A Paleo Plus Kitchen is all about eating healthy, nutritious foods that will nourish your body. The diet was created out of a combination of the Paleo diet and a Traditional Foods diet, which are both great, but lack certain elements our bodies need, or the diets themselves are too difficult or time consuming to maintain. I’ve combined the two types of diets together for a combination that will eliminate harmful foods, such as commercially-processed whole wheat, sugars and carbohydrates, and add in a few new foods for you to try that will keep your gut healthy, which is the source of a healthy immune system.
First of all, what I want you to understand is that not every diet works for everyone. Every body is different. Each person has different circumstances, illnesses, processes, deficiencies/overloads in their body that will determine what foods will be right for them. Each person will need more or less of each food, vitamins and/or minerals. So don’t stress out if you don’t fully respond to the Paleo Plus Diet right away. We all need to make tweaks here and there because we don’t tolerate a certain food that’s on the “okay to eat” list. You may find that your body doesn’t accept as much meat as your friend, or maybe you can’t tolerate certain dairy foods like someone else. Each person is unique and so should our diets be. What’s important is that you’re fueling your body with foods that are nourishing, whole, and unprocessed. It may take a little tweaking in the beginning but the long-term benefits will be noticeable.
Below you’ll find the history behind many of the foods we eat, along with a list of foods that are appropriate to eat and what’s best to avoid to maintain optimal health.
If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Meat and Poultry: In addition to iron, properly-raised meats provide important B vitamins (B3, B6, B12), selenium, zinc and numerous other essential vitamins. Vitamin B12, which cannot be received from plant-based diets, is an important source of energy, maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails, and helps to regulate our nervous system, depression and stress.
Local, grass-fed or grass-finished, and organic meats, will not only taste better, but will also provide a higher level of vitamins and nutrients. Because the animals feed in open pastures on grass their diets are clean, which provide a clean meal for your body.
The whole animal can be utilized in our kitchens. After consuming the meat, bones can be used to make nourishing broth. Lard, tallow and suet can be used to help cook other foods. Lesser-known cuts, such as the heart, kidneys, and liver are a wealth of nutrients to our bodies.
What to eat: local, grass-fed or grass-finished, and organic meats, such as beef, bison, game, lamb, organ meats (liver, heart, etc). Local, pasture-raised, organic and soy-free poultry and eggs. Local, pastured, certified humane and organic pork.
Don’t forget to make bone broths made from chicken or marrow bones, which will nourish and help to heal and seal your gut from damage.
What to skip: All CAFO-raised meat (concentrated animal feeding operations), which are raised with chemicals, hormones, and in unsanitary conditions. The diets served to animals from CAFOs frequently consist a high concentration of grains and even other animals of their own kind. The digestive system of animals was not meant to process grains or meat in a cannibalistic manner. By insisting on grass-fed animals, you’re eating meats that are fed on the grass nature intended, and will typically taste better.
Wild-caught fish and seafood – Seafood is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and Omega-3, which can reduce inflammation and protect your heart. Studies have shown that Omega-3s also protect your brain from Alzheimer’s, dementia and possibly Parkinson’s Disease.
What to eat: All wild-caught, MSC-certified and sustainable fish, including shellfish. Don’t forget raw varieties, such as shashimi.
What to skip: all farm-raised fish
Fruits and Vegetables – There’s a reason most diets tell you to eat as much fruits and vegetables as you can, and that’s because they are the best source of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to survive. Historically, they were grown organically, without the need for harmful pesticides. Farmers were aware of the needs of their fields and practiced such activities as crop rotation and natural fertilizing/pest control techniques to keep their crops thriving. Unfortunately, with the need for speed and innovation, farmers are now expected to use high doses of chemicals on their food to encourage growth and to keep away pests, which we then consume. Therefore, it’s best to stay with certified organic fruits and vegetables, preferably from local sources that you know have been grown without harmful pesticides.
The importance of eating organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and poultry and wild fish cannot be stressed enough. Whenever possible, eat as organically as possible and as locally as possible – this ensures the quality of your food, which will deliver the highest possible nutrients to your body.
Since fruits still contain their own fructose, you’ll want to eat them in moderation (1-3 servings/day)
What to eat: all organic fruits and vegetables, no restrictions
What to skip: Organics can be more expensive than regular fruits and vegetables. If you want to save a little money, I would recommend that you follow the Dirty Dozen’s list of what to always buy organic and which foods you can get away with buying non-organic. Check back often – they make changes annually.
Nuts, Seeds, Grains and Legumes– These provide heart-healthy omega-3s, folate for brain development, fiber, B vitamins, minerals.
Historically, these foods were not consumed as often as they are today, and if they were, they were properly soaked, sprouted, or soured/fermented. Our ancestors knew how to prepare them so that they would be digested easier and we would get the most out of them nutritionally. Soaking releases anti-nutrients, such as enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. Enzyme inhibitors make our ability to digest them more difficult, and phytic acid renders many nutrients in the foods useless. By soaking our nuts, seed, grains and legumes in water and an acidic medium, we break down the enzyme inhibitors and allow the nutrients to be absorbed when consumed.
