Paleo Diet Meal Plans

I’d like to announce that I am now building meal plans for you!

If you have ever wanted to know exactly what to eat when following the paleo diet then you should defintely check out my meal plan options. There are currently two meal plan products that I have put together after getting requests from readers to do so.

Please take a moment and checkout this page that outlines exactly what you’ll be getting if you decide to signup.

paleo-meal-plan
paleo-meal-plan-more-info

 

Which Foods Benefit From Organic Origins Best?

Top Foods To Buy Organic…

These recommendations aren’t specifically tailored to the paleo diet, but they are and should be considered best practice or become part of the norm when it comes to food purchases .The goal is to focus on what good food should look and taste like. Generally speaking the best place to find good quality food products is at places where as little commercial processes exist as possible.

Realistically, our best bet at finding these high quality foods is going to be at farmers markets or similar places where actual, real people sell great quality products to like minded people. I have noticed that the smaller the town, generally the easier it is to get your hands on organic foods. Large cities generally have supermarkets, so “naturally” they have non-organic food sources.

Having said that though, I’ve noticed that some supermarkets are getting more and more organic focused. This is good for everyone, however, if cost is important to you don’t expect supermarkets to be cheap. Organic produce, regardless of how much they actually cost to produce will almost always be more expensive. Interestingly enough though, I’ve found that dairy is the exception here. At my local supermarket organic milk, cream and even butter is cheaper or the exact same price as their non organic variants.

Dairy

Full-fat/full-cream dairy

Generally speaking, dairy is a grey area in paleo and primal eating spheres. Milk contains a multitude of bad compounds, some even contributing to the generation of cancerous tissues in the body. Fortunately, an excellent and global source of grass fed butter is Kerrygold, and with any luck you should be able to find some stocked in your supermarket. Butter is a great supplement to your fat intake, and if you make sure it is grass fed only I don’t see there being a problem with its frequent consumption.

Meat

Beef

Ideally we’d all be eating grass fed only cows, but because this article is focused on organic foods, we’ll stay focused. Organic cows will share much of the benefits to both their lives and yours as full blown grass fed cows will. They shouldn’t be allowed to eat pesticide laden corn and cattle feed for more than 70% of their diet for that particular season. Do you see how organic isn’t totally great, but it is a hell of a lot better than the grain fed antibiotic filled beef most supermarkets sell. If you are a fatty meat lover, make certain that the meat is of organic origin at the least. Ideally, if you are eating animal fats it should be grass fed or the highway.

Poultry

For the sake of accessibility, I’ll keep the focus here on chickens. They are eaten by more of the world than any other meat, and contain great nutrients as well as being pretty satiating and dynamic in terms of what you can do with them in the kitchen. An important note to make here is that chicken meat is often contaminated by the pesticides used in their feed. Said pesticides don’t get “stuck” in the adipose tissue quite as effectively as they would in say a cow or pig, so be double sure that if you are eating chickens, they are of organic origin.

Eggs

I’ve put eggs under the meat section because I’m not sure where else to put them, haha. Taking into account the fact that the egg does come before the chicken, it is important to make sure they are produced by high quality, pasture raised naturally fed chickens. In the wild, chickens eat bugs, grass and naturally occurring scraps. When it comes  to chickens, organic variants are generally acceptably fed birds, and this is a good enough compromise to make.

Vegetables

Leafy plants

The most important factor to consider here is that the larger the surface area of a plant, the more pesticides it could potentially be exposed to. It’s almost that simple really. Because leafy greens make up so much of the paleo diet, they should be eaten in organic quality only.

Berries

The less a berry is treated for pests with pesticides, the more nutrition it has. Polyphenols are one of the greatest nutrients usable by the human body and berries are rich in them. Basically, the more organic, the more nutritious.

Other vegetables

Any food really benefits from being produced organically, and so you should align your most commonly eaten vegetables with your organic buying ability. Sometimes organic variants are simply unavailable  other times they are insanely overpriced. You need to determine how much you are willing to spend and where you might make compromises.

Take aways

At the end of the day, it is important to eat high quality, preferably organic sourced foods. It is important because of the procedures used to produce non-organic foods are damaging to you and your family’s health. A good way of restructuring your food buying habits is to consider organic as a minimum, and in the case of meat, you should aim for grass fed, but settle for organic.

