Why I Don’t Eat Paleo

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 159

Despite the many grain free recipes on this blog and my frequent admonition to eliminate refined grain based carbs from the diet and limit even properly prepared grains to a moderate level, I don’t choose to eat paleo or primal.

I especially don’t want my children to eat this way.

My reasons are pretty straightfoward when it comes to Paleo. They are more subtle with regards to Primal.

Paleo Diet – Misguided from the Get Go

The Paleo Diet as written by Loren Cordain can be quickly dismissed as unhealthy because it makes a number of wild claims that are completely unsupported through close examination of Traditional Societies as studied and documented by Dr. Weston A. Price in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

For starters, he says that wild animals are low in fat, but buffalo fat is more saturated than even beef fat from domesticated cattle.

He recommends canola oil as a source of omega 3 fatty acids yet most canola oil is deodorized during manufacturing which destroys these delicate fats.

Cordain extols the virtues of lean meats but Traditional Man prized the fatty, cholesterol rich liver and other fatty cuts.

Perhaps Cordain’s most ridiculous suggestion of all is to rub flax oil on meat before cooking.   Flax oil should never be cooked as it turns rancid and would be toxic and carcinogenic to consume!

His recommendation against grains and all starchy root vegetables (tubers) goes against discoveries of grains in the ashes of some of the most primitive humans and widespread use of tubers by many Traditional Societies.

Finally, his claim that primitive man did not consume salt is just plain baffling.   Just because a salt shaker wasn’t on the dinner table doesn’t mean that salt was not consumed via other methods!

Ashes from salt rich marsh grasses were added to food in African tribes.   Salt rich blood from hunted game was used in food preparation after being carefully collected.

In the final analysis, there isn’t a whole lot that is paleo about The Paleo Diet!  

With so many misguided recommendations in the book as a whole, embarking down the path of the Paleo Diet is clearly fraught with a clear and present danger to health!

Primal Diet – Traditional But Is It Optimal?

My reasons for not eating Primal, however, are a bit more subtle.

Folks who eat Primal typically base it on the book The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.  The diet excludes all cereal grains and recommends against all conventional dairy although raw dairy is considered acceptable.   Saturated fat and cholesterol are rightfully embraced as health supporting.

The book warns against soy, transfats, phytates, processed foods, and of course sugar.

In essence, the Primal Diet does indeed recommend a way of life and eating that is in harmony with Traditional Wisdom and following this approach to eating can be a healthy choice for some.

For example, the Fitness Editor for this blog, Paula Jager CSCS, eats Primal.   No doubt she is a picture of health.  Strong and vital, her approach to eating is very much based on Traditional Cultures and her health is a testament to her thoughtful approach to eating.

Despite this, I don’t choose to eat Primal and I do very much insist that my children include properly prepared cereal grains and starches in their diet on a moderate level.


Not All Traditional Diets Are Created Equal

In Dr. Price’s travels, he noted that some Traditional Societies were healthier and had more excellent physical form than others.

For example, during Dr. Price’s travels in Africa, he examined several five cattle keeping groups:  The Masai of Tanganyika, the Muhima of Uganda, the Chewya of Kenya, the Watusi of Ruanda, and the Neurs tribes on the western side of the Nile near the country of Sudan.

These groups were largely carnivores with their diet consisting primarily of blood, meat and milk.  Fish was also eaten by some.  The liver was highly priced and was consumed both raw and cooked.

Grains, fruits, and vegetables were consumed in small amounts.

These largely carnivorous tribes were very tall with even the women averaging over 6 feet in height in some tribes.  All these tribes had marvelous physiques and perfectly straight, uncrowded teeth.  Six tribes had no dental decay whatsoever.

On the other extreme, Dr. Price also examined largely vegetarian tribes such as the Bantu.   This agricultural group’s diet consisted primarily of sweet potatoes, corn, beans, bananas, millet and sorghum.  A few cattle or goats were kept for meat and milk and frogs, insects, and other small animals were also consumed.

These tribes were dominated by their carnivorous neighbors and they did suffer from low levels of dental decay – about 5-6% of all teeth.

The final African group Dr. Price researched were the Dinkas.   The Dinkas followed  a truly mixed diet of whole foods without the tendency toward the extremes of the carnivorous Masai or the agricultural Bantu.

While not as tall as the primarily carnivorous, cattle herding groups, they were physically better proportioned and had greater strength.

The Dinka diet primarily consisted of nutrient dense, properly prepared whole grains and fish.

Dr. Price’s close study of these African groups convinced him that the best Traditional Diet – one that encourages optimal physical development in children – consisted of a balance of properly prepared whole grains along with animal foods (especially fish), and not tending toward extremes in either direction.

This is surely one of the most important lessons from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  Avoiding of extremes particularly when it comes to the diet of growing children, is the best and most wise approach when their optimal development is the goal.

So while I am not against eliminating grains in the diet particularly when a temporary period of gut healing is called for (such as with the GAPS Diet), the long term optimal way of eating is a balanced one that includes grains as described and noted by Dr. Price.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources:  Nasty, Brutish and Short?

The Paleo Diet, Thumbs Down Book Review

Picture Credit

Comments (159)

  • Guest

    Attention all: Paleo Huntress does NOT represent a paleo lifestyle. She represents hatred and bullying. MANY of her previous posts through the years have now been deleted, including an entire thread where she was accused of having several aliases and then PROVEN to have done by the moderator, who checked ISP addresses. I encourage the moderator here to do the same. She has no interest in real communication, only “winning” some imaginary fight and having the last word. Apparently life is pretty dull in Worcester, MA and Laurie has little to do but pick fights and taunt people she is stalking… poor saps that responded to her in the misguided notion that she was human.

    What is particularly humorous about this post is that she is espousing Sally Fallon… of the Westin Price Foundation, and in other threads she will post against them… it all depends on her mood. If you want to see her previous posts and see what I mean about creating aliases that support her view, you need to hurry. Since I started checking on my own forum, and posting warnings, Laurie has deleted a great many of them, just in the last couple days. We have found it best to just not feed her ego (it thrives on ANY attention), and we have found that most of the posts that do provide her attention, are actually just her. Just check the ISP… It’s all there. Have a great day REAL people and please go to real sources for lifestyle change guidance.

    August 2nd, 2014 9:33 am Reply
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  • PHD Mom

    I know I’m late on this bandwagon, but I wanted to throw out another book title that I think is an important read for anyone interested in nutritional science:
    The Perfect Health Diet, by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet.
    I am a strong skeptic, a research junkie, and a mother of two. This is hands down the best book I have read on nutrition.

    December 1st, 2013 2:42 pm Reply
  • Jennifer

    It’s really hard to get through an article when you use Loren Cordain as your main source. In fact, after that, I didn’t even try, since it’s clear you didn’t do any research.

    October 15th, 2013 2:18 pm Reply
  • Amy Petty

    Given both how old this post is and your apparent refusal to address per previously asked questions, I don’t expect you to answer my comment, but I have a question I’m going to ask anyway. And since you’ve glossed over the specific questions in previous comments you’ve made wherein you give vague non-answers, I’ll spell it out for you:

    Several people have pointed out that you repeatedly insist that young children miss out on nutrition if they are not given moderate amounts of “properly prepared” grains, without bothering to explain this. You acknowledge instances where such a totally grain-free diet is okay (celiac), but you keep saying that if there’s no digestive/health reason to do so, that children miss out on something if they don’t eat at least some amount of, again, “properly prepared” grain.

    The problem is, you refuse to say what exactly it is that grains provide that is so crucial and essential. You DO admit in a comment that there is nothing in grains that cannot be found in other foods, which is precisely why people don’t understand your insistence that grains are essential if there is no health reason to exclude them. If all the nutrients and minerals and whatever else grains contain–including magnesium, which is, notably, the ONLY thing you’ve specifically named–are available in other foods, then WHY, precisely, is excluding grain from a young child’s diet such a problem? Spell it out, please, since you keep making the assertion.

    FYI, pointing to sickly children whose diets 100% exclude grain and insisting that the lack of grain is de facto the reason they are not thriving is extremely fallacious. Unless you can prove that ALL young children whose diets completely exclude grain are thus not thriving, your claim is baseless, especially if you do not look for other possible causes.

    Finally, while you have at least responded to (some) of the comment questions asking about your thing about young children and grains (even though you haven’t once bothered to actually answer the question), you haven’t even acknowledged the question as to why you don’t seem to see the logical disconnect in your assertion that grains are not to be eaten while a person is healing from digestive issues, or just generally recovering from sickness. It surprises me that you cannot see how the discrepancy here. What’s wrong with grains that you advocate NOT eating them during digestive issues or illness? Seriously, you cannot see why it seems strange to people?

    August 11th, 2013 4:58 pm Reply
    • Paleo Huntress

      Excellent comment. I too would like answers to these questions and feel that if you have the time to compose the blog posts, you should also be willing to take the time to address the questions and challenges it raises.

      August 11th, 2013 7:36 pm Reply
      • Guest

        Just as an FYI, Paleo Huntress is a well-known troll who does NOT represent the Paleo lifestyle. She simply trolls sites looking for an argument and then actually creates others IDs to agree or ask question that she can then answer. Her’s is a very small world. Check it out… go right to the comments and you’ll see she was caught red-handed… this is just ONE of many. Let’s not feed the trolls, who thrive on any attention. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/changing-our-taste-buds/

        August 2nd, 2014 1:42 pm Reply
        • Natiri

          This is the second time I’ve seen one of these comments in a forum I subscribe to today and when I googled the ID, I found several more. It looks like paleo huntress found herself a cyberstalker. I followed the link provided and don’t know what we’re supposed to be outraged over. People use multiple IDs online everywhere. You’re naive if you think they don’t. Multiple accounts have nothing to do with trolling.

          Paleo Huntress, if you care, you can report the harassment to an agency like this one- http://www.fightcyberstalking.org/report-cyberstalking-case/ 

          Anonymous comments still capture the poster’s IP address so he/she will be easy for law enforcement to identify.

