I sure do get a lot of questions emailed to me! These are the most common Paleo diet questions I’ve been sent. To save time, I’ve gathered the questions and replies below. I’ll be adding to this list and updating as need be.
This is a loaded question. In a nutshell: The Paleo Diet is based on the premise that modern humans do best eating the foods our ancestors ate prior to the advent of agriculture and animal husbandry in 10,000 B.C. The theory is that human genetics have largely remained the same since then and thus our genetic makeup is best suited to the caveman diet.
According to research, pre-agricultural humans were free of the diseases of the civilized world such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and autoimmune diseases. Modern studies, including clinical studies, have shown as well that eating Paleo gluten-free or grain-free has been shown to help or reduce risk of many, if not all, diseases.
The Paleo Diet is actually more of a “template” to follow. I talk a lot about that on my Paleo Diet page, which you should definitely check out.
Can I eat dairy if I do the Paleo Diet?
If you read the page, Paleo Diet, you will get some beneficial answers to this question there. Man’s original diet didn’t include cows or goat’s milk. Man did not have cows grazing out in pasture or penned up in cages, as we do now. Man was a hunter and gatherer. Most humans when they’re born have the enzymes to digest human milk, and then these enzymes gradually diminish. We do not have three stomachs like cows. Dairy is new to man’s diet. There is a lot of scientific evidence about this that you can read in some of the most popular informative Paleo books available online and in My Books (over 20 will be released this year!). If you eat dairy, it’s suggested that you eat grass-fed only.
Why no legumes?
I talked about this on my Paleo Food List page, too.
Legumes are plants whose seeds develop inside pods, and on the Paleo Diet, these are to be avoided. If you’re wondering why this is, you’re not the first to ask. Like cereal grains and dairy products, legumes were not a common part of the diet of our human ancestors before the agricultural revolution.
Legumes, just as with cereal grains, contain antinutrients such as lectins, saponins, and protease inhibitors, which cause damage to the intestines and hormonal and immune systems, leading to inflammation and increasing the risk of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Legumes may be relatively high in protein and fiber, but the protein foods that comprise the Paleo Diet (meats, fish, and eggs) are superior protein sources, and the vegetables are actually higher in fiber.
Will I get to eat desserts on the Paleo Diet?
Absolutely! I’d never survive if that weren’t the case. Check out my Paleo desserts and have a great time. Keep in mind desserts aren’t for every day and definitely not for every meal. There are some of my desserts that are classified as desserts, yet due to how I’ve created them, they’re high in protein, have good fats, and are very low in carbs. They can be eaten as a snack or even as a meal. How about baked apples with cinnamon, custards made with coconut milk, Paleo ice creamsicles, etc.? You can enjoy all of these without sugar. I have little tricks to fool the palate and make the tummy smile. And they fool your guests, kids and spouse too. Score!
How do I start the Paleo Diet?
Very good question! There are those who need to read up and get better educated to be able to apply the diet. Then there are those who just want to be told how to do the diet, and they’ll jump in. Which one are you?
I feel a jumpstart is a good way. There’s the Whole30® Challenge, where many just do it for 30 days (research this online).
Before your Paleo quick start, you should read about the Paleo Diet “template” on on my Paleo Diet page. You can acquire the most popular books on Amazon, in bookstores and online. You can also read my books to get yourself a good running start, go to the store and get a few items, start getting some meals prepared, and take big leaps or baby steps.
I personally jumped right in and hit a few barriers (like craving carbs) and figured out how to make the items I craved (such as Paleo bread) and other goodies, so I could and would stay on the diet. My successful actions what I’m sharing with you on this website.
Where do you shop?
Everywhere! I shop at Whole Foods, but there are other health food stores that are less expensive. I adore farmers’ markets and try to hit as many as I can wherever I may be. I love fish, and so if I’m in a city that has a great fish market, I will camp out. I do stock up and freeze my fish, meats, etc. I do only buy grass-fed beef and bones now, yet it took me awhile to get accustomed to the taste. (Now I love fat and the grain-fed beef just tastes so rich and good to me.) I do eat grain–fed now and then when I eat out. I find quaint herb, spice and condiment stores all the time. I’m a total foodie, so wherever there are food items to be spied, I’m there. I’m not a lover of poultry, yet I do love duck, hens, etc. I will find sources online easily. I love wild buffalo sent to me, and even fresh seafood off the piers from Seattle. In fact, there’s a terrific wild-food store up in Seattle–it even has rattle snake (no thank you!). You can Google any of these places which may be close to you.
