Here at Paleo Plan, we believe in having a great framework that helps you easily say “yes” or “no” to certain foods. Using our free Paleo recipes (found here) or following the Paleo Plan Meal Plan makes that really easy, since your menus, recipes and shopping lists are all laid out for you. (Click here for more info on subscribing to our service.)
There is a time and a place for being really strict with your diet, like when you have debilitating food sensitivities or when you’re preparing for an athletic competition. For everyone else who’s trying to live a long, healthy life AND have fun while doing it, give yourself a break sometimes and eat what feeds your soul. That’s why we give you the Flex Days if you want them on the Paleo Plan Meal Plan. It’s good for two reasons. One, you get to live a little. And two, the bloating or headache or (enter symptom here) you might get after indulging will help you remember why you’re eating Paleo in the first place ;)
In general, eating Paleo means eating veggies, fruits, meats, fish, certain fats, nuts, and seeds. And it means removing grains (breads, pastas, rice, etc), beans, soy, dairy, certain vegetable oils, and refined sugar from your diet. But you probably want more details than that, right?
Below, you’ll find the Paleo Plan Food Guide, a list of foods and to what extent they are accepted as Paleo. Our guidelines are created using a mixture of all of the Paleo gurus’ philosophies and research, our own beliefs, and what is realistic to implement in your daily life.
For all of the foods listed, our hope is that you choose those that are free of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, animal abuse and that the food the animals were fed was appropriate for their species.
FOODS TO EAT
All veggies are acceptable, including sweet potatoes. Here’s a blog post on sweet potatoes and Paleo. Organic veggies are great. Local and organic is even better. The less transit time there is between the farm and you, the more nutrients the produce retains. You can become part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) where you’ll receive in-season produce from a local farm every week. To find a CSA in your area go to localharvest.org
In general, fruit guidelines are the same as veggie guidelines. Organic and local are best. If you’re really trying to lose weight and you’re not active at all, limit your fruit intake to one or two pieces a day, as the carbs can add up.
MEATS and EGGS
Eat meats and eggs freely, but in order to mimic our ancestors best, eat these products from animals that were grass fed/pasture raised. At the least, steer clear of meats with preservatives and color or flavor enhancers, particularly added nitrites, as they can be pretty toxic.
- Game Meats
- Organ Meats
- Eggs – from chickens, ducks, emu, quail, etc.
FISH, SHELL FISH, FISH EGGS
All species are fine – just be conscious of mercury levels and ecological practices. Know that smaller fish like anchovies generally have less bio-accumulation of heavy metals and toxins, and high levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
NUTS & SEEDS
All are good, as well as the butters that are made from them. Also on this list are coconut flour and almond flour. Peanuts are NOT NUTS – they’re legumes, and thus are not on the list. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit nuts and seeds to about 1 or 2 ounces per day, as the calories add up quickly!
kombu, wakame, other seaweeds, algaes, etc. They’re all good – great, in fact.
- tallow (rendered beef fat)
- lard (rendered pork fat)
- coconut oil/milk/manna
- extra virgin olive oil
- walnut oil
- avocado oil
- macadamia oil
- hazelnut oil
Note: Unrefined palm oil used to be on this list, but because of its production is directly associated with the ensuing extinction of orangutans, we’ve removed it from the list. For more info, go here.
- Filtered or spring water
- Herbal tea
- Coconut water
- Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables
EAT IN MODERATION
- Dried fruit
- Alcohol (all kinds)
- Caffeinated teas
- Sweeteners – Raw honey, stevia, coconut sap, grade B maple syrup
FOODS TO AVOID
That means flour, even white flour (especially white flour, actually), so conventional bread, pasta, cookies, cake, bagels, muffins, tortillas, and any other white fluffy thing you may love.
Grains mean rice, corn (including tortillas, chips, corn flour, etc.), quinoa (yes, it’s a grain), amaranth, buckwheat, wild rice, spelt, rye, sorghum, oats, and even gluten free oats. No more grains, even if they’re gluten free grains. Okey dokey? Here’s a blog post on why.
The ebook also explains it in much more depth. Basically, though, if you were to only do one thing differently for your health, in my opinion, it would be to cut out all grains. I’ve seen everything from weight loss to psoriasis clearing up when you get those buggers out of your diet. They’re inflammatory and difficult to digest. Give it a try.
That means milk, cheese, butter, ghee, yogurt (yes, even your most favorite Greek yogurt – sorry), kefir, whey protein powders, cottage cheese, sour cream, and check all the ingredients of everything you eat for those words. Even if it’s raw dairy. You can do it – I promise. Here’s a blog post on why.
That means soy in any form (again, check the ingredients of ALL the foods you eat), lentils, black beans, pinto beans, red beans, peanuts (sub out your peanut butter with almond butter), white beans, garbanzo beans, you get the gist. Here’s a blog post on why.
Snap peas and green beans are fine. Here’s a blog post on that.
HIGH OMEGA-6 VEGETABLE OILS.
Vegetable oils aren’t really made from vegetables, which is why we’re still really confused over here about how they came upon that name. What they ARE usually made from are soy, cottonseed, corn, sunflower, safflower, and sesame.
These oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation (as opposed to omega 3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory). They are debatably one of the major causes of heart disease.
Get the ebook and/or read this blog post to find out why saturated fat and cholesterol are not actually bad for you. Unfortunately, we’ve been duped for the last 60 years into eating vegetable oils that don’t come from actual vegetables, which are causing inflammation of all kinds. Oh, and definitely stay away from anything that says “hydrogenated”.
REFINED SWEETENERS AND ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
By sugar, I don’t mean fruit. In fact, you’re encouraged to eat fruit on this diet in moderation. I mean “sugar”, “fructose”, “high fructose corn syrup”, “corn sugar”, “corn syrup”, “malt syrup”, or anything with “dext-” in it, for that matter. Also Splenda, aspartame, Equal, and anything else that is a man-made chemical sweetener is out. Check the ingredients on everything you consume. Oh, and no juice bought from a store; it’s just as sugary as soda.
Too much sugar can make you fat, lethargic, and grumpy. Period. End of story. It’s gonna hurt to take it out of your diet, and you will have cravings for it. I give you some tips in the ebook for combatting cravings. Just know that the longer you eat this way, the fewer sugar cravings you’ll have. I promise!
FACTORY FARMED MEAT, EGGS, AND SEAFOOD
The vitamins, fatty acids, and overall quality of pasture-raised/grass-fed animals are all much better for you. Not to mention that being raised naturally is way better for the animal. Go to www.eatwild.com to find local, well-raised meats in your area. Consider buying a half-cow or pig like I do. It’s way cheaper in the longrun.
REFINED, IODIZED SALT – use unrefined sea salt instead
There you have it. If you have questions about specific foods that you don’t see here, let me know by posting a comment or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.