Gluten free, grain free, dairy free— There is one diet that covers it all.
Can you guess which one?
If you said Paleo diet, you are absolutely correct!
So, what is "Paleo diet"?
Paleo diet also known as the caveman's diet emphasizes on eating real, minimally processed whole foods.
They basically eat the same foods as cavemen did.
And those are the foods that are still in its original, natural form or close to it.
What this means is, if it looks like it was made in a factory, it should not be Paleo.
Aside from that, their rules are simple.
No counting calories. No carb counting. No fat limitations.
Keep your foods and eating simple, is really their motto.
No corn dogs, no fast foods, no low-fat foods, and obviously no imitation foods like imitation crab. Sorry, sushi lovers!
Again the diet is based on real, unprocessed foods.
So what do they eat exactly?
Let's get to it.
Foods to eat on the Paleo diet
So, what are real, unprocessed foods allowed on Paleo Diet?
Here's what the Paleo diet food list looks like:
- Meats: Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork and others. Choose grass-fed, pasture raised and organic whenever you can. If not, then just make sure to always go for the least processed option.
- Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish, etc. Choose wild-caught whenever you can.
- Eggs: Choose free-range, pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, blueberries and more.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.
- Healthy Fats and Oils: Lard, tallow, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and others.
- Salt and Spices: Sea salt, himalayan salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, tymes etc.
Foods in the Grey Area
In the past few years, the Paleo community has evolved quite a bit.
There are now several different "versions” of the Paleo that allow a wider range of modern foods proven to be healthy.
This includes quality bacon from pasture raised pigs, grass-fed butter, and even some non-gluten grains like rice.
This is partly due to an increasing number of people now using Paleo as a blueprint to healthy eating rather than as a strict set of rules to live by.
There are also foods some Paleo versions have allowed in small amounts.
Those Paleo dieters' sensible indulgences include but are not limited to:
Wine: Quality red wine is high in antioxidants and can be very beneficial to your health.
Dark Chocolate: Choose one that has 70% or higher cocoa content. Quality dark chocolate is very nutritious and extremely healthy. But be sure to choose the ones without dairy as dairy is not allowed on Paleo.
Foods Not to Eat
All processed foods are off the list, including sugar, soft drinks, grains, most dairy products, legumes, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, margarine, and trans fats.
This includes everything from regular wheat pastries, pizza, pasta, and noodles.
Chili is also out too, sadly for legumes not allowed on Paleo.
Corn beef, hot dogs, and even chicken pot pies are not Paleo either.
If this seems like almost all the foods you eat, Paleo will certainly have you rethink about food choices and what your diet really should incorporate.
Why Go Paleo?
So why would you want to give up all the sweets, burgers, and pizza, and go Paleo?
For one, it's for the health benefits.
The paleolithic community believes our ancestors were genetically the same as modern humans and were free of diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
They believe their eating contributed to their good health.
There are also many other benefits associated to Paleo Plan according to experts.
- Weight loss
- Feeling pleasantly full for longer
- Fewer sugar cravings
- Clearer skin
- Increase in energy
- Physically fit and carry less fat
- Improved digestion
- Reduced inflammation
- Healthier relationship with food
A pretty extensive list, if you ask me!
I know this sounds like people on the paleo diet have "cracked the code" of proper nutrition. And apparently, science agrees.
Turns out, there is an ample amount of research and studies that provide evidence to their claims.
One in particular suggests that the paleo diet can lead to weight loss (without calorie counting) and major improvements in health."
How to Go Paleo
Going Paleo sure sounds easy enough.
Eat simple foods. Check. Nothing processed. Check.
There is nothing too crazy about that. Besides, who doesn't want to eliminate processed foods from their diet anyway?
But like anything, it takes a true commitment to eat like fellow Paleo eaters.
And it sure isn't as easy as cavemen once had it. For cavemen, if they couldn't hunt it or gather it, they couldn't eat it. And that made it easy for them.
We face a lot more temptations in this modern days with access to a wider variety of foods.
Today, the only hunting we ever have to do for food is for deals and discounts for grocery items at the store!
