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A Quick Guide to the Paleo Diet

A Quick Guide to the Paleo Diet image

The paleo diet, a clean-eating way of life, is a simple plan consisting of vegetables, lean meats, fruits, nuts, and seeds. We make it easy to remember what to eat and what to avoid with this quick, at-a-glance list of foods.

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Paleo has become a common word in our vocabulary when talking about a way of eating. Here is our elevator speech: The paleo diet is a very clean diet with foods similar to what our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic period: lean meats, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits. The theory behind eating this way is that our digestive systems are most equipped to process foods eaten by our ancestors. Some of us agree with this notion, seeing it as a logical way of eating and some of us think that the introduction of farming has influenced our digestive systems to evolve over time.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with the paleo lifestyle... Here is an at-a-glance look at what the diet involves. We've broken it down into 'The Purist' and 'The Moderate'.

The Paleo Purist

Avoids:

  • All dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream)
  • All grains including whole grains (rice, quinoa, millet, corn, oats, barley, wheat and all wheat products like bread, pasta, pizza dough, etc.)
  • All legumes (black beans, soy beans and anything made with soy, pinto beans, peanuts, lentils)
  • Potatoes
  • Processed oils (vegetable oil, soy bean oil, corn oil)
  • Refined sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, sugar substitutes like aspartame and sucralose)
  • Processed foods in general (frozen dinner meals, snack foods like pretzels or potato chips, candy, cupcakes, energy bars)
  • Condiments with processed sugars/binders/synthetic ingredients (ketchup, barbeque sauce, soy sauce, mayonnaise)
  • Alcohol made from grains (beer, vodka, whiskey)
  • Beverages with added sugar (apple juice, cranberry juice, iced tea sweetened with sugar, coffee with cream and sugar)

Consumes:

  • Vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes)
  • Lean meats, especially grass-fed animals (chicken, pork, turkey, beef, wild game)
  • Fruits in moderation (berries, avocado, bananas, apples, pears)
  • Nuts and seeds (raw almonds, raw cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds)
  • Oils from plants (olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, coconut oil)
  • Coconut cream and pure coconut milk
  • Black coffee
  • Alcohol made from fruits and plants (wine and tequila)
  • Small amounts of natural sweeteners (agave nectar, honey, maple syrup)

The Paleo Moderate

Eats everything mentioned above in the 'Consumes' section plus allows a few more items.

Allows:

  • Butter (grass-fed, preferably) and ghee (clarified butter)
  • Condiments with minimal processing like soy sauce
  • Paleo-friendly products that may be considered processed, like protein bars with minimal ingredients (Lara bars and Epic bars)

Need some visual aids? Check out our collection of Paleo Recipes where we cater to the Paleo Purist and the Paleo Moderate. Here is some eye candy to get you started:

Pressure Cooker Red Pork Stew

Chicken Pho with Spiralized Zoodles

Roasted Carrots with Lemon and Thyme