How to Turn Your Plate Paleo in 7 Steps

Michelle Tam joins the Clever Cookstr to dish on major misconceptions about paleo eating and how to turn your plate paleo in 7 steps.

Kara Rota
2-minute read
Episode #167

how to have a paleo diet with Michelle Tam

Michelle Tam, author of the new cookbook Ready or Not: 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, And Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo, joins the Clever Cookstr to dish on major misconceptions about paleo eating, what her own plate looks like these days, and how to entertain a mixed crowd when it comes to dietary restrictions.

Wanna turn your plate paleo? Here’s how!

1. Start with a hand-size portion of high-quality animal protein. The most sustainable, nutrient-rich, and flavorful meat comes from healthy beasts that chow on whatever nature intended them to eat, so prioritize grass-fed (and grass-finished) beef, bison, lamb, and goat, pastured pork and poultry, and wild game. These animals offer meat that’s full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Eggs and wild-caught seafood are awesome sources of protein, too.

2. Fill the rest of your plate with plants. Buy or grow in-season, pesticide-free produce, and supplement your haul with frozen organic veggies.

3. Next, replace the grains that normally dominate your plate with even more vegetables. Pasta and bread are nutrient-poor compared to veggies—and many grains contain proteins like gluten that can cause gut issues and inflammation. Even if you don’t suffer from celiac disease, stuffing yourself with grains in place of vegetables, meat, or fish isn’t doing your health any favors.

4. Choose healthy saturated fats that remain stable when exposed to heat, like ghee, coconut oil, and high-quality rendered animal fats. Olive oil and avocado oil are also great. Steer clear of vegetable and seed oils, which—believe it or not—are processed with chemical solvents like hexane. These oils are also high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and highly susceptible to oxidation and rancidity.

5. One of the best things you can do for gut health is to eat fermented foods, so make sure you regularly plop some kimchi or sauerkraut on your plate, too.

6. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds, but don’t go overboard. Fruit is fine, but vegetables are generally more nutrient-rich and lower in sugar. And while nuts and seeds can add wonderful texture and flavor to your dishes, don’t go nuts with nuts.

7. Try your best to keep ultra-processed foods off your plate, as they usually contain terrible-for-you additives like hydrogenated oils (a.k.a. trans fats), artificial dyes, chemical preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup, and/or soy. Most commercially available soy is genetically modified, contains isoflavones that can disrupt normal endocrine function, and is all-around awful for you. Stick to real food instead.

Excerpted from Ready or Not!: 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017). Copyright © 2017 Michelle Tam & Henry Fong.

About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.