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The paleo diet is intended to be akin to what hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed many thousands of years ago. Though it is impossible to know for sure what our ancestors consumed across the globe, scientists believe that their diets comprised whole meals.

Through a complete food-based diet and living physical activities, hunter-gatherers likely had lower levels of lifestyle-related illnesses like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Indeed, several studies indicate that this diet may lead to significant weight reduction (without the need to count calories) and significant gains in overall health.

This article provides a fundamental overview of the paleo diet. It provides the basics of a meal plan and other important information.


The paleo diet is a way of returning to the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors more than 12,000 years ago. This eating habit was before agricultural practices were established and when food was a necessity by hunting and collecting.

It is believed that people of the past did not have farms that could provide the food categories that we have today, such as grains and most dairy. Though the grain claim is debated, and of course, there were no processed foods like today. “The paleo-style diet was about natural, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, seafood, natural meat fats, seeds, nuts, and eggs.”, claims Ginger Hultin, RDN, a nutritionist from Seattle.

But, there is no defined standard for what the paleo diet encompasses and does not include. It is because researchers are working to find out the food habits of our Paleolithic ancestral ancestors consumed and how appropriate the paleo diet is to our current nutritional requirements.


Some ate a low-carb diet high in animal foods, while others followed a high-carb diet with lots of plants. Consider this as a general guideline, not something written in stone. You can adapt all of this to your own personal needs and preferences

2.1. Foods You Can Eat on the Paleo Diet

In short, if ancestral ancestors hunted or collected it, it’s a valid option in this diet. Foods you can eat on the Paleo-style diet include:

  • Grass-fed beef: Choose grass-fed meat because it is healthier for your health and more aligned with what our ancestors ate.
  • Fish and seafood: select wild-caught
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils (olive and walnut, flaxseed macadamia and avocado, coconut)
  1. Meat and Seafood

The majority of seafood and meats can be included in the paleo diet. Meat is a good source of lean protein, the main building base of all tissues and cells. Protein is also a great way to stay full. Make sure to avoid pre-marinated or preserved meats that might contain sugar added to them. Some of the most common seafood and meat options include:

Paleo Meat & Seafood

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Pork
  • Bacon
  • Cod
  • Turkey

Grass-fed meat is a must for paleo-style diets. It is less fatty than meat from animals fed grain and contains more omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that can reduce inflammation in your body and help protect your heart. The typical American diet is rich in trans and saturated fats. It is lower in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which is why the paleo diet focuses on meat-fed grass.

Choose chickens that are free of antibiotics. You can also source the meat you purchase from your local farm to learn how it is processed. The choice of wild fish over farm-raised could boost your omega-3 intake as well. You can also try looking for wild salmon and other sustainably caught seafood when eating paleo.

  1. Nuts & Seeds

Seeds, nuts, and other seeds contain nutritious fats, fiber, and protein. They also foraged during prehistoric times, which means you could fill your shopping cart with nuts and seeds. Remember that peanuts are not included in a paleo diet.

Paleo Nuts & Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Chia seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax seeds
  1. Fruits & Vegetables

There is no debate about the health benefits of vegetables and fruits. They contain nutrients, minerals, vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and fiber. The only issue for those on a paleo diet is that certain vegetables are very starchy (e.g., potatoes, for instance), and certain fruits have higher sugar levels . 

Therefore, if you are trying to lose weight or monitor your blood sugar levels, consume the foods in moderate amounts. Potatoes are prohibited in certain strict forms in the diet.

Many people who follow paleo wonder whether bananas are paleo because of their high sugar amount. They are classified as paleo. A medium-sized banana contains 100 calories and 3 grams of fiber, and 25,5 grams of carbs. Bananas are a great source of potassium as they are a whole, unprocessed food.

The main thing to remember when eating paleo is to ensure that your diet is natural, whole foods that aren’t processed. So the fruits and vegetables you consume should form most of your meals. Frozen vegetables without sauce are also permitted in a paleo-friendly diet.

Here are a few fruits and vegetables you can consume when following the Paleo diet:

Paleo Vegetables

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach

Paleo Fruits

  • Apples
  • Berries: Blackberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries
  • Melon
  • Grapes
  • Bananas
  • Citrus fruits
  • Peaches
  • Plums


Eggs are permitted due to their high levels of Protein, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also inexpensive and quick to cook. Purchase “organic” or “cage-free” eggs to get a greater omega-3 content than eggs made from chickens in cages.

