The longer I’m at it, and the more success I see and feel (I’m currently experiencing the agony and ecstasy of having no jeans that fit), the more people around me start warming up to the idea of eating and living paleo/primal. The logic behind it, the simplicity of it, the lack of a corporate overlord/sales team/pitch, and its proven results all speak for themselves. I’m still excited by the subject and love talking anyone’s ear off about it. I really don’t need any encouragement. So when my sister said that she and her husband want to try it for a month, and she asked for information from me, I was more than enthused. She wanted a shopping list to start with, and I went a little overboard with that request.
See below for the lengthy email. Please note that a few sentences were taken straight off of Robb Wolf or Mark Sisson’s websites, so I’m not claiming their words as my own. What I am claiming is that the information, and my use of the word “currying,” are all awesome.
Alright, here’s your custom guide to paleo livin’! It’s based upon what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced over the past several months. What I usually do is find some recipes I want to cook for us for the week, and make a corresponding shopping list. I definitely choose recipes that I think will offer more bang for your buck in terms of leftovers too, since that’s super important for us.
The majority of meals are:
– 4-8oz of protein, aka MEATZ. Some paleo people insist it has to be lean protein, but a lot of research has shown that’s BS. Chicken, pork, beef, lamb, turkey, eggs or seafood. Grass-fed, hormone free is the ideal, but not always financially feasible.
– Several servings of vegetables
– Good fats from avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, or a few nuts (if you’re trying to lose weight, make sure to go easy on the nuts! Also try to get raw nuts… that way they haven’t been roasted in a detrimental oil like peanut or soybean)
Limit fruit intake to one a day, if you’re looking to lose weight. Fruit, while awesome, is essentially sugar. The best fruit for your buck, nutrient and sugar wise, would be in this order: berries, melons, citrus, apples, pears. Avoid bananas, papayas and mangos, as they have a much higher carb count.
As for potatoes, use only sweet potatoes or yams, and sparingly. They have much more nutrients than other potatoes, so they make those carbs you’re consuming a little more worth it. Again though, sparingly!
Stay away from anything with grains, sugars, or legumes (including soy/edamame). No bread, rice, pasta, cookies, crackers, puddings, ice cream, waffles, juice, sodas, cereals, oatmeal, artificial sweeteners, yogurt, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, canned soups, apple sauce, noodles, vegetable or seed oils…all refined, packaged foods.
Get as basic with your foods as possible and if you’re buying a packaged/processed food, read the label. Don’t pay attention to the fat content (because fat does NOT make you fat), but look at the carbohydrates and the ingredients. Sugar is hiding in so many things, as is soybean oil or wheat flour.
For fat loss, your carb intake goal is 50-100g/day. Avoid “foods” with ingredients that you can’t pronounce or have no idea what they care.
Below is a good shopping list. The meat section is roughly a week’s worth of food, if not a little more. The veggies and pantry items are more than a week, more there to show you what you CAN use and stock up on.
– Several packages of all natural, nitrate and nitrite free sausages. Preferably precooked but not always. These are super handy for a quick meal when you don’t want to cook a lot, or if you’re at work and just want to pop something in the microwave.
– 1-2 lbs of nitrate/nitrite free bacon. Not only for breakfasts, but can also be cut up and cooked with veggies like kale, spinach, onions, etc. Save the grease in a cup or jar in the fridge for cooking with later!
– 1-2 lbs of ground beef. Make a meatloaf, cook up in a sauce, make hamburger patties… lots of options!
– 1 rotisserie chicken. I usually buy this on my way home from work on evenings with little time for much else. I almost always make chicken stock/soup from the carcass too. The meat is usually enough for a 2-3 meals for 2 people, so again with easy leftovers.
– A roast or some chicken breasts or some other big hunk of meat to cook in the oven or crock pot, based on what recipes to be cooked that week
– A dozen eggies. Don’t worry about cholesterol with these, that shit’s bunk.
