The Whole Enchilada

*Be sure to also check out Jason – on Facebook!!!  (Finally)

It has become increasingly obvious to me that a great many people believe that this paleo thing begins and ends at the dinner table.  If this is you, you could probably use a little wider perspective and a little less frustration.

The trouble is in our nature.  When it comes to health and nutrition, people tend to look for one specific thing they can put their finger on that, if fixed, will relieve them of all their problems.  We have plenty of examples of this fatal flaw in action.  We blame heart disease on cholesterol, obesity on fast food, and an entire flawed government on whoever happens to be president.  This same attitude causes many people to search for that one magical diet, movement, or supplement that will finally get them results when nothing else has worked.  If paleo is just another trip down that road for you, you are likely to think of it as a “diet”.  But remember, “The Paleo Diet” is simply human nutrition from an evolutionary perspective.  I have said it 1,000 times, “diet” should not be a verb!  Stop doing diets.  I have heard from more people than I can count who seem to be doing diets like pushing the next button and then staring intently at their bodies for 3 to 5 weeks. When they don’t get the aesthetic results they want they get frustrated.  What they are missing is the all important health factor in all of this.  I know I sometimes sound like a broken record, but you will eventually end up frustrated if you only pursue aesthetic goals without consideration for improving your health.  Don’t get me wrong, you may reach your goal, you just won’t be able to maintain it for a lifetime like you will if you truly get healthy.

Following this same line of thinking, it is silly to expect to eat the natural human diet without consideration for anything else that made you human.  I hate to say that paleo is a “lifestyle” because that word is almost as over used and irritating as “diet”, but it’s really true.  I think most of us understand that there is more to health than just food.  Think about someone in your world who is your age and truly healthy.  Please note that I said healthy, not skinny.  (If you are overweight you may have a tendency to measure health in size.  Stop doing that.  The opposite of fat is not healthy.)  Most of you pictured a person who is lean, well muscled but not bulky, full of energy, and happy.  Now try to name the “diet” that will get you a body just like that.  Okay, stop wracking your brain, it doesn’t exist.  Getting healthy will require proper exercise, good sleep patterns, stress management, and proper nutrition.

Proper exercise means moving like a human.  Lift heavy things, sprint, jump, climb, throw, push, pull, crawl, and walk.  Avoid “cardio,” but sometimes work plenty hard to get out of breath.  You might need some help in the beginning.  Form is important if you want to maintain a body that will still do all these things for years to come.  Get mobile, as well.  Do not underestimate mobility!

Go to bed!  I have recently been roped into creating a Facebook page and I now know what you are all doing in the middle of the night.  Log-out and get some sleep.  Sleep might be the most underestimated necessity of all.  Bad sleep patterns can rob you of your chances of ever reaching your goals, whatever they may be, and fat loss goals are no exception.  Bad sleep = elevated cortisol = midsection pudginess, among other things.

Stress management is something you will have to figure out for yourself.  I don’t know the causes of your stress, but please take the time to evaluate their worth. Is your stress coming from something you legitimately can’t avoid, or is it self imposed and unnecessary?  Are you putting up with bad people in your life?  Could you be looking for another job?  Promise me you will give your stress some thought.  You may not be able to change anything at the moment, but it’s worth addressing.

Finally, proper nutrition is what this sight is all about.  The basics are all here.  Start reading.

Some of these things will be best effort for some people.  For example, if you are a fire fighter you are gong to lose some sleep every few nights.  Do what you can in that area and try to make up for it by having your exercise, nutrition, and stress dialed in.  In other words, you may not be able to turn your life into that of an indigenous hunter/gatherer, but small deviations from the plan are no excuse to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Do your absolute best and keep moving forward.  And keep us posted on your results!


  1. Kerri O says

    Guilty here. In fact my blog has been mostly about the diets I try. I just changed my twitter name from ‘katdoesdiet’. Ya. Figuring a lot out lately. What has amazed me most is the peace I feel about my eating and weight when I stop looking at it like a diet. NOW what will I blog about? ha ha ha.

  2. Taylor says

    Great reminder of what it’s all about! Paleo becomes a mindset and a new outlook on life- not only what you eat, how you shop, how you get around but also how you decide to use your 24 hours each day. For me it’s time management- like how I will get the most out of my lunch hour- shopping for nutritious food or taking a walk to relieve stress, get some Vitamin D, and get my blood pumping as a break from my desk job. When life gets in the way, it’s a challenge to not allow those resentful thoughts to take hold. Don’t reflect on what you can’t get done today, but think about what you can do tomorrow.

  3. Kevin says

    I think you are so right….. People have started noticing all the weight I have dropped in the last couple months and always ask what diet I’m on.. My reply is that I’m not on a diet but a healthier life style. With your blogs and recipes and my will to be healthier and happy I’ve now lost 33 pounds in under two months. Not only do I look better but I feel amazingly better. Thank you for the jump start on my new life………

      • Sarah says

        Ha ha! I had a feeling people were going to think this was an enchilada recipe when they saw this post but hey, I have a seafood enchilada recipe in my book!! ; )

        • Courtney says

          I actually opened this post up to get the enchilada recipe to make for tonight! Glad I got to read this post though. You know most people worry and stress over things that will never happen…funny how we waste our time on stuff like that!

