You’ve probably heard of the paleo diet by now. Inspired by what we expect that our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to eat (meats, fish, plants, seeds, vegetables), to put it very basically, the paleo diet focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods, and cutting out processed foods like grains, dairy, added and refined sugars, etc. It’s not difficult to see why eliminating these foods from your diet would be a benefit to your health. Even the most committed sweet tooth recognizes that they’re not actually receiving any nutrients from processed sugars, so why not see what happens to our bodies when we stop eating these nutrient-deficient foods or inflammatory foods.
It can sound very daunting at first, to eliminate so many foods that have likely made up a large part of your diet for most of your life. Once you start to feel the health effects of doing away with these processed foods and realize how happy your body is eating paleo, you’ll be hooked, and the thought of eating those foods you once craved may just turn your stomach.
Benefits of the Paleo Diet
Paleo is a way of life as well as a diet – it focuses on whole body wellness, which includes getting enough sleep, exercise, and reducing stress. The emphasis on healthy fats, organic vegetables, and grass fed meats can help lower the systemic inflammation present in so many of us who are used to following the “standard American diet” of grains, sugars, and processed foods. What are some of the health benefits you can expect to notice on a paleo diet?
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Weight loss
- Healthier skin and hair
- Improvements in mood
- Mental clarity
These benefits come from a combination of removing unhealthy foods (you can’t drink soft drinks or eat processed sugar on a paleo diet, and those two alone contribute to A LOT of health problems) and incorporating whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods into your diet. Following a diet such as the paleo diet can make you examine your eating habits and find where they’re lacking. We like to think of it more as a lifestyle change than a diet, and when followed properly, it really will change your life!
One of the most popular and versatile meals on the paleo diet is soup, and there are so many options out there for nourishing and wholesome paleo soups. Whether your tastes run towards a hearty, chunky soup or a decadent bone or chicken broth-based soup, a quick search for paleo soups brings up no shortage of healthful options.
Basically the most important thing to remember when it comes to paleo soups, is there are an endless array of ingredients. On the list of things you won’t find into a paleo soup are dairy, grains, and added sugars. But most other ingredients are fair game! Grab a list of seasonal ingredients, your favorite soup pot, and some bone broth, and chances are you can make a delicious and nutritious paleo soup.
Making paleo soups is one of our favorite ways to use bone broth. Eating paleo helps to lower inflammation in the body by virtue of eliminating many inflammation-causing foods, so using anti-inflammatory, gut-healing bone broth as a base for hearty, wholesome, nutrient-dense soups is such a good way to maximize the healing effects of this diet.
Making Your Favorite Soups Paleo isn’t as Hard as You Think!
If you are a fan of cream based soups, you don’t have to eliminate them on a paleo diet! Coconut milk provides a delicious and super-nutritious substitute for heavy cream. Another great option for creating a dairy free “creamy” soup is cashew cream, which is much easier to make than it sounds. Simply soak raw, unsalted cashews in hot water until soft, and puree in a high-powered blender. No need to miss out on your cream of mushroom soup, chowders, or creamy broccoli soup.
Once you become familiar with the basics of a paleo diet, you’ll find it’s actually pretty fun to come up with paleo-inspired recipes to replace your favorite soups. They are paleo soup recipes the whole family can enjoy! Here are some of our favorite examples:
- “Creamy” cauliflower soup made with cashew cream and pureed cauliflower – with a base of sautéed onions and garlic, pureed with cauliflower and cashew cream, topped with crispy bacon and chives and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper to taste, it’s an amazing paleo alternative to baked potato soup!
- Paleo zuppa Toscana – with a base of delicious bone broth, this soup made with sautéed onion, Italian sausage, sweet potatoes and kale, leeks, and finished with a splash of coconut milk is a simple and healthful alternative to the heavy conventional version – and just as tasty!
