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The 7 Best Answers to the Question of “What is Paleo?”

This is a multi-media round-up of what (I think) are the best answers to the question of “what is paleo?” by some of my favourite bloggers, from around the Paleo Blogosphere and beyond.

If you are totally new to the whole idea of Paleo then this is a great place to start.
On the other hand, you may have been doing this whole thing for awhile but are struggling to explain to your family and friends why you have chosen to overhaul your lifestyle in ways that can seem overly dramatic and restrictive to those who are looking in from the outside.  You may find some gold nuggets in here that you can share with others.

There is a bit of everything here, so without further adieu, I present to you:

#1. The Best Infographic:

For those of you who are visual learners, this infographic “The Ultimate Guide to Eating Paleo” is brought to you by the team at greatist.com, and has had over 3,000 shares on Facebook!
It is a nice, simple visual representation of what Paleo is all about, what to eat, what to avoid and why.

Click here to go to the infographic.

#2. The Best Scientific answer to “What is the Paleo Diet?”

Robb Wolf is widely acknowledged as breaking the whole concept of Paleo out of the laboratory and bringing it to the masses.  As a former research biochemist turned fitness coach and nutritional educator he has a foot in each camp.  Robb is the master of making the sometimes incomprehensible theory understandable and do-able in practice.

The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.” – Robb Wolf

Robb’s explanation of the Paleo Diet at robbwolf.com also encompasses the questions of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity.

You can also find his 1 and a half minute explanation on here on You Tube

#3. Short and Sweet:

“Nutrition in 100 Words” is brought to you by Liz Wolfe at Cave Girl Eats.
What I love about this is that it is incredibly concise and inclusive. Here is everything you need to know about eating for health performance and longevity encapsulated in a simple egg-shell blue box.


It is not just about the food you put in your mouth.
It is also about your basic values, beliefs and behaviours underlying the whole process of feeding yourself.  From where you find your food to what your mindset is, this is a simple road-map for good nutrition.

#4. The Best Podcast:

Paleo 101, part 1 Episode #18
Paleo 101, part 2 Episode # 19

This is brought to you by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites and Liz Wolfe of Cave Girl Eats.
They bring together all of the medical, nutritional and holistic wisdom behind Paleo in way that is super easy to listen to. You really get the feeling that they are sitting with you in your car or kitchen just…having a conversation and telling you how it is.
In these 2 episodes they go through the paleo “rules” and why they follow them. They also do a Q&A and talk about how Paleo, Primal and WAPF (Weston A Price foundation) principles all fit together.

Diane’s 4 basic Paleo “rules”

  • Eat whole food. Food that has come from the ground or been alive and can be processed yourself by hand.
  • Avoid NAD’s (Neolithic Agents of Disease) AKA: grains (especially gluten-containing grains), excess fructose and excess omega-6 in industrialised seed oils
  • Eat to maintain proper digestive function. Upwards of 70% of your immune defenses lie in your gut. If you avoid the foods you can’t digest properly and don’t tolerate well then you will not be constantly challenging your immune system and diverting attention away from the real threats to your body.
  • Eat to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Getting off the blood sugar rollercoaster will help your body to modulate hormones like insulin, cortisol and sex hormones. It will also help your mood and energy levels and reduce underlying stress and chance of infertility and metabolic diseases.

Liz’s 5th basic Paleo “rule”

  • Be Patient. It has taken years for your body to get into its current state, this cannot all be reversed in 30-days. Don’t treat it like a ‘diet’. Stick with it, allow your body to adjust, listen to your body and trust yourself.

If you prefer to learn this way, then you can’t go past the Balanced Bites Podcast and these 2 episodes are a great place to start.

#5. The Most Comprehensive:

For those of you who have a lot of questions then this epic explanation is for you. This one is brought to you by Fitbomb at fitbomb.com and it is hugely entertaining.

Weighing in at over 10,000 words with possibly hundreds of links, make sure you have a good supply of jerky handy or a big bowl of bone broth to tide you over while reading this.

Q: Didn’t cavemen die by the age of 30 or something? Doesn’t this suggest that their diets were crap?”

There is a Q&A section answering not only the big Paleo questions but also the dumb-ass ones as well.

Q: Come on. This “caveman” thing is ridiculous. What are you going to do next — strap on a loincloth and finger-paint pictures of buffaloes in a cave by torchlight? Club a hirsute woman and drag her around by her hair?

If you want a witty answer to all of the questions and jibes your family and friends will fire at you when you tell them you have gone paleo, then you will be able to steal them from here.
Good paleo peeps borrow witty answers, great paleo peeps steal them and pass them off as their own.

Q: This “Paleo” business sounds like snake oil. It’s totally antithetical everything that the experts have taught us about the importance of low-fat diets. Everyone knows that “you are what you eat.” Low-fat equals heart-healthy, and high-fat equals clogged arteries and early death.”

You can find this post here.

#6. How to make the Paleo Diet work for you:

This guiding principle is brought to you by J. Stanton of gnolls.org and it is to: “Eat like a predator not like prey.”

Predators gorge and fast; prey grazes.  Rephrased for modern humans: predators eat meals, prey grazes on snacks. This means you need to eat meals which will carry you through to your next meal, but that won’t make you tired or sleepy.”

This is a practical and entertaining guide of what to eat, what not to eat and why.
It is broken down into easy steps like “Step 1: Eat Meat, Not Birdseed” and “Step 2: Eat Food, Not Diesel Fuel.”
You really get the feeling that J. Stanton is supporting you every step of the way as he tells you what to expect. He is also free with his motivational support and congratulations with each achievement.
This post also includes some good general advice for optimising your paleo lifestyle, including exercise, play-time and supplements. I highly recommend taking a look.

#7. Guidelines for What to eat on a Paleo 30-day Challenge:

My intro to the Paleo Diet was a Whole30 30-day challenge.
Dallas and Melissa lay it all out for you here. They believe that the best results come from totally pressing “ctrl alt delete” on your eating habits.

Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making”

This is tough love, at its finest. Exactly what to eat, what not to eat and what to expect when you go Whole30.

In addition, no Paleo-ifying dessert or junk food choices! We call this “Sex With Your Pants On” (SWYPO), and it will ruin your Whole30 faster than you can say, “Paleo pizza.” Do not try to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold. This means no “Paleo-fying” desserts or junk food – no Paleo pancakes, pizza, brownies or ice cream. Trying to replicate junk food with “technically approved” ingredients misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.”

If you are the kind of person who needs to know (and follow) the rules and guidelines then the Whole30 in all of its nitty-gritty-fine-print glory is for you.  You can find it here and print it off here.

*Bonus #8. Going Beyond Paleo:

Dr Cate Shanahan is a GP and author of one of my favourite books Deep Nutrition.  Dr Cate outlines an approach here that goes beyond the crossfit-pop-culture version of paleo, and adds in all the bits that are missing.  When we pay lip service to “eating the way a caveman might have” and ‘grok’ about, shouting “hand me my meat and veggies”, we may miss the 4 vital elements that are common across traditional diets the world over.

These 4 pillars are:

  • Meat on the Bone
  • Organ meats
  • Fermented and sprouted foods
  • Fresh, uncooked ingredients

Dr Cate explains why these are so important here.
I totally believe that including these foods into your paleo template will stretch it into a more solid framework that will actually deliver good health and allow you to thrive.
This is important people!

What do you think?
Have I missed any explanations that you think definitely without a doubt, should be on this list?

If you have gotten this far and are still keen for more, you can check out my own Paleo Template here.

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