6 Foods You're Not Eating on a Paleo Diet and Probably Should Be

Posted by joe rigs on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Under: Health
This isn’t an article about what is or is not “paleo.” The “is it paleo” discussion is SO 10,000 years ago! A couple of these foods fall squarely within the paleo template but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating them. And if you’re not, you probably should be, providing you tolerate them.

The other foods are, at best, a gray area for most paleo dieters with those who are the most strict about their eating habits avoiding them completely.

In some cases, perfectly healthy foods are sworn off simply because it hasn’t been endorsed by a paleo guru.

If you’re already eating healthy real food, or if you’re trying to stick closely to a paleo template, adding in these 6 foods might be a good way to round out your diet.

Again, if there’s an issue with tolerance that’s a different story. Otherwise, you might want to give these foods a try.

1. Dairy

Dairy has definitely gotten a bad rep and for good reason. Commercial dairy is not something I would recommend anyone consume on a regular basis. However, with increased awareness has come increased availability of better quality dairy. This includes grass-fed whole milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt and others.

You may even be able to find some raw dairy if you live in a state where it’s legal. Otherwise, with some digging and asking around your local Weston Price Chapter, you may still be able to find some quality, local sources.

A great source of fat-soluble vitamins and other highly absorbable nutrients, dairy is certainly a nourishing food and if you tolerate it, there's no reason not to enjoy it.

2. White Potatoes


Who doesn’t love good old-fashioned mashed potatoes? People who are trying to go hardcore paleo, that’s who. While most folks following a paleo diet agree that sweet potatoes are the bees knees (does anyone know where that expression came from? Seriously, if you know tell me because it’s really silly...) white potatoes are treated like an unwanted stepchild. This despite the fact that white potatoes are at least as nutrient dense as their sweet, orange brethren. While sweet potatoes absolutely crush white potatoes when it comes to vitamin A, the rest of the nutrient profile is incredibly similar. In fact, white potatoes beat out sweet potatoes in several nutrients. They edge out sweet potatoes in things like vitamin K, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and choline, and blow them out of the boiling water in folate.

Another thing that might shock you is that white potatoes have less than half the amount of omega-6 and more than double the amount of omega-3. I wouldn’t rely on plant foods in general for essential fatty acids but no matter how you look at it, white potatoes have less PUFA (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) and that’s definitely a good thing. All of this while offering up the same amount of carbohydrates. That’s right, gram for gram, white potatoes have the same amount of carbs as sweet potatoes.

Carbs, of course, are not inherently evil. Chances are you would be okay, maybe even better off, by eating more carbs. That brings us to....

3. More Carbohydrates (fruit, ice cream and tacos, oh my)

The misconception that paleo means low-carb is still rampant within the community particularly with folks who are just starting out. As one memes succinctly sums up: “Paleo is not low-carb, it’s low crap!” I’ve seen too many people all but ruin their metabolism by being too low-carb for far too long. Low-Carb is a therapy, not a long term strategy for health. The body preferentially uses glucose for fuel and while you can certainly adapt to using fat for energy (AKA Ketosis), that process requires the stress hormone, cortisol. If you’re like most people, between your job, kids, exercise, taxes, and every other stress life throws your way, you have enough reasons for elevated cortisol. Don’t make your diet one of them.

Kick back and enjoy some of the finer things in life like fruit, ice cream... or tacos.

Speaking of tacos, don’t assume that all grains are bad just because they’ve been around less than 12,000 years (or 15,000 or 10,000 or 20,000 depending on which caveman you speak to). While I recommend soaking or even fermenting grains, simply cooking along with your own digestion will mitigate most of the so-called anti-nutrients in many grains. For example, most lectins fall apart during digestion and are pretty much harmless. That said, I don’t recommend grains be the focus of anyone’s diet, if for no other reason than from a nutrient density stand point, they’re really lame (to use a scientific term). There is, however, something to be said for simply enjoying your food. I consider happiness an essential nutrient and corn chips make me pretty darn happy.

4. Organ Meats

Before you stand up on your chair and yell at me that organ meats ARE paleo answer me this: When was the last time you had lamb liver, chicken hearts, beef tongue or fish eyes? While I’m sure several of you will be able to say it’s been less than a couple of weeks, I bet most of you can’t remember that last time you took part of some offal.

Of course if you eat a paleo diet, I don’t need to go into detail about why you should be eating more organ meats (but I will anyway). They are often called nature's multivitamins but actually, organ meats far better than your average multivitamin. That’s because unlike most synthetic vitamins, the nutrients found in organ meats are extremely bioavailable. Plus when you compare them to regular muscle meats, organs are far more densely packed with vitamins and minerals. Among them are the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and a variety of B vitamins including the essential B12. Organ meats contain a tremendous amount of minerals including magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, iron, copper and more.

If I had to choose just one food from this list for you to incorporate on a weekly basis, it would be organ meats.

5. Fermented Food

Once again, a food that is most definitely paleo that most people aren’t eating enough of. Fermented foods have a long list of benefits beyond introducing some beneficial bacteria into the gut. As a matter of fact, that might be the least of its benefits. Fermented foods improve digestion, helps to “tune” your immune system, can help heal intestinal permeability, help absorb nutrients from food, and fermenting can even increase the nutrients in a food.

It’s also really cheap! You can get 10 pounds of sauerkraut for like a buck. Okay, it’s not THAT cheap but if you make it yourself it’s pretty close to that. And before you complain that Kombucha is really expensive you should know that once you get a SCOBY (which is easy to make or cheap to get) you can make a gallon of the stuff for next to nothing.

Fermenting was the way our ancestors preserved food before they had refrigeration. Extract more nutrients + Makes food last longer = Save money!

6. Wild Game

Quite possibly the most paleo of all paleo foods, wild game is super healthy, really damn tasty and environmentally responsible. However, beside being the most obvious paleo-friendly food, it’s rarely talked about in paleoland. Since the animal is wild, it’s never been force-fed an unnatural diet of soy, corn or other GMOs. They’ve never been exposed to growth stimulants, antibiotics or the barbaric and sad reality of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This creates the healthiest and most natural meat available anywhere. It’s sustainable. Responsible hunters are harvesting a highly renewable resource.

With predatory animals declining, the overpopulation of animals like deer has proven to be problematic for local vegetation as well as the deer themselves. Deer often cannot survive harsh winters or they'll end up in urban areas where they have to deal with other unnatural things-- like humans driving cars. It’s also worth noting that much of the monies raised by hunting, through permits and licenses, go into conserving natural habitats of a wide range of wildlife. If hunting isn’t your thing, you may be able to find local hunters that will sell or barter for wild game.

In : Health 

Tags: paleo  wild game  6 foods 


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About Me

Joe Rignola, HHC, FDN Joe Rignola is an author, Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and Health Counselor. More importantly, I hate talking in the 3rd person. I'm really just a guy who took control of my own health and overcame several ailments including metabolic disorders, digestive issues, depression and ADD. Actually, my recovery from ADD however is questionable.