How many of you did not learn to cook until you started living a paleo lifestye?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 21, 2013 at 6:05 AM

I am starting to wonder if the biggest benefit of the paleo diet is that we stop relying on processed stuff. The whole n=1 thing shows that no one macro ratio works for everyone. Yet the positive benefits of the paleo diet persist and are hard to disregard.

I dont want to make this topic too broad so I pose a simple question:

Did you cook regularly from "scratch" before going paleo?

If you did cook regularly have you noticed a large benefit in health/weight since going paleo?

I feel that I can safely assume the trend to cooking from not cooking is a positive one but if you have something to say that contradicts that speak up!

Thank you

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18 Answers



on March 21, 2013
at 10:38 PM

For some people I think that's a huge part of the answer. We probably each had something different holding us back. For me, I have been cooking from scratch for years. Every meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have 4 kids, and not an endless grocery budget. :) When I went paleo, the only thing I changed was (1) eliminated 1 tsp of sugar from my coffee, and (2) eliminated 1 snack in the afternoon that usually had some crackers or dried cereal in it. Lost 30 lb in 2 months. So for me, I think it was the effect of really, truly zero sugar.



on March 21, 2013
at 03:17 PM

For me, many years ago, it was the transition to vegetarianism that brought out the innate, creative cook that I always had inside of me. To this day, that's the one thing I credit my 7 year dalliance with v*ganism in a positive way - nothing else good came from it.

Cooking is a hobby now, not work. Even though it takes time to do, and I have to do it, I take pleasure out of that time.



on March 21, 2013
at 10:03 AM

For me going paleo changed my perception of what cooking actually is. I used to think I was 'cooking' all the time by mixing milk and processed cheese powder into my Kraft dinner macaroni. In the beginning of my paleo days I also found myself a little but too restricted in terms of the foods I began making, but mostly because I was uneducated about food and how much variety was not only available to me but also required for a healthy happy and balanced body/mind. For me cooking paleo has completely changed my life and I've become so much more energetic, calmer, centred and vibrant because of it. I got my mojo back! :-)

People tend to largely fall into a few groups when they begin eating paleo, some of which emphasis weightloss over nutrition which I think is a beginner mistake that most people eventually realize and correct. Most people here are curious about nutrition and eventually read enough articles and resources to be able to string together where they may be lacking in their views/habits nutritionally. I feel like we are a pretty open minded bunch!

Now I cook all of my meals from a balanced view, aiming for nutrient dense and clean high quality foods instead of fussing over calories, carbs or fats--that's what works for me.

As far as screwing up your nutrition when cooking for yourself I would argue that you can't possibly be screwing up that bad if you're cooking whole foods at home any more than you would be if you were still eating the typical fare found in a SAD processed diet. Anyone cooking fresh whole (real) foods over someone who is just heating up something in a box is light years ahead in terms of starting to get their nutrion right IMO.


on March 21, 2013
at 09:37 AM

Yup, I definitely went from cooking about 1/2 of my food, to cooking almost 100% of it.

But the pitfall of being in absolute control of your diet is that you can screw up your nutrition if you're not careful. There's plenty of well-meaning folks out there that are ignorant of micronutrition and run into problems after a few months of restricting their food variety. This happened to me when I was eating low-carb and was remedied by organ meat, bone broth and seafood. Even Paul Jaminet once gave himself scurvy...



on March 22, 2013
at 01:34 AM

i learned how to cook meat once i started eating paleo, but i always made food from scratch prior to that. i loved cooking.


on March 22, 2013
at 01:20 AM

I used to think I was a terrible cook and that it was too hard. I only cooked stuff that came in a box (Hamburger Helper, anyone?). Once I got over trying to skimp on fat like I was always brain washed to do, I realized how great home cooked food could be! I also think eating this way adjusts your pallet and makes fresh food so much more delicious. When I do eat out, unless it's a high-quality restaurant, I usually regret it and realize the food I cook at home is better anyway.



on March 21, 2013
at 11:04 PM

Absolutely cook more now. I helped cook a bit around the holidays, and I made my fair share of cupcakes from boxed mixes. Other than that I microwaved everything. But now is a very different story haha. That is one of my favorite things about doing the paleo diet. There is all kinds of things I can cook now. sometimes I even make it up as I go along =]


on March 21, 2013
at 10:29 PM

Absolutely! About a year before going Paleo I moved to Vermont and started cooking about 50% more than I used to (it was all about convenience before, eating out, packaged "food"... yuck!). But since going Paleo I have learned SO much and really consider myself cooking. Simple things I realized I had never done like cook a steak! It's a little scary at first, but so empowering - and definitely got me interested in learning more and more about nutrition, which is a huge plus.



on March 21, 2013
at 10:02 PM

My cooking skills have gone on immensely since going Paleo. As a single man, I don't know how anyone could be Paleo and not develop cooking skills.



on March 21, 2013
at 03:03 PM

My cookery skills have definitely improved! I can now make great casseroles and curries and interesting veg side dishes all seasoned with interesting herbs spices and I love it!

