Ostensibly, Grok is "a rather typical hunter–gatherer" living before the dawn of agriculture—an "official primal prototype." He is the poster-persona for fitness author and blogger Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint"—a set of guidelines that "allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that's the primal part)." These guidelines incorporate many principles of what is more commonly known as the Paleolithic, or caveman, diet, which started to whet people's appetites as early as the 1960s and is available in many different flavors today.
Physicians, biochemists, nutritionists, and other researchers are starting to come around to the benefits of ancestral nutrition, and people who adopt a Paleo-like approach to eating are reporting significant improvements in their general health, body composition, and energy levels. Most importantly, there’s evidence that folks who eat this way are reducing their risks of numerous diseases and disorders that are associated with the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).
However, as I already mentioned, the Paleo template simply gives us a starting point from which to decide how to feed ourselves in the modern world. I make my own choices by weighing the health consequences of the foods I eat—and I also consider the gustatory pleasure of the experiences, too. Over the past few years, my attitude toward food has evolved. When I first adopted a Paleo lifestyle, I strictly followed the rigid dictates of the Paleo diet because this new way of eating made me feel so much better. I didn’t even think to question why it worked. But with time, I’ve learned that it’s more important to stay curious about the science behind the approach, and to be fully conscious of my food choices. I learned that I don’t need to strive for “Paleo perfection” as long as I’m mindful of what I’m choosing to put into my mouth, and why.
This might be the healthiest recipe for nachos you’ll ever see, with apples standing in for tortilla chips, and healthy toppings. Of course it won’t replicate the savory and spicy joy of nachos, but they’re going for more of a salty, chocolatey, sweet experience with these, and mostly just referring to the way nachos are presented. The use of coconut, almond butter, and almonds means you’re going to get a nice nutty, crunchy, and sweet taste with each bite, making this a fun snack for movie night or anytime really.
This Caprese-style salad is a great Paleo snack when you have just-right produce or an abundance of basil to use up. You’ll substitute mozzarella for creamy avocado loaded on fresh tomato slices. Top each tomato with basil, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and oil and enjoy. This one is great to enjoy while sitting outdoors enjoying a hot summer night.
Some Paleo dieters emphasize that they never believed in one true caveman lifestyle or diet and that—in the fashion of Sisson's Blueprint—they use our evolutionary past to form guidelines, not scripture. That strategy seems reasonably solid at first, but quickly disintegrates. Even though researchers know enough to make some generalizations about human diets in the Paleolithic with reasonable certainty, the details remain murky. Exactly what proportions of meat and vegetables did different hominid species eat in the Paleolithic? It's not clear. Just how far back were our ancestors eating grains and dairy? Perhaps far earlier than we initially thought. What we can say for certain is that in the Paleolithic, the human diet varied immensely by geography, season and opportunity. "We now know that humans have evolved not to subsist on a single, Paleolithic diet but to be flexible eaters, an insight that has important implications for the current debate over what people today should eat in order to be healthy," anthropologist William Leonard of Northwestern University wrote in Scientific American in 2002.
