Why is food quality important? The short answer is that higher-quality food is higher in nutrients, so even though it may cost a little more, it also packs more punch. The long answer is that higher-quality food is not only better for you, it’s better for the environment, animals, and economy.
In addition to being less friendly for the environment and animal welfare, conventional meats tend to be less nutrient-dense and higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation if you aren’t eating enough omega-3s. You can still reap the benefits of the Paleo diet whether you buy grass-fed meat or not, but finding the room for grass-fed in your budget can give you a certain peace of mind, knowing that you’re doing your part to support sustainable, ethical practices. It’s even more rewarding if you can find a good local farm to support!
IF YOU CAN
- Seafood: Wild
- Poultry and Pork: Wild or pastured
- Meat: Wild or grass-fed and grass-finished
- Produce: Local, organic, and in season
- Oils: Unrefined, organic, and cold-pressed
- Seafood: Wild-caught
- Poultry and Pork: Organic
- Meat: Grass-fed or pastured
- Produce: Local or organic
- Oils: Organic or cold-pressed
IF YOU MUST
- Seafood: Farm-raised
- Poultry and Pork: Commercial
- Meat: Commercial
- Produce: Conventional
- Oils: Conventional
We all know by now that we should be minimizing our exposure to pesticides, which are not only problematic for sensitive individuals, but also for the environment by contributing to soil erosion, mineral depletion, and pollution. But many of us can’t afford the added expense of organic foods. According to the EWG, just buying the “dirty dozen” produce items that are highest in toxins organic can cut back on the amount of toxins you ingest every day by as much as 80%! The criteria for making the “dirty dozen” list included testing positive for at least 47 different chemicals… after the produce had been power-washed. Wow. So if you can’t afford to buy everything organic, you should definitely consider buying those organic… or just opt for the safer “clean fifteen” instead. You’ll get even more nutrients from wild produce. The following lists have been adapted for the autoimmune protocol, excluding the nightshades, grains, and legumes EWG’s lists contain. The complete list can be found on the EWG’s website.
THE DIRTY DOZEN
- spinach, kale, and collard greens
THE CLEAN FIFTEEN
- sweet potatoes
- winter squash
Need Help Meal Planning?
Feeling uninspired or struggling to stick to your Paleo or autoimmune protocol diet? It helps to have a plan. Real Plans will create a custom plan for your family’s size, schedule, and needs and it’s just $6/month if you sign up for an annual subscription. This is a great next step for those of you that have finished 28 Days of AIP and are looking to keep the ball rolling with new, exciting recipes!