When you “Go Paleo,” you’ll experience the paradigm shift of fueling your mind and body rather than filling it. These Paleo diet hacks will show you how to truly thrive!
Let this expansive list of Paleo diet hacks guide you through the shift. From meal planning and prepping, to cultivating good sleep habits, this list has you covered.
Even if you’ve been Paleo for years, you may learn something new. These Paleo diet hacks help more than the Paleo newbie; even seasoned PaleoHackers can find ways to keep their Paleo goals on track and refresh their lifestyle, like trying foods that increase your sex drive, venturing into butchering your own meat or keeping your gut flora and fauna in check.
1. Eat fermented foods.
As Dr. Jillian Sarno Teta explains, fermented foods nourish our microbiome with beneficial bacteria and their metabolites. Try sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, or apple cider vinegar, to name a few.
2. Plan meals.
It’s much easier to keep a diet on track when you’ve got an arsenal of prepped foods ready for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take some time Sunday to cook up big batches of quick, easy meals and portion them out for the week. We suggest bacon and egg muffins or six-ingredient tuna patties.
If you’re new to Paleo, we’ve got a 21-Day Meal Plan to help kickstart your experience.
3. Prep foods.
If you’re going to take the time to plan meals, you might as well add another 15 minutes to chop the vegetables, fruits and meats you’re going to use that week. You can even portion out spice packets and easy, on-the-go snack bags.
4. Eat foods that increase your sex drive.
A healthy sex life boosts your immune system, and certain foods can help lift your libido for the deed. Need we say more?
5. Embrace hunger.
It’s okay to let your hunger build. Don’t reach for unhealthy snacks at your stomach’s first grumble. Let your appetite reach a healthy level then sate it.
6. Practice mindfulness and meditation.
The Paleo lifestyle encourages disconnecting from modern day constant stimulation. Keep your stress and anxiety low with personal time to meditate, and try to remain mindful throughout your day. Here’s how.
7. Skip soy.
Often marketed as health foods, soy products are some of the most processed foods you could eat. In addition to the adverse health risks associated with all legumes, soybeans go through industrial refinement and find their way into most foods.
8. Eat more vegetables.
It sounds trite. You know this rule through and through, but do you practice it? The Western diet is massively deficient in plant-derived nutrients. Make it a goal to fill your shopping cart with one more vegetable—and eat it.
9. Stick with it.
The first month of the Paleo diet is always the hardest: that’s why there’s an entire best-selling program for it. You’ll find, as time passes, that the diet becomes intuitive.
10. Explore the outdoors.
You sit at your desk eight hours a day—do you remember what the sun feels like on your skin? When is the last time you had the sensation of dirt, rocks or sand under your feet? When is the last time you surveyed nature’s beauty from a vantage point, or walked along the beach with waves lapping at your feet? Get out there and enjoy!
11. Don’t restrict yourself.
The Paleo diet eliminates several groups of food, yes, but it’s easy to make simple, satiating and delicious meals within Paleo guidelines. Check out our guide to eating on the Paleo diet for more.
12. Ignore the naysayers.
Today, we’re as dogmatic about dietary decisions as we are about religion or politics. Do what’s best for you.
13. Exercise without equipment.
Cavemen never had exercise balls, kettlebells or yoga mats. Your body is the only equipment you need.
14. Exercise for your brain.
You can literally work to change your brain by exercising. Learn how to improve mental health and general brain structure by exercising here.
15. Sleep. Seriously.
Sleep is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Without good sleep hygiene, diet and exercise flounder.
Who says cake, donuts and cookies can’t be Paleo? When you make healthful Paleo swaps in your favorite baked goods, you avoid the adverse health effects of processed and refined ingredients. Keep consumption of these to a minimum, but don’t deprive yourself.
17. Happy animals make happy meat.
Whenever possible, opt for grass-fed, free-range and organic options. They’re more ethical, healthful, and eco-friendly (and yes, unfortunately, more expensive).
18. Do yoga.
Just as Paleo is a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle, so too is yoga. Both treat the mind, body and soul.
19. Cut out caffeine.
Coffee: for many, it’s impossible to function without it. If you fall into that category, however, coffee may be doing you more harm than good. While coffee offers antioxidants and a performance boost, relying on it overstimulates the cardiovascular system and can increase stress. Consume wisely.
Grok never had a smartphone, laptop, tablet, iPod, Fitbit, this-bit or that-bit—let alone all of the above. Get away from the screen for a bit.