We don’t want to turn into riduculously fussy shoppers and eaters, but the reality is that if you don’t eat organic or grass fed, you are consuming something which is almost guaranteed to be contaminated with pesticides or the remnants of antibiotics.

Keep well,
Try and make an all organic dinner tonight!

Andrew.

 

 

The Paleo Approved Food Pyramid

The Paleo Food Pyramid

So what foods make up the paleo approved food pyramid?

I’ve touched on the paleo food pyramid before, but I feel that it should be more well known just how incorrect and dangerous the conventional, “government approved” food pyramid actually is.

For starters, lets take a look at some conventional “accepted” food pyramids:

As we can see from the above pyramid, grains, cereal and foods like rice are at the bottom. If you’ve come to understand how terrible grains are for the body and in particular the digestive system, then you’ll be shocked to know that the recommended serving size is 6-11 servings. I’m guessing that those servings are per day. It is no wonder why our kids are obese at schools, and why so many people suffer from conditions affecting their stomachs and digestive tract. This particular pyramid is the result of a quick google search.

Next, we have the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommended food pyramid:

As we can see, yet again, grains are the largest and therefore most important group. It is pretty terrifying to realise that this is what is peddled to all the organisations in America that promote “healthy eating”. It is these models that professionals, such as diatitians and nutritionalists build their client’s eating programs off of. Ridiculous if you ask me. What seems to always amaze me is that the topmost segment of the pyramid is almost always fats.

Here is another pyramid from Michegan University:

 

I like how this one is called “Healing Foods Pyramid”. What? At least this one has some vegetables in it, but why are meats so near the top? This one makes no sense at all. Anyway, you get the point, most “conventional” pyramids have the same basic premise of grains, vegetables and fruits at the bottom of the pyramid and meats and fats at the top. This is, as you may guess, completely opposite to paleo and primal eating principles.

Paleo Diet Food Pyramids

And on to greener pastures, so to speak, I present to you the paleo food pyramids. 

This is Mark Sisson’s updated food pyramid: 

paleo-primal-food-pyramid-mark-sisson-marksdailyapple

As we can see almost immediately, meats and foods like eggs are at the bottom of the primal/paleo pyramid. This is obviously wrong, right? Nope, this is the way food pyramids should look. Meats generally contribute to the majority of your caloric intake on a day to day basis, and vegetables are largely responsible for the other nutrients. Above that are fats, followed by fruits and other moderation foods and lastly herbs and spices.  Also included in the topmost segment of the pyramid are sensible indulgences.

Unfortunately, because the primal/paleo diet food pyramid is so different from other pyramids, or rather conventional pyramids, it would be a political and logistical nightmare to explain by authorities. Having said that, can you imagine if schools taught kids that this was the right way to eat? Kids would have more energy, focus and better body composition. This is the way it should be, yet will sadly not be the case in our lifetimes. Unfortunately, because during these fundamental years in a child’s nutritional development, the constant consumption of high carbohydrate foods programmes their genes to rely on carbohydrates. This programming makes changing to an ideal, fat burning body more difficult the older they get.

Originally, the paleo food pyramid had more of a focus on vegetables as a primary food source, followed by meats and animal proteins. This changed when Mark re-evaluated the food pyramid and where calories come from.

Originally, Mark’s food pyramid looked like the one below:

original-paleo-primal-food-pyramid-mark-sisson-marksdailyapple

 

So not much has changed really, however the updated version does have more information on it and is therefore my recommended, preferred reference tool. The swapping of vegetables and fruits with meat, fish, fowl and eggs is not serious, as both of these foods groups should be your primary foods that make up each meal. The simple balance between all of these beneficial food groups is what makes the paleo approved food pyramid so effective and powerful when applied properly.

Ultimately at the end of the day, the paleo food pyramid is a fantastic way of structuring your eating, and provides all the adequate nutrients to the body for healthy, happy and productive long lives. I have been applying paleo eating principles to my life for a long time now, and I’ll never not eat according to the paleo food pyramid. 

If you are interested in the primal life, why not subscribe!

Keep well, keep paleo!

Andrew

The Paleo Diet As A Great Soy Allergy Diet

Treating Soy Allergy Through Diet

What is soy?

