Your Paleo Guide: Myths Versus Facts

Paleo Grub Myth #1: “Almond Flour Is Not A Good Source Of Protein”

The truth is, there are many sources of protein. Almonds are one of them. They provide high quality proteins with no cholesterol or saturated fat. You can get your daily dose of protein from almonds without any problems.

You can even get some protein from nuts if you consume them in moderation. There are other types of seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seed and others which have similar nutritional value.

In fact, almonds contain less than half of the calories of peanuts (5 grams vs 11 grams) and they’re rich in vitamins like vitamin E and magnesium.

You can get the same amount of protein from 1/3 cup of cashews (120 calories), ½ cup of walnuts (110 calories) or ¼ cup of pecans (80 calories). These foods are all good sources of protein. However, when it comes to getting enough protein, nuts aren’t going to cut it. You need at least 2 cups per day.

That’s why you should eat meat and fish instead!

Paleo Grub Myth #2: “Seeds Should Be Avoided”

Nope, it’s not the truth. These little guys have a lot of nutrients and they are packed with energy. They are high in fiber which is good for digestion and weight loss (in moderate amounts of course).

As long as you don’t go overboard, you can enjoy sunflower, pumpkin and other seeds in paleo diet recipes. They’re delicious and nutritious. Make sure to soak and prepare them properly, because they contain certain compounds which can block nutrient absorption.

Paleo Grub Myth #3: “Grains Are Good For You”

You’ve probably heard of the term “complete protein”. This means that the food contains all 9 essential amino acids your body needs to function. Sources of complete proteins include meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Grains are not a source of complete proteins, however many paleo diet followers avoid them anyway.

Paleo experts claim that grains (especially wheat) cause inflammation and many negative health effects. One of the most interesting studies done on this subject was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture. They wanted to see if whole grains increased life span in monkeys. The results were surprising to say the least.

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The monkeys who ate whole grains died faster than the control group.

Other studies suggest that whole grains can have a significant effect on your blood sugar levels. This is especially true when you consume foods which are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber.

The bottom line is, you don’t need grains for a healthy diet. There are many other sources of nutrients and energy, so you can easily get rid of these foods and reach your goals.

Paleo Grub Myth #4: “Meat Is Bad For You”

Some people believe that if you eat too much meat, you’ll get all the nutrients you need, but not do enough physical activity to burn them all off. Since the human body can’t store many of the nutrients found in meats, it will hold onto the excess until it gets more. This leads to weight gain and obesity.

This isn’t true for everyone though. It really depends on how much you eat and your daily activity level. There is no scientific evidence that links meat with obesity. If anything, lean meats can actually help you lose weight (as long as you’re eating in moderation).

If you prefer to stay away from meat, you may want to add more fruits and vegetables instead. This has been shown to have a positive effect on your overall health. It’s especially good for keeping your digestive system running well.

Paleo Grub Myth #5: “Paleo Is Too Hard”

Many people get overwhelmed by the idea of changing their entire diet overnight, especially if some of those changes are pretty radical. It’s easy to panic when you think about all the things you need to cut out at once. It’s best to do it gradually or you’re just going to give up.

Making one small change at a time can really help you adjust. For example, if you usually eat two pieces of toast with jam for breakfast, switch to one piece of toast and keep the jam. The next day, have just half a piece of toast and keep the jam. Keep doing this until you reach your goal of eating toast without any jam at all.

Make changes like this with everything that you eat or do. Instead of eating fried chicken, try grilled chicken. Instead of regular potato chips, try chips made from sweet potatoes or squash. Drink more water than soda.

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Each change you make is another step towards getting used to your new lifestyle.

These are just a few of the many paleo diet myths floating around out there. By dispelling some of these rumors, you can feel more positive about making the switch. Remember that you don’t have to go “cold turkey”. You can make your switch all at once or you can do it gradually.

The important thing is that you stick with it!

Paleo Grub: What To Expect On A Paleo Diet

In this next section, you’re going to learn about the types of food that you can expect to eat on a paleo diet. This includes both foods that are encouraged and ones that are forbidden. Let’s start with the good stuff first.

The Paleo Diet Food List

Here are some of the types of food you can expect to eat or at least have an option of eating on a paleo diet:

Meats: This one is pretty obvious. While there aren’t any specific meats that are off limits, there are some that are better than others. Lean meats are encouraged since they have lots of protein and aren’t very calorie dense. This means that they’ll fill you up without contributing much to your daily fat allowance.

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Some examples of lean meats are game meats, lean beef, turkey, and chicken.

Fish: Fish are a great source of lean protein and other nutrients, such as vitamin D, iodine, selenium, and magnesium. The best paleo fish choices include mackerel (but avoid the tuna family), salmon (all types), sardines, herring, and trout.

Eggs: Most people know that eggs are a good source of protein (and other nutrients), but they’re especially good for the paleo diet because they’re so versatile. You can fry them, scramble them, cook them in omelets, or even use them as a breading for other foods.

Meat Substitutes: Legumes are not allowed on the paleo diet, but there are meat substitutes that work just as well. This includes products like veggie burgers, soy hot dogs, mushroom patties, and more.

Fruits: Contrary to popular belief the paleo diet does allow fruit in moderation. This is because our hunter and gatherer ancestors would have eaten fruits during the seasonal times they were available. Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They can also help satisfy sweet cravings and are much more appetizing than a glass of orange juice or a lollipop.

Eat fruits in their natural state whenever possible since these have less of their natural sugars has been filtered out. Some examples of paleo fruits are apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, kiwi, grapes, and plums.

Vegetables: Just like fruits, vegetables are a Paleo Diet food. While there aren’t any veggies that are off limits, there are some that are higher in nutritional value than others. Strive to eat more of these since they contain the vitamins and minerals you need. Examples of these highly nutritious vegetables include kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, peppers, onions, garlic, cucumbers, and asparagus.

Nuts: Nuts are allowed on the paleo diet, but they’re a bit calorie dense and easy to overeat. Since they’re so delicious you might snack on them more than you should. Still, they have lots of nutrients and provide healthy fat that can keep you full. The best types of paleo nuts include macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds.

Seeds: Like nuts, seeds are allowed on the paleo diet. They’re also very nutrient dense and add a nice crunch to any meal. The best types of paleo seeds are pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and flax.

Fats and Oils: Unlike other diets, the paleo diet doesn’t ban any type of fat or oil. Instead, you’re encouraged to use them since they come from natural sources and are highly nutritious. Good examples include canola oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, lard, and fish oil.

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Condiments: You might be wondering if you can still have your mustard, ketchup, and other sauces if you’re following the paleo diet. The answer is yes, but there are limitations. For instance, ketchup is out since it contains lots of sugar. Mustard is okay since it’s mostly water and vinegar with a bit of spice.

Drinks: Water is the best drink for you, but coffee and tea are allowed in moderation since they have antioxidants. This means that while soda and alcoholic beverages aren’t off limits, you should avoid them since they’re high in sugar or other additives.

As you can see, the paleo diet isn’t as restrictive as it first seems. While it does require some label reading and number counting, most of us do that already when we look at the nutritional information on the back of a package. By doing this, you’ll be able to eat healthier, boost your energy levels, and lose weight if you need to. Just remember that you don’t have to follow every rule perfectly.

Even the most dedicated CrossFit enthusiast or marathon runner eats a cookie every once in a while. The key is to eat real food that’s as close to its natural state as possible whenever you can.

What Can I Eat on the Paleo Diet?

As we’ve seen, the paleo diet encourages you to eat foods that are high in fiber and nutrients and low in chemicals and sugar. It also contains lots of lean proteins and healthy fats. Once you get used to eating this way, you’ll find there are plenty of paleo diet food options available to you.

