Published on February 13th, 2013 | by Nick Coe0
Sample Paleo Diet for Beginners
Starting a new diet can be daunting, especially one as health-focused as the Paleolithic, or Paleo, Diet. Fortunately, the Paleo diet isn’t one where you have to starve yourself just to lose a few pounds. Proponents of the Paleo diet rely heavily on the latest research to back their claims, and Paleo celebrities like Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple will regularly point to the research when making claims. And it works, too. Mark’s Daily Apple has a page dedicated to those who have achieved weight loss results with Paleo living. Other health benefits can be realised for those with allergies and food sensitivities to gluten, casein, or corn.
Starting Out Paleo
The Paleo diet differs from Atkins or other strict low carb diets in that Paleo isn’t necessarily low carb and the focus is on good carbs. A carb isn’t a carb in the Paleo diet, because the focus is on quality food instead of simply “net carbs”, as in Atkins. The Paleo diet stresses lower glycemic food, fresh fruits and vegetables, few grains, and grass-fed dairy and meat products whenever possible.
The Paleo Diet premise is simple: eat like a caveman. In practice that means to eat what was theoretically available to our paleolithic ancestors before processed food. That is, eat what we were designed or have evolved to eat. Avoid processed food, grain, legumes (including soy), wheat products, alcohol, coffee, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Instead create meals high in organic vegetables, organic fruits, eggs, healthy natural fats like coconut and olive oil, grass-fed meat, and grass-fed minimally pasteurized dairy products. The Paleo diet is not a low fat diet.
The health benefits of a Paleo diet include decreased body fat percentage, less hunger between meals, an improvement in health markers like cholesterol and triglyceride levels, stabilized blood sugar, and improved skin and energy. Since the focus of the diet is on nutritious food from all food groups, followers of the diet generally find that their nutritional needs are well met after changing their lifestyle.
Sample Breakfast Foods
The Paleo diet encourages three meals a day and that includes breakfast. Instead of choosing sugar-rich foods like donuts, cereal, or bagels, choose from the following easy-to-prepare items:
- Eggs (include yolks)
- Meat: Bacon, smoked salmon, chicken
- Sauteed Vegetables: Mushrooms, Bell peppers, Onions, Spinach
- Fruit: Apples, Blueberries, Citrus Fruit
Sample Lunch Foods
Lunch options on the Paleo diet are similar to that of dinner options. For an easy lunch to take to work, prepare a salad ahead of time that includes various lettuces, vegetables like red and white onions, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Add a boiled egg, chicken, and almond slices. Top with a homemade vinaigrette or a spritz of oil.
Other lunch options:
- Cold Cuts
- Paleo Chili or Soup
- Meat Kabob
- Greek yogurt with fruit
- Deviled Eggs
- Bone broth
Sample Dinner Foods
Dinner is a chance to get creative with fresh ingredients.
One easy beginner Paleo meal is to make a Salsa Chicken Bake. To create the dish, first saute or bake chicken until done. Slice the chicken and then put the chicken in a baking dish with salsa and minced garlic. You can also add fresh cilantro, sauteed onions, or sauteed peppers. Completely cover the chicken with the salsa mix and bake at 400 degress fahrenheit for half an hour. Top with sour cream, cheese, or guacamole. This makes a great leftover lunch.
Other Paleo dinner ideas are:
- Hearty Salad with Sliced Pork or Beef
- Paleo Chili
- Sauteed Fish with Vegetables
Five Paleo Power Snacks
It is encouraged to eat when hungry on a Paleo diet.
- Nuts (avoid peanuts)
- Canned Tuna, Salmon, or Sardines (packed in water or olive oil)
- Cheese slices
- Almond butter
- Very dark chocolate
The Paleo Diet is anything but boring or restrictive when you think about all the foods you can eat. Focus on high quality produce, free range and grassfed meats, and minimally processed food. Many people find that they do not miss highly processed food after having been on the diet for a bit of time, since the diet high in nutrients, water, and fiber. The Paleo Diet is also perfect for the entire family, since it doesn’t involved restricting entire food groups. The final benefit is that the diet is based on the latest research, so the foods that are eaten or avoided are usually done so based on scientific reasons. One example of this is beans, which are not recommended on a Paleo diet because they are anti-nutrients, or foods with harm more than help. Beans are hard to digest, contain phytoestrogens which interfere with normal hormonal functioning, and contain lectins which can aggravate autoimmune diseases. Overall, the diet is one based on medically sound, peer-reviewed studies and actually works to improve one’s health and lifespan, rather than just reduce the waistline.