9 Paleo Foods to Please Your Palate
Concerned that eating Paleo-style will become boring? No worries! Paleo foods are filled with texture and flavor — and these nine primal favorites are loaded with good stuff: vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; Paleo-approved proteins; squeaky-clean carbs; and healthy fats. Plus, these flavorful foods have the nutrient density (lots of nutrients relative to their calories) to give your body the deep nutrition it craves.
Organic, unsweetened coconut flakes
Coconut flakes are a Paleo staple. What's so great is that they're a super-good-for-you fat. They're delicious on their own or mixed with some nuts and a bit of dark chocolate. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top of food for rich flavor and some texture, especially sweet dishes like fruit (mango and pineapple are the best).
Coconut is a great wrinkle eraser. It has properties that heal the gut, and when your gut is healthy, your skin becomes radiant. It's better than any cosmetic cream you can buy in a jar.
Almond and coconut flours
To create Paleo-approved recipes for baked goods, granola-type products, and even breaded coatings, replace traditional flours and grains with almond and coconut flours. By doing so, you'll prevent the I-swallowed-a-bowling-ball feeling those grains can cause. Just because these flours make your treats Paleo-approved, however, doesn't give you license to load up on cookies and such regularly. Your Paleo template of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats should still be the rule, with Paleo treats as the exception.
Organic, full-fat coconut milk
Coconut milk is the meat of a coconut grated and squeezed to produce a milky product. It's perfect for replacing milk, yogurt, and cream in your Paleo diet. It's great in specialty dishes like curries, creamy sauces, or soups. Whip some up to create a blissful whipped cream for plopping over fruit. Add coconut milk to smoothies or drizzle it over berries for Paleo treats kids love.
Tip: Purchase organic, full-fat coconut milk. The organic stuff is healthier, and full-fat seems to work better in recipes. Always check the labels and avoid the brands with sulfites or sugar. Full-fat coconut milk is always sold in cans. With cans, you have to watch for BPA (Bisphenol A), which is a chemical used in consumer goods that has been linked to some pretty nasty stuff like cancer, infertility, diabetes, and heart disease.
Organic, pasture-raised bacon
There's nothing like the flavor or the crunch of a piece of bacon. Bacon appears in so many Paleo dishes — soups, stews, salads, wraps, seafood entrees, you name it — and can even be dipped in chocolate for a treat.
Here's what you need to keep in mind about bacon: It must come from a quality source. Get your bacon from an animal that was pasture-raised, and make sure the bacon contains very few other ingredients (no nitrates/nitrites, corn, wheat, or unnatural preservatives). Even better yet, go for bacon that contains no sugar.
Organic, cage-free eggs
Eggs are a Paleo staple that gives you flash protein (a quick protein option). Eggs are super-versatile and are nutritionally just about the perfect food. They're filled with vitamins, including biotin, and minerals such as choline, which helps move cholesterol through the body.
Remember: If you have an autoimmune condition such as eczema, psoriasis, asthma, lupus, MS, Crohn's disease, or Type 1 diabetes, eggs may irritate your gut and create a sensitivity. If you're experiencing symptoms or flare-ups of these conditions, try omitting eggs until you heal your gut by eating other nutritious Paleo foods first.
Before you say, "Yuck, organ meats," consider this: Paleo is about getting the deepest nutrition into your body in the most natural way. Organ meats are rich in protein, vitamins, and nutrients; liver, kidney, heart, and even tongue can provide you with a deep blast of serious nutrition.
Remember: Organ meats are an economical choice, but getting them from a pastured-raised — or at the very least, organically fed and antibiotic-free — animal is essential. The organs are what filter the pesticides out of the animal's body and can be quite toxic if you get them from a conventional source.
Bone broth is a superfood on steroids. It both heals acute problems such as infectious diseases and aids in the treatment of chronic problems such as cancer, diabetes, peptic ulcers, and more.
Some people become concerned about getting enough calcium when they go Paleo because they're ditching dairy. Bone broth, though, gives you a whole new dimension of calcium. You get calcium plus a whole lot of minerals. The bones provide ultra-healing collagen, as well.
Tip: Before you make add liquids, brown the soup bones in a skillet or hot oven to build the flavor. If you want, add some chard, kale, collard greens, or spinach — all of which are also loaded with calcium — to make a gut-pleasing, calcium-rich meal.
When you need dense carbs, sweet potatoes are such a comfortable place to go; they always taste great. You can dice them up in some beef or scrambled eggs, make them into a soup, or eat them on their own with some grass-fed butter or ghee. They're even sweet enough to make as a treat. So why are sweet potatoes okay but not white potatoes? Both have nutrients, but the peel of white potatoes contains a greater amount of antinutrients, which can create havoc in your gut and actually pull nutrients from your body.
The Paleo community has embraced sea vegetables (such as seaweeds and kelp), probably because they have tons of vitamins, essential fatty acids, and other natural antioxidants. They're particularly loaded with minerals, which every structure and function of the body depends on to function properly. Specifically, sea vegetables contain iodine, a trace mineral essential for healthy thyroid function.
Sea veggies taste kind of salty because they contain a balance of sodium and minerals from the sea, so they're a great replacement for salty snacks. You can also use them in dishes and as a garnish. Roasted seaweed, or nori, comes in snack-sized pieces (shown) and larger squares for making sushi.