Paleo Eating & Lifestyle: The Rules

Levels of Strictness

The Paleo diet (also called ancestral, primal, native, or hunter-gatherer diets) is eating today’s food in a way that mimics the best diet of our Hunter Gatherer or Paleolithic ancestors. This diet is not just following the diet we imagine our ancestors  would have eaten, (e.g. caveman recreation) we also use current clinical studies, genetic / environment studies, and our knowledge of human biochemistry to inform our choices. We make choices from today’s every day food that gives us the healthiest possible human diet, so we eat food that our bodies are best adapted to eating. As a general rule food that you can’t imagine hunting or gathering is not paleo. The paleo diet is primarily focussing on eating high nutrient non toxic food that nourishes the body.

Before you start, fill in this questionnaire, Client health checklist Nov 2011

Here are 3 levels of strictness eating Paleo – Read through them and decide which level you are willing to adhere to.

1. Hard Core Paleo (I recommend a 30 day trial at this level)– strictly cutting out all foods that do not fit with a hunter and gatherer / paleo diet: no grains (that’s all grains, includes corn, and pseudo-grains like buckwheat), no legumes (includes soy and peanuts), no potatoes, no sugars or synthetic sweeteners, no processed food, no dairy, no alcohol, no omega 6 / chemically extracted vegetable oils or chemically altered fats (like margarine)

2. Using alcohol in restricted amounts and type . (Yes – I mean restricted – alcohol is a gut irritant, however 1 small drink occasionally is permitted) If you can’t stop at 1 x 4oz (125ml) glass of wine once or twice a week – cut alcohol out – the programme wont work.  You should avoid alcohol for the 30 day trial especially if you have gut issues or auto-immune disease – it is a gut irritant, and can increase the wrong type of gut bacteria.

3. For those with severe gut issues or auto-immune problems I recommend strict paleo, plus avoid nightshades (capsicum, all peppers, eggplant, potatoes and tomatoes) and eggs, alcohol, dairy, all nuts and seeds for at least a 30 day trial

The paleo diet can be done without measuring or weighing food, or it can be done in conjunction with the Zone Diet (if that approach is familiar and works for you)

Paleo Diet and Lifestyle Rules –

What to eat

Protein Foods

‘Leanish’ unprocessed meat: grass-fed, wild and free range animals, beef, chicken, poultry, lamb, pork, venison, rabbit etc, including organ meats (ideally organic), and bone broth for calcium, minerals and nutrients for cartilage, it is also good for gut health.
Bacon: use Freedom Farms Nitrite free bacon (or any free farmed bacon that has no chemicals)
Seafood and shellfish: all types
Eggs
Egg White protein powder

More about protein can be found in this article How much protein should I eat? Protein & fat amounts in fish, meat, eggs and poultry.

Carbohydrate foods

Vegetables, colourful and green, non starch – eat lots
Starchy and root vegetables peeled – in moderation, depends on body type, metabolic issues like diabetes and exercise load
Fruit, fresh especially berries, in moderation,

Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut

More on carbohydrates here: Paleo diet carbohydrate list and carb counter

Fats and oils

Extra Virgin Olive oil
For cooking: coconut oil (I like oil that has had flavour removed)

Lard or tallow
Avocado and avocado oil

Macadamia nut oil
Nuts, fresh unsalted (not peanuts), best nuts- lower in omega 6 – macadamia and cashews, hazelnuts, limit if wanting to lose weight. Nuts are best fresh, soaked for 24hours and oven dried to decrease phytic acid

More on Omega 6 and 3 here: Omega 6 and 3 in nuts, oils, meat and fish. Tools to get it right.

Drinks

Filtered water, ideally chlorine and fluoride free
Sparkling or soda water (make your own with a soda stream)

Mineral water
Herbal and fruit teas
Tea
Coffee (in moderation any amount can affect sleep)
Almond milk (unsweetened)

Coconut water (no added sugar)
Cocoa powder drink (hot water, cocoa powder, no sugar, coconut cream) Weird at first with no sugar but you get used to it

Other foods:

Fermented foods – like coconut Kefir and kimchi add important friendly bacteria into your gut.