  1. Healthy Oils

The oils are more complicated. Loren Cordain, Ph.D. founder of the Paleo Diet Movement, breaks down the nutritious oils when eating paleo: walnut, olive flaxseed, macadamia coconut, and avocado oils are all permitted because they come straight from plants. Although our hunter-gatherer ancestors likely were not consuming flaxseed oil, it is permitted due to its high levels of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), which is a form of heart-healthy omega-3 acid.

Paleo Oils

  • Olive oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil

2.2. Foods You Should Avoid on the Paleo Diet

Following a strict paleo diet, you must avoid these food items. These foods are not permitted when you follow the paleo diet:

  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (peanuts, beans, lentils, tofu)
  • Refined sugar
  • Foods processed
  • Soda and sweetened beverages
  • Refined vegetable oils
  • Salt
  • Artificial sweeteners


Say goodbye to crackers, cereal pasta, rice bread, beer, and crackers. Yes, beer. All grains are not allowed in Paleo. Why? The first reason is that grains result from modern farming; cave dwellers were not a fan of bread. The second reason is that grains are rich in carbohydrates and could cause blood sugar to rise.

Paleo opponents point out that many different grains are not in the same way. Whole grains are not able to increase blood sugar levels like refined grains. However, those who follow a paleo diet remain adamant about avoiding grains. It is because they are a source of various proteins and compounds like gluten, lectins, and even phytates that they say can cause inflammation in the body. 

They also block other nutrients from getting absorption. Paleo experts say these substances are not a problem until you suffer from allergies or sensitivities.


Legumes belong to the large family of plants with pods or seeds. This category encompasses all legumes: beans, lentils, tofu, and other soy-based foods, as well as peanuts. Also, soy sauce and peanut butter. 

Legumes are not allowed on paleo due to their high levels of phytic acids and lectins. Like grains, they are a subject of contention within research circles. A lot of research recommends the consumption of legumes as part of a balanced diet since they are not high in fat and are rich in protein, fiber, and iron.

Processed Foods

Processed food is loaded with all the other foods prohibited in the paleo diet, and most healthy diets. These mass-produced foods include refined sugars, salt, vegetable oils, and artificial sweeteners. Obviously, our ancestors were not eating these kinds of foods. Furthermore, there is no disagreement within the scientific community that refined sugars and excess salt are a major cause of the development of obesity as well as high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Nutritionists also have conflicts over artificial sweeteners and vegetable oils. Nevertheless, the American Heart Association recommends consuming canola, safflower, and corn oils. The paleo plans state that they are “not permitted” due to their ratios of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 and how they are prepared.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepts artificial sweeteners as safe for consumption. However, they are not permitted on paleo diets since they are manufactured by humans and are processed food. Even though artificial sweeteners can reduce the calories of food items, studies show that they still trigger us to want sweets and are harmful to the bacteria in our gut.

2.3. Foods You Can Sometimes Eat on the Paleo Diet

Dairy Products

The strict Paleo lifestyle excluded dairy products, as hunter-gatherers did not milk cows. And the term “dairy products” includes butter, milk yogurt, sour cream, yogurt, and cheese. Some paleo dieters claim that dairy is okay, particularly if it is grass-fed, as grass-fed butter, for instance, contains more omega-3s. 

Fermented dairy products such as kefir are also suitable for people who eat paleo because they have less lactose and casein. These are two of the main issues people who are paleo have about dairy. If you are looking to avoid dairy products on your paleo-friendly diet, it is possible to use non-dairy alternatives made from almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew.

Starchy Vegetables & High-Sugar Fruits

This category is a gray area. Starchy vegetables and high-sugar fruits (such as potatoes, squash, beets, and others) could increase blood sugar more quickly than spinach and berries. They are, therefore, safe when consumed in moderation and should be tried to limit if you are trying to shed weight, as suggested by paleo experts.


Alcohol is not a good idea when you are an absolute paleo. Beer is made of grain, while liquor has gluten in it. But the good news is for cider lovers: most hard ciders are gluten-free, which means you can enjoy them. Look up the label to make certain. The red wine category is popular with paleo enthusiasts because it has the antioxidant Resveratrol. But for the fans of chardonnay, white wine is not permitted.


Over the last couple of years, the paleo community has greatly changed. There are a variety of variations that follow the Paleo lifestyle. Some of them permit new foods that science has suggested are healthy. They include butter made from grass-fed and gluten-free grains such as rice.

Many people today believe that paleo is an example of how you can base your healthy diet without strict adherence.

3.1. What to Drink When You Are Thirsty

The following drinks are not specifically paleo. However, the majority of people drink them regardless:

Tea: It is nutritious and healthy. It is filled with antioxidants and beneficial substances. Green tea is the most beneficial.

Coffee: It is very antioxidant-rich and also. Research suggests that it provides numerous health benefits.