Soy is a legume which is unfortunately often punted as being an incredibly healthy food. This is not true however, and because of the legumes lectin content, soy is frowned upon pretty heavily in the paleo sphere. Soy, like many other legumes and grains needs to be processed before it can be safely digested by the human body. The simplest way of dealing with a soy allergy is to remove it from the diet completely. This can be easily achieved by utilising a diet such as the paleo diet. 

Soy is processed in some fairly alarming ways which include methods such as high heat treating, acid washing, as well as leaching processes in aluminium tanks. Most soy available that isn’t of an organic origin is riddled with pesticides and genetically modified.

Some effects of soy on the body

Cancer

Soy has been linked to cancer in the form of certain isoflavones which mimic estrogen in the body, ultimately contributing to the development of breast cancer in women.

Thyroid

Specifically, people with hyperthyroidism are more sensitive to the effects of soy due to the isoflavones inhibiting thyroid function. Some research has identified soy as a cause of hyperthyroidism.

Mineral absorption

Soy contains large amounts of phytic acid, which is a nutrient absorption blocker in the body such as iron, magnesium and zinc. The effects, or rather the concentration of phytic acid can be decreased through fermentation.

Take aways

Soy isn’t all bad, as long as you consume only fermented varieties. This includes soy derived foods like tempeh, which has good blood sugar and protein stabilisation effects. However, soy supplements should be avoided as soy, if ever eaten, should only be eaten whole.

If you are suffering from a soy allergy, why not try out the paleo diet? To get started, check out the 7 Step Paleo Fast Track Guide, it’s FREE!

Wheat Allergy: How The Paleo Diet Can Help

As mentioned in yesterday’s post about how the paleo diet helps you deal with milk allergies (lactose allergy, milk protein allergy), the paleo diet can help with almost all food related allergies due its selective food list. Think of the paleo diet as a wheat allergy diet plan. 

wheat-allergy-diet

 

How can the paleo diet help a wheat allergy? 

Well, for starters, wheat is a grain, and grains are heavily frowned upon in the paleo diet. That means no bread or anything based on grains, such as corn or rice.

For the most part, wheat intolerance or wheat allergies will be caused by either gluten sensitivity or lectin build up and subsequent inflammation of the intestines. This state of inflammation is what most people on Earth are suffering from. Lectins, which are also in grains and wheat, damage the intestinal walls, which in time allows other proteins to pass through them and continue into the bloodstream etc. This state  of chronic inflammation is difficult to beat without removing the offending foods completely.

Because of modern society’s dependance on grain based foods it is difficult to find foods that are already prepared without gluten and lectins in them. Think pasta, rice and foods like sandwiches. They all are bad for a wheat allergy.

But rice and corn aren’t wheat based?

No, but they are full of offending proteins such as gluten and lectins. If you are looking for a diet that will aid your wheat problems, why not go one step further and deal with all potentially harmful foods?

This is a short post, but its message is fairly complex. For more information on the paleo diet and how it can help your wheat allergy, consider subscribing to receive the 7 Step Paleo Diet Fast Track Guide. 

Thanks for reading,

Andrew.

Milk Allergy: How The Paleo Diet Can Help You

First and foremost, the simplest way of explaining why the paleo diet can help a milk allergy is that it simply removes the food entirely. 

This may seem like a pretty pointless article taking that into account, but think about it: If the paleo diet removes milk entirely it, could it be the diet for you?

milk-allergy-diet

Firstly, lets take a look at why milk can cause allergic reactions in people

Milk contains casein, which is quite a terrible substance all on its own. It is closely related to the protein gluten, which is found in grains, and if you are at all familiar with the paleo diet you will most certainly be aware that grains are a strict no-no. Gluten, and similarly casein, acts on the intestines in undesirable ways. When casein and gluten are ingested they can damage the intestinal walls and subsequently allow foreign compounds into the bloodstream, such as gluten and casein. This is obviously bad for business…

Unfortunately once this “intestinal hull breach” has occured, other proteins can enter and cause havoc.

Another offender in milk’s arsenal is lactose. This is milk’s sugar part, and lactose intolerance is one of humanity’s widest spread ailments. Research has for years pointed to milk as being both a good and bad food because of its nutrition (think baby cow food), and its bad attributes. We lose the ability to properly digest lactose at around age four. This is due to our body’s radical reduction in the production of lactose digesting enzymes because of gene expression.

Lactose can cause a heap of side effects in the body, and if you experience any weird feelings after drinking milk you can bet it’s the lactose causing them. Diarrhea, cramps and general discomfort are all signs that you can’t handle the stuff. The simplest way of dealing with foods that hurt you is to simply not eat them. Duh!

If you aren’t getting enough fats in your diet, you should turn away from milk and try something like ghee. It has next to zero lactose and makes for a great cooking oil.

On a more serious, and perhaps dire note, milk contains betacellulin, a supposed cancer causing growth related protein that promtes growth in baby cows. While the evidence to support milk’s pro-cancer initiatives is fairly strong, full fat milk also contains fats that reduce the supposed cancer causing effects of milk. It appears then that milk fights its own problems. These fats (CLA) inhibit the cell growth of breast cancer cells. Unfortunately for us, there isn’t really sufficient evidence that milk has bad neither good nutritional due to poorly conducted studies. However, it is clear that full fat, or full cream milk is far better for the body than any of the reduced fat or fat free variants.

While this is certainly a short article, it outlines how the paleo diet can help you manage or beat your milk allergy through diet. Take a moment and check out the 7 Step Paleo Diet Fast Start Guide, it’s free and will get you going on the paleo diet quickly and effectively.

Keep well,

Andrew.

 

Paleo Diet Criticism: Understanding “Negative” Aspects Of Our Favourite Diet

As with anything slightly contraversial, fringe or a little different, there is paleo diet criticism. This criticism often originates from critics who are nit-picking or attempting to expose a fatal flaw in paleo and it’s eating guidelines. While in some cases there are, I agree, area for exceptions and occasional allowances (such as dairy), many critics treat some of the specific limitations of the paleo diet as achilles heel’s that invalidate what the diet stands for. Am I being a little dramatic? Perhaps… To work out just how in depth these criticisms go, I’m going to write up an article based on what I find people are saying about the paleo diet from search results, and then try to understand their reasoning for the criticism in order to work out if it’s justified. That sounds fair, right?

Common Areas Of Paleo Diet Criticism…

  • Firstly, grains. You all knew that was going to be right up here with the top topics for criticism. Ultimately, one of the paleo diet’s key areas of focus is on grains and why they are not good for the body. This is both a reflection of scientific understanding of the body’s operations as well as an indicator of society’s dependance of grains for food and food production.
  • Legumes. Beans, peas and peanuts, they are all legumes and they are all eaten pretty extensively around the world. They are, like grains, a hot topic for discussion both from critics of the paleo diets and diets in general, as well as people and authorities within the paleo diet ecosystem itself.
  • Vitamin deficiencies: Some critics believe that the paleo diet can cause vitamin deficincies. Specifically, Vitamin B12. t
  • Eating too much meat. As with many criticisms, there are some areas which can easily be taken out of context and stretched to support the agenda of the critic. Here, many accuse the paleo diet of being an atkins diet where the focus is on eating more meat than anything else. This is of course not the case at all.
  • Low carbohydrate intake. Because the paleo diet includes low amounts of carbohydrate intake, many critics use this as a leverage point to point out why the human body needs carbohydrates. In reality, humans are not as reliant on carbohydrates as society dictates.
  • It isn’t sustainable. This will be with respect to the individual and their commitment to the diet and to their body’s health. Food for the paleo diet is easy to find and in more cases than not easier to prepare than modern food, specifically foods on that of the western diet.

Why grains are bad for the body

Grains are often full of gluten and lectins. Both of these are potentially damaging for the human digestive system. Gluten, a protein often associated with with giving foods such as bread texture and volume, is also bad for the intestines. Gluten can “stick” to the intestinal walls, ultimately damaging them and allowing food molecules to enter the blood stream. This is of course a big red flag to the body’s immune system, and can cause inflammatory responses, like bloating and water retention. Take a second and think about it logically; there are no obese or overweight hunter-gatherers, yet these people are healthy and live long lives. This is where the paleo diet is coming from, eating for the function of fuelling the body, not sending taste-exploding-nuclear warheads into our mouths that leave our digestive systems alone in the post war cleanup. Another point for why grains are bad for the body is that they have a high glycemic index. The GI(glycemic index) of food is a measurment of how much the blood sugar level increases after the consumption of a specific food. This is of course not only limited to a specific carbohydrate source such as grains, but grains are for the most part the largest offender in modern man’s diet. For a simple reference, glucose on its own has  a GI score of 100. Anything beneath this is “better” than eating neat glucose, but just because it’s lower than 100 doesn’t mean it’s a good food. White bread has a GI of around 73, and micro-waved potatoes are at around GI 80. That throws potatoes out the paleo food basket too. Due to the lack of carbohydrate intake on the paleo diet, it can help prevent diseases and conditions such as diabetes as well as heart and organ damage from obesity. 

