Foods You Can Eat on the Paleo Diet

Having a clear understanding of the foods you can eat while eating Paleo will help you design your daily meal plan. Always remember to keep things simple when preparing a meal. The more complicated it is, the less Paleo it’s likely to be. By keeping it simple you keep it clean and free of additives and chemicals that many meals in our society are full of. With that in mind, here is a list of foods you can enjoy. Use it as a guide, realizing that no list of Paleo foods is entirely complete.

Meat and Fish

Paleolithic cavemen were meat eaters, that we do know. To replicate the time period as much as you can you should opt for organic meats whenever possible, or wild game.

meat and fish


To be sure, if the day’s hunt didn’t go as planned, Paleolithic man would need to fall back on the gathering skills of the rest of the tribe which would largely be wild-growing veggies.



Most of your carbs on the Paleo Diet will come from fruits. While the fruits found tens of thousands of years ago were likely far different in nature than what you find on today’s store shelves, here are some Paleo-approved fruits you can eat in moderation.


Fats, Nuts, and Seeds

One great aspect of the Paleo Diet is that healthy fats get their fair share of attention. Make sure that you’re incorporating these oils and nuts into your daily cooking and eating so that your body can benefit from their nutritional value.

fats, nuts and seeds

Source and all the details here:

Periodic Table of Paleo Food Staples

Ready to stock your kitchen with paleo-friendly foods? This list can help you get started.

Periodic-Table-Of-Paleo-Food snap
Switching our pantry and fridge from processed foods to paleo-friendly foods was a daunting task. I searched online for a “grocery list” of staples but came up short. What I did was find recipes I wanted to try and gathered my own list. While it was useful, I would have greatly appreciated a list of items that would be frequently purchased so I could have it on hand. I have compiled a pretty accurate list of what I buy and keep on hand on a regular basis. I wouldn’t suggest you run out and buy every item on this list right away, but it may help you as you’re searching for recipes to get started. And soon, you’ll get the hang of what your family consumes most and what you’ll need to stock on a regular basis.

Read more at:

The Paleo Diet Flowchart

Let’s quickly go over a few commonly asked questions, shall we?

– How do you know if you should eat it? Eat real food, food with either no ingredient list (produce & meat) or a list that only includes real foods and spices (like canned coconut milk with no crazy ingredients).  A good general rule is, if you can’t pronounce something in it, don’t eat it.

– What the heck is a legume? If you aren’t sure what a legume is, it is 1. a leguminous plant (so helpful, right?) and 2. a seed, pod, or other edible part of a leguminous plant used as food.  Legumes that you are probably most familiar with include: peanuts, peas, soybeans/edemame, and any type of bean (black, pinto, red, navy, baked, lima, northern, red, etc).  These are NOT paleo, yo.

– Why not vegetable oils, like canola, vegetable, sunflower and safflower oils? Well, they are heavily processed, and easily damaged with light and heat.  When they become damaged via oxidation/heat/light they become RANCID.  Rancid oils are in no way good for you and can cause some big issues if consumed.  The problem here is that even if you don’t cook with them they still begin to oxidize from the heat of the lights on grocery store shelves… so they may be completely rancid before you even purchase them.  Gross, right?

– How about natural sweeteners like Xylitol or Stevia? Um… no.  If you can’t find it in it’s true form in nature to use as a sweetener then you should avoid it.  Good natural sweeteners include: honey (especially raw, local), pure maple syrup, dried dates, bananas, applesauce, etc.

– Why can’t I have corn? Corn is a vegetable!!! Actually, corn is a grain.  Grains are not meant to be digested in our guts and cause a lot of issues for a lot of folks.  If you do your own experiment and find out you can tolerate it well then go ahead and eat your corn.  Be warned though, nearly all corn in the country is a GMO (genetically modified organism) and has been engineered for your consumption.  It ISN’T REAL FOOD.  FYI :)

– Can I get all my necessary fat from nuts and seeds? Please don’t.  Nuts and seeds have an improper ratio of Omega 3s and Omega 6s which is a big problem in the US, especially due to all the trans fats and processed foods available.  Your best bet is to get all your fat from avocados, coconut in all it’s forms, olives and olive oil, and from healthy, fatty animal products.



