The Paleo diet is one of the most popular low-carb and high-protein diets around.
The idea behind the Paleo diet plan is that we eat the same way our ancestors did back in the days.
They ate wild plants and animals.
The Paleo way is believed to lead to better health.
By mimicking their diet and how they ate, we can avoid processed foods and added sugars.
It also prevents modern health issues such as obesity and diabetes by reversing the diet.
If you're looking for a way to lose weight, improve your health, then the Paleo diet is worth a try.
This Paleo diet meal plan contains everything you need to know to get started with the diet.
What Is The Paleo Diet?
Paleo diet (cavemen, stone age) emphasizes on eating real, unprocessed whole foods.
The same foods as cavemen did back in the day.
That's the time before processed foods and cultivation of starchy vegetables.
The Paleo's definition has it that if a food looks like it came from a factory, don't eat it.
All foods must be in its most original, natural form or close to it to be Paleo approved.
Another important element of the diet is 100% gluten free, grain free, and dairy free.
Besides that, their rules are simple.
No counting calories. No carb counting. No fat limitations.
Their motto is to keep your foods and eating simple.
No corn dogs, no fast foods, no low-fat foods, and obviously no imitation foods like imitation crabs.
Sorry, sushi lovers!
What Do They Eat Exactly?
Though Paleo has many restricted foods, there are plenty of real, unprocessed foods you can eat on the diet.
Here is the list of foods you can eat on Paleo.
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, and eggs
- Meats: grass-fed pork, beef, lamb, and others.
- Seafood: wild salmon, tuna, shrimp, lobster, scallop, and others.
- Nuts: any unprocessed nuts
- Seeds: any unprocessed seeds
- Oils: avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and lard.
- Fruits: any fruits in their original form
- Vegetables: any vegetables.
- Spices and herbs: sea salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, rosemary, parsley, garlic, and others.
Choose organic whenever possible, especially on produce which you eat the skin or the skin is thin. For meats and poultry, choose free-range, no-antibiotics, and grass-fed. Seafood should be wild, not farmed.
Foods in the Grey Area
As clear as the Paleo's principles are, there is gray area in this diet too.
That's because Paleo has evolved over the years and several different versions have surfaced, which naturally brought varying versions of what to eat and not to eat.
The foods in this area are the ones classified differently between different versions of Paleo, and they are often the topics of heated discussions within their community.
Here are some foods that may or may not be allowed on your Paleo diet.
There are also foods some Paleo versions have allowed in small amounts.
Paleo enjoys several indulging foods including dark chocolate, nuts, and wine.
While nuts are perfectly enjoyable raw or roasted and make the perfect pairing for dark chocolate and wine.
- Wine, though should be consumed in small amounts is high in antioxidants and has some health benefits. It's a perfect alternative to mixed drinks or beers.
- Dark chocolate or cacao is a great way to satisfy any sweet cravings. It's semi-sweet, without being loaded with sugar or cream. For best quality, be sure to pick a variety that has higher than a 70% cacao content and mixed with nut milk, to be Paleo friendly.
Foods Not to Eat
All processed foods are off the list, including fruit juices, sodas, pastries, some dairy products, pasta, and most sweets.
You also have to watch for ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, and margarine.
While most not-allowed-foods are modern inventions and easy to spot, others are not so obvious.
Paleo also excludes real foods like legumes and some grains.
Why Go Paleo?
So why would you want to give up all the sweets, burgers, and pizza, and go Paleo?
For one, it's for the health benefits.
They believe that modern health issues like diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases were not common amongst the ancestors in the Paleolithic period, thanks to their simplistic diet based on real foods.
By going back to their way of eating, they believe they too can be free of those diseases and achieve optimal health.
Some experts agree with the eating principles and have associated the Paleo diet with many other health benefits.
- Weight loss
- Feeling pleasantly full for longer
- Fewer sugar cravings
- Clearer skin
- Increase in energy
- Physically fit and carry less fat
- Improved digestion
- Reduced inflammation
- Healthier relationship with food
A pretty extensive list, if you ask me!
I know this sounds like people on the Paleo diet have "cracked the code" of proper nutrition. And apparently, science agrees.
One, in particular, suggests that the Paleo diet may contribute to weight loss and better health (4).
How to Go Paleo
Going Paleo sure sounds easy enough.
Eat simple foods. Check. Nothing processed. Check.
There is nothing too crazy about that. Besides, who doesn't want to eliminate processed foods from their diet anyway?
But like anything, it takes a true commitment to eat like fellow Paleo eaters.
