Whole Foods vs. The Paleo Diet

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As a part of Healthy Living Month, I have been exploring different theories on healthy eating. Last week I talked about the Paleo diet (see Paleo recipes and resources here).

As I mentioned in the post, it is a great idea to eliminate the processed foods from our diet, but the strict requirements of going paleo are unrealistic for our family at this time.

A plan that I like better is the Whole Foods or Nutrient Dense way of eating. Based on the research of the Weston A Price Foundation, this way of eating involves whole, real foods like vegetables, fruits, meat and natural fats like butter, whole dairy products and coconut oil. They suggest eating grass fed beef and unpasteurized dairy products, and eliminating sugar and all processed foods.

My dream would be to feed my family only grass fed beef, free range chicken, unpasteurized dairy and organic produce, but that isn’t a reality right now with our current grocery budget of $125. As a compromise, I try to buy as many vegetables and fruits as possible, and feed my family the best quality meat that we can afford. We also purchase whole dairy products as opposed to low fat products.

As you can see in my weekly menu plans, I don’t follow the guidelines exactly and some weeks are better than others. Starting this month, however, I am committing to doing a better job of eating whole foods rather than processed foods.


If you would like to try this way of eating or just find out more, here are a couple of great Whole Foods resources:

Whole Foods Recipes Pin Board

Follow my Whole Foods Recipes Pin Board on Pinterest for easy and delicious meal ideas.

Weston A Price Foundation

Read the research behind this way of eating, discover why it is not “politically correct”, find recipes and more.


From Your Freezer to Your Family

Easy whole foods recipes that you prepare ahead of time, store in the freezer and then cook in the crockpot! Read more here.


  Nourishing Traditions

A popular cookbook based on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Dietary Guidelines. In my opinion, this is best for those who have decided they will eat this way rather than someone who is just exploring the options.


[See all the Healthy Living Posts here.]

Are you making any changes to the way you eat? Leave a comment.


You May Also Enjoy:

Balance Budget & Nutrition

Save Money on Organic Produce

Save On $100’s on Groceries






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  1. says

    Great info! I eat a whole food based diet too, while staying gluten-free and (mostly) dairy-free. Paleo is such a popular diet right now, and I really like to use paleo recipes as jumping off points, because they naturally don’t include wheat or dairy products.

  2. Mindy says

    I have been eating paleo for abt 3 weeks. I already didn’t eat sugar or soy or hardly any grains other than wheat. When I say “I” I don’t just mean what I eat, but also what I purchase and serve my family. After I quit buying processed foods about a year ago, I realized how much lower my grocery bill is. Like, tremendously lower. Even though you can only very very rarely use coupons with fresh foods, my grocery bill runs about $100/person per month. I don’t always buy organic or grain/grass fed. I do when it really matters (the dirty dozen fruits n veggies list) and beef. We switched to almond milk, a figure friendly and paleo friendly option. My small child (and world record holding pickiest eater) never even noticed. Most meat in the US isn’t hormone or antibiotic treated even when it’s not organic. It says so right on the label. The way I feel about the whole organic/grassfed/grainfed/free range issue is this: “don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good”. The point is to rid yourself of processed foods and their chemical and GMO ingredients and eat no grains, soy or dairy. There are plenty of foods that don’t have these ingredients. Don’t eat cereal, toast, bagels or oats for breakfast. Instead eat bacon, ham, sausage, eggs (super versatile!) and fruit. Also, according to the primary source of info on paleo eating, Dr. Loren Cordain, the occasional non-paleo meal is okay. I still drink Diet Coke (pure poison, I know) and per his plan we have 3 non paleo meals/week. This allows us our Thursday night pasta or pizza, Taco Tusedays and maybe a bowl of cereal one morning if someone’s really craving it. It’s also great if you know you have a special event coming up where you may want a piece of cake or something equally yummy. It may not be for everyone but you don’t have to take it so strictly either. Just follow the main principles: no processed sugar or salt, no soy, grains or dairy and try to eat as many organic naturally fed and raised lean proteins as you can find or afford. Good luck with whatever plan you choose, and God bless!

    • says

      Thanks Mindy. I like the idea of being less legalistic about the diet. I was more diligent about limiting processed foods in the past, but I have been a little too permissive lately. I am just trying to get back on track, and just sharing a little of our journey. :)

  3. Shelly says

    Our family has loosely following the Weston Price/Nourishing Traditions way of eating for a few years. By loosely I mean we do not have the financial means or resources to eat all grass-fed beef and free-range chicken (homeschool, single-income family). However we have recently decided to eliminate most grains as well. By default that increases our fruit and veggie consumption even more. My husband and I are hoping to not only drop a few pounds but reduce minor joint swelling and “brain fog”. We are a relatively active family and hope to increase activity as Spring is on the way. Thanks for sharing your family’s story.

