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Thread: Primal vs. Paleo page

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    Ransom's Avatar
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    Primal vs. Paleo

    I'm eating, as far as I can tell, a mixture of Primal and Paleo having not read the book on either. I'm reading more and more on this blog and really like what I'm reading. I definitely want to read the Primal Blueprint as soon as I can get a hold of it. I also would like to read the book on Paleo. Until that time, can anyone who has experience or knowledge of both tell me what the main differences between Paleo and Primal are? I can't see much of one in what I've read thus far. Are they close enough that there isn't much of a distinction? Thanks!
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    The PB book is fabulous. Cordain's paleo book is a snoozefest...I have to check and see if Rob Wolf's book is ready to order yet...I'm way behind in the podcast.
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    Mike Alzen's Avatar
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    The "official" paleo book isn't really worth reading imo. Cordain made too many concessions at the pressure of his publisher (diet soda is ok, limit eggs, etc). The actual practices between paleo and primal only differ in dairy as far as I'm aware.

    Even with respect to dairy, they seem to be converging a bit. Butter seems to be grudgingly accepted in paleo with most people now, although cheese is still out.

    All in all, the differences are very minor, and for the most part I think starting with a clean 30 days of strict "paleo" is a good idea, and then reintroduce the questionable things to see how you react to them.

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    The main differences I've noticed are:
    1) the role of dairy (paleo says no go, primal says its ok in moderate quantities if you're not lactose intolerant/sensitive to it)
    2) fat consumption (paleo limits this, primal encourages lots of it)
    3) whether "artificial"/non-sugar sweeteners are ok (paleo says they're ok, primal says they should be extremely limited)

    -- also -- the primal blueprint has a lot to say about aspects of life outside of diet, such as exercise, sun exposure, etc.

    My lifestyle is a hybrid between the two, I guess. Just go with what works for you
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    My blog that I don't update as often as I should: http://primalclimber.blogspot.com/

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    The reason I migrated from paleo to PB was the different takes on fat consumption. Cordain discourages eating lamb. That's when I knew there was trouble. Paleo peoples weren't concerned with only getting the lean cuts at the butcher counter.

    Also, the 40/30/30 on carb/fat/protein calories was not working for me. I was paying tons of attention to calories and ended up overeating and always being hungry.

    But the main difference, for me, is the community. And I don't really mean support, since I'm new here and haven't made any connections yet. I like the community because, rather than a book by a doctor that doesn't really allow for discussion, this place is constantly updated by tons and tons of people who are interested in both research and anecdote. I feel more confident about the information I get here, because if it's wrong, the poster will likely get called out, or a differing study/opinion will be presented. Cordain just has books.

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    rozska's Avatar
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    The main useful thing, for me, were the paleo plan menus. I adjusted them (a lot) adding in lot of fat, taking out a bunch of carbs. But still it gave me a good starting point.

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    I really dislike how the term paleo is thought to mean Cordain's Paleo Diet, as there are LOTS of folks eating strict paleo out there that love good fat and wouldn't touch canola oil or an artificial sweetener w/ a ten foot pole.

    This is one of the best paleo resources I've found: http://paleodiet.com/definition.htm

    What Is The Paleo Diet?

    Paleo is a simple dietary lifestyle that is based on foods being either in or out. In are the Paleolithic Era foods that we ate prior to agriculture and animal husbandry (meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, mushrooms, etc.). Out are Neolithic Era foods that result from agriculture or animal husbandry (grains, dairy, beans/legumes, potatoes, sugar and fake foods).
    And from http://paleofood.com/

    From the site:
    Recipes are: grain-free, bean-free, potato-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free.
    Ingredients used: meat, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and berries.
    Defining it is actually pretty simple IMO. And I think macronutrients vary widely among various paleo folks.


    Differences between paleo (as I define it--NOT Cordain's paleo, which I don't think is really truly paleo) and primal are that:

    Paleo does not include dairy of any sort, while primal allows it.

    Paleo does not include any tubers except arrowroot (and I'm not positive why...some paleo folks probably avoid it) while primal allows for sweet potatoes in great moderation.

    Some paleo folks avoid all nightshades b/c they are a 'new world food', so not around long enough for any of us to evolve to eat them.


    IMO, that's it. Some folks are more strict than others. I consider myself loosely primal and paleo, mainly b/c I avoid most dairy due to food sensitivity issues (we do ghee here--which is absolutely NOT paleo ). I still eat dark chocolate, and had been eating tubers (but have been cutting them lately). I think of paleo as also being more strict than primal (w/ the PB there is the 80/20, on most of the paleo forums I've found folks are a lot more strict than folks here.) But I think it really depends on how each person chooses to use the ideas behind either diet/WOE. They are quite similar and basically based on the same principles.

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    Definately agree that Paleo placed bit much emphasis on low fat consumptions. PB is by far more rigourous and i would stick with it!! whether your goals are to improve health or weight loss your body requires saturated fat!!!!

    I started off with Paleo and disagreed with the sweetner and fat stuff (the general gist was ok) but PB is definately the way

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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    I think Robb Wolf is the more contemporary authority on Paleo diet (vs. Cordain) and he is big on sweet potatoes/yams, especially for the fit/active, but still limits nearly all dairy. His book will be released in September. Till then his podcasts are some of the best out there. I am simultaneously learning and being entertained. Also, as an RA sufferer, i appreciate how much time & attention he gives to autoimmune diseases.

    I am proud to say I am one of the six devoted podcast listeners! HOLY CATS!!!!

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