Paleo is all about the protein. You actually probably need to be careful you don't eat too much protein with the Paleo diet.
For more info on protein, I'd highly recommend Paleo Leap's article entitled Paleo and Protein.
Here is one excerpt from that awesome article:
Protein is an essential macronutrient that supports almost every type of cell in your body. While it’s important to get enough high-quality animal protein, humans were never designed to use it as our main energy source. If you’re new to Paleo, it’s especially important to remember that fat, not protein, should make up the bulk of your calories: there’s no such thing as “low-fat Paleo.”
Source: Paleo Leap, Paleo and Protein.
As we are really aiming to eat similarly to how our ancestors did in the Paleolithic Age, you really need to be purchasing meat that is as similar to the meat they ate back then as you can.
While you can't go out and kill yourself a Woolly Mammoth and you probably aren't eating bison or buffalo, there are still ways to eat meat that is at least similar to that of our predecessors.
First, whenever you can, buy organic, wild, grass fed, or sustainable. Some things also should be pasteurized. Basically, we are trying to cut out all that bad stuff that could be in the meat.
The 7 ways are:
- Your grazing animals don't eat grass
- Your meat isn't wild
- Your fish is toxic or endangered
- Your poultry doesn't eat bugs
- You don't eat the whole animal
- You choose lean meats
- You eat alone
I'm not sure that you need to adhere to that 100% to be Paleo, but you get the idea.
Source: Paleo Hacks, 7 Crucial Ways to Tell If Your Meat is Paleo or Not
- Beef (Ground beef is okay)
- Eggs (okay, not really meat)
- Wild boar
Pretty much if it has fins and swims, it is Paleo. Those Omega-3's are really good for you too!
Actually, a lot about fish is good for you. Check out Chris Kresser's article entitled "Is eating fish safe? A lot safer than not eating fish!"
Here is a quick overview from that article:
- Selenium protects against mercury toxicity, and 16 of the 25 highest dietary sources of selenium are ocean fish
- If a fish contains higher levels of selenium than mercury, it is safe to eat
- Most species of commonly eaten fish in the U.S. have more selenium than mercury
- Fish are not significant sources of PCBs and dioxins when compared to meat, dairy or vegetables
- The benefits of eating fish regularly far outweigh the potential risks, which are neglible
- Pregnant mothers and young children should eat 2-3 servings of oily ocean fish each week
You should try to get fish from the wild, but it also needs to be from clean water as fish in polluted water can have a lot of issues. I try to get stuff from Alaska.
Source: Chris Kresser, Is eating fish safe? A lot safer than not eating fish!
- Red snapper
Here's some other seafood you can eat on the Paleo diet. These didn't quite fit under "fish," I mean, they aren't fish, but are still good all the same!
- Crab Crawfish
With the Paleo diet, you should be eating plenty of veggies.
Veggies are great for you, yet most of us don't eat enough. For a more scientific argument as to why they are so good for you, check out this awesome article: "Eat Your Vegetables!"
There are a few vegetables that don't make the list. Mainly those that are high in starch and low in nutritional content or that are too sugary. That includes white potatoes and some squash (both of these are debatable and generally are acceptable in moderation).
Sources: The Paleo Diet, Eat Your Vegeatables!
- Artichoke hearts
- Brussels sprouts
- Peppers (all kinds)
- Green onions
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
- Sweet potato
I don't know that there are any fruits that aren't Paleo.
Not only is fruit delicious, but it is really healthy for you (provided you don't go overboard). It seems like most Paleo sites are recommending 2-3 servings of fruit per day with the Paleo diet.
You can also use fruit juice as a natural sweetener.
A word on juicing, it seems like some experts are having serious doubts about whether juicing fruit is actually good for you. They high amount of sugar could be problematic, and a glass of fruit juice (lets say apple) is similar to eating several apples but not getting any of the nutrition from the fruit.
Source: Authority Nutrition, Fruit Juice is Just as Unhealthy as a Sugary Drink
- Pineapple guava
With Paleo, fats are not only tolerated, but celebrated!
It used to be that people looked down on fat as contributing to the obesity epidemic and poor overall health. Paleo experts contend that it is carbs that are the root of all evil (or at least they cut way down on them), and fats are actually necessary to overall health. Oils and fats are actually your bodies preferred way of making energy.
There is a pretty good list of oils and fats over at primalpalate.com.
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Macadamia oil
- Red Palm Oil
- Palm Shortening
- Avocado oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Sesame Oil
Go nuts for nuts!
Paleo is all about nuts. Just not the salty ones. Or the cooked ones. Or peanuts.
Basically, eat the nuts listed below, and do so raw.
For more info on the six healthiest nuts, check out this article.
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
I am not a health, nutrition, or paleo expert. In fact, I am brand new to the entire topic of Paleo. Nothing on this site should be taken as health or nutritional advice. I would instead encourage you to follow the links I use as sources and consider professional opinions.