That’s right! I have been scouring the web for the last week and I’ve come to a conclusion. There is no such thing as a Paleo diet!
What?! Sacrilege I hear some people scream. Ok, allow me to explain.
The term Paleo Diet seems to have been coined by Dr Loren Cordain. So I guess we could see his version as the Paleo diet. That said though, the term “Paleo Diet” has come to represent several ideas. These idea are slight variations on the original Paleo Diet as put forth by Dr Cordain. “Paleo Diet” has become a bit like Hoover or Coke. Yes, they are brand names but they now represent their entire branch.
So based on that I’d say that Chris Kresser has got a good idea. Rather than speaking of the Paleo diet (unless referring to Dr Cordain’s version perhaps) it might be better to speak of a Paleo template.
Why? Well, aside from the fact that there ar variations on the original paleo diet, I think there are some more reasons. First of all, like I already said in another post, we don’t know exactly what our ancestors ate. Sure, we can come up with some reasonable guesses. And we can add what we know about the few hunter/gatherer tribes that still exist to those guesses. And when we do just that we will probably come up with something that may be somewhat accurate. But we’ll probably never be 100% sure (if you have developed a machine that allows time travel let me know. We can go back together and see what they really ate).
Also, as Chris Kresser already said in his post:
“A Paleo diet implies a particular approach with clearly defined parameters that all people should follow. There’s little room for individual variation or experimentation.
A Paleo template implies a more flexible and individualized approach. A template contains a basic format or set of general guidelines that can then be customized based on the unique needs and experience of each person.
But here’s the key difference between a Paleo diet and a Paleo template: following a diet doesn’t encourage the participant to think, experiment or consider his or her specific circumstances, while following a template does.”
So I think I’m going to side with Chris Kresser and consider it a template (even though I’m in the middle of reading Dr Cordain’s “The Paleo Diet“). Thus, from now on, whenever I say Paleo please think “template”, not “diet”.