"Viking Mom! Why can't I eat Nightshade plants? I love tomatoes!"
Not everyone who starts the Paleo diet has to eliminate foods found in the Nightshade family. But, the question remains. What can I eat?
It can be difficult to decide what is "Paleo" and what is not when first starting. A lot depends on why you want to be on the Paleo diet.
Here is a quick reference sheet to get you started.
1. Eat a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, and healthy fats.
2. Don't eat added sugars.
This includes "organic" sugar and artificial sweeteners, Never drink sodas.
3. Don't eat grains and legumes.
This includes: soy, rice, corn, wheat, and any grain product like pasta, breads, cereals, as well as legumes (beans) and white potatoes. Sweet potatoes and yams are safe (Thank the Gods!)
4. Don't eat processed vegetable oils
This includes canola, corn, soybean, peanut and cottonseed oils. Olive oil and coconut oil will become your staple.
5. Don't eat any factory-processed foods.
If it comes in a box, most likely you shouldn't eat it. Dr. Weil suggests that if you can't pronounce it then don't eat. (Love that suggestion!)
6. Eat dairy only if it is from grass-fed animals and you can digest it well.
This includes ghee butters and cheeses. Once you have a taste of raw organic milk from cows that have fed off clover and grass you will not go back to "normal milk."
7. Plan one or two cheat meals a week if it keeps you on track.
Try to "treat not cheat" by indulging in more decadent paleo foods, occasionally. (My weakness is chocolate. )
8. Exercise regularly and intensely, and rest.
Give yourself rest days throughout the week and extended rest every couple of weeks. We are a nation of "on the go people" in dire need of rest.
9. Get a full night's sleep in a dark room every night.
Try not to follow asleep with your television or tablets et al in your hands. It is theorized that the electrical fields off these items effect our sleep patterns.
10. Drink lots of water!!!!!
11. Don't drink much or any alcohol, and avoid caffeine late in the day. (Ha! I can still have my coffee in the morning!)
As for the Nightshade question. Some people genetically can't eat nightshade plants, which include tomatoes, white potatoes, and cayenne peppers. It is suggested in some Paleo cookbooks in which health is a focus that some people eliminate this in their diet. As always, make sure you discuss any changes in your diet and lifestyle with a medical professional.
Eat well, be healthy.