Steak with carrots

Paleo Diet Food List: Just a Hunk of Meat?

Before you stick your fork in this whole Paleo thing, consider this: The Paleo diet isn’t about a spear, a campfire and a hunk of meat. Paleo has always been about balance, simplicity and attention to food quality.

Reworked Atkins … Not!
It stupefies me when people ask me if Paleo is a “reworked Atkins” diet, to which I reply, “You will not find one Paleo blogger or track one Paleo recipe in any of the books out there that give a nod to artificial sweeteners (Splenda is okay on Atkins!), allow low-quality processed oils (such as Canola — a green light on Atkins!), or are okay with grains added in at any point in the progression (Atkins does this in the later stages — even though in small amounts).

Yet I can’t negate that the original Atkins diet helped a lot of people. I’ve seen it in my practice — it’s no doubt a reality. But here’s the thing to dial into:  If you want to lose weight, boost immunity, fight aging or heal your health issues, there is one way — and only one way — to get there and stay there. Go Paleo!

Get the toxins out of your cells, and get the nutrients in. Period. You will look young, alive and sparkling. Many of the Atkins participants were undoubtedly better than when they started on the Atkins plan —  some considerably. But I didn't see the same radiance with them that I do with those following a Paleo diet. It seems to be such a common stamp with Paleo people — that “primal sparkle,” the one that happens when your cells are bathed in nutrition.

Although I give Atkins a fair-and-square nod for all the people the program has helped, I go wonky when I consider those Atkins bars, which are a toxic sludge fest not worthy of a landfill.

So let me be clear, I respect the diet for all of the people the original Atkins program has helped, but  then … some things got in the way of a good thing

The Paleo Template
When you go Paleo, it’s important that you fill your plate with vegetables — that’s what the Paleo template is all about. Ideally, your plate should always feature two different vegetables in different color groups (red pepper, green broccoli, sort of thing). This will allow your cells to keep the nutrients in, while kicking the toxins out.

Beyond vegetables, protein and healthy fats will keep Paleo followers well fueled and help the structures and functions of your body to work well.

The trick? A balanced plate!

Your Paleo Style Begins with Paleo Play
From the Paleo template (lean meats, veggies, healthy fats, small amounts of fruits, nuts and seeds) you decide your Paleo style. You’ll need to test how many carbohydrates your body can handle, as this depends on many factors (current energy, stress and activity levels, to name a few). I call this “Paleo play.” See how it all plays out, day and after day, and make changes as needed, if you’re not seeing the results you want. 

The bottom line? Keep the meat — but don’t forget the veggies! And if you’re feeling like you need a little more filler with your meal, add Paleo-approved starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or spaghetti squash.

The idea with protein consumption is to get as much as your body needs- and no more. This is usually about a gram of protein per pound of lean tissue. Maybe more if you're active.