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Essentials

Starting paleo? Cleaning up your diet? Want to start cooking from home more often?

I have narrowed down a list of all the goodies, gadgets and guiding logical thoughts you should keep within hand and mental reach.

_ _ _

FOOD

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{Most of these foods you can keep in the freezer. I have a tendency to over-stock and freeze; that way, I’m only a thaw-away instead of a drive-away from a healthy home-cooked meal.}

Vegetables:

  • Kale (baby kale, dino kale, curly kale … whatever strikes your fancy)
  • Collard Greens (great for lunch wraps)
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Mixed Greens
  • Tomatoes (okay you’re right … they’re actually a fruit)
  • Yellow Onions
  • Fresh Garlic (I occasionally cheat with the pre-minced in a jar)
  • Fresh Cilantro/Parsley
  • Bell Peppers
  • Snack Veggies (like cucumbers, carrots, and celery)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Beets

Meats:

  • Chicken Breasts (or tenders)
  • Whole Chickens/Turkeys (great for roasting and eating off all week)
  • Fresh Eggs
  • Egg Whites
  • Fresh Turkey from Deli
  • Ground Beef or Turkey
  • BACON (read the label and avoid those sweetened with HFCS)
  • Gluten-Free Sausage
  • Beef or Pork Steaks

Nuts & Seeds:

  • Almonds
  • Almond Butter
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds (buy in bulk, NOT in a jar by the seasonings)
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • {any other seed or nut imaginable EXCEPT peanuts}

Fruits:

{Use berries as your default fruit and all others as a treat.}

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • {any other fruit imaginable}
  • Lemons (you will use fresh lemon juice for SO much)

Other:

  • Almond Meal
  • Coconut Flour
  • Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • Arrowroot Starch (paleo-friendly thickener)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk (found in a can on the Asian isle)
  • Grass-Fed, Non-Homogenized Yogurt
  • Mustard (I like spicy horseradish mustard)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper (in a pepper grinder)
  • Spices (chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, steak seasoning, etc.)
  • Sriracha (not paleo but totally acceptable in my book)
  • Wine! (why not? keep a few bottles of your favorite red and white on hand for a treat when you need it)
  • Dark Chocolate (preferably 70% or higher – for an occasional treat)
  • Honey (borderline paleo but acceptable in moderation)

_ _ _

GADGETS

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_ _ _

LOGIC

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Thinking logically and critically about your food is important. If I could draw you a logical food pyramid (don’t get me started), it would have vegetables on the bottom as your #1 food source, protein/fruit next at #2/3, fats just above at #4, and the top and tiniest part of the pyramid, at #5, would include grains, dairy, sugar, and processed foods.

Simple, easy to remember, food logic:

  1. Over half of your meal should consist of vegetables.
  2. A serving of meat should not be larger than your fist.
  3. Carbs aren’t evil.
  4. Healthy fats (found in nuts, seeds, meats) are necessary for life.
  5. Calorie counting can mislead you.
  6. Even though considered “paleo/clean,” eat fruits and nuts in moderation.
  7. Drink water.
  8. Your daily water intake (in ounces) should = your weight {divided by} 2
  9. There’s no such thing as diet that works for everyone.
  10. Don’t jump off the healthy lifestyle bandwagon just because you ate a frozen snickers bar (and washed it down with a frosty beer) at the golf course.

_ _ _

A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

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Staying positive is KEY to a clean/paleo/healthy lifestyle kitchen.

  • If an experimental dish bombs, laugh it off.
  • If you’re out of basic ingredients, stay positive and put on your creative hat.
  • If your family is reluctant to give up their old way of eating, “oohh” and “ahh” over your new tastier version. Like babies, they’ll soon beg for a bite.

Remember to have fun and love the journey. You’ll find your own groove in no time.

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12 Comments Post a comment
  1. This list is SUPER helpful! THANK YOU!!!

    May 8, 2013
  2. Yadi #

    I love your blog!! I am considering staring Paleo in the next couple of weeks!! Cannot wait to try some of your recipes.

    May 31, 2013
    • Thanks, Yadi!! I hope you love paleo and find it as tasty as I do. I’d love to have your feedback on any recipes you try! Good luck and let me know if there’s ever a non-paleo food you wish you could “paleo-ize” … I love challenges 🙂

      May 31, 2013
  3. Amanda #

    Cassandra, thank you for your amazing creation…your blogging Paleo website. I love how easy to follow it is. I love the step by step photos. And I love, love, love seeing pictures of Gus! Too cute. You’re good at what you do! 🙂 I had tried two of your recipes before and they were delicious. I decided 3 days ago to really give it a try 7 days a week. I am loving the lifestyle change. I went to HEB and Whole Foods with your wonderful Essentials list and two recipes I wanted to try during the week. (That list really did help) Also got several items off the Paleo off-the-shelf. It’s hard when you’re constantly on the go, but I feel so much better making good decisions that are handy. Keep up the awesome work and postings!

    July 17, 2013
    • Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for the sweet encouraging note. I wish you all kinds of tasty successes in the kitchen. Keep up the great work!!

      July 17, 2013
  4. Kari Lightner #

    I just found your blog thru a recipe on pinterest. I LOVE it..thank you so much:) I will be sharing with all my friends!

    July 18, 2013
    • Hi Kari! Thank you for your note! I hope you enjoy the recipes and reads 🙂

      July 18, 2013
  5. Amanda #

    Thank you so much for this! It helps me get organized in more ways than you know! I’m just starting out this new paleo lifestyle. I can’t wait to read and learn more from you!

    October 29, 2013
  6. Mike Lenny #

    Thanks so much! You’re positive attitude helps keep me passionate about the paleo lifestyle. I’ve been on it for a month or so and have already lost 10 pounds, eating many recipes from your site. Thanks again 🙂

    December 15, 2013
  7. Jen #

    What brand do you suggest for a food processor?

    January 5, 2014
    • I have a kitchen aid and it works great! I know others who swear by blend tech.

      January 5, 2014

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