(a) that I live in a city where exotic fruits + vegetables aren't sold but all the common North American fruits + vegetables are plentiful (I can get raspberries in my corner store but not, say, Quinoa), (b) that I want to eat more fruits and vegetables daily, (c) that I try to eat as Paleo as I can, and (d) that budget limitations make me limit my consumption to a FEW (small selection of) fruits and veggies daily (ie, I can't buy 100 different berries every day;)
Which (common) fruits and vegetables would you recommend I buy and eat daily?
I would make this as simple as possible. Simply eat whatever fruits and veggies are in season at the moment. A quick google search will list seasonal fruits and veggies. That should yield fairly good results.
Remember that our paleolithic ancestors only had access to fruits in the summer and autumn. It is surmised they fattened up with fruits and vegs before going into winter.
Our supermarkets provide year round fruits and vegetables which is not exactly paleo. See Louisa's post in Apples=Candy in a Bag...not eating apples until mid to late summer and autumn.
About the only fruits I eat are raspberries, blueberries, strawberries. And the veggies are anything green along with some of the squashes....always eaten with copious amounts of butter.
A body can operate without any fruits or vegetables whatsoever. Athletes like to carb load to jam energy into the muscles, but they are not essential to life.
Personally, I focus on the kinds of vegetables that can help me get the vitamins I need. Spinach tastes great cooked in ghee, coconut oil, and bacon grease. All three of those are great on a baked potato as well. Potatoes are very cheap.
Onions are good with liver, and cauliflower is a good substitute for mashed potatoes if you want to keep the carbs down, but you'll pay about the same for a big head of cauliflower as you would for a bag of potatoes. Asparagus, in season, can be pretty cheap and is definitely my favorite vegetable.
I would echo what Dexter says about fruit. A lot of fruit isn't really "paleo", in that the plants used to produce this fruit have been significantly modified to produce fruit as sweet as possible. Berries don't have a lot of fructose, but are expensive as well.
To echo Dexter again, we don't really need fruits and vegetables, so making them a "focus" of diet might be a fundamental mistake.
Buy local and eat with the seasons. Stick with berries, non-starchy veggies and tubers (but tubers only if you're insulin sensitive).
I recommend that you DON'T pick something and eat it daily into perpetuity. Your body was designed for variety.
leafy greens seem to give the most nutritional bang for the $. especially those that you can cook with at bit of bacon fat or coconut oil. I eat a ton of kale, spinach and collards. frozen broccoli is also a good value.
I live in a place with not a ton of selection either, so I tend to just buy whatever is cheap/looks fresh that day. I got from the library an old copy of "Joy of Cooking," and if I buy a new vegetable or want to try something new with one I use frequently, I look it up in there.
Since it was published a long time ago, the recipes don't shy away from fat. And its easy to make paleo substitutions, like lard for olive oil.
I also plan on using the book to help in experimenting with different, cheaper cuts of meat. But haven't done that yet.
A good rule of thumb I use for fruit is if you can't eat the skin, skip it!
An apple for example has 99% of the phytonutrients, and 90% of the fibre in the skin. So I get free apples at work and just eat the skin and a little bit of flesh, and then throw the rest!
Most of the goodness in a fruit is in the skin. In fact I think that is probably why berries and grapes are considered the healthiest fruits, not because they are superior to other fruits nutritionally, they just have the highest skin to volume ratio!
Living in Europe means you turn up late to questions when all the great answers have already been written ;(
When I first started paleo I cross-referenced the G.I. values of fruit and veggies and choose the ones that had the lowest G.I. value. But that was when I still ate quite a lot of fruit and veg. Since then I have upped my fat and meat intake and now I am more settled into it, I shop at a local market stall which only sells stuff that has been dug out of the ground down the road and grow my own; I never eat bananas, pineapples or watermelons for instance, in fact I hardly eat any fruit at all. In winter I eat chard and cabbage, that's about it!
It seems you have a different scenario though.....
I would get a gardening calendar for your area or climate and see which vegetables and fruit are being harvested around what time of year and go with that. No apples until late summer, remember!!!! If your origins are for instance Asian or African and you live in the U.S. you still may need to eat the local fruit and vegetables so that your body can cope with the local climate. i.e. eating turnips in winter helps us store fat on our bodies which in turn, helps us keep warm because turnips are found in colder climates.....
It's all nature's gift to us; exquisitely balanced.
eat seasonal fruits and limit them. Try to eat the seasonal fruits from your area as Calf, Fla and chile flood the markets yr round. Vegetbles are FAR superior to fruits which are just sugar from a branch. Bell peppers ( another part of my survival kit) is a wonderful veggie. Try Kale and other green leafy vegetables- stay away from root vegs, although I have added (sometimes) white skinned sweet potatoes.
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