Fermented Foods, Ancient Foods and Super Foods…Are They Paleo?

One of the most commonly asked questions amongst clients and blog readers alike is for my position on foods seen as healing, restorative and preventative and whether or not they are Paleo.

A great example is the drink Kombucha.  For those unfamiliar with this popular beverage, it’s a fermented tea drunk for ‘medicinal purposes’.  

If I’m asked, “Is Kombucha Paleo?” I have to reply with a definitive “No.” Fermented foods are not part of the Paleo diet; the earliest records of fermentation date back to the Neolithic Era (beginning in 9000BC), which was roughly 1,000 years after the Paleolithic Era ended.

Then, the response from whoever asked the question tends to be, “but I thought ‘X’ (whether we’re talking about Kombucha, or cider vinegar or something of the like) was good for you!”

Another popular query is regarding ‘green powders’ often classed as ‘super foods’ and also, unfortunately, not paleo as they tend to contain grain and/or legume derivatives (as in wheat or barley grasses and soy, in particular).

How about items like maca powder, goji berries or the acai fruit?

If you’re in search of something magical to give you an edge on your health, I’m sorry to tell you than there truly is no secret wonder food that all on its own is going to be your panacea.

Can the foods listed above help? 

Perhaps some of them.  I  see no problem with scattering some natural goji berries atop your salad or adding a spoonful of maca powder to your morning smoothie.

Can they hurt?

Certainly, some can.  If you’re taking a green powder with soy, you’re doing your body a great injustice by ingesting one of the most toxic legumes you can consumer.

So, what’s the answer, then? 

Focus on eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, wild fish, lean meats, avocados, coconuts and olive oil.  Sound familiar?

In other words, if you follow the Paleo diet, you won’t need to seek out a magic potion or food.  There is no magic.  Just eat food.  And don’t’ eat things that aren’t food.  And move.