Eat real food, not chemicals.

HOW TO EAT PALEO

1280px-Roasted_Chicken_Dinner_Plate,_Broccoli,_Demi_Glace

CC 2.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

How To Eat Paleo

 

1.  MEATS & EGGS:

Beef, lamb, goat, veal, buffalo, pork, bacon (nitrate/sugar free), chicken, turkey, duck, goose, Cornish game hens, venison/wild game, rabbit, squab, pheasant/game birds, organic eggs, duck/goose eggs bone marrow.

 

Organic is best (but work with what you have access to and can afford).  Look for grass-fed and grass-finished, pastured meats, poultry and game.  Whole cuts are better than processed. Fresh or frozen cuts are better than nitrate/preservative processed or canned meats.

Organic, free range eggs are a bargain source of healthy proteins. (and don’t throw away their shells, see my post about making calcium powder from egg shells, to stretch their value even farther).

Try to patronize your local grass-fed and grass-finished meat producers, or order meat on line from high quality companies such as Belcampo Meat Co.  or   U. S. Wellness Meats.

It is extremely important not to leave out eating offal – the organs of animals. In the paleo sphere, this is referred to as “nose to tail eating”. Offal is extremely nutrient dense and contain many vitamins and minerals not found in such abundance in the muscle meat of animals. Liver, especially, has an amazing amount of nutrients. I recommend eating liver once a week. In my experience, the strength of the “livery taste”, in order from mild to strong is:  chicken, goat, lamb, calf, beef. You can also make liver into tasty patés.

 

1280px-Halibut_with_mango_salsa_on_coconut_brown_rice_(434662467)

CC 2.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

2.  FISH & SHELLFISH:

Abalone, Anchovy, bass, catfish, crab, cod, eel, flounder, frog, haddock, halibut, herring, lobster, mackerel, mahi-mahi, monkfish, mussels, orange roughy, oysters, perch, pike, pompano, red snapper, salmon, sardine, scallops, shad, shark, shrimp, smelt, snails, sole, sturgeon, swordfish, tilapia, tuna, trout, whitefish, yellowtail and any others found in your locale.

 

Wild caught, local, fresh, non-farmed fish and seafood is the ideal.  However, I am a pragmatic paleo eater, the convenience, accessibility and shelf life of canned tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and canned smoked oysters, canned smoked clams, and trout cannot be denied and are much better than never eating any fish at all.  Also, the healthy nutrients such as omega 3 fats, in many of the canned fish, are close to, or equal to, freshly caught. With any brand of canned fish or shellfish, choose those packed in olive oil if possible, not canola or seed oils. My two favorites are Crown Prince smoked oysters in olive oil (Trader Joe’s), and Crown Prince smoked baby clams in olive oil (Whole Foods).

 

BikurimS

CC 2.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

3. VEGETABLES:

Artichokes, alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, avocado, beets, Brussels sprouts, bok-choy , broccoli, broccoli rabe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, chard, chicory, collard greens, cucumber,  dandelion greens, eggplant, endive, escarole, fennel, garlic, ginger, grape leaves, hearts of palm, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, olives, onion, parsnips, peppers, pimento, pickles, potatoes, pumpkin, radicchio, rhubarb, rutabaga, sea vegetables (kelp, kombu, nori, spirulina, wakame), sauerkraut, scallion, shallots, spinach, squash, sweet potato, tomato, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini and any others found in your locale. Note, buckwheat is not a grain, but rather a grass related to the rhubarb family and is generally well tolerated.

 

Organic, local, or homegrown are best, frozen next best.  Branch out, try new varieties with names you’ve never heard of.  Farmer’s markets and Asian markets can be an amazing source of interesting new types.  See my recipe section for ideas beyond broccoli and carrots.

At each meal, try to have vegetables fill up one half or more of your plate.  Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rutabagas and many other tuber/rhizome vegetables are very filling and give active people and athletes lots of the “good” carbohydrate energy they need for top performance.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting out on a paleo diet is they eat too few carbohydrates. They erroneously believe that paleo means only eating “low-carb and lean meats”. Many people will become tired, lethargic, sluggish and constipated if they do not keep their carbohydrate consumption up. Concentrate on getting your carbs in the form of high fibrous veggies, and what, in the paleo sphere is known as, “safe starches”:  white rice and white rice noodles, white and sweet potatoes/yams, plantains, taro, sago, tapioca and their components for baking:  white rice flour, buckwheat flour, tapioca/potato/arrowroot starches.

