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Getting Started

July 21st, 2012
Paleo Food Pyramid

1) Clean out your pantry!  Get rid of all processed and packaged foods in your house. Get rid of all foods with a label, in a package, or in a can (with the exception of coconut milk). Throw out the sugar, sodas, candy, pasteurized milk, crackers, cookies, frozen dinners, soy foods and condiments. Avoid these toxic chemicals that find themselves in most modern foods:

  • Artificial Flavors
  • Artificial Colors
  • Aspartame
  • Protein Powders
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Preservatives
  • Nitrates and Nitrites
  • Refined Sugars
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Trans Fats
  • Vegetable Oils
  • White Flour
  • Additives
  • MSG


2) Change your fats! Consume and cook with the right kind of fats

Cook with QUALITY coconut oil, butter, ghee, animal fats, palm oil at high heats, olive oil for sautéing on low to medium heats (Splurge and get good quality fats/oils) MUST BE NON-HYDROGENATED.  It’s easiest to start your inventory coconut oil, whole butter and olive oil.

Fats and oils for cooking at high heat

Fats and oils for cooking at very low heat

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Macadamia Nut Oil
  • Make efforts to find these organic, unrefined and extra virgin

Fats and oils for consumption

  • Flax oil – (raw, unfiltered, organic) is high in omega 3s and great for salad dressings or on steamed veggies, never heat flax oil!
  • Avocados
  • Coconut milk – ok to add to soups, make sure nothing is added to it, get organic (Nature Valley is a good brand)
  • Nuts and seeds – try to get organic and raw when possible and soak before consumption to get rid of gut-irritating enzyme inhibitors


3) Buy GRASS-FED MEATS, WILD-CAUGHT FISH, & EGGS FROM CHICKENS RAISED ON PASTURE – You want meat from animals that have been raised on pasture to eat GRASSES not GRAINS. You want meat from animals that have not been given HORMONES or ANTIBIOTICS – Shop at local farmers markets for the BEST meat and eggs!! Here you can get grass-fed meat, pasture-raised chicken and eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Ask the farmer what they feed their animals. It doesn’t have to be “organic” if you are getting it from good source. – You can get GRASS-FED meat at Whole Foods – Buy WILD-CAUGHT FISH versus FARM-RAISED fish.  If you do not live close to a farmers market US Wellness Meats provides a great service delivering the highest quality meat to your door.

4) Fruits and Vegetables – With vegetables and fruits buy organic when possible at the grocery store to avoid PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES (they will wreak havoc on your body) – If you are shopping at the farmer’s market many farmers do not have the label of “organic” because they are a small farm and do not have the money to go through the certification process. Ask if they use HERBICIDES AND PESTICIDES. Most do not and it is a great source for fresh produce – Eat a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits…try a new vegetable and find a recipe on the internet.

5) Nuts and Seeds – Most nuts and seeds need to be soaked to get rid of gut-irritating enzyme inhibitors. Use this website to see how long to soak your nuts. You can dry them in the oven at your oven’s lowest temperature or in a dehydrator.

*Don’t go crazy on nuts if you are trying to lose weight or have digestive issues.

6)  Sweets – Eat sweets in moderation and when you do…make them at home.

  • Eat truly raw, unheated local honey
  • Use honey to sweeten tea and in place of sugar to make sweet treats
  • Use stevia for an alternate sweetener
  • Use figs and dates for baking
  • AVOID: aspartame, Splenda, Nutrisweet, Equal – these are neurotoxins and are very harmful to your body!

7) Dairy – AVOID all pasteurized and homogenized dairy. There are many people that do well and report health benefits from drinking RAW milk from grass-fed animals and fermented dairy, such as yogurt and kefir. This is NOT the dairy you find in the grocery store. We recommend removing dairy completely initially…at least for 30 days in order in order to create self-awareness about your own possible reactivity to it and get a baseline for how you feel. It would be wise to eliminate it entirely until acheiving weight loss goals.