          August 2nd, 2014 6:05 pm Reply
    • Christen

      I agree 100%. Probably worst of all, this is the first post I’ve read from this blog and it is equivalent to empty calories. No real information, no links to research, select (and incomplete, therefore inaccurate) paraphrasing, and no substantive followup to the many criticisms and reasonable questioning of the statements in the post. This indicates to me an unacceptable level of irresponsibility in the dissemination of information to your readers and results an unfortunate degree of untrustworthiness among anyone reading with a shred of critical thinking abilities. You criticize others for making errors in their assertions but completely ignore your own. In the span of 10 minutes you both gained and lost a reader. (And I’m not even “paleo”)

      October 19th, 2013 6:01 am Reply
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  • Troy

    I don’t have have a problem with eating some properly prepared grains now and then, but the hassle to do it or buy them just out weighs the convenience of avoiding them completely…. my 2cents.

    March 15th, 2013 12:02 am Reply
  • Timothy

    There is a lot of info on paleo out there generally speaking i like a lot of the concepts i do eat wheat but limit it to 2 a week with grains i don’t do dairy as i am lactose intolerant :) it works for me and that is good enough.

    March 12th, 2013 12:44 pm Reply
  • Brad K

    Hi Sarah.

    There are a lot of comments so maybe I missed your comment on this.

    Your reasons for eating grains “properly prepared” grains seems to rest on two reasons; The need for magnesium and because of someone’s passive observations of a tribe in Africa.

    First, there are many other natural sources of magnesium other than grains. Seeds, spinach and beets to name a few.

    Second, the premise that simply observing the physical characteristics of a small tribe in Africa that happens to eat a small amount of grains means that small amounts of grains are healthy, with all due respect, is absurd.

    If anything, the many observations of Dr. Price lie more closely in line with the Paelo/Primal eating movement than do not. Low to no sugar/carbs and good saturated fats.

    In exchange for some small amount of magnesium you completely discount all of the other modern research into the inflammatory damage caused by grains. The chemical, biological, and hormonal damage when grains are ingested certainly must be taken into account.

    Obviously there are a multitude of processes that take place in the body when eating various foods and the dynamic relationship that exists when foods are eaten together. One must look at a multitude of research data to weigh the positive and negative effects of various foods and their effect on the body.

    Again, I’m sorry if I missed it and please correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t see any nutritional reason other than magnesium for ingesting “properly prepared” grains.

    February 1st, 2013 12:32 pm Reply
  • Mary

    My problem with this blog post, Sarah, is that you obviously have a pretty large following of people who respect what you write, which makes you somewhat of an “expert,” whether you call yourself one or not. So writing a post describing Paleo and Primal the way you did gives many people who respect you, the wrong idea about those “diets.” I eat mostly paleo and love Mark Sisson’s blog. I would never, ever describe Paleo or Primal in the way you did. There is so much more to it. It’s about listening to your body and giving yourself the chance to get off of grains, since most people have never tried that before. It’s doing research to discover what is the best for your body. And the argument that because the diet has evolved, you shouldn’t listen to those experts, is absolute nonsense. There is not one theory in life that hasn’t evolved in some way. Humans are constantly learning new and improved ways of doing things. Just because the original theory isn’t exact, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. This is what I love about Paleo: Most people start it because they want to change something. You get rid of grains, legumes, dairy, processed food and sugar for 3 to 4 weeks, then add something back in to see how it makes you feel. If it makes no difference, then add it back in regularly! If it makes you gassy and bloated, consider leaving it out!
    Please, as an expert, if you are going to put down a way of eating, do a little more research first. I know you are saying that this is just your opinion, but then you went on to define paleo and primal based on some very limited information and no other sources. Your very first sentence: “The Paleo Diet as written by Loren Cordain can be quickly dismissed as unhealthy because it makes a number of wild claims that are completely unsupported through close examination of Traditional Societies as studied and documented by Dr. Weston A. Price in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.” That is where, I think people are feeling like you are putting down a pretty awesome way of eating for some people.

    June 23rd, 2012 12:07 am Reply
    • goldhoarder

      Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf are very open to discussion and different points of view. Considering most human history is unrecorded and was spent hunting and gathering…not planting and growing grains… seems to be lost on Sarah. Discovering how to grow, harvest, and prepare grains is the only reason there are so many humans on the planet today. Rice, beans, potatoes are a staple in nearly every cultures diet. Does that mean it is necessarily best for you? I wouldn’t go that far. You can slam the crossfit crowd all you want. Let’s see you hit the gym and compete with that crowd on your diet.
      …. all debate aside. If you want to be healthy. Hang out with people who want to be healthy. Most likely you will mind up very healthy. That is by far the most important thing you can do. I think Sarah is way too critical and narrow minded in her opinions. Nobody has complete knowledge of this Earth and this life except maybe our political class..lol… but if your heart is in the right place and you but your energy into it you will find better health.

      August 10th, 2012 11:01 pm Reply
  • hvac evaporator coils

    By the way, there seems to be a little bit ofspam on your blog. Nevertheless there is still lots of excellent knowledge here!

    April 15th, 2012 5:46 pm Reply
  • Jacqi Guillory

    Dr. Cordain doesn’t advise using canola oil in his book, he says not to use it.

    February 3rd, 2012 9:09 pm Reply
    • MarkES

      Hi Jacqi,

      Based on this post Sources list, this info was based on the first edition of The Paleo Diet. Later editions change the canola oil recommendation and the recent Paleo Answer book has some info on saturated fat from animal is okay, although if I recall correctly dairy saturated fat from butter/cream was still not recommended.

      Good discussion.


      February 4th, 2012 10:07 am Reply
  • dani

    I am adamantly not paleo, but do consider myself primal. Though I started out with the whole “Nourishing Traditions.” What I discovered is that properly soaked/fermented grains and legumes do not digest well for me. Which is obviously different for others. I do drink raw milk, yogurt and kefir though. This is what has worked for me. I don’t think the nourishing/primal lifestyles are inherently wrong for one reason or another. They are very similar, but people should probably experiment and figure out which works for them.

    December 28th, 2011 4:06 pm Reply
  • tina

    I cannot afford to cut out grains completely nor can I get my family to only eat dairy, meat and healthy fats. But I do not think it is healthy to do a lot of grains with a lot of animal fats. I soak, sprout, dehydrate and grind into flour buckwheat groats. Then I ferment the flour overnight to make it as easy to digest as possible. I sprout brown rice. Those are the two grains we eat most. Again, I think a high carb high animal fat is dangerous for the body.

    November 9th, 2011 11:42 am Reply
  • Jess

    I’m a primal girl, but yes, I believe that Dr. Cordain has significantly softened his stance on low fat in recent years. Sometimes if I go out and there’s literally nothing else to eat I will have white rice. Have you read Mark Sisson’s blog post “not all grains were created equal”? its quite interesting. I also bake with tapioca flour occasionally. But no potatoes for me, those things aren’t too healthy.

    November 8th, 2011 10:26 pm Reply
  • Hilary

    The point is that eating mostly animal foods and tending toward extreme eating either toward the carnivorous or vegetarian sides is imbalanced and Dr. Price observed that those that ate a more balanced and mixed diet such as the Dinkas were stronger and had better proportioned physiques than the groups that ate extreme.

    Why does everything have to be “named” all the time? Can’t just observing that a particular behavior of eating yields better results be enough? It’s enough for me.

    Sure… it’s enough for me, too. I don’t see any point in venturing to whacky extremes (nothing but beef and water/ nothing but raw fruit), either, though it is extraordinary how people still manage to survive for extended periods at these extremes.

    But I find it odd to imply that a diet of vegetables, meat and fish is ‘extreme’. When I went Primal, I took the grains out of my diet and replaced them with vegetables. You’re suggesting I’d do better to remove some vegetables and replace them with grains.

    Well… for me to give up one mouthful of my purple kale or bright orange squash or sprouting broccoli or fresh carrots or roast parsnip or watercress or mizuna (etc, etc…), there’d have to be something pretty amazing about wheat, rice and oats. I don’t mind if it’s illustrated by an epidemiological study, a controlled trial or field studies of traditional diets – or even just some nutrient analysis that makes it seem likely – I’d need some big piece of evidence that adding grains to a diet of vegetables, meat and fish makes people healthier.


    November 7th, 2011 2:36 pm Reply
  • Julia

    I honestly believe the sugar and grains in your way of eating are so much more detrimental to children health, and health in all people. I’ve always pointed people to this site but now I’m not comfortable doing so.

    November 7th, 2011 10:24 am Reply
  • Sheila

    As for me, I will be perfectly content if my kids grow up *only* as healthy as the Masai! 😉

    I’m in favor of experimenting and seeing what works for you and your kids. A blogger I know cut grains out of her toddler’s diet (they previously ate only soaked and sprouted grains) and he started sleeping through the night! And my son has been having diarrhea for the past month … perhaps he just wasn’t ready for grains yet. (Contrary to what you say, I believe amylase production matures about the time the last molars erupt — between 18 and 24 months.) Initial experiments of cutting out grains for short periods have been helping, but the diarrhea returns when we add them back in. I think grain-free is just necessary for him right now.

    In the end, I think our family will be best gluten-free at least. We are Irish in descent, and the Irish are predisposed to celiac. Wheat was never one of our traditional foods … oats grew much better in the Irish climate. But I’m not really convinced gluten is doing anyone any good. Seems everyone I know who tries cutting it out feels better … even if they felt fine before.

    November 6th, 2011 7:48 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      The Masai ate GRAINS but small amounts in comparison to the Dinkas.

      November 6th, 2011 9:11 am Reply
      • Sheila

        Well, how about the Eskimos then? There certainly have been plenty of healthy, grain-free cultures!

        A P.S. on my son’s issues — we’ve been gluten-free for a week and yesterday went entirely grain-free to see what would happen. What happened is he slept through the night for the first time in two months! His diarrhea has been gone since we eliminated gluten, as are his skin issues. He’s been in such a good mood it’s hard for me to tell when to put him down for a nap — I used to wait for the inevitable “naptime tantrum” and then put him down! You can say what you want about “optimal diets,” but I feel certain that at least gluten-free, and probably grain-free, is the optimal diet for MY son, at least for now. The results are unmistakable.

