Finding a good paleo shopping list is a little tricky, especially since our modern society hasn’t quite caught up with recent health discoveries. Studies have shown time and time again that eating a nourishing, whole-food based diet is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
We’ve all heard about the paleo diet, haven’t we? It’s been all the rage in health magazines and publications lately. It’s a diet that promises to have its practitioners eat solely what would have been available to one of our wholly nomadic and primitive forebears—with the choice of obtaining said food with Acheulean hand-axes and fire-hardened spears being strictly optional.
…and while many readers of Masculine Development may opt to hunt down their bison dinners in Cro-Magnon alpha male fashion, I for one am too busy writing this blog. So with that in mind, it’s helpful to have a handy little paleo shopping list to check off as you go out.
Keep in mind that the paleo diet isn’t for everyone, though. Hardgainers often find it very difficult to form a paleo bulking diet without bodybuilding staples such as whole grains and other processed foods, but even so, everyone can benefit from having a few of these paleo shopping list essentials in their kitchen. So here goes.
Introduction to The Paleo Diet
First off, let’s go a little deeper on who the paleo diet is for. I’ve already written extensively on the best workout routines for men, but haven’t said much about diet. Why is this? Well part of it’s that I cover every diet known to man in my book Body of an Alpha.
Regardless, the paleo diet is PHENOMENAL for burning fat—here’s where it really excels. While I would personally argue that there’s nothing inherently unhealthy about complex carbohydrates, my own experience with the paleo diet is that it is, if nothing else, the most effective diet for quick fat burning and getting an optimal nutrient profile.
The main problem with paleo is not so much the nutritional profile, but rather the financial profile. Cereal grains are known as “staples” for a reason—relatively nutrient dense, filling, tasty, and most importantly, cheap. While following a paleo diet is very healthy, it’s often not very cheap.
And taking them out of your diet means that you’re going to have to replace them with more expensive food: that food being the sort of sustenance that you would expect from the paleo diet—various meats, fruits, and vegetables. Even so, just having a few of these paleo shopping list items in your kitchen will work wonders for your health.
How to Find Good Paleo Foods
The best piece of advice I ever heard for shopping paleo was this: “Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. Ignore everything in the center.” If you really think about it, what’s on the perimeter? Well, everything that you want on the paleo diet: meats, fruits, veggies, and other wholesome foods.
It’s what’s in the middle of the grocery store that you want to AVOID! Things like processed cereal grains, sugar-laden oatmeal, and other cancer-causing goodies lurk in between the aisles. As long as you shop around the perimeter though, you’re pretty safe.
Naturally, you want to be buying things that are as processed as little as possible (ie: whole cuts of meat, fresh and preferably unpackaged fruits and vegetables, etc). For the paleo diet, our general rule is if Grok the Caveman wouldn’t know what it is, then don’t buy it.
Perhaps to save money on your purchases, you can try looking into unconventional variations of these things—try looking into organ meats, blood, weirdo root vegetables, and unusual recipes consisting of all of those things. Those will give you the same nutrients as more “Traditional” meats and vegetables, and at a reduced cost.
Example Paleo Shopping List
Whenever I go shopping, at either my local Farmer’s Market or a superstore such as Costco, I always aim to have a few paleo essentials when I leave. Even though I’m not currently on the paleo diet (I’m bulking up with SARMs instead), it’s still great to have these items in your kitchen.
Here is an example of a typical “paleo shopping list,” with some of the essential bodybuilding foods:
Grass Fed Beef
Whether I’m on the paleo diet or not, I always have those items in my kitchen. Grass fed beef is far superior to grain-fed beef, for many reasons which I can’t fully explain in a single article. Sweet potatoes are a natural, healthy source of complex-carbohydrates, that our friend Grok would be very familiar with.
Avocados and coconut oil, as well as some grass fed butter maybe, will help cover your fat needs. When you’re on a paleo diet, the bulk of your calories will come from proteins and fats, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with them. When cooking at a high temperature for example, grass fed butter is the best option.
Paleo Grain Substitutes
It’s often joked that people who begin eating a diet that replaces one very specific nutrient will seek to find any method of “Replacing” said nutrient—and there’s a substantial amount of truth to that. Just look at how many meat and dairy substitutes vegans have if you want proof of that.