21. Crock-Pots are king.
Grok’s Crock-Pot may have been more rudimentary: sticks, fire and a large pot of some sort, maybe. But crocks pots are one efficiency tool we embrace. Make Paleo easy with these Crock-Pot recipes.
22. Keep it affordable.
Yeah, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken is more expensive than the antibiotic-ridden stuff—but there are a number of tricks for keeping Paleo budget-friendly. Many Paleo staples are inexpensive, while others can be purchased directly from a farmer, in bulk, in season, or by turning large parts into smaller parts.
23. Eat the whole animal.
Your meat didn’t come neatly trimmed and wrapped in plastic—why buy it that way? Every part of the animal has a use. Get adventurous and buy a partial cow: you’ll get a variety of cuts of meat, fat to make tallow, bones to make broth and organ meats.
24. Know your probiotics.
Probiotics can aid in digestion, skin health, metabolism, mood and weight loss. Learn more about these live bacteria here.
25. Coconut oil: the renaissance oil.
Coconut oil is a Paleo-friendly cooking oil, but also a fantastic moisturizer, makeup remover, hair tamer, and sunburn soother, among other things.
26. Apple cider vinegar: the renaissance vinegar.
Like coconut oil, holistic health communities tout the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Check out the long list of its purported uses.
27. Fast intermittently.
Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting is not a diet, but more of an eating pattern. Here’s a number of ways to do it safely.
28. Be creative with your workouts.
Squats are not the only way to get a better butt, nor are weights the only way to build muscle. Vary your workouts so you don’t find yourself bored and unmotivated.
29. Bacon. Bacon everything.
Bacon improves nearly every Paleo meal. See for yourself.
30. Learn the different types of hunger.
You know hunger can be physical and mental, but did you know there are a variety of ways your body feels hunger? The solution to that hunger is not always food, either. Discover more here.
31. Fat does not make you fat.
Get over this nutrition myth and others. Non-fat foods do you no favors; they trade out fats for added sugars and salts. In fact, some healthy fats are essential to your health.
32. Drink more water.
Dehydration affects your skin, digestion, muscles and performance. Don’t let that happen.
33. Hard-boil eggs every week.
A quick, easy source of protein, hard-boiled eggs take minutes to prepare. Store in the fridge for a quick breakfast on the go, or to top salads.
34. Try a delivery service.
If you’re life is too fast-paced to keep up with the prepping and cooking for a Paleo lifestyle, you should probably take a minute—but, until then, try a few delivery services to ease some of the stress.
35. Cheat—but do it right.
We know: pizza cravings are forces to be reckoned with. Depending on your relationship with food and your lifestyle, cheat days may help keep you sane. Here are some tips to keep you from derailing.
36. Know your health gimmicks.
The health and fitness circuit is full of shady marketers out to make a quick buck. Avoid the snake oil salesmen and educate yourself on the market’s ineffective health products.
37. Get enough protein.
38. Athletic? Find the best Paleo method for you.
Athletes have entirely different nutritional and activity needs than everyday yoga-goers. Here’s a guide for athletes going Paleo.
39. Exercise like a caveman.
This means moving a lot at a slow pace, occasional high-intensity exercise and heavy lifting.
40. Desserts are allowed.
Dessert does not have to be a heavy indulgence—a piece of fruit, a smoothie, or a Popsicle can quell your sweet tooth.
Try a cleanse, or incorporate antioxidant-rich foods into your diet after you’ve overindulged. Here are ten naturally detoxifying foods to try.
42. Eat for your skin.
Did you know bitter greens, sea vegetables and citrus can help you get glowing skin? Learn more here.
43. Take cold showers.
Don’t freak out: cold showers can boost your immune system, mood, energy, and self-discipline, among other benefits. Give it a try.
44. DIY your self-care.
Clean, whole foods are good for more than eating: try these DIY beauty care recipes to extend Paleo beyond your diet.
45. Paleo-ify different cuisines.
Your kitchen is your lab: Experiment with spices and food preparations of the world. Try this Paleo Rogan Josh (lamb stew) recipe.
46. Know your food additives.
There’s over 3,000 FDA-approved food additives—learn which ones are acceptable and which to avoid.
47. Eat for your brain.
You’ve heard of brain food—learn which vegetables fall into the category here.