Bone Broth- calcium, minerals, gut healing and joint cartilage building blocks

What not to eat

Protein foods

Processed meats (sausages, salami, bacon etc – see this study on processed meats)
High fat meat, especially from grain and feedlot animals (saturated fat has been given a bad rap, studies now show it isn’t that bad, in the context of a paleo diet, but more fat usually means more omega 6 and for some people too many calories)
Dairy products, includes milk, yoghurt, cheese
Legumes: Tofu and soy products, including soy protein powder, peanuts, peanut butter and oil

 

Carbohydrate foods

Grains and grain like foods (wheat, rye, barley, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, linseed, chia, rice, linseed. etc)
Grain products (bread, crackers, bakery products, pasta, cakes etc.)
Legumes (peanuts, soy, baked beans, chickpeas, humus, broad beans, lentils etc)
Potatoes for some (auto-immune, joint inflammation)- but okay peeled for most
Sugar, all types including honey and fructose, agave, coconut sugar etc,                          

No sugar replacements, even stevia

Fats and oils

All vegetable seed oils except listed above and peanut oil
Butter
Any commercial food cooked in oil or fats, e.g. deep fried food, or made with cheap vegetable oils, soy, sunflower, safflower etc.
Margarine – all types

Drinks

All juices, including freshly squeezed. Only freshly squeezed pure vegetable juice is okay, green smoothies are prefered as they include fibre
Soft drinks or any drink with sugar
Artificially sweetened drinks
Other alcohol apart from spirits or dry wine (if drinking alcohol)
Milk, soy milk, rice milk, oat milk

Alcohol

Dry wine or spirits, NOT beer (has gluten / grains)
Small amounts only – occasional glass of dry wine (e.g. once week)
No mixers apart from soda water, mineral water or water, or freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

Lifestyle

Get the sun vitamin: In the winter it is nearly impossible to get sun to get enough vitamin D. Take 2000iu Vitamin D per day. In summer 5 t0 10 minutes, don’t burn. More on Vitamin D, and sun bathing

Sleep: 7.5  – 9 hours per night. Sleep in imperative, lack of sleep will dash your efforts for health and fat loss, and put your body in an insulin resistant state, and increase your appetite for junk

Exercise: any exercise is good, add a few short bouts of high intensity exercise – run fast, do some push-ups and squats. Lots of movement like walking and light activity. If you are at a desk – use a high chair with feet on floor, a large ball to sit on, or stand (i.e. find ways to get more get more movement at your desk) Lift heavy weights to maintain muscle mass.

Stress: avoid stress or find ways like meditation to minimise it. Carefully evaluate your lifestyle, the high value house with the big mortgage is not worth it if your health is put at risk

Socialisation: All long lived people have a strong community, make sure you don’t neglect this.

 

Here are 8 ways that our diet today is dramatically different from Paleo / Hunter and Gatherer diets, and how we can correct each

By following the paleo diet we are eating as we are designed to eat.

1. The Glycemic Load-the ability of food to spike or elevate blood sugar / insulin levels, we eat too much high GI foods.

By eating mainly non starch vegetables and fruit with starches from vegetables rather than grains and sugar, we dramatically lower the glycemic or blood sugar load. By including lean protein and good fats with each meal we get further blood sugar control. See Glycemic load for more info and glycemic index chart.

2. The Fatty Acid Balance- the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, our diets are now very high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3, plus the addition of chemically altered fats.

To mimic the fatty acid intake of wild meats we need to eat lean meat and add primarily monounsaturated oils to our diet (olive oil, raw nuts, avocado).  A small amount of saturated fat may be used such as coconut oil. Use the charts in this post to improve your omega 3 to 6 ratio. Omega 3 and 6 in nuts, seeds, oils, fats, seafood and meat. Most people, unless eating a lot of oily fish will not get adequate omega 3 without taking a supplement. I recommend buying omega 3 that has guaranteed purity.
Omega Science is a high purity, high concentrate and cost effective omega 3 supplement (New Zealand only)

Other fats to avoid are trans fats, found in fast food and deep fried food, vegetable oils (too high in polyunstaurated omega 6) margarine made with inter-esterified fat, and excess saturated fat such as those in meat and dairy. More on omega 3, 6 and 9 here

3. The Macronutrient Balance-the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat has changed

Dr Cordain and his researchers have analysed the balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat in the diets of many different hunter and gatherer races and he found that protein was 19 – 35% calories, carbohydrate 22- 40% calories and Fat 28 – 47% calories. The typical US diet contains protein, 15.5%, carbohydrates, 49% and fat 34%. By roughly following Zone diet ratios you will easily hit this balance. Another way to eat is to have a palm size of protein at each meal, plus a lot of non starch veggies, and a piece of fruit or starchy veg (yes carbs in moderation), with a little monounsaturated oil added.

4. The Trace Nutrient Density – the amount of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals in the food we eat is very poor

The paleo diet only has nutrient rich foods, there is no place for nutrient poor foods such as white rice and sugar. Traditionally nutritionists have told us that grains are a great source of B vitamins, however compared to fruits and veggies, cereal grains are B-vitamin lightweights. An average 1,000 calorie serving of mixed vegetables contain 19 times more folate, five times more vitamin B6, six times more vitamin B2 and two times more vitamin B1 than a comparable serving of eight mixed whole grains. On a calorie-by-calorie basis, the niacin content of lean meat and seafood is four times more.

