A Caveman Wedding? Or Me Babbling About Food Choices

At the beginning of the year, Mr. Rucksuck and I committed to living a Paleo lifestyle. It’s been over seven months now and we could not be happier with our diets, waistlines, and the way our insides feel.

Our road to Paleo was pretty long and even included a trip down a vegetarian lane that left us several pounds heavier and feeling generally yucky. After realizing we’d each gained quite a bit of weight in our year and a half together (foodies and winos in love is a bad weight-loss combination), Mr. Rucksack joined a local Crossfit gym in December. The Paleo diet came along shortly thereafter, and I jumped on the bandwagon too.

Sometimes vaguely called the caveman diet, we can really only eat meat, fruits, veggies, and nuts. Nothing processed, no dairy, no gluten, no soy. Basically, if I can’t hunt it or forage for it, I can’t eat it. (This is obviously super oversimplified, but if you’re interested in learning more I’d suggest checking out Robb Wolf‘s site and Everyday Paleo to start.)


Image via Hunger Games DWTC Fansite

I think it’s fitting that I read the Hunger Games trilogy during my first few days being Paleo, even if I don’t really hunt my own food.

Mr. Rucksack and I both stand firm in wanting to remain Paleo—like forever. For as long as I can remember I’ve had random unknown food allergies that left me with hives and stomach problems that have all disappeared since starting Paleo. I’ve learned that I have a soy allergy (and you’d be surprised how many processed foods contain soy) and that my stomach doesn’t particularly care for gluten. In addition to no more allergic reactions, I’m down 10 pounds so I know I’m doing something right!

Since we’re loving this whole Paleo thing, and I refuse to touch gluten and soy ever again, it kind of makes sense to have a Paleo menu for our wedding too. Don’t worry, we’re not doing some sort of Flintstones dinner.


Image via Yedies

When we started to think more about our menu options, what really jumped out at us was a grilled menu. And since we’re getting married on the beach, what’s better than a clam bake?


Hey, Mrs. Corn! I stalked Mrs. Corn’s wedding so hard back in ’07! / Photo by Kate Whitney Lucey

Lobster, steak, chicken, and vegetables? Now that is a Paleo menu all of our guests can be excited about!

Mark and Stephanie, our caterers from Forks & Fingers, have been so accommodating to our needs. Mark’s kids actually have Celiac Disease so he’s a pro at gluten-free menus. That definitely put our minds at ease since we know we have someone who really understands our dietary constraints.

Do you have dietary issues you’re keeping in mind during wedding planning?


Mrs. Rucksack

May 16
Branford, CT
Wedding Date:
August 2013
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Emm, Guest @ 9:36 am

    It’s a nice idea, but I hope if you have vegetarian guests you are offering a separate vegetarian option. As a vegetarian, I’d be rather upset (and very hungry) if I came to a wedding and only had a plate of veggies to eat.

  2. Member
    jaina8851 107 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:48 am

    Yay paleo! My husband eats paleo, I am not quite as strict about it as he is, but I do try. We didn’t have a paleo menu at the wedding, but good for you… I like meals where it’s like “sneaky” paleo: delicious food that no one would think twice about. Do you read Mark’s Daily Apple? I’m a big fan of his site.

  3. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 10:56 am

    I’ve never adhered to any specific food philosophy aside from eating a variety of foods & healthy, with little meat or carbs. I’m glad that Mr. B has taken to my cooking without complaint because he eats so much healthier now than compared to before we got married (think pasta, ramen, steak).

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Lisa, Guest @ 11:58 am

    @Mrs. Bracelet:
    That’s what we do too in our household, my DH eats much healthier now too, sans all the sweets I tend to bake!!

    I got my degree in nutrition and am going to be a dietitian, and the consensus in all of our classes was the best diet is no diet. Just eat a variety of foods and learn to eat those that aren’t as calorie dense in moderation and in smaller portions.

  5. Member
    In the media 1565 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:40 pm

    I have a whey allergy which leaves me covered in hives, so I understand. There are a lot of processed foods that have it in there and I’ve had to give up some of my favorites. I eat them on occasion, because my willpower is zero. Teach me your ways, oh mighty Rucksack.

  6. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 1:33 pm

    I think its awesome you have such willpower! Unfortunately, the though of giving up gluten is pretty much never going to enter my mind (even if I agree it has MANY health benefits, even for those without a gluten allergy). Neither my husband nor I adhere to any specific diet, we just eat what we want in moderation and that works for us. I do hope to give up soda (especially diet, artificial sweeteners are just so bad) this year… Coke is my main weakness so we will see! As far as special diet for our wedding, the only thing we knew we couldn’t have is shellfish because of my husbands mom having an allergy.

  7. mswaterfall Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:19 pm

    I admire your tenacity, I could never give up carbs, I live for bread and pasta!

  8. Member
    jackibean 1075 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:51 pm

    That’s amazing! Caterers, based on all the different diet restrictions that have taken over society, have become so creative when it comes to working within the rules. I’m excited to see how it all turns out!

