Paleo Diet Quick Guide

We’ve all been there. You are trying to start a new lifestyle, change your diet, change  our life, but you don’t know where to start. This quick reference guide will help you to make quick decisions for good foods to eat by providing a few examples (it does not list every single food in that group, again, a quick guide). If you want to learn more about all of the good and the bad, see our Paleo Do’s And Don’ts section!

Meats: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal, Rabbit, Goat, Sheep, Bison, Deer, etc… Basically if you can catch it, you can eat it. We recommend that you try to buy all grass fed and antibiotic free if possible.

Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Duck, Quail, Goose, etc… We recommend that you try to buy all free range and antibiotic free if possible.

Shellfish: Shrimp, Scallops, Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Lobster, Crab, etc… We recommend that you try to buy all wild caught and antibiotic free if possible.

Fish: Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Bass, Halibut, Sole, Haddock, Tilapia, etc… We recommend that you try to buy all wild caught and antibiotic free if possible.

Fats: Coconut oil, Avocado oil, Fat from protein/lard, Olive oil, Nut butters, Nut oils, Fruit oils, Flower oils (though keep the safflower and sunflower to a minimum, we want the least amount of processing possible)

Eggs: We recommend free range or cage free and antibiotic free.

Vegetables: Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Asparagus, Cucumber, Avocados, Cabbage, Broccoli, Squash, Mushrooms, Anything green or colorful, etc… Steer clear of vegetables that you cannot eat raw, and see our Paleo Do’s and Don’ts Section for more information!

Leafy Greens: Lettuce, Spinach, Chard, Watercress, Endive, Arugula, etc… You can eat as much leafy greens as you want! No matter what kind!

Root Vegetables: Carrots, Beets, Radish, Yams, Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes, etc… We eat root vegetables usually during the day. If you are looking for rapid weight loss, limit this section.

Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Brazil nuts, Pistachios, etc… Try not to eat too much of these, about 1-2 ounces a day. See our Portions Cheat Sheet on our Facebook for more information!

Fruits: Berries, Melons, Grapes, Plums, Peaches, Apples, Bananas, etc… All fruits are ok. Limit these if you are looking for rapid weight loss. See our Glycemic Index for more information on high sugar foods.

Herbs & Spices: Ginger, Garlic, Parsley, Sage, Vanilla, Mint, Basil, etc… Learning how to use spices properly will really help you love your foods even more!

36 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    So helpful. Thanks for the info!

  2. Ada

    I have a tyroid problem with a TSH in a 0.004 level. Im overweight and want to know if I can use these diet and how it can benefit my health. Im not diabetic.
    Thanks a lot

    • Ada,

      The Paleo diet has been known to help many different types of illnesses. Here is one example of how the Paleo diet has helped someone with a thyroid issue get off medication (http://robbwolf.com/2012/06/04/11360/). So there is hope!

      As we are not doctors, we suggest you talk to your physician about making the switch in the best way possible for your condition. As for the weight loss, if your doctor says that you can go Paleo, that will naturally occur. Because the Paleo diet doesn’t really allow “junk food”, you can eat larger quantities and still lose weight. Just remember that in the beginning stages of weight loss, cutting down the sugars and fruits will help the weight come off faster.

      And don’t worry, we’ll be here to help you every step of the way! So if you have additional nutritional questions or requests for recipes, let us know and we’ll do our best! We’re excited for you, its going to be a life changing experience!

      Thank you for sharing and Good Luck in your Paleo journey!
      ~Paleo Effect

  3. Nancy Robertson

    I am just starting my journey in following the Paleo lifestyle and am so ready to start eating healthy and getting myself in a much better place…this website was forwarded to me by a passenger on my flight after she saw me reading THE PALEO DIET by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. and she told me that she works with you, her name is Brooke. The pictures are making my mouth water and I am excited to try making your recipes! Thank you so much!!!

  4. Kacey

    What do you mean by you can’t eat raw cashews? I work at a health food store and we sell raw cashews. Just a question because they’re really good and I’m about to try the diet. Thanks!

