I want to take a minute to correct the mistake in terminology that I have been making. Well, I've actually already tried to change my wording in day-to-day life, but I guess what I want to do is explain the mistake I was making, because it seems like I am far from the only one making it.
The way I eat is NOT Paleo. It is actually PRIMAL.
"What's the difference?" you may ask.
In practice, not much. At least that is the way it seems from the number of Paleo recipes that are actually Primal by inclusion of certain ingredients. Also, there are many people who say that they have their own adapted version of Paleo (much like I did), when they may actually be Primal. (They may just be doing their own thing completely, but I find that the exceptions most people make to their Paleo-ish diet are more in line with the Primal diet, in general)
Basically, when you research Paleo, you are going to come across people interchanging the two like crazy! And that is totally fine, because in reality, the two diets are based on the same premise and are meant to function in very similar ways.
But, I suppose in theory, there is more of a divide than most people know...
I just finished reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, which is what led me to understand that what I was actually leaning towards the whole time was a primal lifestyle. ((Book review coming soon!!))
In fairness, I haven't read books on Paleo all the way through, so I don't feel completely comfortable breaking it down into a science, but I did make some observations from what I believed Paleo to be in my research, and what I learned while reading The Primal Blueprint.
I believe that the differences are as simple as the fact that Primal allows some dairy into the diet, and even very small amounts of quinoa or wild rice for hard-core athletes. Also, Sisson is more laid-back (and in my opinion, realistic) with his rules. The way he explains the Primal lifestyle connects with me more naturally than the way the Whole 30 represents its suggested lifestyle. I don't think many people would, or more importantly would be happy to, live their life as strictly as diets like the Whole 30 preach. I understand the premise of perfection in diet, and I applaud whole-heartedly my friends (and strangers) who can successfully stay with the plan. For me personally, a little more flexibility is necessary so I don't completely crack!
Yet again, it may not be fair to compare the Whole 30 to Primal as an example of Paleo, as it does seem to have some very separate rules from the original Paleo Diet as voiced by Loren Cordain... Basically, it all gets super confusing- and a little hair-spliting if you ask me!
As you can see, I am no expert in this field, although I do plan to read several more books so I can start to figure this out myself! For a more educated explanation, here is how Sisson writes about the difference on his website/blog "Mark's Daily Apple":
Exhausting, isn't it?!?! In conclusion, I just wanted to let you all know that I am sorry for prancing around ignorantly calling myself Paleo... I now know the truth; I'm a Primal girl at heart <3