***NOTE: People with autoimmune conditions may do better with removing butter, eggs, nuts, seeds, & nightshades.

Our best recommendation for people who are new to Paleo and want to reap the GREATEST rewards in the shortest period of time possible is to commit to our 30 Day Challenge. Go Here to start yours now!


Brenda Walding, DPT, FDN
Chad Walding, DPT

24 Responses

  1. southerninspiration says:

    Thanks, very helpful information. I was just thinking about good fats today!

  2. Cheryl Clark says:

    What do you do if you are allergic to coconut. I would love to go Paleo but it seems that this is such a big part of it.

    • Hey Cheryl…you don’t have to use coconut oil. There are many other options that would work fine for cooking at high heats such as whole real pasture butter, ghee, lard, tallow and palm oil. You can find most of these at a local natural grocery store. If you come across any recipes that call for coconut oil you can just sub in one of these and it will work just fine. Let us know if you have any questions…as with any change it takes some getting used to with breaking old habits but once you make the adjustments and start feeling and looking better it’s a very easy lifestyle to keep.

  3. Quiche says:

    Question…what do you eat for breakfast? If eggs may be a cause of auto-immune diseases? My osteopathic MD can’t figure out what is causing hives (that don’t itch-just red spots on the skin) and occasional joint inflammation. I am trying to be paleo, but breakfast is the hardest part for me, and I am going to give the 30 day challenge a serious run (and try to convince my husband, too!)

    • Quiche…We have the perfect post coming out in a few days about breakfast ideas (including ideas without eggs). I also could not have eggs for quite a while. I still cannot tolerate chicken eggs, but can do duck eggs without a problem. Not being able to eat eggs for breakfast is tricky when traveling. I occasionally eat my “go to” meal for breakfast when on the road. See the travel snacks post. Stay tuned for our post later this week! You can totally do this without eggs!

    • Dr Laura says:

      Generally, just taking the WHEAT out of your diet will cure that. A Paleo lifestyle will improve your life in ways you cannot even imagine.

    • Joyful says:

      Quiche, these symptoms sound like Arthritis. Many are unaware that a rash is a common symptom as is the inflammation. You might want to add Magnesium in higher doses along with some Vit D. There is much on the web about the effects of these. There can be an intracellular and muscles lose.of Mg++ and Vit D even when the labs are normal. The body compensates and releases these into the blood stream while depleting the muscles where Mg++ is stored.

      • QUICHE says:

        Actually, the joint Dr. diagnosed me with “Sweet Syndrome” along with a bad case of yersinia infection in my blood..from cured pork. No more pork for me!! I’ve been on doxycycline for 3 months and will be on it for at least 2months more. I also had feritin levels OFF THE CHARTS. I am pretty much wheat/gluen free..only eat veggies and protein but no pork.
        Still trying to figure it all out.

    • Kate says:

      I love cucumber slices layered with avocado, red onion and lox (make sure it’s wild caught, and read the label! some brands sneak in some weird stuff)for breakfast. Adding a bit of sour kraut (again, read the label! mm local is a great brand) can really add to the flavor profile, since capers tend to roll off.

  4. Georgia Rachal says:

    Im interested in going Vegan and Paleo but it seems daunting bc meat and eggs seem vital in Paleo and grains and beans seem vital in Vegan. AHHHH! Soooo confusing!

    • Georgia…I would have to ask why you are going vegan? We would not recommend you doing this if your goal is optimal health. Please do a little more research into this before going ahead with it, but ultimately it is up to you. By avoiding animal products entirely you will be robbing your body of VITAL nutrients it needs to grow, repair and sustain a healthy body. You would be lacking critical essential fats (EPA/DHA, saturated fats) which you need for a healthy brain, nervous system and hormones, as well as fat-soluble nutrients, amino acids, and B vitamins to name a few that are important in so many bodily functions.

      Here are some good video resources to look at, both from former vegetarians…

  5. kerry says:

    i would love to do this, it just seems a little out of my budget. i’m also one of the most uncreative kitchen challenged people, ever! any cookbooks available?