What’s so bad about removing grains from your diet?

Nothing really, other than the fact that you wont be able to enjoy doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, burgers, breads, sandwiches, samoosas, cupcakes, cakes, most deserts, biscuits etc. That may seem daunting now, but in time you (or at least I) will begin to resent those foods. As you will notice as well, most foods that have grain in them are bad foods in any case.

Why legumes are bad for the body

Legumes are like grains, rich in lectins. Lectins are part of the “anti-nutrient” group and so should be avoided because of their nutrient absorption inhibiting properties. Lectins build up in the body and damage the body’s ability to utilise nutrients effectively. Unfortunately, legumes are common in many a persons diet and include foods such as beans, some nuts and animal products too. Basically, lectins exist in some capacity in almost all foods. These concentrations differ from food group to food group though, with grains being the biggest carrier. Previously, and I’m talking waaay previously, our ancestors figured out that fermenting certain foods would destroy, at least partially, the lectins in commonly eaten foods. This fermentation process no longer takes place though, and so more lectins are consumed.

How to deal with lectins?

Start by diversifying your foods. Raw foods are great, but cooking does decrease lectin amounts and their effectiveness. Unfortunately, lectins contain nutritional benefits as well as their negative drawbacks, and so they should both be eaten sparingly, such as in steamed vegetables and nuts, as well as part of a very diverse diet. Remember that lectins are nature’s own pesticide, designed by plants to repel predators and potential eaters of their leaves, etc. Note: Soy is one of the top lectin offenders. Bad news for vegetarians.

Dealing with “vitamin deficiencies”

Firstly, I’d like to think that the average paleo diet folower is more in touch with their body than those people who eat according to a high-carb, low everything else diet (westernised diets). By saying that I mean that these people who follow the paleo diet are more than likely seeking to optimise their nutrient intake, alleviate a condition induced by foods such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or OAS (oral allergy syndrome), and just generally be as healthy as possible. Having said that, the paleo diet does need to be followed pretty rigorously in order for a person to reap all its benefits. While the diet, like any diet, can benefit from vitamin supplements, the best sources of “rare” nutrients is obviously going to be the natural ones. Vitamin d should be obtained from our natural ability to synthesise it using that big glowing ball of life giving light in the sky, the sun of course. Just 15 minutes a day of sun on skin contact is all you require. The commonly stated accusation that the paleo diet doesn’t present the follower’s body with enough vitamin b12 argument is another example of selective criticism. In reality, a few eggs every few days can keep vitamin b12 reserves in check, and once again, a supplement can be used if not enough b12 is being taken in. This should obviously not be solution number one, and eating more red meat is a great source of vitamin b12. Take a look at this youtube videoon b12 blood tests in a paleo dieter.

Why you should eat heaps of meat, and love doing so

While I agree that too much meat is not beneficial to anyone diet, the idea that meat is a “fatty”, as in “fat generating” food is a misconception. Fatty meats are not the enemy as many critics (mainly vegetarians) would peddle. I think that a lot of this accusation of the paleo diet’s affinity with fat intake comes from the fact that fat is the problem. Ironically, fats sourced from meats are in fact some of the best fats you could possibly eat. They form the base for a large amount of the paleo diet’s fat quota, and have more benefits for the body then just providing a source of energy.

Meats, and in particular meats like grass-fed beef have less hormones and “alien” stuff in their meats. Our ancestors would have only eaten meats from animals that fed on natural foods such as grass. This is important fundamentally because toxins etc are stored in the fats of animals, and because eating animal fats is such an important part of the paleo diet, the “cleaner” the fat the better. It is for this reason that grass-fed animals produce better quality fats, such as beef fat, fish fat and poultry fats. Grass fed meats generally have a higher omega 3 content. Animal fats are also saturated fats, fats that are essential to maintaining proper bodily functions.

