I thought beans weren't paleo so why are green beans?
Is honey paleo?
Are potatoes paleo?
Are "paleo-fied" foods paleo?
Bacon isn't paleo, is it?
I come across questions like this frequently. I see them in the comments of other blog posts and I get asked them as well. In fact, a friend asked me today if wine is paleo.
Before I started this most recent Whole 30 I always identified myself as primal rather than paleo. The main reason was that I eat dairy. But, I also felt that the self-proclaimed primal folks, the Mark Sisson followers, were more laid back about the "rules" (they have that whole 80/20 principle after all) and that sits better with me. Paleo is supposed to be a lifestyle after all, not a diet where you count calories or struggle with feelings of deprivation constantly. As I've explored this paleo concept further this past month though, I've become more comfortable with calling myself paleo and living it in whatever way makes sense to me (I'll let you know that part when I figure it out).
And this is why I was really excited to stumble upon this article from Chris Kresser and his idea of moving from a paleo "diet" (which is a really misleading term to start with) to a paleo "template". I highly recommend you check out the article, it's a quick read, but here's the gist:
I suggest we stop trying to define the “Paleo diet” and start thinking about it instead as a “Paleo template”.
What’s the difference? A Paleo diet implies a particular
approach with clearly defined parameters that all people should follow.
There’s little room for individual variation or experimentation.
A Paleo template implies a more flexible and individualized
approach. A template contains a basic format or set of general
guidelines that can then be customized based on the unique needs and
experience of each person.
But here’s the key difference between a Paleo diet and a Paleo template: following a diet doesn’t encourage the participant to think, experiment or consider his or her specific circumstances, while following a template does.
He goes on to give his general guidelines for a paleo template, but the main point is that you should "experiment and observe" to figure out what your "optimal diet" is. Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you Mr. Kresser for so eloquently speaking my mind and giving it clear terminology (part of my old college days in residence life and the discussions of the importance of our words stick with me to this day). I originally discovered Mr. Kresser's blog because of a great article on whether dairy can be part of an appropriate diet; he struck me as grounded in common sense. So now with the discovery of this article, I'm really excited to delve into more of his site.
Want to check it out at some point in the future? I did a little blog improvement earlier today and now you can conveniently find links to some of my favorite paleo blogs in the links section on the right. I've also added a fun little Widget from Daily Mile, which is the site that I use to track my workouts so you'll see my most recent workout every time you check my blog. If you're super curious what I've been up to (or want to see if I've been slacking so you can yell at me) you can click through to the site through the widget and see all of my workouts. I'm sure you guys will get right on that. :P