        November 17th, 2011 8:02 am Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          I never said eating grain free was unhealthy!!!!!!! I said that it was optimal to eat a more balanced and less extreme diet as discovered by Dr. Price.

          November 17th, 2011 9:16 am Reply
  • Hilary

    Sarah, I understand you’re saying that grains provide something necessary for optimal health, something that can’t be found in any vegetables, fruit, meat or fish. Please can you share what that is?

    November 5th, 2011 8:57 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I think you can get everything in grains in other foods. This isn’t the point. The point is that eating mostly animal foods and tending toward extreme eating either toward the carnivorous or vegetarian sides is imbalanced and Dr. Price observed that those that ate a more balanced and mixed diet such as the Dinkas were stronger and had better proportioned physiques than the groups that ate extreme.

      Why does everything have to be “named” all the time? Can’t just observing that a particular behavior of eating yields better results be enough? It’s enough for me.

      November 6th, 2011 6:47 pm Reply
  • mpbbmp (@mpbbmp)

    @rnikoley Care to comment om this post.. "Why I Don’t Eat Paleo or Primal" http://t.co/AUrxrRiY So much misinformation ..

    November 5th, 2011 1:23 pm Reply
  • France

    Great post Sarah. I know you’re getting a lot of skin rash from your post, but for those who follow neither primal or paleo, it helps understand the differences between the two.

    November 5th, 2011 12:43 pm Reply
    • Julia

      But her article is full of false statements. I really think she needs to edit it or she will keep getting heat about it.

      November 7th, 2011 12:24 pm Reply
  • Beyond The Peel (@BeyondThePeel) (@BeyondThePeel)

    #Healthy Eating Why I Don’t Eat Paleo or Primal – This article may clear up questions you may have on the matter. http://t.co/FV64zdnh

    November 5th, 2011 12:36 pm Reply
  • Mariah Ward

    An interesting note from my own upbringing that this debate brings up. I grow up in Iowa and we had three groups of food: Fresh meat from the local farmer, fresh local veggies when you could get them and potatoes. My parents were never into health. They simply ate what their parents ate I guess. We never really ate organic either, we laughed at people who did. We had very limited grains in our diets and junk food was simply allowed in the house. We were allowed to have pop once a week on Fridays.

    Interesting results: I literally have perfect teeth, I mean perfectly white and straight. I am not obsessive about my teeth cleaning by any means, as a child the dentist couldn’t believe how healthy our teeth were. I had half a cavity when I was 15 for the first time ever. My cavity healed on its own. The other noted difference between me and my peers was that I was literally never sick! I had perfect attendance though high school. middle school and grade school because I was simply never sick outside of a cold once a year. We didn’t make homemade soup stocks either.

    Downside regarding meat: I always noticed that I had horrible body odor, beyond normal. I would shower 2x a day and still have to put on layers and layers of deodorant. I know now that smelling or having OB is a sign of not so good health or toxic chemical overload. I couldn’t wear a t-shirt without a jacket for fear of pit stains being seen. When I stopped eating meat for almost four years, my OB slowly and totally left me.

    When I moved out on my own, I began to live off of sugar and processed junk for about 2 years. I met my husband and he began to slow change my ways over to sugar free. I began to notice some digestive issues with grains after a three day fast I did. I was fine until I had my three day fast. I began to slowly limit my grains over the course of a year. We weren’t eating super healthy at this time but no fried foods or anything in that nature. I noticed the more I limited the grains the more intense my reaction to them became. I was off of meat due to budget reasons/we were out of the habit of eating it. I felt so much better off of meat for that period but didn’t call myself a vegetarian. AND AND I was so happy, no more smell!!

    I am now having my issue with grains but over time, I know things will improve.

    What I have learned: No extreme is a good extreme! I think sometimes in order to really balance our system out we have to completely stop something, let ourselves heal, detox or do whatever it needs to do and slowly add it back in over time. I believe in eating grains, I think I just need some time away from it like I did with meat.

    November 4th, 2011 8:52 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Love the story. You are observant and open minded and unemotional about your food choices. You evaluate them objectively and do what works and has been proven by thousands of years of human experience. This approach to health leads to healing.

      November 4th, 2011 10:25 pm Reply
  • Julie Burgevin (@Gville_Massage)

    Why I Don’t Eat Paleo or Primal – The Healthy Home Economist http://t.co/GqO4Cn37

    November 4th, 2011 3:52 pm Reply
  • Shaniqua


    One thing that MOST of you are not taking into account with your responses is that Sarah is referring to the OPTIMAL diet for GROWING healthy CHILDREN!

    I had to lay off grains for almost 3 years, and this worked wonderfully for me, mind over matter style…. until I was pregnant. Since I’m nursing it is not possible for me to ignore my craving for breads and fats. I’ve had to learn how to bake, and soak my grains so that my psoriasis doesn’t come back, and so far I’m doing quite well.

    Our creator gave us instincts for a reason…. to choose what we need to eat to survive and build healthy babies. Sometimes you need to do a Blood Type/GAPS/Candida cleansing diet to heal, but you’ve already built your body, for better or for worse.

    As adults, you aren’t growing organs and cells FOR THE FIRST TIME. Most of you (like myself) are trying to heal broken bodies from following some version of the SAD diet for many years, or trying to repair the damage done to our children, before we knew any better….

    That said, Weston Price, travelled for 10 years around the globe and gleaned the information from HUNDREDS of tribes, with THOUSANDS of years of collective experience, at a time in history when they were untouched by modernization, (and advertising).

    The knowledge of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration didn’t belong to Dr Price. He was a scribe, who hunted it out, wrote it down and used his scientific background as an authority to explain some of why it worked to us so we can grow healthy bodies and healthy children too. It’s info handed to him from people who have been growing hardy generations for THOUSANDS of years.

    Paleo or Primal authors to not have ANY generations of healthy disease free bodies as proof of the efficacy. And like several of you have said, the fact that it keeps needing adjusting says that it was not complete.

    How any 5-200 people born in this current lifetime could compete with that body of knowledge is beyond me. Most of all that is right with Primal/Paleo/ can be found in Dr. Price’s book.

    Dr. Price’s info was that you can grow healthy bodies on MANY combinations of foods. Proof was in the bodies of the natives that he met, and the hundreds of generations of skeletons he examined. Some ate grains, and others did not, and either way they had results of immunity so similar that *as long as you have the essentials*… IT DOES NOT MATTER if you eat them or not! I don’t know about you but to go from 20-50% cavities and 1-5% cavities is good enough for me.

    If you are descended from the Masai and that tribe represents your heritage of what to eat go for it! I for one am probably NOT going to drink blood or eat bugs or burn salt marsh grass to get the nutrition that some of those tribes did. One thing all the tribes did was make due with what they had. They also hunted wild game. I’m also not likely to do that. Grains are here. They are available. If properly prepared I can tolerate them now. So why not?

    With my health history as my experience, I find it hard to believe that if you can’t digest grains, you don’t have a gut imbalance. I sure as heck had one and did fine off grains for years until my son. I had a craving for banana pancakes so bad when I was pregnant, trying to continue with the BTD for Type O (grain and white potato free) I cried until I ate them, then I cried when I didn’t have a reaction… like my son was the gift to let me know I was healed.

    Our creator did not make us for any food to make us sick. A few years grain free (and a baby) might fix that. Worked for me.

    November 4th, 2011 3:02 pm Reply
  • Heather Bain Brandt via Facebook

    We are grain-free & gluten free but I wouldn’t call us paleo. I have no prob. using their blogs as resources for recipes. My son is doing better now that he is grain free & my hopes are that we can reintroduce gluten-free grains some day. What resource do you recommend for learning how to properly prepare grains when we do reintroduce them (they’ll be gluten free).

    November 4th, 2011 2:46 pm Reply
  • Erica

    Hi Sarah,

    How many servings of grains per week is healthy? Is it fine to consume 1-2 servings of grains per day? Thanks!

    November 4th, 2011 2:08 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Erica, we have 1-2 grain free days in our home per week typically to compensate for school days where more grains are served than I am comfortable with. Yes, I strive for no more than 1-2/day optimally. This would be moderate consumption and in line with what I’ve read traditional cultures consume. More on some days, less on others as your needs for carbs ebb and flow.

      November 4th, 2011 6:10 pm Reply
  • Nana M.

    Sarah, thanks for this site and for, what I believe, is your sound advice. I’ve read books by Gary Taubes, Drs. Eades, and often follow the sites of Dr. Eenfeldt (dietdoctor.com), as well as the Ancestral Health Foundation (ancestryfoundation.org/). It is an evolution of ideas, much of which is finally based on real science. I know from personal experience that these changes in our diets are taking us down the right track. Getting people off the fat-phobia idea and away from processed food is huge. But what needs to be added to that advice in my opinion (and this seems to be mostly ignored by all these writers) is the WAPF advice on our need to consume lacto-fermented foods/beverages and properly prepared grains/seeds/nuts/legumes. When we left the old world we forgot that we need to soak key parts of our food. This isn’t hard to do – just soak something while you sleep, or spend a few hours making real sauerkraut that will last for months. Digestion issues and the auto-immune diseases and other serious health problems that go with that can be solved or at least greatly helped by regularly introducing natural lactic acid bacteria to our guts. Most of North America is deficient in magnesium, just one key to good health. Eating moderate amounts of soaked grains (ideally heritage grain) addresses that and allows so many other nutrients to be absorbed. Eliminating processed foods and eating real, local, grassfed meat and organic veggies/berries is undoubtedly important – but to me that’s just part of the picture. What you contribute to solving the puzzle of our poor health, Sarah, as a Chapter Leader of WAPF, is GOLD! Thank you, again, from a Canadian member of WAPF.

