Stocking Your Paleo Pantry
These are the major staples that make up my Clean Eating Paleo Pantry. This is a good starting place if you're trying to remove processed foods from your diet and eat gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. If you want an in-depth overview of what to eat on a Paleo diet and why, check out my Paleo 101 post here. If paleo seems too daunting to you, you can check out what's in my general clean eating pantry here.
Having nourishing food in your kitchen is a great first step to keeping your body healthy. You're less likely to eat the wrong kinds of food if they’re not even in your house. You can make a lot of the recipes on Tasting Page with the ingredients below. So stock up and dig in!
Protein is a major part of a healthy paleo diet, but you don’t need to eat a Tomahawk steak at every meal to get your paleo on. It’s important to focus on pasture raised, grass-fed and finished meat as well as wild, sustainable seafood. Quality is key. I like shopping at my farmer's market or online at Vital Choice Seafood for top notch protein.
The only seafood I recommend avoiding are the heavy metal, mercury-collectors like shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. I also think you should steer clear of shrimp for many reasons. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch is a good place to check how safe a particular fish is to eat. Here are some of my favorite sources of paleo protein. The red links will take you to some good sourcing and recipes featuring the products.
- Beef, lamb, bison
- Poultry – chicken, turkey, duck
- Organ Meat – liver is a nutrient powerhouse - try my creamy pate recipe
- Bacon – make sure make sure it's nitrate and nitrite free, as well as free from added sugar
- Seafood – wild caught, sustainably produced – especially salmon
- Pastured eggs if tolerated
- Canned tuna, sardines, anchovies - great to have these on hand when there's nothing in the fridge
- Crown Prince smoked oysters – full of so many vitamins and minerals – b12, iron, zinc
Vegetables are an integral part of a paleo diet. Buy organic whenever you can, or at least be sure to buy organic vegetables that are on the Dirty Dozen list since they're known to have the most pesticides. Also be sure to eat vegetables that are in season versus the stuff that's shipped and frozen from far away places. There's not a lot of nutrients in the latter. Shopping at your local farmer's market should ensure that you're eating the latest and freshest picked produce.
Most vegetables are great to eat on a paleo diet, so I won’t list them all here. One thing to keep in mind is typically the higher the starch content of a vegetable, the higher the sugar levels, and the lower the nutritional value. So you won’t want to eat potatoes and beets at every meal, but feel free to enjoy a good sweet potato from time to time like my curry lime sweet potatoes. When I eat do eat starchy vegetables, I eat them at night for better processing, and sleep!
- Brussels Sprouts
- All leafy Greens - kale, chard, spinach, cabbage, romaine
- Sweet potatoes
Fruit contains a decent amount of sugar, but they also have a lot of health benefits. Berries are lower on the glycemic index and a good choice for a paleo diet. Beware of smoothies that are full of lots of super sweet fruit. You’re better off drinking a green vegetable based smoothie with lemon squeezed in for sweetness.
Paleo Flour and Baking
Paleo dieters stay away from cereal grains (read more here) so they often turn to nuts for alternate flours with almond being a popular choice. Luckily there are many grain free, gluten free flours on the market now, or you can make your own.
- Coconut Flour
- Almond flour
- Cassava flour aka tapioca starch
- Tigernut flour
- Gelatin – it can help thicken a sauce
- Aluminum free baking powder
Paleo Canned Goods
I don’t buy a lot of things in cans, but there are a few items that make sense to have on hand. Just be sure to look for a BPA-free can, or if it comes in glass, better yet. And be sure to read the ingredient list to ensure there are no added preservatives or fillers.
- Coconut Milk like Native Forest
- Sardines, tuna, anchovies – wild caught like Wild Planet
- Hearts of Palm
Paleo Oils and Fats
You definitely want to ditch the refined vegetable oils on a paleo or any clean eating diet. Healthy oils are a great source of fat, but just be sure to only cook with high heat oils. I love olive oil and coconut oil, but they’re best used as a seasoning in recipes, dressings or over low heat.
High Heat Cooking Oils and Fats
- Ghee - Bulletproof
- Grass-fed butter (if tolerated) - Kerrygold
- Avocado Oil – Primal Kitchen
- Duck Fat - Epic
- Beef tallow - Epic
Low Heat and Finishing Oils
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Extra Virgin Avocado Oil
- Unrefined Coconut oil
- Macadamia Oil
When your dish needs a little extra oomph, look to one of these paleo flavor enhancers to add more dimension to your meal.
- Apple cider vinegar – also great to sip before meals to aid in digestion
- Red Boat Fish Sauce brings nice savory umami flavor without any sugar
- Coconut Aminos – similar to soy sauce but there’s no gluten or soy included
Spices can enhance any dish. Get creative and mix fresh spices with more exotic dried ones. Just be sure to look for organic, non-irradiated dried spices.
- Garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, thyme, cumin, cinnamon
- Fresh herbs – cilantro, mint, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme
- Spices – Real Salt, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, thyme, curry powder
These should be used in moderation, only on special occasion, and after you’ve broken your sugar cravings cycle (read more about that here).
- Stevia green whole leaf
- Raw Honey
Ideally you’re eating enough fat and protein at mealtime so that you don’t need to snack between meals, but if you’re hungry, eat! Just be mindful not to graze when you’re bored or avoiding something. And if you’re trying to lose weight, minimize your nut intake as those calories can add up.
- Raw Organic Nuts – Almond, Cashew, Walnut, Macadamia nuts (peanuts are a legume and should be avoided on a paleo diet)
- Brazil nuts – 4 per day will help you maintain proper selenium levels
- Organic Nut Butter with celery
- Tahini – try my avocado tahini sauce
- Seaweed snacks
- Epic Bison Bars
- Bulletproof bites
- Crackers – you can try some of the paleo crackers on the market like Jilz, Simple Mills, and Julian Bakery, but if you have an almond allergy like me, you’ll need to make your own. I have recipes for Fig Almond Flour Crackers, Carrot Pulp Cumin Crackers, and Kale Rosemary Superseed Crackers
- Paleo Wraps – I like Nuco’s stuffed with chicken or sardine salad
- Dark Chocolate – 75% or higher with no refined sugar or additives
- Bone broth, I love sipping on a good homemade broth between meals. If I don’t make it, I’ll buy it from Vital Choice.
As important as the food is that you put in your body, it's also important to make sure you're not cooking it in toxic kitchen products. I have an entire post on how to make some easy swaps for a green kitchen.
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