Just because you are choosing to switch to a paleo lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up a love for food. Food translates to so much more than eating for survival; food is both comfort and joy. You don’t have to give up any of the happiness you find in food to go paleo. To go paleo and keep the comfort, you just need to learn how to Paleoize all of your favorite foods!
Potatoes are a definite no on a paleo diet, but sweet potatoes are still in! Nearly any recipe that calls for potatoes can easily be replaced with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be just as comforting as a mash or even in a stew or hash. They also lend themselves well to naturally sweetening bread and other baked goods.
Eating paleo is all about the protein; this includes fish. The trick is that you need to eat wild caught fish . You also need to cook it properly! Fish can be one of the healthiest proteins you consume, as long as you can resist the urge to fry it or soak it in oil and butter. Instead, consider grilling it or simply roasting it with some fresh veggies.
Bacon and Lunch Meat
Deciding whether or not bacon and other sliced meats are paleo, is a bit of a debate. Depending on who you ask, some believe that it is still meat and if you can find it without a ton of additives and processing, go for it. While others feel that there is no way our ancestors would have been consuming processed and cured meats. That being said, the paleo lifestyle is ever evolving. With new times, comes new theory and most people agree that if you can find unprocessed or minimally processed bacon or lunch meats then go for it! You also have the option of cooking your own meats at home and slicing them for sandwiches and such, leaving no question as to whether or not they will be paleo. As for the bacon, try and find locally sourced bacon with minimal to no processing other than the curing process.
With rice being found or served along-side the majority of dishes that families consume, it is rather hard to cut it out completely. It has become our filler so to speak. An easy way to replace rice is by making your own cauliflower rice! It is pretty basic and simple to make. You will need cauliflower and a ricer; that’s it. A vast array of recipes can be found to implement every flavor you are craving, from fried rice to risotto.
While nuts are an essential part of the paleo diet, peanuts aren’t actually nuts. They are legumes, which are strongly not paleo. However, replacing peanut butter in your diet is extremely simple. Both almond butter and cashew butter are great healthy paleo options. They can both can easily be substituted in place of peanut butter in any recipe and you can make them at home in just a few quick steps.
Next to meet and vegetables, eggs are an essential part of the paleo diet. The key to eating eggs on the paleo diet is simple, you need to purchase free range eggs. Or if you are up to it raising your own free-range chickens.
While purchasing meat may seem as simple as a quick trip to the grocery store. But the truth of the matter is, unless you are purchasing grass-fed beef, it has most likely been subject to growth hormones, antibiotics, and haven’t been grass fed. Finding grass fed beef shouldn’t be as hard as you would think, but it will take some work. You should also consider that it may look different, as in it won’t be pumped full of red die to make it appear more “appealing”, like in the grocery store.
Flour is surprisingly one of the easiest foods to replace on the paleo diet! Between coconut flour, almond flour (almond meal), arrowroot powder, and tapioca powder, you can replace flour in just about any recipe you like!
Mayo gets a bad rep and many people stay away from it all together. But the truth about mayo is, you can easily make your own. Paleo mayo is simple and takes only a few minutes to prepare. It can be made with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and avocado oil.
If you plan on going paleo and keeping it kid-friendly, you may have considered letting the ketchup slide. But the truth is, you can easily make homemade paleo ketchup free of preservatives, sugar and that pesky high fructose corn syrup.
You may be very well accustomed to buying pre-made granola, but it couldn’t be easier to make! Even while avoiding grains and cereals, you can still make homemade granola. You can even use it as the perfect cereal craving substitute with a little dash of almond milk.
Believe it or not, replacing spaghetti has become a bit of a trend. People have been replacing pasta with spaghetti squash for quite some time now. It’s simple to prepare, actually just as simple as boiling a box of noodles. You can also purchase a special cutter for other vegetables if you need to change it up a bit. Both zucchini and cucumber have frequently been used to fill in those spaghetti cravings.
While breadcrumbs are often used for breading items to fry, a paleo no, they are also used as a binding agent and to add texture. If you are looking to replace breadcrumbs in a dish, such as breading meat, coconut flour works well. If you are using the breadcrumb as a binder in meatloaf or meatballs, try flax meal in place of the traditional breadcrumb.
Cow’s milk is another easily replaced item in your fridge. Almond and cashew milk are both delicious, paleo, and in many cases better for you. They also don’t require you to have a cow to produce yourself. You simply need nuts and a food processor! No store bought milk with additives needed!
There is a good chance you don’t just use soy sauce for Asian inspired dishes; many of us use it in nearly any sauce or marinade. It has a delicious flavor for everything. But, you don’t have to give that up! Coconut aminos have a similar flavor to soy sauce and when used in cooking, gives off nearly the same potent flavor as soy sauce.
There are many options available to replace refined sugar. The best option, when possible, is to go for the natural sweetener. Such as fruits or sweet potatoes. When needed though, local raw honey, stevia, maple syrup and coconut sugar are all good options.
As with replacing spaghetti, if you love rice noodle, purchasing a spiral vegetable cutter will easily allow you to make zucchini noodles. They have a light flavor that lends itself well to adjusted Asian sauces and allows you to achieve a great consistency and flavor profile, similar to that of rice noodles.
While deep frying everything is never recommended, sometimes you just have to have some sort of oil. Coconut oil is healthy and extremely beneficial. Though you would expect it to leave a coconut flavor, it is actually mild in flavor and can be used to cook no matter what the application. Olive oil is another great option, but be sure to check the label and buy organic olive oil.
Butter and Margarine
Both ghee and grass-fed butter is considered to be paleo. However, you always need to check labels and packing. Both are made from dairy and then the milk proteins are removed. But as long as they are used in moderation are both considered to be paleo.
Let’s face it, no one wants to give up chocolate. The good news is, you don’t have to, you just need to sub it for dark chocolate, preferable as close to 100% chocolate as you can find. Recent studies have even shown that dark chocolate can be beneficial to your health.
By this point, we all know that salt is a big no when it comes to eating paleo, but sea salt is the exception. Traditionalist would not agree and rather form the opinion that contemporary paleo has changed the rules. The truth about salt is, it isn’t as bad for you as we have been lead to believe. In fact, studies have shown that you need salt in your diet, to an extent. Sea salt is natural and the dehydration process is as well. Beyond that, there is no processing or additives to most available sea salt.
Fruit and Vegetables
This may seem like the oddball out on the list; after all, eating paleo is about eating primarily fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. But you still need to pay attention to the product you are purchasing. Shopping local organic and GMO-free is very important. Otherwise, you never know what kind of pesticides or growth hormones you are subjecting your body too.
Easily considered the appetizer/snack of our time, hummus has become exceedingly popular. An easy way to recreate your own paleo hummus is by using cauliflower. It is still as simple to make as traditional hummus and you won’t believe how similar it is in flavor!
Recreating pudding without the sugar and starch that are traditionally used is really quite simple. Chia seeds lend themselves well to creating a similar texture. When soaked in a liquid of choice, chia seeds soak up the liquid to create a gelatin-like the texture and since they have nearly no favor, the options are endless!
As mentioned earlier, peanuts are technically not nuts at all. So it is important to switch them out for almonds, cashews, or another nut of choice. Most recipes shouldn’t be affected by this change. You may even find that you prefer the flavor and consistency of other nuts with a bolder flavor profile.