Paleo Diet FAQ: Answers to 267 Paleo Questions

By Jess

There is a lot of confusing and contradicting information out there when it comes to the Paleo diet. With dozens of self-proclaimed experts, and hundreds of interpretations of what it means to eat Paleo, it’s only natural that this would happen. Here are clear answers to some of the most pressing Paleo questions so you can sort it out and get started.

Paleo Diet FAQ- answers to 267 important Paleo questions, including an A-Z guide on what you can and cannot eat on the Paleo Diet.

Quick Navigation

most frequently asked questions

Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Paleo Diet

What foods are recommended on Paleo?
Think like a hunter-gatherer and you’ll be on the right track. All types of meats, preferably organic, grass-fed, range-free, or wild game. All types of vegetables. Some fruit. Daily nuts and seeds. See our list of Paleo-approved foods for more.

What foods should I avoid on Paleo?
Processed, man-made foods of all types. Anything that requires cultivation and that came online with the dawn of agriculture. Grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugar, many types of oils, fried foods, junk food, soda, See our list of foods to avoid on Paleo for more.

Is Paleo right for me?
If you can get on board with the idea that Paleolithic man had it right, and humans have been getting it wrong ever since, you might find a lot of happiness and success with the Paleo Diet. The Paleo diet may not be the right diet for you if you’re against eating meat, or if you don’t want to be restricted from eating entire food groups like grains and dairy. Keep in mind that there are many creative workarounds that allow you to still eat your favorite foods while on Paleo, substituting Paleo friendly ingredients for items that aren’t allowed. Many are happy to stick with Paleo once they discover they can have pizza or cookies while still following the plan.

Where Can I find the best Paleo recipes?
Paleo recipes are scattered across the Internet, and aren’t always labeled as “Paleo”. You may find vegan and vegetarian recipes that are Paleo, Gluten-Free recipes that are Paleo, and even some traditional dishes that meet Paleo standards. Any Whole30 recipe is also a Paleo recipe. At Paleo Grubs we try to bring you the best Paleo recipes from around Web, as well as from our own Paleo chefs. Here are the 100 Best Paleo Recipes to get you started.

Does the Paleo diet work?
For most Americans the Paleo diet will show results because it will represent a great reduction in the amount of processed foods being eaten. Becoming conscious of just how tampered with and tinkered with the “food” we’re sold is represents a big step forward for many new Paleo eaters. Being more aware and more selective of what you eat can immediately start paying dividends in the way you feel and the amount of energy you have. If you are patient enough this plan is sure to help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals, but just like any quality, long-term diet program it is not an overnight process.

How do I get started?
It’s as easy as cooking your next meal according to Paleo guidelines. The great part about Paleo is there’s no equipment to buy, no book to read, or any one authority that is making up the rules. You can start by eating more Paleo meals, and gradually phasing out your old way of eating, or going cold turkey on bad habits like junk food, fast food, and other sources of empty calories like sodas.

paleo comparison

Paleo and Other Diets

Is Paleo Whole30?
Whole30 starts with Paleo as its base, and then gets more strict from there. So the two are similar but not the same. Whole30 is based on a 30 day program that addresses several areas in your life, with your diet being just one area. It’s one way to get a strong Paleo foundation, but you don’t have to follow Whole30 in order to do Paleo. You can use Whole30 recipes, as these are inherently Paleo friendly.

Is Paleo just like Atkins?
Atkins focuses on a low-carb approach, and Paleo isn’t concerned about carbs at all. The Atkins approved food list shows you exactly what you can and can’t eat, and is to be followed to the letter. Paleo is left more to an interpretation of what they would or would not have eaten in the days of cavemen, with only a few broad-sweeping no-nos like grains and dairy. A plate made up of Atkins foods and a Paleo meal might look the same, but essentially and philosophically they’re different.

Is Paleo better than Atkins?
For many, the Atkins diet will provide results in the short term, but as far as long-term stability goes the Paleo diet seems to be more effective. It doesn’t involve shortchanging yourself in any one area, and doesn’t make an enemy of carbs. It has a strong focus on bringing your eating back to a simpler time and using high quality ingredients. For that reason, in regards to sustained weight management and health, Paleo comes out on top.

Is the Paleo diet like the South Beach Diet?
The South Beach Diet follows a Mediterranean approach to eating, and a Mediterranean diet is akin to a Paleo diet because it is based off of eating what is available in local region. There are of course some stark differences, including a Mediterranean diet allowing grains, dairy, and legumes while reducing the amount of meat being consumed. So while the two share some similar practices, they are very different. Success can be had with either diet when followed properly.

Is Paleo the same as gluten free?
Paleo is inherently gluten-free because it is grain free, and that includes wheat. It’s possible to eat a gluten-free diet that isn’t Paleo, because dairy, legumes, and other foods are gluten-free but not allowed on the Paleo diet.

Is Paleo or vegan better?
This really comes down to your own feelings on animals and whether or not you want to eat them as well as the things they produce. Both a Paleo and vegan diet would be preferable to eating tons of refined and processed foods. Paleo may be easier to follow for the long term because while they both exclude a large number of foods, Paleo is meat-centric and there are always plenty of meat dishes you can cook up, and meat is always easy to find.

Is Paleo or vegetarian better?
A vegetarian diet has been shown to reduce the likelihood of heart disease and cancer. While the same can’t be said for Paleo because research into the diet is forthcoming, there is reason to believe that eating the Paleo way also helps in these areas. This basically comes down to your own feelings towards eating meat. Paleo will exclude things like grains and dairy, which a vegetarian would consume, and which more and more evidence points to these being detrimental to your health. As long as you don’t mind eating meat, Paleo appears to be the winner here.

Is Paleo a low carb or no carb diet
Paleo is not about counting carbs or limiting your carbs for the sake of losing weight. For many this diet plan will likely be a reduction in the number of carbohydrates consumed because Paleo does away with foods that are laden with carbohydrates, and has you getting your carbs from better sources.

Is Paleo a low calorie diet?
Paleo is not a calorie-counting diet, but when compared to the Standard American Diet it will contain fewer calories. Compared to a diet centered on reducing calories, it is not a low calorie diet because many of the foods that are recommended, meats for example, are calorically dense.

Is Paleo low glycemic?
While Paleo doesn’t set out to be low glycemic, when you eat according to the Paleo recommended food list you’ll be choosing foods that rank low on the GI scale.

Is Paleo a weight loss diet?
One byproduct of following the Paleo diet is typically weight loss, and many use the diet for this result. But Paleo is more of a philosophy, and more about giving your body the fuel it needs to live your life to the fullest.

Is Paleo just another fad?
Paleo has the potential for being a fad because it has reached mainstream consciousness and awareness. This means that a large number of people will try it for a little while, and eventual want to stop because it is a “diet” and they’ll feel like they are being restricted from eating the foods they want. At that point it runs the risk of being written off by a large number of people as not working. However, this way of eating as stood the test of time, over 10,000 years, so it can hardly be considered a passing trend.

Does paleo get rid of belly fat?
One of the main concerns of many dieters is belly fat. This is often the last stubborn spot of fat to go, even after successfully getting rid of other problem areas. While Paleo doesn’t specifically target belly fat, many Paleo followers have reported losing weight from that area in conjunction with being active and getting regular exercise.

what it is and isnt

What Paleo Is and Isn’t

Is the Paleo diet healthy?
Going Paleo means giving up a host of unhealthy ingredients, while focusing on using pure, natural, and wholesome foods. When followed properly this should provide you with a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats that have been shown to contribute to overall health and wellbeing.

