Paleo Essentials – Getting Started With The Paleo Diet

Starting paleo? Cleaning up your diet? Want to start cooking from home more often?

I have narrowed down a list of all the goodies, gadgets and guiding logical thoughts you should keep within hand and mental reach.

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{Most of these foods you can keep in the freezer. I have a tendency to over-stock and freeze; that way, I’m only a thaw-away instead of a drive-away from a healthy home-cooked meal.}


  • Kale (baby kale, dino kale, curly kale … whatever strikes your fancy)
  • Collard Greens (great for lunch wraps)
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Mixed Greens
  • Tomatoes (okay you’re right … they’re actually a fruit)
  • Yellow Onions
  • Fresh Garlic (I occasionally cheat with the pre-minced in a jar)
  • Fresh Cilantro/Parsley
  • Bell Peppers
  • Snack Veggies (like cucumbers, carrots, and celery)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Beets


  • Chicken Breasts (or tenders)
  • Whole Chickens/Turkeys (great for roasting and eating off all week)
  • Fresh Eggs
  • Egg Whites
  • Fresh Turkey from Deli
  • Ground Beef or Turkey
  • BACON (read the label and avoid those sweetened with HFCS)
  • Gluten-Free Sausage
  • Beef or Pork Steaks

Nuts & Seeds:

  • Almonds
  • Almond Butter
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds (buy in bulk, NOT in a jar by the seasonings)
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • {any other seed or nut imaginable EXCEPT peanuts}


{Use berries as your default fruit and all others as a treat.}

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • {any other fruit imaginable}
  • Lemons (you will use fresh lemon juice for SO much)


  • Almond Meal
  • Coconut Flour
  • Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • Arrowroot Starch (paleo-friendly thickener)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk (found in a can on the Asian isle)
  • Grass-Fed, Non-Homogenized Yogurt
  • Mustard (I like spicy horseradish mustard)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper (in a pepper grinder)
  • Spices (chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, steak seasoning, etc.)
  • Sriracha (not paleo but totally acceptable in my book)
  • Wine! (why not? keep a few bottles of your favorite red and white on hand for a treat when you need it)
  • Dark Chocolate (preferably 70% or higher – for an occasional treat)
  • Honey (borderline paleo but acceptable in moderation)

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Thinking logically and critically about your food is important. If I could draw you a logical food pyramid (don’t get me started), it would have vegetables on the bottom as your #1 food source, protein/fruit next at #2/3, fats just above at #4, and the top and tiniest part of the pyramid, at #5, would include grains, dairy, sugar, and processed foods.

Simple, easy to remember, food logic:

  1. Over half of your meal should consist of vegetables.
  2. A serving of meat should not be larger than your fist.
  3. Carbs aren’t evil.
  4. Healthy fats (found in nuts, seeds, meats) are necessary for life.
  5. Calorie counting can mislead you.
  6. Even though considered “paleo/clean,” eat fruits and nuts in moderation.
  7. Drink water.
  8. Your daily water intake (in ounces) should = your weight {divided by} 2
  9. There’s no such thing as diet that works for everyone.
  10. Don’t jump off the healthy lifestyle bandwagon just because you ate a frozen snickers bar (and washed it down with a frosty beer) at the golf course.

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Staying positive is KEY to a clean/paleo/healthy lifestyle kitchen.

  • If an experimental dish bombs, laugh it off.
  • If you’re out of basic ingredients, stay positive and put on your creative hat.
  • If your family is reluctant to give up their old way of eating, “oohh” and “ahh” over your new tastier version. Like babies, they’ll soon beg for a bite.

Remember to have fun and love the journey. You’ll find your own groove in no time.