Is it possible to fully experience a city's culture despite having food restrictions? Exploring the difficulties of being Paleo in a city known for its gastronomy.

It's been three months since we moved to Montreal. Before Montreal, I was 100% Paleo. In the middle of our stressful move, my husband, his father, and I ended up eating at a sushi restaurant and I guess since then, I have not been fully adhering to the Paleo template. Though we eat Paleo at home because my daughter simply cannot afford not to, we do eat non-Paleo food when out and she's not around. I realize not everyone adheres to the diet fully and that some would say I shouldn't make too much of a big deal out of it. Well, here lies the problem - sugar makes me crazy. Irritability, mood swings, depression, unexplainable bouts of anxiety, and mental fog all hit me days after. Was the scrumptious crepe worth it? (And oh boy, does Montreal make them good!) I often tell myself yes but in all honesty, it has taken its toll and I am starting to remember why I never went off the Paleo wagon to begin with. I have been living in a mental fog, once again a slave to sugar, and quite frankly, I hate it.

I used to think travelling when following a Paleo diet was difficult but do-able. I never really thought much about staying Paleo while living in a food-centric city like Montreal. There are tons of amazing restaurants, creperies, chocolateries, bakeries, and gelato places in this wonderful city we now call home. And to think we have not yet even visited Quebec City which is a haven for foodies. I will admit it. I miss being able to experience a place's culture through their food without worrying much about the negative effects of wheat, preservatives, sugar and the like. I am certain for some people like me, however, the consequences of cheating have far more ramifications than anticipated or hoped. Some folks get physically ill on top of the dastardly mental effects.

I am determined more than ever to find places in Montreal that are Paleo-friendly, places that will suit travellers and locals who have to adhere to a specific type of diet. Can one truly experience a city whether living or travelling in it while adhering to a restricted diet? Most foodies will probably disagree. I guess I will find out sure enough. My mission in the next several months is to search out places in our new home in the hopes of creating a guide for folks who travel or live in the city. Certainly, I will continue to search out Paleo-friendly places on a global scale with the help of others who adhere to the diet - I will share more details about this global project on another date (If you are a Paleo food blogger who travels or someone who just travels while on the Paleo diet and want to know more about the project and would like to get involved, send me an email to

Since I live in Montreal, most of my travel posts in the next while will revolve around here and the province of Quebec. My posts will extend beyond restaurants that cater to Paleo folks. I will investigate local markets, farms, special events or attractions, natural food stores, health/wellness spas/retreats, b&b's, inns, hotels, places to visit for date nights and family outings which fit or cater to the Paleo lifestyle. I am on a quest. I am confident that with enough time and research, one can fully explore and enjoy a city's culture despite having food restrictions.

So I encourage you to follow me on my search, witness my family's trials and successes as we focus on living a healthier lifestyle day by day, and be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to keep updated on Paleo life in Montreal.


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BonAppetour dining experience