Think healthy eating, think paleo diet! What are the best foods for paleo diet?Paleo diet which could also be popularly known as the stone age diet has the gained the attention of many people who wish to eat healthier, it is widely believed that what our ancestors ate during the Palaeolithic times (stone age) was the major reason for less occurrence of some deadly diseases that unfortunately occur frequently today.
The paleo diet food and diet recipes vary from each other in many ways, different mixes of food items can be prepared to make simple paleo dishes.
In this article, you will be well informed on what to eat on a paleo diet, the things to avoid and why to avoid them and also few of some paleo diet recipes (so you could try some home cooking on the diet). It is also important to note that though the paleo diet is quite restrictive, there are enough varieties on the diet menu that allows a little room for flexibility.
benefits of paleo diet
Who can try the diet?
The diet is for almost everyone except pregnant women, very old people and people with chronic conditions, these set of people basically need a special dietary plan and cannot just go on any diet plan without the direction or instruction of a health practitioner. So, if you are not sick with any chronic illness, too old or pregnant with a child then you can always go on the diet, though it’s best at times with the help of a dietician or food nutritionist.
Best Foods For Paleo Diet
What to eat on a paleo diet?
I know, it could be tough to begin a paleo diet as you might not be sure on what to eat and what you need to stay away from but be calm and do not fret as I have taken time to list below some of the foods you are allowed to eat in this diet, some can be taken in large quantities while others must be limited but for good reasons.
Also, do note that there are several ways you can go about the paleo diet, some may want to try it as a low carb diet, while others may take out some food sources as they require, however way you want to try it, do not forget that its main aim is to eat healthily and avoid certain modern foods that cause complications in the human body.
The lists of foods below are some of what is allowed on the paleo diet;
Vegetables: Care should be taken due to the starchy content of some vegetables but go for fresh vegetables and don’t rush it to avoid digestive problems. Some vegetables to try are broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, pepper, cabbage, kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, onions, radish etc.
Fruits: like bananas (this might be controversial as the sugar content in banana is quite high but we need to focus on the fact that it is unprocessed and so allowed on the diet plan), other examples include strawberries, blueberries, peaches, apple, grapes, and others. Watch out for the high sugar content in fruits in case you would love to practice it as a low carb diet or if you are also trying to watch your weight and avoid diabetes.
Tubers: ranging from Irish potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, turnips, taro and the likes, they are a wonderful addition on the paleo diet. Tubers are an essential food source in a paleo diet and it is one of the foods that hunter-gatherers ate many centuries ago but some people might choose to limit this food if they wish to treat paleo diet more as a low carb diet.
Seafood: like clams, cod, salmon, flatfish, carp, mackerel, catfish, shrimp, haddock, sardines, crayfish, caviar, tuna, oysters, scallops, crabs etc. It was so easy to rely on seafood then as it only requires hunting for it in the water bodies. Seafood is actually highly nutritious as they are low in calories and very high in proteins and vitamins, so it is usually best to rely on the wild-caught ones.
Egg: Eggs are good for paleo diet due to them being a rich source of protein, fats and other essential nutrients. Eggs of any type are usually okay but it is said that eggs from chickens that are allowed to feed outside cages are much better. It is very nutritious addition and thereby promotes the purpose of a paleo diet.
Nuts: The samples here include hazelnut, walnut, chestnut, pistachios (actually a seed), brazil nut, pecans, cashews, almonds etc. Nuts were picked easily and were sometimes eaten as snacks. Nuts provide nutrients such as fibre, vitamin E, fats, magnesium, proteins which makes it a very healthy addition.
Seeds: Seeds which are great sources of fibre, healthy monounsaturated fats, minerals, antioxidants, etc., are a special addition on the diet. Some healthy seeds to eat include acorn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pistachio (also referred to as a nut), flax seeds etc.
