paleo pepperoni

Many people start out on the Paleo diet thinking, “If it ever had a face, eat it.” But that’s not totally true. The meat found in Spam and hot dogs certainly had a face many manufacturing steps ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally Paleo. The Paleo diet consists of unprocessed foods of all kinds, and encourages eating locally and seasonally, not just by food categorizations and macronutrients. We’ll take a look at one often confusing food item, pepperoni, and answer, “Is it Paleo?”

What Is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni is a cured sausage, considered an American variety of Italian salami. It is made with beef and cured pork, and seasoned with pepper. Although this fatty cured meat with just a few traditional ingredients it is seemingly innocuous, there’s more than meats the eye. Unfortunately, most big brands of pepperoni are highly processed and full of awful additives and chemicals. Here’s a list of ingredients in Hormel’s Pepperoni:

Pork and Beef, Salt, Contains 2% or less of Water, Dextrose, Spices, Lactic Acid Starter Culture, Oleoresin of Paprika, Garlic Powder, Sodium Nitrite, BHA, BHT, Citric Acid.

Is Pepperoni Paleo?

Sort of, but not really, but maybe sometimes. Yeah, it’s like that. Dr. Oren Cordain disapproves of pepperoni and other cured meats, but pepperoni doesn’t have to be as bad as the highly processed Hormel listed above.

Much like we’ve said in the past, fresher is always better, especially when it comes to things like pepperoni and cured meats. While 2% or less is not a lot of any single ingredient, dextrose is a form of sugar, and you’ve got another handful of ingredients that are definitely questionable or unacceptable in the Paleo world. If you’re going to enjoy pepperoni, either as part of a charcuterie, or on a Paleo pizza, try to get the fresh stuff from your butcher or at a traditional shop, and be an ingredient detective at the grocery store! Treat it like bacon and look for brands with the fewest real food ingredients, or simply make it at home from grass-fed beef and/or pork

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