    November 4th, 2011 2:05 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Wow, Nana. Thank you so much for those kind words! I really appreciate the vote of confidence :)

      November 4th, 2011 10:33 pm Reply
  • Green Earth, Green Home via Facebook

    My children are thriving also. Asthma gone, my oldest lost 15 pounds and now has straight A’s. I really really believe grains are not good.

    November 4th, 2011 1:13 pm Reply
  • Green Earth, Green Home via Facebook

    We eat Paleo/Primal and are thriving like never before. We do still consume raw dairy. I have never heard of that author you are talking about, but he’s got it all wrong. There are many Paleo people that follow a traditional diet like we do just with no grains.

    November 4th, 2011 1:08 pm Reply
  • Tara Stevens (@TaraFitness)

    Why I Don’t Eat Paleo or Primal – The Healthy Home Economist http://t.co/yMo8heSz

    November 4th, 2011 12:50 pm Reply
  • Judy@Savoring Today

    Wow, Sarah, I am always amazed by such strong reactions to food, or opinions on it. I look at a lot of blogs, see all kinds of things touted as “healthy” (soy, canola, low-fat, vegan, etc.) but would never take such a tone as some of your commenters have in responding. It was pretty clear you were simply expressing why YOU have chosen not to follow certain things in your diet and what you follow instead. I follow your blog and appreciate your articles very much, but do not expect any one blog/person/researcher/nutritionist to have all the answers. Everyone has the responsibility to research for themselves and not just blindly follow ANYONE.

    My family has done very well on The Maker’s Diet, treating it as a guide for our food choices, but not law. It was instrumental in leading me to Sally Fallon’s NT and Dr. Mercola, which have also been excellent resources. Simply put, it works for us. Unless I’m missed something, that is what I thought you were saying in the article — what works for you. Thanks for sharing.

    November 4th, 2011 12:25 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      People get really touchy about food. I’m still going to speak my mind though. I’m not deterred in the slightest. No worries there :)

      I think most of the negative comments seem to be knee jerk comments from those who didn’t read the entire post. The ones commenting that “grain free has saved my life” type stuff are the ones who needed to go grain free for health reasons (either weight/hormone issues, gut problems whatever). I never said eat grains in those situations. I said if one is healthy, a balanced diet which includes some properly prepared grains is optimal.

      I’m used to folks not reading the whole post though and getting all bent out of shape. Whatever.

      November 4th, 2011 6:13 pm Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    I eat much raw food in my diet including raw liver. I think it definitely has benefits. Many traditional cultures consumed these foods. BUT, eating cooked foods were also embraced as well. For example, the Masai written about in this post ate liver both raw and cooked.

    Again, I feel that balance and avoiding extremes is a good way to go.

    November 4th, 2011 12:19 pm Reply
  • DAWN


    November 4th, 2011 12:08 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, most of us are a bunch of mutts after all. Examining which traditional diets match our genetic makeup best is a good place to start. My background and also my husband’s is Northern European and these cultures traditionally ate grains and which is why I choose to do so and find it in my best interests although I did do a short GAPS stint to heal my gut and take it to the next level.

      November 4th, 2011 12:21 pm Reply
  • Susan

    Great article Sarah, this really clears things up for me. Just got my GAPS book yesterday and hope I can 100% clear the psoriasis on my scalp as well as a slight remaining allergy and lose another 25 lbs. I seem to do fine with grains a couple of times per week, and I probably consume too many dairy products – looking forward to complete healing and finding the right balance for my body.

    November 4th, 2011 11:35 am Reply
  • Rick

    Great explanation Sarah. I’ve never read the Paleo nor the Primal diet books, but I have many friends that claim these are the most healthy diets you can be on (esp the Paleo). As popular as the Paleo has become, I think you are going to spark a fire storm with this article…. have fun :).

    November 4th, 2011 11:06 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Speaking my mind has never been a problem for me Rick LOL

      I think folks deserve to know what I really think if they read this blog even occasionally. They are free to disagree with me but at least there is no doubt where I stand.

      November 4th, 2011 12:17 pm Reply
  • Cheryl

    I appreciate being able to read about your thoughts and ideas. You cut through it all and present very useful information. Thank you!

    November 4th, 2011 11:04 am Reply
  • Ruth @ Ruth’s Real Food

    Hi Sarah,
    Interesting post, as always. Could you provide a reference for this following statement,
    “Dr. Price’s close study of these African groups convinced him that the best Traditional Diet — one that encourages optimal physical development in children — consisted of a balance of properly prepared whole grains along with animal foods (especially fish), and not tending toward extremes in either direction”.

    I read some of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, but not all of it, and didn’t see this.

    November 4th, 2011 10:54 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Read the Chapter on Dr. Price’s travels in Africa. He discusses the Dinka’s superior strength and well proportioned physiques in relation to other tribes that are primarily carnivores or largely vegetarian.

      November 4th, 2011 12:23 pm Reply
  • Tina

    Love your blog, but must disagree with you on the grains. I feel grains are bad – even if prepared traditionally. The grains of today have been hybridized and modified so much that nothing is available that even resembles the grains of the peoples that Dr. Price studied. You just cannot aquire good quality grain with the original chromosonal make-up intact. Period. I do agree that some require more complex carbs than the traditional “primal” diets suggest. That’s where healthy legumes (e.g. various beans) and tubers come in. I, personally, add sweet potato and winter squash a lot. White potatoes are out as they have been hybridized and modified too much for my liking. I do not eat any grain and I am healthy, have a great immune system and my weight remains constant. After 18 months off grain, I did have a few servings on vacation in order not to offend my hosts. Boy, could I feel the difference – “sinus-y” issues and joint pain. That can’t be good.

    November 4th, 2011 10:45 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      If you had tried properly prepared grains, you may have been fine. I eat grains and I get very tired when I eat them made in a modern fashion. I am in no way advocating eating grains prepared in a modern way. It is better to eat no grains than eating improperly prepared ones.

      November 4th, 2011 11:07 am Reply
      • Tina

        Actually, the reaction occurs equally as bad with properly prepared grains. Have tried that “experiment” when craving something “bready”. The grain genomes have been changed so significantly from the past, there is just no way to compare the properly-prepared grains of the peoples that Dr. Price studied with the properly-prepared grains available today. You just can’t get the same grains.

        November 4th, 2011 11:59 am Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          I don’t buy that argument. MOST of our plant foods have been hybridized.

          November 4th, 2011 12:16 pm Reply
          • Tina

            I certainly agree with you on that and am not happy about it. That’s why I love the heirloom varieties that I can find at some of the farmer’s markets. My Amish farmer “connection” is great too as his farm, animals and seed for crops are the same varieties that have been passed down the generations. No hybridization, no genetic modification, etc. I feel so very blessed to be able to get his products.

            November 4th, 2011 4:41 pm
          • Tina

            Funny timing! I just saw this (posted today) and Dr. William Davis makes the point much more eloquently and accurately than I did: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/11/you-can-put-lipstick-on-a-pig/

            November 4th, 2011 9:58 pm
          • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

            I don’t necessarily feel that hybridization is a bad thing. I know a local, organic biodynamic farmer in my area who thinks heirloom seeds are a waste of time and if science comes up with an excellent hybrid (not GMO of course — whole different ballgame there) then that is wonderful and we should use it. I tend to agree with her. There’s nothing wrong with selecting a plant for the characteristics that are desirable. People and animals are hybridized too (natural selection … survival of the fittest).

            November 4th, 2011 10:29 pm
  • Gail

    The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson got a thumbs UP review on the Weston Price website (look for it through their health topics page).

    I think one thing that people are reacting to is that Sarah has said that the way to be the most healthy, physically excellent and strong is to add in grains (per WAP). To me, that is the statement that sounds contentious.

    Others are clearly not experiencing that health from eating grains. I am beginning the GAPS journey because I’m such a mess physically. Doing without grains right now is pure heaven. That may or may not be temporary.

    Read Mr. Price’s book to get a fuller picture.

    November 4th, 2011 10:44 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Once you heal on GAPS, it will likely be best for you to add grains back in unless the autoimmune issues are too severe to allow this. My husband healed on GAPS and is better now eating properly prepared grains in moderation than he was before with no grains at all. In time, people will understand the wisdom of Dr. Price’s observations that a balanced and not extreme approach to eating is the best traditional diet of all.

      November 4th, 2011 11:05 am Reply
  • Dawn

    At 52 years old and having lived in all regions of the United States, I have learned one really valuable lesson on eating. EAT LOCALLY. To eat healthy is to consume regionally the foods grown closest to your home. Less complications of allergies, more opportunity to learn the history of the food and if you can grow your own its better monitored by you than the FDA. Having been raised in Florida I grew up on fresh fish and veggies, educated in California I opened my menu to ethnic foods, but still dish ingredients locally grown. In the North East I learned to make healing soups and stews and in the Midwest I had the best of what free range ranching could produce. I have always stuck to the small multiple meal system and I remember my children,s friends telling their own parent that we are eating all the time instead of the traditional 3 square meals. The base of our plan is not Paleo or Primal, it is human and balanced. We eat lean and clean, we eat fresh or preserved naturally. We dont visit local fast food places and we love to have family meals with everyone contributing a special dish to share. Food is medicine is so many ways. It is your fuel to keep the machine running in it’s best condition. Exercise is every bit as important, but Im more interested in the activity of hunting and gathering as I am the balancing of my inner self. I dont need to be a gym rat to get the exercise I need. I need to get moving! Living healthy is not complicated, it just needs a bit of thought, a desire to take charge of my own health, and not allow advertising or convenience of ready made products to poison my well being. I raised two kids with the knowledge to eat well. What they do with it will be their journey. Either way, I am doing what makes me better.

    November 4th, 2011 10:29 am Reply
  • Becky

    Oops! Hit the wrong button by mistake :-)
    Anyway…as I was saying… The fact that the mentioned diets GET RID OF PROCESSED FOODS makes them better than the SAD any day!! My husband and I eat Primal/Paleo and we’ve never felt better. When we found out he was diabetic, it was the simplest way I could see to reduce the amount of carbs he was eating but still be satisfied with what we were eating. I love your blog and read it every day so the fact that primal isn’t for you doesn’t matter at all to me. It’s up to all of us to do what we feel is best for us. You still provide an extremely valuable source of information and I really appreciate all of your grain free and whole food recipes. Your grain free breakfast cereal is one of my all time favorites. I just tweaked the amount of maple syrup so that the carbs are much lower and my husband and I can both enjoy cereal again! Thanks Sarah!