  6. Shelley says:

    I live in the north and we do have the opportunity to get local grown produce but then in winter only have our grocers to purchase from. my question is in regards to using a vegetable cleaner , the one I have is called natureclean, Its use is to clean the pesticides, etc from the fruits and veggies. I have noticed that after cleaning them the water is grey and the product looks very “healthy”. what are your thoughts?

  7. Elena says:

    Thanks for all this great info….I know September is long gone but I am ready to do the 30 Day challenge in November! Although I am essentially off grains, legumes and sugar, dairy has been a big stumbling block for me! I LOVE cheese, even though I know it does not love me back! I justified having it (in huge amounts!) in my diet because I was already having cream in my morning coffee–but having just discovered (and loving) bulletproof coffee, (which can actually keep me going til lunchtime!) I think I am ready to drop all dairy with the exception of grassfed butter! I am a 52 year old woman, menopausal, with about 70 lbs to lose….a hormonal challenge!

  8. joyce snow says:

    Hey Brenda and Chad; We are so excited about the Paleo lifestyle and are trying to learn as much as we can. What is a good brand/form of stevia to use? We have tried some of the white powdered forms in the past and they had a bitter aftertaste; could not stay with it. Thanks for all your hard work and research on this website…awesome information! Joyce and Bill

    • chad.walding says:

      Hey guys! Glad to here you are giving this a go! We find the liquid brands are always better. A brand we like to use is NuNaturals. Here is a link:

      Hope you guys are well, best of luck and always let us know if you have questions!


  9. J P says:

    Is it possible to go completely paleo for a pescatarian? The only meat I eat is seafood and eggs. Thanks.

  10. Ron Davis says:

    Opon first reading about the Paleo Diet my first thought was they renamed the ATKINS DIET. How do they differ??? R. Davis

    • brenda.walding says:

      Atkins is a low-carb weight loss program that focuses on adequate proteins and fats. There are some similarities to the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet also focuses on proteins and good fats, with getting carbs from things like vegetables and some fruits. However there are quite a few differences as well. The Paleo Diet is a low carb diet compared to the Standard American Diet, but isn’t necessarily low-carb depending on how you tweak it to individual needs. It seems from what I’ve read about the Atkins Diet puts less emphasis on quality of food and focus is more on the macronutrients. For example, things like salad dressings made with industrial vegetable seed oils are permitted and processed soy. The Paleo Diet focuses on nutrient-dense, whole foods…as close to nature as possible and quality is emphasized. For example, we talk about the importance of eating grass-fed, pasture-raised meat compared to conventional meat. There is quite a nutritional difference here. It also appears that Atkins allows whole grains, milk, cheese and legumes at various points in the program. These foods are not allowed on the Paleo Diet. Hope that helps!

  11. Kenna says:

    I am wondering if there is a decent Paleo plan for people who don’t love meat. Other than vegan.

  12. JOHNNY VERCHER says:

    Interested in firming up and losing weight ! My wife and I.

  13. Jodi says:

    So just wondering what if we can’t afford grass fed stuff like meet and dairy would just regular stuff work ? I am looking to get away from bread fried foods and sugar because I have to lower my cholesterol

    • Andi Petty says:

      The unfortunate reality in our society is that poor quality food is easier to afford and more accessible than high-quality food. While we do encourage you to buy the highest quality at all times, we understand that may not always be possible. When it comes to protein, if you can’t find or afford grass-fed/free-range we recommend you buy lean cuts. Grain-fed animals store their toxins in their fat so you will have less exposure to these toxins if you pick leaner cuts. For produce, google the “Dirty Dozen and Clean 15” list. This list will tell you the fruits and veggies you should definitely try to buy organic (‘dirty dozen’) and the ones you can get away buying non-organic (‘clean 15’). At all times, just remember to keep it simple. Construct every meal around a good source of protein (eggs, turkey, bacon, chicken, etc) vegetables (broccoli, squash, spinach, kale, etc) and a healthy fat source (avocado, walnuts, almonds, olive oil) and then mix up your combinations.

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