Is Paleo a diet?
Paleo is more of a lifestyle than a diet, and is about embracing a simpler time where food came from natural sources and wasn’t saturated with chemicals and genetically modified by scientists. It’s referred to as the “Paleo diet” as a form of reference, and was used as a book title for The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain. But aside from being coined as a term for a diet, it is bigger than any one book or “movement” and there are a number of different resources available for those looking for reliable information regarding how to live and eat Paleo.

Is Paleo cheap or expensive?
Paleo can be a bit more expensive than a typical diet because the quality of the food you eat is just as important as what you’re eating. You should opt for organic fruits, vegetables, meats, and nuts whenever possible. These come at a premium price compared to their conventional counterparts. If you are eating out at restaurants and buying pre-packaged foods from the grocery store, you might find that you spend about the same or even a bit less when doing Paleo, so it depends on your current food expenditures in relation to the cost of eating the Paleo way.

Is Paleo clean eating?
On Paleo you’ll want to eat as cleanly as possible, opting for fresh produce and organic meats. Avoiding foods that are pre-packaged and prepared is important, as you never know what is going into those foods, even when reading the labels. It should not be confused with the Eat Clean diet by Tosca Reno.

Is the the Paleo diet safe or dangerous?
Any diet program can be used in a safe or dangerous manner. At its core level, Paleo is not dangerous as long as you are following it as prescribed. Retooling it or coming up with your own modification, or misunderstanding what the diet entails can end up making it dangerous. But because it is focused on being all-natural it shuns the use of unnatural supplements like diet pills, and does not advocate starving yourself or going long periods without food, or producing a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. Compared to other diet methods it should be considered relatively safe and in harmony with nature.

Is Paleo easy or hard?
For some, making the transition to the Paleo way of eating will be hard, because eating behaviors have been deeply entrenched from years of habit. It may be unthinkable to give up all grains, or go without dairy, or soft drinks. For others, these changes will come more easily, especially if they are suffering from the ills that these items can bring. The onset of any diet is the hardest part, as your body has to learn to adjust to the changes. But you’ll be eating foods that should correct nutritional imbalances, and be easier to digest, so it should get easier as it goes along.

Is Paleo good for fat loss?
Most of the time when we hear the word diet we think of either weight loss or fat loss. The Paleo “diet” is effective at helping you to lose excess body fat thanks to practice of eating lean meats paired with vegetables and an effort to consume healthy fat in the form of nuts and seeds.

Is Paleo high in fat?
Paleo could be considered high in fat, but it is the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that it’s high in. It’s not about eating high-fat meats, but opting for lean meats, getting your fat from healthier sources instead.

Is Paleo high in cholesterol?
Because of all of the meat you eat on Paleo some believe that the diet acts to raise cholesterol levels. But in fact diet requires eating a copious amount of vegetables each day, and therefore is a high fiber, high protein diet which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. So while beef and chicken might contain cholesterol, the overall effect on the body is that it helps reduce cholesterol levels, thanks to the high fiber vegetables and fruits you’ll consume.

Is Paleo high in protein?
Paleo can be considered high in protein because of the meat that is consumed at most meals. This makes it a good diet to follow if you are planning to add a weight-lifting regimen to your lifestyle, if you are looking to stabilize blood sugar levels, and if you need to improve your cholesterol numbers.

Is Paleo no dairy?
Paleo purists will not consume any dairy because Paleolithic man was not keeping livestock and wouldn’t have had domesticated animals from which to obtain dairy. Some Paleo followers allow cheese and other dairy products on a limited basis, as long as they are organic or come from grass-fed cows.

Is Paleo no grains?
Grains are not allowed on Paleo because they represent a different era for mankind. They didn’t have the fortitude it takes to cultivate grains, as their lifestyle entailed moving from place to place in order to find wild-growing food.

Is Paleo no sugar?
Paleo only uses raw and natural forms of sugar, like honey or maple syrup. It doesn’t use any refined sugar like the kind you find in a big bag at the supermarket. Most packaged products sold in stores contain sugar in some refined form or another, and are best avoided for this reason.

Is Paleo organic?
It’s recommended to use organic food as much as possible while doing Paleo. This is an attempt to keep the food as natural as possible and avoid many of the additives that go into conventionally grown produce and livestock.

Is Paleo practical?
While it isn’t practical to replicate a Paleolithic diet completely, it is practical to mimic it as much as possible in our modern society. At our core we’re still very much like the way we were 10,000 years ago, so even though the world around us is vastly different, from an evolutionary standpoint we still need the same basic foods we were eating back then. Just because modern technology allows us to cultivate the Earth like never before doesn’t mean our bodies have adapted to eating a different way.

Is Paleo raw?
You’re allowed to cook your food on Paleo, where as a raw foodie won’t let their food reach excessive temperatures. Eating a raw diet could be considered Paleo as long as it abides by the Paleo food guidelines, but Paleo is not about eating raw food.

Is Paleo right for everyone?
Paleo can be modified to your own tastes, beliefs, and goals, so in that way it can be for everyone. There isn’t just one way to eat Paleo, the way other diets are black and white and clearly spelled out. No one knows exactly how they ate during Paleolithic times, so even the most widely accepted Paleo experts are making their best guess as to what life was like back then.

Is Paleo safe while pregnant or breastfeeding?
The Paleo diet should cut out a lot of the harmful foods that could present a problem during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. All indicators point to it being a safe diet to follow while pregnant. Consult with your obstetrician to see if there are any specific contraindications for your pregnancy.

Is Paleo sustainable?
From a “Can I do this long-term?” standpoint, yes. From a “Can the Earth sustain this if everyone ate this way?” No. If everyone in the world suddenly started eating according to the Paleo diet the Earth couldn’t sustain it. There were far, far fewer humans around during the Paleolithic era, and with over 7 billion people in the world it would be impossible to feed them the amount of meat needed to eat Paleo.

Is Paleo the same as Primal?
Not exactly the same, but similar in many ways. They both advocate bringing your diet and lifestyle back to before the Agricultural Revolution. See our in-depth comparison of Paleo vs. Primal for further information.

Is Paleo too much meat?
Paleo is meat-centric, but it’s also vegetable-centric. A popular misconception is that this is a meat-only diet, and a typical Paleo plate will just have a slab of beef on it, but this is not the case. A properly portioned Paleo plate will have roughly the same amount of vegetables as meat, and many believe that vegetables should trump meat as the most important component of any meal, as meat would have been a random luxury for early hunters.

Is Paleo unhealthy?
With any diet it’s possible to make it unhealthy by abusing certain privileges. On Paleo you could take advantage of some of the authorized foods and overload yourself with bacon and other meat, or not eat enough vegetables. But when you follow the diet accordingly and subscribe to the basic principles and philosophy it is not an unhealthy diet by any means.

Is Paleo vegan?
No, Paleo is not against eating meat or other animal byproducts like eggs or honey. It’s not possible to be a vegan and do Paleo, as meat factors heavily into most Paleo meals. Taking out all animal products and byproducts from Paleo would make it not Paleo anymore.

Is Paleo vegetarian?
No, Paleo involves eating roughly equal portions of meat and vegetables at your main meals. It’s not possible to be a vegetarian and follow the Paleo diet, as you’d basically just be a vegetarian that doesn’t eat grains or dairy either.

Is Paleo wheat free?
Yes, Paleo involves getting rid of all grains, including wheat. It is one of the core foods that get dropped from a Standard American Diet and flies in the face of what is recommended by the USDA.