What can’t I have on the Paleo Diet?
This information can be found on my Paleo Food List page.
NOT acceptable on the Paleo gluten-free diet:
- Sweeteners: agave nectar
- Cereal grains and legumes such as barley, wheat, rye, oats, corn, brown rice, soy, peanuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black-eyed peas
- Vegetable, hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils: corn oil, Crisco, margarines, soybean oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil
- Sugar, soft drinks, all packaged products and juices, even fruit juices
- Dairy products, although butter and maybe heavy cream okay if raw, full-fat or fermented
- Processed meats
- Some Paleo gluten-free diet advocates argue that salt or sweeteners shouldn’t be added to food. In time, your taste buds will adjust.
- Alcoholic beverages (According to PaleoDiet.com, “No published Paleo Diet includes alcohol. But if you are going to drink it, pick one from fermented fruit and water it down to 6%.”)
See the question above to learn more about legumes and the Paleo Diet.
I can’t cook at all! Can I still do the Paleo Diet?
Absolutely! Step by step. I suggest first learning about how simple the diet really is. Read up! You can buy my books for a Paleo quick start, or you can look online for any other helpful resources.
I work long hours and live off fast food. Help!
You can still make good food choices on the road. Some stops offer salads, fresh meat slices, a burger as a lettuce wrap, etc. You’ll have to refrain from Hostess snack-attacks though. These days you can even stop off for an apple even at a local gas station. They’re catching on!
I have no time for exercise! Do I have to exercise on the Paleo Diet?
Paleo is a lifestyle, not just a diet. Our ancestors were far more active than we are–they had to be for their survival. Their life depended on getting the next meal, staying safe, staying warm, etc. If you can only do the diet now, do what you can. First thing’s first, it’s far more optimum to add a little exercise into your daily routine, Paleo or not. Bodies do well with exercise and moving around. I suggest you do a Google on these keywords: “Sitting at a desk too long.” You may be inspired to move after reading all the studies and facts.
What is your favorite Paleo kitchen tips?
I have quite a few. So this is a hard one. I always sift my nut flours with the dry ingredients—at least once, maybe even two times. This way I get them all mixed well and get the particles really fine. This always leads to a lighter result.
What will I use instead of wheat flours when I bake?
For baking and even coating your main dish meals, you can use all manner of healthy, nutritious and delicious nut and possibly seed flours. There are so many sources online these days.
How much weight will I lose per week if I do the Paleo Diet?
That will all be determined by how much you desire to lose, and how overweight or even underweight you are. Muscle tone will increase with the Paleo Diet, and as we know, exercise and muscle weighs more than fat. A better gauge is to measure your body. Be sure to measure the same places on your body each time. Give yourself a break and measure after one full month, and let’s see how things go. Also take your skinny jeans or fancy tight dress that is shoved in the back of your closet to use as your gauge.
The one thing about Paleo is that skinny and boney was not the healthy way to live. Man could not thrive being skinny and boney. We need muscle tone and meat on our bones. I love to feel tight, tone and strong and I feel incredibly healthy now! I have been terribly skinny before and honestly I was unhealthy. (I didn’t have 100% stable energy, feel physically great all the time, free of hormone troubles, etc., as I do now. I frankly hope I’m never that way again! I’m a small woman, so I’m always going to be somewhat small regardless.) Yes, the ladies admired this and asked how I stayed so skinny in a somewhat yearning way. Little did they know, I wasn’t feeling great.
Ladies, I know men like women with meat on their bones and admire a strong, healthy woman. We actually did a survey on this last year via another website and radio shows! I hope one day that girls and women will feel totally confident and secure in their own skin. The entertainment business and media have really placed a false impression about what women and men should look like. Shame on them. It takes hard work the older and busier we get.
Are green beans Paleo?
Green beans are and are not Paleo. They are a pod more than bean. You will find a few opinions about this and you can read why there is more than one answer to this on my What Is the Paleo Diet page.
Is coffee Paleo?
Another very good question. Coffee is a bean. We do not “eat” beans on the Paleo Diet. In this day and age we do a variety of roasting and extraction processes and there are pros and cons. The most important point about coffee consumption when it comes to our health or the Paleo Diet is this: are you “relying on” or do you feel you “need” your coffee? If so, then you may want to wean off of it or take a break and see how the Paleo Diet really can help you. The coffee may possibly mask some of the amazing benefits.
