How to Eat Paleo for Women: The Most Essential Guide
Expert Reviewed By
Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS
Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to paleo. Especially if you are a women. Here’s how to eat for your body type (and gender) on paleo. This is the Most Essential Guide on How to Eat Paleo for Women. So you decided to try this whole paleo thing because, apparently, it’s all the rage. You’re looking for a way to lean out a little, boost your metabolism, curb sugar cravings and clean up your diet a little bit. Why not try it? So you sign up. All in. At least for 30 days. And you do everything right. Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Salad for lunch. Almonds for snacks. And salmon and sweet potatoes for dinner. Heck. You even try CrossFit, fermented vegetables and a hot-cold shower. So primal. But at the end of 30 days…Your weight hasn’t budged. You still crave carbs (and sugar and caffeine). Your energy levels aren’t off the charts. And you still have some gas and bloating. The forces MUST be against you. After all, the extra pounds magically fell off your husband. Your bestie thrives upon the paleo template, constantly sharing her amazing recipes on Instagram (that you could never throw together) And the book section at Barnes & Nobles promised you’d feel amazing.
Paleo seems to work for everyone else!
Is something wrong with you? Answer: There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to paleo. Especially if you are a women. Unfortunately, women’s health is not always given the fine-tuned attention required by popular literature, Instagram posts or widely-accepted “norms.” Women’s daily dietary, caloric and nutrient needs are uniquely dependent on a number of factors—including hormones, dieting history, current health status, age, relationship with food and goals. Thus, broad group-wide trends and recommendations for things like ketogenic diets, “safe starch” vs. “bad starches,” intermittent fasting, eggs and bacon for breakfast, etc. may not fit many, or even most women. Here’s the scoop on How to Hack Paleo For Women (an individualized approach to real food for the XY species).
WOMEN & FOOD
First things first, women and food have had a funky relationship ever since Eve was tempted with that darned apple in the Garden of Eden thousands of years ago. Since then, food has been the Achille’s heel for many women. In fact, studies have reported that women merely think about food as much as men think about sex (if not more). Understanding this context is essential before we even begin talking about women’s nutrition needs and the paleo diet. For some, the word “diet” alone is enough to set their head into a tizzy and tailspin—already instantly feeling confound and bound to the “diet mentality” that will not serve them in any dietary approach (regardless if we’re talking about paleo, the cookie diet or a juice cleanse). Even though the word “diet” actually means “a way of life,” if you are already predisposed to a poor relationship with food and a history of “diet mentality” (obsessive thinking, overthinking, dieting extremes), then going on a “paleo diet” is probably not going to be a good fit from you from the start. This is often the reason why 30-day paleo diet challenges or paleo dieting (using paleo solely as a means to lose weight and body fat) often fail. Paleo itself was not meant to be a “weight loss” diet—in fact, this is perhaps the reason why paleo is often rated as ‘one of the worst diets’—according to America’s dieting industry. Every January, US News & World Report ranks the “Best” and “Worst” diets for the year ahead, and consistently, paleo has not ranked near the top.
Because America (especially women) have taken the paleo “diet” out of context—trying to dress it up as a weight loss diet, whereas it really is meant to be a “way of life” and lifestyle change. Consequently, when healthy eating becomes a “way of life”—not just a 30 day quick fix, as measured by US News & World Reports’ standards—the results (on all fronts) will come naturally (healthy weight, energy, nutrient sufficiency, etc.). (Plus: If we are really ranking the USDA’s grain-based “Dash Diet” as our #1 diet in America, why is it not working to improve our country’s waistlines and health as a whole—even if short term results show weight loss? Food for thought). That said, if women following a paleo template can instead begin to view the “paleo diet” as the “paleo lifestyle” (and get more in touch with their inner-Wilma Flinstones)—viewing real food eating as a nourishing “way of life” rather than a war with their body or denial and restriction of food— then we can begin to talk about your unique needs on the paleo “diet” (lifestyle).
