There are two camps when it comes to modern day “Paleo” – those that eat a Paleo diet and those that also embrace a Paleo lifestyle. This site is for both, as well as for others that are just looking for healthy and/or allergen-friendly restaurants and recipes.

To best explain these two concepts, I feel it is best to seek wisdom from some amazing people on the forefront of modern day Paleo living and cooking.

Paleo Diet

A Paleo diet consists of natural foods that our Paleolithic ancestors may have found, such as...

  • pastured/organic meats and poultry
  • wild-caught fish
  • organ meats
  • nuts & seeds
  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • eggs
  • healthy fats (olive, coconut, avocado and nut oils; animal fats from pastured/wild animals)
  • sea vegetables
  • mushrooms and other fungi
  • natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey
  • fermented foods
  • herbs and spices

Foods excluded on the Paleo diet are:

  • grains
  • soy
  • legumes
  • dairy
  • artificial additives
  • industrially-processed seed oils
  • processed foods and sugars

You will find some variations in the Paleo diet depending on the individual, as noted here by one of my favorite Paleo cookbook authors, Nom Nom Paleo founder Michelle Tam

“There are Paleo eaters who can’t imagine life without dairy, and more orthodox folks who refuse to touch even a pat of butter with a ten-foot pole. The Paleo tent is big enough to fit a host of different approaches, but the core tenets of ancestral eating remain the same:  PRIORITIZE WHOLE, UNPROCESSED, NUTRIENT-DENSE, NOURISHING FOODS. (http://nomnompaleo.com/paleo101)” 

Many believe to eat Paleo means to have a free-for-all-meat-fest, but that is not the case. Replacing processed foods with large quantities of meat is not the goal. The Paleo protocol should be a proper balance of protein and nourishing fruits and vegetables. Dr. Sarah Ballentyne, author of “The Paleo Approach” and blogger at ThePaleoMom.com recommends this rule of thumb, which I wholeheartedly agree with:

At it’s core, the Paleo diet is a plant-based diet, with two thirds or more of your plate covered with plant foods and only one third with animal foods. (https://www.thepaleomom.com/start-here/paleo-diet/)

Check out the link to The Paleo Mom site for some great graphics to show you what is included and not on the Paleo diet.

Autoimmune Paleo

For those suffering from Autoimmune conditions, or even Leaky Gut like me, following a stricter version of the Paleo diet might be necessary to reduce, and hopefully, reverse their illness. This is the same as the Paleo diet mentioned above, but further removes…

  • eggs
  • seeds
  • seed-based spices
  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • nuts
  • nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers)

Dr. Sarah Ballentyne, mentioned above, is a great resource for this variation of the Paleo Protocol, as is Dr. Terry Wahl, author of “The Wahl Protocol” and a victor over multiple sclerosis.

Health Benefits of a Paleo Diet

One can’t think of the Paleo diet and not think of Dr. Loren Cordain, Founder of The Paleo Diet Movement and author of “The Paleo Diet”. According to his site, which is rich in Paleo articles…

“The following seven fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets will help to optimize your health, minimize your risk of chronic disease, and lose weight:

  • Higher protein intake
  • Lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemic index
  • Higher fiber intake
  • Moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats
  • Higher potassium and lower sodium intake
  • Net dietary alkaline load that balances dietary acid
  • Higher intake of, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals

(https://thepaleodiet.com/the-paleo-diet-premise/)

As you can see, there can be some great health benefits from eating a diet primarily comprised of healthy meats, fruits and vegetables, especially when you follow Dr. Ballentyne’s guideline of eating twice as much vegetable portions than meat.

Paleo Lifestyle

Don’t want to live like a caveman? Good! No one wants to get hit over the head with a club or see you walk around in a loin cloth (unless you’re Chris Hemsworth). Living like our prehistoric predecessors is not what a Paleo lifestyle is all about. It’s about taking the time to do natural activities that our bodies need:

  • relax
  • play
  • natural exercise outside of a gym
  • get enough sleep
  • reduce screen time
  • socialize
  • get out in nature
  • laugh
  • soak up some natural Vitamin D

Chris Kresser, one of America’s most knowledgeable voices about the Paleo lifestyle and author of multiple books on the Paleo diet, including “The Paleo Cure”, sums it up best:

Following a Paleo diet/lifestyle today is not about re-enacting the exact diet/lifestyle of our ancestors. Instead, it’s about embracing the principles of their diet and lifestyle to a modern context: eating nutrient dense, toxin-free, whole foods, moving our bodies regularly, sleeping at least 8 hours a night, managing our stress, and playing and having fun. But instead of saying all of this each time, it’s a lot easier to just say “Paleo”! (https://chriskresser.com/20-things-you-didnt-know-about-paleo/)

Paleo Leap, is an excellent site for Paleo recipes. I often use it myself! They have a great post about exercising the Paleo-way where they say…

“Paleo exercise is based on the same principle as Paleo: do what you’re designed to do. In this sense, Paleo exercise can be as radical a departure from standard American practice as Paleo: “exercise” means incorporating movement into your whole life, not just starting your day with an hour at the gym.” (https://paleoleap.com/exercise-and-paleo-lifestyle)

What is right for you?

Interested in trying out a Paleo diet and lifestyle? Awesome! You’ll find that once you eliminate processed foods from your diet and focus on wholesome meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts that your body will thank you for it. Be sure to check with a healthcare provider and do your research before embarking on any changes.

Our bodies are all different and each of has an optimal set of foods to meet our tastes and needs. Take me for example. There are many Paleo-friendly foods that my body does not tolerate well, including beef, potatoes, nuts, bananas and honey. Chris Kresser recommends that instead of stressing about staying on a strict Paleo protocol to instead use the Paleo guidelines as a template to help you reach the best diet for you.

“A Paleo template implies a more flexible and individualized approach. A template contains a basic format or set of general guidelines that can then be customized based on the unique needs and experience of each person (https://chriskresser.com/beyond-paleo-moving-from-a-paleo-diet-to-a-paleo-template) “

Still have questions?

PaleoTrip.com and the sites I’ve mentioned here should answer all the questions you have about the Paleo diet and lifestyle, but if not feel free to contact me using the contact form or email me at sarah@paleotrip.com. Keep your eye out soon for a blog post on recommended reading!

~Sarah

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