Ew gross, paleo? What is that, like, eating twigs and stuff? Put your disgusting expectations aside, my friends, because the paleo diet is way tastier than it sounds. Paleo, or Paleolithic, isn’t considered a diet so much as a lifestyle. Basically, the followers of the paleo diet try to eat foods that only our hunter-gatherer ancestors would’ve eaten.

What the heck does that mean?

Think back to the days of the caveman. What would people have eaten? I can guarantee you our beloved McDonald’s and KFC were not the prime food options of that era. Think instead of nuts, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables and meat. Lots and lots of meat. I’m talking “I could eat a whole horse” types of meals. Luckily for you, I’m not about to tell you to go ingest a whole cow or anything (now that would be gross).

Okay, fine. But what exactly can I eat?

First of all, grains are a major no-no. Hunter-gatherers didn’t have the time or resources to grow grains and refine them into a useable material. They traveled where the game moved and found edible berries and plants along the way. In today’s society, we’re blessed with amazing food sources such as Kroger and Whole Foods. If you’re wanting to try out the paleo diet, I suggest you hit up your local grocery store for the following items:

  • Good cuts of meat and seafood—The paleo diet is high in lean protein and requires a larger intake of meats and nuts than the average diet. If you’re worried about bulking up, don’t be. Balancing a larger protein intake with a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables will result in an overall healthier body, not necessarily in a larger one
paleo diet

Photo by David Schuleman

  • Fresh fruits and veggies—The paleo diet is all about fresh foods. Try and limit your use of canned fruits and vegetables as much as possible. If you’re on a tight budget and have to buy canned goods, find vegetables that have no added salt or fruits without the extra refined sugars like corn syrup. Just make sure you read the label first. Don’t be fooled by the packaging claims; actually read through the list of ingredients and check that fructose and corn syrup aren’t added.
paleo diet

Photo by Mackenzie Barth

  • Grain-free alternatives—I know, pasta is amazing. And yes, I do eat half my body weight in Christmas cookies filled with white flour every year. But put down the refined flour and invest in some almond flour or coconut flour and start baking. I’m talking cookies, muffins, breads, fried chicken, you name it. If it was first made with a grain, you can easily substitute it with an awesome grain-free alternative.
paleo diet

Photo by Katie Coyle

Maybe Paleo isn’t so bad. What can I do with this diet?

Check out these blogs for more tips and recipes on creating your own amazing paleo diet: