Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3: Stocking Up, Paleo-Style

The key to success when making a pretty drastic lifestyle change, like switching to the Paleo diet, is to take some advice from the Boy Scouts: be prepared. 

If you are anything like me, you have "blown your diet" at one time or another (and another, and another) because in a moment of stress, or fatigue, or OMG could I just get a little help around here (#teens), you open the fridge or the pantry and there is nothing healthy to eat so nom, nom, nom JUNK!

The idea of stocking up on staples is certainly not new to me. I've read many articles and even downloaded "stock up lists" with the best of intentions, but have never quite gotten around to actually doing the shopping (that old follow-through problem again!). Frankly, it's always seemed a little overwhelming to me. Nothing a little 31 day challenge and accountability can't fix, though, right?

Check out Our Paleo Life for a full-size printable of this awesome graphic

Tip: If it seems overwhelming to you, too, or a tight budget is an issue, think of your Paleo pantry as a goal to work toward - you don't have to stock up on everything at once! Working from the list of things you need, add a manageable number of items to your shopping list each week, starting with the things you are most likely to use or know you need for your weekly menu.

Everybody's list is going to look a little different based on their personal goals and preferences. I am all about easy with a side of adventure, so my goal is to have a balance of ingredients I can use to make quick, healthy meals on busy days, and also some more "exotic" Paleo ingredients I am not yet familiar with so I can experiment with new recipes as well.

Since I am working toward a Paleo(ish) diet, you will see some items on my list that are not strict Paleo. Those items will be in bold. I also included some items that are recommended by other Paleo advocates but I don't consider necessary or don't suit my tastes (yet?). These items will be in italics.


