3

votes

What's your definition of Paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

I thought it would be interesting to see the various responses. Ancestral eating varies from person to person, and can be confusing to a newb.

My definition of Paleo is--

If the food on your plate can be found in nature just as it is (NOT chemically altered, NOT processed into something unrecognizable) then it's Paleo.

I think excluding healthy foods from the American continents on an "evolutionary model" is just plain stupid unless one has an allergy. Potatoes, peppers, squash, nuts, etc are all good in my book. I don't think beans are meant to be eaten either, considering what a pain it is to render them edible. Basing one's diet on whether a food can be eaten raw is also pointless, as man has been using fire to cook with for so long to think that fire and cooking hasn't played a major role in our diets is absurd.

EDIT: I can see the point raised by Wozza, that if "Paleo" is going to be so broad as to include non-foods like whey protein powders, supplements, dairy and other Neo foods, that all of that sort of waters down the very definition of the Paleo. One would simply be on a whole foods diet that excludes grains and legumes (which is how I'm leaning, to be honest).

The thing is, perhaps Cordain picked the wrong era. The Paleolithic covers several species of human ancestors, various climes and ranges in food. That allows for a LOT of interpretation. Hence, confusion.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 23, 2011
at 03:13 PM

i just find it easier to tell people three simple things to avoid rather than list a bunch of stuff they're supposed to eat.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:54 PM

Exactly. Just this weekend I ate half a Panettone for breakfast with a double espresso and charming Italian girl.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:34 PM

+1 for not invoking hard dietary law. I like "avoid" because the big problem is usually "too much", not "what". We are a social omnivore.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:31 PM

We had even fatter heads than we do now?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:29 PM

If we're in the gene pool with Genghis Khan, then Cordain picked the wrong period by 100,000 years.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:27 PM

All those "don'ts" make paleo sound like hypochondria. Eat meat, hunt and gather, love and prosper.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 23, 2011
at 12:56 AM

Maybe it should change its name to AncestralHacks?

C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on November 22, 2011
at 11:27 PM

This question points to a larger issue: that the notion of paleo no longer means anything at all, and I think this web site has to take some of the blame for that.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:59 PM

Brad, note what I said about fire. Food in its whole state, then you can cook it and season it or whatever. Baked potato vs french fries, for example. A slab of steak is still a steak whether it's cooked or raw. A hamburger from McD's, with all of the crap they add to them, is pretty far removed from the real thing.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:50 PM

Yeah, figured thats how I would have to get them. Thanks!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:46 PM

I bought mine online; just search "water kefir" and there are lots of how-to videos and sites selling the grains.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:26 PM

I'm really trying to get hold of some water kefir grains....how did you come by yours?

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:16 PM

and ....+1 Paleo2.0. Good answer.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Isn't cooking meat a way of "processing" it? You're not eating it as it's found in nature. Same with eggs.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:35 PM

+1 - Exactly this.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I really don’t worry about a definition of Paleo anymore. Everybody’s definition is going to be different, so why bother. The press seems to have latched on to Cordain’s version since that is the name of his book, so saying “Paleo” will indicate a specific meal plan in some people’s eyes that may be nothing like what I eat. I think Ancestral is probably a better overall description of how I eat and hits the core ideas without having to specify particular stances on specific foods. I avoid vegetable oil, added sugar, and wheat. I avoid processed convenience foods.

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6 Answers

3
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 22, 2011
at 01:51 PM

I look to traditional ancestral diets to guide my own, but I don't have a single pithy statement to define what I eat. I look at the history and relative merits of each type of food, and I consider how my body responds to it. Then I use that information to make my decisions about what I do or do not include in my diet.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:35 PM

+1 - Exactly this.

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:57 PM

I think of it as ancestral eating now and my definition is broader than you described. I include fermented things like sauerkraut, yogurt, water kefir and dairy such as cream, half and half, butter, etc.

I'm even including occasional batches of mixed beans that are soaked thoroughly.

Even in the holiday season, I'm avoiding baked goods--not because they're processed, but because they can trigger my binge eating--and sticking pretty much to whole foods. My big treat for Thanksgiving is a goose and a tiny piece of paleo pumpkin pie. My Christmas splurge will be carbonated cranberry apple juice (using my water kefir grains) and beef steaks (I usually stick to cheap meat and marrow bones.)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:50 PM

Yeah, figured thats how I would have to get them. Thanks!

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:26 PM

I'm really trying to get hold of some water kefir grains....how did you come by yours?

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 22, 2011
at 04:46 PM

I bought mine online; just search "water kefir" and there are lots of how-to videos and sites selling the grains.

2
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:19 PM

I say I eat "low sugar, low diary, low carbohydrate, high nutritional foods. Lots of meat, eggs, fish, seafood and vegetables but avoid grains and legumes."

Personally I drop the word "Paleo" and simply mention that managing blood sugar is critical for health and that I focus on foods which are most useful for the body. That there is mounting evidence for the stress grains and legumes have on the body, and mention that we really do not digest certain plants well which is a mixture of our and their evolution. I give blueberries versus grains as a rough example: one likes to be eaten the other doesn't and fights back. When people ask about where my "energy" comes from with lower carbohydrate, I explain vegetables do also contain carbohydrate, but that the body can use animal and plant fats as it's energy source which are far more nutritious than bread, pasta, chips or potatoes. Simply I say I eat more meat and vegetables rather than just starchy fillers. When they ask about fat and cholesterol I ask them if they want to read some articles or borrow some books as this is harder small-talk.

I find as soon as I use the labels "diet", "paleo", "primal" or even "evolution" people turn off, so I drop them altogether. I let the links, articles and books I pass on bring them up.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:34 PM

+1 for not invoking hard dietary law. I like "avoid" because the big problem is usually "too much", not "what". We are a social omnivore.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:54 PM

Exactly. Just this weekend I ate half a Panettone for breakfast with a double espresso and charming Italian girl.

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 23, 2011
at 03:21 AM

Don't eat grains.

Don't eat legumes.

Don't eat dairy.

Avoid vegetable oils and polyunsaturated fats in general.

Don't think about food too much, live lightly and smile a lot.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:27 PM

All those "don'ts" make paleo sound like hypochondria. Eat meat, hunt and gather, love and prosper.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 23, 2011
at 03:13 PM

i just find it easier to tell people three simple things to avoid rather than list a bunch of stuff they're supposed to eat.

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Paleo is an attempt to emulate the diet and lifestyles fitting to a time period when humans were at what we might think to be a peak of physical function with even larger brains than today. By emulating their lifestyle we try to flip the genetic switches that promote good health.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 23, 2011
at 02:31 PM

We had even fatter heads than we do now?

1
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:35 PM

So, milk would be fine, but cheese and ghee are out? (unprocessed vs. processed)

And really, it's only "Paleo" if Cordain has ordained it to be so. /sarc

I don't define Paleo, because I don't care to do so. The only thing that matters is figuring out what works for me. Paleo is only one of many concepts that I am willing to utilize to better my health.

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