Saturday, October 15, 2011

A list of some paleo/primal resources

Our CrossFit gym did a nutrition seminar today as a lead-in to a gym-wide 30-day paleo challenge that pretty much mirrors my own 30-day primal challenge that I started last Sunday. Truth be told, I never would have started my challenge without the inspiration to do so from the trainers at CrossFit Aspire, so thanks for giving me the idea. I'm a week into this and I feel really really good.

As a payback for the good idea, and since paleo/primal is a new idea for some of you, I figured it might be helpful to point you in the direction of a bunch of paleo/primal-friendly sites that I visit pretty often. These aren't in any particular order, and, man, are there a lot more out there than just these. But every one of them has given me a good idea, or sometimes a whole lot of good ideas, whether it's a recipe, or a thought that maybe I should (or shouldn't) be eating a particular food. Some are wonkier/geekier/science-heavier and some not so much. And, undoubtedly, you will find some more to your liking than others. You'll also quickly learn that paleo/primal has a lot of different practitioners with slightly different ideas of how to go about all this. What all these sites have in common, however, is a commitment -- on their own terms -- to healthy living while feeling, looking and performing great.

So here goes:

Mark's Daily Apple -- by the author of "The Primal Blueprint" book. A good combination of recipes and advice, and, unlike some of these sites, always with a message that's delivered in a positive, non-doctrinaire way.

Robb Wolf -- Robb wrote "The Paleo Solution," which is, for my money, the one book you should read about paleo before any other. His podcast is great -- funny, self-effacing banter between him and strength coach Greg Everett and full of great info about the whys and wherefores of paleo/primal. The website is a little geekier/dorkier and, well, a little clumsy in its layout. Read the book. Listen to the podcasts. Once you do that, the site will make more sense. The FAQ is particularly great.

Whole9 (aka Whole30) -- Melissa and Dallas Hartwig provide great advice, great recipes and probably the purest, strictest and least alcohol/caffeine-friendly environment in the paleo world. I think this site is *perfect* for a strict challenge. They don't put up with any "this is haaaard" whining, and their advice is nutritionally spot-on. Once you are out of the confines of a strict challenge, you might find them to be The No-Fun Police to some extent, but I think they are probably just really nice, smart people who don't view their job as justifying your (or my) boozing or excess coffee consumption. I'd rather invite Robb Wolf and his Nor-Cal margaritas to a party, though.

Dr. Kurt Harris -- The site is a little archaic/haphazard. It has a weird, made-up name and its author  even disappeared (in a posting sense) for a few months, but somewhere beneath the not-very-glossy exterior is a passionate advocate of primal living who backs up his eating habits with good scientific reasons for what he does. As you delve into the site, you'll find his take on primal eating is a little different than the others  -- less emphasis on vegetables and macronutrients than many. But it's a worthy addition to your paleo/primal reading/surfing list.

Free the Animal -- Don't even think about going here if opinionated/not-very-politically-correct postings get you riled up. The author does not give a damn what you think of him, his site or his way of life. He will express his opinion without regard to anyone's feelings or sensitivity. But when he gets going on a righteous paleo/primal bender it is a thing of beauty. He laughs at vegans and openly insults soy-bomb vegetarians. But I love him most of the time -- maybe because he's a guy about my age who, like me, feels like he stumbled on the freakin' grail in terms of the way to eat and live and can't help but tell people about it. Lots of good stuff here, but not for the sensitive. -- This is the home of J. Stanton, author of a paleo/primal-based novel called "The Gnoll Credo" about a scientist who takes up with a tribe of primitives. I have the book on order and likely will review it here after I read it, but, whether or not the book is great (and I have heard nothing but praise for it), the website is a thorough, fascinating look into the science and day-to-day ins and outs of paleo eating. I have just scratched the surface of this one recently, but it's going to get a lot more of my attention in the coming weeks and months.

Cave Girl Eats -- A great recipe/paleo-health site run by a member of CrossFit Tribe in Pennsauken, NJ.

Steve's Original -- Speaking of CrossFit Tribe, one of the owners, Steve Liberati, runs this site dedicated to selling you paleo food that also benefits kids in need. The paleo kits, with jerky, nuts and fruit, are so delicious that I can't begin to tell you how much better they are than any jerky/fruit/nut concoction you might try to put together at home. Plus they benefit a great cause. Get some. And if you're a CrossFit Aspire member, you can get some at CFA.

Smart. Sexy. Paleo -- A blog run by an Aussie who is muddling her way through paleo/primal just like you and me, which is why I like it. It's real life by someone trying to look, feel and perform better.

Everyday Paleo -- So many great recipes by one of the trainers at Robb Wolf's gym. She's also way into being a mom, which I can't say makes me read the "how to make your kids' lunches paleo" articles because my kids are way past that stage, but if you are trying to feed kids paleo food, I can't imagine a better site. And the recipes are great whether you are feeding a family or just yourself.

Dr. Chris Kresser -- Warning: possible science-y overload at this site. Probably not the place to go when you first begin, but a great resource once you get really into it.

 And, not wanting to overload you with info, I think I'll stop there for the moment. Enjoy the web surfing, and i like to think that one or more of those sites will become a place you regularly visit for paleo/primal info.


  1. I think Whole9 changed their stance on coffee.

    "It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard."

  2. Well, sort of...lately they have made it clear that Melissa is totally caffeine-free and even Dallas has been drastically reducing his intake. I love 'em both, but they definitely have the most extensive "no" (or more accurately, "maybe not") list of foods that I have seen on any ofthese sites.