Since I had so much positive feedback on my last post about New Year’s resolutions and three ridiculously easy changes you can make right now to improve your chances for success on any diet, I’ve put together another top three list. This time I am detailing three Paleo foods that you can immediately use to replace non-Paleo items you regularly use. Consider this post as a second step in easily transitioning into a Paleo diet, Primal diet, or any other healthy diet for that matter.
Also consider these three Paleo switches as great practice for anyone looking to start Whole30. If you are afraid of committing to Whole30, these simple switches will give you a small taste of what to expect and make things a little easier.
1 – Replace Peanut Butter with Almond Butter
Get rid of your peanut butter. Okay, use it up first if you want to, but when it’s time to replace it switch to almond butter. Peanuts are legumes and are not part of a Paleo diet. Why remove peanuts from your diet? Well the health reasons are myriad and you’d be better served by reading this page on Paleo Hacks. However the biggest reason I can think of for tossing peanut butter out of your pantry is all the sugar and preservatives contained in commercial peanut butter. Almond butter is better for you, I think it tastes far better, and it is a key ingredient in many Paleo pancake recipes.
Recommendation: MaraNatha Natural Almond Butter
Marantha is all natural and readily available at most grocery stores or Amazon.
Tip: If you aren’t ready to give up your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches yet, use some almond butter instead. Even better, use whole grain bread, almond butter, and fresh raspberries in place of jelly for a killer change without added sugar.
Indulgent Option: Justin’s All-Natural Maple Almond Butter
2 – Replace Dairy Milk with Almond Milk
Dump your questionable homogenized, pasteurized, and who-knows-what-ized dairy milk and buy or make some unsweetened almond milk. The majority of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. You may or may not be, but if you have been drinking dairy all your life without any reprieve you would never know any different unless you take a month and live without it. It’s time to challenge yourself to a month without dairy, take note of how you feel, then go back and monitor yourself again. You might be surprised what you find. Dairy is a gray area in the Paleo or Primal diets, this is a great post about it on Mark’s Daily Apple.
Recommendation: Silk Natural Almond Milk
As far as commercially available almond milk goes, Silk is readily available in most grocery stores for a reasonable price. Buy the unsweetened version to avoid extra sugar. Almond milk has a thick consistency and a flavor that is hard to describe. It’s slightly nutty and rich. If you are used to 2% milk fat dairy, Silk will almost seem like a milk shake in consistency. A favorite in our household. Great with Paleo pancakes too.
Indulgent Option: Make Your Own Almond Milk
3 – Replace Vegetable Oil with Coconut Oil
Avoid vegetable oil and shortening at all costs. Hydrogenated products like Crisco are crap you do not want in your body. Common vegetable oils are made from soybeans (legumes), and products like canola are made by processing rapeseed with petroleum products, acids and bleaches (and most contain GMOs). There are too many reasons to get into here, but these cooking fats are loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids and should be avoided like the plague that they really are.
I suggest using coconut oil (in general) because it is great for general cooking use from low to relatively high heat. Perfect for Paleo pancakes. For low and no heat try high quality extra virgin olive oil and for high heat cooking try palm oil.
Recommendation: Spectrum Naturals Coconut Oil
Spectrum is readily available at many grocery stores and reasonably priced for an organic product. This is my cooking fat of choice. Great olive oils are readily available anywhere but you pay for what you get. Spend your money wisely and buy extra virgin olive oil in green or brown bottles which protect the oil from light which may break it down. Buy the freshest that you can find (check the dates!).
Indulgent Option: Wilderness Family Naturals Palm Oil
Making these three changes to your pantry will go a long way to preparing you for a Paleo/Primal/Ancesteral (or any) diet, but more importantly they will immediately impact your daily health and nutritional habits significantly. The best part is that all three changes listed here taste great and are really easy to make!
Photos: iPhone Photos of Items from my own Pantry and Fridge