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What You Can and Can't Eat on the Paleo Diet

By Edited May 24, 2015 1 2

Hopefully this article will be able to provide you with further clarification as to the types of foods that you can and are supposed to eat on the Paleo diet, and also what types of foods that you are supposed to avoid and cannot eat on the Paleo diet. 

A point to bear in mind before reading throught what is allowed and what isn't allowed, is that what some dietitians who specialise in Palelithic diet consider certain foods to be 'ok to eat' others won't.

So even within such a specific diet there are still conflicting views and it is up to you (with research such as from the Paleo and recipe books below, along with research online) as to decide for yourself what exactly is forbidden from the diet and what is allowed. Therefore the following foods I am going to list are thought of as the 'general' foods that are accepted and banned, however there may be exceptions to the rule.

For those who want more information on actually what the Paleo diet is about or generally for further points, advice, guidance and literally hundreds of potential health benefits (e.g. improve skin, asthma etc.) that you could gain from the Paleo diet please check out the article  'Paleo Nutrition Guidance and Advice:P Palaeolithic Diet and its Potential health Benefits'.

What You Can Eat on the Paleo Diet

As the types of foods that are allowed on the paleo-diet are trying to mimic the diet of the Paleolithic hunter gathers, it mostly consists of foods which could either be hunted down, fished out of the river or sea and foods that can be gathered from branches and animals such as berries, eggs and nuts. Generally any foods that could simply be eaten raw.

So you can imagine that these 'cavemen' ate a lot of meat and you wouldn't be wrong, they did. Hence they appear to be a major feature of the paleo-diet alongside that of eggs also. There are certain rules that are instigated from the experts of the paleo-diet however, you should try and find meats, fish and eggs that are organic or from the wild, as what they eat affects the quality of what you are essentially eating. There is also some debate as to whether you should aim to eat lean meats (low fat), with the concluding factor that this is generally for those who are aiming to lose weight.

There is also a heavy emphasis on seeds, again these come with rules with certain books suggest that if you are aiming to lose weight with the diet that you aren't to be over eating on seeds. Nuts again abide by a similar rule to seeds in regards to losing weight, and there are some bans on what kind of nuts you are eating such as peanuts as they are apart of the legume family (going back to my first point above although these general groups of foods are accepted there are the exceptions you need to find out). Another example is that of cashews they aren't allowed as they can't be eaten raw. 

When it comes to oils, the 'warrior diet' experts are often quite accepting of most oils especially that which originate from plants, and also there appears to be a strong recommendation for that of fish oil nutritional supplements (tablets or straight from the bottle) that you can simply purchase from supermarkets, and then follow the recommendations that are printed on the container. 

Not really surprising that fruits and vegetables have an important part to play on the 'stone age diet' and so they are certainly allowed on the diet, however some of the books produced by Paleo nutrition experts present a few rules (some of which aren't always upon agreement). Most books do tend to forbid the likes of peas or any type of food that is from the legume family and also that of starchy vegetables e.g. your potato. Applying the general rule that if it can't be eaten raw, then it should be

When it comes to 'drinks' the paleo-diet experts seemed to be much more conflicting over this particular issue, although they all agree on drinking water as the primary source of liquid. When it comes to other drinks such as coffee and alcohol some allow it in moderation whilst others completely ban it, so it is up to you form your opinion on that matter.

What You Can't Eat on the Paleo Diet

The types of foods that are allowed on the Paleo diet as said before are that of what hunter gatherers 'cavemen' used to eat, therefore you will find that a lot of the more modern foods that have actually only quite recently been introduced (in relative terms to the diet of human beings) aren't allowed on the Paleo diet.

So pretty much all dairy products are competely a no go area and hence certainly are not allowed on the Paleolithic diet, as hunter gatherers never actually domesticated animals and therefore couldn't benefit from eating these types of products such as milk, butter, cheese. However some authors of the books do recommend substitutes to the common dairy products such as coconut milk.

Grains should also be avoided, for a rather simple reason hunter gatherers simply didn't eat a lot of it. Also bear in mind all the different types of grain such as corn so therefore avoid all their subsequent foods as well. Hence cereal is certainly frowned upon from diet experts of the 'warrior diet'.

Foods that contain high amounts of 'refined sugar' are regarded as bad also, advice from the experts as to avoid any foods that contain high amounts of sugar (which comes under numerous names, so be sure to watch out for this also). There were natural sweetners such as honey and dietians do allow maple syrup also but again in moderation.

As stated above foods to avoid are starchy foods, foods that reside from the legume family, peas, green beans and peanuts, but also be sure to avoid things like vinegar, pickled foods and yeast, to gain a more detailed list of exceptions it would probably be best to go over a paleo diet and recipe book or detailed websties online. Like refined sugar, high levels of salt should also be avoided and there are numerous statements fromt the experts to refrain from adding salt to your food that you are preparing.

Remember that anything that is processed in any shape or form is not allowed on the caveman diet.

Summary of What You Can and Can't Eat on the Paleo Diet

It would probably be wise to checkout cooking books that are specifically for the Paleo diet such as 'Everyday Paleo' and 'Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals: Delicious, Primal-Approved Meals You Can Make in Under 30 Minutes' so you can incorporate these foods that are allowed on the diet into a well structured meal and diet. Also bear in mind you are individual (and you are different to everyone else) so if you allergies  or any problems with the structure or consumption of certain foods be sure to simply adjust. To get proper advice on what type of moderation to eat all the foods from the paleo diet again I recommend you check out dedicated books like the ones above.

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Comments

Oct 21, 2011 2:31pm
Sullysee
Not too familiar with the Paleo Diet. It's worth looking into. Thanks for the good article and bringing about this attention.
Nov 16, 2011 5:42pm
Ddraig
Never heard of this diet. I won't be following it, but I was very interested in reading the facts around this diet.
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