Paleo Diet: A Yabba-Dabba-Gluten-Free Time?

1979 Flintstones Fish Card GameHi all. So, I wrote today’s post last week, and between now and then I got dumped. Do me a favor and switch it all over to the past tense, k? The info’s still good, but boys are yabba-dabba-dumb.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with a caveman lately.

OK that’s not true. But I have been spending a lot of time with someone who loosely follows the paleo diet, and I’m pretty sure if brontosaurus burgers were an option, he’d be cooking them.

And you know what? I’d eat them. Brontosaurus is probably tasty. And he’s a good cook.

I didn’t really know anything about the paleo diet before, but I think it’s an interesting one to consider. And, since it’s gluten-free by default, the paleo community can be a great additional source of recipe ideas for anyone who’s gluten-free.

The basic premise of the paleo diet is that our bodies aren’t designed to process processed foods. It’s also called the hunter-gatherer diet; if you can’t either a) hunt it or b) gather it up and eat it raw on a a nature walk, it’s not on the plan.

That means you DO eat meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. You DON’T eat grains, dairy, sugar, beans, and super-starchy vegetables like potato. You worry about where your food comes from (grass-fed beef is preferable to grain-fed, organic veggies to non). On the surface, it has similarities to the original Atkins theory, and also to any other low-glycemic-index plan. However, because paleo also frowns on processed food – those Atkins-branded shakes and bars would strike fear into the heart of most paleos – it’s not quite fair to compare them.

Some things we’ve been eating: sashimi. Tartare. Kale salad with roast squash and sunflower seeds. Crustless quiche with veggies and bacon. Bunless burgers with sautéed mushrooms. Roast chicken with spinach, walnuts and raisins. Maple-mustard Brussels sprouts. The list continues.

Because I’m not a dietician or a nutritionist, I don’t think it’s my place to say whether the diet is smart or not. Generally speaking, I suspect most things in moderation are fine for most people, and most things in excess are not. There’s no shortage of information online; I think Everyday Paleo is a great resource. Elana of Elana’s Pantry had this to say about the paleo diet. And the recipes from Living Paleo could make many-a gluten-free eater quite happy.

Anecdotally: I can say that the caveman in my life is healthy by all measures. I can also say that I’ve been cutting back my grain intake and dialing up my meat intake a bit, and I’m starting to think that maybe grain bloats me (I feel better/thinner after a plate of eggs and bacon than a plate of GF pancakes). I can also say that cheese is freaking delicious and no one will come between me and the coffee and home fries that are a part of any balanced brunch.

Have you ever tried a paleo lifestyle? What did you think?

7 thoughts on “Paleo Diet: A Yabba-Dabba-Gluten-Free Time?”

  1. Wouldn’t maple be a no-no? For maple syrup you have to tap the trees, gather the sap into containers, then boil hundreds of gallons to get a small container of syrup (my neighbor does it). However, maple tree sap is like yummy mapley sugar water and you can certainly gather and consume that! 😉

  2. OK Marisa, you got me! The maple syrup isn’t totally 100% “on track” — but it was delicious. As are many other things that aren’t strictly paleo, but are definitely keeping their place in my pantry.

  3. I recently went full-on Primal ( and so far, I’m loving it! Primal is like paleo, but with a few more allowances for 21st century life. And dairy is allowed. 😉 What made me go there was that I have so many food intolerances besides gluten, and when I look at the list of what is not allowed on primal/paleo, most are things I can’t eat anyhow. I guess my body was trying to tell me something… Anyhow, the last time I felt this good was when I first went gluten free. YMMV.

  4. I follow basically the Primal Blueprint diet too. I’m off dairy for the most part but I do use the occasional potato (local and organic and prepared myself. If I limit myself to what we get from our coop each time it’s hard to over do it!) I am very flexible for llife, though when I had weight to lose I was more strict. (now, if i’m on vacation and my gluten free family finds a gluten free bakery that makes salted caramel donuts, hells yeah I’m trying some. but I can have a couple bites and not need or want more sugar than that)

    I’ve had amazing health gains, fat loss, improved sleep, skin and cycles. I have more joy and enjoyment of my food and life and energy to work and play hard!
    Hope it works for you as well as it has for me, welcome on board!

  5. Well, all one can say is DUH! The usual GF site is filled with fake bread/wheat products so the person can eat like everyone else. How is that supposed to help? Humans had a diet designed by evolution and humans invented agriculture and decimated it along with their own health and stature. I did notice that there was no mention of liquid oils such as soy, corn etc. Don’t eat it! No beans mean no soy products either ~ perhaps the most dangerous food now being promoted. Eat like it was 15,000 years ago and get healthy!

  6. Yeah, I agree that the chance to be healthy on a GF diet has diminished. I do stay away from the junk food, but eat GF bread. I would like to try this diet, though. I also do not have bacon (ok, 2x a year). It is sooo processed and bad for us.

  7. I’ve been doing the paleo diet for about 3 months now and I’m hooked for life. I got so tired of all those complicated starchy recipes designed to mimic wheat flour. They didn’t even seem healthy. I read Food and Western Disease by Staffan Lindeberg and The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain and it just made so much more sense. At first I was a little unsure about it because of the cost of meat and fresh veggies, but I found that I’m not starving all day and I eat less, so the cost evens out. Plus, I lost 10 lbs. and I feel great. Priceless!

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