The Primal Blueprint leaves room for legumes (other than unfermented, organic soy) in close moderation, but those on a paleo diet tend to steer clear of them. Like nuts and seeds, legumes contain anti-nutrients like lectins, phytates and saponins. Unlike nuts and seeds, however, legumes tend to be consumed in large quantities, potentially preventing your body from absorbing sufficient nutrients for optimum health.
While typically considered health foods (who’s ever been angry with a bag of lentils?), legumes have a major downside: phytic acid. According to Paleo Leap, “Phytic acid binds to nutrients in the food, preventing you from absorbing them.” While phytic acid is present in a number of Paleo-friendly foods (like nuts), these foods are generally consumed in smaller quantities. Legumes, however, constitute a staple in many diets around the world, leading to overexposure to phytic acid as well as a host of other antinutrients.
My past four years have been some of the best of my life, and I’ve learned more, grown more, and evolved more from my experiences since stepping foot on the University of Puget Sound campus in 2011 than I have in any other time in my life. I’m not going to get sappy, because let’s be real, I’m sure the closer I get, the more I’ll write about how crazy it feels to be done with this chapter of my life.
The basics of Paleo apply to Whole30: eat whole, unprocessed foods; avoid legumes, grains, and dairy (although Whole30 does allow ghee or clarified butter). Things that may be acceptable in a Paleo diet but not in Whole30 include alcohol, any form of sweetener, any legume-derived ingredients (including soy lecithin in packaged foods), and pseudo-grains such as quinoa. Whole30 also frowns on recreating grain foods, such as pancakes or muffins made with coconut flour or other grain alternatives, during the 30-day regimen.
If all else fails, this simple rule of thumb may make it really easy to shop for paleo foods. The layout of most grocery stores is quite simple: in the inner aisles you will typically find packaged, processed foods. Things like bread, pasta, cereal, flour, sugar, etc. For the most part, many of the foods stocked in the inner aisles of a grocery store will probably be "non-paleo approved items."