Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Paleo Diet Shopping List

05:25 Posted by Dhaval
It’s almost time to get started with the amazing recipes we have lined up for you, but before we do, let’s go over paleo diet shopping list essentials.


All types of unprocessed meat, poultry, and eggs are good for you. By this we are referring to meat in its natural form, not hot dogs, luncheon meats, or chicken nuggets. Place a priority on improving the quality of your ingredients, and prepare a paleo diet shopping list to buy from farmers markets, butchers, local delicatessens, and independent local grocery stores. We recommend developing a relationship with your local butcher. Ours not only explains how the meat and poultry is sourced, but he also always offers us some great cooking tips and ideas.

Red meat and poultry are the key sources of essential amino acids in paleo diet. They also provide a load of vitamins and such minerals as iron, zinc, and selenium.28 Ideally, your meat should be grass fed and reared outdoors. Grass-fed meats have higher levels of a healthy fat known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is renowned for its fat-burning properties. They also have higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants compared to grain-fed meats. Most importantly, grass-fed meats have a healthier omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.29 Remember, a crucial factor in losing weight and in achieving optimal health is balancing omega-3 and omega-6 fats across our paleo diet.

Of course, most people find supermarkets to be the most convenient option for buying items on their diet shopping list, but before you grab another steak or pack of sausages on your way home, understand that most supermarket meat comes from grain-fed animals administered with hormones and antibiotics. You in turn ingest these objectionable additions that disrupt your own hormones and increase the toxic load in your body. If you are shopping at a supermarket, the best option is to look for and buy organic, free-range brands.

Meat, poultry, and eggs on your paleo diet shopping list are always best purchased from farms where you can ensure the animals were raised without hormones and antibiotics and allowed to routinely spend their days roaming the pasture freely. It’s worth noting that the definition of “free range” that your supermarket and government uses is far looser than you might imagine. Technically, even animals raised in crowded, indoor feeding operations can be labeled as “free range” as long as they are given “the ability to access” the outdoors; there is no requirement to how easy that access should be for the animal, how much exposure time it must have each day, or how large the outdoor space must be. In some instances, it may be a sad patch of gravel. Seeking out higher quality meat may mean a little extra effort initially, but the nutritional difference it makes is substantial. And when you support farms that rear their animals in a natural environment with the paleo diet nature intended, you support animal welfare.


An egg is a true multivitamin in a shell and a great daily investment in your health. Almost all the nutrients are in the yolk (not the white), so contrary to popular belief, the yolk is the part we definitely should be eating. Cholesterol expert Chris Masterjohn explains the nutritional values of egg yolks in his detailed 2005 article, “The Incredible, Edible Egg.”30 We strongly suggest checking it out, but in a nutshell (or should we say eggshell?), the yolk contains 100 percent of our daily requirement for essential fatty acids, carotenoids, and vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also contains 90 percent of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and 89 percent of the pantothenic acid of our daily recommended intake. Hopefully you have stopped worrying about cholesterol by now, but it may also interest you to know that a recent study in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care revealed that an increase in consumption of egg yolks had no impact on the cholesterol levels of 70 percent of the population. So let’s put an end to these egg-white omelets and start enjoying the tastiest part of the egg again. Forget apples for a moment; one study asserts that three eggs a day can help keep the doctor away.


Fish is fantastically healthy and clients often feel much better after increasing the amount of fish they eat. Aim to consume at least three portions of oily fish a week, as these are a rich source of omega-3 fats. When trying to remember which fish are highest in omega-3s, remember S.M.A.S.H.

Salmon Mackerel Anchovies Sardines Herring

Ideally, the fish you buy should be fresh and wild-caught. Problem is, most fish available today is farmed, and consequently often kept in overcrowded conditions rife with contaminants. Farm-raised fish are fed antibiotics and other drugs, and then, when they go to market, they get treated with coloring agents.

Another important consideration when purchasing fish and seafood is sustainability. Unethical fishing practices now threaten the future of many species of fish, so we want to do our part by purchasing from responsible sources. To learn more about this, we recommend chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s excellent guide “Fish to Eat, Fish to Avoid.”

The best option is to find good, independent fishmongers or an online supplier, where you can ask questions about how the fish were caught. If purchasing fish for your paleo diet shopping list from a supermarket, always check labels look for line caught or pole caught fish, and also hand-dived or creel-caught seafood. If you buy farmed fish, check that the fish has a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo to certify that it was sourced from a sustainable fishery.