Spicing things up


Spices allow you to be adventurous and creative in your cooking. They add instant flavor, not to mention beautiful colors and aromas. We created the infographics below as your ultimate guide to flavoring with spices and spice blends. They’ll show you some of the most common spices that are hiding in your cupboard and how to use them, what flavors they add to your dish, which spices go well together, and what spices make up your favorite ethnic flavors.

Spices serve several purposes in cooking and can be used to:

  • Add Flavor and Aroma. Spices can transform a meal by adding a range of flavors, from a hint of sweetness to a kick of heat. They also give beautiful aromas that are often our first determining factor for whether we want to eat a meal or not.
  • Enhance taste of food. We always think of salt as our go-to when a meal tastes too bland, but there are other spices, like cumin, that bring out the natural flavors of food.
  • Change or enhance color. If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant you may have noticed that many of the dishes have a deep yellow, orange or red color. That’s because the spices used in typical Indian cooking, such as turmeric and paprika, give color to the foods making them more bright and appealing.

Seasoning with spices can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with it but – like painting – with the right tools and practice, you’ll be cooking up a masterpiece in no time.

Spices vert.

Along with standalone spices, there are also a variety of spice blends that combine complementary spices to create a whole new flavor. While you can recreate each of these spice blends on your own, sometimes it’s nice to have the masters make some mixes for you. We recommend picking 2 or 3 depending on your favorite ethnic cuisines.

spice blends

Many ethnic cuisines are distinguished by the spices used in preparing them. If you’re trying to make a Mexican dish, try using the spices found in the “Mexican” section of the infographic below to create those traditional Mexican food flavors you love. If you’re following a recipe for an ethnic dish and the result is too bland, try adding in more of the spices in the respective section to achieve your desired taste.

With these spice combinations, you’ll be whipping up dishes from all over the world!

spices by cuisine


When you’re too heavy-handed with the chili peppers…

What to do if a dish is too spicy?

Tame the heat

Maybe you accidentally added too much cayenne or hot sauce. Perhaps you were heavy-handed without realizing it, those peppers were hotter than you realized or it could be that you love spice but it turns out your guests don’t. Whatever the case, there are a few ways to tone down the spicy food and get you out of this kitchen pickle.

If that pot of chili or arrabiata sauce is hotter than you can handle, don’t dump it out and start over. You can save it from the fiery depths of the garbage with a few easy tips. Some of these will even work if you’re eating out and realize that you’ve been served something too spicy to handle.

too spicy

Add acid

Although not an obvious firefighter, acid can work wonders to reduce heat. Depending on the dish, try adding some citrus juice (lemon or lime work best with most flavors), vinegar, chopped pineapples or tomato juice or sauce.

Add veggies

Some people swear by adding shredded carrots or cubed or shredded potatoes to temper heat. The sugar in them helps to fight the heat while their porous texture may help to absorb some of the spice.

Add nuts

It may sound nuts (pun intended!) but adding peanut or almond butter or tahini (a sesame seed paste) can go a long way toward toning down that piquant dish. Of course, this will work much better in a spicy coconut curry than it would in a spicy salsa.

Add sweet

Sugar can help counteract the spice in a dish. Try adding a teaspoon of granulated sugar, a spoonful of honey or even a squirt of ketchup to tone down the heat. Be careful to add only a bit at a time so you don’t end up with dessert.

Add broth

If the hot dish in question is a chili, sauce, or anything that can take being thinned down then add a ladleful of broth or other mild liquid. This will spread out the heat more per serving, thus diffusing it.

Add dairy

There’s a reason sour cream is so common in Mexican food and that Indian cuisine abounds with yogurt sauces (called raita) — dairy tempers spice. Stir in a tablespoon at a time of yogurt, sour cream, milk, coconut milk (a great nondairy alternative) and/or a mild cheese like Parmesan to counteract overly hot flavors.

