What is Primal?
The Primal (or Paleo) lifestyle is the idea that health and wellness are our birth right, our default state. Looking to evolutionary history and human biology for guidance, we balance our evolutionary roots with the realities of modern day living.
Primal is a transformation of how we view food and health. Rather than the conventional idea of a restrictive and temporary “diet”, Primal emphasizes a shift to cooking with whole foods that our bodies evolved to thrive on.
This shift to filling meals of pastured meats, veggies, fruits, and nuts is something we embrace as nurturing and sustaining. These foods are a celebration of life and a way to listen to and honor our bodies, rather than battling against cravings.
This is more than a 30 day diet, this is a way to nature your body for life.
This is more than just how to eat. It’s a way of looking at our modern lives from a 10,000 foot view. Drawing from the past to re-balance and re-sync the integral parts of what make us human with the modern settings we find ourselves surrounded by.
Understanding the differences and the stressors that have outstripped our adaptations let us shape our environments to hold both the nurturing elements of our Paleolithic roots and the fulfillment found in modern life.
In Your Modern Life
There are some basic changes that have a huge impact on our modern lives. Eating a diet that consists of mainly meats and veggies with fruit and nuts in moderation enables our bodies to heal themselves. Getting adequate sleep renews us. Scaling back to manageable workouts with plenty of fun strengthens us. To get started, check out my Beginner’s Guide to Paleo. To have a guide implementing these nurturing practices into your daily life, reach out through my Work With Me page to schedule a free consultation.
How is it Different?
Primal Living is part of a lifestyle revolution. As the ineffectiveness of the low-fat, high-carb diets comes to light more health professionals are looking for answers outside of what has been conventional wisdom. Primal bases it’s recommendations on evolution, studying what we evolved eating and how changes in diet have effected our health as a species. Studying Paleolithic remains has revealed a remarkable decrease in health when population began moving from hunter-gather societies to agriculture-based societies (check out Loren Cordain’s article on the effects of a shift to agriculture). It is based on a budding area of science, looking at how modern foods interact with our bodies and effect our digestive health (Dr. Davis’s work is notable among many others). And it is based on you. Self-monitoring and experimenting is a key part of taking control of your health. So how is Primal different from other diets?
Vegetarian and Vegan
Primal Living is not at odds with vegetarian and vegan diets (though it can be very difficult to align with the latter). Both ideals call for whole foods: unprocessed, and often sustainable. The key difference lies in the mindset behind the diet choices. “Vegetarian for health” is often touted in conventional wisdom and this idea is not aligned with Primal. The idea that a plant-based diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates is healthy is at odds with Primal Living. Member of the Primal community who are vegetarian for ethical reasons concentrate on high-fat foods such as eggs, avocado, coconut, and high-quality dairy.
Whole Foods Diets
Whole Foods diets tend to exclude similar things a a Primal Diet in terms of processed foods. Both diets avoid food products not found in nature in their whole forms (i.e. additives). The main difference being that a Primal diet also excludes wheat and other grains that hunter-gatherers would not have had access to that harm our bodies. Primal shares many of the same values for non-processed, sustainable, and nourishing foods, but relies on our evolutionary history and science to exclude foods that, while being “whole”, still require a level of processing to be eatable and contain components that create stress on our systems.
Detox diets are wide and varied and, generally, don’t align with Primal Living. We often promote a 30 day or “Whole30” challenge elimination diet to allow the body to heal and its built up tolerances to dissipate but this is in order to set the stage for a life long shift in diet based in similar foods. We then shift to slowly adding foods in the “sometimes” and “maybe” areas of the Beginner’s Guide to see how the body handles them, removing again as needed. With Primal Living, the body is naturally able to remove toxins and further stress can create more harm than good.