat the whole egg. The egg white vs. egg yolk argument is pointless, and most of the nutritional goodness of an egg comes from the yoke.
2. Is spinach on the paleo diet?
Leafy greens are where it’s at. Women and men alike, and children as well, are not eating enough leafy greens current. Leafy greens are nutrient-dense and low in carbohydrates, and you can eat literally as much as you want on the paleo diet.
3. Is eating organ meat good for you?
4. What are good fats for Paleo?
Don’t forget the fat. Healthy fats are a big part of the paleo diet. Fat is an excellent fuel source, and we now know that the sugar industry led the vilifying of fat that began in the 1970s. Sugar makes you fat and unhealthy, fat does not.
5. How many carbs are allowed on paleo diet?
Stop worrying about ratios. Humans are incredibly adaptable. Because of this, you can be very healthy when eating high-protein meals one day and healthy high-carb meals the next. Approach the paleo path as being cyclical, continually cycling through healthy proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
6. Are Nuts and seeds OK for paleo diet?
Nuts and seeds are nutritionally dense, they deliver healthy fat you need for energy, and they make a great snack that can crush any unhealthy cravings you have.
7. What fruits and vegetables can I eat on Paleo?
All fruits and vegetables are not created the same. Shopping at farmers markets and organic food stores will almost always mean that you are getting your hands on healthier produce than if you shop at a big box grocery store.
8. Is the Paleo diet effective for weight loss?
Stop weighing yourself. Spend at least the first 30 days of your paleo transformation without hitting the scale. This is absolutely essential if you are eating this way for weight loss because it takes time for you to see and feel results.
9. Paleo substitutions
Get started simply by replacing one meal a day with a Paleo-friendly alternative. Do this for the first week. Then make two meals each day paleo-centric the second week, finally going full paleo in week three. Baby steps are sometimes easier to handle when dramatically changing your diet. Going cold turkey can be tough, so ease into your new eating habits.
10. Can you eat fruit on Paleo?
Yes, you can, but minimize the fruits. Healthy fruit is good for you, and certainly better than most of the foods in what is probably your current processed food eating plan. However, fruit carries a lot of natural sugar, so leave it to just 3 to 5 servings a week.
Eating lean meat is recommended, but don’t be scared of fatty meat. If you have verified the source of your meat and you know it has not been highly processed, that fat is probably good fat. Fat fills you up, and your body requires fat for proper health. (Source)
12. Paleo hunger busters
Don’t starve yourself. As long as you target the foods on a paleo-friendly foods list, you are going to find yourself possibly being hungrier than you are used to. Eat when you’re hungry, just eat the right things.
13. Can we trust a paleo diet?
Yes, Paleo Diet can be trusted 100% without any doubt. Trust the system. When you dramatically reduce the amount of garbage you are putting into your body, your body and mind may revolt. This is a good sign. It means you are adjusting to loving healthy food and hating bad food. Trust the process and give it time to work as your body detoxes.
14. How to deal with people’s negative comments?
Don’t worry about what other people are saying or eating if they don’t agree with you. You have done your research and seen the results of other paleolithic dieters. As you know this can work, so stick with it, and don’t worry about what other people are doing or saying.
15. What not to eat on the Paleo diet?
Don’t fall into the “just these 5 foods” Paleo eating trap. Experiment with new Paleo-friendly foods you’ve never tried before. The human body is healthiest when it receives a wide variety of foods, not
just a few, so expand your culinary horizons. (Source)
16. Paleo-friendly foods
Eat the rainbow. Seriously, nutritionists have noticed that when you eat foods that encompass all the colors of the rainbow, you have a better chance of getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into your body that it craves. (Source)
17. What do I eat for breakfast on Paleo?
Flip your menu plans! Why not enjoy a huge salad for breakfast each morning? You are not going to be eating those unhealthy cereal grains drowned in dairy milk for breakfast anymore. A huge salad with olive oil or coconut oil and accompanied by some protein, nuts, and seeds are a healthy way to start every day.
18. Is alcohol allowed on the Paleo diet?
Wine and whiskey are okay, but the beer is out. Beer is a wheat-based, gluten-based product, so it is off-limits.
19. Is herbal tea Paleo?
You can drink pretty much all the herbal teas you want. That doesn’t mean you’re allowed to fill your healthy herbal teas with unhealthy sweeteners and dairy products, however.
20. Is coffee considered Paleo?
Coffee is okay, but like herbal tea, you need to skip the unhealthy additives.