    November 4th, 2011 9:25 am Reply
  • Becky

    I think that at the end of the day, the BEST thing about any of the diets/lifestyles that have been mentioned in the posts is that they GET RID OF

    November 4th, 2011 9:19 am Reply
  • Tim Wooldridge via Facebook

    Metabolic typing is the best way forward in my opinion, watch the videos here to find out more about your individual ratios http://www.metabolictypingadvisor.co.uk

    November 4th, 2011 8:52 am Reply
  • Aimee

    Hi Sarah – I struggle with the quantity issues -roughly how many calories do you and your children take in on a given day and roughly how much of that equates to meats, grains, vegetables, fruits etc?

    November 4th, 2011 7:37 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I personally do not track calories.

      November 4th, 2011 10:04 am Reply
  • Andy

    This is the first I’ve heard of the paleo diet endorsing canola oil. That seems like a specific case for one paleo supporter and not something widely accepted.

    I switched to full primal about 3 months ago after dabbling in it before. It’s worked extremely well, and I don’t miss or see the need for grains at all. From the research that I’ve done, a lot of the claims of the problems grains have are spot on.

    Ultimately, what works for each individual is best. I would have no problem with small amount of grains very occasionally if they were prepared right (i.e. real sourdough), but overall I’ve eliminated them and have no desire to make them a regular part of my diet again.

    November 4th, 2011 6:55 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      This post in no way disses Primal. I just give my reasons for not eating this way. If you disagree, that is wonderful.

      I’m just so over grains getting slammed left and right. There is nothing wrong with grains and in fact, Dr. Price observed that the cultures that were not to extreme one way or the other in their eating and consumed grains in balance with their animal food intake were the the most physically excellent and strong.

      Why is this research so often glossed over? I have no idea, but I find it important and wanted to bring it to light for people who feel “bad” that they don’t cut out grains when in fact it is fine and potentially the most optimal way to eat in the final analysis unless there is a health related reason.

      Is this snippishness? I think not.

      November 4th, 2011 10:06 am Reply
  • Rachel

    Many times you say that cereal grains “add much to the diet” for children. Would you please be specific? I am of the opinion that there is not a SINGLE nutrient found in grains that can not be found in abundance elsewhere, and usually in a more digestible food. If you think grains need to be removed when healing, even from something as simple as a cold (and you say you heal FASTER when they are removed), what leads you to believe that they are good, healthy foods for everyday use, when the body is repairing and regenerating all the time? This sounds like dogmatic adherence to WAP’s findings, just as some paleo/primal people obsessively adhere to their chosen diet guru’s advice.

    And as far as grains in the “ancestral diet”, I think MOST experts are in agreement that these were hand-harvested, teensy tiny little supplements to the diet. Not meals based on grains or sourdough breads. Another distinction to be made…seed grains like millet, teff and quinoa can NOT be used as a reason to support gluten/wheat consumption in the modern childs diet. Apples and oranges.

    November 3rd, 2011 7:52 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Magnesium for one. Cheeseslave wrote an excellent post about this last week about how those who don’t eat grains are at risk for deficiency of this critical nutrient.

      Don’t eat grains if you don’t want to. I find Dr. Price’s reasons FOR eating them to be compelling and I trust his keen and thorough observations much more than modern Paleo style diets that are evolving as the authors discover their own errors over time (i.e., one of the Paleo experts now eats white rice and potatoes after years of eschewing them – see comment above). If Paleo evolves – this is evidence of flawed premise to begin with.

      November 3rd, 2011 9:09 pm Reply
      • Andrea

        Great observation about the evolving paleo diet, Sarah! I think this is a great article with a very honest approach to your personal eating choices. One thing I can’t believe nobody mentions is COST. I went on GAPS for 6 months and I should have stayed on longer, but the sheer money it takes to fill up your family without beans, potatoes, rice, or bread is staggering. I might also mention that, when I went off GAPS on to a traditional diet low in natural sugars and with a reasonable carb intake, I noticed no difference in weight gain or my blood sugar issues or any other factors that affected how I felt on a day to day basis. Conclusion – I do fine on healthy carbs and starches, just like my European ancestors did.

        November 4th, 2011 8:44 am Reply
      • Tracy

        I, for one, appreciate when theories ‘evolve’. Imagine if, as new discoveries were made, we never changed our accepted theories and practices to incorporate those discoveries? Diet isn’t dogma, after all… that’s a good thing.

        I get what your point is though – certain foods that were once considered absolute no-go are now considered not so bad, at least for certain people, so the premise that (for example) white potatoes should be avoided across the board was a flawed premise. Certainly, Cordain had several ideas that were inaccurate (and that have since long been dispatched by other researchers in the field, and now by Cordain himself – lots of disagreement in science-based fields, as there should be). Though chucking an overarching idea/theory because a few of the details were not accurate is a baby/bathwater situation.

        In the paleo/primal communities around the web now, the overwhelming attitude seems to be one of self-discovery; that diet is highly personal, and depends on your personal needs and physiology. For instance, many people do just fine on properly prepared grains… as a celiac, I don’t. White rice is fine for me, once in a while… too much or too often, and I gain weight and don’t feel that well. Same goes for certain veggies, and for nuts.

        What I took from your post (and this may or may not have been your intention) is that people tend to over-identify with labels… “I’m a paleo eater” or “I’m a WAPF’r” or whatever. And, due to that, some may doggedly adhere to certain ways of doing things, despite new evidence and data. Personally, I don’t label my way of eating anymore – I keep up with the latest science/research and it influences my decisions, but ultimately I just eat what works for me. (Whether my great-grandmother could eat it or not… I’m not her!)

        November 4th, 2011 9:10 am Reply
      • Tracy

        I haven’t eaten grains in over 6 years – no deficiency symptoms whatsoever. It’s funny, because in her post she says that if you’re grain-free, or have a leaky/damaged gut, you’re at risk.. but grains GAVE me my damaged, leaky gut in the first place! (I’m celiac). The deficiency symptoms she mentions are interesting – the ones on the list that I once had actually cleared up after I went grain-free. For her, eating grains seems to be helping, which is great. For others like me, eating grains will actually do the opposite. So again – seems to come down to your own personal situation.

        November 4th, 2011 9:25 am Reply
        • Rick

          I’d be willing to bet you didn’t damage your gut on properly prepared grains…. right?

          November 4th, 2011 11:36 am Reply
      • Rachel

        I love Cheeseslave and read her posts often, she is a smart and informed woman, but I would never site her as my magnesium “expert”. As Tracy mentions below, magnesium deficiency can often be caused by grain consumption, whether leaky gut is present or not. There are plenty of rich plant and animal sources of magnesium besides grains, and we could enhance our utilization of this hard to digest nutrient by correcting our digestion, gently cooking the foods and taking them with fat.

        My point is not that everyone should NOT eat grains, but that other factors of health and deficiency should not be overlooked, and that there is absolutely no reason to insist that for a child to be healthy they must. eat. grains.

        November 4th, 2011 10:09 am Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          I just talked to a family of 15 month old twins the other week who were having fits as their children were very unhappy and not thriving with their no grain, traditional diet of raw dairy, meats, veggies etc.. I suggested to them to add in properly prepared, soaked grains such as oatmeal and now the children are happy and gaining weight again.

          Healthy children do best when given grains in moderation. Unless there is health reason for doing so .. such as GAPS Diet temporarily or permanently if necessary.

          November 4th, 2011 10:13 am Reply
      • SophieWonder

        Ummm… how about leafy greens like spinach, several types of nuts, many fish including halibut, to name a few sources of magnesium… sources that don’t require soaking or fermenting to render them somewhat-less-toxic. Frankly, the argument that its cheaper to feed the family grains than fresh veg and pastured meat is much more compelling to me than the claim that one misses out on some key nutrient by skipping grains. I myself include moderate amounts of rice or potatoes sometimes to stretch my food budget, but only for economic reasons, not because I think its nutritionally superior to the alternative.

        For the record, you don’t HAVE to justify yourself at all. You want to feed your family grains – when they are physically able to handle it – go right ahead! Your family, your body, your call to make. But if your goal is to hold up your diet as being the “best” or the most “balanced”, you’ll need to do more than point and laugh at outdated Cordain quotes. What does “balanced” even mean? I don’t want to be balanced between being sick or well, for example, I want to be at the upper extreme of good health!

        You say diets that evolve are inherently flawed. I say diets that need to pick apart outdated information from other diets in order to feel superior are inherently flawed. If you ever choose to add to this article, I hope it includes less snark and more substantive evidence of why THIS diet works for YOU, not why other diets (that do seem to work for other people, by the way) are silly.

        March 21st, 2013 1:49 pm Reply
      • Paleo Huntress

        According to the USDA, the top 5 foods highest in magnesium per serving are:

        1.) Halibut
        2.) Mackerel
        3.) Boiled spinach
        4.) Bran breakfast cereal (not whole grain, but the bran alone)
        5.) Almonds

        And the tops 5 foods with highest the magnesium per milligram are:

        1.) Cocoa
        2.) Bran breakfast cereal (not whole grain, but the bran alone)
        3.) Almonds
        4.) Cashews
        5.) Pumpkin seeds

        ALL of these foods except the bran cereal are paleo/primal and whole grains don’t even make it into the top 5.

        There is nothing weird of extreme about the way we eat now… after several years of a kitchen full of soaking/sprouting grains and legumes, sourdough cultures, bread machines, grinders, dehydrators, bottles of FCLO, waiting days between when I decided we’d eat a food and when it was actually READY to eat, etc., we are finally eating a simplified diet. There was nothing more extreme than WAPF for them and nothing simpler or more natural than paleo now. Do my boys eat grain foods away from home? Absolutely. But the bread they’re gonna eat at a friend’s house or the crust from the local pizza shop isn’t just not paleo, it also isn’t WAPF. Cheeseslave made many similar claims in her anti-paleo rant and the fact is that WAPF proponents calling paleo advocates “extreme” is the pot calling the kettle black.

