Paleo Cookbook For Dummies
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As you consider what's included in a Paleo diet, you might encounter some roadblocks in your thinking about healthy eating. You may have been sold the bill of goods that some popular foods are good for you — that you should have them as part of your daily plate. The problem with a lot of these foods is what they’re doing behind the scenes in your gut. When you eat a food that contains a lot of antinutrients (substances that inhibit your ability to absorb nutrients), things can go amuck in your system, causing inflammation and other problems.

Other foods, such as processed foods and certain sweeteners, are just too new for the human body to know what to do with from an evolutionary standpoint. Our bodies are simply not designed to eat these foods. This situation is not good for your cells and always spells trouble.


These foods are the reigning stars of antinutrients and are the cause of a lot of modern ailments. Grains supply you with energy (but no more energy than you can get from produce), but in return, they basically wreck your gut. Remember, your gut is the force behind your immunity and is responsible in large part for how you look and feel.

Here are the grains you need to say your parting words to.

Amaranth Quinoa
Barley Rice
Buckwheat Rye
Bulgur Sorghum
Corn Spelt
Millet Teff
Oats Wheat

Legumes and beans

Beans give you subpar protein, are rather starchy, and (most importantly) are super hard for most people to digest. What you do get from beans and legumes is fiber, but you can get just as much fiber from produce without all of the digestive hassle. Plus, fiber from produce floods your system with beneficial phytonutrients (plant nutrients). You can make an exception for certain legumes that are actually more pod than pea — snow peas, sugar snap peas, and green beans. Otherwise, restrict the following as much as possible.

Broad beans Navy beans
Garbanzo beans Peanuts and peanut butter
Kidney beans Peas
Lima beans Soybeans (tofu, tempeh, natto, soy sauce, miso, edamame, and soymilk)
Mung beans White beans

If you’re a vegetarian and eat no fish or eggs, you have to get some protein somewhere. In this case, you have to make an exception for beans. Choose lentils, black beans, pinto beans, and red beans because they have the lowest impact on blood sugar (and blood sugar spikes cause you to become unhealthy and overweight).

If you buy canned beans, rinse them with water a couple of times before eating. If you’re preparing dried beans, soak them for at least 12 hours before cooking. Rinsing and soaking remove the starch (and salt, if canned) and reduce the gassiness that beans cause for many people.

Bad fats

If you’re worried about heart disease, fats are where you need to pay attention. Not so much to all the “avoid full-fat foods” nonsense but to the fact that damaged fats and oils cause inflammation. Inflammation is the precursor for heart disease.

Make these fats dead to you.

Canola oil Rice bran oil
Corn oil Safflower oil
Cotton/cottonseed oil Soybean oil
Grapeseed oil Sunflower oil
Palm kernel oil Trans fats
Partially hydrogenated oil Vegetable shortening
Peanut oil


Soy is incredibly mucus producing. Mucus isn’t what you want in your gut — or anywhere in your body, for that matter. Here are some hidden words for processed soy.

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Soy protein
Lecithin Textured soy flour (TSF)
Monoglyceride and diglyceride Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Protein isolate Vegetable oil
Soya Vegetable fat
Soy isolate Vegetable protein

Be careful of frankenfoods (super-processed foods masquerading as “healthier” versions of common items). They’re the worst of the worst soy products.

Soymilk Veggie chicken wings
Tofu hot dogs Veggie loafs
Veggie bacon Veggie patties or boxed veggie burgers
Veggie chicken Veggie sausage links


Essentially, all carbohydrates are sugar, even the healthy carbohydrates. The point is to control the added sugar found in sweeteners. Sugars can cause big problems such as insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammation, cancer, decreased good cholesterol, and increased bad cholesterol. Sweeteners are also highly addictive, whether you’re aware of it or not.

If you do anything for yourself, try to reprogram your body to not reach for sugar or sugary carbohydrates. Go completely sugar free for 30 days without cheating. Thirty days lets you clean your body, get rid of weak, unhealthy cells, and build healthier cells for a stronger, more youthful body.

Dial into these sweeteners and added sugars, so you know what to avoid.

Agave Molasses
Aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal) Raw sugar
Brown sugar Rice syrup
Coconut sugar/coconut palm sugar Sucralose (Splenda)
Corn syrup Sugar cane
High fructose corn syrup White sugar
Maltodextrin All other packages, boxes, or packets of artificial sugars

Processed foods

Processed foods are damaging to your cells, so you need to say your goodbyes. Be cautious of any food in a package and by all means become label savvy. Here are sneaky food additives:

Anything “hydrolyzed” Glutamate
Artificial coloring Preservatives
Artificial sweeteners Soy protein
Emulsifiers Stabilizers
Flavor enhancers Yeast extract
Glazing agents

Monsosodium glutamate (MSG) is the salt of the amino acid called glutamate. MSG is immediately absorbed in your bloodstream, spiking our glutamate levels and potentially causing headaches, irritability, or anxiousness. The best way to avoid MSG is to avoid processed foods. When you buy packaged foods, look out for these codenames for MSG.

Anything hydrolyzed Magnesium glutamate
Any hydrolyzed protein Natrium glutamate
Autolyzed yeast Sodium caseinate
Calcium caseinate Textured protein
Calcium glutamate Yeast extract
Gelatin Yeast food
Monosodium glutamate Yeast nutrient
Monosodium glutamate

When you're reading a food label, five is the magic number. When you start getting past five or so ingredients, the rest are often preservatives, sugars, and other additives. Be careful of snacks, soft drinks, French fries, cured meats, candies, desserts, frozen foods, and fast foods where additives are frequently found.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Dr. Kellyann Petrucci is the coauthor of the health and lifestyle books Living Paleo For Dummies and Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies. She also created the successful kids' health and wellness program Superkids Wellness and the Paleo door-to-door home delivery food service Living Paleo Foods.

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