3.2. Sensible Indulgences

The items and drinks below are fine in small quantities:

Wine: Premium red wine is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.

Dark chocolate: Select one with 70% or more cocoa amount. High-quality dark chocolate is nutritious and very healthy.

3.3. A Sample Paleo Menu for One Week

This sample menu includes an appropriate quantity of paleo-friendly food items. You can always alter this menu according to your personal preferences.


  • Breakfast: eggs and cooked vegetables with olive oil, and 1 piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: Salad of chicken served with olive oil, and a handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Burgers (no buns). Fried in butter, served with a little salsa and veggies.


  • Breakfast: Bacon, eggs and a piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: Leftover burgers, from the evening before.
  • Dinner: Salmon cooked in butter, served with vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Meat and vegetables (leftovers from the night prior).
  • Lunch: Sandwich is served in the leaf of lettuce, with fresh fruits and meat.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried ground beef along with some vegetables. Some berries.


  • Breakfast: Eggs and an apple.
  • Lunch: Stir-fry leftover from the night prior. Some nuts.
  • Dinner: Fries of pork and vegetables.


  • Breakfast: eggs and veggies fritted with olive oil.
  • Lunch Dinner: Chicken salad served with olive oil, and handful of nuts.
  • Dinner: Steak served with sweet potatoes and vegetables.


  • Breakfast Bacon and eggs, served with a piece of fruit.
  • Lunch: leftover steak and some vegetables left over from the night before.
  • Meal: Roasted salmon served with avocado and vegetables.


  • Breakfast: Meat and vegetables (leftovers from the night prior).
  • Lunch: Sandwich is served in the leaf of lettuce, with fresh fruits and meat.
  • Dinner: Chicken wings grilled with salsa and vegetables.

There is generally no need to keep track of macronutrients, calories, or calories (protein carbs, fats, or carbs) when following the paleo diet, at least at first.

If you are trying to shed a significant amount of weight, it is an excellent idea to cut down on carbohydrates and restrict the consumption of high-fat foods, such as nuts.


There is no reason to eat more than 3 meals a day. However, should you feel hungry, there are Paleo-friendly snacks that are easy and easy to carry around:

  • Baby carrots
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Fruits are a piece
  • Nuts in a handful
  • The leftovers from the night before
  • Apple slices, a little almond butter
  • The berries in a bowl topped with some coconut cream
  • Homemade beef jerky

Simple Paleo Shopping List

There is an amazing array of foods that you can consume when following this diet. This list of basic items should provide you with an idea of where to start:

  • Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, etc.
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, etc.
  • Fish: Salmon, trout, mackerel, etc.
  • Eggs
  • Fresh vegetables: Greens, tomatoes, lettuce and onions, carrots, etc.
  • Frozen vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, various vegetable mixes, etc.
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, pears, oranges, avocado
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, etc.
  • Almonds nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts
  • Almond butter
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Condiments: Sea salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, parsley, etc.

It is recommended to eliminate all unhealthy temptations from homes, such as sugary sodas, sweets, crackers, cookies, bread, Ice cream, and cereals.

Tips on ordering paleo meals at restaurants

  • Do not eat anything that reads “creamy”- this typically means that it has dairy.
  • Always inquire if the food is cooked with sauce or with sauce topping.
  • Make sure you eat meats, vegetables, avocado, olive oil, and leafy greens at any restaurant.
  • Request a salad that includes meat if you do not have any other choices, even if the item is not listed on the menu.
  • Make sure that salads and dishes do not automatically include cheese as an ingredient. (It’s customary to find Italian restaurants to serve parmesan, but not mention it, for example.)
  • Ask if you are unsure what “fried” is, deep-fried or sauteed.
  • Always ask for an extra slice of lemon. It is a great flavoring for just about anything!
  • Find the root vegetable on your menu. You could roast the vegetables, carrots, parsnips, sweet squash, or potatoes.
  • Be cautious with soups and broths, as many of them are made with wheat or soy and may be thickened by corn starch.
  • Do you need help finding a delicious main meal? Consider ordering a variety of side dishes instead.


The paleo diet is modeled after the diets hunter-gatherers are likely to have followed. While there are various ways to follow the paleo diet, the basic idea is to avoid processed foods and focus instead on healthy, whole foods. Paleo-friendly foods include meat, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, fruits and veggies, along with healthy fats and oils. Avoid processed foods, grains and sugar.

You can also base your diet on paleo foods, adding in a few modern healthy foods like grass-fed butter and gluten-free grains. To get started on the paleo diet, check out the sample menu and shopping list above. Stock your kitchen and pantry with these healthy, paleo-friendly foods.

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