What is a Paleo Diet, anyway?
Also known as “Paleolithic diet”, “hunter- gatherer diet” or “Caveman diet”, this is actually best described in terms of a “lifestyle” rather than a “diet”. In essence, Paleo can be described along the lines of:
“If it was good for your ancestors, it’s good for you”.
This kind of eating is sometimes referred to as “veganism for atheles” (which is a misconception, since unlike veganism, Paleo promotes eating meat). This is probably because Paleo is rising in popularity among athletes, and because it promotes some concepts that strike some people as a bit extreme.
Truth of the matter is that more and more people are getting into the Paleo lifestyle, and most of them actually get great results from it: including a boost in physical health, increase in stamina and sex drive, and increased sense of harmony and emotional well-being.
If you’re just getting started with your Paleo lifestyle, or even if you’re just curious about it, you should know there are foods you should favor, and foods you absolutely should avoid. Let’s go over the basics…
Paleo Diet Food List: things you should eat.
Beef, Flank steak, Top sirloin steak, Hamburger, London broil, Chuck steak, Veal, Pork, Pork loin, Pork chops, Rabbit, Goat, Lamb.
Alligator, Bear, Bison (buffalo), Caribou, Elk, Emu, Goose, Kangaroo, Muscovy duck, New Zealand cervena deer, Ostrich, Pheasant, Quail, Rattlesnake, Reindeer, Squab, Turtle, Venison, Wild boar, Wild turkey.
Beef, lamb, pork and chicken livers, Beef, pork and lamb tongues, Beef, lamb and pork marrow, Beef, lamb and pork “sweetbreads”
Poultry: Chicken breast, Turkey breast, Game Hen breasts.
Eggs: Chicken, Duck, Goose.
Fish: Bass, Bluefish, Cod, Drum, Eel, Flatfish, Grouper, Haddock, Halibut, Herring, Mackerel, Monkfish, Mullet, Northern pike, Orange roughy, Perch, Red snapper, Rockfish, Salmon, Scrod, Shark, Striped bass, Sunfish, Tilapia, Trout, Tuna, Turbot, Walleye, Any other commercially available fish.
Shellfish: Abalone, Clams, Crab, Crayfish, Lobster, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops, Shrimp.
Vegetables: Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet greens, Beets, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Cucumber, Dandelion, Eggplant, Endive, Green onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Onions, Parsley, Parsnip, Peppers (all kinds), Pumpkin, Purslane, Radish, Rutabaga, Seaweed, Spinach, Squash (all kinds), Swiss chard, Tomatillos, Tomato ( a fruit that think is a vegetable), Turnip greens, Turnips, Watercress.
Fruits: Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Carambola, Cassava melon, Cherimoya, Cherries, Cranberries, Figs, Gooseberries, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew melon, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Lychee, Mango, Nectarine, Orange, Papaya, Passion fruit, Peaches, Pears, Persimmon, Pineapple, Plums, Pomegranate, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Star fruit, Strawberries, Tangerine, Watermelon, All other fruits.
Nuts & Seeds:
Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts (filberts), Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Pine nuts, Pistachios (unsalted), Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts.
Oils & Fats: Olive, avocado, walnut, flaxseed.
Beverages: Coffee, Tea, Wine, Beer, Spirits.
Paleo Diet Food List: what NOT to eat.
Anything that’s *not* on the previous list should be avoided by anyone looking to follow a Paleo lifestyle. In particular, things you should absolutely avoid:
- Absolutely stay away from refined sugars
- Absolutely avoid eating processed foods
- Absolutely resist the temptation to eat junk food
You should favor raw and unprocessed food over anything else, you should eat only lean meat, and when it comes to vegetables…. mix’em up. The broader the color spectrum on your vegetable dishes, the more nutritious they will be… and the better you will start feeling after a while of commiting to this lifestlyle.
Also, when you’re getting started with your Paleo lifestyle, you may feel as though you’re somewhat limited in terms of what you can eat… that’s wrong! You can eat almost anything, except for the really bad stuff – processed foods and refined sugars. You want to go for raw foods and vegetables, because that’s where the most nutrients can be found.
Some people who are new to this lifestyle also have trouble coming up with imaginative and delicious recipes (that will delight even non-Paleo eaters). If that’s something you can relate with, check out the Paleo Cookbooks review I wrote a few days ago.
In case you’re wondering– the Paleo Cookbooks is a set of two e-books, one discussing the benefits of a Paleo lifestyle, and the other presenting a diverse selection of around 400 Paleo recipes (including breakfast paleo recipes, lunch paleo recipes, dinner paleo recipes… the whole deal.