FormSpring Questions on Starting Paleo

Over the past two months, I’ve answered a slew of questions on FormSpring. I’ve covered all kinds of topics, from sex to academia to fallacies to paleo. My answers are not so fine-tuned as my blog posts, but I think they’re still of interest — at least as fodder for further discussion in the comments. I’ve got about four posts worth of paleo-relevant questions and answers that I’ll be posting here on Modern Paleo. (Almost everything I’ve done so far will be posted to my personal blog NoodleFood over the next few weeks.)

Some FormSpring Questions and Answers with advice on starting a paleo diet:

Does the paleo diet “work” if you don’t adhere to it strictly, or do the benefits only come if you completely cut out the forbidden foods, like wheat?

Health isn’t an all or nothing proposition: it exists on a continuum. So if you eat better, …

PaleoTreats: NOM NOM NOM

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to receive this sample pack from PaleoTreats, in exchange for blogging about it:

Paul and I enjoyed these goodies immensely… so much so that we ordered more for ourselves, plus some for friends for Christmas too. We particularly liked “Mac Attack” and “Mustang Bar.” They keep nicely in the freezer, and they’re substantial enough to split for dessert.

They’re also strictly paleo — meaning: no gluten, grains, dairy, stabilizers, preservatives, or other junk. You can check out the ingredients and nutritional information here.

You can order them here. I’m delighted to be able to recommend them!

Modern Paleo

Paleo in College?

Recently, I received the following e-mail from Nick, a college student considering going paleo. I’m hoping that some college students can offer him some advice on sticking to the diet in college in the comments.

I’m nearing completion of a summer internship in Africa since late May, and have noticed that the change in diet (in living with a host family in a rural town) has also dropped my weight and I have lost fat. As a college student who has been putting on the pounds with an unhealthy diet, this is awesome news! I largely attribute it to the fact that the food I’m now eating here is ACTUALLY food, not processed (although the diet in Uganda is extremely high-carb). As an Objectivist and follower of your blog, I knew of your connection to paleo and wanted to explore it more. What I’m afraid of is going back to

How to Eat Paleo on a Budget



Whether you’re a college student, a college dropout like me, or even a college graduate, you’ll find it can be hard to stick to a paleo diet when there’s not much in the bank. But don’t reach for the ramen just because you can’t afford grass-fed beef! There are many ways to eat healthy and save money.

  • Invest in filling foods. I find that eating meals high in fat keep me satiated throughout the day. A salad is perfectly paleo, but you might be hungry again soon. Buying foods that will fill you up longer will cut down your snacking and your spending. I recommend ground beef, fatty meat cuts, coconut oil, and nuts.
  • Make casseroles, stews, soups, and other nutrient dense meals. And make them big. By buying meats and veggies in bulk, you can create a cheap meal that will feed you several times over and

Paleo Community Survey

As you might have seen elsewhere, David Csonka of Naturally Engineered invites you to participate in the 2011 Paleo Community Survey:

The purpose of this survey is to collect information about paleo diet community members, including demographic information, medical conditions, dietary preferences, and physical activity.

The resulting data will be invaluable in terms of understanding the nature of the paleo movement. It will be provided to other bloggers and researchers with the goal of providing a clearer picture of how the paleo diet has affected the lives of its adherents.

Survey respondents will remain anonymous, your name or other identifying information will not be collected. The survey itself is relatively short and should only take a couple of minutes to complete.

Several incentives for completion of the survey have been provided, and will be explain further at the end of the survey. These include a coupon code for Paleo Treats

Modern Paleo in The Daily Camera

The paleo diet was recently the subject of an article in Boulder’s newspaper, The Daily Camera: Paleo diet advocates claim increased energy, health benefits. Very unexpectedly, Modern Paleo was mentioned!

With more than 90 active members, the Denver paleo group on provides a way for paleo dieters to connect, support each other and share tips. In Boulder, more than 45 people are on a waiting list anticipating the start of a similar group. With the objective of creating an online community, University of Colorado graduate Diana Hsieh started

The article is pretty good, as much as I groan at the paleo “pancakes” featured in the opening and the closing.

Modern Paleo

Paleo as a School of Thought

On occasion, I’ve noticed some consternation in the paleosphere about what constitutes a truly “paleo” approach to diet. Undoubtedly, I’ve got my own share of pet peeves. I’m annoyed when paleo advocates disparage saturated fat, recommend canola oil, or insist on lean meats. I don’t like that many people equate paleo with low-carb, as if potatoes are on par with wheat. I regard talk against “processed” or “industrial” foods as seriously misguided, since foods are not rendered more or less healthy by mere processing or mass production per se. I’m not concerned with whether cavemen ate some particular food or not.

However, I try not to get too fussed over my disagreements with other paleo eaters and advocates. That’s because, in my view, paleo is a school of thought based on early science. Let me explain what that means and why that matters.

First, “paleo” is a nutritional school of


  • Here’s some interesting debate on the value of Vitamin A between Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council and Chris Masterjohn writing for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Personally, I’m pretty solidly in the pro-cod-liver-oil camp with Masterjohn. I suspect that he’s right on the science, and personally, I’ve seen huge improvements in my overall dental health thanks to cod liver oil. Even more remarkably, the inflamed and painful section of my gums from last summer’s gum surgery is now only a tiny bit sensitive thanks to rubbing two drops of fermented cod liver oil on it every day or so.
  • Dr. Kurt Harris on The Only Reasonable Paleo Principle: “a food being evolutionarily novel was a likely condition for it being an agent of disease, but that novelty was neither necessary nor sufficient for agent of disease status.” See also The Paleolithic Principle: The Panu Version and Health

How Paleo Has Enhanced My Life (Speech to Ringers Toastmasters Club)

[My friend Robert recently gave this speech at the Ringers Toastmasters Club in NYC about his transition to the paleo lifestyle. I recently joined the club myself. /CW]
I absolutely love food. The taste of piping hot lasagna, the fresh scent of garlic, the crackling sound of eggs frying on a pan, the feel of a knife going through a thick juicy steak, the red, white and blue sight of strawberries and blueberries topped with whipped cream. Yummy! Put beer in front of me and I yawn. Offer me the most exquisite wine and I will pass. Hard liquor? Forgetaboutit. Freshly ground coffee smells good but as Cyrano says: “No thank you! No, I thank you! And again I thank you!” However, put food in front of me, and I will respond.
Unfortunately, I haven’t always liked the best and healthiest foods. Growing up poor, I developed poor eating habits.

Simplifying: an almost Paleo diet

Mark Sisson’s newsletter the other week says:

It’s nice to have goals, but you have to have a plan of attack to succeed. Full health is achievable, certainly within a year. But break it down, start with a few specifics. Make this “the year I stop drinking soda!” or “the year I go camping once a month!” Let total health blossom as a result of achievable goals.

For me, this was the encouragement I needed to proceed with a plan that I had made for myself. A while ago, I blogged about the advice I gave my dad to start paleo gently. Recently, I have taken a page out of my own book and relaxed the requirements I had set for myself initially, focusing on the following principles:



    1. is a

high-fat high-protein diet

    . I tell my kids, “meat is what gives you energy to do