So how do we really go Paleo and live a successful Paleo life?
Dedicated Paleo guy in our house's suggests frequenting farmer's markets and health stores for food sourcing.
Farmer's market in your area is an obvious choice. It's the mecca of plant-foods and natural and whole foods. You can find all kinds of Paleo friendly foods there from raw honey to kale, fruits to fresh meat and fish.
Natural stores also provide a wide variety of foods for the Paleo Diet. Some may even have a section for it. Don't be afraid to ask for their help.
Once you gather foods on the Paleo list, you can start turning them into meals.
Sample Paleo Dier Plan
So your Paleo life can look something like this:
Breakfast: Gluten free, paleo pancakes topped with honey and berries. Be sure to cook pancakes with coconut oils. You can have a cup of coffee with non-dairy milk like almond milk.
Lunch: You have some options for lunch. If you are always on the go, you can do something like kale smoothie with chia seeds and jerky for snack. If you can eat a proper lunch, how about smoked salmon salad with vegetable soup?
Dinner: Beef stir-fry with broccoli and quinoa for dinner.
Dessert: A few pieces of dark chocolate or matcha latte with almond milk. Sounds good? That’s Paleo for ya.
And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the seriously good food permitted on the plan. Check out these mouth watering paleo recipes..
For those of you who's ready to give the paleo diet a go, here's a sample One-Week Paleo Diet Menu.
Just as long as the foods are on the Paleo list, feel free to adjust the plan based on your own preferences.
7-Day Paleo Diet Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Kale smoothie with blueberries, banana, and cacao powder. Add hemp protein powder for some energy boost.
- Lunch: Tuna avocado lettuce wrap with cilantro. Enjoy a cup of fresh fruits.
- Snacks: A handful of mix nuts.
- Dinner: Turkey Burgers (no bun) fried in butter with vegetables ( carrots, corns, zucchini).
- Breakfast: Bacon and eggs, with a piece of paleo bread and a cup of coffee or green tea.
- Lunch: Burrito Bowl (Use sautéed bell peppers, cauliflower with onions as your base, then add the usual protein: beef or chicken. Top with cilantro, salsa, and avocado).
- Snack: Paleo Jerky (beef, chicken or turkey)
- Dinner: Grilled salmon with asparagus.
- Breakfast: Paleo banana pancakes topped with fresh fruits and coconut chips
- Lunch: Grilled fish with kale avocado salads
- Snack: Apple with Nut butter
- Dinner: Broccoli salad with cashew curry dressing (Grab the recipe at wholeyum.com).
- Breakfast: Acai bowl topped with fresh fruits (banana, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple), cacao nibs, and coconut chips.
- Lunch: Turkey breast with lettuce, wrapped in paleo approved tortilla.
- Snack: Paleo plantain chips dipped in kale pesto.
- Dinner: Ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken) stir fry, with vegetables, served over quinoa or brown rice.
- Breakfast: Eggs spinach sausages-- some fresh fruits
- Lunch: Avocado tuna salads + seaweeds as a topping
- Snack: Paleo snack protein bar
- Dinner: Sweet and sour chicken over steamed broccoli and quinoa
- Breakfast: Arugula, asparagus, and avocado salad, top with hard boiled egg--Grab the recipe here.
- Lunch: Chicken salad with olive oil. A handful of nuts.
- Snack: Chia seed pudding
- Dinner: Oven roasted chicken with vegetables and sweet potatoes.
- Breakfast: Bacon and spinach frittata.
- Lunch: Chicken soup with a small salad.
- Snack: Baked cinnamon apple chips.
- Dinner: Grilled Steak with potatoes, bell peppers, and Portbello mushroom.
There you have it!
The 7-day paleo diet plan.
I have personally followed this plan and have seen great results from both in my weight and energy level.
So I can attest that it works, at least for me.
Again there is no need to track calories or macronutrients (protein, carbs or fat) on the paleo diet. But feel free to do so, if that's your preference.
If you need to lose a lot of weight, then it is a good idea to cut carbs somewhat and limit your intake of nuts and potatoes etc.