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Paleo vs. Primal: What’s the difference?



Why is it that we’re entirely comfortable walking into a grocery store and purchasing a slab of meat, yet few of us are willing to engage in the hunt? In fact, for many, the word alone elicits a displeasing visceral response.

Now I’m not talking about trophy hunting, or other forms of wasteful, unappreciative horrors. I’m talking about the sustainable hunter- one who kills humanely and utilizes its resources in their entirety. I’m talking about hunting as it occurs in the natural world- out of necessity.

Granted, there’s no longer a necessity to hunt when factory farming is willing to get the job done for you. But let me ask you, which is more ethical- skillfully tracking and honoring your kill or supporting a massive industry with little regard to the dignity of the animal?

When did speed feeding ourselves take precedence over care and concern as to where the animal came from and how it arrived on our plate?

When we live in a country where factory farming is glorified and McDonalds is a common scene of family eating; I can’t help but ask…

Are we de-evolving?

Admittedly, I’ve never hunted a day in my life, nor do I honestly have any desire to hunt. What interests me is bridging the disconnect- getting back to a place of conscious consumption and eating with intuition.

Intuitive eating is the basic premise for both Primal and Paleo enthusiasts alike. As of 10,000 years ago humans lived well, often into their 70’s and 80’s. Our body structure was generally lean, strong, fit, fertile and disease free- we were obesity, diabetes and cancer free! Both Primal and Paleo advocates agree that our modern western diet bears little resemblance to that of our early ancestors. Both encourage following a diet that mimics our ancestral needs.

So what does an ancestral diet look like?



Common ground:

Both approaches promote a high protein diet loaded with nutrient dense vegetables. Both encourage the elimination of grains, corn, legumes, industrial (polyunsaturated) oils, sugar and processed food products.

Primal variations:

  1. Occasional raw and fermented dairy is acceptable

  2. Saturated fats are a go

  3. Eggs are encouraged

  4. Fermented soy products are acceptable

Paleo variations:

  1. No dairy

  2. Avoid saturated fat

  3. Limit fatty meats, eggs and ghee

  4. No soy products

Are you an advocate of eating as your ancestors ate? I’m curious to know which approach resonates more with you and why. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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