Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Paleo Diet: Tips for Eating Out

Imagine if you had a home chef who would cook every single meal for you, make it delicious, and also keep it 100% Paleo…

Would you ever fail to eat completely healthy and Paleo food in that situation?

But of course, most of us don’t have a personal chef (I certainly don’t), and because of that, we often end up eating out. A LOT.

Over 40% of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant at least once per week. And that’s just fast food – not even counting regular restaurants which are rarely healthier or more Paleo. And if you weren’t worried enough about American eating habits, over 10 billion donuts are consumed every year.

Eating Out is Not Inevitable…

I haven’t mentioned this on the blog or on YouTube, but I actually haven’t eaten out in over 5 weeks.

That may not seem amazing to many of you, but I live in New York City right now, and eating out (or at least ordering in) is the norm here. I’m betting that my friends cook less than twice per week.

Still, Louise and I made a conscious decision to not eat out for a while just because we realized how problematic it was getting for us. Among other things, it’s almost impossible to avoid Omega-6 cooking oils.

But It’s Sometimes Necessary
Now…we’re not going to avoid eating out forever. Lately, we’ve been inviting friends to dinner at our place more, but we know we’ll eat out in the future.

Eating out is a big social occasion, and we don’t want to avoid hanging out with friends just because we’re stricter with our health.

So first of all, I’ve got a video for you…in which I cover 4 Awesome Ways to Make Eating Out Healthier and More Paleo

Tips for Eating Out Like a Paleo Pro

By the way, I’ve also got an ebook that I’ll post here very soon that covers this topic in a lot more depth, as well as tips for eating while traveling. In that ebook, I’ll actually go through different types of restaurants and give suggestions for what to be careful about and what types of dishes are generally good to order. Stay tuned…

This list of tips is not about being ideal. Ideal is that you buy fresh, local meats and produce and cook them yourself.

But that’s not always going to happen, so you need to have ways to mitigate the damage when you go out to eat.

Before You Go Out

Before eating out, look at the menu and decide on a Paleo option.Order (in your mind) Before You Go Out. I know this takes a little time and work, but practically 100% of restaurant menus are online now (if not on the restaurant website, then on Yelp or MenuPages). Spend a few minutes before you go out, and actually decide what you’re going to order. Then, when you get to the restaurant, don’t even look at the menu. Just order.

Eat Before You Get to the Restaurant. Doing this is golden. Even if you still plan on eating at the restaurant (since it’s often socially awkward not to), you don’t want to be starving by the time that you get there. Being hungry makes it much less likely that you’ll stick to your plans. Eating something Paleo before you go does 2 things: a) it makes you less likely to order something unhealthy, and b) it allows you to order something like a burger without a bun and not worry about being hungry.

Try to Convince Your Friends/Family to Go to Certain Types of Restaurants. In particular, BBQ, Mediterranean/Greek, Middle Eastern, and steak restaurants are excellent, offering a lot of Paleo choices, from kebabs to steaks to seafood. I don’t know specifically which restaurants you have around your area, but you almost definitely have one of these types of restaurants.

Many National (U.S) Chains are Good. Applebees, Chili’s, Outback, and TGI Friday’s all have a fair number of options to choose from, including steaks, chicken dishes, fajitas, seafood, and more. You’ll need to be careful about whether some of these options are breaded and/or have sauces with added sugars, but you’ll be able to find good choices.

Never Go to Certain Restaurants. You should hang out with friends, even if it’s not convenient for your diet, if for no other reason than that community and friends are healthy. However, you should occasionally turn down offers, mostly if it means you’ll end up going to a restaurant where it’s extremely hard for you to order healthy Paleo food. Here are a few examples: Pizza joints, sandwich shops, many small mexican restaurants, and many italian restaurants. You can often get fajitas at a mexican restaurant and salad or chicken at an italian one, but the options are more limited. Pizza joints and sandwich shops are usually the worst.

At the Restaurant

Ask lots of Paleo questions about your foodDon’t Be Shy When Asking Questions. You’re the one paying for and eating the food at a restaurant. You have a right to know what’s in it, so don’t be shy about asking questions.

Pretend to be Allergic to Gluten. Gluten is one of the worst things you can eat at a restaurant, but there’s an easy way around it. So many people are actually allergic to gluten now, that restaurants are very keen to avoid making anyone sick and becoming liable for it. Just tell your waiter or waitress that you’re allergic to gluten, and they’ll almost always be extra-careful to make sure that your food doesn’t contain any.
Ask if the Dish You’re Ordering is Breaded. (Especially for seafood). I’ve ordered food so many times only to have it come and be breaded. I’m always so disappointed and shocked, even though I shouldn’t be. Make sure you ask.

If You’re Very Sensitive to Something, Tell Them You’re Allergic. Allergies and sensitivities aren’t exactly the same thing, but it’s close enough. Restaurants are much more careful with allergies, so use that to your advantage.

Say that You’re on a Prescribed Diet. You don’t have to say who prescribed it or exactly what it entails. Just give your waiter or waitress the details that matter. For instance, no gluten, no processed sugar, and no seed oils. Most restaurants try to accommodate prescribed diets, but they’re not always as helpful if they just view it as your preference.

Always Ask about the Cooking Oil. Really, this is the #1 reason that eating out is less healthy. It’s hard to go almost anywhere that doesn’t cook in corn, vegetable, or canola oil. This is the first thing I ask when I go out.

