Paleo Basics


The Basics

Eat meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, little starch, some fruit, and no sugar. Stay away from heavily processed foods.


Normalize Insulin Levels.

Why Do I Care?

Insulin and its Role:
Eating bad food  raises blood sugar  raises the level of the hormone insulin
(Fat = no raise in insulin; Protein = very little; Carbs = INSANE (varies by glycemic load, not index))

When there is too many carbs or bad carbs  blood sugar spikes  insulin level spikes.  Consistent insulin spiking causes your insulin sensitivity to decrease, meaning you cannot control it.

Insulin 101:

  • Controls the storage of fat
  • Directs the flow of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbs to tissues
  • Regulates cholesterol
  • It is a growth hormone
  • Involved in appetite control and more…

What is Hyperinsulinemia?

Through heredity and eating too many carbs, your body becomes insulin resistant. Your pancreas cannot tell or control how much insulin is being secreted. This consistent and high level of insulin in the body leads to hyperinsulinemia. This condition can be linked to almost all diseases: heart disease – cancer – stroke – diabetes – obesity – hypertension – myopia – PCOS – gout – acne – excess fluid retention- immune disorders – diabetes – arthritis – etc

Back to Basics, in Detail

  • At each meal: Any beef (ground beef, steak), pork (chops, ham), lamb, duck, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, seafood (clams, scallops, etc). Fresh or frozen.
  • All you want Veggies: Any fresh or frozen veggies (except potato, corn, and beans)
  • Add Nuts/Seeds: Any nuts/seeds (except peanuts), raw/ lightly roasted and unsalted; or any nut butters
  • Don’t like nuts/seeds, add some other Healthy Fats: HAAS avocados, olive/almond/coconut oil, or flaxseed/grape seed oil
  • Some Fruit in moderation: Any whole fresh fruit (no juice), (1-2 servings)

Why All the Meat?

  • It’s near impossible to overeat it and you can’t gain weight on lean meat alone
  • Loaded w/ BCAAs + glutamine >>> faster recovery >>> drop in cortisol (stress hormone)
  • Loaded w/ carnitine which causes fat to be used as energy
  • Raises metabolism which burns more calories
  • Satisfies the appetite
  • Improves insulin sensitivity

Why All the Veggies?

  • Loaded w/ vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc
  • Fills you up
  • Doesn’t spike your insulin
  • Balances the acid-base (more alkaline as opposed to acidic)
  • Hands down the best source of substantial energy carbohydrates

Why Nuts/Seeds, Olive Oil, or Avocado

  • Fat ratios of omega 3/6/9 get normalized
  • Get more 3 w/ fish oil and more 9 w/ olive oil and nuts
  • Anti-inflammatory (Inflammation causes: heart attacks, cancer, and Alzheimer’s to name a few)
  • Essential to human health
  • Promotes healthy blood flow

Why No Dairy?

  • Spikes insulin levels
  • Nutrient deficient (cows are fed grain) and loaded w/ antibiotics and growth hormones
  • Linked to increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer

Why Only Some Fruit?

Sadly, fruit raises insulin levels and needs to be moderated IF you are:
1) trying to lose weight


2) are diabetic or have another metabolic derangement.
Fruits are still very good for you, naturally sweet, and loaded with nutrients

Off Limits

  • No Sugar or artificial sugar – (Equal, Splenda, Stevia, agave nectar, pure cane, corn syrup, fructose, molasses, honey, maltodextrin, etc)
  • No Junk Food – (cakes, desserts, cookies, candy, chocolate, pastries, chips, crackers,ice cream, snack foods, etc)
  • No Grains – (wheat products, corn products, rice, pasta, bread, oatmeal, cereals, etc)
  • No Legumes/beans – (peanuts, lima beans, kidney beans, black beans etc)
  • No Dairy – (milk, ½ + ½, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, etc)
  • No Alcohol – (includes wine, beer and hard liquor)

Why No Sugar Substitutes?

  • Sugar and all substitutes may spike insulin levels
  • Prohibits many people from losing weight

Why No Grains?

  • Not healthy, no nutrients, not suitable for our digestive system – (causes weight gain and bloating)
  • Contain anti-nutrients (phytates- more on that soon)
  • Contain lectin (grain protein causes gut irritation) > celiac: gluten intolerance > destruction of villi in intestines > a vast array of digestive/gastrointestinal problems: constipation – heart burn – colon disease – IBS – varicose veins – indigestion – colitis – gall stones – hemorroids – appendicitis – hiatal hernia – duodenal ulcer
  • Gluten (wheat, oats) disrupts insulin signalling (1 in 33 people have celiac disease)
  • Lead to carb addiction (bread anyone?)
  • Kitava study: No cancer, diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Intro to grains/dairy/legumes = disease started
  • Inuits:  85% fat, 15% protein, no carbs = no disease

Why No Legumes/Beans?

  • Contain phytates > binds w/ bone minerals > robs you of it
  • Contain lectin: originally evolved to fight off insect predators > binds w/ tissues in our body > increase intestinal permeability > allows partially digested food and gut bacteria to pass into the bloodstream > also impairs the immune system > leads to many autoimmune diseases in genetically susceptible people

Thirst Quenchers

  • Water
  • Coffee unsweetened
  • Tea unsweetened

Flavor It Up

  • Tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salsa
  • Fresh onion and/or garlic
  • Fresh dill, basil, or lemongrass
  • Dried dill, basil, oregano, cumin, ginger, adobo, curry, mustard
  • Black pepper, red pepper, chili pepper, chili powder, Montreal Seasoning
  • Fresh lemon or limes; Mojo
  • Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar or Farmer Boy Greek Dressing

Conventional Food vs. Organic Food

From Wikipedia: “Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards, meaning they are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives.”

