Getting started in the Paleo or “Caveman” diet is to know the food types that must be consumed and avoided with the help of the caveman diet food list presented below.
Understanding the Food List
Selecting food ingredients from the caveman diet shopping list is limiting your options to supplies available during the Paleolithic era. Cavemen lived during the Stone Age when tools needed for food preparation and cultivation were still unavailable. If there are tools available, they are limited to crude stone tools used for hunting and gathering.
During this era, cavemen didn’t have the concept of crop cultivation and agriculture. They relied on the food available in their surroundings and lived the life of hunters and gatherers. Therefore, the Paleo food list has food items that are only obtained by hunting and gathering.
Based on this fact, primal dieters must do away with processed, packaged, and preserved food using company-manufactured preservatives. The simplest way of identifying the food to avoid in the Paleo diet is checking if they are available as packaged on-shelf products with longer shelf life.
If so, these food selections are not Paleo. Primal food list include options limited to meat, fishes, nuts, vegetables and fruits.
As you go through recommended Paleo food ingredients, you’ll notice some vegetables that must not be consumed like potatoes. They grow in the ground then harvested like other Paleo-friendly ingredients, but are still excluded in the list.
Vegetables to avoid require advanced agricultural techniques to grow and cultivate. Therefore, people started to cultivate these vegetables during the Neolithic era when cavemen gave up their hunting-gathering lifestyle and settled in one place.
Staying in one place means settlers’ supplies from their surroundings will run out due to gathering. They began to learn the importance of growing their own crops. With the development of sophisticated iron tools, they are able to grow crops that are readily accessible for families or the community.
Start your diet by knowing vital food groups in the caveman diet food list.
Meat, Poultry, Fish and Seafood
Paleolithic era ancestors are meat eaters. They hunt for wild animals as their source of nutrients back in the day. Actual hunting, however, is unnecessary today as meat selections are available in markets and groceries. In choosing meat, look for those obtained from grass-fed cows and sheep. The advantage of choosing meats from grass-fed animals is they are the way cattle and sheep must be raised since the technology of processing feeds was still unavailable. Moreover, these animals are guaranteed organically-grown that provide you with more health benefits.
Poultry animals like chicken, turkey and wild games are also good sources of protein. These animals are merely roaming within their habitat that let hunters to capture them.
Furthermore, they are great sources of lean meat, which means you’ll get the protein you need without worrying about fats affecting your body negatively. Aside from the aforementioned meat sources, eggs are also allowed in Paleo diet as added protein sources.
Fish and seafood are remarkable sources of protein with other health advantages. They have iodine necessary for the body, especially for thyroid glands. Fishes like sardines and salmons have high omega-3 content that benefit cardiovascular health and brain processes.
Pork is an important Paleo diet member because they came from pigs and wild boars, which cavemen considered as their staple food at that time.
The Paleo diet will keep you from taking unhealthy carbohydrates since you’ll get them from fruits, and are always a joy for breakfast. While the men were hunting, women gathered food supplies for their families like fruits to add to served meat or consuming them as snacks.
But even with the go signal, Paleo dieters must take note that taking fruits must be in moderation. Some fruits have high sugar content. Sugar from fruits will be processed in the body and absorbed in the blood, which triggers high blood sugar level. Settle with fruits with lower sugar content. Fruits approved in the Paleo diet are the following:
Vegetables are great sources of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Since they can be gathered, many of them are considered Paleo. However, take note that not every vegetable is Paleo. Some vegetables may be discarded while others must be consumed in moderation like pumpkin and other starchy vegetables.
Starchy food is often low in nutritional content, which means they have minimal contribution to your health. Recommended vegetables in the Paleo diet are:
- Romaine lettuce
- Brussels sprouts
- Green onions
- All kinds of peppers
Nuts and Seeds
Although they are small in size, they contain high amounts of nutrients. Nuts and seeds are also good sources of natural oils used for cooking. They add flavor to prepared meals without posing health problems to people. However, many nuts possess high omea-6 fatty acid content that require dieters to take them in moderation.
Omega-6 is useful for the body, but can be inflammatory when there’s insufficient Omega-3 fatty acid to regulate this component. Therefore, nuts and seeds must be taken in moderation to avoid these negative effects. Paleo-friendly nuts include:
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Cooking in the modern day era includes oil. However, unhealthy oils have negative effects to people’s health like serious cardiac problems in athletes. Fortunately, the Paleo diet approves several natural oils from an array of sources to contribute as energy sources minus harsh effects on the body. Recommended oils are:
- Coconut oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Duck fat
- Olive oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Sesame oil
- Avocado oil
Milk and other dairy products are not allowed in the Paleo diet, but some alternatives let people enjoy their desserts with dairy and drink their supply of milk even while in the diet plan. Common dairy alternatives are coconut milk and nut milk. Nut milk is obtained from Paleo-friendly nuts by processing them at home. Several recipes are available online to help you get you fix of dairy and give desserts a different taste.
Condiments and Seasoning
Cooking is incomplete without seasoning and condiments. The problem is majority of seasonings and condiments are processed or extracted from soy, which is not Paleo. Luckily, some condiments are still Paleo-approved and suitable for salad dressings like:
- Fish products
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Celtic sea salt
- Wheat-free soy sauce
- Low-salt and low-sugar tomato pastes and sauces
- Olive oil mayonnaise
Food in the Gray Areas
The caveman diet food list contains a lot of food options that let dieters enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Other foods must be avoided completely, but some food types can be taken in as long as in moderation. Devoted Paleo dieters may not consume foods in the gray areas, but some want to treat their taste buds from time to time and in moderation. As long as taken in moderation and guaranteed organic, they are safe to take occasionally.
Alcohol is a big no-no in Paleo diet since majority of them come from grains. Dieters, however, can take in alcoholic beverages from approved sources. Nowadays, alcohol from coconut water is available to meet dieters’ alcoholic beverage needs, especially on special occasions. This alcohol can be mixed according to dieters’ preferences and guaranteed to taste great.
Pseudograins are products that don’t come from grain although they have similar texture as grains. Serious Paleo dieters won’t eat pseudograins, but some people still want to eat it, especially if they have been used to eating grains before shifting to primal diet. Since this food ingredient choice is included in the gray area, dieters can choose to eat quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth for their pseudograin needs. They are less harmful than whole grains, but dieters must watch out for their consumption to ensure they will avoid pseudograins’ antinutrients and carbohydrates’ negative effects.
Paleo diet prevents people from incorporating sweeteners to their meals or beverages like refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. They have high carbohydrate content that contribute to fat accumulation. Moreover, fruits will be the main source of sugar through their forms of carbohydrates. Primal diet let dieters include natural sweeteners if they love sweet food and have a hard time transitioning to Paleo. Dieters must take these artificial sweeteners in moderation. Approved natural sweeteners are:
- Dark chocolate
- Maple syrup
- Palm sugar
Fermented Soy Products
Fermented soy products can be taken in moderation to give variety to Paleo-approved meals. Popular products from fermented soy are miso and wheat free soy sauce.
Overall, the caveman diet food list has a comprehensive number of allowed foods and those that can be taken in moderation or those in gray areas. Going Paleo is a great way to bring people back to how food should be prepared and eaten to cut down the harmful effects of preservatives and artificial flavorings on health.