If you are new to Paleo but willing to give it a try, this Paleo Food List will help you to work out what can and can’t be included in your diet.
To recap, there are a few rules or guidelines about what food can and cannot be included in a Paleo diet;
- Eliminate all dairy (except grain-fed butter)
- Eliminate all grains and legumes (including peanuts – sorry…)
- Keep your sugars natural (and non-processed)
- Add healthy fats ( Coconut Oil, Ghee (clarified butter), Butter, Macadamia Oil, Olive Oil and Animal Fats)
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetable but limit your intake of starchy foods
- Stay away from pre-packaged highly processed foods.
- Add red meats, white meats and seafood to your diet.
© dolgachov | Canstockphotos.com – Shopping with a Paleo Food List
I prefer to think of them as guidelines rather than rules, for a couple of reasons.
The first is that we really don’t know exactly what people ate way back in the Paleolithic era. Based on science and research we are able to make educated guesses, but no-one really knows for certain, and living conditions today are vastly different. I live in a house, not a cave and I have a mortgage to pay so I need to spend most of my days in an office so that I can earn enough money to pay that (and all of the other bills).
Many of the ‘gurus’ who are promoting Paleo as the only healthy way to eat, recommend that we replicate the conditions as closely as possible. Some suggest that we should only eat food available during that period and avoid any contaminants introduced during the agricultural and industrial ages. Sounds good in theory, but…
I am still going to buy my food from a store, rather than going out foraging for fruits and vegetables after work. And I don’t know about you, but I am not likely to be going out with a spear to bag myself some meat for dinner.
And let’s face it, even wild game has been affected by the toxins and contaminants in our atmosphere.
The second reason is that I have noticed that any belief system taken to extremes has a tendency to become dogma (aand then you often see people being beaten around the head with it.
Paleo is not about absolutes, or at least it shouldn’t be, because it is not based on absolutes.
Paleo Food List : Do Eat
Meat and Seafood.
Pretty much all meat and fish are on the do eat list. Unless it is crumbed or battered, or highly processed (like spam or hot dogs) – then it becomes a ‘don’t eat’ food.
© Anthony Albright | Flickr.com – A Meat Department
Psst: Before you ask, yes, Bacon is on the ‘Do Eat’ list…
Most vegetables make it onto the ‘do Eat’ List, with the exception of Beans (beans are legumes and on the ‘Don’t Eat’ list).
© Micah Sittig | Flickr.com – Veggies
Some vegetables high in starch (like sweet potatoes) are on this list, but unless you are at your ideal weight, they should only be eaten in moderation.
White potatoes (unfortunately) do not make this list! So no roast potatoes or french fries…
Pretty much all fruits are on the “Do Eat” list.
© Garry Knight | Flickr.com – At the Fruit Stand
However you need to remember that fruits tend to be high in sugar (fructose) and if you are trying to lose weight, then you should limit the amount you eat and fill up on veggies instead.
Fats, Nuts and Seeds.
Nuts and Seeds are on the ‘Do Eat List’ but you need to be careful about what you class as a nut. for example, peanuts are not actually nuts, they are legumes and that makes them a no-no!
© KAZ Vorpal | Flickr.com – Nuts and Seeds
Paleo Food List : Don’t Eat
Dairy, with the exception of grain fed butter, is on the ‘Don’t Eat’ List.
© Mark Turnauckas | Flickr.com – Diary Products
So no yogurt, cheese, cream, or milk. No Mac n Cheese, and no Ice Cream. Again, sorry…
Grains and Legumes.
Anything made with grains or legumes should not be eaten.
© Dominic Rivard | Flickr.com – Grains
This includes anything with wheat, rice, barley,
Sweets and Candies
Do I really need to say anything here?
© Joan Campderros I Canas | Flickr.com – Sweet Store
Sweets and candies are pretty much sugar and not only do they have no nutritional value but they also play havoc with your blood glucose levels. Give them a miss.
Soft Drinks, Fruit Juices and Energy Drinks.
Yup all full of sugar or artificial sweeteners with very little nutritional value. So definitely on the ‘Don’t Eat’ Paleo Food List!
© cannabisenergydrink | Flickr.com – Soft Drinks and Energy Drinks
Do not eat anything that contains artificial sweeteners.
© frankieleon | Flickr.com – Artificial Sweeteners
It is much better to go without or to use a natural sweetener like honey…
Most forms of Alcohol.
Sorry but anything that is distilled or brewed generally is made using grains, legumes or starchy vegetables (potatoes or soybeans in vodka for example), and spirits are often served mixed with soft drinks. Another non-no.
© IntangibleArts | Flickr.com – Alcoholic Drinks
Some followers of the Paleo Diet allow wine, but only and always in moderation!