48. Pay attention to your gut.
No, not in the metaphorical way. Your gut is your second brain: it impacts so many systems in your body, so nurture its health.
49. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
Major grocery chains tend to layout the stores in the same way: fresh produce in one corner, with meats, cheeses, milks and fish rounding out the perimeter. Only venture into the junk food-concentrated aisles for a select few items, like tea, spices, nuts and dried fruits.
50. Try a new recipe every week.
Don’t get stuck in a food rut. Scope our recipe for new meals to add into your weekly rotation.
51. Stretch in the morning.
There’s more to stretching than a quick extension of the arms and yawning. Increase your energy and blood flow with a quick morning stretch sequence.
52. Make kid-friendly Paleo meals.
If the whole family practices the Paleo lifestyle, learn some of the ways to get finicky eaters (often, the kids) on board. Chicken nuggets, ketchup and sweets are all easily made Paleo.
53. Vary your push-ups.
There are more variations to push-ups than knees down or up. Check out the many ways to work your core here.
54. Invite friends and family over for a Paleo meal.
If the Paleo lifestyle mystifies your loved ones (do you just eat turkey legs by hand all the time, or…?), invite them over for a meal. Show them how easy and delicious Paleo cooking can be.
55. Know the Paleo-friendly sweeteners.
There aren’t many: opt for natural, low-glycemic sweeteners. Date paste, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup and honey are good options for sweetening items. Always practice moderation.
56. Relieve stress with a five-minute workout.
If you’re able-bodied and fit enough for a high-intensity five-minute workout, taking a quick sweat break might relieve stress and anxiety.
57. Stay Paleo at work.
You know to avoid the donuts in the break room—but there’s a host of other ways to stay Paleo at work. Opt for a standing desk and take breaks frequently, as well as these other tips.
58. Learn how to sub Paleo ingredients for grains.
Breads, cakes, pancakes and muffins—it can be hard to forgo them entirely. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Try almond flour, coconut flour and tapioca starch in baking, as well as Paleo-friendly sweeteners.
59. Eat Paleo for your eyesight.
Vision problems stem from modern technology. Decrease eyestrain by taking a break from the screens, and try these seven eyesight-protecting foods.
60. Avoid “big food.”
Fast food, restaurant chains and industrially-produced foods: there isn’t much nice to say about them. Avoid their marketing ploys.
61. Learn what to eat when you go out.
Did you know Mexican restaurants are one of the easiest places to get a Paleo-friendly meal? Fajitas with meat, veggies, guacamole and pico de gallo abound. Just skip the tortilla. Here’s our guide for dining out.
62. Cut portion sizes.
Americans favor portions fit for platters, not plates. Cut down your portion sizes both for health and to make food last longer.
63. Eat for your unique body.
Bio-individualiy, a notion coined by Weston A. Price and Roger Williams, holds that each body functions according to its metabolic type. Find yours and craft a meal plan based on it.
64. Cook in bulk.
Roast one chicken: eat for days. Or whip up a big batch of soup or stew for the week.
65. Clean out your kitchen.
When making the shift to Paleo, make a broad sweep of your kitchen and cut out all the junk. You won’t miss it (okay, you may a little).
66. Shop for produce every week.
Stock up on staples—oils, seasonings, nuts, etc.—monthly, but to ensure you’re eating the freshest, healthiest food, make a produce trip every week.
67. Get a grill.
If you don’t already have one, invest in a grill, either an outdoor one or a stovetop version. Grilling is a quick, healthy and easy way to enjoy proteins, vegetables and fruit, and adds a flavor dimension you can’t capture in any other cooking method. For inspiration, check out our recipe list of 28 Meats to Grill.
68. Learn a fifteen-minute, one-pot meal.
It’s late, you just got home from work, and junk food sounds mighty tempting. Develop a go to one-pot meal for these nights. Sautee a protein and a few vegetables in a pan, then top with an egg.
69. Find your community.
Ironically, you’ll find a lot of resources on primal living online. That’s fine! You’ll need support on your Paleo journey. Seek out your people on forums, blogs and Facebook groups.
70. Add greens to all your meals.
71. DIY your staples.
Almond milk, coconut milk, almond butter—you can make all of these at home from their raw ingredients with a little time and patience.
72. Phase out food groups one at a time.
If you’re at the beginning of your Paleo journey, try phasing out unpermitted food groups one at a time: dairy, legumes, grains and so on.
