What is Kaleo?

Kale + Paleo = Kaleo. It’s a joke, yo! A word I made up because people always seem to want to label my way of eating, to put me ‘in a box’. Kale and paleo are trendy right now, and I wanted to poke at food fads a little. I kinda liked it though, and it took on a life of it’s own. It grew into something more than a play on words, an anti-dogma if you will. I resist the philosophical dogma that there is only ONE right way to eat.

Everyone’s ‘ideal’ diet is very individual and unique to themselves. Here’s a graphic that depicts how I decide what to eat.

I try to get as much of my nutrition as possible from foods that fit into the ‘Food Foundation’ intersection. Of course I do eat foods that don’t fit perfectly into this template, like coffee and chocolate, but most of my food choices fall into these intersections. Using this template, everyone’s diet would be unique to their values, goals, personal tastes and local climate. There is no one right way.

My way of eating evolves as I learn, and as my body changes, so flexibility is also a component of my eating philosophy. And most important of all, a sense of perspective: we are unbelievably fortunate that we have the freedom and resources to spend time optimizing our diets. Lets be gracious to others who are just beginning their lifestyle change, and lets be aware of how our food choices impact our environment and the people and creatures we share it with.

40 thoughts on “What is Kaleo?

  1. Pingback: Malnutrition from Poor Dieting Practices | Genki Kitty's Blog

  2. How (and should you?) talk to a person who has gone wacko crazy about the paleo diet, and losing weight? I need to lose weight, I know that. I am 5′ 6″ and 170. Basically, non-exercising (ankle surgery started my litany of excuses)
    For my daughter’s wedding I did do a modified paleo/metabolic miracle diet to lose 15 lbs. Which I promptly gained back after going off the diet.
    I know regular exercise and healthy good food is best to slowly lose the weight, but the temptation to go paleo is strong when it seemingly works so well.
    My sister is on a paleo religious experience, “grains are poison, meat is king, bacon is god”….etc etc…..and she’s losing weight. It makes me frustrated, and I have to be honest, jealous as all get out.
    I know Paleo is not long term good for her, but why?

    • First of all, best of luck with your own health and exercise – I hope that you find something that works well for you!

      I’m on the opposite end of your dilemma, since I’m someone who’s “wacko crazy about the paleo diet” and I’ve been trying to convince my friends and family members to give it a try. Well, I *was* trying to convince them until I realized that it’s best to focus on myself and my own health, and to know as much info as possible in case others want to ask me questions.

      I guess I’d suggest that you keep doing research. What aspect of paleo do you think is harming her? Is she losing weight too quickly? (I thought I was, but it’s finally evened out, and I’m not “too skinny.”) Is she missing out on important micronutrients? Do you just wish that you could serve her “normal food” and not have her give a lecture? Let her know what aspect of it makes you uncomfortable and see if you can have a productive conversation. And if she says she’s happy and healthy, try to be happy for her and as supportive as you can! Jealousy, as you know, probably won’t help the relationship. So focusing on your own health is another piece of the puzzle.

    • Probably best to just leave her be for now. Model healthy, moderate eating. Paleo can produce weight loss because by removing calorie dense foods like grains and dairy, a person inadvertently produces a calorie deficit. If that deficit is too big (which can happen because most paleo leaders actively discourage calorie tracking) it can lead to metabolic adaptations that result in rapid regain. That might not happen though. Some people do very well on paleo long term, and it’s not inherently unhealthy. It can become unhealthy when taken to extremes, like any other fad diet. Just let her be, model healthy moderation, and if she gets herself into trouble she’ll know who to go to. Paleo is like religion, it’s very difficult to break through during the zealous conversion stage. :)

    • How do you know that paleo isn’t good long term for her? You aren’t her. Lots of research shows that a paleo way of eating is healthy for many people and if it’s working for her, who cares? There’s no one perfect diet and apparently paleo didn’t work for you…that’s okay! But so long as your sister is eating a good amount of whole foods (more than just bacon I hope!), I would leave her be. Focus on you.

  3. You look FANTASTIC! I am in awh of what you’ve accomplished! I’ve been doing Paleo for about 3 months now and have lost about 12-13 lbs. Although I look a bit better, I have little to no energy! I’m not exercising at all because that really drains me. I weigh 160 and am 5’7″ tall. My diet consists of organic meats, seafood, veggies, fruits & nuts. I would like to lose about 15-20lbs but I’ve been stuck at 160 for a month now. I can’t figure out why I’m so lethargic when I’m eating quality whole foods?? I think I may need to bring back small portions of potatoes, rice & quinoa again. Do you have any tips for me? Thanks, Norma

  4. Hey! I understand this is kind of off-topic but I needed to ask.

    Does running a well-established blog like yours require a massive amount work?

    I am brand new to operating a blog but I do write in my
    diary every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

  5. This is totally random, and you probably have heard this by now, but Kaleo actually is a real word :) Just not in English.

    Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: kaleĊ, Part of Speech: verb
    1) to call 1a) to call aloud, utter in a loud voice 1b) to invite 2) to call, i.e. to name, by name 2a) to give a name to 2a1) to receive the name of, receive as a name 2a2) to give some name to one, call his name 2b) to be called, i.e. to bear a name or title (among men) 2c) to salute one by name

    I just thought that was interesting. Love your site and your perspective! When i start to go to crazy town I always find your posts and bring myself back down to earth :)

  6. What a great blog post!! Well done on your progress and truly inspiring.

    I started Powerlifting at 40 (last year) and am 10 months in, I’ve competed in two competitions and am looking foward to 2 more this year, along with 2 strongwoman comps. :)

    I can’t recommend lifting enough to people and am privileged that some women / friends have said it’s inspiring reading about my lfiting.
    I was 227lbs at one point and am currently 188lbs.. but hoping to lose more bodyfat over the coming months. I have backed off on ‘diets’ for a year now and am reducing body fat slowly. :) I don’t think I’ll ever be as trim as you but will be subscribing and reading up on your blog.

    thanks for sharing.

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  11. A friend of mine just posted something of yours on Facebook, and I was intrigued with the term “Kaleo” and came here to find out what it meant. I’m refreshed and relieved to see how balanced your view on nutrition is, and how well it has worked for you.
    I tend to become rather obsessive with my weight, and find myself trying very restrictive diets wherein I just get so anxious and frustrated with what I “can’t” have (whether it be dairy or carbs or… whatever the enemy of the month might be), that I give up and gain back the weight I lost while on that diet. I have a hard time finding exercise I enjoy and quickly become bored with “normal” workouts, following a routine or video, or even going to the gym.
    I’m going to start following your blog and your page on Facebook, because I really need a voice of reason and encouragement in my life, to find the balance between being healthy and actually enjoying life.

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  14. THIS!!!!!!!!

    This is how I eat, too, I think putting too many restrictions on the types of foods we eat just makes it more likely that we’ll lose our resolve and backslide into piles of cheetos and hamburgers. We’re resourceful omnivores, designed to eat as varied a diet as our climate, resources, and individual metabolisms allow. Enjoy it – some creatures have to subsist entirely off of plankton.

  15. You’re awesome, that’s what Go Kaleo is. The comments posted via your FB page on my 1500 calories per day/Nazi blog show that your readers GET IT. I posted that same info elsewhere and wound up in arguments that those low calories are “necessary” sometimes. You also get the bit about ultra-low bodyfat vs long-term health. Keep fighting the good fight! I’m reassured by the changes I see in the way people are thinking about diet, fitness, fat, and food! Goooooooo Kaleo!!!

  16. so glad i found your page…i been a runner for over 20 yrs last year we stop eating processed food and that was good but iam still learning what is the best for me since iam a very active mom, i work part time and always on the move all day until i go to bed. i havent been feeling like working out eventhough i still do it but i feel like iam pushing thur it. iam 5″4 120 lbs.and enjoyed long really long distance running but i feel i cant do it anymore, I have the desire but dont feel strong, something is not right with my diet. i know it.

  17. It is so refreshing to see someone eating a certain way and encouraging others to create their own ideal diet using thier own value system, culture etc. What works for one does not work for another – and may not be a sustainable way of eating for them. There are so many healthy diet options, and people need to find what works for them – sometimes that is something that is “tried and true” – paleo, primal, kaleo (Love it), weight watchers (a balanced diet following the food pyramid)… etc. So many choices! Thanks for this – a site I will share with many.

  18. So glad to find you! I have been experimenting with eating a vegetarian diet with a ton of local produce from the pick your own farms and my allotment. I go every week to pick veg and fruit with my daughter. I am not eating meat because I don’t like the way animals are treated, but if I was to find ethically raised meat, i would partake if i desired to. I hate the strict rules of labels…. people can sometimes jump on my case when I say something about eating meat. who says i have to be one thing 100% of the time. so refreshing to find others feel the same

  19. I love your philosophy! I eat a plant based whole foods diet (no animal products) – my site is “the almost vegan” because I hate labels!! Good for you not to be pressured by the influence of so many fad diets and strict regimins! You look great!!! Do you take supplements?

  20. Love your site – found it by accident on a friend’s facebook page. I love that you eat a plant based diet AND work out. As a vegetarian athlete, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how I get my protein by someone who has no idea how much protein we need. I would bet that I get more protein by lunchtime than most people get all day. I would love to see recipes or suggestions on ways to spice up typical vege meals. THANKS for sharing all your thoughts!!

  21. Awesome! So many people looking for a “prescription” on how to eat instead of just eating real food that makes them feel good. Also love your environmental impact statement. I just may have to adopt the term “kaleo” – love it!

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