    • Jamie says

      Typo City…

      Me Too :) I took out wheat and grain from my diet abut 6mths ago. My mom suffers from a few different autoimmune diseases and I’m trying to cut them off at the pass :) We’ll see how it works but I’m going to do my best.

  4. Jamie says

    I’m wheat free (not just gluten) so that takes out almost ALL processed foods. I feel VERY HEALTHY and “Lighter” since I’ve stopped eating processed foods. I recommend it!

  5. Kim says

    One less expensive meat option for those who have an extra freezer is to buy a half or quarter of a cow from a local farm raising grass fed / organically fed cattle. Many of these farms are small scale and have not only healthier products, but a lower environmental impact. When you purchase a quarter of a cow, you are getting all cuts of meat. Where I live in Northern California, you would end up paying about $4.00 per pound.
    Our family does not do this because we don’t eat meat, but it seems to me a kinder option for the cows and the environment. Many people I know who really enjoy meat, like this option because they are supporting local farmers and it is economical for the variety of meat cuts you get.

  6. Elizabeth says

    Can you pls direct me to a Web site that explains why it is best not to have wheat & soy? Being half latina & Italian I was raised eating tortillas, both corn & flour, and pastas. I also thought I was doing good by drinking soy chocolate milk.

  7. says

    We’ve been (mostly) paleo for a year and a half now. Weston Price is a good resource FOR grains, and for anyone wanting to also read the counter argument against them, Whole 9’s Grain Manifesto is a good place to start.
    http://whole9life.com/2013/02/grain-manifesto/ Long story short, grains are incredibly inflammatory, which much of the latest research shows has a ton of ties to autoimmune diseases, among many other things. We started down this path gluten free after I was diagnosed with an intolerance, and then my son as well. Eventually we cut out the grains, but we work a few in now and then (steel cut oats, some gluten free treats for kids). Our food budget is not small, as organic and grass-fed, etc are super important to us. We long at it long-term though – more money upfront for healthier bodies and less medical care later.

  8. says

    We’ve been eating whole/organic foods since the beginning of the year. I now sweeten with honey or stevia. It has made quite a difference in our lives. We feel great! My husbands acid reflux went away, I am down 20 lbs and he is down 10 lbs (we’ve also added activity to our lifestyle). I feel good about what I feed my family. No more processed anything. I will say it has been difficult on the budget, and we still need to reevaluate our budget. I still watch for sales and still have a lot to learn. I figure it is a good investment in our health though, and worth sacrificing something else in our budget.

  9. says

    Like u I would love to be eating the grass fed meats, completely organic but like I reality sets in and our budget for 7 isn’t much higher than yours. We do the best we can and we almost completely cut out processed foods all except my oldest teen. He eats way to much for us to do only organic. Nice to know there are plenty if other people like us working with a real budget. We can still eat healthy just have to prioritize what’s the most important on our food list. What gets me is I go to all the other sites where there are tons of info about saving money but yet there budget is way over mine. I’m teaching a class in my town how to eat healthy on any budget for free. I def missed something cause if those other people made a living off of their tops when there bill is way to much, we would be rock stars using our budgets. Lol.

    • says

      Good for you for doing the best you can within your budget Sarah–in my opinion that makes you a rock star for sure. :)
      I am sure that many people will benefit from taking your class and it is generous of you to offer it for free.

  10. Melissa says

    My grocery bill for a family of 5 is about $200 a month, plus we get WIC for 2 kids… So eating a good diet is a challange, but definitely not impossible. We don’t do a lot of meat simply because of cost, but we do lots of bean and rice type dishes and lots of raw fruits and veggies, sadly not organic though. I was mostly gluten free for about 6 months because my roommate was allergic and never noticed a difference in how I felt, so when she moved out I went back to eating wheat :-) I really really love the flavor of a good whole wheat flour (I use Kind Arthur brand mostly) I make most my bread type items from scratch because it’s way cheaper and I can cut out a lot of the garbage :-)

  11. Mandie says

    I recently began eating more whole foods and ‘clean’ because I “had” to. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and restless leg syndrome. My doctor gave me a medication for my “RLS”. It caused severe, 24/7 Acid Reflux. I couldn’t eat anything! The only thing my body wanted and tolerated were whole foods, primarily veggies and fruits. I decided, after about 2 weeks of this, that I wanted to make a healthier change of diet in the hopes of ridding my body of the toxins that are in it and in the hopes that maybe it would begin healing itself! I began to wean off some of my meds (including the med that began this ‘adventure’) and am now eating primarily clean/natural/organic. It’s been about a month. I’m down about 10 pounds and I am feeling a bit better, but I cannot say that I am ‘cured’. I know that it is helping, but I still have chronic pain and fatigue. Maybe as time passes it will continue to get better! Only time will tell!

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