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What is the Paleo Diet?

by jenny sansouci on February 2, 2012

Have you been wondering the same thing?

Lately, I’ve been seeing a ton of people talking about eating “Paleo.” My Facebook and Twitter feed have been filled with Paleo references. People seem really into it. When I see the same thing popping up all over the place, I know it’s time for me to dig a little deeper. What’s all the hype about?

Another reason I’ve been wanting to check out this Paleo thing is because after I ended my juice cleanse, I started slowly introducing different foods back in – but I haven’t been inspired to add many grains back into the mix yet. I just haven’t felt like I wanted them. “Is this kind of Paleo-ish of me?” I found myself wondering.

So I researched. And I got some answers for you (and for myself). I asked a friend (and fellow IIN health coach) who has been practicing the Paleo way of eating, Alyssa, to give me some insights!

What’s the basic premise of the Paleo diet?

Alyssa: The paleo diet is more of a lifestyle, not a short term fad-diet. The basic premise of the diet is to eat the way we were genetically designed to eat for the past 2 million years. The human race thrived off natural whole food animal protein, fat, and vegetable based carbohydrates, but this changed after the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago where foods like grains and legumes were introduced. I believe this diet is becoming more widespread due to people having such great results with weight loss, clearer skin, no more joint pain, and the list goes on and on. I also believe that more people are realizing that grains, especially those containing gluten, are proven gut irritants and many people seek relief from their uncomfortable symptoms.

What foods are included/excluded on the Paleo diet?

Alyssa: Well, what is included on the Paleo diet is high quality meat, eggs, seafood, healthy fats (avocado, coconut, olive), vegetables, and limited amounts of fruit and nuts.  What is excluded is all grains (yes, even quinoa and corn is a grain not a vegetable), legumes (this includes peanuts which are in fact not nuts), high polyunsaturated vegetables oils (soybean, canola, safflower, sunflower), sugar, dairy (except grass-fed butter or ghee) and anything processed or artificial. Here’s a good list of it all.

Can vegetarians and vegans eat Paleo?

I (Jenny) actually did my own research into this one and found that although the Paleo community suggests animal products, you can definitely lean towards a Paleo way of eating without eating animal products. All you really have to do is get rid of grains, sugar, dairy and anything artificial. I mean, right? For vegetarians, that just means vegetables, eggs, healthy fats, fruits, nuts. For vegans, it’s basically a raw foods diet with the addition of cooked vegetables. At least, that’s what it seems like to me. I  know, lots of people have their opinions on what’s the best way to do this, but I’m just calling it like I see it.

What health benefits have you personally experienced from the Paleo diet?

Alyssa: I can say with complete confidence that the paleo diet has completely saved me! I suffered from skin rashes, gastrointestinal discomfort, joint pain, and hormonal imbalances even though I was eating what I thought to be the healthiest diet possible (lots of green juice, grains like quinoa, vegetables, and very little animal protein). Since being on the diet, my skin has cleared up, my stomach no longer bloats, my joint pain nearly vanished in thin air after months and months of pain, and I regained my hormonal cycle after MONTHS of not having it!

What are the best resources for someone interested in starting this lifestyle?

Alyssa: My favorites are,, and

COOL, thanks Alyssa!

So I’m not here to say I recommend the Paleo thing or not….just wanted to throw you some info, in case you’ve been curious. To me, it sounds like if you’re interested in leaning into this way of eating, cutting down on sugar & grains could be a nice place to start.

Anyone else want to chime in about this Paleo thing? I KNOW you guys have opinions. Let’s hear ’em!


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becca February 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm

interesting read – am seeking this kind of info more and more lately…quinoa is a seed….isn’t it?

Jesika March 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Great information/interview, I am personally on day 8 on the new paleo way of life, and really enjoying how much better I feel. Cutting out dairy and gluten has been hard, but feeling this great makes it very worthwhile.
Thanks again!

Josue January 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

We are Primal/Paleo with some raw dairy. Our 16 month old has had raw milk since just before she tuernd one (and I started working). We introduced it along with nursing, and she gradually weaned over about three months, and has been fully weaned for about four weeks now. It all happened very naturally, as she was used to drinking expressed milk from a cup so there was no issue with her feeling deprived of the boob! She drinks milk with meals and before bed, and water throughout the day.Along with everything we eat, she eats a ton of sweet potatoes, peeled and roasted in bacon fat in chunks. She’s also a big fan of liver.We live in London, UK and are very fortunate to have an excellent source of raw milk; we buy it in the farmers’ market but they also delivery all over the country.

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