Organic is not required unless you have a serious illness and must reduce the toxins/allergens on/in your food. It does taste better and is better for you. If you can afford organic, then do it. Keep in mind, just because it is organic doesn’t mean it’s good for you! An organic donut is still a donut and is NO good for you.

Conventional Meat vs. Organic Meat vs. Grass-Fed/Free-Range/Wild Meat

Conventional meat is raised with the routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones. They are fed a diet of grains and are caged/farmed.  Organic meat is raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones,but is still fed an organic diet of grains and is also caged/farmed. Grass-Fed/Free-Range/Wild means exactly what it says. No antibiotics or growth hormones. They eat what they were meant to eat (cows-grass, fish-other fish or sea life, chicken-bugs) and they are not caged.

Again, these are personal choices. If you can afford GF/FR/W, then do it. The quality of our food is largely determined by the quality of the food that animal ate or with fruits+veggies, the quality of the growing conditions.

Fish Oil

Get 2-6 grams per day.
1)  But only if you are interested in: better brain development – better emotional control/mood – hormone synthesis     regulation of pain and inflammation – better immune function – proper circulation     proper kidney function – proper nerve transmission – more energy production better looking skin, hair and nails – better athletic performance or
2)  if you are concerned about the following diseases: arthritis – asthma – ADD – heart attack – stroke – cancer – depression hair loss –  hypertension – lupus – memory problems – schizophrenia diabetes – bronchitis – emphysema – gastrointestinal disorders obesity – fatigue – fibromyalgia – autoimmune diseases

More Good News

Do this plan strictly for 30 days and you:

  • Will normalize your insulin levels
  • Will improve your digestive health
  • Will lose fat
  • Will feel better
  • Will look better
  • May be allowed to add some of the Off Limits food, in moderation

Shopping Time!

Below is a concise post from FuelAsRx to help give you an idea of your ideal shopping list.  Click here to see the original post..

Grocery shopping – some people love it, others hate it.  No matter where you fall on the spectrum the fact is, you’ve got to do it if you want to eat.  Now throw following a Paleo Diet into the mix and things have gotten even more complicated, and some would tell you, more expensive.  But it really isn’t as difficult or expensive as one might think!  Use this guide and tips to help plan your next trip.

Produce Department

  • Focus on the crops that are in season in order to get the best prices and nutrient content.
  • Choose organic when/if possible and if your bank account allows.
  • Stock up on what’s on sale – many vegetables can be frozen for later use!
  • Purchase spinach, salad blends, pre-cut vegetables, etc. if convenience and minimal prep time are important.
  • Fill your cart with color!

Vegetables- Get Lots!! Great choices include: spinach, greens, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, sweet potatoes (for post workout meals), mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, avocado… (Avoid the nightshades if you have autoimmune issues.)

Fruit- Don’t go crazy here!  Fit fruit into your diet primarily in the post workout period.  Great choices include: Berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, peaches, grapefruit, oranges, plums, apples, bananas.

The Aisles

Many times this is where people get in trouble!  So many pretty packages with pictures of cookies, crackers, snacks, etc.  AVOID aisles of temptation!!

  • Pick up a selection of salt-free spices.  My favorites include garlic powder, oregano, basil, cumin, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, and for everything else an all-purpose spice like Mrs. Dash is great!
  • Next stop – oils.  Coconut oil and olive oil are must haves.  Avocado and walnut oils are also very good on salads.
  • Coconut milk (the kind in a can with no sugar added), is great for making curries, in post workout smoothies, and as an alternative to creamer if you’re a coffee drinker.  Get some!
  • Nuts and nut butters are also good to have around for quick snacks and in a pinch.  Walnuts and macadamia nuts are the best choices and walnut butter is EXCELLENT!  When choosing nut butters make sure there are no added ingredients – pure nuts is what to look for.  If there is the option to ‘grind your own’ take it!  Also, purchase unsalted nuts if possible.

Meat Department

Go for grass-fed meat, wild caught fish and free range poultry if it’s available and within your budget.  If choosing farm raised meats, opt for leaner cuts, if grass fed the fat is good!

Meat – Beef, bison, venison, wild game, pork – they’re all good!  Sirloin, tenderloin, flank, and strip steaks are the leanest choices.

Poultry – When choosing poultry the breast and thigh portions will yield the most meat and from a food to $$ ratio are the best bets!  There are also many ‘natural’ sausage options available in large supermarkets – chicken apple sausage is wonderful!!

Fish & Seafood – Salmon, tuna and other fatty fish are the best choices due to their high Omega-3 fatty acid content.  For variety cod, perch, tilapia, mahi, scallops, shrimp, etc. are good choices too.

Frozen Foods Department

  • Fresh produce is not always the best choice depending on the season and your budget.  The frozen food aisle is another great option for fruits and vegetables.  It is always a good idea to have a few bags of broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, etc. in the freezer for a ‘quick’ fix meal!
  • Make sure to choose plain frozen vegetables without sauces or flavorings added – you can season them at home!
  • Choose unsweetened frozen berries, peaches, cherries and other fruits.
  • Pick up a couple large bags of plain chicken breasts, salmon, and/or other meats.  If you are on a budget buying bulk bags of meat is cheaper than purchasing from the meat counter.

Dairy Department

Don’t spend too much time here!!  Look for the eggs.  Omega-3 fortified eggs from free-range chickens are the optimal choice!  Get some and move on!!

Miscellaneous Items

  • Some other items to consider depending on your goals, level of strictness and situation may include; unsweetened dried fruit, balsamic vinegar, green tea, and jerky.
  • If you are an athlete or looking for some quick post or during workout carbs grab some coconut water and Larabars for quick convenient fuel.

This list by no means covers all the possibilities but it’s a good start.  Now grab a cart and start shopping!