Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
April 15, 2015
First, you must realize that our primal ancestors did not eat the same things. How could they? They lived all over the world in all types of climates with various animals and plants making up their unique environments. Some ate large quantities of protein, some ate large quantities of fats; some ate large quantities of plants. Even today, primal societies around the world enjoy varied diets and exhibit exceptional health. So, how could a Paleo Diet be the same thing for everyone? Impossible.
Second, one thing is certain – a Paleo-type diet did not include processed foods, which are ubiquitous in our modern diets. If you exclude these processed “foods”, then practically everything else could be fair game to eat if you could tolerate them and if they were prepared properly.
A Paleo-type Diet always excludes:
- Processed grains (including all breads, pasta, cereals, crackers, pizza, cookies, muffins, popcorn, rice cakes, etc.)
- Processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, and their aliases (including sodas, candy, anything made with high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, dextrose, beet sugar, fruit sugar, etc.)
- Commercially over-processed vegetable and seed oils (these include corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, and most oils that are liquid at room temperature); however, avocado oil and olive oil are healthy oils.
- Fats that are hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated as well as commercially processed trans fats and margarine
- Processed and package foods containing preservatives, emulsifiers, food coloring, artificial ingredients, other chemical products, GMO products, grain products, unhealthy fats, and added sugars of any type)
- Commercially pasteurized and homogenized milk products
So, what can you eat?
- All animals that eat their natural foods and are pastured or wild caught including their organ meats and their wonderful saturated fats
- All vegetables either raw or cooked, ideally organic
- All fruits, ideally organic
- All nuts and seeds, ideally organic and raw that have been soaked overnight in salty water and dried the next day to remove chemicals that bind to healthy nutrients in the food you eat
How to proportion an ideal plate of food
Think about everything you eat and drink at every meal or snack, and visualize this food on a plate – no matter what size or shape of the plate. Include solid foods along with what you may be drinking as part of the total food you are consuming. (For example, a green smoothie is part of a salmon dinner that could include a salad and fresh strawberries.) Here is how all of this food should be proportioned:
- At least half of the plate should consist of non-starchy vegetables with healthy fats
- One-quarter or less of the plate should consist of some type of animal protein with healthy fats
- One-quarter or less of the plate should consist of nuts or seeds or fruit or a starchy vegetable with healthy fats
Where to purchase Paleo-friendly foods
- Most can be purchased in any grocery store. You just need to look, read labels, and be discerning.
- Local is better than shipped from several hundreds or thousands of miles away.
- Check out local farmers’ markets for fresh produce and animal products.
- Go online and enter your ZIP Code to find a community supported agriculture (CSA) market near you.
- Find local sources for raw dairy by entering your ZIP Code.
- Another source to find local, sustainable, organic foods.