5. The Acid/Base Balance -every food reports to the kidneys as either acid or base, we now have a high acid load diet

Foods either report to the kidney as acid or alkaline. Foods that increase acidity are protein, grains and salt laden foods. Fruit and vegetables are alkaline foods. When you have a high acid load diet, calcium is pulled from the bones to buffer it – leading to osteoporosis. Protein is an essential nutrient and by choosing non processed protein foods and balancing them with vegetables and fruit (rather than grains) you will get a net alkaline load. An alkaline / acid food chart here from Loren Cordain.

6. The Sodium/Potassium Balance – We eat far too much sodium and too little potassium

The imbalance in today’s diet – high sodium and low potassium promotes or aggravates diseases due to acid-base balance, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, asthma, stroke, and certain forms of cancer. Excess salt in the diet also impairs sleep. A low salt diet can help you sleep better.

By cutting out processed foods and added salt,  and eating potassium rich fruit and vegetables this imbalance is corrected. You don’t need to strictly cut out all salt, just avoid high salt foods and add only a little salt to meals.

7. The Fibre Content – we eat a fibre poor diet

Fibre is absolutely essential to health and at least 13 illnesses can result when you don’t get enough fibre in your diet. The Paleo diet is naturally high in fibre because if it’s abundance of fruits and vegetables. In fact it is 3 – 5 times higher than a typical American diet. Common digestive problems typically disappear on the Paleo diet including: Constipation, Heartburn, indigestion, Irritable bowel syndrome, and gallbladder problems. Fibre from fruits and vegetables is especially good as it provides food (pre-biotics) for our gut bacteria (pro-biotics)

8. The addition of large amounts of Neolithic / gut irritant foods that did not exist in our diets in Paleo times

Grains, legumes, and dairy foods were not part of the ancestral diet and have a number of problems, they irritate and gut and interfere with digestion of food and absorption of minerals. 1 in 10 people are known to be sensitive to gluten, most don’t know it. Try cutting these foods out completely for a month to see if they make a difference to your health.

See this extended article 10 Ways our diet today differs radically from the diet that best suits our genes

These points were take from the work by Professor Loren Cordain.

See too this article by Loren Cordain:
The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food Groups. Full article can be found here – see page 15 of this online PDF http://www.ana-jana.org/Journal/journals/ACF5FB7.pdf

Leave a Reply

  1. Thanks for the go-to paleo eating guide, Julianne. It is very succinct while covering all the bases. I like how you present “buy-in” options right up front and I hope the link is permanent so I can refer folks to it. After the initial six weeks, would grass-fed high fat meat would be permissible since, as you point out, “saturated fat has been given a bad rap, studies now show it isn’t that bad”? Along those same lines, could butter/ghee (again, grass fed) be loosely considered paleo-friendly foods due to their nutritional profiles – albeit with the same caveat as eggs for certain folks with lingering issues? Thanks again, your blog is quickly climbing the charts IMO.

    • Thanks Mike, yeah the number of reads is growing every month.
      Re higher sat fat diet – personally eat a pretty high fat diet, not butter due to auto-immune issues, but macadamia and olive oil and fat on grass fed meat. I tend to go with Mat Lalonde on being careful about nuts because of excess omega 6 too. I’d go with the grass fed butter in moderation if I could, I love it.

      • Hi Julianne.
        I’m hashimotos too and I want to ask why if we can eat chicken why should we not eat eggs?

  2. Hi Julianne

    With all due respect – the paleo cry “do not eat dairy” is highly suspect – while paleo’s generally have a pretty good f-off attitude towards conventional wisdom, they accept conventional anthropological assumptions that our paleo pals were not smart enough or capable enough to husband animals that provided milk/dairy nutritional adjunct… bbbbzzzzzt! – wrong!- a close examination of the evidence leads to the conclusion that we very well could have and did keep at least goats – if not other mammals long into our paleo past enjoying the delectable white gold…

    Check out the argument here: http://daiasolgaia.com/?p=1302
    Ravi @ DaiaSolgaia.com

    • Dairy is more of a grey area when it comes to paleo. However I recommend a 4 – 6 week trial without dairy as it is not a natural food for humans, and many people may have problems with it.

      Casein is hard to digest like gluten and can affect gut and brain and trigger diabetes type 1, especially A1 beta casein: eg. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16407643
      Milk products have a large insulin response
      Milk / dairy sensitivity is common – it is linked with excess mucous, constipation, asthma, eczema.

