GAPS Diet & Nutrition,  Real Food

GAPS vs Paleo vs Primal, UPDATED! :)

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post called GAPS vs Paleo Part 1, and then a couple of days later, GAPS vs Paleo Part 2. Well, I am always learning, and I realized (thanks to many of YOU! :)) that I had something wrong. I thought that there were hugely differing Paleo views out there. And there may be (I haven’t read every Paleo book, just a few). However, what I had read about was actually TWO DIFFERENT DIETS, and I was calling them one. There is a distinction: The Paleo Diet (Cordain, & Wolf), and The Primal Diet (Sisson). They have similar beginnings and many likenesses, but also many differences. Their main difference is the stance on saturated fats. Because of this, I believe that the Primal Diet is very much like GAPS (while Paleo has only a few similarities to GAPS and many irreconcilable differences).

This is such a big topic, I’ve made a page about it: GAPS vs Paleo vs Primal

I think the Primal Diet is a healthy way to eat, and I greatly respect Mark Sisson’s writings (though I wish the guy would put on some clothes ;)). My only beefs (ha!) with the Primal Diet are:

  • I love dairy. I NEED cheese. No. I mean, I REALLY do. I read an article tonight by Dr. Natasha about how our body tells us what we need (when it’s healthy/not bogged down by processed foods and environmental chemicals). It tells us what we need by our cravings (again, only if we’re not eating JUNK!), etc. I CRAVE cheese. A LOT. I think my long-ago-ancestors must have been dairy farmers!
  • And along with cheese, homemade yogurt is pretty amazing (especially with oranges). And cultured sour cream. YUM. Can I just scoop about 2 cups on top of my dinner? 😉 And grass fed butter (have you tasted the difference? Oh, you MUST!). My body needs it. I can tell. I am STARVING when I don’t have this wonderful stuff in my diet. It’s what I was lacking when I was weak and shaky (well, the processed foods and grains were depleting my body, too).
  • I can’t have nuts. There are so many almond-flour recipes, and I can’t have them. Not if I want to breathe, anyway.
  • I’m not a fan of fermented soy or edamame. I don’t think they’re healthy foods. Mark Sisson says they’re ok to eat.
  • Pressure cookers can be used in Primal cooking. Dr. Natasha says that quick-cooking food damages it. I agree.

The things I like about the Primal Diet:

  • Sweet potatoes are yummy with a gob of grass fed butter. Sweet potatoes aren’t GAPS legal.
  • No beans. Beans are an issue for me, as for most people with autoimmune diseases. I’ll feel perfectly well, and then I’ll eat a soup with beans (soaked! Home cooked! I’ve even tried fermented!) and all of the sudden my muscles will feel weak. Beans attack my system. Again, if you’ve got autoimmune stuff going on, you should avoid them. So I agree w/this element of the Primal Diet.
  • I believe in the exercise aspect of the Primal diet. I believe that weight/health is 75% diet, 25% exercise (and lifestyle–stress, etc. fits in there somehow). Dr. Natasha doesn’t mention an exercise routine–but GAPS was originally written for autistic kids. Kids don’t usually have any trouble getting their daily exercise in!  I’m thinking about including some of the Primal exercises in my day, as a way to stay healthy. I love the idea that Sarah Fragosocan lift 220 lbs (almost double her weight). I want to be like her. 😉

Anyways, go look at my GAPS vs Paleo vs Primal page to check out the differences!

This post was shared at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday and also at Works for Me Wednesday and at Gluten Free Wednesday.

What about you? Are you on GAPS? Paleo? Primal? What are your thoughts about these diets?


  • Julie

    “I can’t have nuts. There are so many almond-flour recipes, and I can’t have them. Not if I want to breathe, anyway.”

    Have you considered trying coconut flour? It’s available from bulk food stores.

  • Tarena

    Brenda…I honestly didn’t know they were two different diets. I have only briefly heard of them, so it has been great to learn more!

  • Jenny

    I didn’t know that beans were not OK with Autoimmune issues. I have MS and have only read a book or two about the relationship of foods and symptoms. Something I will need to spend more time on, for sure.
    On a side note, we had a speaker come to our local MOPS group and talk about Weston-Price type nutrition, that blew a lot of people away! lol Thank you for sharing your information. 🙂

    • Tarena

      Oh Jenny! Hi! It’s so good to hear from you! It has been too long! I’m so glad you found me here!
      I will ask Brenda if she has more info on the beans and if she knows why she feels that way after eating them. I haven’t noticed this with my thyroid problems, but I also haven’t started beans yet on GAPS. They were a huge blessing to me this last pregnancy and keeping the nausea at bay in the first trimester, but I did soak them then too! =)
      That is wonderful that you guys had the speaker at your MOPS group! It is an eye opener for many (including myself!) that haven’t had the chance to learn about all of this before! =)
      I hope you are doing really well!

    • brenda

      Yes, that’s awesome! Raw milk is great, if you can handle it. I think a no-dairy beginning (like on the GAPS diet) is great for most people, and then a slow introduction of dairy (cultured at first). I think the Primal Diet is very similar to GAPS & is therefore a very good diet! 🙂

  • Passerby

    What are your opinions on the Weston A. Price/WAP diet? I’m unfamiliar with GAPS, but it’s very similar to Primal. (It’s also very pro-dairy!)

  • Loryn

    I used to be, and mostly still am, very anti-soy as well. So when I heard that “fermented soy” was supposed to be okay, I ignored it for a while, until I heard it a lot, and then I did some research. I think this article will help to explain how fermented soy can be so good even though soy is so bad, and because it really helped me, you might be interested as well. The truth is, I have loved reintroducing the ability to cook with soy sauce (organic) and to eat miso soup to my diet! Not only because they are “okay” or “in moderation” but because of other healing that they actually encourage. Anyway, check out this link:

    • Brenda

      Loryn, thank you for the link. I am also taking fermented soy in vitamin K2 pills right now, for thyroid/autoimmune issues. I started taking them because Chris Kresser recommended it, and I trust his wisdom. I like Mercola, too, so I will check out that article! Thank you! 🙂

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