Paleo Diet for Beginners: What The Paleo Diet Is To Get Started

What is the Paleo Diet? What can you eat? Is it healthy? Can I lose weight? This guide provides the answers every beginner needs to know about the Paleo Diet, to help you get started!

The Paleo Diet is a healthy eating lifestyle that eliminates processed foods and sugars, grains, and dairy and replaces them with nutritious whole foods and lean protein. Also known as the “caveman” diet, the Paleo lifestyle offers many benefits in addition to helping you shed extra pounds!

Paleo Diet 101

The basic idea behind the Paleo diet is easy to understand. Eat foods that can be hunted or gathered-like a caveman would have centuries ago. Avoid the others. Lose weight, improve metabolism, and decrease your risk for heart disease with no need to count calories, weigh in, or worry about food portions.

If you’d like to follow in their footsteps, I’ll show you how in this beginners guide which includes tips for losing weight, what you can and cannot eat, ten shopping tips for stocking your Paleo pantry, and 21 easy Paleo diet recipes to get you started!

Tips For Weight Loss

  • Follow all of the rules for the first 30 days to see results-Especially if you’re trying to lose weight! It may help temptation-wise to clear all non-Paleo foods from your home. Your local food pantry will be happy to accept any unopened foods you need to clear out!
  • Go Low Carb. The Paleo diet doesn’t restrict all carbohydrates, so if you’re looking to drop a few pounds be sure to fill your plate with more protein, healthy fats, and low carb veggies.
  • Practice portion control! One mistake people make on the Paleo diet is over-doing the healthy fats-which can keep you from losing weight. Keep nuts and oils to a minimum. A diet friendly serving of nuts is 1 ounce-not one container!
  • Meal Plan & Prep! Meal planning is the best way to stick to any diet, and Paleo is no different! Plan meals on Saturday or Sunday and batch cook chicken and chop veggies for a few hours. Meal planning will help you lose weight & stick to your budget.
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What To Eat On The Paleo Diet       

·         Lean Meat: Steak, Ground Beef, Venison, Lamb, Goat

·         Wild-Caught Fish & Seafood: Salmon, Shrimp, Tuna, Lobster

·         Poultry: Skinless Chicken, Turkey, Duck, Hen, Goose

·         Fruits: Apples, Avocado, Bananas, Honeydew, Grapes, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Tomatoes, Pineapple, Lemons, Mangos, Oranges, Limes

·         Vegetables: Acorn Squash, Beets, Bell Peppers, Kale, Spinach, Arugula, Butternut Squash, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms, Onions, Squash, Zucchini

·         Eggs: Free Range Preferred 

·         Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Macadamias, Hazelnuts, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds

·         Fats: Healthy Fats like Olive Oil, Macadamia Oil, Coconut Oil

What Foods To Avoid On The Paleo Diet

Processed Food & Sugar

  • NO Candy, Chips, Cookies, Ice Cream, Soda, Fruit Juice, Energy Drinks, Lunch Meat, Hot Dogs
  • No Cane Sugar, Cane Syrup, White Sugar, Brown Sugar, Agave, Brown Rice Syrup, Corn Syrup, Malt Syrup, Splenda, Truvia, Equal
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Grains

  • NO Cereals, Corn, Wheat, Pasta, Oats, Barley, Rye, Corn, Quinoa, Polenta,Buckwheat

Legumes

  • NO Lentils, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Fava Beans, Navy Beans, White Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Green Beans, String Beans, Peas, Tofu, Peanuts

Dairy

·NO Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream, Ice Cream, Buttermilk

Ten Paleo Diet Shopping Tips

You’re going to have to make some adjustments when shopping for food. Don’t stress! Here’s what you need to know when you’re at the grocery store trying to stock the shelves of your Paleo pantry! 

  1. Buy fresh, lean meats with no hormones or antibiotics.
    • Buy Grass-Fed & Organic versions of foods like meats, poultry, and eggs. If these aren’t in your budget, grain-fed will work too. 
    • When shopping for fish, choose wild-caught fish over farmed
    • Opt for skinless, and pasture raised chicken and turkey
    • Pick fruit wisely! All fruit is allowed on the paleo diet, but if you’re trying to lose weight it’s best to stay away from fruits with a ton of sugar like bananas, pineapple & watermelon
    • Stock up on nutrient-dense vegetables like kale and broccoli, but go easy on the potatoes-both Idaho & sweet should be consumed in moderation
    • Make friends with RAW nuts & seeds without a sweet maple syrup gloss. Add them to salads, muffins, or let them stand alone & eat as a snack.
  2. *Just remember-no peanuts. They’re technically a legume & not approved on the Paleo diet! 
    • Speaking of legumes, say goodbye to lentils, peas, chickpeas, and beans. They’re also on the Paleo diet No List! 
    • Cook with healthy oils that add the right kind of fat to your diet like Olive, Avocado, and Coconut Oil-Stay away from vegetable, canola, and peanut oils
    • Watch what you drink! Fruit juices, sports drinks, and sodas that are full of unhealthy sugar are out! Drink water, tea, and black coffee instead.
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Modified Paleo Diet

Throughout the years the Paleo diet has been tweaked and adjusted confusing and sometimes causing drama in the Paleo community. Some Paleo diets include dairy, some grains, and beans while others follow the strict rules of the original diet.

Confusing?

Yes, but here’s what you need to keep in mind. Whether you chose a  “strict” or “modified” Paleo diet, the best version is the one you can stick with. If you’ve been struggling with your weight and you’re ready for a change then look at the Paleo diet as a lifestyle rather than a diet. Ultimately, your health matters more than than a list of rules. Finding the right combination of foods for your body is more meaningful than being able to shout from the mountaintops that you’re 100% Paleo!

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