In all the research and studying I have done on my road to working on getting on the full Paleo diet, I have seen so many people “debunking” the claims of the fad. That can easily be said for people just falling into the fad of the diet or the people interested in trying to lose weight, but for the group of medical issues I have, it works and I look for structure.
If you’re interested in starting down the paleo, you may have questions. Is this ok? Is that permitted? Why is it so restrictive? Can I have a cupcake?
Well, it’s not as restrictive as it seems. The majority of the foods are not needed (no one actually needs candy, Oreos or packaged foods). Grains can be an exception, but they can also cause inflammation. On the Paleo, all grains are on the “no” list, even quinoa and amaranth, rice or corn. Corn can be a very problematic grain.
Soy is another problem. It feels like it’s in every dairy or gluten free product but it’s one of the top three foods to avoid. (dairy, soy and gluten are the big 3 in a lot of diet plans), not to mention soy can harm your thyroid.
Here is a break down of what you need to do, what you and and can’t have and some end tips.
Foods You Can Eat
I’ll start with the most positive sounding first.
You can have meats- deer, pork, cow, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish- all that’s good. Wild caught and grassfed are best, but others are good for people with lower budgets.
You can have vegetables- basically all vegetables are permitted.
You can have fruits- once again, fruit is permitted on the diet.
Nuts, with the exception of peanuts are permitted. Peanuts are NOT included.
Herbs, spices- just about all are approved, just watch out for mixes. If they have preservatives and other
There is a whole line of frozen dinners that are specifically Paleo friendly, but they are pricier than normal TV dinners.
Foods not included
Grains- even the gluten free grains, none are included on this diet and that includes corn.
Legumes (including soy and peas, lentils, beans, etc)
Processed junk foods- this one goes without saying but the “foods” with tons of ingredients are not included in this diet. If it’s in a box but you’re able to identify every ingredient as a whole food (like TV dinners), they might be included.
What is the best way to start?
The best way to start is to start cooking everything at home. Not everyone has time to fully cook breakfast, lunch and dinner every day- that’s where batch cooking on your days off comes in. Slow cookers are also your best friend.
If you take all your meat for a week and cook it on your day off, portion everything out and freeze each thing in separate microwavable friendly tupperware, it saves time and the days you’re too tired or don’t have time to cook you just toss one in the microwave and cook it like a tv dinner.
The best way to get started when starting down the Paleo path, is to grab a couple Paleo cookbooks and meal plan your first 2 weeks grocery list and your next 2 weeks grocery list. Write down the recipes, go through the ingredients and for fresh produce, buy only what you will need for the 1-2 weeks (depending on if you shop weekly, bi weekly or monthly)
Don’t forget to add in deserts or snacks. There are tons of Paleo recipes for desserts.
– don’t stress if you “slip up”
-remember, this diet path isn’t for everyone but it can really help your overall well being if you have medical conditions that respond to food
-you may want to talk to your doctor to see what you need to supplement before starting any strict diet
-don’t treat this as a diet, pretend it’s a lifestyle you’re choosing
-don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the “do not eat” list
-keep in mind that not all diets work for everyone- your best friend could feel amazing but you could end up on prescription supplements, we all need different foods.
-this is great as an elimination diet if you’re dealing with food intolerance
-there are tons of websites, books and cookbooks- the food doesn’t have to be boring.
*This is the second in a series I’m working on dealing with starting and going on the Paleo diet. I’m also in the process of putting together a “shopping” list of sorts to get started walking down this dietary path.*
If you have any suggestions for anything I missed, feel free to leave it in the comments.