Bream, sole, cockles, mackerel, red mullet, mussels, crab, pollock, sardines, herring, and anchovies are among the best supermarket choices. If you are struggling to source wild fish or are limited by a budget, then canned fish is another option since it is usually wild caught. Again, choose a responsible brand for all items in your paleo diet shopping list.


As we have learned, not all fats and oils are created equally. Some are exceptionally beneficial in any form they take. Some are great for dressing a salad but not for cooking. Some make great snacks. And others should be limited or completely avoided. So what to put in your grocery cart? Let’s explore!


Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like the vegetable oils that we often cook with, are in fact the worst fats to be used for cooking. When heated they change structure, a process known as oxidation, and this makes them highly inflammatory to the body. On the other hand, cooking with saturated fats (as our grandparents did) is much better as these remain more stable at higher temperatures.
  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Coconut butter (fragrance-free and taste-free)
  • Organic ghee (or clarified butter)
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Lard
  • Beef dripping
  • Goose fat
  • Duck fat


In addition to using fats for cooking or as a dressing, foods high in fat can be included in meals or eaten as a snack, including…
  • Animal fats
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Coconut
  • Olives and olive oil


Monounsaturated fats are great for dressing salads and vegetables. Good examples are…
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Macadamia oil

These beneficial oils are best added to a meal after cooking. Similar to polyunsaturated fats, heating these fats can alter their chemical structure and destroy their antioxidant content. To ensure that these oils are protected from light and heat exposure, always buy them in dark bottles and store in the refrigerator.


In order to improve our ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, we need to limit our intake of omega-6 fats as these are already overly abundant in our diet. Polyunsaturated fats are difficult to avoid entirely, especially if you eat out, so limit their intake whenever possible.

Seed and vegetable oils-that’s corn, sunflower, safflower, soy, and canola Avoid adding these oils to your paleo diet shopping list altogether. Limit foods that contain them as an ingredient
  • Nuts and nut oils (consume in moderation)
  • Grain-fed meat
  • Factory-farmed poultry and eggs
  • Preserved foods (sunflower oil is often used as a preservative, so check labels)
  • Store-bought condiments like mayonnaise and salad dressings 


Avoid all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and oils. These are usually found in…
  • Baked goods like cookies, cakes, pastries, and savory snacks
  • Processed foods like breakfast cereals, chips, and other potato products
  • Low-fat spreads
  • Fast foods and frozen meal products

Hydrogenated fats are chemically processed fats that cause excessive damage to the cells in our bodies. When ingested, they cause an immediate disturbance in healthy cardiovascular function. Long-term consumption is directly associated with obesity, chronic diseases, cancer, and accelerated aging.


If you include dairy in your diet, full-fat organic dairy is the best option. Cream, natural yogurt, and butter offer the most nutritional benefits. Fermented dairy products are excellent for replenishing good bacteria in the gut. They also contain very little lactose as the bacteria consume the lactose during the fermentation process. Kefir (fermented milk) is usually the most widely available. Unpasteurized or raw dairy, although more difficult to obtain, has recently become popular for its health properties. Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk still contains the lactase enzymes so the body can easily break down the lactose. Research suggests that raw milk may protect the body against viruses and bacteria, providing anti-cancer and antimicrobial properties.


  • Organic or untreated raw heavy cream
  • Grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Greek yogurt with live and active cultures
  • Kefir with live and active cultures
  • Raw milk (unpasteurized)


In moderation, nuts can provide a source of minerals and essential fats. Yet we hear the statement above from our clients over and over again. When people switch to eating caveman-style, nuts provide a healthy, convenient snack solution, but they can also be very “moreish,” as in the more you eat, the more you want. Although they contain essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc, eating too many can lead to digestive problems. Most nuts contain high levels of omega-6, which we need to limit.

Nut flours like ground almonds are also used occasionally to make a crispy breadcrumb-like topping for fish or chicken or to provide a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour for cakes and cookies.

Some nuts have a slightly better profile of nutrients. Our top three nuts are:

They are high in monounsaturated fats and contain very few omega-6 fats. They are also delicious dipped in dark chocolate.

Compared to other nuts, chestnuts are unique because they consist of more starch than fat, and so make a fantastic source of natural carbohydrates. We like chestnut flour for baking.

Brazil nuts are high in a mineral known as selenium, which is important for memory and thyroid health. You only need one or two Brazil nuts to secure your daily requirements for selenium, and their high omega-6 content warrants moderation anyway.


