The basics of paleo eating: enjoy more vegetables, high-quality meats, seafood, and eggs, fruits, and healthy fats.
Build your paleo meals around a high-quality protein, such as grass-fed meat, pastured chicken, free-range eggs, or sustainable seafood. Plan to fill the rest of your plate with vegetables–preferably organic, local ones if you can find them. Give your food plenty of flavor with spices, paleo-friendly sauces, and grain-free condiments like coconut aminos, fish sauce, and vinegars. Cook and season your protein and veggies with healthy primal fats, such as ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, or animal fat from well-raised animals. Round things out with a little fruit and/or nuts.
Look for grass-fed meat at your local farmers’ market or order some from ButcherBox (if you order through that link they’ll send you free paleo, no-sugar-added bacon!). The farmers’ market is the best place to find vegetables, too. Consider joining a CSA (farm share) to get a box of local produce on a weekly basis. This makes it so easy and fun to eat more vegetables! (If you’re in the Chattanooga area, I absolutely love my Big Sycamore Farm CSA.) Depending on where you live you may not be able to consistently find fruit at the farmers’ market, so try local natural foods stores, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s. My favorite places to buy seasonings, spices, oils, and vinegars are Thrive Market (kind of like an online Costco for healthy pantry staples), Amazon, and Whole Foods.
For more info on the exact ingredients I recommend having in your kitchen to make paleo eating easy and delicious, check out my paleo pantry page.
Here’s what’s pictured above: local summer veggies ready for quick-pickling, grass-fed meat from my first ButcherBox, dressing and other ingredients for my rainbow salad, and the nuts, seeds, and spices for dukkah, which is on page 25 of my cookbook Paleo Planet.
Replace gluten-laden sweets and processed foods with grain-free desserts and snacks made without refined sugar, and limit even paleo-friendly treats to special occasions.
It’s possible (and in fact, easy and fun) to make cakes, brownies, ice creams, and other desserts that are free of gluten, grains, dairy, and refined sugar. However, be careful not to let these foods be a significant percentage of the total food you eat, because they’re not nearly as nutritious as all of the basics mentioned above and too much sugar, even from natural, unrefined sources, can cause or exacerbate a whole host of problems. Keep desserts to a minimum, enjoy them after a meal of healthy protein as opposed to on their own as a snack, and emphasize green vegetables instead of starchy ones in meals that you plan to follow with dessert. This will help balance out the negative effects of a sweet treat.
Avoid gluten, grains, legumes like soy, beans, and peanuts, most dairy products, refined sugar, unhealthy oils, and most processed foods.
You may even want to try cutting all of these out completely for a month with the Whole30 program. It’s been a wonderful reset for me the two times I’ve done it–I’ve lost weight, had more energy, and just felt happier overall.
You can read more about my first Whole30 experience here.
Make paleo your own by paying attention to how different foods make you feel, and eating more or less of them accordingly. No one else is just like you, so tweak what you eat based on the results YOU get and the goals YOU have.
Questions about paleo eating? I’m more than happy to help if I can!
Hit me up on Facebook or shoot me an email (becky(at)acalculatedwhisk(dot)com). I’m also looking for questions to answer in an upcoming paleo FAQ section here on my site. I would love to hear from and connect with you! (If your question is about a specific recipe, the comments section of the recipe post is the best place for that. I’ll respond to your comment ASAP and it may help others have more success with the recipe, too!)
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