Is the Paleo diet unbiblical?
From a biblical standpoint of Adam and Eve being the first humans, the Paleo diet might be unbiblical because it acknowledges that there were cavemen 10,000 years ago and we evolved from them. But as far as what is eaten on the Paleo diet, it is pretty close to other Biblical diets that recommend bringing your diet back to an earlier time, such as basing your diets around the foods that were available during the time of Jesus.

paleo diet health questions

Paleo and Health

Is the Paleo diet good for diabetes?
It’s still inconclusive as to whether Paleo is effective at preventing diabetes, or managing it if you already have it. When followed correctly Paleo should help stabilize blood sugar levels, as it does away with refined sugars and starchy carbohydrates and focuses on meats, vegetables, and some fruit, as well as an intake of nuts and seeds with healthy fats.

Is Paleo good for high cholesterol?
Paleo can help bring down cholesterol levels when it is followed correctly. Even though you are eating meats which contain cholesterol, you are balancing it out with plenty of vegetables, as well as nuts and seeds that contain healthy fats which have been shown to lower levels of bad cholesterol.

Is Paleo heart healthy?
With the consumption of meat and fat that is so prevalent on Paleo, it seems counter intuitive that this could be a heart-healthy diet. But the meats that are eaten are mostly lean, and the fats that are consumed are healthy fats, which have been shown to be part of a diet that is conscious of heart health.

Is the Paleo diet good for acid reflux?
There is anecdotal evidence that Paleo helps with GERD, although few scientific studies have confirmed this. If you are suffering from acid reflux and looking for a non-pharmaceutical cure the number of people that have reported success with Paleo is too convincing not to try.

Is the Paleo diet good for acne?
For those whose acne is caused by or worsened by wheat or dairy, Paleo can help clear it up. There are many causes of acne, so it’s hard to say whether Paleo will work to clear up a specific case. There isn’t any part of the Paleo diet that would cause acne to get worse.

Is the Paleo diet good for inflammation?
The Paleo diet is not exactly an anti-inflammatory diet, as it mixes plenty alkaline foods in the form of vegetables, with acidic foods in the form of meat. For this reason it shouldn’t be considered if you’re looking for a diet that helps with excessive inflammation.

Is Paleo good for arthritis?
While some have reported that the Paleo diet helped with their arthritis, there isn’t enough compelling evidence to suggest that it’s a diet that will ease arthritis pain and symptoms.

Is Paleo good for gout?
Paleo allows for shellfish and other foods that can bring on a gout attack, so the gout prevention diet from your doctor supersedes any Paleo recommendations. Following a modified Paleo diet that excludes the additional foods your doctor provides should help reduce the number of gout attacks experienced, and help manage your weight, a contributing factor for gout.

Is Paleo good for high blood pressure?
Losing weight and cutting out the iodized salt found in high amounts in processed foods should result in a natural reduction in blood pressure. Keep in mind that you’ll also be eating a generous portion of vegetables as well as some fruit each day, so your fiber intake will increase. An increase of fiber helps lower blood pressure, all else being equal. Always consult with your doctor regarding your blood pressure and follow their advice.

Does the Paleo diet get rid of cellulite?
Cellulite can be one of the peskier things to get rid of once you have it, and the Paleo diet can contribute to getting rid of your cellulite, but can’t be relied on solely to fix the problem. Eating a diet like Paleo while taking additional steps to get rid of your cellulite may be effective.

Does the Paleo diet help fibromyalgia?
Those suffering from fibromyalgia have reported that the Paleo diet helped get rid of the symptoms. Though no scientific evidence can back up these claims, it could be a good idea to follow the Paleo diet in conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations.

Does the Paleo diet help keratosis pilaris?
By most accounts it appears that the Paleo diet can help with instances of keratosis pilaris. One of the contributing factors to this skin condition is gluten, and Paleo is gluten-free thanks to its exclusion of all grains. The diet could also help fill any nutritional gaps that were causing the problem to worsen.

Is Paleo good for insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance occurs after years of bombarding the body with high amounts of carbohydrates typically found in the standard way of eating in America. A diet low in carbohydrates, like the Paleo diet, will help to increase sensitivity to insulin, which is another reason why so many have experienced weight loss when they switch over to the Paleo way of eating.

Is Paleo good for PCOS?
It’s not bad for it, and in many instances can provide relief from some of the symptoms you’re experiencing. The Paleo diet cuts out many of the foods that can worsen PCOS, which will provide short-term relief. As far as Paleo being a long-term solution, the jury is still out, but it is recommended to try the Paleo diet to see if it can be of some help.

side effects and contradictions

Side Effects/Contraindications

Does Paleo cause acne?
There isn’t anything in the Paleo diet that should be a cause of acne. Many Paleo followers report an improvement in their acne because they are cutting out foods that have been contributing to the acne problem. There may be an initial acne outbreak when starting Paleo as it does represent a big dietary shift for most people, which could trigger more acne for a short time.

Does eating Paleo cause bad breath?
A low carb diet often produces bad breath, and the Paleo diet qualifies as low-carb because the carbohydrates you’ll be getting come from vegetables and fruit, so you won’t be getting too many. That being said, there isn’t any reason why you’d have particularly worse breath because you’re eating Paleo, the same foods that cause bad breath on any diet plan will cause bad breath on Paleo. A cleaner digestive system may also help to counteract any bad breath worries.

Does the Paleo diet cause gas and bloating?
As long as you are following the diet correctly and getting your necessary vegetables there should be less gas and bloating because you’ll be avoiding foods that have been known to be harder to digest. Cutting out grains, dairy, and legumes means you’ll be less likely to experience the stomach discomfort that often accompanies these food groups. You’ll have an easier time identifying which Paleo-approved food is causing a bloating problem and avoid that as well, or eat them at midday, when your digestion is strongest.

Does Paleo cause cancer?
No scientific evidence exists to suggest that eating a Paleo diet causes cancer. The exclusion of man-made chemicals and additives most assuredly makes you less likely to develop cancer. A diet that provides you with essential minerals from lean meat, and plenty of vitamins including phytonutrients and antioxidants from vegetables and fruits is going to help you prevent cancer. You also cut out refined sugar, which may be linked directly to the development and growth of cancer cells in the body.

Does the Paleo diet cause constipation?
As long as you are eating the right amount of vegetables each day you should not experience constipation on the Paleo diet. While there is a good amount of meat being eaten, which contains no fiber, there is also a plentiful amount of vegetables being eaten along with that meat to help the digestive system do its job. You should also be drinking plenty of water throughout the day to help your digestive organs stay lubricated and able to do their jobs.

Does eating Paleo cause diarrhea?
Eating Paleo should not cause diarrhea, although you may have some digestive issues when you first make the switch over. If you’ve been running a fiber deficit for several years you may notice a problem when you start to get the necessary amount of fiber into your system. This shouldn’t be a long-term problem by any means, and may only occur once or twice.

Does the Paleo diet cause hair loss?
There’s no reason to suspect that the Paleo diet causes hair loss. The body may respond to a drastic change in diet with stress, which could lead to a period of hair loss. But eating a balanced diet of lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds would not cause hair loss in a person that was not otherwise prone to it.

Does Paleo cause headaches?
You may experience headaches when first starting Paleo, but Paleo is certainly not the cause. Once you cut off all of the chemicals and additives that you’ve been consuming on a daily basis, things like MSG, caffeine, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Genetically Modified Organisms, artificial flavors and colors, refined sugars, iodized salt, and a host of other harmful ingredients, you may notice withdrawal symptoms which includes a headache. After a few days to several weeks your body should acclimate to your new way of eating and headaches will be a thing of the past.

Does the Paleo diet cause heart disease?
It’s hard to determine if eating a Paleo diet causes heart disease, as Paleolithic man didn’t live long enough to develop it, and we don’t have records from that time period documenting causes of death. Today eating Paleo as a diet is relatively new, and long-term studies have yet to be conducted on individuals that have eaten this way for most of their lives. Judging from what is being eaten on a proper Paleo diet, lean meat and vegetables in roughly the same ratio, some fruit, nuts, and seeds to round it out, a Paleo diet seems in line with what is recommended to prevent heart disease, not cause it.