The grass-fed “obsession” in the paleosphere is actually quite an elitist one, and in fact, one could get away with not eating grass-fed meats as long as the intake of omega 3’s was ensured and maintained elsewhere.

On a side note, animal fats are great for cooking, they are very stable at high temperatures and don’t leave lots of oily residue on foods after frying, for example.

Low carbs, low shmarbs

At some point in our not so distant history it was “shown” that high carbohydrate diets were the better, healthier options. Many paleo authorities state that the affinity modern man has with carbohydrates (read grains and subsequently breads) comes from a place of efficiency. Not efficiency in terms of nutrition, but in terms of economics. Grains can be farmed almost anywhere and have an impressively long shelf life when kept in storage. Many cultures in fact kept grains in storage for winter months and for times when food was hard to come by. It wasn’t their “go to” food, and in fact grains only really became prevalent after industrialisation.

Not that grains are the only source of modern man’s over zealous intake of carbohydrates, there are many vegetables which are bad offenders too…

While the problem in vegetables isn’t that they contain carbohydrates, it is that they contain a variety of toxins. Some of these toxins can only be mitigated through cooking. An example of a commonly eaten toxic-if-raw vegetable is that of broccoli. I have personal experience here, where one day I was hungry and ate two smallish pieces of broccoli that left me in gut wrenching pain for most of an afternoon. Rookie error perhaps, but a lesson learned hard.

The point I’m trying to make is that carbohydrates are commonly sourced from vegetables on the paleo diet, and because of that a large amount fo plant based toxins are probably going to be ingested over time. Diversity is key.

The paleo diet isn’t sustainable

I’m not really sure where this argument really comes from. I’ve been eating as close to paleo as possible for what feels like ages now and it has never been unsustainable. The only problems I’ve run into are those associated with actually finding foods to eat when at restaurants. In terms of cost, I guess some items on the paleo diet can be more expensive, but again, this can be mitigated if looked for in the right places. For example, grass-fed beef is pretty hard to come by in supermarkets, but no so difficult at farmers markets etc. While it might take more effort to find these sorts of meats, the pay-off nutritionally is worth the extra effort.

While I’m not going to accuse anybody of being lazy because they can’t find great quality foods, or refuse to go out of their way to get them, I do think that a certain level of dedication is required to make the paleo diet work in it’s entirety. I like to think that the paleo diet is better applied as a lifestyle decision rather than merely a healthy diet, and because of that it might require more effort than other diets.

I think that if you start to practice things like growing your own foods, saving good animal fats for cooking and generally make sure you have made sufficient plans in terms of meal design you’ll be fine in terms of sustainability on the paleo diet.

 

I hope that I’ve successfully dispelled or at the very least watered down some of the criticism of the paleo diet and the health benefits it can have on your body.

 

Thanks for reading,

If you have a second, please spread the love!

 

Keep well,
Andrew.

 

 

Paleo Food Pyramid: Re-inventing The “Right” Way Of Eating

I’ve seen many questions posed around the web about paleo and the paleo diet. Namely, people want to try to draw parallels with what they know. For most people the media has sadly dictated what that actually is, and today I’m going to attempt to redesign the food pyramid to paleo’s standards. This will probably mean realigning some food orders and removing/adding food groups such as grains, legumes and certain fruits etc. While the food pyramid is meant to be broad and general, I think that because it’s general, it’s not a great guide for proper food selection, eating regime and diet building.

Conventional Food Pyramid

Conventional Food Pyramid

 

Woah, check out all those grains. And the fact that they are mentioned in the “Eat Most” area. This is not good advice!

As we’ve previously discussed, grains are not good for the body for a multitude of reasons. As you can imagine, when people who don’t know much about nutrition hear that grains are evil, they are often shocked are just think you are lying to them.

“That makes no sense, the whole world eats bread!”

“But whole grains are great for you!”

Those are just two of the most common responses I’ve heard. Not cool realy, because both of those assumptions are made based on the media’s incorrect advice.

Anyway, onward with the purpose of this article, to build or find an effective paleo pyramid. This task should be relatively simple, I hope.

So what should be included in the paleo food pyramid? Well, obviously all the big nutritional contributors such as meats, vegetables and fat sources. And as with most of my paleo food choice recommendation of excluding foods from the paleo diet rather than including them, it’s probably best to build the pyramid upon that principle.