Fruits and vegetables: While fruits have natural sugars, they also have lots of fiber and nutrients that you need to stay healthy. Lots of paleo eaters eat as many vegetables as they want since they don’t have any dietary carbs or sugars.

Meats and protein: Meats like beef, chicken, and lamb are allowed on the paleo diet as long as they’re organic and free range. Fish is also a good source of lean protein.

Nuts and seeds: Nuts like almonds, pecans, and pistachios are rich in minerals and good fats. They also have protein for added energy. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are other good choices with plenty of magnesium and selenium.

Olive oil and coconut oil: These oils are full of healthy fats that help your body absorb nutrients. Olive oil is more expensive, but it tastes better and has more health benefits.

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Grains and starches: The catch here is that you need to eat whole grains and starches since the refined ones like those in white bread, cakes, and pastries are off limits. Brown rice, quinoa, and barley are all good sources of carbs that give your body energy. Sweet potatoes and yams are also nutritious and delicious.

Healthy drinks: Water is the best drink for you since it’s calorie free. Herbal tea is another good choice since it’s natural and has antioxidants.

How to Start the Paleo Diet: 7 Days of Paleo Meals

Spending your Sunday in the kitchen can be a drag, but if you’ve got the right paleo recipes, it doesn’t have to be a chore. When you’re following the paleo diet, you don’t have to give up great-tasting food.

On the first day of your paleo diet plan, you’ll learn how easy it can be to create deliciously fresh meals with paleo ingredients. Each recipe is made with ingredients you can find at your local grocery store, so it won’t break the bank or force you to go on an expedition to a specialty store. Easy substitutes for ingredients you don’t have on hand are also included in these recipes.

1. Spicy Stir-Fried Pork

This paleo recipe takes less than ten minutes to make, and it has over 2 grams of fiber and 23 grams of protein per serving! If you’re not a lover of pork, feel free to substitute chicken or shrimp.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

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2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/2 cup of broccoli florets

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

1 lb. of pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized strips

1/2 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes, or to taste

1/2 tablespoon of fresh ginger, grated

1/4 cup of chicken broth

Salt to taste

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Directions: In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute or until golden brown. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for 5 more minutes.

Move the vegetables to the side, then add the pork in the middle of the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the pork starts to brown. Stir in the pepper flakes and ginger. Cook and stir for 30 seconds more, then add the chicken broth. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. Add salt to taste and serve hot.

2. Cinnamon Apple Crepes

Crepes are a fun and easy meal for a weekend morning. They’re also pretty easy to make paleo by using coconut milk instead of dairy and honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar. This recipe also includes cinnamon, which studies have shown has health benefits like lowering blood sugar levels and reducing cholesterol.

Ingredients:

1 cup of almond milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 teaspoon of salt

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1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of coconut flour

2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, more for cooking crepes in a pan

1 apple, thinly sliced (Granny Smith apples are lowest in sugar)

Sweetener of choice (Stevia and Coconut Palm Sugar both work well)

Directions: Combine the almond milk, eggs, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl or measuring cup. Slowly add the coconut flour while whisking to create a smooth batter. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes. Place a skillet over medium heat and grease with coconut oil.

Add about 1/4 cup of batter to the pan and swirl to thinly cover the bottom. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add a few apple slices, gently stirring them into the batter. Cook for another minute or until the bottom is lightly browned and the edges start to crispy and lift up from the pan. Add a little more oil if necessary, then carefully fold the crepe in half with a spatula and slide out onto a plate.

3. Sun-Dried Tomato and Pepperoni Chicken

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Sun-dried tomatoes add great flavor to this chicken recipe. If you’re cooking for a dinner party or special occasion, this dish looks especially nice served on a bed of lightly sauteed spinach. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat, so be prepared to make a lot!

Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tbs. coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

3 tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 tbs. tomato paste

1 tbs. honey (or more to taste)

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. dried basil

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1/2 tsp. dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

12 slices of pepperoni (regular or turkey)

Directions: Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients except the chicken and pepperoni. Add the chicken to the sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. When ready to cook, set the oven to broil.

Place the chicken and marinade in a glass baking dish or broiler-safe skillet. Arrange 6 pepperoni on top of the chicken, then place under the broiler. Watch carefully and broil until the pepperoni starts to bubble and becomes crisp.

4. Caramelized Pear and Prosciutto Salad

This is a great recipe for fall when pears are in season. It’s also hearty enough to serve as a main course.

Ingredients:

2 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled candied ginger

1 tbs. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

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6 slices prosciutto (or more if desired), sliced in half lengthwise and then into strips 2 inches long

2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar

3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 head butter lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar until the brown sugar is dissolved. While whisking, drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Add the pears, candied ginger, and nuts (if using) and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place 3 lettuce leaves on each plate. Arrange the pear mixture, prosciutto, and shaved Parmesan (if using) on each bed of lettuce.

5. Curried Lentils with Carrots & Red Peppers

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This is a hearty and warming vegetarian main dish that’s ready in less than an hour. Simply prepare the ingredients, throw it all in the pot, and you’re done. Serve with a slice of toasted whole grain bread slathered with coconut oil butter.

1/2 cup of green, brown or red lentils

1 large carrot, shredded

1/4 cup minced red onion

1/2 cup water

1 tbs. red curry paste

1 cup vegetable broth or stock

2 tsp. rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tsp. coconut sugar

1/2 tsp. sea salt or to taste

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch matchsticks

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1 tsp. minced fresh parsley (garnish)

Directions: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the lentils, carrot, onion and water. Bring to a boil. Add curry paste, stir well and reduce heat to low.

Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in the bell pepper.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir and serve, garnished with parsley.

6. Pasta & Greens

This is a classic meal that’s easy to prepare and can be adapted in endless ways based on what you have in your refrigerator or pantry.

Ingredients:

8 oz. gluten-free pasta of choice (I like brown rice fusilli)

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1 bunch swiss chard, tough ribs removed, thinly sliced

1 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks or spiralized

2 tbs. melted coconut oil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions, adding the Swiss chard to the boiling water in the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the zucchini, coconut oil, garlic powder, dried oregano, and black pepper. Toss well to combine. Add the Parmesan (if using) and serve.

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7. Sweet Potato Pie

This is a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional pumpkin pie! It’s also much easier to make than traditional pumpkin pie, since you don’t have to bother peeling and cooking a separate pumpkin.

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, baked and flesh mashed (about 2 cups)

2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (eyeball it)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (eyeball it)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1 large egg, beaten

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1 9-inch Whole Wheat Pie Crust (recipe here), prebaked

Directions: Heat the oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, mash the sweet potato flesh and add the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

Sources & references used in this article:

8 Stupid Nutrition Myths–Do You Still Fall For One? by BT Basics, YGTAS Back – rudymawer.com

Practical Paleo, (Updated and Expanded): A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle by D Sanfilippo – 2016 – books.google.com

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo: Discover the Health and Weight Loss Benefits of Eating Like Our Ancestors by J Glaspey, N Quinn – 2012 – books.google.com

AARP The paleo diet revised: Lose weight and get healthy by eating the foods you were designed to eat by L Cordain – 2012 – books.google.com

The complete guide to fasting: heal your body through intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting by J Moore, J Fung – 2016 – books.google.com

Your Personal Paleo Diet: Feel and look great by eating the foods that are ideal for your body by C Kresser – 2013 – books.google.com

Paleo Cleanse: 30 Days of Ancestral Eating to Detox, Drop Pounds, Supercharge Your Health and Transition Into a Primal Lifestyle by C Carboni, M Van Dover – 2014 – books.google.com

10 Low Carb Vegetables Every Ketogenic Dieter Must Know by BT Basics, YGTAS Back – rudymawer.com