And it sure isn't as easy as cavemen once had it. For cavemen, if they couldn't hunt it or gather it, they couldn't eat it. And that made it easy for them.
We face a lot more temptations in this modern days with access to a wider variety of foods.
Today, the only hunting we ever have to do for food is for deals and discounts for grocery items at the store!
So How Do We Really Go Paleo and Live a Successful Paleo Life?
Dedicated Paleo guy in our house's suggests frequenting farmer's markets and health stores for food sourcing.
Farmer's market in your area is an obvious choice. It's the mecca of plant-foods and natural and whole foods. You can find all kinds of Paleo-friendly foods there from raw honey to kale, fruits to fresh meat and fish.
Natural stores also provide a wide variety of foods for the Paleo Diet. Some may even have a section for it. Don't be afraid to ask for their help.
Once you gather foods on the Paleo list, you can start turning them into meals.
Sample Paleo Dier Plan
So your Paleo life can look something like this:
- Breakfast: Gluten-free, paleo pancakes topped with honey and berries. Be sure to cook pancakes with coconut oils. You can have a cup of coffee with non-dairy milk like almond milk.
- Lunch: You have some options for lunch. If you are always on the go, you can do something like kale smoothie with chia seeds and jerky for a snack. If you can eat a proper lunch, how about smoked salmon salad with vegetable soup?
- Dinner: Beef stir-fry with broccoli and quinoa for dinner.
- Dessert: A few pieces of dark chocolate or matcha latte with almond milk. Sounds good? That’s Paleo for ya. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the seriously good food permitted on the plan. Check out these mouth-watering Paleo recipes.
Since Paleo is simply an eating guideline rather than a set of menus to follow, you can freely create your own recipes, menu plans, and dishes using any of the Paleo allowed foods.
To get you started, here is a sample weekly menu you can use. You can incorporate your likes and dislikes and adjust to any allergies and preferences.
7-Day Paleo Diet Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Kale smoothie with blueberries, banana, and cocoa powder. Add hemp protein powder for some energy boost.
- Lunch: Tuna avocado lettuce wrap with cilantro. Enjoy a cup of fresh fruits.
- Snacks: A handful of mix nuts.
- Dinner: No-bun turkey burgers with lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.
- Breakfast: Turkey bacon and scrambled eggs. Side of baked potatoes and a cup of black coffee.
- Lunch: Burrito Bowl (Use sautéed bell peppers, cauliflower with onions as your base, then add the usual protein: beef or chicken. Top with cilantro, salsa, and avocado).
- Snack: Paleo Jerky (beef, chicken or turkey)
- Dinner: Grilled salmon with asparagus.
- Breakfast: Paleo banana pancakes topped with fresh fruits and coconut chips
- Lunch: Grilled fish with kale avocado salads
- Snack: Sliced apple with almond butter
- Dinner: Broccoli salad with cashew curry dressing.
- Breakfast: Acai bowl topped with fresh fruits (banana, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple), cacao nibs, and coconut chips.
- Lunch: Turkey breast with lettuce, wrapped in paleo approved tortilla.
- Snack: Paleo plantain chips dipped in kale pesto.
- Dinner: Chicken stir-fry with bell peppers, onions, carrots, and celery. Serve it with quinoa.
- Breakfast: sausages, eggs, and veggies—some fresh fruits
- Lunch: Avocado tuna salads + seaweeds as a topping
- Snack: Paleo snack protein bar
- Dinner: Sweet and sour chicken over steamed broccoli and quinoa
- Breakfast: Arugula, asparagus, and avocado salad, top with hard boiled egg--Grab the recipe here.
- Lunch: Shrimp salad with mixed greens. Top with nuts and a vinegarette dressing.
- Snack: Chia seed pudding
- Dinner: Oven roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and broccolini.
- Breakfast: Spinach frittata with tea or coffee
- Lunch: Chicken soup with a small salad.
- Snack: Baked cinnamon apple chips.
- Dinner: Grilled Steak with potatoes, bell peppers, and portobello mushroom.
There you have it!
Paleo diet offers an effective way to improve your health and lose weight.
I have gone on Paleo and lost some weight on the diet without much effort other than to follow the food list diligently.
For those looking for a way of eating that contributes to your health and helps you lose weight naturally along the way, Paleo is your diet.
There is no calorie counting, no strict dieting, and no fasting involved. But you can combine any of those weight loss methods with Paleo if you want. It's versatile and dynamic like that.
I hope this guide is found helpful as you embark on the Paleo path.