Paleo Diet and Birthright trip in Israel

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 03, 2012 at 12:46 AM

I am signing up to embark on the 10 day excursion to the holy land for Winter. As a 4 year Paleo veteran, I am concerned with the available dietary options most of my friends who went on the trip discussed with me (Fried Falafel, Hummus, Israeli Salad, Pita bread, Couscous, oh and did I mention HUMMUS?!) Out of concern, I am definitely planning to write a dietary request to the Birthright trip but don't know even where to begin in asking specifically what I can and cannot tolerate.

Do you have any tips I can use in making arrangements for this upcoming trip??

Thanks! :)


on August 04, 2012
at 06:41 AM

Eating out you can order sharwama plate instead of falafel pita it comes with salad and goodies that are ok in Paleo, get meat dishes they'll be usually dairy free due to kosher laws not sure about oils used though....


on August 03, 2012
at 02:44 PM

If you can adapt in US, you can easily do it in Israel. You have been paleo for a long time so I assume the same techniques you use while eating out work there. I remember they had these big markets full of produce there. I was there before I knew about paleo though.


on August 03, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I would love to learn some hebrew for health food.

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5 Answers



on August 03, 2012
at 01:44 PM

i went on birthright two years ago and it was fairly easy to keep paleo. in the mornings there was normally some sort of buffet with tons of hard boiled eggs, israeli salads, coffee, baba ganoush, etc. Plenty of 'strict' paleo options. For lunch, usually we went to a town or market with shawarma options and fruits/nuts. Dinner was normally buffet style or going to restaurants on your own where there are so many good options, like lamb and fresh fish. There was also hummus and cheese/yogurt type dishes that I ate as well. These are delicious options that are far superior to what you will find in the states - you are only there for 10 days, I would really suggest not stressing out to keep strict paleo and instead indulge in the local specialties. I think you will enjoy the trip far more if you only attempt to restrict gluten.


on August 04, 2012
at 06:49 AM

I am currently in Israel, it's not hard to do Paleo, Sharwarma dishes are generally on the cheaper side for eating out and is usually lamb or sometimes a mix of chicken/lamb (one Turkish place did that) due to kosher laws you won't find dairy, plus there are many food options in the supermarkets such as sardines in olive oil, tuna, (sunkist is wild not farmed, not sure about filtuna though) you can also find tinned cod liver in own oil as well, chicken, beef and other meats can be found. Good dairy selection if you eat dairy just when you eat out be careful of oils used.

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on August 03, 2012
at 10:48 AM

Hi, I live in Israel. I've found eating out in Israel to be easier than in North America, simply because there are way fewer chains here which translates to restaurant-made sauces and dressings on food and not chemical ones. I would end up ordering something like a salad in Canada and feel sick but when I order a salad here, I get a homemade dressing and I'm fine. Like anywhere, there are usually some paleo options on a menu.

There ARE a million hummous places, but the falafel stands aren't so numerious anymore. You will find tons of sushi places - great for paleo, especially if you eat some rice.

I think the bigger problem is not so much Israel, but you'll be travelling with a group, so if the groups goes to McDonald or similar, you're out of luck. I'd say to try to carry back up foods with you during the day (like jerky which you can't get here, nuts, veggies etc.) so you won't be forced to eat crap.

There are lots of health food stores around, at least in the bigger cities. If you have basic Hebrew, you can look for Eden Teva's branches http://www.edenteva.co.il/branches.aspx. They're the biggest and best health food chain.

If you have specific questions, you can get my email address through my blog.


on August 03, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I would love to learn some hebrew for health food.



on August 03, 2012
at 01:03 AM

Hi! I just lived in Israel for 6 months and was able to maintain my Paleo lifestyle.

Yes, you're right about the Israeli "fast food" staples and hummus, hummus, hummus everywhere. Unfortunately, your fellow birthright-ers will be ecstatic with this abundance of non-paleo food. You will be staying in hotels that will have the typical Israeli breakfast. Thankfully, you can eat the cucumber/tomato salad since it is usually not dressed, the eggs (lots of scrambles, hard-boiled, and plain omelettes) and cabbage sometimes too.

I definitely suggest using part of the "souvenir/shopping/eating-at-restaurants" time to find a shuk or market to stock up your own paleo foods. You are able to find canned fish (sardines in olive oil and tuna in water), lots of bulk items like nuts (large variety so you'd be able to find the type you eat), unsweetened shredded coconut and LOTS of fresh and pretty cheap produce (YAY!!!).

I fortunately had a kitchen so I could cook meat and fish. You might want to make a lot of jerky to bring with you since it doesn't need refrigeration. Otherwise, many restaurants are able to serve grilled chicken salads, various meat dishes and such.

Obviously, in a restaurant situation, you won't be sure if the oil used to cook is paleo-friendly but I would ask and make my decision from there.

Good luck on your 10 days abroad! It's an amazing place and I wish you the best. Get as much sleep in before the trip because I hear there isn't time for that in you Taglit schedule :)


on August 03, 2012
at 10:32 AM

I'm spending a month in Turkey right now and yes, it is difficult to maintain Paleo as well as you'd like. I would suggest bringing plenty of nuts, pemmican, and jerky as best you can.

Fruit should be plentiful over there. To my surprise, I've maintained my weight pretty well by eating more watermelon and peaches this month than in my life combined!

Restaurants do pose a challenge, but just stick with meat and vegetables as much as possible. They are (probably) cooking with olive oil. Shepherd's salad is safe (tomatoes and cucumbers with olive oil)

Have fun, stick to it the best you can, and if people want to know why you're not eating bread, just tell them you're allergic to it. Everyone thinks I'm allergic to everything, but oh well, they're gonna die fat and young and I'm gonna be lean and old!


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