      Why not remove it for at lease 4 weeks and if add it in after that period to see if you are affected by it.

      • There are peole who dont think they have a problem with dairy until they try cutting it out altogeather then, make adjustments to their eating. I agree cutting out dairy for 6 weeks should give you time enough to realise if there are benefits to cutting it out altogeather.

      • Actually… RAW dairy is the key! The pasturized stuff at the store is very much a problem! It is processed. But RAW dairly (preferably goat) is great (although I do raw cow dairy). I pick it up at a local farm twice a week.

    • Milk is strong associated with Type 1 diabetes. It is also a major risk factor for osteoporosis and heart disease.

      Mann (1972) perfromed autopsies on traditional Masai. They had very severe atherosclerosis. Mann argued that they were only protected by their extremely high activity levels.

  3. Hi. I’m brand new to the paleo way of eating. I’m trying to be as strict as possible because I have some serious autoimmune problems. I have Erythromelalgia which is a very painful circulation problem in the feet or hands. It causes extreme burning, swelling, and lifestyle-changing pain. It’s very rare and most doctors haven’t even heard of it. The only thing that can be done for it right now, is to try to find the right cocktail of pain killers. But my rheumatologist says it can be a precursor of diseases such as lupus, etc. I’m trying so hard to give this diet a real chance at helping me but find it hard to find recipes, etc. that don’t include eggs, nightshades, even nuts, as Robb Wolf would suggest. One place it says no potatoes at all, then I see all these recipes using sweet potatoes. No soy, but recipes using soy sauce. Will using these ingredients blow my chances of seeing any change in my condition? How do I know which recipes are safe and which aren’t? Any tips on how to keep very strictly to a diet that’s rather limiting already? I’m so afraid of doing anything “wrong” that might ruin my chances of seeing success with my condition. Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for any help.

    • Hi Maggie,
      With an auto-immune condition it pays to be really strict for at least 6 weeks. (no grains, legumes, dairy or nightshades) Sometimes food does seem very limited, but for me it was worth the effort. Sweet potatoes are not nightshades like ordinary potatoes, and are okay to eat. Anything from soy like soy sauce should be removed for a while. I use tamari now – gluten free soy sauce without a problem.
      My meals look like this:
      BF: Meat or fish (salmon), plus some berries and kiwifruit. (or left over dinner re-heated)
      Lunch, cold meat and veggies or salad. On cold days a home made veggie soup with some protein like shredded chicken put in.
      Dinner, roast, stews, casseroles, stirfries etc plus lots of veggies, both raw like salad and cooked.
      I usually don’t need snacks. I use coconut cream in my hot drinks, I have 1 – 2 coffees. Green teas, fruit / herbal tea.
      I think nuts may be causing me problems, I still get a little eczema on my hands and I’m trying to link what food my be causing it and it might be almonds. Macadamia are okay.

      • Hi Jullianne, my name is Sandra and I feel the same way as Maggie ( sorry my english is not the best in town) I feel LOST!!! I have Lupus and SJongren syndrome. I recently herd of the Paleo diet and also about a similar one of a french doctor ( Signeletre )Are you familiar with this other diet, they are very similar but at the same time they disagree on a few things. Any advice is greatly appreciated.How do you know which one is the best for you?

    • I’m new to this blog and certainly don’t want to step on Julianne’s toes, but just wanted to comment on your autoimmune issues. I, too, have a rather rare condition, known as cryoglobulinemia, which can also lead to lupus, etc. I have also struggled with rheumatoid arthritis type symptoms for the last year or two. In desperation and pain, I just went raw, overnight. I wasn’t sure what exactly was triggering my symptoms, so decided to go as clean as I could for a couple months. Like you, I was confused and uncertain how to make such a radical change after living so many years with cooked foods. I ended up succeeding by just keeping it as simple as possible. I had fresh juices, gradually adding more greens as my taste buds adjusted to less sweetness. I llived on huge salads, apples and raw tahini, started sprouting mung beans and sunflower greens, and even wheatgrass, just to keep it clean and raw. I was completely without symptoms in less than two weeks. My rashes went away, the swelling went away, my constant fatigue was replaced by amazing energy. At the time I did eat soaked and dried nuts and seeds, which I have since found can give me flare ups. Mainly I want to convey that once I cleaned my system, it has been easy to know what I can and can’t tolerate. Now, 9 months later, I am exploring other diets, such as the paleo diet. I have started eating pastured eggs a few times a week, and it agrees with me. Never have breads or processed grains of any type, but do use hemp seed in my smoothies. It is just a matter of trying out something and observing your reaction. You can get your health back. Good Luck to you.