Does the Paleo diet cause stomach problems?
The Paleo diet is designed to correct the dietary imbalances that lead to stomach problems, not cause them. For those that have trouble digesting grains and dairy, going Paleo usually makes those symptoms subside. Your digestive system may take some time to adjust to your new way of eating, but once you’ve followed the plan for a while it shouldn’t cause you stomach discomfort.

Does eating Paleo cause weight gain?
Some Paleo followers report gaining weight on Paleo. This should only happen if you are underweight, as Paleo will help get you to a healthy weight. Weight gain on Paleo should only occur if you are trying to build muscle and lifting heavy weights. Aside from that you are probably not following the diet properly. Lean meat is preferred over fatty meat, and nut intake should be kept within reason. Using the Paleo diet to load up on items like bacon or macadamia nuts, just because they’re allowed, would lead to weight gain.

Does Paleo make you feel better?
Cutting out all of the junk from your diet is a sure way to feel better. Many Paleo followers reports a reduction in a number of symptoms from problems experienced by eating certain foods that the body doesn’t handle well. Simply cutting out the hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, chemical additives, and genetically modified foods from your diet can work wonders on the way you feel throughout the day. Replacing them with lean, organic meats, and plenty of fresh organic vegetables and fruit makes it highly likely that you’ll feel great.

Does paleo make you poop less or more?
This depends greatly on the amount of fiber you ate on a consistent basis before starting Paleo. Paleo involves eating plenty of vegetables and some fruit each, and for many starting out on Paleo this is more all natural fiber than they are used to. If you find that you’re pooping less while on Paleo it likely means you’re not eating enough vegetables to help the fiberless meat through your system.



What exercise should I do on Paleo?
Since Paleo eating is all about replicating what they were eating during the Paleolithic era, exercise on Paleo often follows this same philosophy. Getting a lot of movement in your day is key, with plenty of walking. Lifting heavy weights, and doing high intensity cardio is often recommended as the best sort of exercise. Anything that makes you less sedentary, because Paleo men and women were anything but.

Can I do yoga on Paleo?
Yes. Yoga is a great supplement to the Paleo diet, and is a way to calm the mind while increasing flexibility, strength, and balance.

Can I do P90X on Paleo?
Yes. The protein from the meat you’ll be eating on Paleo will help build lean muscle, and the vegetables, fruit, and nuts you’ll be taking in will help give you the energy you need to complete the workouts.

Is Paleo necessary for CrossFit?
Paleo is a popular diet choice for those doing CrossFit, but it is not required in order to perform the CrossFit exercises. The dietary recommendation of CrossFit are very similar to eating a Paleo diet, and they do state that a Paleo way of eating is in line with what they recommend.

Can I build muscle on Paleo?
The Paleo diet should encourage muscle growth because you’ll be getting the needed amount of protein each day. Look at pictures of cavemen and you’ll see they had no trouble building muscle while eating foods that the Paleo diet attempts to emulate.

Is Paleo good for athletes?
Athletes can successfully use the Paleo diet. The high intake of meat insures enough protein to develop lean muscle for a wide variety of sports and activities. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds provide the energy needed to exert yourself in any number of sports. Since Paleo isn’t about counting carbs or calories it plays well with an athletic lifestyle because you can fine-tune your diet according to your sport and don’t have to try to re-calculate any numbers based on the energy spent training.

Is Paleo good for bodybuilding?
Bodybuilders follow several different diets, and there are literally dozens of ways to eat while bodybuilding. Paleo can form a solid foundation, but most bodybuilders will supplement with protein powders, weight gainers, and other chemicals in an attempt to build bigger muscles. Anything that isn’t natural wouldn’t be Paleo.

general questions

General Paleo Questions

Can I eat too much on Paleo?
The Paleo philosophy entails eating until you feel satisfied, but isn’t about stuffing yourself. While portion sizes are not a main concern of Paleo, you’ll still want to eat reasonable portions, but without stressing over their size. Eat until you feel satisfied, and when you get hungry again, eat again. Listen to your body and don’t get lost in the details.

Can I eat too much fat on Paleo?
It’s possible to overdo it with the fat on Paleo, but we should be clear about the type of fat being consumed. Saturated fat from beef and other meats is kept to a minimum by eating lean cuts and limiting fatty choices like sausage. Healthy fats are encouraged and come in the form of nuts, seeds, and oils like olive oil and coconut oil. As long as you are following the diet the right way you’ll be getting the right amount of healthy fat while keeping unhealthy fat to a minimum.

Can I eat as much as I want on the Paleo diet?
Paleo is not an all-you-can-eat mentality, but rather an eat-until-you-feel-content mentality. You’re never discouraged from eating if you’re hungry, but you’ll want to make sure you have substantial meals when it’s time to eat. It’s not a grazing diet, but when where you sit and take the time to have a meal. That meal should last you for hours, until your next meal time or until it’s time for bed. Eat until you feel satisfied at each of your meals and you’ll find that you don’t need to worry about how much you’re eating, and whether it’s enough.

Can I cheat on the Paleo diet?
“Cheating” is a term used when dieting to refer to going off the authorized foods list. Some popular diets give you a cheat meal, or even a “free day” when you can eat whatever you want one day a week. Applying this same type of thinking to the Paleo diet misses the point as to how the plan works. Cheating implies that there is one set way to eat, and anything outside of that way is considered wrong. With Paleo you are adopting this as your way of life, and therefore you aren’t given a cheat meal or a free day, it’s just the way you eat all of the time. That being said, if you do go off track with a meal, or a day, it’s not the end of the world and you should beat yourself up. Just get back on track with the following meal or the following day and note the way your body felt when you went back to your old ways.

Can I take vitamins on Paleo?
Vitamins shouldn’t be necessary if you are following a proper Paleo diet. Vitamin supplementation is popular in America because of the nutritional deficits created by an improper diet. As long as you are eating a variety of vegetables each day, with a piece of fruit you’ll be getting plenty of vitamins and antioxidants. The meat you eat will provide you with the minerals needed, and you should be nutritionally sound without the need to take synthetic vitamins.

Does the Paleo diet make you tired?
The recommended foods on Paleo should leave you feeling good after you eat, with plenty of energy and no crash later. The carbohydrates that are being eaten in the form of vegetables, balanced with the protein from the meat should give you hours of sustained energy.

Does paleo make you lean?
All else being equal, Paleo should result in a leaner frame, especially if you aren’t very lean when starting the diet. Feeding your muscle protein and amino acids from the food you’re eating, while switching your carbohydrate intake from grains to vegetables, coupled with the cutting out of dairy, junk food, fast food, and soft drinks, will almost always result in the average person becoming leaner.

Does paleo make you stronger?
Paleo alone might not make you stronger, but when you combine it with even a very basic weight lifting regimen, yoga, pilates, or other strength training program, it can play a big part in building strength.

How long should I stay on the Paleo diet?
The Paleo diet is designed to be a long-term diet that you can stay on indefinitely. Unlike other diets that are designed for 30,60, or 90 days, Paleo is something you can start today and stay on for the rest of your life. As long as you are enjoying it and are enjoying the benefits it provides, there isn’t any reason to go off it. What would you “go off” to?

How many/how much carbs, calories, almonds, eggs, protein, fat, bacon, avocados, fruit, etc. should I eat on Paleo?
You’re missing the point of Paleo. Counting and fussing over quantities is a modern way of thinking about food. Early man didn’t fret over these sort of details, and neither will you once you see how easy it is to trust your body to tell you what it needs, and trust that nature can provide what your body needs. Eat from the list of Paleo foods until you feel satisfied.

paleo diet food list

Is It Paleo? Can I Eat It? (A-Z Guide)
Some of the most frequently asked Paleo questions are whether or not you can eat certain foods. Here are the most popular foods from A-Z.