  • Eggs (eggs are a Paleo breakfast staple, as well as a good snack when hard-boiled and a quick and easy option for dinner on "one of those" nights)
  • Bacon (everything's better with bacon - 'nuff said; aim for pasture-raised or at the very least, nitrate-free ~ oh, and bacon comes from pigs, not turkeys!)
  • Chicken (do yourself a favor and learn to roast whole chickens ~ pound for pound, whole chickens are cheaper than parts, so for the same price I can get free-range organic from a local farmer; also, learn to make bone broth from the carcass ~ it is healthy and delicious)
  • Ground Beef (I can get grass-fed from Trader Joe's at a good price, but if you can't get grass-fed, go with the leanest you can find and drain fat after cooking)
  • Pork Chops (if you can't get pasture-raised, get the leanest chops you can and trim all visible fat)
  • Ground Pork Breakfast Sausage (I use this in my Egg Muffins for a quick and yummy breakfast)
  • Canned Tuna in EVOO or Water
  • Shrimp (my "vegetarian" daughter will eat shrimp, tuna & some fish, technically making her a "pescatarian," which makes me happy, so this needs to land in my freezer more often)
  • Salmon (wild Alaskan salmon is the best ~ avoid farm-raised which is basically like feed-lot fish; so healthy and high in Omega-3 oils, I need to learn to cook this!)
  • Wild-caught Salmon in Cans or Pouches (I haven't been able to bring myself to try this yet!)
  • Jerky (good for snacks, but not on my list for now ~ be sure the only ingredients are meat and spices)
Fats & Oils
  • Coconut Oil: organic, extra-virgin, cold-pressed (very stable and great for high-heat cooking, reported to have lots of health benefits ~ I am still getting used to the flavor)
  • Lard/Bacon Fat (if you are cooking pasture-raised bacon, by all means save the fat; I have several pork fatbacks in my freezer I intend to render ~ remember, everything's better with bacon!)
  • Butter/Ghee (strict Paleo is dairy free, but IMHO whatever isn't better with bacon is better with butter! Clarifying butter removes the milk proteins and lactose. Always go with grass-fed ~ Kerrygold is a widely available brand)
  • Duck Fat (good for cooking ~ I've never tried this but hear it's yummy and worth the price)
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil (good for low-medium heat cooking as well as for dressings)
  • Palm Oil/Palm Shortening (I have never tried this, but it is suitable for high temperature cooking)
  • Avocado Oil, cold-pressed (very unstable, not suitable for cooking)
  • Sesame Oil, cold-pressed (very unstable, not suitable for cooking)
  • Walnut Oil, cold-pressed (very unstable, not suitable for cooking)
  • Olives (fun fact: I have loved black olives all my life, so much so that Santa always left a can in my stocking!)
  • Coconut Milk: organic, full-fat (I'm covered on this one ~ my mom got me a case for Christmas because yes, it was on my wishlist!)
Sauces, Broths & Flavorings
  • Vinegars (apple cider, balsamic, red wine)
  • Marinara Sauce (preferably with no added sugars or preservatives, or make your own ~ I am still working on giving up my Ragu addiction)
  • Tomato Sauce (preferably with no added sugars or preservatives ~ check labels! I was shocked at how hard it was to find plain ol' tomato sauce)
  • Tomato Paste (same as above)
  • Diced Tomatoes (same as above)
  • Chicken Stock (or, as I like to call it, liquid gold ~ make your own, anything from the store doesn't compare and is usually filled with crap)
  • Beef Broth (best to make your own)
  • Salsa (preferably with no added sugars or preservatives, good for so many things ~ except, eating with chips!)
  • Mustard (make sure it is gluten-free and sugar-free)
  • Hot Sauce (again, make sure it is gluten-free and sugar-free ~ they put that shit in everything!)
  • Herbs & Spices (whatever suits your taste...I can count on one hand the number of spices I use ~ this is on my list of things to experiment with!)
  • Sea Salt
  • Coconut aminos (soy and gluten free replacement for soy sauce - I've seen it at Whole Paycheck Foods, but haven't tried it yet ~ we don't use soy sauce very often)
  • Fish Sauce (Red Boat is the recommended brand, but I...just...can't)
Nuts, Butters & Seeds
  • Almonds, raw (it can be easy to overdo on nuts, especially when first transitioning to Paleo, so I like to buy them in individual serving bags from Trader Joes)
  • Coconut Butter (I buy shredded organic coconut and make my mom whip me up some butter in her Vitamix, which for some reason she refuses to share custody of with me)
  • Coconut, organic, unsweetened, shredded or flakes
  • Almond Butter (can also be made in Mom's Vitamix using blanched, slivered almonds)
  • Almonds, blanched, slivered
  • Justin's Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter (yes, this has sugar in it, but it is one of my guilty pleasures ~ again, I have no self-control, so I buy it in the individual serving packets)
  • Nuts, raw: hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios
  • Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, sunflower (be sure they are not roasted in some evil oil like canola or soy)
  • Sunflower Seed Butter (a great replacement for peanut butter, which is a Paleo no-no)
Fruits & Vegetables
  • Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • White Potatoes
  • White Rice
  • Lemons & limes
  • Avocado
  • Garlic (I buy it in the jar because I'm generally too lazy to dice it myself)
  • Spinach
  • Frozen Green Beans (I happen to love Trader Joe's frozen green beans, and they are available all year round, and I don't have to worry about them rotting in my crisper ~ not that that ever happens to me)
  • Beans (not Paleo, but a family favorite and one of the only things my kids will actually cook, so they stay!)
  • Zucchini
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Dried Cranberries (I am not big on dried fruit, but I add dried cranberries to my green beans, along with slivered almonds)
  • Whatever you like and want to have on hand!
Sweeteners & Treats
  • Honey, raw
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dark chocolate (the darker the better)
  • Larabars (date-based bars in yummy flavors ~ I can really only buy one or two at a time because...self-control issues)
  • Applesauce, unsweetened
Whew! That was a chore, but making this list has actually made me feel a lot better and more prepared to face the changes I am making. I hope it's been helpful to you, in Blogworld, so if my list doesn't work for you, you are sure to find one that does!

Tomorrow I plan to delve more into what I call the Paleo Spectrum and share a little more detail as to what my specific goals are and where I'd like to fall on that spectrum. I will also share some of the fantastic resources I have gathered over the past year of research into the "Caveman Diet."

1 comment:

  1. I've only heard very little about the paleo diet. But, it seems totally doable. I'm interested to read more of what you have to say about it.