What foods are exluded from the paleo food pyramid?

The most commonly excluded foods are grains, legumes and sugars. One could argue that dairy products such as milk and yoghurt should be in this group too. However, dairy has some important health benefits such as high calcium content etc. Potatoes, or rather most starch based vegetables are also tossed into the excluded bin, however eating of some starch is totally optional. These paleo diet ok foods are things like sweet potatoes. Normal potatoes are not allowed due to their incredibly high glycemic index.

What foods are included in the paleo food pyramid?

The beauty of the paleo diet for me is in it’s total simplicity. There really isn’t a whole lot of decision making you need to make once you understand which foods are okay to be eaten, how much of those foods you should be including in your meals, and which foods you need to avoid.

Foods which are pushed as being on a foundational level are good fats, such as coconut, olive and avocado, both as whole foods and oils. Olive oil isn’t the preferred cooking oil though; the paleo diet leaning more towards animal fats and butter. I suspect this is because of olive oils low burning point, which means it is a potential carcinegen. Coconut, butter and bacon fat are the preferred oils for cooking at high temperatures.

Next on the paleo food pyramid OKAY list are vegetables. Here you have a lot of room to move around in, as pretty much all vegetables are allowed and encouraged. Due to the paleo diet’s low carbohydrate intake preferences, large amounts of vegetables are needed to provide energy and nutrients for the body. I frequently eat around 400 grams of mixed vegetables at every meal, and the more I eat the better I feel. I love vegetables, especially roasted and boiled ones. Vegetables which aren’t okay are very starchy ones, such as potatoes. In fact avoiding potatoes almost gets you in the paleo vegetable green zone entirely. All that is required is that you have a solid understanding of what actually makes a food a vegetable, and not a root, legume or seed. A perfect example of this is how corn and green beans are often considered vegetables when in fact they are a grain and legume respectively.

So how does fruit feature in the paleo diet, and where does it feature on the paleo diet food pyramid? 

Good question. Fruits are good for paleo and for your body, but not in as high a quantity of consumption as “normal” or conventional diet advice may make you believe. Fruits are high in, you guessed it, fructose. Fructose is not good for the body in more than moderate amounts, as it is an incredibly simple sugar which is near-immediately used by the body and pushed into the blood stream. This contributes to a reduced level of insulin sensitivity, as well as an almost immediate response in fat production.

That’s not to say not to eat fruits, just be conservative in the amount and frequency of which you eat them. The paleo diet leans towards berries as their preferred fruit, so try and comply with that rule as much as you can.

Last, but not least are the glorious meats of the paleo diet. This is perhaps the largest area of controversy within the paleo diet, as many fail to draw a line or polarise between the paleo diet and protein heavy examples such as the atkins diet. Meats are not the enemy, in fact our bodies are more carnivore than omnivore, with sports nutritionist and professor Tim Noakes recently spoke about. Check out this blog post I recently dedicated to the man. 

Meat selection wise, the paleo diet food pyramid is pretty accommodating. The only limitation here really is that the meats are as naturally produced as possible. All I mean here is that meats should not be over processed like polony (which is pretty damn disgusting anyway), vienna sausages or spam. Grass fed, non-stressed beef is the head space you need to be in. Finding these high quality, paleo meats are fairly difficult to find, so checking out your local farmer’s markets would probably be your best best. You want to avoid battery chickens and eggs too, as they often contain nasty chemicals. On that note, eggs should be considered an “eat whenever possible” food, because they are really like little nutrient bombs waiting to explode inside your stomach.

That basically covers what makes up an effective, healthy food pyramid. Find an image of Mark Sisson’s (marksdailyapple.com) food pyramid.

Click the image for a bigger version!

Mark Sisson's Paleo Diet Food Pyramid
The way we should all be eating!

 

Paleo Diet Food Pyramid Takeaways

There you have a fairly comprehensive look at what foods are included in the paleo diet food pyramid. As I’m sure you’ve come to realise, the paleo food pyramid is a little different to the “norm”, and this is with good reason. If you are interested in reading more about what constitutes paleo okay foods, keep reading some of the other posts here on PaleoMunch.com, and while you’re at it, why not subscribe to receive a 7 step guide on how you can action the paleo diet in your own life today. The guide is free of course!

