What can I eat?

The brief version of what to eat:

(thanks to Albany CrossFIT for the nifty list!)

Eat NONE of the following:

· Grains – including bread, pasta, noodles, rice
· Beans – including string beans (green beans), kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, snow-peas and peas
· Potatoes
· Dairy products
· Sugar

Eat the following:
· Meat, chicken and fish
· Eggs
· Fruit
· Vegetables (especially root vegetables, but definitely not including potatoes or sweet potatoes)
· Nuts, eg. walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia, almond. (Do not eat peanuts or cashews)
· Berries- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc.

Try to increase your intake of:
· Root vegetables- carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, Swedes
· Organ meats- liver and kidneys (we accept that many people find these unpalatable and won’t eat them)
· Omega 3 Fats and Reduce Omega 6 Fats

The LONG version:

(taken from Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain (Wiley and Sons, New York 2002 pages 104-112).)

also available in a nice table online at here .

Encouraged Foods

Lean Meats

  • Lean beef (trimmed of visible fat)
  • Flank steak
  • Top sirloin steak
  • Extra-lean hamburger (no more than 7% fat, extra fat drained off)
  • London broil
  • Chuck steak
  • Lean veal
  • Any other lean cut
  • Lean pork (trimmed of visible fat)
  • Pork loin
  • Pork chops
  • Any other lean cut

Lean poultry (white meat, skin removed)

  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Game hen breasts

Eggs (limit to six a week)

  • Chicken (go for the enriched omega 3 variety)
  • Duck
  • Goose

Other meats

  • Rabbit meat (any cut)
  • Goat meat (any cut)

Organ meats

  • Beef, lamb, pork, and chicken livers
  • Beef, pork, and lamb tongues
  • Beef, lamb, and pork marrow
  • Beef, lamb, and pork “sweetbreads”

Game meat

  • Alligator
  • Bear
  • Bison (buffalo)
  • Caribou
  • Elk
  • Emu
  • Goose
  • Kangaroo
  • Muscovy duck
  • New Zealand cervena deer
  • Ostrich
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Rattlesnake
  • Reindeer
  • Squab
  • Turtle
  • Venison
  • Wild boar
  • Wild turkey


  • Bass
  • Bluefish
  • Cod
  • Drum
  • Eel
  • Flatfish
  • Grouper
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Monkfish
  • Mullet
  • Northern pike
  • Orange roughy
  • Perch
  • Red snapper
  • Rockfish
  • Salmon
  • Scrod
  • Shark
  • Striped bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Turbot
  • Walleye
  • Any other commercially available fish


  • Abalone
  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp


  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carambola
  • Cassava melon
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Star fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon
  • All other fruits


  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beet greens
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Pumpkin
  • Purslane
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Squash (all kinds)
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomato (actually a fruit, but most people think of it as a vegetable)
  • Turnip greens
  • Turnips
  • Watercress

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts (filberts)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios (unsalted)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

Foods To Be Eaten In Moderation


  • Olive, avocado, walnut, flaxseed, and canola oils (use in moderation—4 tablespoons or less a day when weight loss is of primary importance)


  • Diet sodas (These often contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharine, which may be harmful; you’re better off drinking bottled and mineral waters.)
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine (two 4-ounce glasses; Note: Don’t buy “cooking wine,” which is loaded with salt.)
  • Beer (one 12-ounce serving)
  • Spirits (4 ounces)

Paleo Sweets

  • Dried fruits (no more than 2 ounces a day, particularly if you are trying to lose weight)
  • Nuts mixed with dried and fresh fruits (no more than 4 ounces of nuts and 2 ounces of dried fruit a day, particularly if you are trying to lose weight)

Foods You Should Avoid

Dairy Foods

  • All processed foods made with any dairy products
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Dairy spreads
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Ice milk
  • Low-fat milk
  • Nonfat dairy creamer
  • Powdered milk
  • Skim milk
  • Whole milk
  • Yogurt

Cereal Grains

  • Barley (barley soup, barley bread, and all processed foods made with barley)
  • Corn (corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn chips, corn starch, corn syrup)
  • Millet
  • Oats (steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and all processed foods made with oats)
  • Rice (brown rice, white rice, top ramen, rice noodles, bas mati rice, rice cakes, Rice flour (all processed foods made with rice)
  • Rye (rye bread, rye crackers, and all processed foods made with rye)
  • Sorghum
  • Wheat (bread, rolls, muffins, noodles, crackers, cookies, cake, doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, pasta, spaghetti, lasagna, wheat tortillas, pizza, pita bread, flat bread, and all processed foods made with wheat or wheat flour)
  • Wild rice