Your paleo diet shopping list needs plenty of fresh, minimally processed, high-quality vegetables! Ideally, you should source these fresh and locally from farmers markets rather than from supermarkets. Many supermarket vegetables that would be on you paleo diet shopping list are now imported, traveling long distances from farm to table, so the nutrient content is lower due to premature picking and artificial ripening with ethylene gas. For that reason, even non-organic produce grown locally trumps imported produce. Also avoid buying precut and bagged vegetables that have been chopped and peeled as this exposes them to air that degrades vitamins and minerals. If convenience is important to you, we recommend frozen organic veggies, which are typically picked at the peak of the season and flash frozen to lock in nutrients.

Paleo Diet Shopping List


Although fruit is a source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, liberal consumption of it can result in excessive carb intake and hampered paleo diet weight loss efforts. Remember, our ancestors ate wild fruit, far less sweet than today’s cultivated crops. And because they did not have year-round access to fruits, they only ate them during narrow ripening seasons. Fructose, the carbohydrate source in fruit, causes digestive issues for many people and has been shown to increase appetite. As most of our clients ask us to help them kick their sweet tooths, we find that cutting down on fruit can really help. You can get all the same nutrients from vegetables, without the sugar, so we like to keep fruit on the “occasional” list, mainly using it in our dessert recipes for special occasions.

There are a few exceptions: lemons, limes, avocados, and seasonal berries are all very low in sugar and packed with other antioxidants, so these are good to include on a regular basis.


Fruit juice (even fresh squeezed) is nothing but a large serving of sugar quickly released into the bloodstream. Many fruit juices and smoothies are also pasteurized to increase their shelf life, and this destroys most of the vitamin content, especially vitamin C. Remember, it’s better to consume food as nature intended, that is, whole pieces of fruit with all the digestive enzymes and fiber intact.


Some vegetables contain compounds that many of us find difficult to digest. These are referred to as FODMAPs, or fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols—try saying that one quickly! Each of these is a type of carbohydrate that is not easily absorbed by the bowel. The bacteria in your bowels then ferment these carbohydrates, creating wind and bloating.

If you struggle with abdominal distension and bloating after eating foods containing FODMAPs, you might need to limit or avoid these foods completely. Such discomfort is usually a sign you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria and need to adapt your nutrition even further. Sébastien Noël, author of The Paleo Recipe Book, provides a fantastic guide to resolving this problem in his blog article entitled “You and Your Gut Flora.” Generally, we each have an individual tolerance for FODMAP carbohydrates, so if you are experiencing digestive issues, it is worthwhile to eliminate the foods below for a few weeks and then slowly reintroduce them in small amounts while monitoring your symptoms.


  • Most fruit juice
  • Dried fruits
  • Apples (also apple juice and sauce)
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Dates
  • Grapes
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Watermelon 


  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Leeks
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Shallots

Other FODMAP Foods

  • Honey
  • Foods flavored with fructose or sorbitol
  • Sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, and isomalt (used in sugar-free chewing gum, sweets, and mints)


We all know there’s a higher price tag on organics, so it’s sometimes a good idea to prioritize. Helpfully, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a US-based nonprofit organization, tests the pesticide residue of conventionally grown produce every year and publishes its findings. Below are the current recommendations for 2013. The Dirty Dozen-Plus features items that should be purchased organic due to their high pesticide load. The Clean Fifteen, however, contains the safest non-organic choices, testing for little or no traces of pesticide. Most of the Clean Fifteen fall into this category because they have a tough, inedible exterior that protects the edible portion from pesticide exposure.

The Clean Fifteen

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Sweet potatoes

The Dirty Dozen

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Summer squash
  • Kale/Greens


You should always have herbs and spices stocked up at home. They transform the flavor of food and provide an excellent source of nutritional antioxidants. Many herbs have medicinal properties, providing an anti-inflammatory or antiviral effect in the body and protecting against disease. The cheaper, more sustainable option is to grow your own herbs (or even just replant any potted herbs you buy). If this isn’t viable, opt for dried herbs.

To save some preparation time on days you’re against the clock, you can buy dried garlic granules and ginger powder, but always keep in mind that fresh herbs, spices, garlic, and ginger will always bring the most benefits. Always have the following dried herbs and spices on hand. Also, remember to replace every six months, as over time spices can sustain oxidative damage. Try to purchase organic spices, which have higher micronutrient values by virtue of not being irradiated like most conventional spices.

