The Practical Paleo Approach: Modern-day Application of the So-Called “Caveman” Diet

There is a lot of confusion about what is and what is not a part of the Paleo diet. Many supporters of the Paleo diet believe that we have to eat like cavemen and cavewomen to be healthy today. Unfortunately, these kinds of attitudes can lead to restrictive nutritional guidelines that are impossible to follow in our everyday lives. We need solutions that are practical and tailored to our specific needs. We need solutions for working Moms, athletes, and growing kids. We need solutions that are adaptable yet rooted in the same scientifically-backed fundamentals. 

We need a Practical Paleo Approach.

What are “Old” foods?


In many Paleo diets we hear people classifying foods into “Paleo” or “Non-Paleo.” Again, this kind of thinking can be very limiting. We suggest thinking about food in terms of “old” or “not processed” and “new” or “processed.” The more processed a food is, the more unhealthy it is. If you try to eat “old” foods instead of “new” ones, you are already on the right path to a successful Paleo diet.

3 Examples of “old” and “new” versions of the same food:

“New” Yogurt:


 Sweetened, non-fat Dannon.

“Old” Yogurt:

 Full-fat, greek yogurt with live, active cultures.

“New” Rice:

 Bleached white rice.

“Old” rice: 

Brown rice.

“New” Milk:

 Pasteurized, homogenized, antibiotic-and-hormone-laced milk.

“Old” Milk:

 Fresh, raw milk.

Why say “Old” instead of “Paleo”?


By old food we mean a food that existed in in its given form for a long time. However, a lot of foods that seem “old” at first glance are in fact very processed. Here are a couple of examples:



  1. Roasted mixed nuts versus organic brown rice


Paleo diets often advocate a diet which includes nuts but completely avoids all grains. However, nuts roasted in a refined oil that is corn or soy based is much worse for us than a small helping of unprocessed, organic brown rice. The brown rice in this example is “old” because its given form is almost exactly the same as it has been for thousands of years. Those roasted nuts, however, are considered “new” because they were doused in unhealthy refined oils which have existed for only a decade or so.

  1. Conventional tomatoes versus fresh, raw milk

Paleo enthusiasts urge people to stay away from dairy since it is one of the newer food groups introduced to the human diet. However, the fresh milk in this example, which is rich in probiotics, would be a much better choice than conventional tomatoes, which are often genetically modified and saturated in pesticides.

What kind's of “new” foods can you eat and why?


As we mentioned last month, foods from early agriculture are fine to add if well-tolerated, natural and unprocessed. Those foods are:


-      Eggs

-      raw dairy

-      organic brown rice

-      grains

-      fresh ground organic coffee

The Practical Approach: the Paleo Diet with a Weston A. Price Twist


In the early 1900's, a dentist named Weston A. Price noticed his urban patients had worse dental hygiene than his rural ones. Intrigued, Price set off to travel the world and uncover the secret to not only dental hygiene, but true and long-lasting health. He ate dinner with the Swiss and Pigmies alike, and discovered that none of the healthiest populations ate the same diet. In fact, the healthiest people were not determined by what they ate, but instead what they didn't - processed foods. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we advocate for a Practical Paleo approach because it is rooted in nutritional wisdom,

backed by modern-day scientific research


, and adaptable to our individual needs.

Digestive Health Ann Arbor: Find the Paleo Diet that's Right for You


The appropriate Paleo diet should be determined by your life circumstances and the foods locally available to you. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we help guide you through a simple three-step nutritional process to Refresh, Restart and Recalibrate your diet. People are different, so each person's diet should be, too. Digestive Health Ann Arbor can help to build a Practical Paleo Approach tailor-made for you.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.