Advocates of the diet argue that the increase in diseases of affluence after the dawn of agriculture was caused by changes in diet, but others have countered that it may be that pre-agricultural hunter-gatherers did not suffer from the diseases of affluence because they did not live long enough to develop them.[30] Based on the data from hunter-gatherer populations still in existence, it is estimated that at age 15, life expectancy was an additional 39 years, for a total age of 54.[31] At age 45, it is estimated that average life expectancy was an additional 19 years, for a total age of 64 years.[32][33] That is to say, in such societies, most deaths occurred in childhood or young adulthood; thus, the population of elderly – and the prevalence of diseases of affluence – was much reduced. Excessive food energy intake relative to energy expended, rather than the consumption of specific foods, is more likely to underlie the diseases of affluence. "The health concerns of the industrial world, where calorie-packed foods are readily available, stem not from deviations from a specific diet but from an imbalance between the energy humans consume and the energy humans spend."[34]
The digestive abilities of anatomically modern humans, however, are different from those of Paleolithic humans, which undermines the diet's core premise.[4] During the 2.6-million-year-long Paleolithic era, the highly variable climate and worldwide spread of human populations meant that humans were, by necessity, nutritionally adaptable. Supporters of the diet mistakenly presuppose that human digestion has remained essentially unchanged over time.[4][5]
These tomatoes are filled with the irresistible taste of buffalo chicken. Even though chicken wings are easy to make on the Paleo diet, it’s still a good idea to even them out by eating a vegetable along with them. Here you can get the taste of buffalo wings but in bite size form, with no bones, and no need to supplement it because the tomato has you covered. Plus you’re getting all of the benefits that come from eating tomatoes, and this snack will hold you over for quite some time.
The Hiwi gather and hunt a diverse group of plants and animals from the savannas, forests, rivers and swamps. Their main sources of meat are capybara, collared peccary, deer, anteater, armadillo, and feral cattle, numerous species of fish, and at least some turtle species. Less commonly consumed animals include iguanas and savanna lizards, wild rabbits, and many birds. Not exactly the kind of meat Paleo dieters and others in urban areas can easily obtain.
The Stone Age Diet: Based on in-depth studies of human ecology and the diet of man by Walter L. Voegtlin. This was self-published back in 1975. Only a couple hundred copies were printed and distributed to friends and relatives. No one knew the book existed until some years later. In no way is he the father of the paleo diet. It is impossible to purchase. Apparently his descendents are planning a reprint, though the book is poorly written and not based upon factual anthropological information that even was available then. We have put up his Functional and Structural Comparison of Man's Digestive Tract with that of a Dog and Sheep. And a PDF can be found here.
Optimal Diet is a dietary model of human nutrition devised and implemented by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski. Lots of fat and low in carbs. Lots and lots of articles collected from various places. He has an out-of-print book: Optimal Nutrition. The book is explained at the Australian Homo Optimus Association website. A thorough analysis is the first post here: Dr. Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet: Sanity, Clarity, Facts.
A Paleolithic-oriented diet has been in existence and followed by both men and women for more than 2 million years. Our particular version of a Paleo approach to eating tends to advocate protein moderation for average adults. It is, however, important in this circumstance that a pregnant woman not overly restrict protein during the course of her pregnancy and subsequent nursing. When it comes to pregnancy and breast-feeding, we believe it is important to increase your standard recommendation for protein intake (0.8 g/kg of estimated ideal body weight — which translates to something like 50–75 grams of actual meat, fish or eggs) per meal by about 25%. Also, we believe that dietary fat and particularly fat-soluble nutrients plus extra essential fatty acids become particularly important during this time. We are also of the view that you may benefit from putting an emphasis on 100% pasture-fed meat and wild caught fish/fish eggs, etc. during this time. Traditional and (so-called) primitive societies often made a point of supplying lots of fat-soluble nutrients to both expectant and nursing mothers at this time. 

