Not all of us are lucky enough to live in locations where farmers markets are held and of course have to rely on our local supermarket to purchase the foods we will eat as part of our Paleo diet. But as well as using your local supermarket don’t forget to check out what any speciality health food stores in your area have to offer.
If you are finding it difficult to find foods that are suitable for your Paleo diet then you may find the following guidelines of some use when you are next shopping.
When it comes to buying animal protein if you can make sure that you buy fresh rather than which has been cured, processed or pre-packed. I’m lucky that close to where I live I have a very good butcher that I can turn to. Also, when in my local supermarket I spend a little extra on opting for meat that is organic or clearly states that it has been raised naturally.
The essential types of animal protein to buy are:
2. Chicken/Turkey (Make sure you buy the skinless variety or remove the skin before cooking)
4. Game Meats (Rabbit, Venison, Wild Boar (if possible))
7. Offal (Organs – Liver, Kidney, Marrow, Tongue, Sweetbreads)
When it comes to buying your fish if possible always go for the kind that has been wild caught rather than farmed. Although it is okay to include canned fish in your diet like tuna and salmon, keep your intake of these to a minimum.
Along with eating salmon and tuna other forms of fish that you should be looking to purchase include:
6. Sardines (Where I live these are in plentiful supply)
7. Shellfish (Crab, Lobster, Mussels, Clams, Scallops, Shrimps)
8. Mahi Mahi
When it comes to any fruit you will find that you are able to eat anything you want when following a Paleo diet. However when it comes to purchasing such items then keep the following in mind.
1. You should limit the amount of fruit that contains high levels of sugar in them, such as bananas, mangos, dates, watermelon and pineapple. This is especially important for those of you when trying to lose weight.
2. It is okay to include dried fruit in your diet, but make sure that you eat them in moderation. It is okay to sprinkle a few on to your salad or mixed with some nuts as a snack. The reason for limiting your intake is because they have a high concentration of sugar in them, which packs a hefty glycemic punch. So you will find that they don’t help to keep your appetite stable, as they won’t help to make you feel full for long.
3. Ensure that you regularly buy and eat avocados, which are in fact a fruit even though they are often found in the vegetable section of your local supermarket or greengrocers. These are great as they contain high amounts of healthy fat that our bodies need.
As with fruit nearly every vegetable you can think of is allowed as part of your Paleo diet. However when shopping remember to make sure that you avoid putting the following into your basket or trolley.
1. Starchy Tubers – Such as potatoes including sweet potatoes. These can be eaten in moderation, but if you want it is best not to eat them at all.
2. Legumes – The kinds of foods here are lentils, peas, peanuts, and soybeans and of course chickpeas. These aren’t allowed as part of this diet and so should be removed from your shopping list entirely.
Along with being a great snack you will find that these add extra crunch to many meals you prepare. Make sure that you only eat them in their raw or unsalted state. Please don’t forget, as peanuts are a legume then they cannot be consumed as part of your Paleo diet.
The most important types of nuts and seeds you should be including in your diet are as follows:
1. Essential Nuts – Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia Nuts, Pecan Nuts, Pine Nuts, Cashews, Walnuts and Pistachios
2. Essential Seeds – Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, and Flaxseeds
Oil provides you with a good source of healthy fat that your body needs, but you won’t be able to include vegetable, canola or peanut oil in your shopping. The problem with these kinds of oils is that they have been highly refined or that they contain a large amount of polyunsaturated Omega 6 fatty acids rather than the Omega 3 type.
When it comes to buying oil make sure that you go for the types that haven’t been processed. Look closely at the label and go for those only that have words like “unrefined” or “extra virgin” on them.
The types of oils you should be buying as part of your Paleo diet include the following:
1. Avocado Oil (This can be used for low heat cooking or to make dressings)
2. Coconut Oil (Can be used for all types of cooking)
3. Flaxseed Oil (Don’t use for cooking, instead use it as an Omega 3 supplement)
4. Olive Oil (This can be used not only for cooking and sautéing, but also in salad dressings)
5. Sesame Oil (Only use for cooking when the heat is low and as to add seasoning to your meals)
6. Walnut Oil (This can be used in very small amounts as a seasoning to vegetables or salads)
When it comes to drinks none of the bottled types, which includes fruit juice are actually Paleo acceptable. The problem with these is that they contain large amounts of sugar in its concentrated form in them. When buying such items you should carefully read the label first before placing the item in your basket or trolley. Avoid any that have had real or processed sweeteners adding to them.
The kinds of beverages that you can purchase and which are acceptable to a Paleo diet are:
1. Almond Milk
2. Coconut Milk
3. Coconut Water
5. Soda Water
The good news is that drinking alcohol when following this diet is acceptable, as long as you keep it to being an occasional treat. When it comes to those of you with a sweet tooth then you can include unprocessed raw honey along with all forms of coconut products. Plus Stevia is also acceptable as this is considered to be the most natural of all no calorie sweeteners available today. Plus for those who like their chocolate make sure that you go with dark chocolate.