Ask for Olive Oil as a Cooking Oil. I can’t wait for the day that restaurants have coconut oil on hand. Until that day, the best thing you can usually ask for is to have your food cooked in olive oil, which most restaurants have available. One of the reasons I eat at Greek restaurants more than others is because they cook most food in olive oil to begin with.

Beware Added Sugar. Sugar is often added at various stages of preparation and cooking, so wait-staff might not know. For instance, they often don’t think about what went into make the sauce to begin with. Still, it’s a question worth asking.

Wait-Staff Doesn’t Know Everything. Get Them to Ask the Chef. Many of the tips above are questions to ask, but often, your waiter or waitress won’t really know the answer. The chef usually does.

Substitute Veggies as Side. Vegetables may not even be listed as a possible side, but most restaurants serve some time of vegetable (although many consider corn to be a vegetable).

Ask for No MSG. Particularly if you’re eating at an Asian restaurant, but even many other restaurants add MSG. I don’t always remember to ask, and MSG isn’t the worst thing you can eat, but I try to remember as often as possible.

Don’t Let Wait-Staff Leave Tempting Items on the Table. For instance, if they try to leave bread on your table, just say “No Thank You, We Don’t Eat Bread.” Having the bread (or other non-Paleo food) on the table just makes it that much harder to resist.

Other Tips

Don’t Stress Too Much. Obviously, if you’re very sensitive or allergic to something, it’s a bigger deal. If you’re not, then don’t worry about eating something non-Paleo every once in a while, especially if it’s a small amount and only occasionally. Stress is neither healthy nor Paleo.

Like I said, these are tips that have gotten me through a lot of eating out while still trying to stay Paleo. Nothing will keep you from occasionally having to compromise your diet, but that’s OK. It’s just a diet, and you can always eat better at the next meal.

Source: Paleo Magazine

Paleo Diet: What can I eat?


  • Grass-produced meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)


  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oils


  • For breakfast, make an easy omelet. Sauté onion, peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli in olive oil; add omega-3-enriched or free-range eggs and diced turkey or chicken breast.
  • Paleo lunches are easy. At the beginning of the week, make a huge salad with anything you like. A good starting point can be mixed greens, spinach, radishes, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, avocadoes, walnuts, almonds and sliced apples or pears. Store the salad in a large sealable container. Each morning prepare a single serving from the large batch and then mix in meat (ground beef, beef slices, chicken, turkey, ground bison, pork chunks, etc.) or seafood of choice (salmon, shrimp, tuna, or any fresh fish or seafood). Toss with olive oil and lemon juice and you are set.
  • For dinner, try spaghetti squash as a substitute for any pasta recipe. Top with pesto, marinara and meatballs. Roasted beets and their greens make a great side dish for pork. Asparagus, broccoli, and spinach can be steamed quickly. Salmon, halibut, or other fresh fish filets grill well with accompanying foil packs full of cut veggies with olive oil and garlic.
  • Berries and other succulent fruits make a great dessert. Pre-cut carrot and celery sticks, sliced fruit, and pre-portioned raw nut/dried fruit mixes are easy snacks.
Daily Sample Straight from Dr. Cordain’s The Paleo Answer:
  • Breakfast: Omega-3 or free ranging eggs scrambled in olive oil with chopped parsley. Grapefruit, or any fresh fruit in season, herbal tea
  • Snack: Sliced lean beef, fresh apricots or seasonal fruit
  • Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken (olive oil and lemon dressing), herbal tea
  • Snack: Apple slices, raw walnuts
  • Dinner: Tomato and avocado slices; grilled skinless turkey breast; steamed broccoli, carrots, and artichoke; bowl of fresh blueberries, raisins, and almonds; one glass white wine or mineral water. (Clearly, wine would never have been available to our ancestors, but the 85:15 rule allows you to consume three non-Paleo meals per week.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

What is Paleo Diet?

The Paleolithic diet, also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional diet designed to emulate, insofar as possible using modern foods, the diet of wild plants and animals eaten by humans during the Paleolithic era. Proponents of the diet therefore recommend avoiding any foods that they claim were not available to humans at that time, including dairy products, grains, legumes, processed oils, and refined sugar. The Paleolithic diet has been referred to as a fad diet, it has gained popularity in the 21st century.
The diet is based on several premises. Proponents of the diet posit that during the Paleolithic era — a period lasting around 2.5 million years that ended about 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture and domestication of animals — humans evolved nutritional needs specific to the foods available at that time, and that the nutritional needs of modern humans remain best adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors. Proponents also claim that human metabolism has been unable to adapt fast enough to handle many of the foods that have become available since the advent of agriculture. Thus, modern humans are said to be maladapted to eating foods such as grain, legumes, and dairy, and in particular the high-calorie processed foods that are a staple part of most modern diets. Proponents claim that modern humans' inability to properly metabolize these comparatively new types of food has led to modern-day problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. They claim that followers of the Paleolithic diet may enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life.
Critics of the Paleolithic diet have pointed out a number of flaws with its underlying logic, including the fact that there is abundant evidence that paleolithic humans did in fact eat grains and legumes,[3] that humans are much more nutritionally flexible than previously thought, that the hypothesis that Paleolithic humans were genetically adapted to specific local diets remains to be proven, that the Paleolithic period was extremely long and saw a variety of forms of human settlement and subsistence in a wide variety of changing nutritional landscapes, and that currently very little is known for certain about what Paleolithic humans ate. Average life expectancy was significantly lower than the one found in subsequent ages, and food and diet composition are among the main reasons for its increase, adding additional questions about the effectiveness of the Paleo Diet in terms of longevity and health.
Source: Wikipedia