The paleo diet, which emphasizes the consumption of whole, nutrient-dense food, has gained much attention in recent years. But is this diet worth the hype or just another fad? As it turns out, studies have found that the paleo diet can help you lose weight, ease symptoms of metabolic syndrome, and reduce food-related inflammation. While the paleo diet might not be for everyone, it is worth giving a try after consulting with your doctor. You’ll need to follow a few rules, but let this paleo diet for beginners guide help you along the way.
Paleo Diet for Beginners
The paleo diet centers on “everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors” (source). Dieters aim to eat like their Paleolithic ancestors, consuming foods that can be hunted, fished, or gathered and avoiding processed foods. The diet does not emphasize or require calorie restriction, though some people prefer to count calories while adhering to the paleo diet.
Like the Atkins diet, the paleo diet omits most low-nutrient foods and foods that are high in sugary carbohydrates. But while the Atkins diet allows cereal grains, legumes, potatoes, and dairy products, the paleo diet does not.
Food to Avoid
Before you go grocery shopping for paleo meals, you will likely need to clean your fridge out. Make sure to pitch or donate items that aren’t a part of the paleo diet:
- Cereal Grains and Legumes: Say goodbye to wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, brown rice, soy, peanuts, beans, and black-eyed peas.
- Certain Oils: The paleo diet restricts the use of vegetable, hydrogenated, and partly hydrogenated oils. These include margarine, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil. You can use olive oil and avocado oil as salad dressings or toppings, but you can’t cook with them.
- Sugar and Processed Food: If you aren’t much of a chef, the Paleo diet with help you gain a lot of cooking experience. You shouldn’t consume sugar or anything that is processed. Stay away from soft drinks, alcohol, and most packed snacks. However, there are some packaged snacks that are paleo-approved. Can’t live without soda or sugary ice cream? Naturally flavored sparkling water and banana “ice cream” are great alternatives.
- Dairy: As a general rule of thumb, cut out dairy products. However, some people believe it is okay to consume heavy cream on the paleo diet. Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is a lactose-free alternative to butter, and many people find that it tastes just as great.
Foods You Can Eat
The key to a successful paleo diet for beginners is achieving the correct ratio of each type of food. Keep your diet high in fat, moderate in animal protein, and low in carbohydrates. Although you will have fewer ingredients to choose from, there are still plenty of things you can eat on the paleo diet:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Grass-fed meats
- Nuts and seeds
- Some oils like olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, and coconut
Choose your groceries carefully. For example, you can still eat bacon on the paleo diet if you select a natural product that doesn’t contain non-paleo chemicals, preservatives, nitrates, or fillers. When purchasing meat, eggs, and fish, look for words like grass-fed, fully pastured, and wild-caught.
One important thing to remember is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to a successful paleo diet. You might find that sticking to Paleo 100 percent of the time is too difficult for your lifestyle. Many people have success with practicing an 80/20 rule – which means they eat paleo 80 percent of the time and still allow special non-paleo treats 20 percent of the time.
Your main goal on the paleo diet should be to eat more whole foods and less processed foods. Whatever you do, try to stay away from chips, cookies, and bread. You might have good days and bad days when it comes to following all the rules, but don’t give up. This paleo diet for beginners guide is a great starting point, but there are many other free resources. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your cooking and explore paleo recipes online.
Paleo-Friendly Snacks from CHiKPRO™
One way to stay on track with your new diet is to stock your pantry with paleo-approved snacks and protein powder. At CHiKPRO™, we carry protein-packed products that can help you meet or exceed your recommended daily intake. Our protein powder contains chicken, which is a complete protein, highly digestible, and rich in the amino acids your body requires for wellness. Versatile and easy to use, this high-quality and highly efficient protein supplement contains 25 grams of protein in each 30-gram scoop. Plus, you can use it in any of your paleo recipes! It is also non-allergenic, dairy-free, and gluten-free. To learn more, please visit the CHiKPRO™ website and send us a message.