The word “diet” needs to go for many women in order to approach the paleo “lifestyle” as a healthy template for meeting their nutrient needs. Here’s all you need to know as a woman for eating a real food diet (like paleo) and all the questions that come up around:
PALEO FOR WOMEN: HORMONES
A heated topic. It’s on secret women’s hormones are delicate (and 100% completely different than our male counterparts—many of whom have constructed the paleo template as we know it in modern day). Even though paleo is an eating philosophy as old as time, chances are the women who followed it at the time did not have a guidebook or manual to follow. Chances are, they were much more intuitive and ate according to what their body told them they needed and what the environment provided. And, while we don’t have medical records of our ancestors, chances were also our women predecessors did not know the words or terms like “PCOS” (polycystic ovarian syndrome), “PMS” or “hormonal imbalance.” Fast forward to today, and 90-percent of women struggle with PMS alone, defined by symptoms like mood swings, changes in appetite, insomnia, brain fog, bloating and water retention, headache, fatigue, depression, anxiety, breast tenderness, acne flare-ups, constipation or diarrhea, and back pain. And 20-30-percent of those actually have severe PMS—or “PMMD”—severe enough to send them to the hospital. But, get this: Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to live with these symptoms. The symptoms of PMS are triggered in the body when your hormones become unbalanced:
Estrogen levels increase
Progesterone levels decrease
This intense shift in hormones is most often related to what we eat and the state of our gut health. While medications (like birth control) and environmental factors (like toxins in our hygiene, cleaning products, and water) can all trigger hormone imbalances, there is nothing that impacts our health more than the foods we eat (or don’t eat) daily and if we are digesting those foods in the first place. Of course you know foods like sugar, alcohol, and caffeine are inflammatory stressors to your body. And grain-based diets, conventional dairy and meats, beans and even too much nuts and nutbutter, eggs or nightshades can be irritating to the gut (and consequently hormones). But did you know that not eating enough food, or avoiding certain food groups can also cause hormone imbalances like PMS? The thing is: When we eat foods that: (1.) Irritate our gut
(Not just talking about grains, refined sugar, beans and dairy either here. For some, foods like nuts, eggs, FODMAPS, red meat, etc. can be difficult to digest if poor gut health is already present, and can trigger hormonal imbalances) 2.) Provoke blood sugar imbalances.
(Not eating enough balance—fats, proteins and carbs—to balance blood sugar; Stocking up on paleo pancakes, muffins, donuts and pizza—but still lack balance overall; Restrictive eating); Or, 3.) Simply don’t eat enough food —Our hormones get unhappy—and may result in, not only PMS, but also PCOS, amenorrhea (loss of period), intense periods, infertility and HPA-Axis Dysfunction. #itscomplicated. You’re right. It is. Hence why the overarching “paleo diet” cannot be scripted as a one-size-fits-all approach for women. Some women have a leaky gut or bacterial overgrowth like SIBO when starting the diet, and are not absorbing the nutrients they are eating in the first place (to feed their hormones). Others cut out the grains, beans and other non-paleo foods, only to find themselves (unintentionally) on a very low carb diet (not replacing the eliminated foods with enough carbohydrate). Others start off every morning with bacon and eggs, a salad for lunch and some fish and veggies for dinner—and don’t get why their metabolism and hormones seem completely off (hint: they are not eating enough food). When the body goes into “deprivation” mode, the hormones take a hit. A fundamental approach for the woman on a paleo diet is to tailor the dietary needs to the individual. Think: Balance (food and hormones).
PALEO FOR WOMEN: WEIGHT LOSS
The topic of “weight loss” is not the elephant in the room in this article. For some, healthy weight loss is very much a reason why women seek out the paleo diet in the first place. So how to do it the “right way?”—especially in the case of our lady above who saw NO results even though she was doing everything “right” on the paleo diet. Before we even talk about food, let’s talk about stress.Stress (and stress management) is essential to any health benefit you want to see on the paleo approach—weight loss included. Regular stress management helps you balance your hormones in the first place and decreases inflammation naturally—the type of stress that will work against you if weight loss is a goal of yours. “Stress management” involves both psychological and physical stress mangement. Not just taking 10 deep breaths or meditating. But making stress management a lifestyle. Some simple steps include:
Sleeping 7-9 hours each night
Chewing your food & slowing down to eat at meal times
Eating home cooked meals (or clean prepped meals) the majority of the time
Exercising and moving most days—while not overdoing it (hint: when the exercise drill sergeant comes into your mind, yelling at you to do it, do more or work harder, chances are you’re doing too much).
