There is a wealth of information on this subject and rather than repeat specific advantages and disadvantages here I will attempt to give a more broad overview of why we choose this lifestyle and how we execute it in our lives.
The Paleo diet
The diet is a fairly simple concept. We avoid grains, beans, refined fats and sugars. Instead we replace those foods with a varied diet based on lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, root vegetables, nuts and eggs. We also eat a small amount of dairy, although a strict paleo diet would advise against that.
“…humans, as is the case with other animal species, are genetically best suited to the types of food that were available in the ecological niche where they developed. The foodstuffs in our case were mainly meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, insects and roots, in highly varied proportions and with great variety of plant foods. Conversely, the intake of dairy products, grains, rice, edible fats and refined sugar was negligible, even though those foods now make up the majority of the calories in a typical Western diet. Choosing foods in the first category appears to be the biologically correct way to maintain good health.” – S. Lindeberg, Food and Western Disease: Health and Nutrition from and Evolutionary Perspective.
The best diet advice I have ever hear is summed up succinctly by food writer Michael Pollan, ”Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.”
Do we ever cheat on the paleo diet? Of course, we’re Americans living in the 21st century! We strive for 100% and accept that we will fall short. That is the only way to have any sustainable diet or lifestyle. Although we do try our best to eat well, we do so about 90% of the time. We like to drink beer and cheesefood is a weakness. When going out or traveling, it’s okay to allow yourself to flex a little. If you flex too much, your body will let you know.
Why “Primal” instead of “Paleo”?
We prefer the term “primal” over “paleo” as the former refers to a holistic lifestyle rather than only nutritional choices. Along with a mostly-paleo diet, we try also to make physical fitness a priority (Sean does CrossFit and some running and Jacquie prefers swimming and running), devote 8 hours per night to sleep in a dark room, and have less media in our lives, especially just before bedtime.