I have always wanted to visit Maine even before my family started following a Paleo diet mainly because of the...you guessed it, fresh lobsters! Maine, U.S.A. is a seafood lover's dream. Known for its fresh lobsters, abundant seafood and local fresh produce, Maine proves to be an ideal state for people who follow the Paleo diet to visit. With the assistance of a crossfit gym in Maine, a Senior Nutritionist and the Maine Office of Tourism, Getting Primal was able to compile a massive list of Paleo-friendly establishments in the Maine area. If you follow the Paleo diet and are curious if Maine can easily accommodate your lifestyle, I hope the information I offer here can serve as a starting point to help you with your travel preparations.
A Paleo seafood lover's dream
Admittedly, when my family travels to the U.S., we take our travel trailer with us and cook up our own meals. We hardly ever eat out for reasons I am certain other Paleo folks like us can understand. First, trying to find a Paleo-friendly restaurant usually takes up more time and effort than planning and cooking up the meal ourselves. Secondly, there is nothing worse than visiting a restaurant only to feel insulted or ridiculed by the waiting staff because we are being 'too picky' about our food - it still happens folks...in this day and age despite food allergies and intolerances being more rampant than before. After receiving some suggestions for Paleo-friendly restaurants in Maine, however, I was excited to hear that there are options to visit in the area for those of us who would like to take some time off from cooking - and who doesn't? Ever since we started Paleo, we cook all...of...the...time, and everyone deserves at least a day off from the kitchen! And certainly, for those of us who prefer to cook our own meals when travelling, a list of natural food markets and groceries are offered in this feature as well.
For a comprehensive working list (and I emphasize 'working' because I will be updating it as I receive more info), feel free to visit this list of Paleo-friendly restaurants.
If you are looking for specific recommendations, Senior Nutritionist Vanessa Whiting for the central Maine area makes special mention of Slates Restaurant in Hallowell where they serve several Paleo options, The Liberal Cup, a pub restaurant located in the same area which sources all natural and local meats and veggies, and The Pickle Kitchen which serves all Paleo food options. Vanessa also makes special mention of Juice, a smoothie and juice bar located in Hallowell which offers several grain and gluten free options as well as grass fed protein in their drinks.
Inspired by the concept of the Street Market where folks meet to exchange stories and ideas while experiencing fresh seasonal foods and flavours, Frontier cafe in Brunswick offers several Paleo and gluten-free options.
Vanessa also recommends The Founding Farmers Market in Gardener where the owner Marcina Johnson is familiar with the Paleo diet and can provide specialty food preparation and catering.
Solo Bistro in Bath, another restaurant worth visiting, strives to use local, fresh and organic products whenever possible and has some Paleo meal options available which include scallops, vegan napoleon, and steak. Some sides may need some substitutions but they are more than happy to make any necessary adjustments for customers with dietary concerns.
Cabot's in Newton, a family owned diner, which was recommended by a member of the Paleo traveller's group on facebook offers five Paleo food options in their menu - A Paleo hamburger platter, the Paleo grilled chicken breakfast, the Paleo breakfast special, the Paleo poached eggs, and the Paleo tuna salad.
During my research, I also came across several Paleo-friendly restaurants in the area. Local Sprouts Co-operative in Portland serves some Paleo-friendly burger options, Fore Street is also a place to visit for Paleo travellers looking to experience some fine dining, and Vinland a gluten-free restaurant in Maine also offers some Paleo options. For Paleo travellers craving some authentic Mexican food, Miguel's Mexican Restaurant proudly touts some Paleo-friendly options. To satisfy treat cravings, Mae's Cafe and Bakery located in Midcoast Maine offers a sampling of Paleo-friendly goods.
For travellers who would rather cook their own meals, Vanessa Whiting recommends several Natural Food Stores and Groceries in Maine worth visiting. Namely, Vanessa shares that the Farmer's market in Gardener is well sought- out, and Harvest Time located in Augusta is also a place to visit for some Paleo food items. Other natural food markets to visit include Morning Glory Natural Food Market in Brunswick and Fiddlehead Farms Marketplace in Dover. The Rising Tide, Vanessa describes, is one of the best co-op and health food stores in Maine, and for local and fresh seafood, Hallowell Seafood is the place to go. For grass-fed beef, pork and natural poultry, she recommends checking out Westons meats at Gardiner, Emery's in Augusta, and Bissons Meat Market in Topsham. A member from Crossfit Portsmouth recommends visiting MEat, a butcher shop located in Kittery with an emphasis on raising local humanely raised animals.
Now that restaurants and food markets have been covered to ensure travellers are able to follow Paleo diets while in Maine (thanks to the contributers), what about things to do around the area? The abundant number of activies and attractions in Maine will keep anyone busy - even the discerning Paleo traveller. Maine has 26 agricultural fairs, several farmers' markets, breathtaking coastal scenery, numerous sandy beaches, and multiple picturesque historic lighthouses. Island-hopping and visiting the islands of Casco Bay for some hiking, picknicking, biking, kayaking, sight-seeing, golfing, or just plain relaxing and taking in the view is also a popular activity among the visitors and residents of Maine. And who can forget one of the most popular past-times in Maine? Fishing! In the winter, ice fishing in particular is a popular activity. Fresh fish in the winter? Well, any Paleo traveller who enjoys fresh seafood can appreciate that!
For more things to do in Maine and for our own bucket list of places to visit in Maine as inspired and chosen by our kids, visit our sister site Circus Living's feature at this link.
Special thanks goes to Senior Nutritionist Vanessa Whiting of Stronger Faster Healthier, Crossfit Portsmouth, and the Paleo traveller's group on facebook for providing me with recommendations. As well, special thanks to Jennifer Geiger of the Maine Tourism Office for providing me with the images to use and for her ongoing assistance.