      • Thanks Barb for sharing your story, It just got me thinking that maybe is better to start with just a few things, king of an elimination diet and see how your body responds to it. It seems that I just need to have a few weeks of a clean start and slowly see how my body reacts to the new food. I wonder for how long do you have to do it and what is the few really “safe food”. I also herd of some clinics that specialized on this diets.

    • Yes I have been avoiding nuts, mainly almonds. Nuts also have anti-nutrients like grains, although nuts with a harder shells like macadamias have the least anti-nutrients. I am pretty sure almonds make the eczema on my hands and feet flare.

  4. Hi there,
    Just wondering what your thoughts are on Flaxseed and quinoa as they are seeds and not grains. I can cut out all other grains but would feel the need for a piece of flaxseed bread to put my egg on in the morning and for the fibre!

  5. I have many symptoms arrising from HLA B27 pos. Luckily not AS. SO I am very excited to learn of the Paleo diet, much of which I naturally discovered by experience. Sady the page link to the article by Loren Cordainis no longer exists. Can you rectify this?
    And this article by Loren Cordain
    The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food Groups
    The journey continues. Tanjs

    Barry P Beckett
    Berlin Germany and Montpellier France

  6. For me it is very useful to know where a website is situated with a website heading. It took me a while to realise that you are in New ealand (am I correct?). I am a Briton based in Berlin and Montpellier france. Does this make a difference? Yes. There are other means of communicating apart from online which may be local and direct. Thank you

  7. Been on the paleo for around 8 weeks now, and have lost weight. I am concerned though about lack of calcium. I should be having 1300mg per day, and am lucky if i get 100mg in a day. There are only so many tins of sardines that you can eat. According to my bone density scan I have an 88% chance of getting osteoporosis, hence my concern on the lack of dairy. Any thoughts?

  8. Thanks for all the great info. I just started the paleo diet a little over a week ago and have been feeling really sick. Headaches, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia and constipation. My diet is: left over supper for breakfast (meat and veggies) snack of fruit if needed, big salad with chicken for lunch and more meat (salmon or chicken) and veggies for supper. Have you ever heard of die off from candida when switching to this grain, dairy and sugar free diet? Or difficulty for body to transition to this new type of eating. My previous diet was more vegetarian with lots of grains and legumes.
    Any help would be appreciated.

    • It should make a difference to both. I’ve heard a number of people with Crohns say it improved a lot with paleo. one person added this pro-bioitic too and that helped.- http://www.crohns.net/ has some good tips – the probiotic recommendations are ones that I’ve heard people have had success with (not sure about the other supplements though)
      Add some good quality omega 3 and some anti-oxidants would also help. Omega 3 is shown in studies to reduce crohns
      The GAPS diet is also good – I’d use tips from this and paleo food choices
      http://www.gutandpsychologysyndrome.com/gaps-diet/
      Make sure your vitamin D levels are checked also – many people with auto-immune disease have low vit D, which contributes.

      Hope this helps
      Julianne

  9. Hi Julianne
    I have been living on LCHF for about a year, with 20-30% protein, 5%carbs and 60-70 % fat.
    I have hypothyroidsm and osteoporosis – I an omly 37 years old!
    Before LCHF iI was om a restricted calory diet almost without fat, I have tried high protein low fat diets, I have been addicted to sugar.
    I have no problem avoiding grains, rice, fruits, ect but I am afraid that I am doing somthing wrong and making my osteoporosis worse. What would you recomend?
    Line

  10. Hi Jullianne : I want to start the Paleo diet for 30 days to see if it helps with my Lupus and Sjongren syndromes. I had being researching all kinds of diets and this one makes sense to me. My main concern is how to replace sweets….when I want to cut down on sweets I used to eat dry fruits and walnuts can I do that with the Paleo diet? I can maybe make it for a few weeks but I know it would be impossible to take sweets out of my life forever. Any advice?

    • Hi Sandra,
      I would do the auto-immune version: No grains, legumes, dairy, nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshades, alcohol. Search auto-immune for more on this blog.
      Take fish oil.
      When I did this version strictly, I had plenty of starchy foods – like root veggies and pumpkin, if you have enough starch it helps stop sugar cravings, I’m not a fan of very low carb diets and think for most people they are unnecessary.

      Occasionally I had a little dried fruit if I needed a little sweet treat – look for some without any preservatives and sulphite.

      Keep in touch and let me know how you go. I’ll be doing a post on the Wahls diet soon – watch her video and put some of her tips into practice as well.

