Good rule of thumb when shopping Paleo is to stay on the perimeter of the grocery store… meaning don’t go down the aisles. The good stuff is usually located along the perimeter – veggies, fruits, meats, seafood…
Foods to avoid…
1. Processed foods – boxed/canned!
2. Dairy -milk turns calves into Cows, right?
The reason dairy is not part of the paleo diet is because people did not eat dairy products before animals were domesticated. In my opinion, fresh dairy products from healthy animals (cow, goat or sheep) can be a beneficial addition to ones diet. But the problem with the majority of dairy products lining up supermarket shelves comes down to two factors; the over-all health of the animal and the processing factors.
The environment and living conditions that commercial cows are placed under is not one that promotes good health. They are kept in a confined individual cell on cement floors in an over-crowded building, forced to produce milk ten months of the year. The cows are fed a diet consisting of grains, corn and soy and are more often than not pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. An un-healthy cow cannot produce healthy milk, and considering the life span of commercial cows is 42 months (compared to 12-15 years of a pasture cow), the milk is defiantly anything but healthy.
Most dairy items we are able to purchase easily at supermarkets are heavily processed. The pasteurization of milk significantly denatures the milk proteins and kills beneficial enzymes and bacteria. This same process is associated with yogurt; but to make things worse yogurt will also contain high traces of added sugar.
3. Sugar (artificial sweeteners, agave, honey, stevia, etc)
The list of negative health effects sugar plays on the body is endless, not only is sugar nutrient deficient, but it also acts as an anti-nutrient inhibiting and draining nutrients from the body. Sugar is the leading cause of diabetes, weight gain, tooth decay, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and immune dysfunction.
With the addition of advanced food technologies, calorie-free sugars such as Aspartame, Equal and Splenda were created. These artificial sugars aren’t the solution to the negative health effects of refined sugars because they play their own roll in harming the body. Artificial sugars are made up of table sugar and modified with chemicals such as chlorine, they act as an toxin in the body which leads to the destruction of cells.
Grains contain anti-nutrients which interact with our bodies function, producing adverse toxic effects inhibiting nutrient absorption and attacking enzymes needed for digestion. Grains also contain lectin and gluten; both linked to inflammatory problems and digestive diseases such as leaky gut.
The Glycemic Index of grains is also much higher to that of un-processed fruits and vegetables. A consistent rise in blood glucose levels leads to many health concerns, including diabetes, weight gain and cardiovascular diseases.
5. Legumes (beans/peanuts/soybeans)
Legumes have a similar story to grains; they weren’t consumed by the paleo hunter-gatherer because they needed to be cooked in order to be edible. Legumes also have similar traits to grains in their make-up; they contain phytates which inhibit nutrient absorption and cause inflammation. They also contain lectins and play with healthy hormonal functions.
Don’t forget soybeans are also called edamame, and soy is found in most processed foods and in tofu.
Our bodies use fat in many ways, but one of the more essential uses of fats in the body is to create cell membranes. Consuming the wrong types of fats (i.e., trans-fats) will cause the membranes to be un-healthy and ultimately mal-function and die.
Types of oils to avoid on the paleo diet include supermarket oils such as canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.