  4. Terrie says


  5. says

    Excellent post. And so right: it IS about everything. The reason my blog is all about food, is because that’s just what I do best. Maybe one day I have the same knowledge of excercise :-)

    I have, however, stepped away from the “I’m on a diet” idea. To me, that’s victory. Everything else (weightloss, fitness etc.) is bonus.

  6. Katie S. says

    Thanks for the post Sarah. Such a great reminder. It’s totally about feeling better and moving better, the weight will come. It’s not about the “diet”, it’s about eating well and feeling well. :)

  7. cTo says

    Great inspiring post! It amazes me how our culture has drilled it into us that stress and overwork is normal and something to be praised. Im lucky to currently work at a company that allows us to do what we need to do to minimize stress (playing with nerf darts in the office, generous work from home policies, etc) but I havent always been so lucky. And even today, I find that I still sometimes feel guilty for taking time for myself. Having stress relief being such a lauded and integral component of the paleo lifestyle has made it easier for me to be aware of it and keep up with it.

  8. Vickie says

    HELP. … I listen to your podcast along with others like jimmy moore and” latest in paleo”.Ive been heavy all of my adult life 5 foot 2 and started low carbing in March at 209 lbs. at first it was more like the atkins aproach for me but then felt like I should be eating better foods than these bars and some packaged foods. my lipids were all very bad. high blood pressure. high colesteral-fatty liver-ready to be medicated for diabeates so i vowed to my dr that i would try to do better. I did not see him for 6 months.I leaned more towards paleo and eating natural and I lost 20 lbs and all the bad numbers disappeared. my triglicerides went from 350 to 130.also my dr said there is no indication of fatty liver anymore. I am happy about that but weight loss is not happening. yeah I eat alot but i eat right i think. I do eat the big porterhouse with asparagus and cauliflour mash. i eat 2 ounces of nuts a day..avacado with cucumbers and tomatoes. it sounds kind of funny but like anyone else i eat till im full- not sick. i thought i didnt have to weigh i really eating too much? i cant lose well. cutting out the nuts will help i know…yes i eat late also .how many hrs before bed should i cut my eating? im a hungry girl and want to continue losing weight.please my husband lost 38 lbs and looks great.

    • JasonS says

      Vickie, it sounds like you are the exact person I wrote this post to. You seem to be looking at diet alone. Are you exercising in the manner that I recommend above? I seriously doubt the quantity of food you are eating is a problem. I just think you are missing some details in the big picture. The point of my post was to remind people that diet alone is not, and will never be, a stand alone answer to better health and weight loss.

      • Vickie says

        yes i definately am satisfied with my new and improved overall health. I excercise regularly and work a very physical job perfect for the paleo person. I lift heavy trays and put on conveyor belts while continously walking up and down the length of an at least 50 foot machine. my skin looks better than ever and i know I am doing well..I am missing the part of the weight loss and probably shouldnt. I appreciate all i learn and read about this” lifestyle” that I will forever stick with because I feel great. I do need to find what I am doing to be at a standstill. I read the Eades books gary taubes and others. I heard of resistant but I didnt want to be one of them lol. my body is very hard and not flabby naturally. I will try though to pare down portion size…love the site…got the book- read the intro and I like it..thanks.

  9. maria says


    Great text, as always Jason.

    I asked this before, but you were probably too busy to answer (which I understand perfectly, of course). But do you think that maybe paleo is not the right way to eat for some people? I am asking because I ate paleo for about the past three months and the whole time my health kept getting worse. That is to say, I was bloated ALL the time, to the point where I looked seven months pregnant (no exaggeration). The moment I took back some grains and eased up on the meat to maybe twice or three times a week, things began to get better.

    Before starting paleo I had not eaten red meat in a decade, had been vegan for two years, and mostly raw for six months. And yes, I was using probiotics and top-notch enzymes and exercising, sleeping, and chewing properly while paleo.

    So, do you think that maybe I just might need the grains? And less meat, or not at all? That maybe there is no such thing as a diet to fit all needs? That there might be something to this different metabolic types or blood types thing?

    Or what do you think I should do? Because aside from looking very pregnant 24/7, I loved the clearer skin, clearer head etc. so would love to resume paleo if possible.

    • JasonS says

      I can imagine that anything is possible, but needing grains just sounds crazy to me. Some people definitely do better on a higher carb version of paleo, but I can’t see any situation in which gut damaging foods like grains would be beneficial. Have you thought about seeing a naturopathic doc about your gut health? Permanent damage is possible from a vegan diet, but I have not personally seen permanent gut damage. Again, nearly anything is possible in anecdotal situations. I would just be more likely to accept the existence of people who did not suffer as much damage from grains, but a person who NEEDS grains to be healthy is contrary to my current knowledge. As far as your meat issues, I would recommend that you exhaust every possible resource to try to find out why your gut remains damaged.