        August 18th, 2013 11:21 am Reply
  • Raluca Schachter via Facebook

    I liked the article since it makes very good points based on dr Price’s work. There have been several great pioneers like him that have contributed pieces to the puzzle of biochemical individuality and it’s relation to diet and nutrition. And let’s not forget that US is practically now a “big genetic melting pot”; there are individuals that have 2-4 different types of races in their blood..how could you determine their real “ancestral diet”? There are not “good” and “bad” foods (unless they are processed, and then they are all bad) , there are only right or wrong foods for your metabolism. A “balanced” diet is a VERY general term and for everybody it means different things.

    November 3rd, 2011 4:49 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Jill of course there are valid health reasons for pursuing a grain free diet. My post describing the observations of Dr. Price that a more balanced and less extreme approach to eating is more favorable is not for those in that situation. I wish you the best with your son’s health journey! He is lucky to have such an attentive Mother such as yourself.

    November 3rd, 2011 4:32 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Melissa SoHectic I mention in the post that Primal is fine for some but that many especially children would benefit more from a less extreme approach to Traditional Eating.

    November 3rd, 2011 4:29 pm Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    I do hope that some don’t take this post as an excuse to go hog wild on the grains even if properly prepared. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a LONG time, but always hesitated for this reason. Hopefully the information will be taken and understood within the context it was intended.

    November 3rd, 2011 4:19 pm Reply
    • Lauren

      I for one would like to see a more nuanced follow-up post on this topic, which clarifies your context in light of the further resources your commenters have provided.

      November 3rd, 2011 4:32 pm Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        What resources are those? I didn’t see any that impacted the overall message of the post. I also think the context with which I wrote it is clear IF one reads the entire post.

        November 3rd, 2011 4:43 pm Reply
  • Raluca Schachter via Facebook

    @ Jill Bryant Mitchell – I am working with people that need intensive gut healing and I know how hard it is to reestablish a normal, friendly gut flora. Sometimes gut flora can even be permanently damaged and the person has to follow a life long protocol to maintain a healthy gut. Depends on many factors. But many times this can be addressed and tremendously improved. If I may ask, what kind of protocol are you exactly following for your son’s gut healing ? You can send me a message with more info if you want, maybe I can help.

    November 3rd, 2011 4:13 pm Reply
  • Raluca Schachter via Facebook

    @ Caroline Boles – there is only one ACCURATE way to determine your metabolic type and that is by filling out a very complex online questionnaire from Healthexcel, designed by William Wolcott. You’d need a Metabolic Typing Advisor to guide you through the whole process and explain the results to you. Metabolic Typing started 35 years ago and it’s the only approach that is able to determine what foods are right for your metabolic individuality. We are all unique on a biochemical level as we are in our fingerprints. This is a premise that is unfortunately often taken out of the equation by the “allopathic nutrition” or “nutrient based nutrition”. Check out my website to find out more about Metabolic Typing -www.guide2health.net

    November 3rd, 2011 4:02 pm Reply
  • Kelli

    What it really comes down to is that food today is vastly different from what are ancestors consumed. Grains, corn, potatoes, and dairy have all changed drastically due to human tampering and environment. Trying to eat like a “paleo” is not really possible. Heck, grains even have more gluten in them today than they had centuries ago.

    November 3rd, 2011 3:55 pm Reply
  • Jill Bryant Mitchell via Facebook

    I wish gut healing was a temporary thing. I have been healing my son’s gut for ten years and still going strong. When I meet someone with a good, healthy gut, I will be sure to mention a good “balanced” diet to them. In the meantime, I will be a strong advocate for grain free, sugar free living.

    November 3rd, 2011 3:46 pm Reply
    • D.

      @Jill: After 10 years I think I’d be looking at something different. I mean really – 10 years?? Maybe research what you might possibly be doing wrong instead of insisting that a certain way of eating is optimal just because you read it somewhere or it’s good for someone else’s lifestyle.

      It must be creating a stess level not to be believed.

      November 4th, 2011 11:06 am Reply
  • Melissa So-Hectic via Facebook

    Also I should add that by eating Paleo/primal I have reached a more healthy weight and maintained it and am in the most excellent health that I have ever been in in my life at 34 years of age. Cutting out grains has cured me of an inflammatory disease and in combination with increased probiotics and fermented foods has healed my gut!

    November 3rd, 2011 3:39 pm Reply
  • Melissa So-Hectic via Facebook

    Well I’m not so eloquent with my words so I’ll just say what I think: this article is a piece of crap.
    I have been eating this way (Paleo / primal) for a very long time and while I do eat some grains, I agree 100 percent that any grains should always be soaked and or fermented. I love the Weston A. Price foundation and nourishing traditions. I do consumer some raw dairy and we do not ever advocate the use of canola oil that is completely ridiculous!

    November 3rd, 2011 3:35 pm Reply
  • Caroline Boles via Facebook

    @Raluca–where does one begin to find out about metabolic type and needs, etc.? I agree with your thoughts that we’re all made differently and would therefore need different nourishment. Any thoughts?

    November 3rd, 2011 3:05 pm Reply
  • CJ

    If people are interested in this subject and educating themselves more, I highly recommend the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gloria Gottschall. She actually explains the science behind why it is difficult for the body to digest grains and certain types of sugars. After a long period of trying various diets, this is the one that has made the difference in my digestion.

    Also, in reference to Weston Price’s observations, it is important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. Definitely important information that he gathered, but let’s not forget that true results must control for all variables that may effect things like height, build, etc.

    November 3rd, 2011 3:03 pm Reply
  • Jodie

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks so much for this article. I have been flirting with the idea of going primal for a while now, but after reading your views and reasoning I think I will just stick with the traditional diet we are on. I really appreciate your knowlege and wisdom in regards to traditional foods. Thanks again.

    November 3rd, 2011 2:56 pm Reply
    • Kelsey

      She doesn’t quote any sources, and both the Primal Blueprint and the Paleo diet have undergone tremendous changes, and are changing all the time. Look at some studies, read the forums on MarksDailyApple.com, and see that everyone reacts differently to different food choices but in no way are grains and corn anything like they were when they were first domesticated. You can’t read one blog and assume that THAT is the prescribed way of eating. I think these diets and lifestyles may have been touted as a fad, but you really can’t go wrong by sourcing your meat from grass-fed&finished farmers and trying to eat organically/non-GMO with regards to vegetables, fruits, nuts, oils, and fats. It’s about sustaining the environment and lifelong health as much as it is about the “diet”. And you might feel just fine eating grains/gluten, but the phytates, lectin, and gluten render their nutrients unavailable to our bodies. A lot of our “traditional diet” has to do with what lobbyists are doing in D.C. Money money money.

      July 24th, 2013 9:46 am Reply
  • Sharon

    Thank you for your post, Sarah. My body needs grains. I’ve been hearing for a while from traditional food people that grains (even traditionally prepared) are bad for one’s health, even though Dr. Price found healthy groups that ate them.

    November 3rd, 2011 2:48 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Unless there is a health reason for doing so (weight problems, gut imbalance etc) eliminating grains from the diet is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      This type of thing does generally happen when there is a REACTION against something that is excess in society – in this case, overconsumption of grains. Responding by cutting them all out of the diet makes little logical sense to me. Perhaps cutting them all out for awhile (even a few years) may be beneficial but I would wager that MOST people who eat Paleo or Primal will eventually go back to eating grains. Just my opinion of course. Extremes in anything particularly in the way one eats tend not to last over the long haul.

      November 3rd, 2011 4:24 pm Reply
  • Howard C. Gray via Facebook

    Not to mention epigenetics and microflora Enterotyping puts most “paleo” in question. Eating paleo gave me severe constipation which led to numerous other problems. Eating “traditional” for my “tribe” – ie: Northern European ancestry has done wonders.

    November 3rd, 2011 2:46 pm Reply
    • Kasi

      I always see that, and it makes me wonder. We eat so many veggies at my house, and nuts (soaked and dried) that constipation is definitely not an issue – until we have a special day or something and eat bread or sugar again. I guess everybody’s system must react a little differently.

      November 7th, 2011 3:35 pm Reply
  • Caroline

    While I classify myself as Primal, I am not above slathering a piece of real sourdough with butter once in a great while. That being said, I do not consider grain based foods necessary for any real macro or micronutrient contribution to the diet. What nutrients are in properly prepared whole grains that can’t be found in a diet rich in pastured animal products, fish/seafood, vegetables, tubers, fuits, nuts & seeds? There aren’t any to my knowledge (and please correct me if I’m wrong.)

    HOWEVER…what we eat, and what we choose to feed our children is ultimately a personal decision. The WAPF protocol of soaking/sprouting/souring is an excellent way to remove some of the anti-nutrients and render grains more nutritious. I absolutely agree with this, but that is quite the process and finding organic, non-GMO, non-toxic grains can be difficult for many. Not to mention the time investment to properly prepare them. While I commend people who take this time to make sure the grains they and their families eat are properly prepared, many might find it easier to just avoid them altogether. I think either/or is perfectly acceptable.

    In today’s day & age, where so many families subsist on a diet primarily composed of GM corn, GM soy, dwarf hybrid wheat, and PUFAs, I think any move toward Paleo (revised), Primal (my favorite), or WAPF style eating would result in dramatic health improvements. Then tweak as you see fit.

    I choose not to eat grains because they make me fat, and make my joints creaky. Vegetable/tuber sources of carbohydrates do not. Is this just me? Am I just vain? Perhaps. But I’m going with what works for me.

