Paleo alternatives to your everyday eating
The paleo diet has its hardcore supporters, who swear that this primal way of eating is not only healthier than a modern diet, but also the only way to reach your full athletic potential. Whether that's true most likely depends on the individual, but a lot of people are put off by the idea of a fully paleo diet, because it denies them their traditional favourites like bread, pasta, donuts, and even oats.
Some people are of the opinion that the paleo diet lacks sufficient calories, however, the CrossFit community, which is known for eating big and eating a lot, has largely embraced the paleo diet. So what's going on? They're not getting carbohydrates in the same way as they used to, but there are alternatives which can both fill the hole, and ensure that you're competing and training on top form.
We're going to run through just a few alternatives to some of everyone's favourite non-paleo foods.
The paleo diet is based on meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and anything else which grows 'in the wild. The paleo diet contains fewer common carbohydrates, no processed food and almost zero sugar (barring natural sugar from fruit and honey.) Grains are also out, as anything that's farmed, isn't paleo.
Stript snacks Biltong are 100% paleo, and are made from prime Irish beef, air-dried and hand-sliced, along with natural herbs and spices. They're high in protein, low in fat and sugar, and are gluten-free.
Bread and pasta are most likely the ones that anyone turning to paleo will notice missing first. There are plenty of recipes around for paleo bread which use coconut flour (which is paleo), but for that extra nutritious boost, you could consider something like this sweet potato bread.
100g of sweet potato contains 86 calories, 20g carbohydrates, 1.6g protein. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A.
Pasta and rice
If you're going full-on paleo, cutting our pasta altogether, you're going to become very familiar with squashes and gourds. Some of the best pasta alternatives, which are also great for people with wheat or gluten allergies, are made from ribboned courgette or pumpkin.
100g of courgette contains 17 calories, 3.1g carbohydrates, 1.2g protein. Courgettes are a good source of vitamin C.
If you're making a curry, finely shredded cauliflower is a good alternative to rice.
100g of cauliflower contains 25 calories, 5g carbohydrates, 2g protein. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins C, K and B6.
This is an easy one. Switch to sweet potatoes and you'll wonder why you ever even bothered with the regular kind.
Not into sweet potatoes? You can try mashed cauliflower.
You don't have to give up dessert when you go paleo. Coconut and almond flours are big in paleo, and mixing them with eggs, honey and coconut or almond milk, makes some pretty tasty pancakes.
Coconut flour is made from de-fatted coconut meat. It is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Similarly, almond flour is high in fiber, and contains 6g protein per 100g.
Ice cream and dairy
The modern day paleo diet does allow butter from grass-fed cows (as opposed to grain-fed). For regular milk, you can substitute almond or coconut milk.
Where would we be without ice cream? Making your own paleo ice cream is easy, too. All you need to do is mix bananas, coconut milk, honey and vanilla in a blender, freeze and re-blend. Or, try one of these cool recipes.
100g coconut milk contains 230 calories, 24g fat, 6g carbohydrates, 2.3g protein.
Call us biased, but we think that Stript snacks biltong is the ideal paleo snack. High in protein, low in carbohydrates and fat and full of primal energy and nutrients – iron, zinc and B vitamins to name a few.
30g of Stript snacks contains 73 calories, 0.5g carbohydrates, 16g protein. Stript's Irish beef is high in iron, zinc and B vitamins.
So if you're considering going paleo, but think you'll struggle with the lack of traditional carbohydrates, think outside of the box and you'll realise that there's plenty of choice for the modern-day hunter-gatherer.
Coming up, we'll be profiling a week's worth of the paleo diet, giving you an in-depth run-down of the nutrients the primal diet has to offer.