I stumbled across this site a day ago and read around a bit, but I haven't done much else or bought any books (though I plan on picking up Sisson's ASAP). I'm really interested in the Paleo diet and lifestyle, but some things still evade me.
Is there a big 'ole list anywhere of accepted foods and types? I get the general meat, vegetables, seeds nuts and fruit gist, but a specific list would be helpful for me, and to show to others as a quick preliminary reference.
First of all, check out this awesome and very specific list of Evolutionarily Appropriate Paleo Foods that Melissa published. Lots of detail about nutritional content and reasons why something does or doesn't qualify as "paleo". A terrific quick reference!
Here's a list off the top of my head, also:
Meats, poultry, seafood, game of all types. The list here is almost endless. If you can hunt it or buy it raised as close as possible to its natural environment (including its natural diet), so much the better. Examples: Moose, deer, bison, beef, horsemeat, venison, quail, chickens, turkey, wild boar, pork, shrimp, salmon, trout, duck, etc.!
Eggs. Not just chicken eggs, either. Think duck, quail, ostrich! Pastured is best when possible.
Vegetables. Greens (spinach, romaine, arugula, etc.). Tubers (though optional if you're trying to lose weight) like sweet potatoes. Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.). Peppers of all colors and varieties (aka capsicum). Root veggies like carrots and parsnips (also optional for weight-losing folks). Onions and garlic. Note here that some folks avoid nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc.).
Fruits. Keep in mind that higher-carb fruits can derail weight loss efforts. Low carb fruits: Berries, cherries, tart citrus like grapefruit. Higher-carb fruits: Pineapple, mango, melons, figs, apples, bananas. Watch out for dried fruit (even with dried low-carb fruits like berries) - it can sugar-spike almost like candy. Save dried fruits and fruit leathers for occasionally.
Healthy fats. If you are not opposed to dairy per your own paleo approach, grass-fed butter and/or grass-fed ghee is a great fatty complement to meats and veggies. Extra virgin coconut oil is another classic paleo staple because of its shelf stability and high smoke point - great for sauteeing or stir-frying.
Nuts and seeds. Most of these have high omega 6 content relative to omega 3 content, and also phytic acid, so consider soaking. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamias, all good. Some paleo folks avoid cashews because of the certain amount of processing that it takes to render them edible. Also, cashews and peanuts are legumes, so they are generally not consumed because of their phytic acid and other antinutrient profiles.
"Clean As Possible" Dairy - Again, this depends on your approach. Some paleo folks avoid dairy altogether, and some identify as "lacto paleo", meaning paleo plus high-quality dairy. Some advocate pastured raw milk, though this may prove impractical budget-wise or location-wise. Raw cheeses, yoghurts, and other cultured or fermented full fat dairy is best, and organically-produced dairy is preferred. Conventionally-produced (nonorganic) skim chocolate or strawberry milk? You're better off skipping altogether.
Paleo truly is about as simple as that tho:
Robb Wolf made a shopping list for you too: http://robbwolf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/thePaleoSolution_QuickStart.pdf
It's easier to say what not to eat than what to eat.
The bare basics: no grains, no grain oils, avoid sugar, no processed foods.
Fruit and nuts in moderation but don't overdo it. SOme of other stuff is more important to some than to others. NOt everyone eats FULLY paleo all the time and some of the paleo food rules are sorta of a grey area on the edge where some people are fine with them and some aren't. You might want to first try on the top 4 main rules I listed and see how that does yah. You can always fine tune the details as you go along. But basically, you are trying to eat whole natural foods that are found around the edges of the grocery store and avoid the boxed and processed crap that is located in the center isles. (I do buy my coconut oil and flakes from the center isles though..)
It's a way of eating to be better, stronger, faster, and healthier...not joining a cult. so don't get too tied up in, "that's not truly paleo"... I offer this as one who's been doing it since before the books were written and have improved my health dramatically for it. Animal proteins - meat, any meat, cooked how you like except not rolled in flour or cornmeal and deep fried. Green veggies - a nice list was presented in the first reply, once again cooked how you like. I even use fatback or bacon to flavor my green beans. Nuts and seeds - very nutrient dense, however because of high caloric content, it's easy to go overboard with calories here. A little fruit. I stick with berries over higher carb fruits personally. If your body, your immune system, your own genetic history can handle dairy, use it in limited amounts... otherwise avoid it.
Basically, you eat in a way to control your insulin response and you will be healthier. Eva's post is one of the better descriptions that I've seen so far.
"Lots of detail about nutritional content and reasons why something does or doesn't qualify as "paleo". A terrific quick reference!"
Be careful here. Do you want to join the "strict paleo group" (which is becoming more and more like a religion these days) or do you want ultimate health and nutrition? The reality of eating paleo is to find the foods that work for YOU. You can't think of eating strict paleo as an end to all ends.
You understand the general foods? Yes? Stick with the general foods and constantly experiment until you find out how your body handles that particular food. It takes time (about 30 days with each experiment) and experimentation to find the foods your body can live on with no problems.
When someone or a group of people tell someone else what to do or eat........this is not paleo (more like religion). Our ancestors were in a constant state of experimentation with food. This fact cannot be disputed.
I get asked for this over and over so I blogged it, so here's a pretty complete list of foods. It's like any typical, useful food matrix and sorted, in this case by
Core Foods (every meal) Everyday/Often foods Sometimes/occasional foods
Also a few reasons for this including a guide on how to use it. It's pretty good but I would say that....
Avoid all processed foods.
Avoid foods over roughly 3% omega 6 pufa.
Avoid Trans Fats
Avoid over 15g/Fructose.a day
Lean towards Fresh Whole foods preferably Organic, non-GMO and meat that's fed what it evolved to eat
Since you are already planning to pick up Sisson's book - Be assured that it is a fine introduction to the primal/paleo lifestyle and is well recommended. His website also offers a great deal of detailed information.