    No specific restrictions here. FI and I are just making sure we eat more veggies, less grains and processed food. But we’re REALLY looking forward to our steak dinner at our wedding!!

  9. Member
    nz-bride 19 posts, Newbee @ 5:10 pm

    SO great to hear someone else talking about Paleo, I’ve just started on it about 5 weeks ago and am loving it so far – agree that it really helps sort out any niggly stomach issues that you tend to try and ignore! I guess everyone does Paleo a little different though as we get to eat dairy with ours as well as the meat, veg, nuts, eggs etc :) and the food I’m making is really yummy, would definitely recommend to anyone wanting to make a healthy change that’s not really a “diet” but something you can stick to for life. :)

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Lauren, Guest @ 5:28 pm

    I looked into the “paleo” diet but I’ve been a vegan for 5 years (and a vegetarian growing up) so I found it shocking I would need to give up essentially half or more of my diet, on top of not eating animal products. I think it’s good you found something that works for you, but when it comes down to it the paleo diet just isn’t being conscious of the fact that animals still died for your enjoyment. -Lauren

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    lauren, Guest @ 5:49 pm

    I looked into being Paleo but I’ve been a vegan for 5 years (and a vegetarian growing up) so I found it shocking I would need to give up essentially half or more of my diet, on top of not eating animal products. I think it’s good you found something that works for you, but when it comes down to it eating Paleo just isn’t being conscious of the fact that animals still died and/or were used for your enjoyment.

    Our animal neighbors are sentient, self-aware, and capable of experiencing both pleasure and pain. They deserve our respect, and they deserve freedom. Animal agriculture is responsible for the death of over 56 billion animals worldwide each year–not counting fish, who have also been shown to possess sentience and a capacity for suffering. Even animals raised under the most “humane” circumstances–which is to say, even some of the cows that are grass fed, and chickens that are “free range”–suffer tremendously to become or provide human food.

    Using crops like wheat, soy, and corn to feed animals on factory farms is grossly inefficient. It takes 16 pounds of grain and soy to produce one pound of beef and 3 pounds to produce 1 pound of chicken or egg. More than 70% of grain and cereal grown domestically is fed to farmed animals, in spite of our own human hunger crisis. Various advocates suggest that we can remedy this problem with small farming models, which is true to an extent, but of course that solution doesn’t take into account the issue of animal sentience and suffering.

    It takes between 20 and 50 gallons of water to produce a pound of vegetables or fruit; it takes 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat and almost 1,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk. An exclusively plant-based diet requires only 300 gallons of water per day, while an average omnivorous diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day. In a world with increasingly limited supplies of clean water, this feels criminally wasteful.

    Meanwhile, the UN estimates that approximately 30% of the earth’s entire land mass is devoted to animal agriculture. The cost is enormous: it takes 3.25 acres of land to feed a meat-eating person on a continuing basis, while only a sixth of an acre is needed to feed a plant-based eater. The UN has also stated that agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases to our atmosphere yearly than do the fossil fuels from cars.

    Animal agriculture is economically and environmentally ruinous. But none of us are powerless against the system: we can all choose to protest and remedy the damage of factory farming three times a day: by putting plant-based meals on our plates.

  12. Member
    SamanthaMarie89 171 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:36 pm

    Okay?….anyways, I’m going to give this method a try! I looked into it and it does seem logical.

  13. gondola Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:18 pm

    A clambake sounds awesome! Yummy!

  14. Member
    mapleleafmel 218 posts, Helper bee @ 5:13 am

    I learned about Paleo a few weeks ago, and FI and I have kind of tried to stick to it. Our weakness is dairy (we have smoothies every morning, but I know I can eliminate the dairy from those easily) and rice. We eat a fair bit of rice.

    I think it’s great that you are trying to incorporate your lifestyle choices into your wedding, but I agree with the vegetarian concerns (only having a plate of veggies).

    We have quite a few vegetarians coming to our wedding, and their only request was that they get something more than sides (that actually happened at one wedding we went to, the Vegs’ just got a plate of sides).

    We have a few people with anaphylactic allergies, so we’ve had to ensure that there will be no form of cross-contamination in the kitchen.

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Radish, Guest @ 5:38 am

    We are vegetarians so we had to make sure the veggie option was not an afterthought at our venue.
    Will you have any vegetarian guests? Unfortunately vegetarians can’t really eat paleo because all you could eat is nuts and veggies! That won’t well fuel a night of dancing. If you’re doing a buffet, could you offer even rolls or a baked potato for vegetarians? You don’t have to eat it yourselves but it might be nice for your guests

  16. rucksack Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 6:08 am


    We do have a couple of veggies coming to the wedding and will have quinoa stuffed bell peppers for them, along with some pretty substantial sides. (Beet & Greens Salad, Asparagus risotto, Veggie kabobs, & Corn Succotash!) We definitely want to make sure everyone is happy & full :-)

  17. rucksack Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 6:16 am

    @jaina8851: I’ll have to add Mark’s Daily Apple to my blog list. Glad to see another Paleo-er here!