Meats: Only a few foods sources can contend with the nutrients present in meats actually, meats are good sources of protein, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B12 & 6, iron, zinc, pantothenic acid and much more. Meats help formulate the red blood cells, muscle tissues and thereby help improve the immune system. The meats taken on paleo ranges from grass-fed ones (as humans in the ancient times consumed more of these) to poultry meats. Examples of meats to eat freely on paleo diet include bacon, wild boar, beef, turkey, deer, goose, rabbits, pork, duck, chicken etc.
Drinks: When on a paleo diet you are not allowed to drink just anything. Make water your number choice of drink. Some other drinks allowed are tea, bone broth, herbal tea (green tea), carbonated water (not every type), it is best to keep the list short because one major thing you are trying to avoid is sugar which is present in many drinks.
These cover what to eat on a paleo diet but it is not limited to this, it is important to note that researches are still being done till date, with that said, I will gladly say you are already practicing paleo diet if you restrict your diet to this list above.
What not to eat on a paleo diet and why?
So, you may be wondering like I did that ‘what do I need to avoid to successfully practice the paleo diet?’ and the maths is easy since paleo diet is basically focusing on eating what our ancestors fed on years ago that means it is also after avoiding the food options of this age and time which are said to have been the cause of so many diseases. So, we have our answer, see some of the foods that are usually not allowed on paleo diet and why;
Processed foods: The problem with processed foods is that various things are added during processing which includes sugar, fat, salt and some unhealthy ingredients. This could be harmful to the human body, so it is totally avoided on a paleo diet. Example of some processed foods includes bread, some refined vegetable oil, cakes, biscuits, cereals, low – fat yoghurt etc. Also, processed meats should be avoided on a paleo diet, some processed meats include cured bacon, sausage, corned beef, hot dogs to mention but a few.
Grains: It includes grains and its by-products like wheat, crackers, rice, pasta, grits, oats, cornmeal, etc., and they are not allowed on the paleo diet, that is because they are usually high in carbohydrates which doesn’t make them safe especially for diabetics, they are not easily digested due to what is called ‘Antinutrients’, also some may contain gluten which is dangerous. It is true that whole grains are different from refined grains and that some of the former are nutritious but it’s best to avoid them all if on a paleo diet.
Dairy: A lot of controversies comes up here as people, scientists, nutritionists disagree on whether dairy products are beneficiary or not, while one side sees it as the cause of so many heart diseases and other severe complications, the other side sees the nutritional benefits it has such as protein, calcium, vitamin D. The truth remains solely that most dairy products were not consumed during the Palaeolithic times and that most times may end the argument.
Legumes: It refers to foods like beans, clover, peanuts, tofu, soybean, peas, Lentil, etc., the concern of paleo dieters is that legumes mostly contain lectins which are very dangerous to the body although it has been said that the lectins are destroyed with the cooking process but there’s also the problem of indigestion due to the antinutrients present in these foods. So, it is not allowed on paleo diet.
Note: Paleo diets differ in many ways of which it is practiced, so, the above are just some of the foods that should be avoided on a paleo diet, others could also include starchy vegetables, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol etc.
Best Foods For Paleo Diet
Below are some variety of dishes to try when on a paleo diet:
- Roasted pork with squash and apples.
- Chicken and cranberry stuffed sweet potatoes.
- Guacamole stuffed chicken.
- Cuban style pork chops.
- Spicy grilled jumbo shrimp.
- Asian marinated tuna with shaved salad
- Fish tacos.
- Paleo egg muffins.
- Egg in a jar.
- Baked apple chips.
- Apple cinnamon fruit rolls.
- Pumpkin pie smoothie.
- Paleo snacks.
- Beef and sweet potato taco salad.
- Cranberry avocado salad.
- Roasted mushrooms with thyme.
- Sweet potato bacon cakes.
- Hearty crab stew.
- Tomato soup.
- Paleo blackberry cobbler.
- Coconut date balls.
- Mango lime gelatine dummies.
- Coconut milk hot.
- Frozen coconut strawberry.
- BBQ Meatballs.
So, if you have made up your mind to start with this diet, do consider seeking professional advice i.e. if you have any.
That’s about it for paleo diet list of foods and diet recipes, happy ‘paleo dieting’.