A common misconception of the Paleo diet is that you are stuck eating dull foods and having repetitive meals. A true Paleo diet can be incredibly varied and tasty and is only as dull as you allow your meals to be.
You have quite a handle on your Paleo diet and your kitchen is fully stocked with a large array of herbs, spices, fats, olive oil, and vinegar and probably enough coconut milk to last you through the winter. In order to make your Paleo meals even more delicious it really helps to stock up on a few essentials along with a few more unusual items.
Here are some of my favorite and maybe less expected foods to keep on hand to whip up a delicious meal almost anytime that will change any skeptic’s mind about Paleo foods:
Love it or love it, bacon is obsessed about, lusted over, often consumed in massive quantities and can make almost every food imaginable taste even better. I tend to use it more as a flavoring or additive than a main dish.
Bacon can also be good for you when it is made from pasture raised pigs, is unprocessed, cured with natural ingredients and void of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
Pete’s Paleo bacon is simply the meatiest, most supple, melt-in-your-mouth bacon you’ll ever have. It’s a game-changer. Perfectly Paleo and simply delicious alone or added to any dish.
Free-Range, Organic Eggs
As long as you can tolerate them well, stock up on lots and lots of eggs. They are some of the most versatile and affordable protein sources that you can get in the market. Make sure your eggs come from pastured chickens – they not only taste better, but are nutritional powerhouses too! Eggs can be used in both sweet and savory applications, to make mayonnaise and sauces, baked goods and as a quick on-the-go snack.
These small fish are salt-cured and then packed in either salt or olive oil. Anchovies are not simply a controversial pizza addition. They can add savory depth to everything from stews to braises. Anchovy paste provides a similar flavor; you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of paste for one anchovy fillet. (However, when a recipe calls for more than 2 anchovies, skip the paste and use jarred fillets; the intensity of the paste can be overwhelming in larger quantities.) Be sure to read labels carefully to ensure that your anchovies (or anchovy paste) are paleo-friendly.
Sardines Packed in Olive Oil
These little morsels are the perfect on-the-go food. My favorite lunch-in-a-pinch is a can of sardines, some organic baby greens, a cucumber cut into coins, and a big squeeze of whatever citrus I have on hand. People are often pleasantly surprised that sardines are a little oily and not too fishy. They are packed with Omega 3’s and if eaten whole are a great source of calcium. The oil is delicious as a vegetable dip too!
The exact nutritional breakdown of bone broth is well known and documented.
In a high-quality bone broth, you can expect to find a generous amount of collagen/gelatin with up to 19 amino acids. You may also find a plethora of minerals in easy to absorb forms, including calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and sodium.
Bone broth is also versatile and can be used to form the base of sauces, to sauté or simmer vegetables, as a base for delicious soups and stews or simply seasoned and sipped as a warm beverage.
The best broths are slow simmered using bones from animals that were humanely raised on open pastures with clean diets free of antibiotics, hormones and grains, organic vegetables and herbs and filtered water. This ensures the final product is as pure and flavorful as it is packed full of vitamins, minerals and gelatin.
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Although you get many of the nutritional benefits in bone broth, a little bit of gelatin will make a sauce velvety-smooth. It will also allow you to make a Paleo friendly version of a pudding or gelled treat or gummies for those occasions you may want them. Do you best to source gelatin from pastured animals to get the true nutritional benefits too.
Coconut aminos or coconut seasoning is a Paleo-friendly substitute for soy sauce. It is made by aging coconut tree sap. The dark, almost black liquid looks similar to soy sauce, with a similar smoky flavor although I do find it to be a little sweeter and less intense than soy sauce. It is a great flavor base for all Asian inspired dishes. Look for coconut aminos in the international aisle of well-stocked supermarkets, specialty stores, or online.
Coconut Oil, Milk, Flakes and Flour
Unrefined Coconut Oil
For cooking, organic unrefined coconut oil is one of my first choices. It lends a somewhat exotic flavor to dishes and can be used at relatively high temperatures without oxidizing (remaining good for you even when used at higher heat). It is a saturated fat and solid at cooler temperatures, making it a good substitute good stand in for butter in baked goods.
Full-fat Coconut Milk
Equally tasty in sweet and savory dishes, coconut milk is an excellent replacement for heavy cream or yogurt in curries and creamy sauces. It also makes a luscious whipped creamy cloud to be served with some local, seasonal fruit as a decadent treat. Always choose a full fat, organic brands and avoid those that contain sulfites or added sugar.
Organic, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
Eaten on their own as a snack or sprinkled into and on top of dishes, coconut flakes add flavor and texture to sweet or savory recipes. They are delicious simply dry roasted and seasoned with some warm spices or savory herbs.
Coconut flour is becoming increasingly more popular in Paleo recipes, although it can be challenging to use since it does not substitute one-for-one for other flours like almond flour can. Arguably, coconut flour comes with more nutritional benefits, is lover in carbohydrates and significantly higher in fiber and safe to use on anti-inflammatory and/or AIP protocols.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Cocoa or cacao in its raw form gives you all the delicious taste and health benefits of chocolate, without the sugars and additives you may find in commercially prepared bars. Cocoa powder is great for making homemade Paleo chocolates and treats, and is surprisingly delicious in savory sauces.
You can generally find it in the baking aisle, by the baking chocolate. Choose a natural, unrefined or raw version where possible and try to avoid Dutch process as it has been washed with a potassium carbonate solution that neutralizes the cocoa’s acidity.
Along with your Paleo staples and favorite pastured meats, well-sourced fats and seasonal vegetables, ensuring you have a few of these on hand in your fridge and pantry will make creating a variety of Paleo meals easy, and delicious.
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