Paleo 101

You’ve probably heard a paleo diet called a lot of things: Caveman Diet. Primal. Real Food. Paleo Lifestyle. Around our house we call it “dino-chow.” All of these terms refer to roughly the same way of eating; they are based on the idea that we are healthier—both mentally and physically—when we mimic the nutrition of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

The No List

Let’s get the bad news out of the way immediately: Eating paleo means avoiding many foods that may top your list of favorites. Different paleo practitioners promote varying guidelines. I follow the standards outlined of the Whole30 program developed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of Whole9. The guidelines are fairly stringent but extremely practical, and they’re based on the idea that we should eat the foods that make us the healthiest. I can’t argue with that.

Each of the “No” foods has its own unique properties that ensure its place on that infamous list. Generally, these foods are excluded because they either negatively affect your metabolism, or cause systemic inflammation, or both. Some are so bad they both wreak havoc on your metabolism and fire up your immune system. We very strongly dislike them. (We’re looking at you, grains.)

My “No List” includes the following, so you won’t find any of these foods in Well Fed or Well Fed 2 recipes:

  • Processed foods
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Soy
  • Added Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • White potatoes
  • Vegetable oils


The Yes List

We eat real food: animal-based protein, vegetables, fruits, and natural fat sources. Want to see it in a list? Here you go:

  • All animal proteins
  • All vegetables, except as listed above
  • All fruits (in moderation)
  • Quality fat sources: coconut products, olives and olive oil, avocados, grass-fed animal fat
  • Nuts and seeds (in moderation)


Basic Paleo Kitchen Advice

These posts should give you plenty to chew on if you’re ready to make the switch to paleo. From how much meat and produce you’ll need to buy… to being prepared to you never go hungry… to how to season your food with panache.

Stocking Up: just how much food does it take to feed a dino-chow convert?!
The Method Behind My Madness: the foolproof way to make sure you always have something great to eat in the fridge
Taste the Rainbow: veggies and fruits in every color to make sure you’re happy and healthy
Steam/Saute Any Veggie: my fail-proof way to cook almost any veggie
How To Blanch Veggies: par-cook veggies to make dinner super fast
What’s In My Spice Cabinet: must-haves so you can cook up a storm
Herbs vs. Spice: an explanation of the difference between the two, and some of my faves


Trusted Resources

For more detailed information eating foods that make you healthier, visit Whole9 and the Whole30 program.

Or check out this list of resources. These are the people I turn to for the latest information presented in ways I understand and that make it applicable to my daily life.