Here we are going to list the best paleo diet foods and foods to eat frequently. We also take a look at foods to avoid and this also should be valid for most people, regardless of your Ayurvedic body type.
Best Paleo Diet Foods To Eat Frequently
The following are some paleo diet foods to eat frequently, as at least four to five days per week.
Meat and poultry: Grass-fed, organic, and/or pasture-raised meats and free-range poultry, including organ meats such as liver, at least once per week.
Fish: Wild-caught oily fish, especially salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel, for a total of a pound per week.
Bone Broth: Bone broth is rich in minerals, amino acids, and gelatin, which are all very healing for the gut.
Sprouts: Sprouts such as clover, alfalfa, or broccoli sprouts offer a cornucopia of different nutrients and phytochemicals. Consuming them often can be highly beneficial. Bean sprouts are less nutrient-dense.
Tea: Green, black, or white teas, all are great sources of antioxidants and other phytochemicals.
If you prefer, coffee is an acceptable alternative (preferably with full-fat cream). Another benefit of tea is that it provides an astringent taste according to Ayurveda, which as we discussed is often missing from modern diets.
Chocolate: Aim for a minimum of 70 % cocoa. Dark chocolate contains magnesium and zinc and is a rich source of polyphenols, which are beneficial for cardiovascular health and antioxidant status. Consume up to two ounces per day.
If you’d like to learn more about this Ayurvedic approach to food and the PaleoVedic Diet, check out Dr. Akil Palanisamy’s course below. Let’s look at some more favorable paleo diet foods.
Fish Oil: Fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is beneficial if you are not able to eat the recommended one pound of fish per week (or even if you are!).
It is processed at cold temperatures, prepared in a traditional fermentation process, and rich in vitamins A and D, in addition to containing omega-3 fatty acids. It is rich in vitamin K2, which is important for cardiovascular health.
Because this is a food, it is safe for long-term use, unlike fish oil supplements. It is available in either capsule or liquid form—I enjoy the cinnamon flavor FCLO from Green Pastures.
Seasonings: Make liberal use of spices wherever you can! Other seasonings that are beneficial for digestion include apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and green onions. A good substitute for soy sauce that I use is coconut-based alternative Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos.
Pickled ginger: Ginger has an astonishing array of health benefits, and is especially good quieting inflammation, which is the root cause of most modern diseases. In pickled form, it has the additional benefits of fermented food.
Beets: Both the roots and the greens are incredibly nutritious. Beet greens, the leafy tops of beets, are the richest food source of betaine (also known as trimethylglycine), which helps your body to detoxify by supporting methylation and Phase 2 liver detox pathways.
Beet greens are one of the most powerful unheralded superfoods that can aid in detoxification. If you have a history of oxalate kidney stones, use caution with beets as they are high in oxalates.
Therefore I recommend that you try to consume pickled ginger daily. You might know pickled ginger from sushi restaurants. While this is available in Asian markets, it usually has synthetic food dye to give it that familiar pink color.
Natural markets typically have pickled ginger without artificial colors or preservatives. As a condiment, enjoy two or three pieces with meals as often as you like.
There is no restriction for Vata and Kapha body types, who will benefit from the warming, stimulating properties of ginger. Pitta types should only have it occasionally because excess ginger can be excessively heating for them.
Let’s look at some more paleo diet foods that might be suitable for some people.
Foods to Eat Frequently for Some People
up to Four to Five Days per Week These are gray-area foods that some people do not tolerate but others thrive on. You can consume these foods frequently if you tolerate them well.
Dairy products: I recommend only full-fat dairy products like yogurt, kefir, and cheese. Avoid low-fat dairy products because of the increased risk of health problems as we discussed in the text. Butter and ghee are also excellent options.
Legumes: This includes all types of beans, lentils, dhal, chickpeas, and other legumes except peanuts. Legumes should be properly prepared by soaking overnight, sprouting, and/or fermenting before they are cooked.
Nuts and seeds: All nuts and seeds except peanuts. Choices include almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseeds, etc.
Macadamia nuts and almonds are excellent choices because they are low in omega-6 fats. Nut-butters are acceptable as well. If you have difficulty digesting nuts, you can soak or sprout them.
Grains: Gluten-free grains like white rice, quinoa, millet, wild rice, amaranth, buckwheat, teff, and arrowroot as well as products made from these grains are acceptable if you tolerate them well. Ayurveda does not recommend brown rice because it is difficult to digest.
Foods to Eat Rarely (Once a Week or Less Frequently)
Corn: The great majority of corn is genetically modified, nutrient-poor, and also excessively high in carbohydrates and sugar.
Typically corn is processed heavily before entering the food supply. An occasional corn taco made from organic stone-ground whole cornmeal would be acceptable.
Soy: The only type of soy that I recommend eating is fermented soy like natto (an incredible source of vitamin K2) or miso.
If you can tolerate natto, you only need to eat it once or twice per week to get its health benefits. Technically, tofu and tempeh are also fermented, but I do not recommend regular consumption unless you are vegetarian.
Peanuts: One of my Ayurvedic mentors, Dr. Vasant Lad, used to say “peanuts are poison.”
While Ayurveda has a favorable view of most nuts and seeds, it has a decidedly negative attitude toward peanuts (which are legumes and not really nuts anyway).
peanuts are highly allergenic, often genetically modified, and have a less favorable fatty-acid profile than other nuts, so it’s generally best to avoid them most of the time
Sweeteners: Occasional sweets made with natural sweeteners like raw honey, molasses, maple syrup, or stevia are acceptable.
Avoid white sugar and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), or acesulfame potassium, because these actually promote weight gain, negatively impact your microbiome, and have other harmful effects.1
Tailor Your Paleo Diet Foods According To Your Dosha
Use your Ayurvedic body type to further customize and individualize your optimal diet.
How Much to Eat
I do not believe in recommending a certain number of calories for each person. The “calories in/calories out” model of obesity has been clearly disproven.
What really matters is the quality of the food that you are consuming. Calorie requirements vary widely based on genetics, metabolism, activity level, and other factors. Ayurveda does not recommend tracking calories, and I strongly agree with this approach.
The important recommendation is to eat until you are about two-thirds full. To use a simple example, if three portions of food would make you full, then eat two portions. It is important to learn to pay attention to signals of satiety and fullness if you are not doing so already. Ayurveda does offer general guidelines for portion sizes.
Portion Size for Meals
Two handfuls of non-starchy vegetables per meal—the amount you would get if you cupped your hands and fingers together. This is the most important part of your diet and should be the foundation of every meal.
One handful of starchy vegetables like root vegetables (sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, etc.) or healthy grains like white rice per meal.
One palm-sized portion of protein like meat, fish, or legumes, equivalent approximately to the surface area and thickness of your palm.
Good fats such as ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. may be incorporated liberally depending on your body type—no restrictions for vata, moderate intake for Pitta, and minimal or reduced intake for Kapha.
If you’d like to learn more about this Ayurvedic approach to food and the PaleoVedic Diet, check out Dr. Akil Palanisamy’s course below.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before incorporating the above-mentioned paleo diet foods or any other Ayurvedic dietary recommendations mentioned in this article.
This article is sourced with excerpts from Dr. Akil Palanisamy’s course on The Ayurveda Experience. Content reproduced with permission.
- Yang, Qing. “Gain Weight by ‘Going Diet?” Artificial Sweeteners and the Neurobiology of Sugar Cravings: Neuroscience 2010.” The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, YJBM, June 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/.