The Maker’s Diet vs. Primal Blueprint vs. Paleo

There has been some confusion over the different types of ancestral, low carb food plans that have become popular lately, so I researched a few of them in order to get a better understanding of their principles.

Keep in mind that these “diets” are actually meant to be lifestyle eating plans, not something to try for 6 weeks on order to lose weight. I would never promote diets, because no one ever follows them and, generally speaking, more weight in gained in the long haul.

Until now I’ve mainly followed the Maker’s Diet, but Jordan Rubin’s recipes are so horribly bland – and sometimes downright odd – that I’ve expanded my search and come across a myriad of Paleo/Primal options. These have helped me to form my own eating plan. I also found that some of the foods that the Maker’s Diet allows in Phases two and three were not working for me. With this in mind, I wanted to provide the bare essentials of each.

The Maker’s Diet

There are three phases in the traditional Maker’s DIET, which I have posted previously (You can see Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 here). The diet is based off of the book The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin, and advocates that we get back to the food our biblical ancestors consumed. I generally follow Phase One/Two, because I eat some carbs such as sweet potatoes, corn, and nuts, but do not eat legumes or grains. This diet – unlike Paleo and some Primal followers – allows Cheese and Cow Milk products, although I tend to stick to Goat products where possible.

The Maker’s Diet advocates plenty of healthy fats like Coconut Oil, Avocado, Butter, and Red Meat. Pork products, such as bacon, aren’t looked highly upon, however. This is because of the Biblical, old testament notion of “unclean” animals.

  • Eat Liberally – All Meats including Organ Meats, Low Carb Vegetables, Fats and Oils
  • Don’t Overdo it On – Nuts, Cheese, Milk, Fruit
  • Carbs Allowed in Moderation – Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Various Beans and Peas, Sprouted Grains, Oats, Brown Rice
  • Avoid – Pork, Shellfish, Processed or “White” Grains, Sugar

Primal

Primal is very similar to the Maker’s Diet, in that it advocates a high protein and fat, limited carb attitude. The diet is based on the book The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson, and emerged from a growing trend to mimic the foods that our Paleolithic ancestors consumed. The shopping list is mainly comprised of meat, vegetables, eggs, healthy fats, nuts/seeds and fruit. Key differences in this and the Maker’s Diet are the use of pork in Primal, and more Dairy in the Maker’s Diet. For a full list, check out Mark’s Daily Apple.

  • Eat Liberally – All Meats and Organ Meats, Low Carb Vegetables, Fats and Oils
  • Don’t Overdo it On – Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Wild Rice, Fruit (Eat Mainly Berries), Cheese, Yogurt, Cream
  • Eat At Your Discretion – All Dairy Products (This Article is a Great Guide)
  • Avoid – Grains, Legumes, Sugar

Paleo

The Paleo diet is probably the least similar of the three, in that it advocates lean meats, and an avoidance of saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil, avocado, and nuts. In fact, even eggs are to be restricted, and Dairy is pretty much off-limits. The diet is based off of The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain, and advocates that we get back to eating the foods that our Paleolithic ancestors ate (Although I would argue that our ancestors probably favored fatty foods. In fact, I would be willing to bet that they ate Mammoth – red meat – fat and all). Although there is a high-carb and low-carb version of the diet, all this allows for are small amounts of sweet potatoes, squash, and a few more nuts in the higher carb plan. Diet Sodas and other artificial sweeteners are allowed in moderation, which in my book is a HUGE difference. I’ve summed it up, but a full list is available here.

  • Eat Liberally – Lean Meats, Low Carb Vegetables, Fruit
  • Don’t Overdo it On – Nuts, Dried Fruit, Avocado, Oils such as Olive or Flaxseed
  • Avoid – Fatty Meats, Starchy or Higher-carb Vegetables, Cheese, Dairy, Legumes, Grains, Salty Foods, Butter, Sugar

 

To sum it up, I feel that every person is different, and each of these plans could fit certain people’s needs. To me however, Paleo is a bit too diet-like and restricting. If carbs are being avoided, then it seems that higher fat intake is necessary to maintain a healthy weight, not to mention stave off cravings and allow your mind to think about something other than food. Besides, who can live without butter or cheese?? Not this girl!

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20 Responses to The Maker’s Diet vs. Primal Blueprint vs. Paleo

  1. talia says:

    I am sorting following a modified paleo or at least transitioning. I don’t know much about the others but I follow a great paleo blog,everyday paleo. they have a great cookbook too. Anyway she definitely cooks with coconut oil and butter, uses sweet potatoes, and eats avocado and beef. It could use some more bone broths and fermented foods (and a little dairy lol) but it’s much more lenient and a great lifestyle

    • Amanda says:

      Yeah, I’ve noticed that alot of blogs regarding Paleo don’t actually follow the Paleo guidelines; I think they are actually more Primal!