Although rice is a grain, white rice, with the brown hull removed, has been found to be an innocuous form of starch for most people, well tolerated and does not block micro nutrient uptake like other cereal grains do.

Don’t forget sea vegetables like dulse, and kelp, which, in dried flaked form, are super easy to add to soups, casseroles, sauces, salads and noodle dishes. Nori seaweed, in sheets for sushi making can be used as sandwich wraps in place of bread slices. They taste especially great with tuna salad and avocado in a wrap.

(See The Perfect Health Diet for more scientific information on the type of paleo diet I am advocating.)

 

400px-Fruits_and_vegetables_(1)

public domain (Wikimedia Commons)

4.  FRUITS:

Apple, apricots, banana, boysenberries, blueberries, cherries, coconut (meat/milk/cream) currants, cranberries, dates, durian, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, melons, nectarine, papaya, passion fruit, plantain, peach, pear, persimmon, pineapple, plums, prunes, raspberries, star fruit, watermelon and others found in your locale.

 

Fresh, organic, in season, and locally grown are best, frozen next best. If canned, packed in  their own juices without added sugar (and look for BPA free cans).

Choose fruit-sweetened only jams and use them judiciously.

Coconut milk and coconut cream are great in coffee in place of half and half or cream and can replace milk in most recipes. You can use canned coconut milk in place of condensed milk, and add maple syrup to canned coconut milk to replace sweetened condensed milk in recipes also. If weight loss is your goal, be careful with the amounts of coconut products you are using as a little goes a long way.

Dried, flaked or shredded coconut, is good for baking and breading fish and chicken pieces to make fish sticks and chicken nuggets. Dried or fresh shredded coconut is great added to nuts and dried fruit to make trail mix.

If you have blood sugar issues or are trying to lose weight, consider limiting yourself to two servings or less of fresh fruit per day, with berries being your best choice. (They are lower in carbohydrates than other fruits).

Very little, to no fruit juice is best, as the fruit is then missing its natural fiber and bulk by being processed into juice. Very little amounts of organic, unsulfured dried fruits are okay, but watch your amounts, as the sugar and carb content is significantly higher than in fresh fruits.

That being said, organic frozen fruit concentrate, fruit-sweetened jam, and small amounts of dried fruit can be invaluable in the baking arena as a substitute for refined and processed sugars.

 

1024px-Nuts_mixed

CC By SA 3.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

5.  NUTS, SEEDS & NUT BUTTERS:

Almond, beechnut, Brazil nut, cashew, chestnut, hazelnut, hickory nut, macadamia, pecans,  pine nut, pistachio, walnut, chia, hemp, pomegranate, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower.

Nut milks or coconut milk can be added to recipes that call for cow’s milk or cream. (Buy brands that do not contain carrageenan which has been linked to increasing risk of cancer.)

Again, if you are trying to lose weight, I advise you to skip nuts or eat them only in moderation.  Nuts and seeds may be healthy, but they are not low in calories by any means.

AVOID: peanuts as these are not nuts, but rather legumes, which contain lectins which can block absorption of other nutrients.

 

 

6.  FATS AND OILS:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Antoinelucas, Huiles imeage CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

Olive, palm, coconut, avocado oils, beef or lamb tallow, and duck fat are best (highest in healthy saturated and monounsaturated fat).  Walnut, macadamia, almond,  and sesame oils are okay less frequently. (they have lower omega 3 content – good, higher omega 6 content – not as good).  Organic, cold pressed are best.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom (and incorrect teaching) we have all been given for so many years, saturated fat is NOT  unhealthy. In fact, just the opposite, the right kind of saturated fat may protect us from strokes and type 2 diabetes.

Saturated fat from the organic, unrefined sources mentioned above and from grass-fed/finished animal meats and offal, is beneficial for our blood lipid ratios and far healthier than polyunsaturated fat from processed vegetable oils.  There is no need to trim off the fat on grass-fed/finished cuts of animal meats, it is good for our bodies and our brains. If you are eating conventionally raised animal meats, then do not eat excess fat.

Grass fed butter, such as Kerrygold Irish butter, ghee, avocados and coconut oil are good for the brain and skin.  One of the most firmly entrenched dietary ideas you got to let go of is … that contrary to popular belief, all fat is not bad for you!  Only processed vegetable oils (except olive) and grain fed animal fats are bad.

