Paleo Proponent Chris Kresser: “Dairy and Certain Grains OK for Some – Paleo is a Starting Point, Not a Destination”

November 16, 2013 · 3 comments

bread and dairypaleo codeChris Kresser’s new book, “Your Personal Paleo Code“, just came in the mail from his publisher, and right off the bat what Chris said here caught my eye:

While most Paleo books exclude all foods that weren’t consumed during the Paleolithic era, I argue that some agricultural foods — such as dairy products, potatoes and other nightshade plants, and even certain grains — are healthy when well-tolerated by the individual.  I also stress that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to nutrition, and that the key to succeeding with any dietary approach (including Paleo) is personalizing it to meet your unique needs.

Isn’t common sense refreshing?

Personalization is the missing ingredient.  I’ve found that even two people who come to my office with the exact same health condition might need different solutions.  For example, I recently saw two patients with ulcerative colitis.  Eating even a small amount of dairy sent one running to the bathroom in three seconds flat.  For the other, fermented dairy (e.g., yogurt or kefir) was a crucial component of the healing process.  This is why so many typical diets — even very good ones, like the Paleo diet — often fail in the long run, and it’s why I teach all my clients how to discover their own unique Personal Paleo Code.  Because no two patients are alike, no two walk out of my office with the same plan.

So while some can tolerate dairy or grains with no issues, others have sensitivities that may or may not be clear.   Chris recommends a 30-day “reset” to figure this out:

With the 30-day “reset,” you commit to a thirty-day period when you eliminate the modern foods that contribute to disease, as well as the foods people are most often allergic to or intolerant of, and focus on the safe, nourishing foods our ancestors thrived on for more than 66,000 generations.  The Reset Diet is designed to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, burn fat, identify food sensitivities, reduce allergic reactions, boost energy, regulate blood sugar, and stabilize your mood.  After you’ve hit the reset button and returned to that basic template, you can customize it to find the approach that works best for you over the long term.  I’ve discovered that Paleo functions best as a general template, not a rigid prescription.  Think of it as a starting point, not a destination.  Even though we all share much of the same DNA, we each have unique circumstances and needs.  We need a program that addresses our specific health issues.  My goal is to help people, individual by individual, discover what works for them and keep them from adhering to a dogmatic regimen just because it sounds authentic.”

Get Chris Kresser’s book here:  Your Personal Paleo Code


Answers to your gluten intolerance questions:

If you already know that you’re sensitive to gluten and would like to learn more about living with those limitations, you can listen/watch these Gluten Summit talks by popular authors like Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the GAPS Diet, Jeffrey Smith, author of Genetic Roulette, and William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly.  There are only 3 days left!

Click here to listen in.


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  • { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Carie November 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I have been grappling with this whole issue for a while now. I came to the real food movement after reading Deep Nutrition by Dr. Cate Shanahan which totally blew my mind. I realized all the fake food like substances I was eating, being a vegetarian. I also figured out that I might be one of those people who does better eating meat due to the fact that I began having hypoglycemia about 2 years into being a veg. It took a long time for me to equate the diet with the disease. I gave up my vegetarian ways of 18 years, started incorporating meat into my diet and began researching. I found Weston A. Price and Paleo and everything in between (and surrounding). I began drinking raw milk and eating butter and cream. I made kombucha and fermented salsa, tried my hand at fermenting grains etc, etc. It took me a while to even figure out that WAP and Paleo had some fundamental differences and had you asked me a month ago, I would not had the vocabulary to explain it. Now I understand. It was this post – That spelled it out for me.

    This is why Chris Kresser’s recent posts and his much anticipated new book are so important to me right now. Even though I am just beginning to understand the differences, he is already helping me to bridge the gap in a very balanced way. I never gave up my raw milk, as I feel very good when drinking it and truly believe in the gut benefits. Conversely, I have come to a real understanding that the more I can limit my exposure to grains, and in particular wheat, the better I feel. Small amounts of organic corn chips or basmati or jasmine rice treat me just fine when consumed 2-4 times per week, even non-soaked. Sugar in all forms does not seem to do me any favors. I am working on all of these things at the moment, and await the 30 day reset information from the book. I was actually hoping to be chosen to preview the book myself as I want to read it that badly!

    I am so glad that I no longer have to feel “guilty” if I continue to consume milk and other dairy products, as if I am somehow not “staying on track”. I do not think that I am anywhere near having Celiac, but have grown in my understanding of the concerns over modern wheat and have found I feel best to leave it out most of the time. All of the time I think will be good for me if I can ever get there.

    Incidentally, I am of Irish and German decent. My husband, being of Greek decent, does just fine on his pescatarian-vegetarian diet, eschewing all non-fish sources of animal flesh and broth. (I have been making bone broths for over a year and they REALLY treat me right! I made one fish broth for him using Sarah’s YouTube video ( as a guide and it was great, too). My point? Hubs does great on his diet, and I need animal flesh, not just fish, to feel my best. I have been trying to steer him away from vegetarian frankenfoods and he has been willing and sees the need. He has also given up most of his unfermented soy consumption and quite a lot of his wheat consumption. Yay! We are both sticking with vegetables and our preferred “meats” as the basis of our diets. The result? For me, while I have lost “only” about 7 pounds (over the last year) and though I would like to lose 30 more, my weight has become much easier to keep stable, I no longer agonize over calories (just “bad” carbs and sugar), and I have stopped experiencing the terrible blood sugar highs and lows. I can actually wait to eat until I am hungry….or even not eat right when hunger strikes, and I am OK for a few HOURS without food even AFTER feeling hungry. I have lots more energy and have stopped feeling tired I do travel a LOT and so eat out way more than I would like. I really feel that if that was not the case and I could eat more meals at home that I would have lost more weight and had even more overall better health results. But for now, I am just so pleased. And I am so happy to see you embracing Chris’s words, since I love your blog so much, too! I love it when people get along.

    Can’t wait for this book, Kelly! Thanks so much for including another little tidbit for us to salivate over. :-)


    2 ValerieH November 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I am very disappointed in the way the Weston A Price Foundation is attacking Paleo and low carb. They are cutting off their nose to spite their face. It is petty and counter-productive. I like getting the journal but I’m not inclined to donate to any other thing, like their research facility. They would be better off with a big umbrella of people who support them.
    OF COURSE each person has to figure out which foods will create health. Chris Cresser is right. I joined his program in 2012. I did the initial 30 days. My symptoms are not very profound so there wasn’t much to capture on his questionnaires. I felt the same before and after the 30 days. I didn’t have the patience to reintroduce a food and wait 3 days. I wasn’t sick enough for it to be a priority. I already knew that wheat causes inflammation for me.


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