Organizing your life (and writing down your top 1-3 to-dos each day, not 50)
Connecting—Making time for people and intentional time spent with friends and loved ones in your schedule
Saying “no” to things (not always saying “yes”)
Incorporating play, fun and laughter into your daily life
(Remember this whole “paleo thing” is a lifestyle—not just a food diet). After lifestyle stress management is underway, we can begin When it comes to the food front, food matters—and weight loss is not always about caloric restriction (in fact, 8 times out of 10, the women that come into my office are not eating enough). Your body needs food—and quality fuel at that (fats and carbs included ladies). When you are not eating enough food, your body goes into “restriction” mode and seeks to hold on to whatever reserve and energy it’s got (i.e. fat cells, slowing metabolism to make due with low food intake, hormone imbalances). (Some call this “starvation mode,” but this is really your body’s protective mechanism to help protect you from starvation).
How do you know what your body needs?
Again, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, fat loss, weight loss, hormonal balance, etc., but it can be safe to say that, from a healthy weight perspective, most moderately active women (3-5 days/week exercise and living your life not on a couch) need a baseline of 1800 calories per day to see any metabolic change for the positive.
Because when you meet your body’s baseline needs, it won’t fight you so hard to hold on to what you have. As for specific macronutrients, how many carbs, fats and protein? Should you go low carb? Do you really need fat with every meal? Once more: No one-size-fits-all approach, but generally, the most common “downfall” I see women take is trying to listen to a prescription or guideline for someone else’s body—not their own. For instance, low carb may work initially—here you are eating 50 grams or less of carbs (mostly veggies) for several months, feeling great, when all of a sudden, progress stops—and you even gain a few pounds.
Then, you hesitantly add some carbs back in—some sweet potato hash with breakfast, a handful of berries in a smoothie, even a bit of rice with your sushi, and voila!, you’re rocking and rolling again. Carbs, for women in particular, are not the enemy. I know how popular ketogenic diets or intermittent fasting or even “standard” paleo templates are, but thanks to our “delicate” hormone balance, carbs can (and do) serve a place in most women’s diets—at least for the long run of healthy eating. Short term results from ketogenic or low carb or fasting approaches have worked well for some, but again, when we go into deprivation mode—from any one food group—our body eventually lets us know about it. Take Sarah: a 32-year-old female, who came to me having followed a low-carb paleo approach for a couple years. She was a mom of two, a recreational CrossFitter (about 3 to 4 times per week) and a busy business owner. Most of her meals consisted of meat, veggies and some sort of fat—no fruits, no grains, no starches, no sugars, and only about 50 grams overall of carbs per day. Most recently, she had been experiencing some GI distress (bloating and IBS like symptoms) she couldn’t explain, as well as low energy—lower than usual despite her busy go-getter schedule. She wanted to get to the bottom of her gut, plus didn’t think it would be so bad to shed a few extra pounds she couldn’t seem to shed—despite her low carb and active lifestyle. “I am doing everything right, but just don’t get it,” she said. Low and behold, before we even pursued gut testing or hormone testing to see what was up with her “crazy metabolism,” I suggested she add 2 to 3 servings of carbs into her diet each day—fruits or starches, to which she was skeptical. Nevertheless, at our check-in two weeks later, Sarah showed up glowing—more energetic, down a couple of inflammation pounds, and a new “PR” in the gym. She couldn’t believe it, and by one simple tweak (adding a few more carbs to her diet), her body was out of “restriction mode.” Specific macro balance is a dance and will change throughout your life—depndent on stress, hormones, activity and even the time of year (seasons). The keys to weight loss on paleo is to 1.) Eat enough (no crazy restriction mode); 2.)Listen to your body and tweak accordingly.
A few other helpful hacks:
1.) Eat simpler foods.
Paleo pizza, paleo cupcakes and paleo alfredo are great, but eating meat, veggies and fats leads to less mindless eating, because your brain is less “turned on” to eat more just to eat
2.) Live your life.
If the paleo “diet” is actually “a way of life” then why aren’t you living it? Meaning: Balanced perspective. Stop being so hard on yourself or beating yourself up over the canola oil on your broccoli at Whole Foods, or the couple chips and guacamole you had at the Mexican restaurant. 80/20 balance. Eighty percent of the time, eat real whole, simple foods for your meals and lots of water; 20-percent of the time, realize “life happens” and that’s ok too (Need some hard numbers? Consider 17-18 of your 21 meals per week your eighty percent meals, and 3 to 4 of those meals: a dinner out at a restaurant, Valentine’s Day pancakes, or a paleo cookie after dinner, no need to binge—but let life happen).