      Julianne

  11. Ok.. I am going to sound desperate and maybe I am but you have no idea how sweet and strange at the same time it feels to have somebody out there, a total stranger helping me when I need it the most. As we speak my husband and my brother are in the kitchen fighting for more pizza after a weekend of an eatting spree. I was eatting healthy and doing “boot camp” at the gym when I finally found out what was driving me crazy. I know more than the average person about food and diets but this is different. When is time to prepare dinner I feel lost, I go from trying to make something that I can eat and everybody likes (unsuccesfully) to making two separte dinners without even knowing if after so much effort I am really eatting what I’m suppost to.
    Buttom line is I know I have a long road ahead of me, my own doctor who I am so thankfull for finnally connecting the dots about my health, doesn’t even think I need any special diet. Take your medicine and have a normal life, he told me. So according to him if I am burger and fries kind of girl is fine to keep eating like that!! It would be nice to start the 30 days alone with other people so we can share recipies and strategies in how not to kill your familly at dinner time (hahaha just joking)
    So thanks Jullianne for being out there helping people like me.

    • You’re welcome.
      Re family dinners, I just cook the same for everyone. Fortunately my husband is on board – although he has a bit of bread occasionally.
      I tend to cook the following that I know we all like:
      Stews or casseroles, use bone in meat a lot for the goodness
      Roasts, with mainly root veggies
      BBQ meals – meat and salads
      “Mexican” i.e. minced beef, onion, grated veggies instead of beans – or I take my bit out and add beans and tomatoes to the rest of the families meal. Have this with corn chips or wraps and avocado dip
      Pasta dishes e.g meat balls and sauce. I cook homemade meat balls, and pasta sauce. Cook gluten free pasta for the others and saute courgettes for me.

      I have never cooked separate meals. I have my husband and 2 teenagers.

      • I cook for a man too (and often, other family members). Everyone eats what I do (so – meat, green veges, sweet potato), then for the carby and non-sensitive people, I do some rice, pasta, or give them some nice organic bread. Men are easy to please, just add carbs, and throw them a beer while you’re cooking. 😉 I’ve become a master saucier too. That turns my boring food into something amazing. Tonight I did a shallot balsamic and red wine sauce and nobody noticed that under it was just mashed kumara, wild venison, silverbeet and salad. It’s about kitchen trickery. BTW, I’m not strictly paleo (as my blog would show), but do eat paleo about 4 meals out of 5.

  12. Hi Julianne, Thanks for the great info! I have been on strict paleo with no eggs and no nightshades for about a month and am still not losing any weight. My calories come in around 1700-2000/day with most coming from fat and protein. My exercise has been spotty, but I do at least 3 bodyweight sets or short runs a week.

    I cut out fruit to further reduce carbs to under 20-30g, but I’m afraid I’m still eating too much (and still hungry!). What’s your take on carbs? Should I cut back on veggies, or should I forget about carbs and up the fruits and veggies and lower the meat and fat? I typically have sausage (homemade) for breakfast, salad with meat, oil and vinegar, lettuce, radish, cucumber for lunch, meat and veggie for dinner, and meat and broth for snack. Thank you so much for your advice!

    • I think that a I think that a high fat low carb diet can end up not working for some people – I’ve observed this quite frequently. The calorie count gets too high with all the fat, and you do not get enough healthy fibre and anti-oxidants from lots of vegetables.
      Eat approx a palm size of protein, leanish meat / fowl / seafood per meal
      Add in about 1/2 – 1 fist of starch – root vegetable, pumpkin etc
      FILL your plate with non-starch colourful veg
      Add a little – 2 – 3 tsp good fats.

      Try this – do not weigh yourself – measure yourself. Intially you might gain weight when you increase carbs – but it is not fat. It is fibre and water in your intestine and glycogen and water in your muscles.

  13. Wow. I am so glad to have stumbled on this site. I have tried Eades’ diet advice in the past and it really helped. I still tend to do lower carb, but I do enjoy dry red wine at night. Now I’m pursuing a PhD and teaching 3 classes. Consequently, my schedule doesn’t allow me to always get the nutrition I need unless I prepare ahead of time. My question is this: Since you say to avoid wine and milk products (gut irritants – and I have plenty of that!) what protein supplement would be good to take to work? Or is there no such ‘animal’? The protein supplement I now use is whey-based, which means, milk-based. I love the convenience of grabbing the protein I need in between busy classes, meetings, and other events that make a meal quite difficult. Today is a good example. I had breakfast and then did not have time for a real meal until about 7:00 PM! Any advice?

