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How to Cook Paleo

Updated on November 6, 2014

How to cook like a caveman

Cooking like a caveman, paleo, primal or however you want to put it can be a challenge unto itself. Cooking without gluten and many common foods can be challenging without proper help. Luckily there are lot of resources and tools to help you out. You can find many clips online on how to cook paleo as well. While not technically paleo but more closer in line with Atkins, Epic Meal Time on youtube is worth taking a look at, at least for inspiration.

Cooking paleo can take a bit more time and planning than a conventional diet but the health benefits are worth taking the time. Finding what you need at a grocery can be challenging and daunting at first but with some help can be easily managed. Many of those that are on a paleo diet plan out every meal of the week, for me I make it much simpler and cook a few things I can rotate through, throughout the week to mix it up.

I have been lucky in that cooking comes to me naturally and I have also worked as a prep cook for several years as well. If your new to cooking or cooking for yourself I would highly recommend looking into some books to teach you at least some basic cooking skills and knife skills to assist you with food cooking and preparation.

Tools you will need

In order to live a paleo lifestyle you will need some cooking tools to assist you with the process. If your kitchen isn't already stocked, then I would suggest looking into some tools recommended by "Four Hour Chef" it has a more thorough breakdown of cooking tools you will need. The basics of what you will need will be a microwave, oven, stovetop, pots, pans, a good knife, peeler, whisk, cutting board, blender and food processor.

I often cook a week's worth of meals at a time then I freeze or refrigerate a lot of the food I plan on eating or saving. As far as knives go I would buy a cheap but good one, such as the one recommended in four hour body, at least until you learn basic knife skills. If you have the money I would recommend buying many of the tools that are recommended in the four hour chef book. I have found a cheap food processor but if you can afford it try to get a more expensive one as they are very versatile and useful.

Books and resources to help you out

I found that these books help me out a lot, providing recipes, tips or helping me be a better cook.

Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat
Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

I really like her recipes, her blog and website.


Ingredients you will need to cook paleo

Your grocery shopping list will vary depending on what type of paleo diet you are on. Many people start out with a very open, flexible diet but then whittle it down to foods they tolerate and can eat. Generally I pair protein with some vegetable, and I sometimes tend to throw in either a gluten free grain or rice. I eat some seeds and nuts and also eat nut butters as well (avoid peanut, try almond butter instead).

I try to cook with a variety of fats but generally I cook with coconut oil/butter, butter (kerrygold is my favorite and best I've come across), and olive oil. I tend to not cook with many other oils, sometimes I will use sesame oil in some asian dishes but that is about it. This is a list of commonly bought foods I use, eat and cook with and split up into categories (they also tend to be the cheapest too). There are a lot of foods that I have left out but not intentionally, either I don't use them often, forgot to list them or I wouldn't recommend them.


Ground Beef

Whole Chicken

Chicken Drumsticks

Ground Sausage



raw milk

raw goat milk

goat cheese

cheddar cheese (if tolerated well)

prosciutto w/mozarella (can find at walmart)

almond butter

sunflower seed butter


sunflower seeds

macademia nuts (although spendy they taste great and are very healthy)


white or red onions (I don't cook with as much as they can cause digestive problems)

green onions/scallions (much milder and not as problematic as white or red onions

mixed greens (such as spinach, arugula, romaine)

red, yellow or green peppers ( same as onions why I don't cook with as much)






head of lettuce (can be used to make lettuce wraps)



starches/grains: (only use if tolerated and not trying to lose weight)


rice (white, brown or any variety, be sure to soak and rinse though)

oats (make sure to soak and buy gluten free)

sweet potatoes



coconut oil/butter

olive oil

sesame oil (tend to only use in asian dishes)


coconut aminos (paleo soy sauce, tastes the same)


salt (sea salt preferably but try to get iodized salt as well)

pepper (try to get a variety of peppers too)

frank's hot sauce (not buffalo sauce it contains additives)

italian seasoning (a blend or individually such as oregano and thyme)


Almond flour, coconut flour and tapioca flours can be used in gluten free baking. I wouldn't recommend eating too many baked paleo products though as they can still be higher in carbs. Making gluten free baking mix requires a delicate mix of flours and not just one (or the texture won't come out right), or you can try to find a gluten free baking mix on your own.