Pre paleo I used to love baking cakes and cookies but my savoury food was a bit dull. Of course now I have no use for cakes and cookies so all my attention has now been put into cooking the savoury stuff - its great learning what flavours complement each other and then using that knowledge to create yummy paleo dinners!


on March 21, 2013
at 12:11 PM

Cooking and learning about culinary stuff for me preceded and then tied in with learning about nutrition (and both are ongoing things). Eg before I decided to try not eating grains entirely I went through a period where I transitioned from trashy white bread type of stuff to 'wholemeal' etc, then eventually to the darkest artisan sourdough rye I could find.

I've baked a fair few cakes in my time too, so is fair to say I had an interest in cooking before changing habits... Ditching sandwiches though definitely opened up space and gave impetus for creativity to be fostered/used, and I feel better than I did on the food (and interrelated) front(s)...



on March 21, 2013
at 11:33 AM

I didn't cook really before going Paleo. I used my microwave oven to heat stuff up, boil water, and make toast. Going Paleo changed everthing. I make everything from scratch but I don't feel that I am "cooking" but rather "preparing". For example...

  • I bake breakfast muffins. This involves 15 minutes of preparation, then throw it all in the oven for 45 minutes. This doesn't make me feel like a fancy chef.

  • I make my own sauerkraut. 30 minutes of preparation, then let it ferment for 8 days. No cooking involvement.

  • I make 1 liter green smoothies daily. 15 minutes of preparation, no cooking.

  • all I do is use a steamer to cook veggies. 8 minutes and it's done.

  • I fry fish on a skillet with coconut oil. Not rocket science. Same goes for chicken hearts and chicken livers. For eggs I use ghee instead of coconut oil.

  • I bake chicken and ground beef (, which I grind myself). The oven does the work.

So all of the above is so easy "a cave man can do it". ;-) As you can see, I am not a cook. With basic kitchen tools and common sense it is easy to be Paleo.




on March 21, 2013
at 11:07 AM

I'm 34 and have been learning to cook for a year and a half now since the switch.

Before that, the only things I knew how to cook came in a box and/or got scorched on the grill.

Better late than never, I say.


on March 21, 2013
at 10:41 AM

I cooked 99% from scratch before going paleo. It was just eliminating baking GF bread, etc really, for me.



on March 21, 2013
at 10:13 AM

I was already cooking when I found paleo. I learned to cook after having my gallbladder out. Had nothing to do but sit at home, and not much on TV of interest other than the cooking channel. The painkillers they gave me had me in a brain fog so I had little interesting in reading or surfing the net or much else.

But somehow watching Emeril reruns rubbed off, and I picked up a few things. :)

After going paleo, though, it reignited the urge to cook.


on March 26, 2013
at 07:50 PM

The first time I tried Paleo (back in the late 1990;s), it worked to make me lose weight, but I didn't really know much about cooking, except for eggs and basic meat. Veggies were primarily salad. I got talked (virtually bullied) out of it when I spent time visiting my parents, who were of the "if it was good enough for your parents to raise you on, it can't be bad" school of thought. Recently, I knew I needed to get down from my 220 - 225 weight and get back into shape. I started really learning to cook and have since lost 40 lbs and learned how to cook quite well. I like looking at recipes and adapting it for the paleo diet. Tonight I'm cooking chicken thighs marinated in a mango/chipotle BBQ sauce made from scratch. I'm sauteing a mix of poblano peppers, carrots, spring onions, and collard greens. I'm growing micro-greens and brocolli sprouts in the basement and am on my second year of container veggie gardening outside.


on March 22, 2013
at 09:19 AM

I've been strict HFLC since feb, I thought I was cooking but now I realise I just ' assembled' meals from way too many packets. Paleo has forced me to take responsibility and prepare from scratch now and I love it. I cook for my partner who is not Paleo and she's not complained about flavour, or lack of! But I wouldnt dare serve my own creations to guests yet. I've stagnated in terms of ideas, so one good thing about the Paleo lifestyle is I'm now actively seeking out recipes to keep me motivated and of course learning about new culinary delights. Things to improve on, knife skills, I can't chop and to Learn some basic Butchery skills. I'm new here and would like to say Hi to the community :)


on March 22, 2013
at 02:39 AM

I was a pretty decent baker before paleo but my cooking skills were awful. Meat was almost always over-cooked and dry. Eventually, since the kids had left home, I tended to eat microwavable meals. But now that I make most of my meals from scratch I've become a little better. The good thing about cooking, as opposed to baking, is that you really don't need to follow a recipe and can kind of experiment with different ingredients.

As far as the second part of your question, I assume that eating healthier foods has made me healthier (well, cutting out gluten has helped a lot) but weight has never been a major issue for me.

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