    • Thanks – glad you are finding it useful!
      For a 30 day challenge – you cut out all potentially problematic food.
      I think real food trumps every time – I take cold cuts when I’m out for the day, along with nuts and fruit, or a salad – mainly comprised of roasted root vegetables.
      My suggestion is cut the problem food for 30 days, then add whey protein back in and if you have no detrimental effects after a week – it is probably fine for you.

      i’ve found dairy does not suit me, but I do have a little wine some evenings!

      • Thank you! I can do the salads and cold cuts (or tuna) quite easily. I think that I also need to work on sleep, and deal with stress. They affect my blood pressure in a negative way.

  14. Hi Julianne
    Thankyou for the talk tonight about my eight year old daughter. And I just wanted to say how great and helpful your eating guide is. I will let you know in a month how we are getting on with her diet change.
    Many thanks Cheryl

  15. I would love to try the Paleo diet, but temptation seems to get the best of me.
    Many foods aren’t filling, and don’t satisfy my sweet tooth. 😛
    Which foods (in the Paleo diet) could help me get over this loss of my favorites?

    • Yes it can be hard starting when you have to get past sugar and refined carb addictions.
      If clients have cravings, I ensure they are taking a multivitamin, omega 3, have good vitamin D levels, and are psychologically prepared for a transition period of 2 – 3 weeks.

      I use fruit and starchy carbs to fill me up and start all meals with a palm sized protein portion for satiety. Dont skimp on good fats either, however dont have too much. Some people eat handfuls of nuts and tins of coconut cream and if you are trying to lose weight – they add a lot of calories.

  16. Hi Julianne,

    I’m seriously considering overhauling my lifestyle and eating patterns and trying a paleo diet to see what the benefits might be for me. I’m 28, have PCOS and feel that my symptoms are getting worse or changing at the least. I’m considering stopping taking my oral contraceptive pill (taken to help my acne) because my hair is now thinning and i feel there might be a connection. I’d like to try and contol my PCOS as naturally as possible. Any ideas or specific advice about using a paleo diet to help with PCOS? I’ve read testimonials that make me feel really hopeful for a good result.

    • Take a multivitamin, magnesium, omega 3 and ensure your vitamin D levels are good – supplement if needed. Iodine can help also.
      Check with a naturopath or holistic doctor to see if you need adrenal support, or herbs for female hormones.
      Do not eat dairy. Try a strict paleo diet for 30 days, you might be better with the auto-immune version – no nuts and seeds.

  17. Would it be better to do a raw vegan version of the Paleo diet or should I allow myself some legumes/beans/tofu? I’m an ethical vegan so no amount of nutrition info is going to make me start eating flesh foods but I had a bit of trouble following the advice at 30-bad now I’m seeking another path towards health.
    Interestingly, I’m a Kiwi who is half way through my Bachelor of Nursing and was just so impressed with the dietician at the hospital that I’m really considering looking in to it as a career and then I found your website. Cool.
    I know I sound staunch in my vegan beliefs but I’d value any advice you have to give re my first question. I don’t have any major ailments but I’m constantly seeking ways to improve my health.

    • The best way to eat any beans is fermented. Fermenting tends to reduce anti-nutrients. Legumes can also be eaten soaked and really well cooked. Many beans tend to have a lot more carbohydrates than protein, and the protein has lower biovailablity than animal products. It might be worth looking at supplementing with a protein powder – like rice or pea or hemp protein.

      I’m more of a fan of cooked vegetables as the nutrients can be more bioavailable – I have some of both. Also some veggies like brassicas have goitrogens, which reduce if cooked.

      Did you see this post http://paleozonenutrition.com/2011/03/26/why-i-dont-recommend-a-low-fat-raw-vegan-diet/- it has links to vegan dieticians at the end:

      Vegan resources and further information:

      Jack Norris, vegan Registered Dietitian http://jacknorrisrd.com/

      Vegan Health website http://veganhealth.org/

      Ginny Kisch Messina, vegan Registered Dietitian http://www.theveganrd.com/

      This NZ woman – Renata – does a paleo type raw vegan diet, but found her health was better with some cooked food and she also added in raw cottage cheese and free range raw egg yolks. Not vegan I know but she found health wise this made a difference and she is very selective about the source of eggs and milk. http://www.fromgreytogreen.co.nz/index.html She is still mostly raw though.

      Denise Minger did a useful post http://rawfoodsos.com/for-vegans/ lots of tips for staying well as a vegan on a paleo type diet.

  18. Great page, really like it.
    There is another paleo level needed:

    0. Raw Paleo
    Eating only the kinds of foods our evolutionary ancestors could have eaten – from when omnivorous animals began 500 million years ago until the widespread use of fire relatively recently at 200 thousand years ago.