    November 3rd, 2011 2:29 pm Reply
  • Milliann

    First let me say..i enjoy ur site! I have been reading bout Primal/Paleo…wholefoods movement 4 a year now & went Primal Sept 12 ! I am up in the air about white potatoes…but not grains…I am trying very hard to convince my daughter not to give her baby 5mths grains…here is another view on grains… http://www.foodrenegade.com/why-ditch-infant-cereals/

    November 3rd, 2011 2:27 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      As I mentioned in the post, grains are not beneficial for a child under 1 year old. This is because babies do not produce enough of the enzyme amylase yet to digest carbohydrates. After one year, it’s perfectly fine to serve properly prepared grains as long as there isn’t a health issue that precludes them.

      November 3rd, 2011 2:44 pm Reply
  • Magda

    I’m a big fan of Marks’ website and peruse it weekly. I agree with most of he says but still don’t get why he sells a protein powder… right now I’m doing GAPS but even that isn’t ‘set in stone’. There are guidelines and ‘musts’ but even those are adjusted for those who cannot tolerate them (such as cooking broth for a shorter period of time, avoiding certain veggies, avoiding nuts/honey for anti-candida, etc.). After going through WAPF, then GF/CF, finally GAPS I can see that no one diet is right for all and you should really do your research. Some advice such as using canola oil or lean meats will always be wrong but everything else should be taken with a grain of salt (pun intended). Great article!

    November 3rd, 2011 2:27 pm Reply
  • Raluca Schachter via Facebook

    One’s biochemical individuality dictates one’s needs for nutrition. The basis for nutritional needs is based in one’s genes, not in some philosophy or belief. Different nutrients affect different people in different ways. In order to know what food and supplements supply a correct source of fuel, one must first identify one’s unique and specific metabolic needs/ type.

    November 3rd, 2011 2:14 pm Reply
  • Marta Navaret via Facebook

    Sarah, great posting. I stopped feeding corn tortillas from the store to my kids, now I buy organic corn, soak it for many days and make them myself, they love grassfed chip beef tacos and pastured chicken flautas. I agree they need a balanced diet that includes all food groups.

    November 3rd, 2011 1:58 pm Reply
  • Meagan

    I see your perspective Sarah, but it’s a little one sided. This issue could definitely be pursued more! :)

    November 3rd, 2011 1:28 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Appreciate the feedback Meagan :)

      November 3rd, 2011 1:34 pm Reply
  • Tim Huntley via Facebook

    Sarah, Check out the likes on Amanda’s comments – I think a lot of people agree with her. I sure do. It would seem that by your definition, a diet that has evolved (Nourishing Traditions for example – which is the amalgamation of lots of cultural wisdom) can’t be optimal

    November 3rd, 2011 1:27 pm Reply
  • Ian Mildon via Facebook

    Everyone should ultimately follow what works for them. For me that is an 80/20 Primal, gluten free and very low grain. Is that right for everyone….no it’s not. I have never read any of Cordain’s work as he is not the only source out there.

    I applaud your concern at finding what diet works best for you and your children.

    November 3rd, 2011 1:07 pm Reply
  • Thelma Medina-Corpas via Facebook

    I stopped reading at “lean meats”

    November 3rd, 2011 12:55 pm Reply
    • D.

      Sarah does not advocate eating lean meats. You should have kept reading.

      November 4th, 2011 10:59 am Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Amanda I don’t think its contentious .. my fitness editor eats Primal and I’m not against it as I explained …I just gave my reasons why I don’t and why I don’t think it’s optimal for children.

    November 3rd, 2011 12:53 pm Reply
  • Meghan Soderstrom Richey via Facebook

    Amanda expressed my sentiments well. While Cordain may have been one of the first voices of paleo, he is not the only voice of paleo, and certainly not the main voice. I’d even say most people who identify with “paleo” do not follow Cordain’s book due to its many inaccuracies. Our family chooses to eat a primal diet and we’re much healthier now than when we ate according to the WAPF (though I still embrace the non-grain portions of its teachings).

    November 3rd, 2011 12:49 pm Reply
  • Fran Kozicki via Facebook

    Thank you, this was very helpful. I had been so confused, and realized that the way of eating you described best fits me. Now I have a game plan!

    November 3rd, 2011 12:43 pm Reply
  • Kimberly Viducich via Facebook

    Great article. Thank you. For me, WAPF makes sense, it feels very balanced.

    November 3rd, 2011 12:42 pm Reply
    • Meagan

      Love WAPF 😀

      November 3rd, 2011 1:29 pm Reply
  • Kristi

    With my health issues and my son’s ADHD we’ve gone pretty much Primal. Or full GAPS but with sweet potatoes and some beans. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s working. Because of all this my 15 month old has never had a grain. No rice or corn or wheat or oats or anything. Do you think I should add in some for her? I don’t have the $ to buy sprouted flours. But maybe some soaked oatmeal or rice? She’s on the small side (16.7 lbs and 29 in tall) so I make sure she always gets in plenty of fats. She loves broth, meats, eggs, avocado, veggies, fruits, yoghurts, the coconut flour baked things I make, etc. She’s a good eater, just thin. Do you think the grains are what she needs?

    November 3rd, 2011 12:41 pm Reply
    • Knocked Up and Nursing

      My 11 month old has never had grains either. She’s a solid 25 lbs and happily breastfed. She eats egg yolks, some legumes, sweet potatoes, avocados, kefir, yogurt, veggies and fruits. I don’t plan on introducing grains anytime soon. You can also sprout your own flour. It takes time but is fairly easy. I say do what feels right to you and feed baby what your family eats.

      November 3rd, 2011 1:08 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      If you are grain free for health issues, then keep on if it’s working for you.

      November 3rd, 2011 1:26 pm Reply
    • Grace

      If she tolerates beans well, I would think she would do fine with brown rice and soaked (for 24 hours) oats. One of my kids has ADHD, too. We’re doing gluten-free, but with gluten-free grains and legumes (like sprouted lentils), raw milk too. I bake with brown rice flour/arrowroot combo (tastes the most like ‘regular’ baked goods) or almond flour or coconut flour.

      December 18th, 2011 12:59 am Reply
  • Angela Borland via Facebook

    Right on point, Amanda. Thank you for posting your sound thoughts.

    November 3rd, 2011 12:32 pm Reply
  • Amanda Kate Donovan via Facebook

    this article seems unnecessarily contentious, and is based on some inaccuracies. dr. cordain reevaluated his position on saturated fats and has reversed his stance on canola oil quite some time ago. his is also not the only voice out there. the “paleo” diet is comprised of many, many voices who are constantly reevaluating their position based on new research and information. never the less, dr. cordain has been on the forefront of ancestral diet research and deserves a lot of credit. no one has ever claimed that the “paleo” diet, despite its somewhat unfortunate (but catchy) moniker, is about reenacting the diet of “paleolithic people”. rather it uses the diets and wisdom of modern hunter-gatherers as a model for the optimal human diet in which we receive the highest concentration of micronutrients in the fewest amount of calories, while always experimenting with macronutrient ratios to find the ideal balance for the individual. the paleo diet is more about what a person does not eat than what they do eat. i know a paleo vegetarian, pescatarians, high carb paleo dieters, and zero carb paleo dieters. there are many ways to god, so to speak and i think it would be more beneficial to ALL if we focused on the legion of positive contributions the various movements have made to the ancestral diet movement, rather than tearing other people down in the name of WAP.

    November 3rd, 2011 12:29 pm Reply
  • Tammy Lee Rodriguez via Facebook

    what little i’ve looked at it, i don’t agree with .. that’s why i haven’t done much delving into it. i’m glad i’m not alone. i didn’t realize they condone cooking w/flax and canola oils.

    November 3rd, 2011 12:28 pm Reply
    • Patty

      They don’t!
      Why add to the misinformation Sarah? I have recommended your site to sooo many people that have not even heard of WAPF or Paleo or Primal or NT!!! Now I am weary. People need to find their own philosophy on healthy eating and after watching Nora Gedgaudas video at the Ancestral Health Symposium I decided that even one grain of gluten was going to get in my way of optimal health! I am saying that I was doing grains in “moderation” with out considering that total elimination would help me get to the healthy place I was after. (my daughter has celiac just diagnosed last year and at 22 yrs old is doing the GAPS diet!) Had I only known when she was a child I keep telling my friends!!!

      Re introducing grains as you suggest (properly prepared) will be a LOT easier for me once I am healthy IF I decide to do it. But for my friends that want in introduction the concept of eating healthier, your site just added to the confusion (in my humble opinion). I will hesitate before recommending your site again.

      November 4th, 2011 11:23 am Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    I realize the definition of Paleo has changed over the years but the fact that it is in fact evolving is an indication that it is not optimal.

    November 3rd, 2011 12:23 pm Reply
    • D.

      Exactly, Sarah. If the definition has to keep changing, something wasn’t right about it in the first place. I feel the same about PRIMAL, whatever that is. Good grief, just eat what you want and eat locally. Most people make themselves sick worrying about “oh dear, should I be eating this or should I have that today because I had some yesterday” . . . what a bunch of stress-inducing nonsense.

      Adhering to someone else’s idea of the “perfect” diet is ludicrous. “Perfect” is what’s best for you and that’s to eat whatever you want or whatever you have access to, and that’s the long and short of it. Life is short. Personally I like to eat from all the food groups and have been doing so for 58 years with pretty dang good success! I don’t feel deprived, am not fat, overall healthy for my age, and don’t have unrealistic expectations from myself or my diet.

      November 4th, 2011 10:55 am Reply
      • Kasi

        I disagree totally. I think the changing probably indicates that they are willing to learn. That they are willing to reverse themselves on occasion indicates open minds. A willingness to learn is far better than being stuck in one position and refusing to evaluate when new knowledge or information comes along.
        One of the things I like about both Mark Sisson’s take on primal and Robb Wolf’s take on paleo is that they both incorporate things like exercise and sleep and light therapy – they are more rounded philosophies in many ways than the real food blogs that base everything they say on WAP or NT and ignore entire other aspects of health. Food is a huge part of the answer but it isn’t the only part. Paleo/primal folks tend to recognize that better.
        Me, I just combine all the info and pick the parts I think make the most sense…. and change my mind if need be. I came to this ‘community’ because I thought Jenny from Nourished Kitchen was crazy doing a 28-day real food challenge and rendering her own tallow and whatnot – an article caught my attention. Now I cook 99% of my meals at home, avoid low-fat crap, cook with coconut oil, soon to try raw milk. If I wasn’t willing to learn and change my mind, it would never have happened. So I just can’t fault folks willing to do the same.