Make more

If you have extra ingredients on hand and don’t mind a double batch, you could add more of every ingredient except the spicy one to diffuse the heat. The same amount of spice in a bigger dish will be less piquant.

How to prevent it: To prevent making an overly spicy dish in the future, be sure to add just a little bit at a time and taste as you go. Don’t measure out spices over the dish to prevent them from spilling. If using hot peppers, taste a little bit first to get a sense for how hot it is.


What oil to use… and when

It’s important to know the smoke point of the oil you’re cooking with so that you don’t set off your smoke alarm and ruin your food…

Healthy oil cooking guide

With so many options for cooking oils, how do you know which one is best to use? The answer isn’t as simple as you think, according to KnowMore TV’s nutrition expert and author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., C.D.E.. “The type of oil you should use varies based on what you’re cooking and how you’re using the oil, ” she says. Some oils are best to use when chilled or at room temperature and can be unhealthy when heated. Other oils are more versatile and provide health benefits whether you’re sautéing, frying, or baking.

“Since different oils contain different smoke points, which is the temperature when the oil starts to smoke and breakdown,” explains Palinski-Wade. “You want to avoid heating an oil beyond it’s smoke point since you can create toxic fumes and free radicals that can be harmful body.” In general, the more refined an oil is, the higher the oil’s smoke point.

Here’s a breakdown of the four most common cooking oils, their health impacts, and how to best use them in the kitchen.

Healthy oil cooking guide middle

Olive Oil

  • Extra virgin olive oil: This form of olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives and has the lowest smoke point of all olive oils. The smoke point for unrefined, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is typically under 200°F. For this reason, this oil should only be used chilled or at room temperature.
  • Refined oil: This oil is derived by the use of chemicals to extract the oil from olives. Since this oil is refined, it contains a higher smoke point of about 450-468°F.
  • Pure olive oil: This term refers to a blend of refined and virgin olive oils and typically has a smoke point of 425-450°F.

Due to the moderate smoke points of refined and pure olive oil, it is best to use these oils in baking,oven cooking or stir frying and avoid using them for higher temperature cooking methods such as searing. “Olive oil is a terrific source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to increase the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol while keeping the levels on unhealthy LDL cholesterol down,” says Palinski-Wade. It also can also boost your intake of antioxidant polyphenols, which can help to protect the heart.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and has a higher smoke point, so it’s a smart alternative to virgin olive oils when cooking foods at medium-high heat, such as baking or stir frying. Although canola oil does not contain as many antioxidants as virgin olive oil, it offers the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is great for heart health. Canola oil is also versatile since it contains a neutral flavor and a light texture. Some people have concerns about canola oil being genetically engineered. If you have concerns, it’s best to choose certified organic varieties of this oil, recommends Palinski-Wade.

Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil contains one of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including ALA (like canola oil). “Flax is the richest source of ALA in our diet which is good news for those looking to improve heart health since it helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, helping to decrease your risk for heart disease,” says Palinski-Wade. Flaxseed oil has also been found to benefit those suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and colitis, as well as Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. Flaxseed oil, however, has a low smoke point so it’s best to use it in dressings, marinades, and dips and should not be heated.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has been under scrutiny because some groups believe it has many health benefits, while others recommend avoiding it due to the high saturated fat content. This oil contains a unique blend of lauric and myristic acids; lauric acids may negatively impact heart health, while myristic oils have heart health benefits. Some studies on coconut oil have found that it can actually raise the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, but it was also proven to raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels as well. Coconut oil contains 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, which is significantly higher than the saturated fat found in one tablespoon of butter (7.5 grams), however this oil may contain beneficial plant chemicals that have yet to be discovered, according to Palinski-Wade.

So what’s the bottom line with coconut oil? In terms of cooking, one of the benefits is its high smoke point so you can cook with it in a way that you can’t with olive oil. You can bake, fry, and sauté with it, and it can be a replacement for vegetable oil and butter. “Keep in mind that it may make a healthier alternative to other sources of saturated fat, such as butter or cream, but as with all saturated fats, no more than 10% of your total calories should come from these fats until further research indicates additional health benefits of coconut oil,” states Palinski-Wade.