Paleo Shopping List
Even if you feel like you’ve got your diet down, sometimes we get stuck in a rut of eating the same foods over and over. And while routine is actually a good thing when it comes to eating, we don’t want to get bored, or worse, miss out on key nutrients. That’s why a varied diet (just like varied movement!) is so important. Here are some of my favorite staples that I always keep our house stocked with:Protein
Shrimp & Shellfish Shrimp and shellfish are very high in iodine, a trace mineral that many of us are not getting enough of—especially if we use sea salt in lieu of iodized table salt. Shrimp cook super fast, and you can either sauté them or throw them on skewers on the barbecue. I like the frozen wild red shrimp at Trader Joe’s. I stockpile (I’m not joking, I currently have so many bags in our freezer it’s embarrassing) frozen langostinos from TJ’s as well. Langostinos are tiny little crawfish tails, with a lobster-like taste and consistency. They are already cooked, so you just defrost the bag and throw them into your salad with some capers and voilà, you have my favorite easy and delicious meal.
Grass-Fed Steak If you can track it down, grass-fed beef is a better option that conventional farmed beef because the cows eat what they are designed to eat—grass—as opposed to what farmers use to fatten them up, which is corn and soy feed. Since you are what you eat, and also what the food you eat ate, it’s a good idea to avoid eating animals that ate junk whenever you can. I found really good grass-fed sirloin steaks in the freezer at Trader Joe’s. They are vacuum-sealed, so just store a few in your freezer and then put one into the fridge the night before you want to make it for dinner.
Bison Burgers If you want to take things a step further, forget beef altogether and enter the world of wild game. Bison is naturally leaner than beef yet higher in protein. I get frozen bison burgers at Trader Joe’s and they are absolutely delicious. I have also seen frozen bison meat in other cuts at Sprouts, which is also a good resource for grass fed beef as well as other wild game like deer or elk. And if you are really feeling adventurous, I saw kangaroo meat at The Meat House in Costa Mesa!
Pastured Eggs Getting back to the idea that you are what your food eats, finding a good egg source is important. Don’t be fooled, “cage-free” chickens have limited access to the outdoors and eat a steady diet of corn and soy, with some flax seeds thrown in if you’re lucky. Pastured chickens are free to roam and eat greens and bugs like they are designed to, and their eggs have the deepest orange yolks you’ll ever see. If you don’t know a chicken farmer, you can get them at Mother’s Market. You can also get eggs there that aren’t fully pastured but that are “soy-free” with added omegas. Once you try either, you’ll be hard pressed to go back to your old yellow yokes.
Butter & Ghee Instead of poisoning your body with fake plastic fats like margarine or non-stick sprays, sauté your food in butter and you will never look back. Not only is it healthier, it’s downright delicious and makes pretty much everything taste better. Ghee is simply clarified butter that has the milk solids removed, so it is pure saturated fat and has a higher smoke point than butter. It is great for people who are sensitive to milk products, or for when you want to cook at a higher temperature. It has a wonderfully concentrated buttery flavor that I promise you will love.
Coconut Oil & Coconut Butter Coconut oil, like ghee, is pure saturated fat and can withstand very high heat when cooking. It imparts food with a subtle coconut flavor that is delicious without being overpowering—especially when cooking seafood. Make sure to get unrefined extra-virgin oil. Now, if you really want to have your mind blown, try coconut butter. It is simply whole coconut that is pulverized into a creamy paste, fiber and all. It is not designed for cooking, but rather as a treat straight from the jar. But I’m warning you, it’s super addictive! It’s like Paleo frosting, so if you have a hard time stopping the sugar train once you are on it, buy it in one serving packets instead of the jar like I do. You can find them at the juice bar counter at Mother’s, along with individual packets of coconut oil that are great for travel or when you are on the go.
Olive Oil & Olives We all know olive oil is super healthy, with its monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. What many people don’t know is that olive oil doesn’t do well when it is overheated, so I wouldn’t recommend cooking with it unless you use very low heat. Make sure you get a high quality cold-pressed extra-virgin oil, preferably unfiltered. There is a huge variance in quality of olive oils, so take time to source out a really good one and enjoy it drizzled over your salads and steamed vegetables. Whole olives also make a great snack or addition to a salad, and you can find entire olive bars at Whole Foods and other specialty grocers.
Avocado Oil Like olive oil, avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fat and the cold-pressed variety is rich in antioxidants, and it has a subtle flavor that lends itself nicely to salads. You can also find flavored versions in lime or garlic; I use the lime oil on my langostino salads and it is perfection.
Green Vegetables You know the drill: broccoli, asparagus, kale, green beans, and my personal favorite, Brussels sprouts. Step away from the carrots and eat your greens!
Cauliflower I think of cauliflower as a Paleo potato, because it’s so versatile and really hits the spot when you need something that feels carby but isn’t. Steam it, make it into a mash, make a “rice” with it, roast it, bake it, or just eat it raw when you want an easy and super crunchy snack. Google some of the many, many inventive Paleo recipes containing it you’ll be amazed what you will find.
Avocados All the goodness of the oil, but with a ton of fiber and a delicious creamy taste. I personally like to just half them and eat them out of their skin with a spoon.
Brazil Nuts Often overlooked or picked out of the nut mix, Brazil nuts are my favorite. They have an awesome crunch and texture and they are incredibly high in selenium, a trace mineral that’s become scarce in modern diets. Eat a few every day.
Berries Relatively low in sugar and high in fiber and antioxidants, berries are the best fruits you can eat. You can find frozen wild blueberries at TJ’s year-round, and they usually have fresh blackberries as well. Buy them; you’re worth it.
Apples Super portable and packed with pectin, an apple a day keeps the…
Goat Yogurt & Cheese Whether you include dairy at all depends on your body, but many people who don’t tolerate cow’s milk do well with goat products because the proteins and fats in goat milk are easier for some people to digest. Goats are also not mass-farmed the way cows are, so they aren’t pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, making them a purer source of food for us. Full fat goat yogurt is absolutely delicious, as is pretty much any goat cheese. You can also try feta made with sheep’s milk and real mozzarella made with buffalo milk.
Sparkling Water Flavored Perrier (I love the grapefruit) is nice when you are craving a drink and plain water isn’t cutting it. Ayala’s Herbal Water makes a Lemongrass-Mint-Vanilla sparkling water that is so good I can put it in a champagne coupe and enjoy a mocktail when I want something virgin, or mix it with a little vodka to make a clean and refreshing cocktail.
Coconut Flour If you want to make Paleo baked goods this is a must. You can also use it to coat shrimp that have been dredged in egg. Find it at Mother’s Market.
Dark Chocolate If you are going to eat chocolate (and I know I am) find a high-quality dark chocolate, 70% cacao or more. The higher the cacao content, the more antioxidants there are. Once you eat real chocolate, Hershey’s just tastes like wood. I love Dagoba’s beaucoup berries flavor, and Green & Black’s 85% dark.
Red Wine The heart wants what the heart wants… If you drink alcohol, you might as well imbibe some antioxidants and resveratrol too, which help combat aging.
Of course, this list is by no means meant to be all-inclusive. It’s simply a starting point for you to build your own personalized shopping plan. What healthy food do you love that wasn’t on my list of favorites? Post your comments to Facebook and let’s see if we can all add something new to our plates this week!