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Thread: Paleo vs. Primal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Atlanta GA

    Paleo vs. Primal

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    Does anyone have any thoughts about the two? I know this blog is mainly geared towards a primal lifestyle but I'd love to get some feedback. I've been doing a lot of research on paleo, especially over at the whole9 and read a lot of back articles/blogs about people doing strict 30 day paleo challenges. Part of me is thinking it might be really good to do a 30 day paleo challenge and really see some awesome results to put myself in the right frame of mind. Part of me also fears it though because little things such as dairy (full fat cheese, greek yogurt) are some foods that make living primal doable for me. Any suggestions or ideas?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Ohio and Pennsylvania
    I'd say give it a shot and see what you think, dairy is basically an extra a lot of us enjoy on principle (but most cut out for our 30 day challenges too) I would imagine the 30 day challenges look fairly similar, but can't be certain as I haven't actively looked at the Paleo version.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Upstate of SC
    A 30 day challenge can't hurt. Personally, I think of "paleo" as a way of eating. I think of primal as a lifestyle that encompasses diet + exercise + lifestyle. Robb Wolf did get into this a bit in his book, but I generally only see paleo discussed in terms of what you can/can't eat, with little to no emphasis on other things that I think are really important. There's also more leniency in primal with the gray areas of dairy and nightshades and the 80/20 approach. Stress (rather, minimizing it) is a huge factor for me, so I gravitate towards the laid back approach of primal.
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  5. #5
    i ate primal for nearly a year before i ditched dairy entirely. i was struggling with belly bloat and ibs and the dairy was making matters worse. i've been completely paleo for the last 4.5mos and i've never felt better. i do take jarrow probiotics (2 on an empty stomach first thing in the morning since i'm on long term birth control) and am trying to replenish healthy gut bacteria to heal my digestion competely.

    i will say this, if you can tolerate dairy use it like your 20%, otherwise see how you feel 30 days without it. it's made a huge difference to me as i used to eat a cup of greek yogurt DAILY before.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Theoretically primal and paleo are different things. But I am impressed by the fact that, in practice, people greatly vary in how they apply these ideas.

    Some people eat a pile of pulled pork with a fried egg on top and a piece of parsley on the side / / some people eat a salad full of vegetables topped with lean meat. I'm trying to gesture at the many different things people do: mostly meat?, source of fats?, omega 3 supplements?, type of workout?, fasting?, caloric balance?, stress level?, sleep?.

    I therefore think the primal/paleo distinction is not that important. Dairy and a glass of wine might make you technically 'primal', but there are far more significant and innumerable differences in the way people apply primal/paleo in their daily life.

    I would take one specific issue at a time and decide what works for you in real life. For me, I need heavy cream and potatoes. Otherwise I don't eat enough calories. I also love wine and sometimes gluten free beer. I don't stress about that. (What I need to do is drop the xbox habit, drink less coffee, and sleep 8 hours a night).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Olathe, KS
    I don't think I would ever want to do the full paleo due to the nightshades part. I can and have cut out dairy before but way. Anything that I heat that has meat or eggs also has habanero or bhut jolokia's along with it. Besides, I don't see that night shades have ever caused me a problem. Diary I can see cutting out just because it's very easy to over due and adds extra calories. I care a lot more about being healthy and in shape than I do about kind of replicating the food we evolved with anyway.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Seattle, WA
    A 30-day challenge is a very small period in your life and it can be very eye-opening. I'd recommend making some journal entries before, during and after so that you can reflect on what did and didn't work for you, and so you can guage whether or not you effectively addressed the issues you were trying to address.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    I thought Melissa did a great job coming up with this diagram..
    For lots of tasty recipes, check out my blog -

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by kennelmom View Post
    I think of primal as a lifestyle .... Robb Wolf did get into this a bit in his book, but I generally only see paleo discussed in terms of what you can/can't eat, with little to no emphasis on other things that I think are really important.
    Yeah, among other things, he did include a few injunctions to read Lights Out in that book. So, as you say, he does mention matters other than food at times.

    Robb does also say from time to time that he doesn't want to lay down rulings on foods - what's in and what's out - but merely suggest flexible guidelines. However, in practice he tends to revert to doing just that almost in the next breath.

    And it seems to me that he does tend to follow whatever line Professor Cordain is currently propounding - although he's not so rigid a Cordainist that he doesn't sometimes mention Dr. Harris, who's not a man for the "party line" at all and who has made some pretty pertinent criticism of Cordain.

    In short, I agree with all that, although I think some of these things are differences in emphasis rather than absolute differences.

    I think if someone said to me that they were desperate to lose weight and get healthier of all the choices out there I think Mark's book would be the one I'd suggest. It's very clear, very straightforward, well presented, and it's got what most people will want to know and little that most will want to skip.

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