What is the paleo diet?
The paleo diet is about eating real food and by real food, we mean food in its natural state that hasn’t undergone any processing or manufacturing. Essentially, this is meat, poultry, fish, eggs, natural fats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.
Eat your vegetables: Eat as many and as much fresh or frozen vegetables as you want, especially green ones. Go organic and live it up. And don’t be shy, these can be eaten raw or cooked, any way you like.
Yes to oils: Good oils to use (and use them plenty) include coconut (my favourite for cooking), palm, avocado, sesame, grapeseed and olive oil. Avoid corn, cottonseed, peanut, soybean, rice bran and wheatgerm oils.
Nuts: If you can find it in nature, you can eat it. So cashews, pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc. are OK. They have essential oils, fats and proteins that are good for you, but keep them to a minimum. This is because nuts contain phytic acid (also found in grains and legumes), which paleo proponents say interferes with the enzymes we need to digest our food.
Go carnivore: Try to get enough animal protein. Your body craves it and your waistline will thank you. And yes, that means fattier cuts like bacon and ribs. Eat a variety of poultry, seafood, red meats and eggs – all wild caught or grassfed.
What should you avoid?
Avoid most starches: No corn products and breads. If you feel you need rice, try cauliflower rice. You can use a food processor to make the right texture and spice it up to help you get over the hump…it’s surprisingly good. Try to think ‘Can I eat it raw?’ and if the answer is yes, then you can eat it on the paleo diet.
No processed foods: if it comes in the freezer section or in a box, you probably shouldn’t eat it (unless it’s frozen fruit and veg of course). It’s important to avoid nitrates, so watch out for those in processed foods.
Booze: Let’s be honest, it’s hard to give up the booze. If you’re out to get the best health benefits, cut it out, but if you can’t give it up, you can do it paleo-style – go for clear drinks like vodka or gin. (drinkaware.ie)
No dairy: Avoid all dairy – this includes milk, yoghurt (unless full fat real Greek yoghurt), and cheese.
No to the sugars: No soft drinks, no Haribos, no processed fruit snacks, etc. Remember, if it comes ready-made, or looks absolutely delicious, you probably shouldn’t eat it!!
Follow Janice’s food adventures on instagram @janicebutler81 and @tasteirelandmag.