21. Is Dairy milk OK on Paleo diet?
If you have to replace dairy milk, do so with almond milk or coconut milk. Just remember to limit your consumption, because while these kinds of milk are indeed healthier than dairy milk, some of them pack a lot of carbohydrates per serving.
22. Why corn is NOT healthy or Paleo?
Did you know the human body was not designed to process corn properly? Corn is on the outs. (Source)
Catchup (ketchup) is out, unless you make your own with fresh tomatoes and no additives. The same is true with almost all tomato sauces. Mustard might be okay if no sugar is added.
24. What sauces are paleo friendly?
While we are talking about condiments, Tabasco and many other hot sauces are paleo-friendly. Just make sure to read their labels.
25. What is considered real food?
A simple rule of thumb for paleo eating success is to eat the freshest foods whenever possible. When you eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, and they go from the garden to your mouth with little time delayed, you receive the most natural nutrition, minerals, and vitamins that food offers. (Source)
26. Is It Better to Eat Veggies Raw or Cooked?
Raw beats cooked or lightly cooked trumps heavily cooked. Make sure you are eating plenty of fresh, raw vegetables, and make this the basis of your paleo eating plan. (Source)
27. How organic poultry fits into a paleo diet?
Don’t forget pasture-raised, organic poultry, including turkey, duck, and chicken. These healthy meats provide lots of protein and B vitamins, zinc and copper, and other wonderfully natural health boosters. Insist on hormone-free, free-range and GMO-free poultry only. (Source)
28. Is having a cheat day on the Paleo beneficial?
Yes, it is. Allow yourself a cheat meal each week, but not if you are going to beat yourself up about it. What’s really amazing about beginning to eat what your body was designed to eat is that you will eventually not crave foods which are bad for you. In the beginning, it’s okay to “cheat” every now and then. So live it up on your cheat meal, and burn it down the rest of the week. (Source)
29. What is Paleo fat?
Ghee, avocado oil, coconut oil, organic butter and bacon fat are healthy fats. They benefit your brain and provide vitamins like A, E, D and K. Additionally, fats support good hormonal health, they prevent depression and anxiety and keep your skin supple and healthy. (Source)
30. Why fermented foods are an essential part?
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir, pickled vegetables and kimchi get healthy bacteria into your gut. This forms the basis for a healthy digestive system. The probiotics that fermented foods offer have additionally been shown to boost mood and lower stress levels, while also strengthening the immune system. A small amount of fermented foods each day is recommended.
31. Can you eat olive oil on the Paleo diet?
Stock up on some extra virgin olive oil. Make sure you purchase a recognized brand. Olive oil can be used in many ways and is a healthy fat which supplies nutrients your body needs.
32. What are the basic rules of the Paleo meal?
Don’t be afraid to eat simple meals. Your meal doesn’t have to take all day to prepare and look like something out of a 5-star, world-class restaurant to be good for you. A piece of salmon accompanied by sautéed vegetables and drizzled with coconut oil or some other healthy fat is a simple meal that is incredibly good for your health.
33. Why are grass fed & wild-caught better for you?
Choose grass-fed when selecting meat, and wild-caught for seafood. Farm-raised seafood and meat products provided by big food manufacturing conglomerates are full of grains, steroids and other ingredients you don’t want in your body. (Source)
34. What can I replace grains with?
Almond and coconut flours are effective and healthy replacements for wheat grains and white flour.
35. Are spices and herbs allowed on the Paleo diet?
Pepper, spices, and herbs are all recommended to spice up the flavor of your foods, as long as they are not highly processed. Oregano, parsley, coriander, cinnamon, crushed red pepper flakes and other spices and herbs have also received the thumbs-up from the paleo diet plan. (Source)
36. What are the health benefits of taking turmeric?
Turmeric is an incredible inflammation fighter. Did you know that when you add black pepper to turmeric it improves the bio-availability of that spice by 20 times? Adding turmeric and black pepper to any number of dishes, salads or soups can instantly make your Paleo-powered meals healthier.
37. Is Garlic Powder Paleo?
Yes, garlic powder is a paleo-friendly spice that has a unique flavor. A little bit of garlic powder can enhance the flavor of many foods. Garlic cloves are also paleo-approved, and this natural healer has been used for thousands of years to lower blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
38. Is ground cumin good for weight loss?
Cumin seeds are common in Latin, Mexican and Indian recipes. The cumin powder found in just about any grocery store can add an exotic spice to your foods. Just a pinch of ground cumin provides a big flavor boost, and this spice promotes healthy digestion, is a rich source of iron. Cumin has been linked to weight loss and fat reduction.