    I tried a raw food diet, which is a subset of paleo, and while it was great for my energy I got to skinny, wasn’t satisfied, and had bad teeth from too much fruit. I then overate grains and icecream which gave me blood sugar yoyos. Finally I released that the raw foodists I was listening too were vegan idealists.

    Now I have discovered Raw Paleo I am very happy. Raw fat is the best thing in the world, so many creatures love it, and it is easy to store and use as energy without blood sugar drama. I am eating a raw lamb chop – they are the best because they have lots of fat and a tasty bit of marrow : )

  19. Julianne, I realise I might be shooting myself in the foot here (as I sell the stuff), but I’ve just been through a lengthy process of elimination with a very sensitive customer (as in tummy sensitive) that was reacting to the fish oil. After a lot of investigation, I’ve discovered that the vitamin e in fish oil (all fish oil imported into NZ has it added at the supplier end – therefore this affects both bottled oil and capsules) comes from soy (non GMO). There is only 1mg per capsule, but for some, it might be a problem. I should mention that my customer was in the habit of taking over 30g a day.

    • 30g a day! That seems like a crazy amount. I’ve seen several people get what I assume is pufa saturation in cell membranes and then pufa oxidation usually after about 3 months of super high dose omega 3. I got it myself. The fish oil despite high doses became ineffective, and I didn’t feel great any more. Only by adding a decent dose of vit E and Vit C did it sort out.

  20. ‘Leanish’ unprocessed meat: grass-fed, wild and free range animals, beef, chicken, poultry, lamb, pork, venison, rabbit etc, including organ meats (ideally organic)
    Bacon: use Freedom Farms Nitrite free bacon (or any free farmed bacon that has no chemicals)

    We have been trying to eat a mainly paleo diet in our household for the past month or so now. As a reformed vegetarian I try to source meat I know to be free range and good quality however when eating such a lot of meat it is getting quite expensive! What is a reasonable portion size and where (in Auckland) is the best place to buy the type of meat you describe above?

    The other question I have is that I am breastfeeding and am struggling to get full even with starchy carbohydrates. Any suggestions?

    • Eat plenty of starchy carbs -root vegetables and some fruit. Also increase good fats, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil etc. Some people find a little rice can help feel satisfied especially if energy needs are high. Also make sur you eat plenty of seafood, for the omega 3. I just buy meat from the supermarket, or the local butcher. I dont worry too much about organic, as all our meat is grass fed and free range. I don’t get anything other than free range bacon (freedom farms and others) as I don’t think pigs are treated well otherwise, same for chicken and eggs. I also buy from our local Grey Lynn or Westmere butcher.

      Eat about a plan size of meat at a meal – 100 – 150 grams for a female – it doesn’t have to be a large portion.

  21. I am currently deployed to Afghanistan and I have been on the Paleo diet now for about 4 months. I have cut out all breads, all dairy, rice and pastas. I eat a healthy amount of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. I do weights/cardio daily and take two days off each week. I cut out processed foods and don’t drink anything from a can. I started out at around 230 in July and now I’m down to about 195. I feel pretty good and rarely do I have that “crashed” feeling any more. I try to look at food differently now also, I look at it as fuel. Not so much as something to indulge in, but something that my body needs to be healthy. I strongly recommend paleo to anyone that wants to make a change and get healthy for once and for all!

      • I do my best with what they feed us. I stick with meat, fish, chicken and I usually eat a healthy portion of veggies, broccoli, califlower, carrots…and I eat just enough fruit, strawberries, pineapple, apples. It was tough at first but my body settled down and I started feeling better. I’ve always been pretty fit, but I wanted to take it to another level. I wanted to see how my body would react to no dairy, no breads, no enriched flour, no high fructose corn syrup, no more empty calories. I’m sure of it now, our bodies aren’t designed for all that. Now when I go to lunch or dinner I don’t even desire the “unhealthy” foods. My body is set now to go straight to the healthy foods.

  22. I find it suspect that you include coffee and tea as a “approved” drink. Why? That’s not Paleo and can’t be justified to be on your list. In addition caffeine has an adverse effect on people’s health.

    The truth of the matter is that most people are addicted to caffeine via their coffee and thus coffee, not dairy, is the sacred cow most Paleos won’t kill.

    • We are not trying to recreate a replica caveman diet. We use our knowledge of evolutionary biology, and current science to design a diet(and lifestyle) that best suits our hunter gatherer genome. Coffee – from a roasted ground seed – is fine for most. For those with auto-immune conditions, adrenal issues or sleep problems, a trial wihout coffee (and cocoa) is what I recommend.
      Can you post links to scientific studies that show caffeine is a health issue please.