Are your recipes Paleo (or Primal or Ancestral)?

Charcoal drawing of a Paleolithic axe head 

Charcoal drawing of a Paleolithic axe head 

The other day a friend asked me why my recipes aren’t labeled “Paleo” (or Primal or Ancestral.) This was a good question since most of my cooking has been Paleo(-ish) for the last 4 years.  Predictably, the answer to my friend’s question is probably more complex than anyone cares to hear, but I’d like to provide a brief explanation.

I love Paleo cooking. I think it makes the best use of our current understanding of evolutionary biology, immunology and a load of other things. And contrary to what others might say, it is not new at all; it is a return to a much older way of looking at nourishing ourselves (which is exactly what I’m looking to do.) But the concepts and guidelines of Paleo eating can be daunting – especially if you have never cooked much for yourself.  

Paleo has other downsides too – using the term Paleo can turn people off. It has a tendency to limit the number of people who are willing to join the conversation or try a recipe. Moreover, people are surprisingly aggressive when it comes to how they feel about Paleo eating, whether they are for or against it.  

I admit that when I first started exploring Paleo eating and cooking, I was one of those aggressive people. I was rather in-your-face about it and, while my husband’s very happy I have grown out of that, I completely understand why others feel that they need to push Paleo (or Primal or Ancestral) eating habits. When people first stumble upon it, they discover that they feel better, frequently lose weight, and often experience unexpected health benefits. Unfortunately, in wanting to share this with others, they can come across as judgmental and preachy.

I am aiming for something broader – I would like to encourage as many people as possible to start engaging with their own food, cooking and health. Some times that means just getting in the kitchen and cooking, whatever it may be. Other times it will (hopefully) lead to a deeper discussion of the intricacies of food, cooking and health. I have found that to encourage people to do that, I need to veer away from “labels.” Luckily, for me it does mean that generally my recipes are Paleo (and Primal and Ancestral) friendly or modifiable.  

I’m sure I will be touching on Paleo (and Primal and Ancestral) again in the future, but for the time being what are your thoughts on Paleo (and Primal and Ancestral) cooking and eating?