What to Eat: Vegetables and fruit
Eating a wide variety of vegetables – particularly greens, brightly coloured vegetables and cruciferous vegetables – is a big part of eating Paleo. This is completely overlooked by critics who define Paleo as a diet focused on high protein and minimal plant matter. As always, depending on circumstances (health history, digestive issues etc.) some people may modify vegetable intake to suit. Those with metabolic issues may find it helpful to limit the amount of starchier vegetables included. We place the emphasis on leafy greens and crucifers but also eat starchier vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash. However, I only tolerate limited raw vegetable matter due to problems with scar tissue adhesions in the gut. Avoid too many white potatoes as they are higher in sugars and contribute to blood sugar swings.
Kale chips and eating leafy greens vegetables for breakfast are a great way to increase uptake. Serving the vegetables with fat (butter) or cooking them in fat facilitates take-up of vitamins and minerals.
We do not miss potatoes at all. We have found an excellent substitute for mash and serve sweet potatoes or squash with Sunday roast dinners and at Christmas. We also use other vegetables such as courgette to replace grain dishes. See the recipes below for more.
Sauerkraut, kimchi or other fermented vegetables eaten regularly are an excellent way to promote good gut bacteria. Sauerkraut is extremely easy to make and tatses delicious (completely unlike the ready-made sauerkraut bought from the shop). This video from Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness is an excellent place to start. See this recipe from the master of fermented foods Sandor Katz. As you can see from the photos above, I used glass ramekin dishes filled with baking beads set on top of a cabbage leaf to keep the sauerkraut submerged.
Berries are preferable as they are lower in carbohydrates. Depending on circumstances, it may be wise for some people to curb fruit intake until they reach their health goals and then reintroduce it back in limited quantities. Dried fruit as it is extremely high in carbohydrates so use sparingly, if at all.
Check out the tables below for a list of fruit and vegetables but remember to adjust this according to your needs.
spinach, chard, kale, cauliflowers, broccolli, cabbage, sprouts, lettuce and other salad leaves, peppers, cucumber, onions, aubergines, courgettes, asparagus, mushrooms
starchier vegetables such as sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, carrots, swede, turnip and parsnips if you are trying to lose weight. Experiment and monitor effects.
What about pesticides and other chemicals?
Obviously, the ideal is fruit or vegetables grown ourselves or from a local garden that uses no pesticides, or from an organic supplier. We can be sure that the produce has not been sprayed or grown in soils with undesirable chemicals but most of all they just taste better. Of course this is not always possible. We do grow some of our own and if we buy vegetables and fruits in the markets or supermarket we try to choose organic when possible – particularly if they are one of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ – see below. Buying fruit and vegetables that are in season and at grown locally is a great help.
EWG analyzed pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to come up with rankings for these popular fresh produce items. All 48 foods are listed below from worst to best
(lower numbers = more pesticides)
Note: EWG analyzed pesticide tests of 48 popular produce items. Domestic and imported versions of three items – nectarines, blueberries and snap peas- showed sharply different results, so we have ranked those domestic and imported items separately. As a result, the full list of foods ranked by the Shopper’s Guide displays 51 entries.
For further information, see here.
- Chilli peppers
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines – imported
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas – imported
- Sweet Peas frozen
- Sweet potatoes