Naturally, those who swear off cereals and gluten are susceptible to the same problem—they will often find themselves developing a craving for these things. Replacing the carbs while on a paleo diet is difficult, but even so there are several substitutes that can be used for the staples.
Paleo Noodle Replacements
Most notably, and probably the one that is easiest to find and utilize in one’s kitchen, are the various spaghetti squashes and zucchinis (more specifically, the several cultivators of squash known as “spaghetti squash” that can crossbreed with zucchinis). You can also find tons of paleo recipes for making “zuchini noodles,” as well.
These are a variety of cultivars of the summer squash (cucurbita pepo), called so because when cooked, the flesh falls away from the husk in ribbons or strands, similar to spaghetti or some other type of cooked noodle. The taste is similar enough to pass a casual inspection, can be baked, boiled, or steamed, and can be served in any way that traditional noodles are served.
In addition to their expediency in replacing the carbohydrates you sorely miss, spaghetti squash is rich in many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, Vitamin A, and beta carotene (be sure to take a bodybuilding multi-vitamin to replace these). And for those of you who actually have garden space, these plants are easy to grow in both gardens and containers.
Paleo Flour Replacements
Almonds can be ground into a flour and used to bake a variety of foodstuffs, from bread to cookies to (presumably) noodles as well. And naturally, those will have all of the nutritional benefits of eating raw almonds, such as healthy fats, protein, and vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.
If that’s not exotic enough to your liking, you can try to get your hands on some acorn flour, which is used in largely similar ways to the almond flour, but I’ll wager is a bit harder to find than the almond flour. They also require a greater amount of work to leach out the bitter tannic acid that is inherently found in these specimens.
However, assuming you manage to pull this off (or buy commercially available acorn flour), you can utilize it to make bread, noodles, and any other foodstuff that you would traditionally use wheat flour to make—and many cultures around the world either do so currently, or have done so in the past. Still not crazy enough for you, though? Why not try some cricket flour?
Yes, indeed, crickets ground up into a usable, protein rich flour. Don’t decry it reflexively—our ancient forebears would often eat insects, mostly due to their extremely high pound-for-pound protein yield but also, apparently, because they liked the taste of them, if the Les Trois Freres cave painting of a grasshopper is correctly interpreted as an attempt at sympathetic magic.
Let’s be honest here… having a cheat day on a paleo diet can be REALLY hard. You can’t have anything that’s processed, which cuts out around 90% of the foods people usually consume on their cheat days.
…and while many conventional desserts are certainly NOT on a paleo shopping list, you can opt for more natural desserts. While some people hate giving up their creme brules and 15-layer chocolate cakes, I personally don’t mind it. Paleo desserts are actually pretty delicious.
For starters, they’re usually fruit based, just due to the ease of preparation. Maybe a bowl of frozen blueberries or mixed fruits would do you well. If not, there’s other options, even if they do take longer. One such option is the “paleo ice cream,” which I’ll admit, is FUCKING DELICIOUS.
Paleo ice cream is very heavy on eggs, yolks, grass fed butter, coconut oil, and cacao butter. While it may take a bit of extra preparation, let me tell you, it tastes better than any Ben and Jerry’s I’ve ever encountered.
Other paleo dessert options would be things such as cakes and other traditionally bread-based dishes. All you have to do to make these things paleo however, is simply replace the flour option with cricket or almond flour, and ensure that the other ingredients are paleo-compliant. Not bad for the health benefits, eh?
The Bottom Line
All in all, creating a “paleo shopping list” is great for anyone who wants to just live a little bit healthier. I typically check off a few key items such as dark chocolate, grass fed beef, and plenty of vegetables, even if I’m not specifically on a paleo diet.
This paleo shopping list, and the paleo diet in general, will work WONDERS for people trying to lose weight. If you don’t believe me, just try it for yourself—getting your body into ketosis is one of the fastest ways to shred fat. Some people even report losing 1-2 pounds a day.
If you want a DEFINITIVE guide to building muscle, losing fat, workout routines, and every single diet on the planet, be sure to check out my “Body of an Alpha” eBook. It’s on sale for a limited time only, and even comes with three awesome bonuses.
Whether or not you’re trying to lose weight, consider having those essential paleo shopping list items in your kitchen at all times. I hope you guys enjoyed the article, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them down below…and of course, as always, I’ll see you next time!