    • Kacey

      Whoops, nevermind haha. I just researched it.

    • Kacey,

      Thanks for getting interested in the Paleo Diet and we’re glad you figured it out. We will actually make a note on that one, as I’m sure other people would like to understand it as well – good catch ;) If you happen to have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Have a great weekend and Keep it Paleo!

      ~Paleo Effect

  5. Jennifer

    I have a question about plantains. I saw that you have a recipe for pastelon, and I always thought plantains were high in sugar. Are plantains ok on paleo as long as they are prepared properly? for instance boiled or baked versus fried in oil?

    • Jennifer

      I’m asking because I am dominican and plantains are a huge staple in dominican cooking and if I can continue to eat it in the paleo way I would love it!

    • Jennifer,
      Let me start by saying, we’re so glad you are looking into the Paleo lifestyle! Welcome! Secondly, I’d like to let you breathe easy today by letting you know that plantains are Paleo. The plantain is an interesting fruit because green plantains and ripe plantains are pretty much completely different foods. As far as glycemic index is concerned, the green plantain is low, so you can eat it however you like. Sweet plantains are medium in sugars raw, boiled or cooked, but high when fried, so that should be eaten very sparingly, as a treat. The Paleo diet doesn’t necessary ban sugary foods, just promotes moderation when eating them. If you are looking to lose weight, I would highly recommend avoiding sugary foods, but if you are in it for the lifestyle, just don’t eat these foods every day. We have a complete glycemic index guide going up in the FAQ section this week for more information. I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions and Keep it Paleo! ~Paleo Effect

  6. Denise

    Hi I just started paleo this week. I want to lose weight, but more importantly stay healthy. I have always been a healthy eater and am having trouble with the fruit part of this diet. I eat a large amount of fruit daily so I am struggling with this part of the diet. Can you help with this? I really only want to lose about 10-15 lbs.
    Thanks

    • Denise,

      First, welcome to Paleo! We’re excited you’ve chosen to make this journey! Now on to the question…

      You can eat fruit on Paleo, but should limit your intake while trying to lose weight. Why? Because you’ll lose it faster. Will you lose weight without cutting out the fruit? Possibly, everyone is different. Angel and I didn’t omit fruit and we still lost weight, so there is hope. I would need to know how long you’ve been Paleo to determine if you truly need to cut it out. If you’ve been on it for a month, then yes, we need to cut it out to cut the fat faster. If for a couple weeks, just give it time. If you want to cut the sugars and see how that goes, we have a really nice glycemic index of Paleo foods in our FAQ section and I would recommend that you keep your food intake in the LOW section (less sugars = faster weightloss). Here is the link: http://goo.gl/Wj5Jo

      I hope that helps and Keep it Paleo!
      ~Paleo Effect

  7. Denise

    Meghan
    Thank you for taking the time to get back to me. Today starts my 2nd week on paleo. I had a good week but like I said – fruit is tough for me as I love it so much. I tried not to go overboard last week and did ok. I am going to give it a month, I took a before picture and am going to see how it goes. On the plus side, I feel great even after just a week.

    • Trust me, the less sugar you eat, the less you will crave it. Be strong, you’re doing so good! If you stick with it a little longer, you will see the results, you will continue to feel better and you WILL crave less fruit. We know you can do it and are rooting for you!!

      Hang in there! ~Paleo Effect

  8. Denise

    I have made it through another week and doing well, but… for the last 2 days I have had some stomach discomfort/nausea. I make my own juice so I checked for a recipe for this problem and found one, tried it and did feel somewhat better. So my question Is this a common with changing to paleo?
    Thanks

    • Denise,

      I would say that Angel and I experienced a level of discomfort for the first couple of weeks, but everyone transitions differently. If you continue to experience this nausea, try to isolate the foods you eat, then integrate your norms back in to try to pinpoint where the discomfort is coming from. Are you cooking a lot with any one particular food that you didn’t eat before? For example, grapeseed oil can cause nausea when cooked at high temperatures and should really only be eaten when cooked at low temps or cold. See where I’m going with that?