– Deli meat or natural pepperoni, for easy snacking
– Fresh kale or chard. Nutrient dense, dark leafy greens are awesome in everything. Sauteed, in a scramble, as a bed underneath meat, whatever.
– 1-2 heads of cauliflower. Super versatile! Roast in the oven with coconut oil and curry, saute with other veggies and meat, boil and mash, chop up in a food processor and cook in a pan for “rice”
– Carrots, celery, broccoli, little tomatoes. Easy snacking options.
– Squash. Any kind, but spaghetti squash, kabocha and butternut are my favorites. Lots of vitamins and nutrients, and great for currying (totally a verb), roasting, sauteeing, mashing, etc. A little more carb dense than other veggies.
– Bag o’ onions, bag o’ garlic. Essential cooking items, obviously.
– 2-3 avocados. Sometimes I’ll just eat half a ‘cado with a little bit of salt as a snack. Great on top of eggs, salads, etc.
– Frozen veggies! Especially spinach and broccoli, but also some stir fry blends. Easy to toss in a pan, or combine with a sausage or two for a quick, microwavable lunch
– Other good options are brussels sprouts, bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, cabbage, parsnips, turnips, green beans
FRUIT: (this season)
– Frozen berries
– 1 jar of coconut oil. It’s solid at room temperature, so you melt it in the pan or micro to use. Super healthy and flavorful. Better for high temp cooking than olive oil
– 3-4 cans of coconut milk. Sauces, in coffee, and in a myriad of paleo recipes. Love this stuff. Full fat only, none of that reduced fat shit!
– 3-4 cans of olives. As a snack, in a sauce, in paleo steak chili.
– 3-4 cans of crushed tomatoes. Watch the ingredient label for additional sugar or other weird ingredients. Should just be straight up tomatoes.
– 1-2 cans of beets. Salads, snacking.
– 1-2 cans of pumpkin. Awesome savory sauce ingredient, or add with a little coconut milk and pumpkin pie spices (no sugar, obviously) for a treat
– Sauerkraut. Check the ingredients! There are kinds out there that don’t use sugar, like Bubbie’s, my favorite
– Almond butter. Use this in place of peanut butter. Watch the ingredients, and use sparingly
– Dijon mustard
– Balsamic vinegar
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Raw nuts (almonds, macadamia, hazelnuts)
– Seeds (like those from all that squash you’ve been eating, roasted in spices)
– 2-3 cans of tuna
– Unsweetened applesauce
– Unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded
– Chicken broth
– Butter. Grass fed, organic, preferably.
– Almond milk, unsweetened. Use in place of cow’s milk.
– Coconut or almond flour. Use in place of regular flour.
That’s it! Okay, that looks like a lot on screen, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Like, scary easy. The most frustration I find is eating out at restaurants or trying to find something fast on the road. You start to realize how much grains and sugars are stuffed in our faces as staples of our diet– it’s gross!
Nom Nom Paleo. Amazing recipes here! I made her kahlua pig in the crock pot yesterday and it is SO DAMN GOOD. I was eating it out of the crock pot, it’s that good. This is by far the best and most consistent paleo recipe source on the webs, and she cooks for her husband and two little boys.
The Food Lovers Primal Palate. This is the couple who wrote the Make It Paleo cookbook I own, and they have some wonderful recipes as well.
Robb Wolf’s Paleo FAQ
Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Eating Guide, and the super informational and awesome How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint page. An offshoot of that is his Primal Blueprint Fitness Guide, which you can download for free and I use regularly.
“Why I Eat Paleo” from Fitbomb (husband of Nom Nom Paleo). Well spoken, researched and linked.
Mark Sisson’s Reader-Submitted Success Stories. I love these! He publishes a new one each Friday.
If you have questions just let me know! This is a basic approach to paleo/primal eating. If you want to get sciencey about it, or learn more about the fitness aspect, the informational resources above are great starts, and I own books by both Wolf and Sisson.
It’s an awesome way to live, and I hope you guys get as much out of it as we have! Love you!