Yes, chicken is Paleo, but..
Is it Pastured, Organic or “Free Range”?
The traditional pastured poultry chickens are raised on pasture (grass, sunshine, insects, etc.) kept in coops at night, and fed with vegetarian diet which does not include any genetically modified ingredients or toxic synthetic pesticides. They can be fed with organic feeds which are grown without artificial fertilizers or pesticides such as Cocofeeds. Cocofeeds are organic chicken feeds containing coconut pulp as well as other high-quality natural ingredients that do not contain soy. Organic chickens are not given any kind of antibiotics for medication or even growth hormones.
Free range often refers to chickens which are freely allowed outdoors where they can eat almost everything that results in more nutritious eggs and meats for consumers. But with its vague definition, apart from the “open door,” no other criteria such as environmental quality, number of birds, or space per bird, are included in the term “free-range.”
Organic is the most powerful label in chicken production. What it means for a chicken is that 100 percent of its feed (except maybe mineral supplements) must be certified organic, which means in itself that it has been grown in a field that has not seen chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms for at least three years, absolutely no antibiotics!
If the preferred type of beef for Paleo diet is grass-fed, with chicken, it must be “pastured”, organic or “free-range”. Grass-fed is pretty similar to pastured because of the same principle of raising the animals, no antibiotic, growth hormones or simply, raised in their natural habitat. Pasture-raised chicken have much higher nutrients compared to those raised in commercial feedlots.
From Skin to the Bones
We have learned that red meat is an important part of Paleo because of the nutritional contents it has. And so is chicken. You can mainly eat everything in chicken, from the skin, neck, to the wings, legs, thighs, bones and don’t forget the organ meats. Organ meats like the liver, gizzard and heart has 10 to 100 times higher nutrients than muscle meats. Liver has the most concentrated nutrition.
Chicken skin is allowed in the Paleo diet as it has a good amount of Omega 6. But it should be noted that too much Omega 6 can cause fattening and worse, heart diseases. It is important to maintain balance of Omega 3 and 6 ratio in the body so eat chicken skin in moderation.
Chicken wings are not forbidden on the Paleo diet. In fact, they are encouraged! You can bake or fry them using a Paleo-approved oil.
As with the chicken bones, a golden yellow stock or broth can be made. Bone broths contain essential nutrients such as healthy fats, minerals and anti-inflammatory and gut-healing protein. It is a source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium in forms that the body can easily absorb. Bone broths aid in digestion, helps detoxify the body and makes the joints healthy.
But the most preferred part to be eaten in a chicken is the breast. You can never go wrong with chicken breasts. It is a great source of lean, low fat protein. Protein from chicken helps in muscle growth and development and aids in supporting healthy body and weight loss too.
What experts say about Chicken.. Is it Paleo?
“Remember that it is essential to eat meat and organ meats from animals that have been raised on fresh pasture without hormones, antibiotics or commercial feed. Pasture-raised animal products are much higher in nutrients than animal products that come from commercial feedlots. For example, meat from pasture-raised animals has 2-4 times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from commercially-raised animals. And pasture-raised eggs have been shown to contain up to 19 times more omega-3 fatty acids than supermarket eggs! In addition to these nutritional advantages, pasture-raised animal products benefit farmers, local communities and the environment”. – Chris Kresser
“Chicken is one of the most versatile foods on The Paleo Diet menu”. – Dr. Loren Cordain
All you ever wanted to know about chicken and Paleo
Paleo Leap. Not Just the Cows: Pastured Pork and Poultry.
Active Beat. Your Daily Dose of Healthy Headlines. Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Chicken. Anna Fleet. January 9, 2013
Paleo Grubs. Foods You Can Eat on the Paleo Diet
Paleo Grubs. Paleo Diet FAQ: Answers to 267 Paleo Questions
Paleo Leap. A Beginners’ Guide To Cooking Odd Bits (With Recipes You Already Know).
Mother Earth News. The Original Guide to Living Wisely. Free Range vs. Pastured: Chicken and Eggs. Cheryl Long. March 5, 2009
Whole 9. The Whole9 Bone Broth FAQ
Paleo Grubs. 20 Awesome Paleo Chicken Wings with Unique & Classic Flavors
Mark’s Daily Apple. Dear Mark: O6:O3 Ratio, Green Drinks, and Shin Splints. November 21
Livestrong.com. Is Chicken Skin Fattening? Bryanne Chandler. February 7, 2014
Did we miss anything?
Comment below and let us know what you think. Do you agree with our conclusion?
photo credit: Chicken in a pot