39. Why is basil good for paleo diet?
Basil carries a recognizable aroma and can be used either fresh or dried in paleo-accepted meals. Present in many Italian dishes, basil is an herb linked to cancer-fighting and inflammation-fighting properties.
40. Are Organic Vegetables Worth It?
Buy organic when you can, but don’t stress out if organic produce is not available to you. The changes you are making are positive in nature, even if you can’t afford or get your hands on organic produce. (Source)
41. Paleo meals – how much is just right?
Eat more frequently. The food you will be eating is high in nutrition and often low in calories and carbohydrates. This means you may find yourself hungry throughout the day if you just stick to the traditional 3 meals. That is okay. Eating 5 or 6 meals and snacks during the day is okay since you are consuming healthy, nutritious food.
42. Saturated fat- are they healthful or harmful?
We talked earlier about healthy fats, and saturated fats belong on that list. You may have heard that saturated fats are bad for you. That was the thinking for decades, but we now know your body craves the nutrients and minerals in saturated fats. Olives, olive oil, avocados and macadamia oil, duck fat and lard, coconut oil and clarified butter are good sources of saturated fat. (Source)
43. Is bacon good for your Paleo?
Bacon gets the paleo blessing. As long as the bacon is not crammed full of unhealthy additives, you can eat it. This is another case where reading food labels are important.
44. What kind of coconut oil is best for Paleo cooking?
Coconut oil has so many health-boosting uses. It works as a natural sun-blocking agent, can make your hair and skin healthier and shinier, and is great for your insides as well. Get your hands on some unrefined, organic coconut oil, as you will be using this for sautéing, as a dressing, and in place of butter if you like.
45. Can I have mayo on Paleo?
Store-bought mayo is not recommended. An avocado oil-based mayo alternative is good for you. You will find this to be much richer than your favorite mayonnaise, so a little goes a long way.
46. Is apple cider paleo friendly?
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has many uses. Cider vinegar is linked to multiple health benefits. Braggs is probably the best-known organic apple cider vinegar, but any brand will do.
47. Can you eat honey on the Paleo diet?
Locally grown, organic honey has so many health benefits. Yes, it is a natural sugar, but your body treats it differently than unhealthy, refined white sugar. Eating locally grown honey reduces your odds of falling prey to colds and the flu.
48. Can you eat seafood on paleo diet?
Yes, you can. Not all canned seafood is bad for you. Read your labels. You can find tuna, salmon, sardines, clams and even oysters that have been packed in water and are free of unnecessary additives.
49. Is Green Tea Paleo?
Green tea has been used for thousands of years as an all-around health booster. It lowers stress, improves your mental health, helps detox the body, makes you feel full so you can fight cravings, and does so many other wonderful things for your health. Make sure you have plenty of organic green tea on hand. (Source)
50. Why choose clean water when living Paleo?
Drink lots of water. Then drink some more. If you flush about a gallon of water through your body each day you quickly and regularly detox, which helps get toxins and poisons out of your body. This includes water in the foods you eat, as well as in tea.
51. Why you will need supplements?
Don’t forget to supplement. Especially at the beginning, you may want to take a once-a-day multivitamin, some probiotics, and vitamin D supplements to round out your diet.
Spending 10 to 20 minutes outside with the sun on your skin triggers a process in your body that manufactures vitamin D. Make sure you get as much of your skin exposed to the sun’s rays for the best effect and use sunblock if you are prone to burning.
53. Peanut butter-no! Nut butter- yes!
Say no to peanut butter and yes to nut butter. You may be thinking, “Isn’t peanut butter a nut butter?” Peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts, so stick with nut butters like macadamia nut butter, almond butter and others.
The Clean 15 is a list of 15 produce items that contain the least amount of chemicals and additives. This means you don’t have to buy organic versions of these 15 pieces of produce. You can get an annually updated list of the Dirty Dozen, the 12 foods you should always buy organic if you can.(Source) Plan your meals, and don’t just go with the flow. If you do, you will find yourself stuck in situations where you are hungry, and no paleo-approved foods are plentiful.
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Lisa Walter works as professional dietician for many clients worldwide. She is passionate about weight loss, anti-aging foods and drinks.
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