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If I eat a few tortilla chips, can I still call myself “Paleo?”

Who really knows your body's needs better than you do?


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by Angela Gallardo in Articles
Changing the culture around paleo perfectionism, shaming, and negative self-image.

I’ve had this thought many times over the years: do a few tortilla chips disqualify me from the competition to be the best Paleo blogger on the internet?

I’m a perfectionist by nature so extra heaps of external pressure are the last thing I need (I do a pretty good job of condemning my actions on my own time, TYVM). And the pressure to be perfect Paleo can be pretty intense online. I can’t tell you how many comments/emails/etc I’ve received about the use of potatoes in my recipes.


But what used to be anger around dogma and Paleo perfectionism has morphed into a strong desire to help foster a culture of acceptance within the Paleo community.

Your Diet Should Only Be As Restrictive As Necessary For True Health & Well-being

My journey in doing GAPS a second time around has had me really digging in to this. I’m currently hanging out in “Full GAPS,” the extended phase post-intro where it’s pretty much Paleo minus heavy starches like sweet potatoes but with the addition of cultured dairy and some beans.

I genuinely feel it’s a great place for me to be in my continued healing journey. But I’ve had internal dilemmas about altering the program to meet my body’s needs. I know I do well with some aged cheese that GAPS doesn’t “allow.” I see no side effects with safer gums like locust bean and gellan (see Califia Almond MIlk). I also feel great with the consumption of occasional french fries (a big GAPS no-no).

If you’ve done a healing protocol of any kind, you know the kinds of rabbit holes you can get pulled into. Second-guessing every bit of food you put in your mouth, wondering if this one bite is the reason you aren’t 100% healed.

And worst of all, you worry about being kicked out of Paleo/GAPS/Whole30/AIP/SCD “cool kids” club, feeling shame over wanting to make different eating choices from the 72 Paleo people you follow on Instagram.

What You Are Doing Is Enough

I used to be scared to share how I really ate. Worried that if someone knew I ate french fries once or twice a month (no, I don’t ask for an ingredient list or what kind of oil they fry in BTW), they’d assume I was a fraud. That my 95/5 approach to Paleo wasn’t close enough to 100%.

I legitimately scoop fillings out of the tacos I order and pretty much never eat the taco shell. But if I share a picture on Instagram with the shell, do I explain every single time that I didn’t eat the shell? The paranoia is real, people. Which begs the question:

Is everyone really so set on hunting for imperfections that they don’t see the good?

What years in the Paleo community have taught me is that this is far from the case. I believe that by-and-large, we are good people who are ready to celebrate the goodness in others. The movement toward authenticity online stems from the desire we have to see others as they are, connect with them on a real level, and share with them the same message we are dying to hear ourselves:

Your efforts are enough. You are loved. And no one can tell you the best way of eating for your body but yourself.

My new motto: “Hi, I’m Angela and I eat a Paleo-style diet. It’s a choice and I make my own rules.”

  1. Autumn Chandler says:

    Love this!! 👊👊👊❤️ ❤️ ❤️.. So empowering to just be honest and true!

    1. Thanks, Autumn <3 <3 It was very empowering just to put it out there. And it's a message I think a lot of people need to hear!

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Your Perfect Paleo
Build-a-Meal Formula

Take your Paleo meals up a notch with my tried-and-true formula for balanced meals that will leave you satisfied & full for hours.

It's free!