3.) Balance Hormones & Blood Sugar.
If these things are out of whack from not eating enough, eating sweets every time a craving strikes (or even artificial sugars), running on coffee and caffeine, or eating small low-fat meals throughout the day, then you can bet your bottom dollar weight loss is going to be a long road. Eating enough is essential, coupled with eating healthy fats with each meal to balance blood sugar, avoiding artificial sweeteners and other additives, and cutting back on the coffee dependence (Coffee, like sugar, stimulate cortisol levels and can throw metabolism out of balance). Back to point 1: Keep it simple.
4.) Check in. Do you really need to lose weight?
We are our own worst critics and may be chasing dangling carrots that really are false images of self improvement and life happiness. How will losing weight impact your life? Your health? Will you really be happier when ____? (And how many times have you thought weight was the answer, only to discover it was never good enough?)
5.) Who is Thriving You?
The girl you want to be—the happy, healthy, confident, strong, sexy woman you are becoming? Envision her and begin to act like her. How does she speak to herself? Nourish herself? Interact with others? Does she neglect, punish and hate on her body? Does she feel like all hope is lost or she will “always” battle her weight? Or does she believe in herself, practice peace with food and feed herself according to her own body’s needs—not the rules or dictates of others? Weight loss (successful weight loss) all starts in the mind.
PALEO FOR WOMEN: WEIGHT GAIN
A much less talked about topic than weight loss, perhaps, but nevertheless, a goal that some women still have. Unfortunately, consult Dr. Google on this one, and you’ll probably get some advice on drinking a gallon of milk a Muscle Milk, Even within the paleo-sphere, most weight gain articles or message board threads out there are from bros for bros on bulking up and putting on mass.
But what about us females?
For those looking to gain weight, a caloric and macronutrient increase is a given (duh). However if “just eating more food” was easy—then weight gain wouldn’t be a hard thing for some folks to do. Sometimes weight gain is a painful, long, tiring process (especially when eating that much food is needed). You try one day, only to feel completely stuffed, bloated, constipated or “fat” the next day—and just want a break—a day of normal eating. And the cycle continues, without feeling like you’re getting anywhere.
A few hacks for helping women (and myself) gain healthy weight that have worked include:
1.) Increase carbohydrates.
Add a starch or fruit to each meals. Banana “pancakes” for breakfast, or berries alongside your sausage, avocado and greens. Some Jasmine white rice, or butternut squash on your chicken salad at lunch. A sweet potato or parsnip fries with dinner.
2.) Double your healthy fats.
Instead of one spoonful, go for two (avocado oil mayo, olive oil, ghee, butter, coconut oil). Half a large avocado instead of a quarter. Cooking with fat, plus adding a topical fat—like coconut butter, guacamole, mayo, olives or grass-fed cheese (if you tolerate) to your plate.
3.) Support digestion.
Good digestion is essential for feeling like weight gain process is bearable. If bloating and constipation are frequent, these can throw a damper into your valiant efforts to “eat more.” Consider taking digestive enzymes with each meal, plus a quality probiotic (soil-based formulas like Prescript Assist or Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra) one to two times per day as a basic protocol. In addition, some find a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or HCL tablet before meals tremendously helpful for boosting healthy stomach acid.
4.) Check in.
Similar to point 3 in the Weight Loss section—Check in with yourself. Will gaining weight be the answer to all your worries and problems? Will life magically be better when you add those 10 lbs.? Eh. Probably not. At least not everything. Having grace for yourself—where you are at today, while working hard towards where you want to be (whatever that is in life) is essential for keeping a positive, forward-thinking mind in the process, relieving stress and ironically getting to where you want to be. Grace + Patience + Consistency + Focus = Peace.
5.) Be Her.
In addition to practicing grace and keeping your eyes focused on your goal, embody “her”—the girl you want to be. See yourself having already achieved your goal of successful weight gain and begin to embody her today (Ask yourself: What would healthy me do? when the choice about how you talk to yourself, or what you eat for dinner comes up. Do that).