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Get yourself a top round roast and slice it as thinly as you can (or get your butcher to do it). The best jerky is made with just a few ingredients (but everyone’s taste buds are different). You’ll want to combine coconut aminos, some spices, and coconut sugar (yes, it isn’t totally Paleo; you can use honey instead). If you want the flavor that liquid smoke imparts, feel free to add it in. Put all the ingredients into a bowl, throw in the meat, stir it around, cover it, and put it in your fridge for at least 12 hours.

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We’re in a position to understand more of the benefits of the Paleo diet now that we have a basic understanding of which food sources are emphasized. One major benefit of the Paleo diet is an increased consumption of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals. Whole grains are not a good substitute for grass-produced or free-ranging meats, fruits, and veggies, as they contain no vitamin C, vitamin A, or vitamin B12. Many of the minerals and some of the B vitamins whole grains do contain are not absorbed efficiently by the body. The Paleo diet cuts out whole grains and replaces them with unprocessed, fresh foods.

Life Without Bread: How a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Can Save Your Life by Christian B. Allan, Wolfgang Lutz. It is based on Dr. Lutz's work with thousands of patients in Austria. It deals with the health issues connected to high carb consumption. It is basically an English version and update of Dr. Lutz's 1967 book with the same title: Leben ohne Brot. He recommends eating only 72 grams of carbohydrates, and an unlimited amount of fat. And provides evidence as to why this is the healthiest diet. Read the review at Amazon by Todd Moody (it will be first!). See excerpts from his earlier edition: Dismantling a Myth: The Role of Fat and Carbohydrates in our Diet
The number of things that modern day cooks can do to vegetables is growing, and they’re coming up with new ways to make eating vegetables fun and desirable. This time they’ve managed to make a jerky out of eggplant, which makes it great to include when you’re having some beef jerky. Paleo is all about balancing out your meat intake with veggies, which would make a snack of beef jerky and eggplant jerky a pretty balanced way to go. They provide two different ways to make these, one for those that own a dehydrator and one for those that don’t.
Get yourself a top round roast and slice it as thinly as you can (or get your butcher to do it). The best jerky is made with just a few ingredients (but everyone’s taste buds are different). You’ll want to combine coconut aminos, some spices, and coconut sugar (yes, it isn’t totally Paleo; you can use honey instead). If you want the flavor that liquid smoke imparts, feel free to add it in. Put all the ingredients into a bowl, throw in the meat, stir it around, cover it, and put it in your fridge for at least 12 hours.
We strongly advise that you get in touch with your healthcare professional if you are pregnant or lactating to tell them exactly what you are doing before making any changes to your diet or exercise regime. Although we believe many of the dietary changes advocated through this Program could be quite beneficial, every circumstance and pregnancy is different and close, careful monitoring is advised.
We’re in a position to understand more of the benefits of the Paleo diet now that we have a basic understanding of which food sources are emphasized. One major benefit of the Paleo diet is an increased consumption of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals. Whole grains are not a good substitute for grass-produced or free-ranging meats, fruits, and veggies, as they contain no vitamin C, vitamin A, or vitamin B12. Many of the minerals and some of the B vitamins whole grains do contain are not absorbed efficiently by the body. The Paleo diet cuts out whole grains and replaces them with unprocessed, fresh foods.
These snack bars will definitely cure you of any food cravings, which makes them great as an emergency backup while you’re on the Paleo plan. Paleo is definitely not about starving yourself, or torturing yourself by depriving yourself of enjoyable foods, and these bars are proof of that. Imagine having a supply of these at the ready for times when you’re hungry but your next meal won’t be for a few hours. You’d be able to quell any signs of hunger which can often lead to diet-ruining food choices. However, as long as you’re eating balanced Paleo meals in the proper portions you shouldn’t be getting hungry until several hours after you’ve eaten.

These little sandwiches are really pushing the limits of a conventional sandwich. Bacon is serving as the “bread” and guacamole is the thing getting sandwiched. Avocados are bona fide superfood, and contain plenty of potassium, fiber, and healthy fat. Bacon is often the scourge of most diet plans, but on Paleo it is allowed so why not dig in? The two go really well together, and you’ll often find them as add-ons to deli sandwiches because they simply taste that good.

