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.
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 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
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!