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Paleo Diet And Fermented Foods

What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo (or paleolithic) diet is popular today, but what is it and can people following a paleo diet eat fermented foods?

The paleo diet is the diet of a hunter/gatherer, that is – only food that can picked, pulled or killed.  Wikipedia says:

…the diet typically includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat and typically excludes foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol or coffee.

One good thing about the paleo diet is that it doesn’t allow followers to eat the chemical-filled, processed and refined foods that can be harmful to our bodies.  In our family we don’t purposefully follow the paleo diet.  But as it turns out, the food we like and the food we think is best is loosely paleo.

Do Fermented Foods fit with the Paleo Diet?

The real question is – do fermented foods fit with the paleo diet?  Foods that we often ferment include: fruits, vegetables, and meats.  These are all foods that hunter/gatherers eat, at least before they’re fermented.  I can imagine a hunter-gatherer putting food into a hole, shell, bladder, skin, or some other container and letting it sit for a while.  I have read about the following occurring:

  • Australian aboriginals would ferment poisonous seeds and nuts in water to make them edible.
  • Ancient Mongols would ferment milk and blood in a bladder to make alcohol.
  • Ancient Russians would ferment milk in a leather pouch.
  • Many desperate hunters would have eaten meat that was starting to rot (rotting is an uncontrolled form of fermentation).
  • Many hungry gatherers would have eaten food that was starting to rot.


While the paleo diet is not particularly formalised, it seems safe to say that fermented foods are acceptable.

Making fermented food is easy and fun, whether you’re a hunter gatherer or a white collar worker. If the food being fermented can be picked, pulled or killed, then it should be acceptable paleo diet followers.  Anyone can ferment at home, but it does take time a and a lot of love.  If you don’t have the time and love it takes to ferment your good, we can do it for you.  Have a look here at our shop.

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