- Chicken “zoodle” soup is a perfect example of how easy it is to modify regular paleo chicken soup recipes to make them paleo. You’ll find that your favorite Paleo chicken noodle soup recipe in your cookbook is actually paleo, right up until you add the noodles! Replacing them with spiralized zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) is a simple last minute fix. Also, when you use zucchini noodles, your meal will also be gluten free!
- Pumpkin soup chili – yes, you heard that right. While you can make a delicious chili with just ground beef, tomato sauce, red peppers, and spices, if your favorite chili is usually chock full of beans or other carbohydrates, replacing these foods with pumpkin and/or sweet potato is a great way to add some paleo-friendly carbs and a little bit of sweetness to your chili. Adding pumpkin pie space while your chili simmers adds a deliciously complex flavor to this awesome hearty meal. Some other great spices for chili include paprika, cumin, and cayenne.
Helpful Tools for a Paleo Kitchen
While you can certainly maintain a paleo diet without investing in a bunch of fancy kitchen tools, a paleo diet’s emphasis on fresh, whole food ingredients mean that you’ll be cooking and preparing food more than you’re used to. Here are a few helpful tools to have that will make it fun and easy to make pretty much any paleo recipe:
- A high-powered blender – this is probably our favorite paleo kitchen tool. It’s an investment, but if you plan to make a paleo diet your new way of life, it’s an investment you’ll use every day. These high-powered blenders are no joke, and can be used for everything from making your own nut milks (including the cashew cream we mentioned for the cauliflower soup) and nut flours to actually making soup in the blender (simply add all ingredients and blend on high speed – the friction creates enough heat to heat the soup!)
- A veggie spiralizer – spiralizers are inexpensive and such a versatile tool to have in a paleo kitchen. You’ll find it useful for everything from salads (think spiralized cucumber and carrots) to soups (zoodles and sweet potato noodles are yummy bases to make many paleo soups even heartier)
- A pressure cooker – this tool is fantastic for cooking everything from paleo soups to boiled eggs, and is an awesome way to easily make a big batch of shredded chicken breasts to use in paleo recipes throughout the week. You may also use a slow cooker, instant pot, or crock pot to get a similar flavorful paleo recipe.
- A good set of knives – again, you can absolutely eat a paleo diet without making big investments in your kitchen. But eating a whole-foods based diet incorporates a lot of meats and fresh vegetables, and a good set of knives will make your cooking experience go a lot faster!
Don’t Have Time to Cook? Try Ready-Made Paleo Soups!
There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to adopting a paleo diet, especially if you’re used to eating a lot of processed foods, or aren’t used to cooking. If the thought of spending so much time in the kitchen feels a little overwhelming, there are options that make adopting a paleo diet easy for even the non-culinary inclined! The Osso Good Co. has a delicious selection of ready-made bone broth based soups, with flavors such as tomato basil, thai carrot, butternut squash, and super green! These nurturing and wholesome soups allow you to get the benefits of anti-inflammatory bone broth and whole food ingredients, and the only kitchen tool you’ll need is a pot to warm it up in!
A paleo diet is easier than you think
Once you get used to it and educate yourself about the do’s and don’ts, the paleo diet is easy to follow, whether you love to cook, or prefer that someone else do the cooking for you. The most important things to remember are to make sure your food is fresh, unprocessed, and ideally, organic/grass fed. Eliminate dairy, grains, processed foods, and refined sugars from your diet, along with high-sugar or starchy fruits and vegetables, and beans. Whether you follow the paleo diet to the letter or just the basic principles of eating whole foods and eliminating inflammatory and processed foods, we think you’ll notice a positive difference in the way you feel soon after making the switch. If you’re already accustomed to a paleo diet, you know what we’re talking about!
So, let’s conduct a little experiment. Pull out your soup pot, google “Paleo + (your favorite soup)”, and chances are, several recipes will pop up to make paleo soup out of your favorite comfort food recipe. It’s not difficult! We’ll bet that you’ll find the paleo version just as easy to make and delicious, and you’ll find yourself feeling just as satisfied after you eat it.