You can Google much about the pros and cons of coffee. A con: our delicate balance of cortisol can easily go askew with stimulants like coffee. The Paleo Diet can balance one’s hormones, and there are many testimonials about this (check out my page, Hormones and Paleo). With coffee stimulating the body unnaturally and producing false energy, one may not be able to reap the overall benefits. Your adrenal glands may be happy to have a little break from coffee. Possibly treat coffee like a treat or try decaf. Beware if you are celiac or have a sensitive digestive tract, as there is some research about coffee and the effects on the gluten-sensitive and celiacs. The cross-contamination with the coffee bean and some other gluten-containing products is very likely with coffee beans. Also, the flavored coffees often have barley as an ingredient or an alcohol base, which is derived from a grain. Overall, the Paleo Diet is a template and you need to find what works for you. You can read about this on The Paleo Diet page.
Is carob OK to eat on the Paleo Diet?
Nope, sorry. Chocolate is better, yet use it in moderation always. It has many beneficial properties yet is a stimulant.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I eat all sorts of things for as a Paleo breakfast. Sometimes just some raspberries, then a bit later an egg on my homemade Paleo bread, with sautéed spinach and some fish oil for my Omega-3s. I may have some fresh rainbow trout with some cauliflower. I may have some fresh tuna or part of my custard, which is loaded with eggs. Paleo has taught me that America has false ideas about breakfast foods. I can eat whatever I darn well want and like for breakfast.
What do you like for Paleo desserts?
You name it. I do not eat dairy though. I cannot eat berries or apples at night because for some totally odd reason they keep me awake like caffeine. Dairy causes me tummy problems, although it’s not as bad if I take a dairy enzyme. Occasionally I will dip into my hubby’s whipped cream. He eats dairy and is on the Paleo Diet. He and my Paleo daughter like dairy. He tries to get only grass-fed dairy.
Is CrossFit part of Paleo?
Paleo is not CrossFit and CrossFit is not Paleo. You will find many people who do CrossFit are now on the Paleo Diet though. You will find Paleo Diet followers now doing CrossFit along with many other types of active indoor and even outdoor activities. If you read the most popular Paleo Diet books, you’ll read sections on exercise, and you can make your choice as to what works for you and what works for your schedule. You can read more about this on my CrossFit and Paleo and Exercise and Paleo pages.
Is there an actual Paleo skincare regimen?
Not specifically. Many Paleo and healthy seeking people like to adhere to a more natural skin regimen, but this is strictly personal. There is evidence that much is absorbed through the skin, so if you use a skin cream or a face wash with toxins or chemicals, how much of that is getting absorbed? I can guarantee you at least some of it is. You can Google much about this on your own journey to a healthier, thriving body, not to mention staying and keeping your youthful appearance. Heck, who wants to look old?
Do you take vitamins?
Oh yes, I have a drawerful, but I don’t take them religiously. There are specific ones I take due to being celiac, some I take for antioxidants, some for anti-aging and some for my general health. If this interests you, please contact me and let me know. I have compiled a list of what I take and what the properties of each are based on what I was told, read or researched somewhere along the line.
What kind of oven do you use?
In Florida I use a Viking; in Los Angeles I use an AGA oven. The Florida one is an electric Viking and is a pain in the butt as far as the cook-top. The AGA is a lovely European gas stove, originating in Sweden I believe in the 1920s. I am a foodie though. I can cook and bake in just about anything. Even by a campfire, you will no longer find me camping but cooking! I prefer hotels. In that respect I am so not Paleo—sorry.
If I want to help test your recipes, how can I work with you?
I’m asked this question enough that I should really answer this clearly. First of all, testing a recipe does require that the tester has his/her own kitchen, cooking and baking supplies and is willing to purchase their own ingredients for the recipe sent. You can live anywhere in the world! That makes this very easy. Sometimes I’m testing a recipe or product for a review for another company or person starting up a company, in which case a recipe or ingredients will be sent to you excluding such things like eggs and other wet ingredients necessary. I currently focus on my own recipes for the most part. The testing by others is fun and the feedback is so incredibly helpful. The tester gets to tweak and change things based on experience, etc. It’s a bit of a learning experience, but if you want to learn more about Paleo baking and Paleo cooking, this may be of interest to you. If you have an interest in being a tester, please contact me.