73. Don’t consider it a diet.
Don’t go Paleo for a defined period of time. Understand this is a holistic lifestyle commitment that involves the mind, body and soul.
74. Get a deep freezer.
Stock up on meat and other freezer-friendly Paleo foods during big sales.
75. Never shop hungry.
When faced with limitless options, you’re far more inclined to grab craving-satisfying but ultimately bad-for-you foods when hungry. Grab a snack pre-shopping to help you stick to your list.
76. Enjoy the flavors of your favorite meals by cutting out non-Paleo elements.
It’s still possible to enjoy the flavors of a taco; just cut out the tortilla. Same goes for sandwiches—nix the bread and make your club sandwich a chef’s salad.
77. Mix high-intensity with low-intensity exercise.
78. Make stock from the bones.
Don’t throw out your chicken carcasses or beef bones! Instead, make chicken stock or mineral-rich bone broth.
79. Eat disease-fighting foods.
As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Learn the disease-fighting properties of salmon, spinach and more.
80. Know your gluten.
81. Eat “super” herbs.
You’ve all heard of superfoods—but did you know herbs/spices like cinnamon, rosemary and ginger are nutrient-dense and chock full of benefits, too?
82. Know your hormones.
There are over fifty hormones that signal thousands of complex bodily processes. Here are the ones that play a huge role in weight gain and loss.
83. Weed out toxins.
You consume BPA, mercury and phthalates regularly—learn how to reduce your exposure here.
84. Try dry-skin brushing.
Help detox your body’s largest organ, the skin, by brushing your skin prior to stepping into the shower. Here’s a guide.
85. Get enough vitamin D.
Over 41% of people in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin D. Learn how to get more of the “sunshine vitamin” into your life.
86. Break bad habits.
It sounds straightforward, but breaking bad habits is easier said than done. Here are 5 steps to take toward nipping those habits in the bud.
87. Simplify your diet.
Meals don’t have to be elaborate affairs. Find simple, quick ways to eat a balanced diet in a life filled to the brim.
88. Eat dark chocolate.
We doubt we have to convince you, but dark chocolate (70% or higher) is high in antioxidants and contains high levels of iron, magnesium, copper and more.
89. Kick your sugar addiction.
If your hunger doesn’t feel like it would be sated by fresh vegetables, healthy fats and proteins, you might just be craving sugar. Many rely on sugar as a temporary pick-me-up, but the long-term consequences far outweigh the temporary high. Learn how to kick your habit here.
90. Stop overeating.
Eating wholesome, healthy foods is well and good, but too much of a good thing is still too much. Overeating is often tied to emotional struggles—free yourself from them.
91. Optimize your mealtimes.
It’s not just the food, it’s when and how you eat it. Learn the best times to eat what, based on your own bio-individuality.
92. Optimize your exercise times.
Just as you can optimize your mealtimes, there are better times to exercise than others. The caveat: it’s all depends on what best suits you.
93. Eat wild foods.
Shop nature’s shelves for certain wild foods. Pine needles, blackberries and citrus fruits are all potentially available wild foods, depending on where you live.
94. Stay hydrated during exercise.
While exercising, waiting to drink until you feel thirsty means you’ve likely waited too long. Learn how to hydrate properly during exercise here.
95. Understand adrenal fatigue.
The health of your gut is directly tied to the health of your adrenals, so take care of them. Adrenal fatigue can cause chronic digestive issues alongside a host of other issues, like dizziness, muscle twitches and heart palpitations.
96. Gauge nutrition sciences’ credibility.
The health and fitness industry is a moneymaking machine. It preys on individual insecurities and spreads nutrition misinformation. Make sure your nutrition awareness comes from credible sources—learn how to evaluate them here.
97. Get a stability ball.
98. Stock your kitchen.
There are about ten kitchen gadgets that’ll vastly improve your Paleo kitchen repertoire, including a steamer, meat thermometer and a Crock-Pot. Find out the rest here.
99. Stay Paleo at home.
Go beyond diet and Paleo-ify your home. Try homemade shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant to avoid unnecessary toxins.
100. Love your body.
Body image issues create a battleground in your body, the only fighters your body and you. Try these therapeutic tips to overcome your body image struggles.
101. Do this for you.
No amount of dietary decisions, high-intensity or low-intensity exercise, natural living or self-care will matter if you’re not personally invested and committed to this lifestyle. No one else can make this shift but you—but we can certainly give you the resources to be successful.