Thanks for reading,

Keep maintaining your caveman!

Andrew

Paleo Smoothie: How To Make The Ultimate Breakfast Smoothie

Making The Ultimate Paleo Breakfast Smoothie

There is relatively limited information available for making great paleo smoothies, and much less on actually making great smoothies for breakfast. I think that a smoothie is a great way to deliver a healthy shot of easy to digest nutrients into the body. It has long been known that liquid is easier for the body to digest and metabolise nutrients, so why not take this idea to the extreme and liquidise whole foods into a morning smoothie?

I think that in theory this should work great if you are a fan of protein shakes and other liquid nutrition supplements. The idea of drinking your breakfast may not sound that appealing, but if you think about the efficiency it presents in the delivery of multiple food groups into your stomach in one go it really starts to make sense. I imagine that for the protein in the shake one would use eggs, either whole or egg whites. My preference here would be to go for whole eggs. Next would be something like bacon or gammon. Remember that you’ll need to cook either before throwing them in the blender to make your paleo smoothie. Lastly and perhaps finally, you should add some vegetables. I’d also recommend cooking these to ensure that there aren’t any toxins present, like those found in broccoli for example.

“Goitrogens: a class of toxins in food which suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake. Long term exposure can cause an enlargement of the thyroid (goiter). Foods containing these substances include soybeans (and soybean products such as tofu), pine nuts, peanuts, millet, strawberries, pears, peaches, spinach, bamboo shoots, radishes, horseradish, and vegetables in the genus Brassica (bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, canola, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabagas, and turnips.” More information can be found by clicking here. 

I’d also like to add some spinach to the mix. Below I’ve made up a recipe that I think will work well from the standpoint of nutrition and effective nutrient delivery.

Paleo Smoothie Recipe: Eggs, Bacon, Broccoli and Spinach Smoothie

Paleo Smoothie

 Ingredients:

  • 3 whole eggs
  • A handful of spinach(cooked)
  • A handful of broccoli (cooked)
  • A handful of bacon or gammon(cooked)
  • Couple of ice cubes

Preperation:

  • None really!
  • Add all the ingredients into a blender and go at a high speed until liquid
  • Add water to turn the mixture into a more drinkable consistency

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is probably not going to taste that great, but just try it and focus on it’s nutritional benefits. If you like, go for some added spices, perhaps some paprika? I don’t know, I’m pretty new to making smoothies, and certainly new to making paleo smoothie recipes work.

I’ll write back after I’ve tried this out myself!

Keep well,
Andrew

Paleo Beef Stew

Few meals are as complete as a paleo beef stew,

you get protein in the form of succulent beef cuts and great minerals and vitamins from the heaps of vegetables used. Most paleo beef stew recipes are pretty resourceful as well, and can be made from leftover’s and almost anything. The recipe I list below is great for those cold nights or for planning for the week. The below recipe should feed around 5-8 people.

paleo-beef-stew

Paleo Beef Stew Ingredients:

  • 500-800 grams of beef. You can use any cut you like, stewing beef is pretty cost effective!
  • Vegetables: I’d say an equal amount of veggies to meat is good. This will ensure the meal is hearty and dense. Brocolli, carrots, onions, patty-pans, all good!
  • Water
  • Beef stock: You can either “cheat” and use a stock cube or liquid stock or make your own. Making your own will ad quite a bit of time to your cooking and preperation times though, so be mindful of that fact.

How to prepare:

  • Dice the meat if you have to. Keep the pieces bite sized, small pieces will be frustrating to eat, and large pieces will require more than one utencil.
  • Dice the vegetables.
  • Bring some water to the boil and add the stock.
  • Brown the meat in a pan for flavour. 

How to cook: 

  • Add the veggies to the water and cook for aroun 5 minutes.
  • Add the meat and leave to cook for around 30 minutes. You can extend this period to get more tender meat, so adjust as per your requirements.
  • Serve and enjoy!

See? How easy was that paleo beef stew recipe to make? My girlfriend and I made this last night for some of our friends, and today I’m eating it for lunch at the office! It is absolutely delicious, and totally paleo. For a different cooking method, why not use a crock pot and make some slow cooked beef stew? I’ve written some previous stuff on crock pot paleo recipes, click here to check it out!