    @In the media: Hives are the worst, especially when you don’t know where they’re coming from! My big fear was that they’d one day turn into more than hives so I guess that’s where my willpower comes from. I just keep telling myself I have an allergy to the off-limits foods and then I don’t want them anymore.

    @Mrs. Waterfall: I am one of those weirdos that doesn’t like bread or pasta or pizza even. (Drove my mom crazy when I was younger!)

    @nz-bride: I love coming across other Paleo-ers! And it gets easier and easier as time goes on!

  18. rucksack Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 6:18 am

    @lauren: Thanks for all of that info. I was vegetarian for awhile and it just wasn’t healthy for me, but I’m glad you found something that works for you and that you’re passionate about!

  19. Member
    jessc4343 219 posts, Helper bee @ 6:24 am

    Thankfully, we only really have to worry most about picky kids (our own included)! We’ve made it clear on our w-site that we’re planning a “glitzy backyard bbq” and I trust that those that know us, know what that entails! The biggest decision we had to make regarding food choices was chicken, pork, or beef. We ended up choosing baked chicken & pulled pork because apparently brisket is mega-cha-ching! With some mac&cheese, green beans, and sweet ‘tatoe casserole on the side we’re all gonna be in a food coma!!

    These are not items in which we indulge very often so although it’s not a fancy meal – it’s one of which we’re definitely looking forward! I hope you find a meal to serve that you’re excited about, too!!

    @jaina8851: I second Mark’s Daily Apple; I’m not strictly Paleo (mostly because donuts aren’t on the “ok” list) but think his advice is easy to comprehend and quite straight forward!

  20. rucksack Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 6:29 am

    @jessc4343: Can I please come to your wedding? We really considered a bbq and I get jealous and mouthwatery every time I hear about a backyard bbq wedding!

    Also, Mr. Rucksack LOVES donuts. I actually found a paleo apple cider donut that I plan on making him soon!

  21. Member
    jessc4343 219 posts, Helper bee @ 6:32 am

    @Miss Rucksack: *that I plan on making him soon and then working the outcome & recipe into a blog somehow. (yes?… please? :)

  22. rucksack Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 6:34 am

    @jessc4343: Bahaha. At the very least I’ll PM you the outcome! (But I think I’ve said before that Mr. Rucksack does not trust my cooking, so a positive outcome may be a long shot!)

  23. Member
    minnow 428 posts, Helper bee @ 6:52 am

    My fiance and I live a similar lifestyle as well – we eat almost no grain and little dairy and also do crossfit-style workouts and running 5-6 days per week. But we figured that for our wedding we were going to enjoy any of the food that we wanted – after all, we figured what the point of having a paleo menu was if we were still going to drink alcohol and eat cake! 😀

    That and our menu is Turkish-inspired, so a rice pilaf and bread was a requirement, as well as ayran (a salted yogurt drink) shooters during the passed appetizers.

    I commend you for bringing Paleo into your wedding! It’s not an easy thing to do and you’re pretty hardcore to keep to the eating plan all the time! I figure that all weddings are “special occasions” and worth the once-in-a-while cheat :)

  24. Member
    kit_kath 1327 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:17 am

    You’re menu sounds tasty! It’s great that you found something that fits your lifestyle but is still “normal” food, as in someone would order it dinner even if they weren’t on a special diet.

    The only big diet concerns for us were to avoid nuts and shellfish. Neither of us are allergic but a few guests are, we didn’t want to risk it so we kept both off them menu all together.

  25. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 8:26 am

    We use some Paleo recipes on occasion as they tend to be less likely to have the items that are no longer safe for me to eat (IBS with many, many food triggers), but agree with the nutritionist @Lisa: about not following any one “diet” per se, just eating as healthily and varied a diet as possible with each person’s individual limitations.

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    Stephanie, Guest @ 3:53 pm

    Can I demand the link to paleo apple cider donuts or else?!??? 😉

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    strega42, Guest @ 12:49 pm

    I’m absolutely stunned at the number of people here who presumably aren’t invited to the wedding who think that they have some kind of moral right to criticize the couple for “not having enough vegetarian food” on the buffet.

    I sure hope that when all these vegetarians get married, they offer meat at their wedding receptions for their non-vegetarian friends.

  28. Member
    stephee 1103 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:45 pm


    Most of us do :-) Most of us are kind, understanding people, who just wants everyone to have a good time.

    I’m having 5 options, Chicken, Beef, Fish, and Two Different Veggie Options (One with Gluten and One Without). So, even being vegetarian, I have more meat choices than not.

  29. rucksack Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 1:49 pm

    I think the difference is, as a meat eater I can still eat vegetarian, but a vegetarian can’t eat my meaty goodness. We’ll definitely have enough of everything that everyone (vegetarian, paleo & “normals” alike) will be full and happy!

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