The Paleo diet provides the foundation for a healthy digestive system.  It supports healthy growth of a diversity of probiotic bacteria in the gut through its focus on prebiotic and probiotic foods and through its avoidance of foods that contribute to gut dysbiosis (where the bacteria in your gut are the wrong kinds, wrong diversity, wrong numbers, and/or in the wrong part of the gastrointestinal tract).  It supports the health of the tissues that form the gut barrier by supplying essential nutrients required for gut barrier integrity and by avoiding foods that are inherently difficult to digest, are known to irritate or damage the tissues that form the gut barrier, or that are known to stimulate the immune system.
Autoimmune diseases (such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, Lupus and others) are multifactorial in their causes, however some research now suggests a Paleo based diet may help autoimmune conditions and improve the underlying imbalance of gut micro-flora. The gut micro-flora generally has significant effects on gut and immune function. Despite the possible benefits of a Paleo based diet, we strongly recommend you seek the support of a suitable health professional both before making any changes to your diet or physical routine and as well as during the Program, so that progress can be monitored and guidance provided for any adjustments made to suit your individual sate. Monitoring by a medical professional of the dosages of any medications you are on is also recommended.
Surprised there are chocolate chip waffles on this list? Once you glance at the ingredients, you won’t be—Know Better is a paleo-friendly brand that makes grain-free, gluten-free, and protein-packed baked goods with coconut flour, chia seeds, and egg whites for added protein. These chocolate chip waffles also contain no added sugars; the chocolate chips are made from cacao and allulose. Enjoy them topped with almond butter for a seriously satisfying snack.
A more controversial argument for why legumes and common grains are avoided is because of their high phytic acid content, which is thought to reduce the absorption of certain nutrients like iron zinc and calcium (6). However, phytic acid is also found in many paleo approved foods (like almonds and hazelnuts), and is associated with some health benefits - like protective benefits against kidney stones, antioxidant properties and a suggested link to lower risk for colon cancer (7,8,9). Bottom line, there really isn't any evidenced based reason to avoid these foods because of phytic acid. 
Excluding foods. The exclusion of entire categories of commonly eaten foods like whole grains and dairy requires frequent label reading in the supermarket and in restaurants. It may also increase the risk of deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, if these nutrients are not consistently eaten from the allowed foods or a vitamin supplement. For example, there are some nondairy calcium-rich foods that are absorbed well by the body such as collard and turnip greens or canned bone-in sardines and salmon, but you would have to eat five or more servings of these greens and fish bones daily to meet recommended calcium needs. (Note that some greens like spinach that are touted to be calcium-rich also contain oxalates and phytates that bind to calcium so very little is actually absorbed.) One small, short-term intervention study of healthy participants showed a 53% decrease from baseline in calcium intake after following a Paleo diet for three weeks. [8] Furthermore, the exclusion of whole grains can result in reduced consumption of beneficial nutrients such as fiber and thus may increase one’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.
A Paleolithic-oriented diet has been in existence and followed by both men and women for more than 2 million years. Our particular version of a Paleo approach to eating tends to advocate protein moderation for average adults. It is, however, important in this circumstance that a pregnant woman not overly restrict protein during the course of her pregnancy and subsequent nursing. When it comes to pregnancy and breast-feeding, we believe it is important to increase your standard recommendation for protein intake (0.8 g/kg of estimated ideal body weight — which translates to something like 50–75 grams of actual meat, fish or eggs) per meal by about 25%. Also, we believe that dietary fat and particularly fat-soluble nutrients plus extra essential fatty acids become particularly important during this time. We are also of the view that you may benefit from putting an emphasis on 100% pasture-fed meat and wild caught fish/fish eggs, etc. during this time. Traditional and (so-called) primitive societies often made a point of supplying lots of fat-soluble nutrients to both expectant and nursing mothers at this time.
Cooking and consuming seaweeds can be intimidating because they can seem quite bland, tough or bitter at first glance. With the proper seasonings and cooking though, they can become a real treat. In the following snack, nori sheets are simply rubbed with coconut oil, seasoned with sea salt and a small amount of sesame oil, then roasted very briefly.
Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids by Paleo Parents. The Book is a colorful children's story describing the paleo diet, chock-full of recipes without grains, dairy, soy or refined sugar. For those with food allergies, the top 8 allergens have been visually marked on each recipe for children to self-identify recipes that may contain eggs, nuts, fish, or shellfish. Published March 20, 2012.
Deadly Harvest: The Intimate Relationship Between Our Health and Our Food by Geoff Bond. The author is a nutritional anthropologist who has for years investigated both foods of the past and our prehistoric eating habits. Using the latest scientific research and studies of primitive tribal lifestyles, Bond first explains the actual diet that our ancestors followed--a diet that was and still is in harmony with the human species. He then describes how the foods in today's diets disrupt our biochemistry and digestive system, leading to health disorders such as allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity, and more. Most important, he explains the appropriate measures we can take to avoid these diseases--and even beat them back--through healthy eating. The conclusions of Deadly Harvest are that disease control happens by eating a strict low-glycemic diet, lowering the percentage of body fat you carry around, eat a diet consisting of mostly non-starchy plant-based foods, eat a low-fat diet with ample amounts of omega-3 fats, maintain good colon health, engage in regular physical activity, get some daily sunshine, and reduce chronic stress. If you do this, then diseases like cancer, heart disease, digestive problems, allergies, autoimmune diseases, brain diseases, diabetes, and obesity can be avoided. The Amazon reviews average to 5 stars.

If you want to get your chocolate craving satisfied with your snack time, these energy balls are the way to go. What we’re typically looking for when deciding on a snack is whether it will provide the fuel to get you to your next meal. With these you’ll be able to cruise to your next meal, and you won’t get those groggy or foggy times when you just want to eat and you can’t focus. You also won’t get that panicky feeling that occurs when you don’t know what your next meal is going to be. Have these energy balls and then you’ll be able to focus long enough to plan your next meal or take care of important work.


