This is a question that pops up regularly at Roost. Is there a difference and how do you decide if you are primal or paleo? Is one better than the other? I would like to explain what our take on the two different approaches are, but I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong answer. At the end of the day, the important thing is to eat foods that agree with your body. So what is our interpretation?
We consider ourselves at Roost to be primal. We follow the principles of paleo – grain-free, dairy-free, unprocessed foods that are naturally sweetened, but we do incorporate some grass-fed, pastured butter in some of our baked goods. Our interpretation is that paleo follows the dairy-free stipulation very strictly. Even Paleo author and expert Robb Wolfe mentions on his blog that the “primal” camp includes more dairy than he would allow. Mark Sisson on the other hand heads up Team “Primal”. This framework allows for a small amount of dairy that is well sourced. This would be things like milk, cream or butter from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. So it isn’t just any dairy, it is very high quality. If, like us, you live in a climate where that isn’t possible for cows to graze outside year-round, then they are fed on a diet of haylage through the winter.
Whether you chose to follow the principles or paleo or primal is down to you. Try an elimination diet like “It Starts with Food” by Melissa and Doug Hartwig and find out what sits well with you and what doesn’t, and if dairy is not a problem, then enjoy it in moderation as a healthy saturated fat, sticking to the best quality you can. If you find, like me that your love of dairy is not reciprocated by your digestive tract, well… maybe it is best left out.