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  3. I know ‘me’ and would’ve found Paleo just too restrictive – too many things ‘off-limits’ such as dairy, fats, fatty meats, etc etc, unlike Primal which I’ve managed to stick to for nearly two years now. Do I go off-plan occasionally – yep (Matt Madeiro is great on this subject – in fact from an eating perspective, his attitude / direction / whole way of navigating life + diet (noun not verb) is pretty spot on for me threenewleaves.com)

    The real trick for me is to move more – something I’m still fighting with / against and until I crack that I’ll continue to be in ‘maintain’ phase of my weightloss rather than continuing the journey…

    I’ve really settled with the whole approach to eating though – and it’s truly improved my overall wellbeing!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks for commenting! Yeah, I have a heard time with cardio – moving just doesn’t come natural to me, I guess! Or maybe its that I simply don’t like to sweat. Either way, I have to pump myself up each time!

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  8. Thanks for this comparison. I have read the makers diet and have gotten way off course over the last six years. I am online doing research to get back on track and this comparison really helps. I was considering going all the way with the makers diet until I came across this information. I will sort it all out and thank you for supplying a complete comparison of the ancestoral diet plans.

    • Amanda says:

      You’re very welcome! I had to experiment with all of them before finding a version that worked for me – it’s a bit of a hybrid that my body is happy with!

  9. Susan says:

    This is a great discussion. I am driving myself crazy trying to figure out which is the BEST way to eat. Right now I am so confused. Thanks for your post, though. It gives me more to think about.

  10. Emily C says:

    Thanks for posting this! It was super helpful! I was just diagnosed with celiac disease about 5 months ago and have been eating gluten-free – however, only SOME of my symptoms are going away. I can just feel that my body is nutrient starved and I feel like the only way to reverse my symptoms is detox my body completely, eliminate ALL processed foods, and eat only whole, natural foods with no additives or chemicals. The Paleo Diet is the most appealing to me and I feel like it would be the most healing, although I think the Primal diet would be the easiest to maintain. You’ve given me a lot to think about – thanks!!!

  11. Judy says:

    The Maker’s diet and the Primal diet are very simular to the Atkin’s diet. Also look at the Body Type diet. I learned, there, why Atkin’s works so well for me and I find the diet very easy to follow. I lost 64 lbs 2 years ago, (174 down to 110) but have gained 30 back. I am learning how many carbs I can consume without gaining. I also have managed to change my ‘weight setpoint’ I used to stay around 165 lbs. I’ve been 140 lbs for a year. Hooray! Now to get back down to 120-125 (a great weight for me) and stay there! I, too have a hard time getting up and moving so exercize is an issue.

  12. The Paleo Diet is actually VERY healthy for people who suffer from Crohn’s Disease. It can bring relief and put symptoms into remission. Everyone else may find it too restrictive, but for someone who practically bleeds to death (needs to be hospitalized and receive transfusions) due to ulcers, you’re willing to restrict anything to stay alive.

  13. sheila n gilkey says:

    if you read the paloe eating plan by rob wolfe, the food list is way different (includes way more things, including eggs, coconut oil and coconut milk) and is much healthier than the Cordain version you include here. To be sure, always read more than one version/perspective of any idea.

  14. erin b. says:

    It is interesting since none of the authors of any of these (and other) books lived in those times, they cant know what was actually eaten. I primarily follow the makers diet because it is really (besides pork) about eating natural unprocessed food and unrefined sugar and carbs in moderation. I only eat sprouted bread because when I tried it, I have NO issues digesting it like I do with refined carbs and use natural unrefined organic sugars when I eat them. I feel SOOO much better! I have maintained my weight and I have another 50 to lose (lost the first 50 following weight watchers) so I have to cut back on portions and probably butter haha.plus amp up the exercise! Thanks for the info!!

    • Amanda says:

      I’ve noticed that it’s not so much the butter than prevents us from losing weight, but the carbs! I agree with you about the sprouted bread – if your body can tolerate it then that’s certainly the best way to eat it. I’d try to cut back on some of the carbs though if you really want to lose weight…butter is such a great health food if you eat the good stuff!

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  16. kathleenbee says:

    I’ve been doing the primal diet for about 2 and a half years now. The last few months, I’ve been struggling. My thyroid went low again and I’ve had digestive problems. I’ve cut out dairy but it seems to have got worse. I don’t think I eat much at all now and am beginning to question the whole thing. Been looking again at the Maker’s diet but I’m still so scared to eat grains or legumes because it’s been drummed into me for so long that they’re bad. I have a feeling my body is missing something though. I think I’ll end up being a hybrid too.

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