Top 10 Questions From People New to Paleo

questions-and-answers-chalkboard-web.jpgStarting the Paleo diet can feel extremely exciting, but it can also get pretty overwhelming if you’re new to this mindset. Here are the most frequently asked questions I get as a Paleo nutritionist, and answers to help you get on your way!

Q: Are gluten-free grains Paleo?

A: No grains of any kind are Paleo. Grains contain lectins and other properties that make them difficult to digest, so if you’re looking to follow a Paleo diet, you’ll swap vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds for your grain intake.

Q: Is goat milk Paleo?

A: Any milk that comes from an animal is not technically Paleo, but would be considered Primal. Some Paleo eaters who follow the 80/20 rule do drink goat or sheep milk products because they can be easier to digest than cow milk products are. Whether or not you eat goat milk, or milk of any kind, should be based on your individual tolerance for it.

Q: How fast will I lose weight on Paleo?

A: The answer is different for everyone! The amount of weight you have to lose, pre-existing health conditions, level of activity, and how hydrated you are will all have a huge say in your body’s ability to shed pounds. Your stress levels and number of hours of sleep you get each night will also greatly impact your weight.

Q:Is coffee Paleo?

A: You better believe it! That being said, some people don’t digest coffee well, so it’s always good idea to temporarily quit and then reintroduce it, keeping an eye for any signs of sensitivity. Additionally, caffeine may impact people in a negative way even if coffee wouldn’t, so it’s a good idea to be mindful of your caffeine intake.

Q: Is Paleo bad for cholesterol?

A: Nope! And even the government recently reneged their decades-old crusade against cholesterol in dietary sources.

Q: Can I be Paleo if I’m a vegetarian?

A: Yes! While this does limit your sources of protein, there are a few options like hemp protein powder, nut butters and seed butters, and pea protein. Additionally, if some animal products are consumed, there are ample possibilities with eggs and seafood.

Q: Can I be Paleo if I can’t afford to buy grassfed meat?

A: Yes, for sure! While food quality is important, you will still see marked improvements if you’re eating Paleo with conventional meats. Avoiding processed foods is what is vital here, so even if your meat is grain-fed, it is better than eating highly processed or fried meats.

Q: Can I be Paleo if I can’t afford organic produce?

A: Again, yes. While organic produce will introduce less chemicals to your body, you will still gain way more from eating non-organic vegetables in copious amounts than if you eat few or none at all. Washing and soaking produce in a vinegar and lemon juice rinse can help to remove surface pesticides, too.

Q: Is butter Paleo?

A: Not technically, but many people who follow a Paleo diet do eat grassfed butter. This comes down to individual ability to digest. Here at Paleo Plan we do not use butter in our recipes, but opt for ghee, lard, coconut oil, avocado oil, and other Paleo fat sources. We did write an entire blog post about butter, so you can read more about that here.

Q: Are artificial sweeteners Paleo?

A: Even though they are calorie-free, these sweeteners are about as opposite of Paleo as you can get. They’re inflammatory foods that have no business being in anyone’s body. If you only totally eliminate one thing, this should be it.

Aimee McNew

Aimee McNew, MNT, CNTP, is a certified nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, thyroid disorders, autoimmunity, and fertility. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: A Healing Plan for Managing Symptoms Naturally (Simon & Schuster, 2016) and the editor-in-chief of PaleoPlan. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.