The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life by Dave Asprey

The Bulletproof Diet: Lose Up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life
The Bulletproof Diet: Lose Up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life

The revolutionary biohacking plan to lose up to a pound a day, regain energy and focus, and upgrade your life!

In his mid-20s, Dave Asprey was a successful Silicon Valley multi-millionaire. He also weighed 300 pounds, despite the fact that he was doing what doctors recommended: eating 1,800 calories a day and working out 90 minutes a day, six times a week.

When his excess fat started causing brain fog and food cravings sapped his energy and willpower, Asprey turned to the same hacking techniques that made his fortune to "hack" his own biology, investing more than $300,000 and 15 years to uncover what was hindering his energy, performance, appearance, and happiness. From private brain EEG facilities to remote monasteries in Tibet, through radioactive brain scans, blood chemistry work, nervous system testing and more, he explored traditional and alternative technologies to reach his physical and mental prime. The result? The Bulletproof Diet, an anti-inflammatory program for hunger-free, rapid weight loss and peak performance.

The Bulletproof Diet will change what you think you know about weight loss and wellness. You will skip breakfast, stop counting calories, eat a high-fat diet, work out and sleep less, and handle stress with ease. By ditching traditional "diet" thinking, Asprey has maintained a 100-pound weight loss, increased his IQ, and reached a level of health that seemed unattainable. His 40s are truly better than his 20s, and The Bulletproof Diet brings his best hacks to the masses.


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Gluten free and paleo cooking

Videos on gluten free and paleo cooking

A little introduction video to gluten free and paleo cooking

40 Delicious Coconut Flour Recipes - Gluten Free Recipes For The Whole Family (Quick and Easy Cookbooks)
40 Delicious Coconut Flour Recipes - Gluten Free Recipes For The Whole Family (Quick and Easy Cookbooks)

A good cheap book that has a lot of recipes and even more cookbooks inside.


How to improve your cooking

Like many other skills cooking does take time and practice to master, or at least get to a desirable level. There are many videos, and books that will teach you how to cook or improve your cooking. From my personal experience I find it comes naturally to me. I have been working as a prep cook for the past few years though and also cooked most of my meals while on a paleo template diet.

Improving your cooking or learning how to cook is one of the major obstacles I think from eating a healthy diet and living a health lifestyle. There are some methods of cooking which are easier to learn and harder to mess up than others. In Timothy Ferriss's latest book on cooking he goes through step by step what to do to learn how to cook better. To make it a challenge he even has readers do dinner parties using appetizers, and foods he teaches how to cook.

Knife skills are an important part of the preparation part of the cooking that you will need to know at least the basics. Knife skills can be easily learned and practiced over and over, its best to start with a cheap knife at first and then move onto a more expensive and durable knife.

Getting the proper tools which Timothy Ferriss also shows which equipment he recommends for cooking. Generally though cooking it low and slow is a fool proof way to cook most foods, in fact many foods can be cooked in a slow cooker.

Cooking videos

Videos related to cooking.

The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life
The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

I am a huge Timothy Ferriss fan and this book is his best so far. Will teach you how to cook or at least cook better. Also will help you learn skills quickly (meta learning).


Basics of paleo cooking

If you don't know how to cook or want to improve, pick up Timothy Ferriss's book, also learn basic knife skills, cooking skills as well.

Pair protein with vegetable and mix up the spices. You can enter in ingredients you have into a website such as and come up with recipes.

Personal Paleo Code

Personal paleo code is all about individualizing the diet to your needs. This also contains a lot of free resources online, recipes and more.

Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life
Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life

Personal paleo code is all about individualizing the diet to your needs. This also contains a lot of free resources online, recipes and more.


Naturogenix - Natural supplements and therapies

Natural supplements and therapies for those dealing with chronic conditions such as mthfr, methylation, detoxification defects, chronic fatigue syndrome, metabolic syndrome, thyroid issues.

Guestbook Comments

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      To me, cooking Paleo food is like an adventure. I love discovering and trying new recipes. As you mentioned, it needs a bit of practice, but after few dishes, it starts to be fun.;)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very helpful information, Jared. I may go more on the Paleo route rather than just gluten free alone.

    • carolinarobin profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for all the information. I have been looking into this!


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