Paleo Food Choices

Paleo food choices are not complicated. It’s easy to target the foods that are definitely great and those that are bad, even ugly. Then, let’s face it – some foods must be eaten in moderation – ugh!

The Good

Tasty nutrient-dense, toxin-free, whole-foods! There are so many good choices out there to eat healthy.

Gray Area

The ‘jury is out’ on certain foods. So, the decision is ‘to eat or not to eat’ but always in moderation and knowing you are in the gray zone.

The Bad!

Some foods are just plain unhealthy! We have some definite opinions about foods that can cause serious health issues.

The Good

These foods are always paleo safe and tasty!

Protein – Animal Products and Seafood

Natural animal and seafood protein is the preferred source of protein in the paleo diet. Protein is best obtained from beef, lamb, poultry, pork, seafood, eggs, organ meat and bone marrow. Always look for grass-fed animal meats and for wild-caught seafood. Don’t forget that contrary to what we’ve been told for years, eggs and high-fat dairy products are GOOD FOR YOU!

Eat These Meats

  • Beef – all cuts, the fatter the better
  • Poultry – Chicken, Duck & Turkey
  • Pork – all cuts
  • Lamb – all cuts
  • Wild Game, like venison
  • All animal meats and EGGS

Eat These Seafoods

  • Wild Caught Fish
  • Sardines, Anchovy & Mackerel
  • Shellfish – Lobster & Shrimp
  • Crab, Clams & Scallops
  • Oysters
  • All seafood protein

Great Vegetables

Fresh leafy green vegetables and salad greens are healthy carbs that can be eaten in almost unlimited quantities. Fermented vegies, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, are a good choice, too. Vegetables are a healthy, nutrient-rich delivery system for carbs, not to mention that vegies contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants that fight free radicals that can damages cells, and that’s a good thing.

Eat These

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Bok choy
  • Collard & Mustard Greens

And These

  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress
  • Spinach
  • Endive
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus

Fats & Oils

Animal and plant fats and oils are central to natural, healthy paleo cooking and eating. Saturated fats and monounsaturated fat are safe at any level, and can be eaten almost without limit. These fats are the primary fuel for cells and are a much healthier energy source than glucose. These fats are the primary fat found in dairy and animal foods,

Great Plant Oils

  • Coconut Oil
  • Coconut Ghee
  • Palm Oil
  • Palm Shortening
  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive Oil

Great Animal Fats

  • Lard
  • Tallow
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Bacon Fat
  • Poultry Fat

The Gray Area

Eat These Foods in Moderation

The Gray Area

There are some foods that are not toxic in moderation. These “gray area” foods are typically fruits and vegetables that have a high glycemic index and tend to ‘spike’ glucose levels and the resultant insulin response. Fruits contain fructose which definitely converts to glucose, and should therefore be eaten in moderation. Other gray areas include alcohol, dairy and legumes. The effect of a food from the gray area varies from person to person. That’s why each person must carefully “experiment” with these foods. Gray area foods include some starchy vegetables like rice and potatoes, as well as certain dairy products and legumes. See our bibliography page to learn more.

Gray Area Foods – Experiment in Moderation

  • White Rice – Organic Basmati from California
  • White & Sweet Potatoes – Preferably boiled
  • Dairy – Buter, ghee, cream, cheese & yogurt
  • Legumes – Snow peas, sugar snap peas, green beans
  • Fruits – Small amount such as 5 strawberries daily

Things to Consider

  • Lactose Intolerance determines individual dairy tolerance
  • Brown rice is NOT nutritious for many reasons
  • Soy is BAD except in fermented form, like tamari
  • Most legumes are BAD – for most people bye bye peanut butter!
  • Moderate on fruits contain fructose which becomes glucose


The Ugly

These foods are totally unhealthy!

Toxic Foods

There are several food groups that are entirely toxic to humans. Unfortunately, these are the same foods that comprise the Standard American Diet (SAD). Don’t be shocked, but these unhealthy food groups are cereal grains, legumes, vegetable seed oils, sugar, alcohol and dairy. Just take the time to read the label on a box of processed food, such as your favorite breakfast cereal. These foods make any medical problems worse and are causing the epidemic of obesity in America. If you want to learn the science behind putting these foods on the NO list, check out our bibliography page and dig in.

Avoid These Foods

  • Avoid Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Most Artificial Sweeteners, except Swerve/Stevia
  • Avoid cereal grains like oats, barley, rye & corn
  • Avoid so-called “whole grain” products
  • Go easy on legumes like peanuts, beans
  • Seed oils like safflower, peanut, soybean, canola, etc.
  • Go easy on dairy, except butter, cream and ghee
  • Go easy on alcohol – get resveratrol through supplements
  • Most processed foods – READ THE LABEL

Does it Really Matter WHAT I Eat? Of Course, it Does!

Remember, there are three basic macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Like everything in life, the key to ideal nutrition is the right balance of these macronutrients. The point is that the preferred source of fuel by human cells is fat, not carbs/glucose.

Daily carb and protein needs are small and eating more than the body can use is very, very bad. In America major health problems are associated with eating too many carbs. The resulting glucose overload leads to hyperglycemia (sugar poisoning) and hyperinsulinemia (insulin poisoning).

By the way, its the 21st Century. We are are way beyond calorie counting that was the old school road to failure. Today, success is found in WHAT we eat and in what proportions!

Take a Tour of the Byrd House Paleo Kitchen

Our Pantry

Our Paleo Pantry Essentials & Shopping Lists

Our Gear

Equipping our kitchen for paleo cooking

Our Core Paleo Recipes

Common paleo cooking components

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