Alcohol – Alcohol is not recommended on Paleo, and that includes all types including beer, gin, hard cider, champagne, white wine, red wine, vodka, whiskey, scotch and everything else.

Almonds – Definitely recommended when on Paleo. Almonds provide healthy fats and some protein and are an example of what Paleolithic man would have been able to gather. Almond butter, almond flour, and almond milk are also allowed.

Apples – An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and is something you can follow while on Paleo. Applesauce can also be enjoyed, just be sure it is unsweetened.

Arctic Zero – Not technically, no. Although there are plenty of natural ingredients and an attempt to make it healthy, a Paleo purist would not eat it.

Avocado – Yes, avocados are a recommended fruit while on Paleo and provide the much-needed healthy fats that are a factor in the Paleo diet.

Bacon – Bacon is a generally accepted Paleo food, and found in many Paleo recipes. Uncured, nitrate-free bacon from a naturally raised pig would be closest to being fully Paleo. Turkey bacon also gets the thumbs up, as long as it is all-natural.

Bananas – Bananas are a fruit that we’ve been enjoying since before the time of Paleo, so yes, they’re definitely Paleo-approved. Stick to organic bananas.

BBQ Sauce – The BBQ sauce by the big name brands is most certainly NOT Paleo. Buying organic gives you a better shot at it being Paleo, but making it at home is your best bet. Here is our in-house Paleo BBQ sauce recipe that will keep you on target.

Beans – Beans are not allowed on Paleo, as the entire legume family gets the ax. This even includes black beans which you’ll often see promoted on other diet programs, as well as lima beans.

Beef Jerky – You’ll want to make sure to make your own beef jerky, as most types of manufactured beef jerky are loaded with non-Paleo ingredients like sugar, iodized salt, and other additives.

Bread – Bread made from wheat and other grains is not an option on Paleo, which means you’ll want to avoid much of the bread aisle at the grocery store, even many loaves labeled gluten-free. Don’t despair if you’re a bread lover, as there are many Paleo bread recipes that show you how to make delicious bread you can enjoy without guilt.

Broccoli – Broccoli is a recommended Paleo veggie. It’s one of your better choices thanks to the fiber it contains. It’s important to eat a good amount of fiber to help your digestive system with all the meat that’s eaten on Paleo.

Buckwheat – Far too much prep work goes into buckwheat to make this a Paleo food. It’s not something our early ancestors would have known how to eat.

Butter – Butter gets the official no-go since it’s dairy. However, many Paleo followers will use organic, grass-fed butter as a Paleo fat for cooking and baking.

Butternut Squash – While not a preferred vegetable because of their starchiness, squash is allowed while on Paleo.

Carrots – Carrots are an approved Paleo vegetable, and can be consumed in any quantity desired.

Cheese – Cheese gets the ax on Paleo for falling under the Dairy category. It’s simply not something Paleo man would have had the wherewithal to make. While Paleo purists will abstain from cheese completely, many Paleo followers find that certain cheese don’t cause problems, such as Parmesan or goat cheese. It is up to you to take a self-test and decide which cheese, if any, you’re willing to eat.

Chicken – Chicken is pretty much an essential part of the Paleo diet. Organic or all-natural chicken is readily available in grocery stores and supermarkets, making it a convenient go-to for any Paleo meal. Chicken skin can be eaten, but lean chicken like boneless skinless chicken breast is preferred. Chicken wings are one gametime treat that you don’t have to give up on Paleo. We have dozens of chicken breast recipes, as well as a wide assortment of Paleo-friendly chicken wings to choose from.

Chili – As long as there aren’t any beans or other legumes in the chili, it’s probably Paleo. Paleo chili made up of meat and vegetables is a fantastic dish to help get you through the long winter season. Here are 47 Paleo chilis that only use approved ingredients.

Chipotle – A Burrito Bowl or a Salad at Chipotle is the way to keep things Paleo. Load it up with your choice of meat, chicken, steak, barbacoa, or carnitas, add fajita vegetables, salsa, lettuce, and top it off with guacamole. Avoid cheese, sour cream, tortillas, beans, and rice.

Chocolate – Dark chocolate is the only chocolate that you can have on Paleo, as it doesn’t have the milk and added sugar that milk chocolate contains. Dark chocolate also provides you with antioxidants and can satisfy your chocolate craving without causing you to go off the approved food list.

Coconut Milk – Coconut milk is Paleo friendly and a great way to make a creamy soup or for use in a baking recipe.

Coconut Water – Coconut water is definitely Paleo. Check the ingredients list to make sure that it is 100% pure coconut water with no unnecessary additives.

Coffee – Black coffee is considered Paleo. Coffee with an approved Paleo sweetener like Sweet Leaf also falls under the Paleo banner. Adding dairy creamer, refined sugar, or other toppings and ingredients puts it in the Not Paleo category.

Coke Zero – You’ll want to avoid products like this that try to tempt you with a zero calorie promise. They’re full of artificial sweeteners, chemicals created in a laboratory to taste sweet but contain no sugar. Anything artificial is not Paleo.

Coleslaw – Coleslaw ordered in a restaurant or bought from the grocery store will not be Paleo because of the mayonnaise and added sugar. Make it from home to insure quality, using this Paleo coleslaw recipe if you’d like.

Corn – Corn is not allowed on Paleo because it is a grain. Since conventional corn is loaded with GMOs this is a fantastic food to stay away from. Popcorn is also included in this exclusion.

Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese is made from cow’s milk, and is not something that would have taken the time to make in Paleo times.

Couscous – Couscous is made from wheat, and as such is not allowed on Paleo.

Crystal Light – Crystal Light contains mostly artificial sweeteners and other chemicals and is an example of the kind of drinks you don’t want to consume on Paleo.

Curry – Curry spice is Paleo approved, and many curry recipes fall in line with a Paleo diet.

Dairy – Dairy is an entire food group that is not allowed on Paleo. The reason is that Paleolithic man didn’t have the ability to milk a cow, as they didn’t keep domesticated livestock. There’s also the added problems with today’s conventional dairy products being derived from cows that have been loaded with antibiotics and fed a diet that is not in harmony with what they would naturally eat.

Deli Meat (Lunch Meat) – Deli meat can be eaten on Paleo, but is not the preferred way to get your meat intake due to the fact that it is heavily processed, often with tons of added sodium and other preservatives.

Diet Soda – Diet sodas are notorious for their artificial sweeteners and other chemicals. They should be avoided entirely while doing Paleo.

Dried Fruit – Dried fruit usually contains far too much sugar to be recommended on Paleo. Many fruits are already high in fructose, and with the sugar added during the drying process they end up containing just as much sugar as some candy. Dates are one example of a dried fruit with plenty of sugar. Dried coconut

Duck – Duck is a Paleo meat that can be enjoyed as often as you’d like.

Edamame – Edamame is a premature soybean, and hence a legume and not allowed on the Paleo diet.

Egg Beaters – Egg Beaters could be considered Paleo, but there’s no reason not to use real, entire eggs.

Egg Drop Soup – If you’re craving egg drop soup, don’t get it from your local Chinese restaurant, as you won’t know what’s in it. Make it yourself with organic chicken broth and organic free-range eggs. Quality control is key on Paleo.

Eggplant – Yes, eggplant is one of the approved Paleo veggies.

Eggs – Eggs are definitely a Paleo food, and yes you should eat the yolks.

