Primal Eating (In a Nutshell)

Primal eating is booming. The rationale behind it is simple: Our genome hasn’t changed much over the past 10,000 years, but our diet now is very different from what we’re adapted to, leading to a glut of chronic disease. Here’s a quick guide to primal foods:

Primal supplements

Our ancestors would have been outside soaking up the rays, so a vitamin D supplement is definitely in order. You can restore your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio with the help of a good, antioxidant-boosting omega-3 supplement like fish oil or krill oil. And, for a robust gut microbiome like they had, add a quality probiotic supplement to the mix.

Fresh, seasonal produce // Eat all the veggies and berries you want, but go easy on the fruits that are higher in sugar like bananas and grapes. Low carb is a cornerstone of primal eating. (Skip white potatoes and corn.)

Animal protein and eggs // The focus here is on pastured, grass-fed meats. Eggs and wild-caught seafood are also high on the list. (Skip commercially raised and overly processed meats.)

Healthy fats // When cooking, use coconut oil, palm fruit oil, and ghee (clarified butter). Like the Mediterranean diet, use extra virgin olive oil liberally. (Skip overprocessed margarines, canola oils, and the like.)

Nuts // Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten nuts when they got the chance. A nutritious whole food, nuts are an approved snack—don’t go overboard though, because they’re calorically dense. (Legumes are not on the list.)

Flavor boosters // Spices and condi­ments are fair game as long as they are naturally derived and minimally processed (no high fructose corn syrup please). Raw honey and maple syrup in moderation.

Dairy // Dairy is ambiguous. If do you tolerate it, it’s certainly a nutritious whole food—and whey protein is high on the list.

No-nos // Wheat, starches, grains, legumes, and overly processed foods. The reasons: carbs, inflammation, blood sugar spikes, and empty calories.