One of the most popular diets today to help people lose weight is the Paleo Diet. This is the oldest diet in the history of human-kind, in fact the Paleo Diet is really not a diet at all, rather it is the way out prehistoric cousins ate about a million and a half years ago during the Paleolithic period, hence the name – Paleo Diet.
The key to the Paleo Diet is eliminating grains, dairy products, processed foods, refined sugar, fat and trans-fats, and only eating fruits, vegetables, meat and fish that are found naturally on the Earth – not in a laboratory.
You can easily modify many recipes to conform to meet the definition of a Paleo Diet recipe.
Wheat and grain products were introduced into the human diet about 10,000 years ago when farming and agriculture were developed. Although wheat and grain comes from the earth, it can’t be consumed by humans until it processed, and so it doesn’t conform to the Paleo Diet. A great alternative to wheat flour is Almond Flour.
You can buy it at the grocery store for about $11 per pound or just buy a 3-5 Lb bag of roasted almonds at Costco and grind it yourself. This will drop your per pound cost from $11 to about $5. That’s what I do, and it takes all of about 5 mins in a food processor. Just grind the almonds until smooth texture, no water or oil needed. Replace as needed when a recipe calls for wheat flour.
Note: Since almond flour does not contain gluten, which is also a no-no in the Paleo Diet, it doesn’t work well for breads or other foods that need to rise in the oven.
Dairy products are verboten (forbidden) in the Paleo Diet. Cows and goats were not domesticated for human use in the Paleolithic period, and also the high sugar and fat content in most milk doesn’t pass the Paleo test. What to do? You can replace almond milk for any recipe that calls for milk.
Soy products are out on the Paleo Diet, so soy milk is also out.
Many traditional dairy products, such as sour cream, yogurt, and butter are available in non-dairy versions that are compatible for paleo recipes.
We use almond milk, since it is usually just almonds and water. You can find dairy and non-dairy versions at most grocery stores. How can water and almonds be dairy you ask? This goes to Jewish Kosher dietary laws. Many producers of almond milk also produce milk from cows and goats, and unless the producers properly clean and sterilize the equipment between dairy and non-dairy products, the almond milk must be labeled as dairy. If you do not keep kosher, most almond milk would fall into the non-dairy – vegan category.
Unfortunately, most condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, salt, sugar and mustard found in your grocery store are highly processes, and such are not suitable for making paleo recipes.
If you don’t use too much I won’t tell, but did you know you can easily make paleo versions of almost any condiment. They taste almost identical to the non-paleo versions we grew up with, and they are so much healthier since they don’t contain unhealthy ingredients, mainly high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats and processed sugar.
Popular paleo-compliant alternatives for processed sugar are honey and agave syrup.
Unfortunately, salt requires processing, but is critical for humans to have in their diet. Most salt products are highly processed. The paleo compliant salt is called Celtic Salt. It is lightly processed and is considered healthier than iodized salt.