Evaporated Cane Juice – This is essentially sugar, and is typically found in ingredients list as a way of saying sugar. Refined sugars are not recommended on Paleo.

Ezekiel Bread – It contains grains and legumes, two items that aren’t Paleo.

Feta Cheese – Cheese as a whole is not allowed when strictly following Paleo. However, many Paleo followers make an exception for some types of cheese, feta being one of them as its derived from goat milk. Test how your body handles it in small amounts.

Figs – Dried figs generally contain too much sugar to be recommended as a Paleo food. Fresh figs make the grade, and can be eaten in moderation along with other fruits.

Fish – All types of fish are considered Paleo friendly and are recommended. Look for wild caught fish to more closely mimic the sort of fish our ancestors would have eaten.

Fish Oil – Fish oil is Paleo friendly, although you’ll need to be very choosy about the kind you buy. Make sure that you are buying a pure fish oil that doesn’t contain fillers or additives, and that is potent enough to make a difference for a person of your size.

Fish Sauce – Properly made fish sauce gets the Paleo seal of approval. You’ll need to check the brand you’re using to make sure that it only uses fish and salt for its ingredients.

Flan – Most traditionally prepared flan is not Paleo due to the large amounts of sugar, milk, and cream. A Paleo version of the flan would sub the honey for sugar, and coconut milk for the dairy.

Flaxseed – Flaxseed is a recommended source of omega-3s on the Paleo diet.

Flour – General or All-Purpose flour is a no-go on Paleo. Go with a grain-free version of flour in your baking, like coconut flour or almond flour.

French Fries – Potatoes are a no-go on Paleo, and therefore French fries are as well. As an alternative go with sweet potato fries fried up in an approved Paleo oil.

French Onion Soup – A normal bowl of French onion soup would get the no-go because there’s a slab of bread that goes on top, and a layer of cheese as well.

Fried Chicken – As long as the chicken is organic, and either not breaded or coated in a Paleo-friendly coating like almond meal, and fried in an approved oil, it could be Paleo. Most fried chicken you’ll find for sale is not Paleo approved.

Fried Fish – You’ll want to check out which oil the fish is fried in. Frying up fish in a Paleo friendly oil would be acceptable.

Frozen Vegetables – Frozen vegetables are frozen at the time they are fresh, and contain many of the same vitamins and nutrients as their fresh counterparts. Go with organic frozen vegetables and you’ll be all set.

Frozen Yogurt – No. Frozen yogurt is made from milk which is not recommended on Paleo.

Fruit – Many fruits are approved for Paleo eating, including apples, oranges, bananas, and even watermelon. Fruit is not a major staple on the Paleo diet, and takes a back seat to meat and vegetables, but is still important for the antioxidants and fiber it contains.

Gatorade – Due to the high large amounts of sugar in Gatorade, it’s not something that’s allowed on Paleo. While the first ingredient may be water, the next two are sugar and glucose, adding up to 34 grams of sugar in a 20 ounce bottle.

Gelatin – Organic, unflavored gelatin is considered Paleo.

Gluten-Free Bread – Just because a bread is labeled Gluten-Free or GF doesn’t mean it’s Paleo friendly. You’ll need to check the rest of the ingredients to see if there are any grains used.

Goat Cheese – The great cheese debate rolls on in the Paleo community. Paleo sticklers will avoid all cheese, no matter which animal it comes from. Others say that since goat cheese is more easily digested by many, that it’s OK in moderation. You’ll have to come up with your own conclusion.

Granola – Luckily there are plenty of Paleo granola recipes to choose from, as well as our in-house granola recipe.

Grapes – Grapes are an approved Paleo fruit, but should be eaten in moderation because of their sugar content.

Grapeseed Oil – Not a recommended Paleo oil. Opt instead of olive oil or coconut oil.

Greek Yogurt – Even though Greek yogurt made quite a buzz in dieting circles, it’s still not allowed in Paleo as it falls under the dairy category.

Green Beans – Although green beans are classified as a legume, they are thought of as Paleo friendly by several leading Paleo authorities.

Green Tea – Green tea is an herbal tea that can be enjoyed on Paleo. It is full of antioxidants and has several health benefits and is worth taking the time to make and drink.

Guar Gum – This is a common additive to coconut milk, and also a legume. The small amounts found in coconut milk are likely not a problem for most Paleo followers, but if you notice a sensitivity to it you may want to avoid coconut milk brands that include it.

Ham – While not one of the best meat choices, you can have ham while on Paleo. It’s best to go with leaner, less-processed forms of pork, such as a pork chop or pork loin, but ham is allowed.

Heavy Cream – Heavy cream is dairy and not allowed on Paleo. Look at using coconut cream as a suitable non-dairy replacement.

Hemp Protein – Made from hemp seeds, which are Paleo friendly, hemp protein is an option for Paleo eaters that want to supplement their diet. It’s always good to assess whether you need a protein supplement if you’re following the Paleo diet as recommended.

Honey – Raw, organic honey is an approved sweetener on Paleo. It features heavily in Paleo desserts and baked goods.

Hot Dogs – You’ll want to avoid hot dogs while on Paleo due to the low grade of meats used, and the processing it undergoes.

Hot Sauce – Hot sauce is Paleo friendly, but you’ll need to check the ingredients list to make sure that you’re using a brand that doesn’t add non-Paleo ingredients to the sauce, like added sugar.

Hummus – Made from chickpeas, a legume, and therefore not allowed on the Paleo diet.

Ice Cream – Made from milk and not allowed on Paleo. But don’t let that stop you from making any of these Paleo friendly ice creams.

Jam and Jelly – Even though they’re made from fruit, these preserves contain too much sugar to be eaten on Paleo.

JELL-O – Jell-o is a good example of what not to eat on Paleo. While it contains gelatin, a Paleo friendly ingredient, sugar is the lead ingredient, as well as artificial flavor and color added. In a 22 gram serving size 19 grams are sugar.

Juice – You’ll want to avoid drinking juice while on Paleo, unless you juiced it yourself. Commercial juices contain added sugar in large amounts, often rivaling soda pop.

Kale – Kale is a superfood that can and should be eaten while on Paleo. Eating kale chips is a great way to overcome a potato chip craving.

Kamut – Kamut is a grain and therefore not a Paleo food.

Kefir – Kefir is a no-go because it’s dairy.

Kerrygold Butter – Because this butter uses milk from grass-fed cows, it’s technically more Paleo than conventional butter. However, Paleo purists will still avoid it because it’s dairy.

Ketchup – Avoid store bought ketchup unless you go organic. There’s plenty of sugar in commercial ketchup, and high fructose corn syrup in the most popular brands. Even then you may just want to make your own Paleo ketchup to have full quality control and nix the sugar altogether.

KFC – Fast food of all types is not Paleo.

Kimchi – Traditional kimchi, made from cabbage or other vegetables, is Paleo.

KIND Bars – You’ll want to steer clear of their line of bars made from grains. Their Nut Delight variety includes peanuts, rice, and soy lecithin. It’s probably best to avoid these bars while on Paleo.

Kombucha – Kombucha is Paleo friendly, and like most foods it’s best to do it yourself at home rather than trust what’s sold on store shelves. If you must buy it from the store be sure to look at the ingredients to make sure the rest are Paleo approved.

La Croix – By their account, La Croix would be Paleo because it only includes extracts of fruit with no added sugar or sweeteners. Of course that takes a leap of faith to trust they’re being 100% transparent about what goes into it.

Lamb – Lamb is a meat that can be enjoyed on Paleo, the same as other meats like chicken and beef.

Lard – Lard is a suitable Paleo fat that comes from pigs. While you won’t see lard included on many other diet programs, that’s what makes Paleo special, it goes against modern conventional wisdom.