TO BE AVOIDED:  safflower, soy, sunflower, corn, canola, peanut, and any hydrogenated or trans fats. (What have traditionally been touted as the “healthy fats”.)

 

7.  SWEETENERS:

1280px-Volle_Honigglaeser_13a

Volle Honigglaeser 13aCC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

NO sugars or sweeteners is best (especially if you are trying to lose weight, fight anxiety/depression or mood swings, low energy, headaches, and high or low blood sugar issues.)

If you have none of these issues, you may, in moderation (this means about 1-2 tablespoons a day) use:  birch xylitol, organic raw honey, pure organic maple syrup, stevia.

 

 

8.  GRAINS:

You will hear from many “purist” paleo eaters who advocate eating no grains whatsoever, as agricultural crop grains of today did not exist in the paleolithic era. But then again, nothing we eat now, including fruits, vegetables and domesticated livestock is the same in size, taste or nutrient density as it was in the past. It’s a fantasy that believe we could all eat exactly the way our paleolithic ancestors did; foods aren’t the same, and exactly which part of our mixed heritage ancestors are we talking about? Paleolithic man ate very differently from each other depending on which part of the world they inhabited. The “paleo” concept is to get back to eating whole fresh foods, local to where we are living, and during the season in which they actually grow. Less “food like products” in bags, boxes and containers, more whole, unprocessed real, recognizable food.

I happen to fall in the camp of paleo followers who absolutely avoid ALL gluten containing grains: wheat, barley, rye, spelt. Others have no symptoms occasionally eating non-gluten grains such as: white rice**, amaranth, corn, kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, sorghum, and teff. As for myself (through trial and smelly, gassy, bloated error) I have found that my body can occasionally tolerate only white rice or noodles, and flours and starches from:  buckwheat (which is not a grain, but a seed related to rhubarb), rice, arrowroot, tapioca and potato. Since these things are still processed away from their whole food state, I choose to limit myself to 2-3 servings a week, as I feel good that way. If I want to eat bread, I make my own grainless Paleo Seeded Bread.

 

Let your body be your guide. If you eat food that makes you gassy, bloated, constipated or gives you loose stools, that is your digestive track telling you what it thinks. If you observe any energy or mood changes after a food, take note, that is your brain and your immune system giving you input. Skin eruptions, headaches, muscle aches, rashes, sinus stuffiness; all of these are “tells” that most people’s bodies give them when you have eaten an offending food.

I can’t tell you how many people I see who have to blow their nose after they finish eating. Unless you have eaten something very hot, or very a spicy, a drippy nose after eating means your intestinal lining just became inflamed and you are not tolerating something you just ate!  It is a common signal, frequently ignored, but easily noted when you start paying attention.

Now you get to experiment on yourself, if you tolerate (meaning, after eating foods, you have no runny nose, gas, bloating, burping, acid indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, headache, muscle or joint aches) you may occasionally eat some of the non-gluten grains. Or, when you do indulge in them (as I choose to do occasionally with buttered popcorn, then pay the price the next day with loose stools), you will be forewarned.

**Contrary to conventional wisdom, brown rice contains many anti-nutrients that block the absorption of vitamins and minerals and should be omitted in favor of white rice. To be clear, this is not because white rice is more nutritious, (its nutritional level is not high at all, its best quality is as source of energy from its easily digested starch), it’s because of the two, white rice does not block uptake of other vitamins and minerals you are absorbing from the other foods you are eating with the white rice.

 

 

9.  SPICES:  

Especias de Elefantina EgiptoCC BY-SA 3.0

Especias de Elefantina EgiptoCC BY-SA 3.0

Go to town, the more the tastier with spices. Not only will spices add pizzazz and variety to your foods, spices are made up of an impressive number of antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, antivirals and antibacterial. Do not underestimate their nutritional benefit, even when you can’t use fresh herbs, many of the same benefits can be derived from dried herbs.

 

10.  BEVERAGES

Water, seltzer water, mineral water, organic coffee and tea, nut milks (without carrageenan), herbal teas.  Avoid sodas, energy drinks and vitamin waters or anything with artificial flavors and sweeteners.

800px-Glass-half-full

Jenny Downing, Glass-half-full CC BY 2.0 (Wikimedia Commons)