philip sumner


 philip sumner

A Peek into the Paleo Diet: Dinner with Philip & Leona (from

by Bethany Nauert

Last month when I visited the home of Philip Sumner and Leona Laurie to shoot their House Tour feature for Apartment Therapy, the two of them fed me a delicious lunch and dinner. They have chosen to follow the Paleo diet, adopting it as a way of eating, and also as a lifestyle. Here's a peek into what dinner with them is like, eating the Paleo way.

Maybe I'm behind the the times of eating trends, but before I met Philip and Leona I had never heard of the Paleo diet. I knew about raw foods, eating for your blood type, eating gluten-free, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet but never Paleo. As someone who was a vegetarian for 10 years, but also suffered from IBS and once believed I had Celiac; I'm willing to try anything in the name of healthy digestion and sustainable living.
I'm still learning my way around what works for me; very little gluten or dairy, small amounts of chicken and fish, red meat once every few months and no caffeine. You would think this limits someone like me from a lot but it really hasn't. You just need to be creative about eating simpler meals. Given this background, here's what I learned and some reflections on the Paleo lifestyle.

1. What is the Paleo Diet?

Meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. The foods human beings have been eating for the longest period of time.

2. How long have you been living the Paleo lifestyle?

About four years.

3. What were some of the reasons why you changed your eating habits?

My version of the Paleo diet is always evolving but at its core is the idea that "man" is complete and the foods best for him are those that are the most natural to him. No cereals in goofy boxes, nothing canned; in fact, nothing that can't be consumed raw (although we cook most everything). Most modern food is advertising. There is freedom in understanding that the essentials are all that matter. Plus you can eat a lot of food and I love to eat!

4. What are some of the benefits of the Paleo diet? And what are some of the drawbacks, or rather things you may have to consider, like if you're a vegetarian for instance ?

If you eat this way without compromise, your system will run smoothly and efficiently. The mental clarity is kind of astonishing at first but pretty soon it feels natural and you want to preserve it. Also, be careful where you get your information. If you want informed answers you can contact me. The Paleo way of eating is pretty much in direct opposition to vegetarian and vegan diets and in many more ways than just eating meat. I support anyone who is making conscious, purposeful choices though.

If I may, I'd like to share a few ideas that were involved in my decision to eat in this manner. I feel the motivations are pretty different from those of a typical diet.

I am thinking more and more of existence as conceptual and linguistically defined. That being said, I am trying with all my might to recognize and adhere to the highest ideals possible. To know that there is only good. To move beyond terms like "difficult," "challenging," "pain" and "death" towards terms more closely aligned with light and hope. To know the world as perfect and reality as perception. If I find imperfection I believe that it is my own lens that must be examined. I believe in living forever and expect to live forever ..because that is a much better thing to believe in than the opposite. Progression and consciousness are the things that I hold most dear and consider most valuable. All things are a part of the beautiful consciousness of the most advanced, aware, brilliant creature, Man and he gives it all definition. I have compassion for all things, but I have true love in my heart for mankind.