by Diana Gray

We’ve talked a lot about the Paleo diet in September and learned quite a bit from our Cross Fit buddies. In doing my own research, however, I came across the term “primal”, which ended up throwing me for a loop- I thought Paleo and Primal were interchangeable terms. So, I decided to go right to the source and speak with Tiffani, who follows a Primal diet largely influenced by Weston A. Price. Tiffani Beckman-McNeil is a health coach, co-owner of Backyard CSA, and Locavore extraordinaire. As such, she is a wellspring of knowledge about healthy eating and the perfect person to give us the scoop on Primal versus Paleo eating.

The most major difference is that the Primal diet allows for consumption of dairy, legumes and beans. When eating these things, however, Tiffani stresses that it is important to go for quality. For instance, pasture raised, raw dairy from grass-fed cows is best. Beans and legumes need to be properly prepared (pre-soaked and sprouted is best) as opposed to being eaten from a can. Why the focus on quality? Nutrition. Dairy products from healthy cattle will provide your body with more than what you could get from factory farmed dairy. Same idea with beans and legumes- you want to sprout them in order to get the most from them and avoid consuming phytic acid.

Both the Paleo and Primal diets universally shun corn, as it is infamously worked into just about every processed item you can find in your traditional grocery store. Bread is also a no-no. Not even whole wheat, or sprouted wheat (I asked- I love bread). That said, Tiffani feels that limiting intake is a huge step in the right direction. And the really good news? Traditional sourdough (the kind you put together, then let rise and ferment in the laundry room for hours on end) has ingredients that can help combat gluten (if that is a concern for you.) While many people do well on a limited gluten or gluten free diet, Tiffani does recommend (as the article suggests) finding your sweet spot and eating what makes you feel your best.

What this means is: some people do well with the Paleo diet. Others do well going Primal. Some of us are neither and believe that everything in moderation is the way to go. To help find your sweet spot, Tiffani highly suggests taking a metabolic typing test (there’s a free one here– it asks for your email address but you can always unsubscribe from newsletters later.) Having the correct balance of macronutrients and knowing what ratio of fat/ protein/ veggies your body needs is a big step in the right direction.

I don’t claim to be an expert on either of these diets, but it seems that the biggest take-home lesson from both is: DON’T EAT CRAP. Eat local, fresh foods, minimize your intake of processed junk, try to give sugar the boot (if you figure out how to do this, please share) and listen to your body. And, as Adam always touts, it’s ok to have your “cheat foods” (his is famously those 99 cent tacos at Jack in the Box. Mine? I’ll never tell!)