Lentils – Lentils are part of the legume family, and thus not a food to eat on Paleo.

Liquid Smoke – As long as you go with a brand that is simply smoke, without additives, it can be considered Paleo.

Liverwurst – There are many variations of liverwurst, but most will conform to Paleo guidelines. Be sure to check the ingredients or the recipe to see if there is anything that’s not Paleo friendly.

Lobster – Lobster is a Paleo meat, and can be enjoyed with other seafood like shrimp, clams, and mussels.

Mango – Mango is a Paleo fruit that you can eat directly or use in your cooking. It provides plenty of vitamins and nutrients as well as antioxidants.

Maple Syrup – 100% pure maple syrup is one form of sweet that you can have on Paleo. It doesn’t get much more natural than a sweetener that comes from a tree, and it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that Paleo man would have stumbled on this source.

Mayo – The basic ingredients of mayo, oil and eggs, are both Paleo as long as you’re using a Paleo-friendly oil. The problem is that most conventional mayo is made from oils that aren’t allowed on Paleo. Go with this homemade Paleo mayo recipe to easily make your own from scratch.

Milk – Milk is not allowed on Paleo, as it is definition of dairy. Raw milk is a point of discussion, with some Paleo followers allowing it because it is closer to its natural state, and others saying that it is still not permissible.

Millet – Millet is a grain, and even though it doesn’t contain gluten it is not a Paleo food.

Molasses – Molasses is a sweetener that can be used on Paleo, just be sure to keep the amount at reasonable levels.

Muesli – Due to the grains found in muesli, it’s not Paleo. There are plenty of Paleo friendly cereals to choose from though.

Mushrooms – Mushrooms are allowed on the Paleo diet. You can easily picture a gathering caveman/woman fortuitously finding a patch of wild-growing mushrooms.

Mustard – Mustard can be eaten on Paleo because its basic ingredients are mustard seeds, vinegar, and The same goes for dijon mustard, just be sure to scrutinize the ingredients or make your own.

No Xplode – Most Paleo followers will avoid supplements like this because of their artificial ingredients and the unnatural effect they have on the body.

Non Dairy Creamer – Most non dairy creamer is not going to be Paleo because they use vegetable oil, sugars, and other additives to replicate the texture and taste of cream.

Nori – Nori is dried seaweed, so as long as it’s made with sea salt it can be considered Paleo. Check the ingredients to see that it doesn’t include an unauthorized oil.

Nut Butter – Nut butter can be eaten on Paleo, as long as it’s not peanut butter. Peanuts are legumes and therefore peanut butter is not allowed. But you can enjoy almond butter, cashew butter, etc. as long as there aren’t added ingredients like sugar, oil, or salt.

Nutella – The first ingredient of Nutella is sugar, so no, it’s not Paleo. You can make your own Paleo friendly Nutella at home though, since hazelnuts are Paleo.

Nutritional Yeast – Even though they weren’t making nutritional yeast in the time of the caveman, there’s no reason why they couldn’t if they knew how. That’s why many Paleo followers give the green light to nutritional yeast for its healthy, gut assisting properties.

Nuts – Nuts are encouraged on the Paleo diet because of their healthy fat content. Enjoy cashews, almonds, pecans, macadamias, walnuts, and more.

Oatmeal – Grains are not allowed on Paleo, so oatmeal gets the boot. This includes rolled oats and steel cut oats.

Okra – Okra makes the list of Paleo vegetables that you’re encouraged to eat.

Olive Oil – This is one of the recommended oils while on Paleo.

Olives – Raw olives make the grade, but the most ubiquitous kinds you find in stores will not because of the way they’ve been prepared. They generally contain too much sodium from the curing process.

Onions – Onions are one of the preferred Paleo vegetables.

Orange Chicken – The Orange Chicken that you’ll get from most Chinese restaurants, including fast food places like Panda Express, is not going to be Paleo friendly. Make your own Orange Chicken at home with almond flour as the breading.

Orange Juice – Avoid prepared juices because of the added sugar they contain. Juicing your own orange juice would be Paleo friendly.

Oranges – Oranges are a Paleo fruit and a great way to top up your Vitamin C levels.

Pad Thai – The rice noodles in Pad Thai make it a no-go.

Pasta – Traditionally prepared pasta is not allowed on the Paleo diet. There are several suitable alternatives, including using spaghetti squash or a Paleo friendly flour.

Peanut Butter – Peanut butter is not allowed on the Paleo diet because peanuts are a legume, not a nut. Use almond butter as a suitable substitute.

Peas – Technically peas are a legume, and not allowed on the Paleo diet. Many Paleo followers will allow them in limited amounts because they don’t share the same characteristics as other legumes. This appears to be a personal preference, as long as peas don’t give you digestive trouble they appear to be relatively good for you.

Pesto – Traditionally prepared pesto uses garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and basil, which are all Paleo friendly. Making your own is your best bet that there aren’t any unauthorized additives or ingredients.

Pickles – Store bought pickles are probably not Paleo, but if they’ve been fermented the old fashioned way only using salt they are a go.

Pineapple – Pineapple is an authorized Paleo fruit.

Pistachios – Pistachios are allowed as a nut on Paleo.

Pork – Pork is allowed on Paleo, this includes all varieties, including pulled pork. Just keep the fattier pork to reasonable amounts.

Pork Rinds – These can be considered Paleo, but look out for pork rinds that have been cooked up in any other than pork fat.

Porridge – Most porridge is made from a grain of some sort, and can’t be considered Paleo.

Potatoes – Potatoes are not allowed on Paleo. Use sweet potatoes instead.

Protein Shakes and Powders – Most protein shakes would get the no-go from a Paleo standpoint because they’re not something a cavemen would have whipped up after a hunt. But modern man is privy to many luxuries that they didn’t have back then. That being said, protein powders are generally frowned upon because of what’s in them besides the protein. Whey Protein would be one protein powder to avoid if you are a Paleo stickler, as it’s derived from cow’s milk, is heavily processed, and uses low quality ingredients if you bargain shop for it.

Pumpkin – A big yes! Pumpkin is a recommended vegetable on Paleo, full of fiber and nutrients.

Qdoba – A naked burrito can be Paleo, as long as you stick to Paleo toppings and pass on the cheese and sour cream when they ask you.

Quiche – Following a traditional quiche recipe is a bad idea. Luckily there are plenty of Paleo quiche recipes to follow that will keep you on track.

Quinoa – Quinoa is a bit of gray area, with the consensus being that it should be avoided while on Paleo. Proponents say it’s OK for Paleo because it is gluten-free and contains many health benefits like providing the entire array of essential amino acids. Like any gray area Paleo food, the ultimate decision rests with you and what you consider Paleo friendly.

Raisins – Raisins can be enjoyed in reasonable quantities, as long as you go with an organic brand.

Ranch Dressing – Store bought Ranch dressing is a no-go, even the organic kinds. Here is our in-house recipe for Paleo Ranch Dressing.

Ribs – Definitely a Paleo food, both beef ribs and pork ribs.

Rice – Rice is a grain and therefore not Paleo. This includes varieties like brown rice, wild rice, white rice, jasmine rice, as well as different forms of rice like rice cakes and rice flour.

Rutabaga – Yes, rutabagas are allowed on Paleo.

Salami – Most salami that’s available for purchase includes additives like sugar and MSG in some form, and should be avoided.

Salsa – Salsa is considered Paleo as long as it is made up of Paleo friendly ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, etc., and does not contain added sugar. Making your own salsa is the best form of quality control.

Salt – You generally want to avoid salt and salty foods while on Paleo. Many processed foods contain added salt, and this industrial-grade salt is what you want to avoid. Use sea salt if you’d like to add a bit of salt to your food.