These pizza bites don’t need a crust because they’re resting on a slice of uncured pepperoni or salami. This makes them a snack that you can make in a jiffy, because you don’t have to wait around for the crust to bake. It also helps give them a big pizza taste, even if you opt out of the optional organic mozzarella cheese. The sauce is the real kicker here, and it’s made using organic tomato sauce and the necessary ingredients to make it taste like a pizza. Drop a black olive slice right in the middle and these pizza bites are ready to consumption.
These can help you avoid the sort of pre-packaged snacks you find in stores that claim to be “made from real fruit” only to find that there are several other ingredients that rank higher on the ingredient list. Skip out on all of that added sugar, fructose, and even partially hydrogenated oils by making your own fruit snacks so you can do quality control. These are made with just 3 ingredients and they are using both raspberries and strawberries so the antioxidant level is through the roof. Gelatin is used to make them feel like a store bought fruit snack.
NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body (Hardcover) by Ray Audette, with Troy Gilchrist, was one of the early paleo diet authors. His home page NeanderThin [now restored from archive.org] has a diet based on the ideas of paleolithic nutrition. The diet can be followed as a low-carb, moderate or high carb diet, depending upon whether and how much fruit is used. You can read up through page 19 of the book at Google Books. The original press release from 1999. [The webmaster has an extra copy with the author's signature for sale. It has the original lime-purple cover. Pristine new condition. $60 (shipping included). Paypal only. Use e-mail link at page bottom.]
The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging by Arthur De Vany. Art is the grandfather of the "Paleo Lifestyle" movement. The plan is built on three principles: (1) eat three meals a day made up of nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins; (2) skip meals occasionally to promote a low fasting blood insulin level; and (3) exercise less, not more, in shorter, high-intensity bursts. Note that the book is anti-fat. All oils are to be avoided, though canola is considered okay for higher temperatures. Egg yolks are to be skipped now and then. Published December 21, 2010.
Excluding foods. The exclusion of entire categories of commonly eaten foods like whole grains and dairy requires frequent label reading in the supermarket and in restaurants. It may also increase the risk of deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins, if these nutrients are not consistently eaten from the allowed foods or a vitamin supplement. For example, there are some nondairy calcium-rich foods that are absorbed well by the body such as collard and turnip greens or canned bone-in sardines and salmon, but you would have to eat five or more servings of these greens and fish bones daily to meet recommended calcium needs. (Note that some greens like spinach that are touted to be calcium-rich also contain oxalates and phytates that bind to calcium so very little is actually absorbed.) One small, short-term intervention study of healthy participants showed a 53% decrease from baseline in calcium intake after following a Paleo diet for three weeks. [8] Furthermore, the exclusion of whole grains can result in reduced consumption of beneficial nutrients such as fiber and thus may increase one’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.
In the long term, you have to be sure you’re getting calcium and other nutrients you’re missing by not having dairy products and certain grains. Some paleo-approved foods, such as salmon and spinach, contain calcium, so you have to be sure you’re including them in your diet. It would be a good idea to check with a registered dietitian, too, to make sure you’re meeting your calcium and other nutrient needs.
You’ve probably seen plantains at the grocery store; they look like funny bananas. But if you haven’t cooked them yet, you’re in for a treat. My favorite way is this one: slice ’em, fry ’em in coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon. They make a sweet alternative to potato chips, but also go really well with main dishes if you need them to do double duty.
With carbohydrates and protein intake already accounted for, fat intake comprises the rest of the Paleo diet. We’ve been taught that fat is something to be avoided at all costs, but it’s actually not the total amount of fat in your diet that raises your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes; rather, it’s the type of fat that should concern you. The Paleo diet calls for moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
Pork rinds usually get the reputation of being the ultimate form of junk food, but you have to remember that most junk food is junk because it is deep fried in unhealthy oils, and made up of ingredients that act as filler rather than anything that is natural. Here they’re using real pork and frying it up in coconut oil so you’re getting a healthy version of this notorious snack. They even show you how to throw together your own Cajun seasoning so you can make that whenever you’re in the mood of Cajun spiciness.

As discussed in my article questioning nut consumption on a Paleo diet, macadamia nuts are probably the healthiest nuts available because of their high monounsaturated and low polyunsaturated fat content as well as their low levels of anti-nutrients. They can thus be enjoyed without guilt. This hummus recipe is great with anything where you would normally use regular hummus or Baba Ghanoush.


With carbohydrates and protein intake already accounted for, fat intake comprises the rest of the Paleo diet. We’ve been taught that fat is something to be avoided at all costs, but it’s actually not the total amount of fat in your diet that raises your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes; rather, it’s the type of fat that should concern you. The Paleo diet calls for moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
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