Cereal Grainlike Seeds

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa


  • All beans (adzuki beans, black beans, broad beans, fava beans, field beans, garbanzo beans, horse beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, string beans, white beans)
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Miso
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Snowpeas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Soybeans and all soybean products, including tofu

Starchy Vegetables

  • Starchy tubers
  • Cassava root
  • Manioc
  • Potatoes and all potato products (French fries, potato chips, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tapioca pudding
  • Yams

Salt-Containing Foods

  • Almost all commercial salad dressings and condiments
  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Deli meats
  • Frankfurters
  • Ham
  • Hot dogs
  • Ketchup
  • Olives
  • Pickled foods
  • Pork rinds
  • Processed meats
  • Salami
  • Salted nuts
  • Salted spices
  • Sausages
  • Smoked, dried, and salted fish and meat
  • Virtually all canned meats and fish (unless they are unsalted or unless you soak and drain them)

Fatty Meats

  • Bacon
  • Beef ribs
  • Chicken and turkey legs
  • Chicken and turkey skin
  • Chicken and turkey thighs and wings•
  • Fatty beef roasts
  • Fatty cuts of beef
  • Fatty ground beef
  • Fatty pork chops
  • Fatty pork roasts
  • Lamb chops
  • Lamb roasts
  • Leg of lamb
  • Pork ribs
  • Pork sausage
  • T—bone steaks

Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices

  • All sugary soft drinks
  • Canned, bottled, and freshly squeezed fruit drinks (which lack the fiber of fresh fruit and have a much higher glvcemic index)


  • Candy
  • Honey
  • Sugars


5 responses to this post.

  1. Cashews are listed at the top as Do Not Eat, but in the LONG section are under the Encouraged to eat section.

    I love cashews…are they in or out?

    Thanks in Advance,


  2. Eric, now there’s a nice inconsistency to catch!

    Cashews (which are actually seeds, not nuts) always cause a lot of discussion, because they are toxic in their raw state. From the current Wikipedia info: “The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a dermatogenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the more well known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy. ” There is also a toxic resin in the shell layer that can get on the cashew nut itself, making it inedible. To make the cashew seeds edible, most manufacturers use heat, steaming the shell at high temperatures. Some companies have developed a special tool that they claim opens the shell without ever letting the toxin get on the cashew. But in essence, the Cashew isn’t something our Paleo ancestors would have been able to eat raw, so we don’t eat them either.

    However, Loren Cordain seems to think they’re ok, and Robb Wolf has this objection: “Cashews especially are delicious but surprisingly high in carbohydrate and contain too much omega 6.”

    My inclination would be to cut them out and try some new nuts that you might not typically consume; I had forgotten just how good pecans and almonds could taste, so maybe you’ll find a new “nut” to love too 🙂

    Just for the sake of clarity though, I’ll take them off Cordain’s long list!


    • Awesome explanation…switched to Almonds already!

      Anyone know where I can get some Saber Tooth tiger steak or woolly mammoth ribs? 😉



  3. Posted by Jesseb on March 4, 2010 at 12:23 am

    No Pork Rinds?! And I thought I struck gold when I read bananas and apricots were on the paleo lists and assumed there dried versions were interchangable which is incorrect. Atleast I found this out early on in the challenge. Is Almond Breeze OK? It can be found as organic and there are small amounts of “evaporated cane juice” .


    • Almond Breeze does come in an unsweetened version, but it has soy lecithin and other additives in it. I would try to find a true almond milk (or make it!), or go for coconut milk. Obviously if you snag something with cane sugar, that’s a no-no 😉 We want to be clean clean clean for 30 days!

      If you’re feeling drawn to sugars, don’t worry, your body is going through withdrawals (yes, you’re addicted!) and this phase will pass, as long as you don’t jump-start it again by eating sugars!

      Dried fruits if you ARE going to eat them are best reserved for post-WOD snack, as they are quite high in sugar. Look for something with no added sugar and no sulphur; I think Trader Joes has some of those available.


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