        November 7th, 2011 3:29 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Willingness to learn doesn’t fix the fact that it was clearly wrong in the first place. It never started from the right premise at the get go. It is best to seek out wisdom that was not inherently flawed from the beginning such as what traditional cultures practiced .. the healthiest of which ate grains and other plant foods in balance with nutrient dense animal foods without being too extreme in either direction. I see Paleo and Primal as a reaction to the overconsumption of grains in our western culture. Overreactions to something are rarely correct. Best to not overreact but to make objective decisions about what to eat based on observation and historical accuracy.

          November 7th, 2011 6:17 pm Reply
          • Goats and Greens

            Just wondering? The diet you follow isn’t adapted from discoveries, either? Things once discovered are set in stone, sort of like a Bible? I’m trying to wrap my head around this, but then again I’m not into dogma, but practical experience.

            My own diet tends towards the primal. I eat dairy. And, yes, stepping away from primal, I will occasionally eat real bread or real grain. I feel excellent whether I eat my limited grain or not, but I realize the mileage of others may vary.

            November 28th, 2011 1:34 pm
          • Anna

            My auto-immune disease is ONLY managed by a Paleo/GAPS diet. Sure, my story is anecdotal–hear me out.
            I never knew anything was really “wrong” with my body until I suddenly slipped into a LOT of pain. After a lot of experimentation, the only way I am able to eat and live the way I want to live (not sick) is through a “strict” diet–no grains, no legumes, no dairy. Call it extreme, call it unhealthy–my friends and family will quickly attest to the extreme improvement in my appearance and mood. I don’t believe I’m so different from every other person I meet.

            May 20th, 2013 10:41 pm
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    I think bottom line that there is tremendous confusion out there about Paleo and Primal and whose philosophy is what. The idea is to eat balanced and not exclude a healthy group of foods like grains and starches except during a period of healing perhaps.

    Excluding grains I think is particularly risky for children as properly prepared cereal grains add much to their diet after the age of 1.

    November 3rd, 2011 12:04 pm Reply
    • Lauren

      There’s not much in grains that we can’t get in better quantities and more absorbable forms elsewhere. Considering the tiny size of childrens’ stomachs, I find that wasting their limited appetite on grains rather than something more energy dense is unwise. In addition, the risk of gluten and its comorbidities is just not worth the ease of a noodle-based dinner or sandwich-centric lunch.

      November 3rd, 2011 4:08 pm Reply
    • Kasi

      I’m also curious as to why you think grains are necessary for kids. I eat mostly primal, though if I want bread I’ll pull out my sourdough starter and make some bread the hard way so at least I have to work for it. But given the lack of nutrients overall in grains compared to other sources of carbs (like sweet potatoes) – can you explain? Other than using WAP’s observations; that is not enough of an answer for me personally. A starting point but not the whole answer.

      November 7th, 2011 3:21 pm Reply
    • Fitmompam

      Can you please tell me what cereal grains offer that my children can’t get from protein & veggies or fruits?

      November 28th, 2013 9:13 pm Reply
      • Marcia

        Yes, Sarah, I would love to know what your research shows on this. I have looked and looked, as I certainly don’t want to short-change my children in the “health department.” But when I google this, I can’t find support for that claim. Even when I compare a bowl of whole grain pasta or a slice of whole grain bread with a cup of vegetables on a nutrition site, the grains come up way short. So if you are going to fill your child’s tummy with a food, why not fill it with something more nutritionally dense? Any help would be appreciated…

        January 27th, 2014 9:07 pm Reply
  • M1ssDiagnosis

    I’m really glad you put that last paragraph in there! I agree with your philosophy on diet for the most part (although since our corn supply is almost 100% contaminated with mold/fungus, I think you should avoid all corn and corn products as much as is humanly possible). IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN GOOD HEALTH AND A HEALTHY WEIGHT. However, if you have any type of health symptoms or are overweight, I think you should adhere to a completely grain-free diet free of sugar, potatoes, grain-fed dairy and meat, and even most fruits and legumes (especially peanuts) that are either high in sugars or starches until you are symptom free. I have some VERY serious health conditions due to poor medical care, poor diet, and environmental toxins early in life and I can attest that eating a diet similar to GAPS called the Know the Cause Phase One Diet has greatly improved my overall health. As your health and/or weight improves, you can and should add back in healthy grains, fruits, and legumes – only temporarily removing them in periods of sickness or following indulgence in unhealthy diet.

    November 3rd, 2011 11:42 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes .. we cut out grains if we are sick in our home as it does help simplify digestion and we do get well faster. But when in good health, properly prepared cereal grains add much to the diet.

      November 3rd, 2011 11:53 am Reply
      • Tara Stevens

        I’m a bit puzzled by this… you write:

        > Yes .. we cut out grains if we are sick in our home as it does help simplify digestion
        > and we do get well faster

        does that not say something to you about how much strain cereal grains puts on your digestive system? You have admitted that you get better faster when not consuming them, so why go back to eating them when you are better, just to begin the cycle again?

        If you compare a bowl of vegetables to a bowl of cereal, it’s not hard to see which contains the most nutrients and is easier to digest – for everybody.

        I’m also curious as to what you mean by ‘properly prepared’?

        Out of interest, have you read Wheat Belly: http://www.amazon.com/Wheat-Belly-Lose-Weight-Health/dp/1609611543 you might find your opinions on whether wheat adds anything to a healthy diet changes somewhat…

        Best wishes


        November 4th, 2011 12:50 pm Reply
        • Lisa

          From what I’ve read, the Dinka ate millet and rice. The fact that they thrived on those grains doesn’t mean all grains are good.

          I second the recommendation for Wheat Belly. It does a good job explaining why the wheat we have today is in no way traditional and is in every way bad for you. Soak or ferment it all you like. It’s still bad stuff. It isn’t even the same wheat that was around when Price was doing his research. Corn has also been altered greatly from what people used to eat. I generally avoid grains and have seen greatly improved health. I’m not afraid of a little rice now and then, but gluten grains and corn are on my hit list.

          November 5th, 2011 1:30 pm Reply
          • Tara Stevens

            we also eat rice at home from time to time. I think it’s pretty ‘safe’ as far as grains go, also quinoa which isn’t technically a grain anyway!

            corn and wheat I avoid at all costs!

            November 6th, 2011 1:05 pm
  • iniQuity


    I eat primal, basically, and just wanted to point out that a lot of what you’re saying is actually “backed” by Mark Sisson. It’s not in the book, but Mark and his team are pretty good with updating the website (www.marksdailyapple.com) and staying current to the motions of Paleo/Primal or “Ancestral Health”… not long ago Mark/co wrote an article regarding grains, and how properly prepared they cease to be as dangerous (as WAPF has already noted long long long ago) though he did mention this is something to undertake if you actually want to eat them, personally I see no real need and don’t feel as though I’m missing out. If ever I do want some grains (bread/whatever) I just eat them straight up. I figure I only do this a handful of times a year, so I can handle it.

    Similarly, paleo bloggers such as Robb Wolf have begun to revise some of their dietary restrictions, most notably the move towards “safe starches” such as white rice and potatoes, where before they were shunned by paleo, are now back on the menu.

    I don’t think people should totally base their diets on what others think, I for one never stopped eating potatoes because a) they’re a real food and b) I love them, and they’re a big part of my culture, and I’m not overweight/metabolically deranged.

    I guess what I’m saying is, you are maybe a bit out of the overall loop, not your fault I’m not expecting you to read all these blogs daily or nothing as you must be plenty busy running your own site and taking care of your family. I just want your readers to know that both these approaches to diet are still evolving, but I endorse their overall message, as it seems you do (for the most part) as well.

    Love your site!

    November 3rd, 2011 11:37 am Reply
    • Tim Huntley

      +1 to iniQuity –

      With respect to Paleo, yes Dr. Cordain did write a book, but 99% of the people who eat a Paleo diet are listening to Robb Wolf, Sarah Fragoso, Dr. Kurt Harris, and even Chris Masterjohn and do not eat canola, eat plenty of saturated fats, etc.

      November 3rd, 2011 11:52 am Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

        That would be Primal then, correct? Not really Paleo since Dr. Cordain coined the phrase.

        November 3rd, 2011 11:58 am Reply
        • Lauren

          The difference between primal and paleo is that the former includes some dairy and is intended as an entire lifestyle. Paleo is the overarching theoretical model, though that term is losing ground to “ancestral health” as the field splits between strict adherents (such as crosfitters) and those who are more generally interested in better health, allergy reduction and such.
          It’s a bit unfair to trash an entire integrative model of health promotion based on a single superceded book. As other commenters have noted, there’s a LOT more to paleo than Loren Cordain.

          November 3rd, 2011 3:57 pm Reply
          • Paleo Huntress

            I’ve been following a primitive diet for more than five years now and I use the terms paleo/primal/primitive/caveman diet (even “ancestral” at times) interchangeably. I eat some raw dairy, mostly cream and butter and eat a bit of white rice and oats. I run several communities for paleo diet and lifestyle and I find most adherents use the terms interchangeably as well.

            June 21st, 2013 3:44 pm
        • Pattyla

          Actually Paleo is evolving to include more fats and I believe he no longer endorses canola oil. I have a Paleo friend who likes to debate and keeps me updated that way. (we do gaps).

          November 4th, 2011 10:30 am Reply
        • Kristen

          Don’t feed the elitists, please! Paleo, Primal, they’re almost the same.

          June 21st, 2013 11:00 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Thanks for the clarification! I appreciate your input :)

      November 3rd, 2011 11:52 am Reply
  • HealthyHomeEconomist (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon)

    Why I Don’t Eat Paleo or Primal – The Healthy Home Economist http://t.co/5ogw314M

    November 3rd, 2011 11:05 am Reply

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