      • Joan says

        Take a look at He talks a lot about the various types (protein, grain, mixed). He has a free on-line tool you can use to get an idea of your type and how you need to eat for your body to feel good.

        • maria says


          Thanks for your advice, I’ll definitely take a look. The issue is just that I don’t really know who/what to believe. There seem to be a lot of strong opinions when it comes to nutrition, and I am feeling a bit lost.

      • maria says

        Jason, thanks for your reply.

        I’ve actually been to see two naturopaths. One recommends paleo, the other, who I went to see for a colonic (which helped with the bloating by the way, at least for a while), recommends avoidance of meat and eating of oat and millet (as she believes they are good for me as a blood type b). And yes, both of the naturopaths subscribe to the idea of the blood type diet, it seems to be quite popular with them here in Finland. A third expert told me to add lots of fiber and eat minimal portions as well as drink lots of water.

        So I am lost, and feeling a bit hopeless. At the moment I am reluctantly eating the grains and minimizing the meat. My stomach seems to feel a bit better but otherwise not so much.

        What do you recommend?

        • maria says

          Oh, and I forgot to mention that I had lots of blood tests done earlier, when this happened for the first time and everything seems to be ok in that department. Also, aside from my stomach swelling, my face does too. And noticeably at that. Don’t know if they’re related though.

        • JasonS says

          I wish I had a better answer for you. I know that we are, thus far, a long way off of the science it would require for me to believe in nutrition recommendations based on blood type, but we can certainly all experiment with macronutrient profiles. You might try a higher carb paleo diet.

          Robb Wolf recommends taking a digestive enzyme supplement, like Now Super Enzymes, and doubling the dose every couple of days until you feel warmth in your stomach area of your upper abdomen, and then backing the dose down again. It might be worth a try with strict paleo again. Maybe you have yet to fully recover from your vegan days.

          • maria says

            Hi Jason,

            Thank you again. And please don’t feel bad for not having all the answers, how could you? It is my body after all, and I am responsible for it.

            However, I will certainly try your suggestion with the enzymes. You may be very right that my body needs time to recover.

            A big part of why this whole thing is such an issue for me is probably that I have also suffered from a pretty severe eating disorder, and food issues are still tricky to me. Not to mention my relationship with my body, which makes the bloating so difficult to accept. That said, it is also a fact that being bloated and constipated all the time is tiring physically.

            But I feel that paleo is just such a natural way to eat, that I will continue to strive towards it. And maybe I will keep white rice in, like one portion a day or something, so the change is not so drastic? Or will that prevent healing from grain induced damage? And definitely the higher carb version, I think that that might suit me better.

            All the best to you, and thanks for the valuable work you do.

  10. Annie says

    This is day 3 of 30 trial days on the Paleo eating regime. I have questions that you or someone can answer.
    1. Is pure maple syrup permitted and what about pure honey? Would paleo man not have found and used these?
    2. Goats and sheep and buffalo cheeses are not diary? Are they permitted?
    3. Any one out there in New Zealand?

    • JasonS says

      Avoid honey and syrup for weight loss goals and improving insulin sensitivity. Yes, paleo man may have stumbled on these things from time to time, but not often enough to cause disease, and he would not have spent years on the standard western diet that we are trying to escape.

      Goat and sheep and buffalo cheese are dairy. Dairy technically refers to products made from milk.

    • Ashley says

      Hi Annie,
      I live in New Zealand!! So far I’ve noticed that there’s not much of a Paleo Community over here but it is nice to see there are others interested :)

  11. Susan says

    I have been eating paleo for about 3 months now and love this way of eating because it is rigid. I really am not a huge fan of meat but for some reason when I am on this diet I know the pantry is off limits and I don’t get into the kids snack foods. However, this diet seems to be setting me up for binge days! I have put carbs on a pedal stool and if I cheat I go NUTS and can eat my weight right back on in a day or 2! I feel like this way of eating is not teaching me to deal with real life situations like parties, cookouts, etc. I use these occasions as “free for all events” and in our household we are busy every weekend with these events! Any suggestions for helping me change my mindset? When I am “on” I feel great and do great! No fruit, nuts, no cheating at all!

    • Annette says

      I think you’ve got to give up the “free for all” mentality. Prepare as “paleo” a plate as you can at the next gathering / cookout that you attend. Even better, bring some things to share that you know you can eat! The hardest one is the first, but when you get up the next day you’ll feel great and know you did the right thing for you. It’s very empowering! It gets easier – I no longer look at those carb-y, sugar laden piles of cr*p and think that they will do anything for me but bring on a gut-ache, a blemish and a bad mood. No thanks.

      Good Luck!

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