Combining Foods = Non-Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 15, 2010 at 3:27 PM

So one way we have made our paleo lifestyle fun and exciting is by using paleo recepies. However, I have wondered if combining foods (i.e. paleo meat loaf) causes any responses in the make up of the chow that breaks down it's paleo-ness.

In other words, if you take a more traditionalists approach, paleolithic people probably didn't combine a bunch of things to make a new thing. As a result, they would be eating pure meat, then pure veggie, etc. By cooking things together, is there a chemical reaction with the food that makes it something different?

On one side of the coin, it all goes into the gut just the same so maybe not. On the other side of the coin, the higher heat and combination of things could create a different animal.

I know I'm slicing hairs here but it would be interesting to see your feedback.



on April 15, 2010
at 07:12 PM

"By cooking things together, is there a chemical reaction with the food that makes it something different?" Absolutely. Different in the sense that you may absorb more of less of a particular nutrient due to the cooking process or the act of combining different foods which each have their own chemical properties. Cooking can also create new compounds.

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6 Answers


on April 15, 2010
at 03:43 PM

i can see how combining foods would be considered non-paleo for the reasions you point out.

Honestly, for myself, I'm a pretty simple person and one of the things that i adore about Paleo is that I eat a slab of meat, cooked in fat, and a mound of veggies either raw or minimally cooked (and usually drenched in fat). SIMPLE. When i cook for my family now, it's just the same: meat, veg, veg, maybe some fresh fruit.

Some of these complicated dishes - especially the ones that are designed to mimic SAD food - frankly baffle me. But that's just me. I don't mind that people do it, it just strikes me as odd. :) i mean, why make meatloaf when you can just nom that good meat?

I'm sure that even when Grok settled down at the dawn of agriculture, he still cooked pretty simply. Heck, it's all the complicated stuff, like breadmaking, brewing, preserving, etc that kept Mrs Grok slaving in a hot kitchen rather than walking out in the fresh air gathering!


on April 15, 2010
at 07:26 PM

For me personally, I do not see ANYTHING wrong with combining what we all consider common ground paleo ingredients to make a bigger dish.

As long as the dishes aren't a vector to mimic things we are trying avoid from the typical SAD diet. Like almond pancakes, or almond crust pizza etc where the lack of will power would let someone cover it it syrup, guava nectar, or the like..

Making some "Paleo Salsa" to cover my steak and eggs, avocado and sour cream on my eggs, meat loaf like you mentioned above is another perfect example, almond/Parmesan/garlic crusted fish, bacon wrapped scallops, and so on.

I consider myself a 95/5 type of guy when it comes to Paleo, but variety is the spice of life, even while eating Paleo!

I think the main thing we have to avoid which is being discussed alot, is what we cook these dishes WITH. What type of oils, in what type of cooking pans themselves, what type of heat and so on.



on May 23, 2012
at 06:22 PM

I was thinking about this today, and then I found this thread.

I've started to wonder about food combining. Not that I'm about to eat everything in isolation, but I can't imagine primitive people having killed an animal and then said to themselves, "You know what would go great with this elk? Some spinach. Let's wait 'til we find some of that and then eat."

It does seem like certain combinations aren't typically found in foods in their natural state. Specifically, fat and carbohydrate. You find fat and protein (animal flesh and dairy), and carbs and protein (beans), but I can't think of many (if any) fat/carb combinations. Not that should stop anybody from having a bowl of berries with coconut milk or real cream.

I've just been curious. I feel like this is why certain foods are so easy to go crazy on, a great example being ice cream. It hits that sweet/fat button. I've also heard it said that this is why commercial ketchup is easy to OD on - it hits all the tastes - sweet, salty, sour, savory. (Maybe not bitter, though.) I could eat sweet potatoes plain as day and they're delicious, but who doesn't know they taste even better with some butter or coconut oil? (And even better than that if you add some cinnamon.)

Is this just an extension of the hyperpalatability issue? That certain foods -- particularly SAD foods that are "inventions" rather than actual foods -- are especially easy to eat a TON of, and especially hard to resist because they hit the reward centers more than, say, broccoli and steak? I haven't been a big fan of the hyperpalatability stuff, but I think I'm seeing it in a new way.

I think this is why, for me, at least, certain foods really need to be off limits. I have no "off switch" when it comes to them. I can eat to satiety with most foods, but there are a few that throw satiety out the window. My stomach could be about to burst and I would still go back for more... With those foods, I've found it's easier to abstain entirely than to fool myself into thinking I'll "just have one piece." (Because it never stops there.)

Edited to add: I just realized that with full-fat dairy, there's fat & carbs. Not a ton of carbs, but some. And I also realize that a good meal is really, truly, one of life's pleasures and regardless of what our ancestors did, I'm not about to deny myself a nice rare steak, some greens, and a glass of red wine. (Possibly preceded by a salad with mixed greens, pear, walnuts, and gorgonzola. Drool.)


on April 15, 2010
at 04:47 PM

I don't believe, given the basic pure ingredients, that there would be any sort of chemical reaction or effect that takes place to cause more harm than good with what we're eating. Anything that could possibly cause that wouldn't be a Paleo ingredient to begin with.

@Blue: I see what you mean about mimicking SAD food, but to me? Part of the fun is "beating the system" by making a meatloaf (which I've tried) which is allowable in the Paleo diet. It's like I've pulled one over on the masses who are "eating it wrong." :)



on May 23, 2012
at 06:49 PM

I don't think we know enough to make any definitive statements. Especially since the dawn of cooperation and the division of labor, surely the hunter would bring back the kill, and others in his family/tribe would have been seeking out other sources of food. Also, since animals would be attracted to fruits, nut, and tubers too, wouldn't there be (at least in the summer months) times when all macronutrients were at least available in the environment?

There isn't much to go on.



on April 19, 2010
at 12:39 AM

I guess I'm by default not combining foods. Meat n veg, that's how I've been eating for decades, only now I eat grass-fed meat and organic veg and don't make the occasional pasta dishes I've had in the past. I've never been big on complicated dishes or recipes that are more than a few lines and if something requires more than ten minutes of prep work, I'm not making it.

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