Skip to Content

Supporting Sustainable Agriculture with a Paleo Diet

Is it possible for our planet to support 7 billion people following The Paleo Diet®? Unfortunately, no. Because of its reliance on natural foods including lean, grass-fed meats, the planet can no longer sustain the entire population on a true Paleo Diet.  

However, the rising number of diet-related illnesses indicates that something must change when it comes to how we produce food and how we choose to eat. The current standard practices for agriculture and livestock farming have several recognized negative impacts on the environment, including excessive water use, fossil fuel consumption, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.  

Fortunately, there are ways we can all participate in following a more sustainable, environmentally friendly approach to The Paleo Diet. 

What We Can Do to Reduce Our Impact 

From an emphasis on pasture-raised meats to embracing the consumption of all animal parts; from organic farming to alternative sources of protein (read: insects!), there are myriad ways to live a Paleo lifestyle while simultaneously reducing your impact on the environment.  

There is no arguing that commercial livestock production stresses the land. But this doesn’t mean that all livestock will have the same negative impact on the land. With proper methodologies, ruminants can actually help preserve ecosystems, restore soil fertility, and recycle essential plant nutrients.  

In fact, it has been shown that the most environmentally sustainable form of agriculture alternates growing crops and livestock on the same land. Crops can also contribute to carbon emissions, but if animals are allowed to graze on the land after crops were grown there, the animals will help keep the carbon in the ground and fertilize the soil to give a nutrient-rich environment for the next batch of crops to grow in.  

Some people believe The Paleo Diet is all about meat, but that notion isn’t true at all. In fact, by volume, The Paleo Diet is more of a plant-based diet than anything. Any of the meat you do consume should come from lean, pasture-raised animals or fish that have been farm-raised or sustainably caught. And by embracing our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ consumption of entire animals from nose to tail, we can reduce the use of resources by wasting less of the animal. Plus, it increases our intake of a wealth of nutrients. 

Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

More About The Author

Background on The Paleo Diet

back to top