Chinese five spice

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Mustard powder
  • Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Mustard seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Curry powder
  • Mixed herbs (also Italian blends)
  • Paprika
  • Allspice
  • Chilli powder
  • Parsley
  • Black pepper
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary

Aim to grow or buy these items fresh and frequently:
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Onions
  • Herbs when possible (parsley, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, mint, cilantro, basil)


You’ll notice that we suggest seasoning with unprocessed salt in some of our recipes. The amount you use is very much up to your individual taste. The reasoning here is that when you eliminate processed foods from your diet you will naturally lower your salt intake, reduce systemic inflammation, and lower water and sodium retention. Furthermore, if you regularly perform high-intensity exercise, you may need additional dietary sodium to replenish the sodium lost through perspiration. Adding a little good, high-quality salt to your meals will help maintain your body’s sodium requirements.

The type of salts we recommend are unprocessed and natural salts such as Celtic sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, or vegetable salts like Herbamere (widely available in health food stores). All of these have a slightly higher mineral content. Avoid common table salt as this is highly processed and often contains additives.


Coriander boosts our production of the “good mood” chemical serotonin in the brain.

Cinnamon is one of the highest antioxidant spices and improves insulin sensitivity. By increasing the body’s metabolic efficiency, it lowers levels of sugar in the blood.

Parsley is a powerful diuretic herb. It decreases water retention by supporting detoxification processes in the kidneys.

Cumin is superb for digestion and used in ancient traditions to treat stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and morning sickness.

Turmeric is the anti-inflammatory powerhouse! Research has repeatedly shown that the curcumin ingredient in turmeric is effective in both preventing and decreasing the growth of cancer.

Garlic is your best friend when it comes to fighting colds or flu. It has an antimicrobial effect against bacteria and viruses. To make the most of garlic’s disease-defending properties, it should be crushed or chopped and left to stand for a few minutes before cooking.

Ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. A large chunk steeped in hot water is a great way to soothe inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, throat infections, or joint pains.

Mustard seeds have long been considered more of a medicinal plant than a food. Similar to other brassica vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, and kale), it contains many cancer-fighting compounds and is also considered an aphrodisiac in Chinese medicine.

Rosemary supports healthy brain function by preventing the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain. This helps to boost memory and protect against dementia.

Sage is known as a purifying herb due to its detoxifying effect on the body. It has been used to treat conditions like gingivitis (gum disease) and rheumatoid arthritis.

Foods to add to your paleo diet shopping list



  • Duck
  •  Chicken
  •  Goose


  •  Chicken
  •  Duck
  •  Turkey


  •  Lamb
  •  Beef
  •  Pork
  •  Buffalo
  •  Venison
  •  Pheasant
  •  Grouse
  •  Organ meats (liver and kidney)
  •  Veal
  •  Gluten-free sausages (more than 80% meat)
  •  Unsmoked bacon


  •  Anchovies
  •  Salmon
  •  Sardines
  •  Mackerel
  •  Herring
  •  Shrimp
  •  Sea bass
  •  Scallops
  •  Mussels
  •  Cockles
  •  Crab
  •  Squid
  •  Cod
  •  Pollock
  •  Haddock
  •  Lemon sole
  •  Dover sole
  •  Halibut
  •  Trout
  •  Tuna



  •  Extra virgin olive oil
  •  Extra virgin coconut oil
  •  Avocado oil
  •  Macadamia oil


  •  Ghee
  •  Grass-fed butter (Kerrygold)
  •  Coconut manna


  •  Grass-fed heavy cream
  •  Coconut milk
  •  Coconut flakes
  •  Coconut cream (tin or carton)
  •  Coconut cream (bar)
  •  Desiccated coconut


  •  Almonds
  •  Brazil nuts
  •  Cashews
  •  Chestnuts
  •  Hazelnuts
  •  Macadamias
  •  Pecans
  •  Pistachios
  •  Walnuts



  •  Artichoke
  •  Arugala
  •  Asparagus
  •  Broccoli
  •  Brussels sprouts
  •  Butternut squash
  •  Cabbage
  •  Carrots
  •  Cauliflower
  •  Celery
  •  Celeriac
  •  Cucumber
  •  Eggplant
  •  Kale
  •  Lettuce
  •  Mushrooms
  •  Red onions
  •  White onions
  •  Parsnips
  •  Peppers
  •  Radish
  •  Spinach
  •  Sweet potato
  •  Swiss chard
  •  Watercress
  •  Zucchini


  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Avocados
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Gooseberries