If I have recipes I think you may like to try or share with your visitors, should I send them to you?
I love this question. Yes, yes, and more yes. I adore others’ ideas and others’ recipes. I love to allow others to shine on my site and to share their tried-and-true hard work in the kitchen, too. Please do share whatever you’d like. You can email me a bit about your recipe on my contact page and we can go from there. Just let me know what you’d like: a feature in the site, just to share the recipe, some feedback from others? Just let me know. The Paleo community is a wonderful and supportive group, and I love to include everyone I can. One more recipe at our fingertips is another happy palate and smiling tummy.
Where do you live? Do you work near your home?
I have a home in Florida and one in Los Angeles. I travel for pleasure and work. I’m always eating, making or writing about food, and writing children’s books. I really adore food and recipes, and eating and writing about it. It’s an art form to me. All levels of recipe developers, cooks and bakers are creative artists to me.
Tina, as a celiac, has the Paleo Diet really helped you?
Yes, in more ways than I can share on any written page, although I sure gave it a shot on my Gluten-Free and Paleo page. If you and I could go out and meet for some tea to talk about it, I’d keep you for hours sharing my tears and losses before my success on the Paleo Diet.
Before you did the Paleo Diet, which diet were you on, if any?
I was on a gluten-free diet. You can read more about this on About Tina Turbin page.
I’m a vegetarian. Can I do the Paleo Diet?
If you read any one of the books on the Paleo Diet, you may choose to try the Paleo theory out based on scientific evidence. A diet void of animal protein may not be in your best interest. I have personally known a number of vegetarians who have tried the diet and are feeling so much better. They did have to take enzymes as the transition to animal protein was new to their body. They also discovered that they had gone vegetarian mostly due to physical issues in the first place. If you are vegetarian due to your personal concerns, then that is a whole other story and I’m not able to guide in that respect. I respect others’ beliefs, and that’s an issue I can understand wholly. I personally do very well on the Paleo Diet. I eat an awful lot of vegetables and do not think of “what” I’m eating. It’s sad and will ruin my meal if I think of the actual cow I’m eating.
Do you get blood tests to determine your health? How often, if so?
Yes, I do get blood tests. I do this every 6 months to ensure my hormones are balanced. Originally I needed to do this every so often as I was losing bone mass, dropping muscle tone, skin elasticity, etc., well before I was on the Paleo Diet and a few years while on the gluten-free diet. I just did not know why I was feeling so poorly.
Is there a special MD or nutritionist you work with for your labs or health check-ups?
I only personally deal with what I call “sane” medical doctors or nutritionists, ones who listen and with an excellent bedside manner. They must know all about celiac disease and have experience as well as success with autoimmune diseases to even touch me. Any of those qualifying points missing, and I won’t give them a penny or my time.
I’m also in disagreement with rampant psychiatric mental diagnoses. I have studied much about this and there isn’t one single bit of medical evidence that shows they have any basis for what they’re diagnosing or prescribing. It’s a shame. You can read more of that on the internet too. There’s countless adult and kids on medication unnecessarily! It’s horrid. Give anyone nutritious food, decent rest, some exercise and play, and a pleasant environment and see how well they do without the drugs. This is a topic I can get passionate about. I’m a mom of three, a children’s author, and I’ve worked with kids in the entertainment business in California. I have witnessed a lot. I volunteer my time to help in this area as well.
OK, friends. I hope these questions and answers have helped you. If you have any questions at all, just send them my way. I never share any emails ever! I hate it when that happens. Your email is safe and I will try to email you back within 48 hours at most.
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of the fundamentals of the Paleo Diet through this Q and A Page. You can get started right away. Many people new to the Paleo gluten-free diet choose to take a 30-day challenge during which they go totally Paleo (and thus gluten-free) and assess the remarkable changes in their health and well-being at the end of this period. Others go Paleo more gradually. For help in getting started, refer to my new eBook, Getting Started on the Paleo Gluten-Free Diet, which is on My Books page. Please go to the What Is the Paleo Diet? page as well.
You have everything you need in this new eBook to get you started on the diet, but remember to check back frequently through this website for other eBooks and for continuing guidance, suggestions, recipes and more.
I wish you luck and suspect that after a short time eating a biologically appropriate diet, you’ll wonder how you ever lived any other way.