      Thank you for your comments and I hope you feel better! Let us know if we can help!
      ~Paleo Effect

    • Ndazi

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    • Thank you for your comments, but at the moment we don’t advertise other’s blogs on our site. We like to keep it simple and guarantee our content – and that is hard to do with others’ sites because we would have to test everything on the site, so we steer clear of it. In the future, if we get the opportunity to devote more time to the blog (we work full time jobs), and decide to start validating and recommending, we’ll reach out and let you know!

      Thanks again and Keep it Paleo!
      ~Paleo Effect

  9. Wendy

    Not sure if you can help me but here goes:
    I am considering going Paleo but have questions relating to my unique situation. I have Yeast Overgrowth Syndrome and also Candidiasis. In a nutshell, my body produces exorbitant amounts of yeast which in turn causes various ailments which can be both physically and emotionally debilitating. There is no known cure at this time. The best way to fight it is to cut all sugar and most carbs out of the diet – which I have been working on/struggling with for well over a year.
    Is there such a thing as sugar-free Paleo? By this I mean, NO sugar – this includes all types including “natural” sugar found in fruit, etc.
    Do you know of anyone else with my condition? I’m sure I’m not alone but I have yet to make contact with anyone else who has anything like it.
    What advice would you give to someone like me considering Paleo?
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You

  10. Diana

    Hi Meghan,
    Brilliant site – thank you!
    What about eating healthy paleo when pregnant?

    • Diana,

      Thank you, Angel and I try to build relevant content, so your comments are very much appreciated :)

      As for the pregnancy part, you are in luck – there have been many success stories! We do not have kids, so I can’t speak to it personally yet, but here is a great resource that has a lot of good content for this topic – both the pregnancy AND raising children Paleo: http://www.growinguppaleo.com/tag/paleo-pregnancy/ and this is another good website for everything from preventing stretch marks to vitamins and stress management: http://paleopregnancyguide.com/ppg/

      I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I’ll be doing this and I hope that you share your story with us and let us know how it goes for you!

      Thanks again and Good Luck! ~Paleo Effect

  11. Stan

    Just started the diet today (horrible timing w/ the holidays around the corner) . Had the Herbs de Provence eggs. Thanks for the cookbook and I’m looking foward to make more dishes.

  12. CIndi

    I am interested in knowing whether there are any substitutes for the almonds, and almond flour in your recipes. I have a nut allergy and this will not work for me.Thank you!

    • Cindi,
      So sorry to hear that! You should be able to substitute coconut flour 1:1 for almond flour. Keep in mind that this will slightly change the flavor and texture, but it is the closest gluten free, grain free option that we can provide at this time.
      Hope this helps and Keep it Paleo!
      ~Paleo Effect

  13. Hi there, ust wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this post.
    It was inspiring. Keepp on posting!

  14. SarahAnn

    I have a question about coffee. I know you can eat coffee beans by themselves, it may not be very pleasant unless covered in chocolate, but without the creamer or sweetened a different way, is it still an option? I know the calories are limited to basically what you add to coffee, so…

    • Sarah,
      Are you asking if coffee is OK to drink and/or eat? If so, I will go ahead and answer and if not, just reply and we’ll get to the bottom of your inquiry!

      The jury is out with coffee. In plants, caffeine functions as a defense mechanism to kill insects and protect the species. Because of the toxic nature of the plant, I would normally say no, this is not Paleo, but read on. We personally believe that a little coffee with caffeine is OK. Its even been known to help the body function at a high capacity with increased energy and even weight loss. It has been known to lower your risk of diabetes, help the symptoms of parkinsons, and is good for your liver. BUT…it has caffeine. So our recommendation is to drink it in moderation and if you are an addict, mix in a little decaf (just be sure that it is water process decaf and not chemically processed decaf). Again, we’re not doctors or licensed nutritionalists, so our advice is strictly opinion, but we do drink a little caffeinated coffee and don’t think it will kill you. It may even improve your health in small quantities!

      Hope this helps and Keep it Paleo! ~Paleo Effect

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