For a fantastic tutorial on the best times and acidic mediums to soak your nuts, seeds, grains and beans in, check out Yogitrition.
What to eat:
Nuts- almonds, pecans, walnuts, brazil, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, hazelnuts macadamia nuts
Seeds-flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower
Grains-These should be consumed only if well-tolerated and soaked ahead of time. Best bets would be sourdough breads, soaked and sprouted grains. If you have trouble with gluten grains, try almond flour, coconut flour and arrowroot starch/flour in your baking. Also good are millet, sorghum, buckwheat flours.
Legumes-tempeh, miso, natto, any kind of beans: black-eyed peas, kidney, pinto, garbanzo, lima, northern, etc, properly soaked
What to skip: refined flour and grains, including heavily processed gluten-free flours, such as rice flour, potato starch/flour and tapioca starch/flour. White rice, pasta, whole wheat flour, pastries, breads, anything made with unsoaked, unsprouted or refined flours. Non-soaked or non-roasted nuts and seeds. All soy-based meat and dairy alternatives.
Natural fats and oils – Fat is actually not as bad for you as was once believed – but it depends on the fat you’re consuming. In fact, natural fats won’t make you fat, carbohydrates will. Natural fats, like ghee, grass-fed butter, lard, flax and tallow are a fantastic source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Our ancestors used fats in their diet to feel satisfied longer and yet, they didn’t have the weight problems our society has today.
There are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Unadulterated saturated fats are best for cooking while unsaturated fats are best for salad dressings and adding flavor. Unsaturated fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil and flax oil, have a very low smoke point, which means that it doesn’t take a very high temperature before they become unstable and become rancid. Not only will a rancid oil affect the flavor of your dish, but it will also cause harm in your body trying to process the oil. Ghee, lard, tallow, butter and coconut oil are best used in higher heat cooking situations.
What to eat: ghee, raw butter from grass-fed cows, lard from pasture-raised pigs, avocado oil, unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil
What to skip: any refined oil (corn, canola, sunflower, peanut, soybean, vegetable oils), margarine, butter
Dairy – Our ancestors didn’t have pasteurized and homogenized dairy products. In fact, pasteurization was created in 1856 only to keep milk on the shelves longer without spoilage. Today, we use these processes to counteract our long processing and transportation times before the milk hits our refrigerators. And the milk that hits our shelves has been wiped clean of any beneficial probiotics, vitamins and minerals it once had. Ever notice that they have to add Vitamin D back into milk? In comparison, properly handled raw milk can provide more fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients, and higher levels of CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid) and essential fatty acids than pasteurized versions.
In fact, people who have digestion troubles when drinking pasteurized milk may be able to tolerate raw milk just fine.
Many find that the taste of raw milk is superior to pasteurized milk due to the grass-fed diets of the animals. Don’t be afraid to try milk from animals other than cows. You can frequently find goat’s milk at your local store, and can special order yak, sheep and camel milk.
What to eat: raw whole milk, cream, butter, sour cream, kefir, yogurt and cheeses from grass-fed animals.
What to skip: Dairy substitutes, skim milk, pasteurized milk and creams from conventional dairies. This includes milk products from industrial organic dairies, which still provide nutrient-deficient products.
Fermented foods – I’ve added this to the list for the probiotic benefits offered for our guts. A majority of our immune system functions out of the health of the good bacteria in our gut. When we take antibiotics from our doctors, they not only kill the bad bacteria but also the good. Ever notice that some people are always sick and on antibiotics? That’s because the first round of antibiotics killed all the good bacteria and they weren’t reestablished, therefore the body isn’t able to effectively ward off future viruses. By consuming fermented foods, your body receives the necessary good bacteria in the probiotics to reestablish a protective barrier to help ward off sickness in the future.
What to eat: Kefir and kombucha are fantastic sources of pre- and probiotics to help establish and maintain a healthy digestive system, fermented vegetables such as properly-made sauerkraut, pickles, etc.
Sweeteners – Only in the twentieth century have sweeteners really become popular, and our waistlines have expanded because of it. Our ancestors didn’t have access to sweeteners and if they were used, they were not refined like they are today. In additional, artificial sweeteners have been suspected to cause multiple health issues in society, from messing with your hormones to causing diabetes, weight problems, even cancer.
There are several natural sweeteners that can be used in moderation in any diet. Some have been shown to actually improve your health. For instance, honey has been used for centuries as a natural antibiotic and to help alleviate allergy symptoms. Maple syrup is an immune booster, as well as a cancer fighter due it it’s high level of polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants).
What to eat: maple syrup, unrefined and raw honey, green stevia, molasses, sucanat, honey granules, coconut and palm sugar. These should always be used in moderation, if at all.
What to skip: white and brown sugars, sugar in the raw, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar. Aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners.