Concepts and Substitutions


When I discussed what a Paleo diet is, I did not dive into the “fruits and vegetables” of what it actually means for a diet.  Like many diets, some versions or interpretations of Paleo ingredients differ from others.

Generally, here are foods to eat:

  • Meats – choose grass-fed/organic/antibiotic free when available or able.
  • Seafood – try to use sustainable, wild-caught breeds that are lower in mercury.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds (excluding peanuts, which are technically legumes)
  • Healthful oils – olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut

Likewise, here are foods to avoid:

  • Grains
  • Legumes – beans, soy and soy-based items, peanuts
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed foods
  • Soda and sweetened beverages
  • Refined vegetable oils
  • Artificial sweeteners

The autoimmune protocol items, or things that could cause inflammation in the gut, step up the restrictions quite a bit.  As with most dietary restrictions, the thought is to strictly follow the diet for 30 days and then reintroduce items one at a time to see if any adverse effects or reactions occur.

Things that are acceptable:

  • Meat and fish – choose grass-fed/organic/antibiotic free when available or able
  • Vegetables  – except nightshades (they sound evil!)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fruit
  • Coconut milk
  • Avocado, olive, and coconut oils
  • Honey or maple syrup – raw, organic honey sourced from your local area is best
  • Fresh, non-seed herbs
  • Bone broth
  • Vinegar 

Things to avoid:

  • Grains
  • All dairy
  • Eggs
  • Legumes – beans, peanuts, soy, etc.
  • Nightshades – Eggplant, tomatoes/tomatillos, peppers (bell, chile, sweet, etc.), potatoes
  • All sugars and sugar replacements
  • Butter and ghee
  • All oils – except olive, avocado, coconut
  • Alcohol