PALEO FOR WOMEN: FITNESS
Active individuals need more energy. No questions asked. Another “problem” I see many women run in to is not eating enough when they train. Similar to our “weight loss” or even “weight gain” goals—are you sensing a theme? The issue many often run into with the paleo for women approach is not eating enough overall to support their needs. In addition, as an athlete or fitness buff, the fitness market has totally capitalized on marketing to you: We see protein powders and bars touted as “paleo-friendly.” Paleo challenges running at your gym several times per year. And paleo pre-made delivery meals to feed your inner athlete (with only 300-400 calories and small portions). Again, this all ties back to stress and when we feed our body: Stress-enhancing, inflammatory ingredients (i.e. not real food) A Restrictive meal plan Or, not enough food —Our fitness takes a hit.
Some key tips for the paleo-fitness buff?
1.) Avoid foods that trigger inflammation, and increase the consumption of foods that reduce inflammation.
Make sure to get plenty of omega-3 fats, herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods.
2.) Keep caffeine and coffee to a minimum.
You want natural energy right? Caffeine strips energy from you and enhances cortisol production. Essentially it is one more stressor to add to the stress of training.
3.) Eat to support training.
Again bare minimum of 1800, but more than likely a healthy active woman training for fitness (not just walking recreationally and maintaining daily activity), will probably need within the 2000-2400 calorie range. Calories aside, carbs also play a role here. Eggs and bacon in the morning; sauerkraut, turkey patties and some spinach at lunch; and salmon, half a sweet potato and asparagus at dinner won’t cut it to reap the benefits of training. Tough training days may call for upwards of 150-200 grams of carbs—and guess what: Your body can handle it. Some “paleo friendly” ideas? Potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, carrots, parsnip, yucca, tapioca, plantains, white rice, and some even do well on quinoa or steel-cut oats —pair a starchy veggie with greens to round out most of your meals, alongside your proteins and cooking/topical fats.
4.) Work smarter, not harder.
You’ve heard it before, but training is all about the Goldilocks’ approach—not too much and not too little. Just right. Your threshold is as unique as your nutrition, but when that inner exercise “Nazi” rears its ugly head, that is an indicator that something is not quite right. The tough thing is: Doing something about it. Fitness can be addicting—especially for the Type-A or achiever type individuals. However, if you consider this: Overexercise is actually harming you—your results, your energy) and can begin to embody the “athlete mindset” (a true athlete takes care of herself and does whatever she can to improve—not shoot herself in the foot), you’ve won half the battle.
PALEO FOR WOMEN: PREGNANCY
How does pregnancy change the game for the paleo approach? It doesn’t. You’ve probably heard the concept: “Eating for two,” or heard crazy stories about the crazy sugar cravings women get—from pickles and ice cream, to French fries and mayo. However, your baby eats exactly what you eat—and a paleo approach (i.e. real food) could be just what the doctor ordered for a healthy pregnancy. Most women need no more than 200-300 calories more to support the growth and development of the fetus during the initial six months, with the last trimester typically calling upon an addition of 400-500 calories to a woman’s “baseline” intake in the final stages. And those extra calories don’t constitute the need for an extra donut or two to meet your needs—real food will continue to do a body good. Post-delivery, during breast feeding days, sufficient caloric intake is still necessary as well. Many women jump into wanting to get back to their pre-baby body and consequently, food restriction. However, this can be a recipe for disaster that goes back to our “restriction mode” alarm we set off in our body when we don’t eat enough (i.e. hormonal imbalances and metabolism shift). For breast milk supply and your own hormonal recalibration post pregnancy eating a “normal” healthy diet—not a calorie restrictive diet—is recommended for best results (for your baby and your own body). A paleo template, with a balance of proteins, fats and carbs is the gold standard for real food—without the restrictive mindset. As for fertility and the paleo diet—a paleo approach can be a great way to increase your fertility. Eliminating any nutrient deficiencies is vital—and the abundance of protein, veggies, fruits, real-food starches and healthy fats can help you meet your needs for Vitamins A, D, K2, E, B-Vitamins (Folate), Zinc, Choline, Iron and DHA—both before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Fatty fish, pastured egg yolks, dark leafy greens, soaked raw nuts/seeds, sweet potatoes, carrots, grass-fed meats, liver or cod liver oil, sea vegetables, dark berries and seasonal produce are some of the best foods you can eat to meet these needs. All of this, built on a foundation of good digestion—and potentially a healthy digestion protocol (probiotics, digestive enzymes, chewing your food well, slowing down to eat your meals, hydrochloric acid or apple cider vinegar before meals)—enhances your fertility and likelihood for a healthy pregnancy
