Paleo 101: Overview

It never hurts to go back to the basics and understand what Paleo is and why we eat this way. In fact, re-examining these roots can either a) solidify your decision to eat “Paleo” foods, b) answer questions that prevented you from fully committing or c) make you realize this is all bogus and you should eat cake every day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Paleo is a term used to loosely define a style of eating. While many disagree on some of the finer details, the staples are usually:

  • Meat/Seafood
  • Veggies
  • Some Fruit
  • Safe Starches
  • Some Nuts/Seeds

First, I want to blow your mind with the fact that Paleo does not fit into a stereotype. Although popular, Paleo is not necessarily low carb. It may not even be high fat or high protein. The optimal average percentage of these macronutrients – protein, fat & carbohydrates – truly depends on your lifestyle, your activity level and what works best for you body. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Endurance athletes need more carbohydrate than couch potatoes. The amount of fat you eat may depend on personal preference, although quality fats should in no way, shape or form be feared. Refined sugars are ALWAYS the devil.

Second, notice there are NO grains or grain-like products in the above mentioned list. Although gluten is especially problematic, similar proteins found in corn, rice and legumes that exhibit similar properties as gluten, namely anti-nutrient properties that wreak havoc in our intestines.

Third, corn is not a vegetable. It is a grain. End of discussion.

Fourth, while discrepancies as to the details of Paleo exist, the basic tenants are the same: don’t eat foods that damage your body (poison) and eat foods that are metabolically favorable. Gluten, fructose and excess linoleic acid (omega-6) are especially harmful and poisonous to our bodies. It is no surprise that these three substances make up the bulk of the Standard American Diet.

Fifth, notice no baked goods in the above list. While there are gluten-free products galore on the market, these should

not replace the regular alternative. This means that if you still eat gluten-free stuff in a box, you are eating junk just like the regular product in a box. Don’t fool yourself. I’m not saying not to treat yourself now and then, but packaged processed foods of any materials are filled with preservatives and chemicals that you don’t want in your body. They are NOT metabolically favorable.

If you’d like the guesswork taken out, click here to download my Paleo Food List in an Eat this/not that format.

For a great summary of the Paleo literature and the future direction of the Paleo movement, check out this article by Dr. Kurt Harris of

Over the next few posts we’ll be going over each of the groups in the above list and examining their properties, benefits (or not), and function in our bodies. Should be interesting!





  • Laura

    Reply Reply April 29, 2011

    Glad you’re doing this! It never hurts to have a refresher and sometimes you just need to “get real” about what you are eating and quit fooling yourself into believing that it’s all okay for you!

    • admin

      Reply Reply April 29, 2011

      Thanks! And I agree! The gluten-free “cinnamon” (i.e. loads of sugar) Chex mix just isn’t cutting it at our house! ๐Ÿ™‚

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