Sausage – Sausage is not the preferred way to get your meat on Paleo, because of its higher fat content, but can be enjoyed in moderation. Find all-natural sausage, preferably uncured, or try making your own at home. This includes kielbasa, bratwurst, pepperoni, chorizo, turkey sausage, and others.

Shakeology – Most Shakeology shakes contain too many non-Paleo ingredients to be considered Paleo, including grains like oat, wheat, and kamut.

Soda – These beverages need to be avoided while on Paleo. Across the board they contain too much sugar, usually High Fructose Corn Syrup, and offer nothing in the way of nutrition.

Sour Cream – No dairy on Paleo, and that includes sour cream.

Soy – Soy is not allowed on Paleo because it is a legume. This includes soy milk, soy sauce, and anything else made from soy.

Spaghetti Squash – This is a vegetable that is definitely Paleo approved, and is often used as a replacement for traditional spaghetti noodles.

Stevia – Unprocessed stevia leaves: Yes. Refined stevia most commonly found in stores: No.

Sunflower Oil – Can be used at low heat and for baking. Check to see that

Sushi – Sushi should not be eaten on Paleo because of the rice it typically contains. Sashimi makes a better choice, as long as it is simply a slice of raw fish, and not resting on a pillow of rice.

Sweet Potatoes – Yes. Sweet potatoes are a recommended vegetable on the Paleo diet and provide fiber and antioxidants.

Tapioca – You’ll often see tapioca flour used in Paleo baked goods as a substitute for all-purpose flour. It is generally considered OK for Paleo, although it doesn’t bring much nutritional value to the table.

Tea – Herbal tea: Yes. Regular tea: No. It’s a matter of the processing that the tea goes through. Herbal teas can be prepared with little to no processing. Tea sold in stores has been processed to the point of not being Paleo.

Tofu – Tofu is made from soybeans, soybeans are a legume, and legumes are not allowed on Paleo.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are allowed and recommended on Paleo, including tomato sauce, and fresh tomatoes. Cooking tomatoes helps unlock their stored lycopene. Tomato soup is allowed, but make it yourself for quality control, or check the ingredients list to make sure there isn’t any added dairy.

Tuna – Even though Paleolithic man wasn’t fishing deep sea waters, tuna is still an accepted meat on Paleo. Canned tuna is also considered Paleo.

V8 – Too heavily processed to be considered Paleo. Eat whole foods whenever possible and juice your own veggies for vegetable juice.

Vanilla – Vanilla extract is often seen in Paleo baking and dessert recipes, and is considered Paleo friendly. The alcohol is burned away during the cooking process, leaving just the vanilla flavor from the extract intact.

Vegemite – Vegemite is derived from grains, and processed. Not the best choice for a Paleo eater, sorry mate.

Vegenaise – Vegenaise is not Paleo because it contains multiple soy-based products and rice syrup.

Vegetable Oil – This is an oil that should be avoided on Paleo, and is found in many packaged foods.

Vinegar – Strictly speaking, vinegar is not Paleo because of the processing it goes through. Many Paleo followers allow it in their cooking because it finds its way into so many recipes.

Vitamin Water – No, it’s sugar water. Just drink plain water.

Watermelon – Watermelon is an approved Paleo fruit. It contains antioxidants and is a great fruit to help get you through a hot summer.

Wheatgrass – While technically considered Paleo, many question whether it’s worth consuming because there are far better vegetable choices in regards to vitamins, minerals, and taste.

Worcestershire Sauce – Traditionally prepared worcester sauce is not Paleo due mostly to the sugar it contains. If you love the taste you can find Paleo versions that leave out the unhealthy ingredients.

Xanthan Gum – Not recommended, as it is was invented in the last half century, and definitely not something consumed by cavemen.

Xylitol – This is a heavily processed sugar alcohol and not a Paleo item by any means.

Yakult – Yakult is made from skim milk and is not Paleo.

Yogurt – Yogurt is dairy and dairy is not allowed on Paleo.

Yogurtland – Their yogurt is made from skim milk, and milk is not allowed on Paleo. Also, many of their flavors include high fructose corn syrup, which should be avoided.

Yucca – Yucca, a root vegetable, is considered Paleo, but is not one of the core Paleo vegetables you should be eating.

Zico Coconut Water – Not Paleo due to the addition of sugar and other additives. 100% pure coconut water is Paleo.

Zucchini – Zucchini is an approved Paleo vegetable and is common in many Paleo recipes.


Ask a Question 

  1. Actually wild rice is not a grain- it is a grass and is not cultivated that I am aware of. I believe It is harvested mostly by the Native peoples in Canada.

  2. I think you are way off when you stated that paleo includes polyunsaturated fat and avoids high fat meats. Paleos love their lard and avoids PUFAs like the plague.

  3. ,I am a strick vegetarian, what do i eat for breakfast, lunches and dinners, help I am new to this. Wish you did a vegetarian cook book LOL !

  4. I fully agree with Jenny when she stated that Paleo enthusiasts do eat fatty meat. We just don’t over do it. Also I noticed under the question “Can I cheat on Paleo?” in your answer you wrote, you should beat yourself up. I do believe you meant to say, you shouldn’t beat yourself up.

  5. I was wondering what is considered starchy vegetables; how can I recognize them? I understand a potato is one but why not sweet potatoes? Are most root veggies starchy; like beet carrot & turnips?

  6. In the past, numerous times when I have stopped eating dairy products, my bones ache, my teeth ache, and I’ve even gotten yeast infections. So maybe the non-dairy thing doesn’t work for me. I wanted to go Paleo, but I can’t sacrifice dairy and go through all that pain. It’s clear I have a calcium deficiency sensitivity (at least I suspect I do.

  7. Hi, I am considering trying out the paelo diet but is it suitable for my two year old child? I don’t fancy making her different meals at every meal time every single day.

  8. I’ve been following this plan for about 2 weeks now and feel great. However, after a question from my mother-in-law, I’m wondering specifically where Paleo followers get their B vitamins. B12 is in meat, folic acid is in green veggies, and there are some in bananas, but it seems that most B vitamins are in grains and legumes.

  9. awesome list. I was wondering about feta cheese as I see so many people on Instagram posting Paleo dishes with this added. I’m not a Paleo eater with cheese, it’s too processed for my liking.

  10. I’m allergic to coconut, so I find that making sweets its especially hard. Do you have any advice maybe on what I can use?

  11. There is a new way of preparing foods. (well, new to me) Freezer to crockpot. You spend about 5 hours preparing and freezing about 21 meals at a time. I have found several recipes. However, they are not Paleo. You have such a great, great collection of recipes. Can you review them and see which recipes we can freeze the ingredients first, and than thaw out and empty content into the Crock Pot. I know most of your foods, I can cook first and than freeze the leftovers. I want to do the reverse. I want to freeze my meals first and than slow cook. (so I have more time to spend with my family.)
    Thank you,

  12. Hi
    I am interested in freezer to crockpot recipes. I just love your site and all the information. I was wondering which of your recipes can be frozen first and than thawed and put into the crockpot. I’m not sure which of your recipes I can do this process with. I know I can cook and than freeze your recipes but I want to freeze first and than slow cook. This saves so much time. Can you help me finding which of your recipes I can use for this purpose
    Thank you

  13. Hey I just tried to make the cookies and the icing says coconut oil and honey and lemon zest-problem is, no matter how much I mix it, it keeps separating and never turns white. Was it supposed to be coconut milk?

  14. There are a lot of good questions here that need to be answered. And yes it probably should have been c milk not oil in the cookies I would think.

Leave a comment

Facebook icon Twitter icon Instagram icon Pinterest icon Google+ icon YouTube icon LinkedIn icon Contact icon