PALEO FOR WOMEN: MENOPAUSE
Menopause is defined as twelve months with no period; caused by a natural decline in the output of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These changes begin to happen in women between their 40’s and 50’s. However, like PMS—menopause does not have to be a horrific experience as we’ve been made to believe, often defined by symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, insomnia and irritability. Many women gain extra belly fat during menopause and are unable to lose it by the old strategies that may have worked for them in the past. Weight gain is primarily due to the change metabolic rate, rather than menopause itself, however many women that hit this “season of life” may seek out extreme weight loss and diets to counter the side effects and hormonal re-shifting going on. Enter: Nutri-System, Weight Watchers or the hundreds of other low-calorie diets calling middle aged women’s names. Couple restrictive dieting with cortisol imbalances (i.e. stress), and many women only experience an exacerbation of symptoms like belly fat gain, blood sugar imbalances, sugar cravings, and mood swings. Some general recommendations for “dealing with” the symptoms of menopause include: strength training to help promote stable blood sugar levels, enhance lean muscle mass and bone density during hormonal shifts and prevent bell fat gain; cutting back on coffee, caffeine, the nightly wine habit, and sugar (all which provoke further hormonal imbalances) and simply implementing “real food”—with plenty of fats, proteins and moderate healthy carbs (lots of veggies and some starch) throughout the day. Balance. (Sense a theme?). Stress management is also imperative and it’s critical you recognize what you need for your own self care to keep both physiological and psychological stress at bay (Some examples? Enough sleep, low LED light exposure at night, activities and hobbies you enjoy, saying “no” to things you don’t want to do, and spending time with community). Menopause does not have to be the worse years of your life, and a balanced paleo template can help women on the food front counter stressors and inflammation.
PALEO FOR WOMEN: EATING DISORDERS
Can I eat paleo if I have an eating disorder?Is paleo an eating disorder? Ask 10 different people and you’ll get 10 different answers. Many within the eating disorder treatment community will say “Paleo IS an eating disorder.” Others inside the paleo community will say, “Paleo saved my life.” Neither are accurate. First things first, if we can take the word “paleo” out of the equation, let’s rephrase those questions: Can I eat real food if I have an eating disorder?Is eating real food an eating disorder? Now answer that question. There is no denying foods that have been around from the beginning of time are NOT bad for you. Nor is eating food (and eating enough of it), that nourishes you, an eating disorder. It’s when we maintain the diet mentality approach around them that things get dicey. In addition, can eating real food save your life? Uh, it sure as heck can. But is it the only thing that saves your life? No. It’s a tool—a valuable tool.
A resource you use and tap into, coupled with:
1.) A growing awareness of respect, acceptance and love for your body and self;2.) The implementation of all-around healthier lifestyle choices; and,3.) The connection to something greater—outside yourself and your struggle (your purpose, your mission, your higher power) These things with real food save your life from an eating disorder. The thing the paleo “diet” personally helped me with in recovery from my eating disorder was the revelation and insight to view food as fuel, not a toxic substance I had to eat or a matter of calories to log for my dietitian to see. Food wasn’t about being at war with my body, but honoring my body (and feeling more energetic, alive and powerful—helping me think more clearly, improve digestion and enhance my workouts). Food had a purpose—and each food group did as well. In my recovery, paleo taught me how to no longer fear fat, avoid carbs or try to satisfy my hunger with fake foods—like Crystal Light and Skinny Cow ice cream bars. Paleo taught me how to get back to my roots and innate wiring, wired to eat nourishing foods and ultimately, have food freedom—simply using “real food” as a template for making choices the majority of the time, and realizing eating is not about being perfect, but instead nourished as much as possible.
Phew? How’s that for starters. If there’s one thing for certain, there is no-one-size-fits-all approach for women when it comes to paleo, and various seasons and times in your life may call for different measures. While it may seem like a dance, keeping the value of nourishment above all will never steer you wrong.
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