So, since I’ve started living Paleo, I’ve done a LOT of internet research about it. Learned a lot about certain foods that I never suspected (e.g., who knew peanuts were legumes?!?) and come across many, many positive sites and stories.
However, I’ve also come across some really aggressive, angry anti-Paleo sites and I have to say, the claims made on some pages and in some articles beggar belief.
The most common theme I see in these ‘Paleo is bad’ arguments is the totally incorrect assertion that Paleo is a low carb diet. It simply is not. So that invalidates their entire stance in my opinion. It tells me that these people are failing to investigate correctly because if they did, they would see that the biggest part of the Paleo pyramid is vegetables, which contain carbohydrates. Some vegetables are absolutely FULL of them. Squash, pumpkin, yams, sweet potato and parsnips are very rich in carbs… and funnily enough they are totally Paleo! Well, what do you know!
What Paleo isn’t, though, is a diet overloaded with carbohydrates.
I guess, compared to what most people see as ‘normal’ levels of carb consumption, Paleo is low – but I believe that’s because most people’s perception of ‘normal’ is skewed. Why, you ask? Did you know that cows are fed loads of grain during the last 6 weeks of their lives purely to increase their weight [fat] because it a] makes the cow worth more to sell and b) increases the fat in the meat, making the meat more ‘tender’ – think marbled. So………….. Animals who eat high carb [grain based] diets get fat, which is unhealthy, but humans should eat high carb diets, full of grains, because it’s….. healthy??
Another common theme of these rants is that the diet is high in fats. Ding dong! Incorrect again. The Paleo diet says you should consume healthy fats, including animal fat, in moderation. You don’t have to cut the fat off your pork chop but neither should you throw out the roast pork and just eat the crackle! [Although that would be AWESOME]. In fact, orthodox Paleo, such as Loren Cordain’s diet, actually specify that you should only consume lean cuts of meat.
Paleo promotes healthy fats like olive, avocado and macadamia oils – all very good for your body; and it cuts out the supposedly healthy ‘vegetable’ oils. Which, if you take the time to investigate, is incredibly deceptive and frighteningly unhealthy! Firstly, this oil is not made from vegetables at all. It’s generally made from seeds – rapeseed [canola], soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, etc. so it really should be known as ‘Seed Oil’. Secondly, it can’t be cold-pressed like olive or coconut oil, but is produced using a toxic petroleum solvent called ‘hexane’. I will never, never use vegetable oil again and I think it, like cage eggs, should be totally banned. As an addendum, Canola Oil has to be the worst of a very bad bunch… not only is it a seed oil, but the seed it is made from [rapeseed] contains a substance called Euric Acid which toxic to humans. But it’s easy to grow and cheap and makes oil that can be used for anything, right? So some clever scientists got together and genetically modified rapeseed to lower the Euric Acid content and this seed, known as LEAR [Low Euric Acid Rapeseed] is what is used to produce the Canola oil millions of people are consuming every day. Wow. Ugh. Hand me the olive oil, please!
So they are the two biggest bits of codswallop that I’ve been seeing around the web, but I thought I’d share with you some other golden nuggets of web-warrior-wisdom:
From www.slate.com, ‘debunking’ the Paleo assertion that grains are a no-no because they’ve only featured in our diets prominently in the last 10,000 years and it takes longer than that for evolution to adapt our bodies:
There are plenty of examples of this [adapting faster than 10,000 years] in humans and other species. In one astonishing case, a type of cricket Zuk studied, when transplanted from its original habitat to Hawaii, became almost entirely silent in the course of a mere five years.
Err… 1. That’s a behavioural change, not a physiological change. Almost silent means they still retain the ability to make sound but choose not to. 2. That’s a cricket…an insect – kind of like comparing a fish to a tree. 3. That’s a cricket.
From www.fitonraw.com debunking the theory that we should consume meat:
#3 – A Meat-Heavy diet causes cancer.
The research is clear. If you want to avoid common cancers (e.g. colon cancer, rectum cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer) and other diseases of affluence (e.g. heart disease and diabetes), you have to limit your consumption of animal products. Don’t believe me? Check out The China Study by Colin T. Campbell.
Hmmm. This one really bothers me because I’m pretty sure no-one definitively knows what causes cancer. I think to make a statement like this is pretty much scare-mongering and sounds suspiciously like a vegan/vegetarian trying to push their cause. A suspicion which was backed up when I read “Your flat teeth, flat nails, long digestive tract and inability to produce vitamin C practically scream that the foods which support you best are plant-based.” Don’t know about you, fit on raw, but along with those flat teeth I have [molars] I also have some pretty sharp/not flat ones… must be just me though.
Oh and that study she quoted – “The China Study” – well, turns out it’s been studied itself and found to be severely flawed…. Just sayin’.
From www.drmcdougall.com, writing that the Paleo diet is “Uncivilised (and Unhealthy and Untrue):
“The Hunter-Gather diet is repulsive… for most of us the thought of eating bone marrow and brains is repulsive. But it gets worse. No mention is made by Paleo experts about the frequent and habitual practices of nutritional cannibalism by hunter-gatherer societies. Archeologists have found bones of our ancestors with de-fleshing marks and evidence of bone smashing to get at the marrow inside…And we are supposed to eat the favourite meats of our uncivilized, pre-Agriculture Revolution, hunter-gather, ancestors?”
“Widespread adoption of the Paleo Diet would soon become an ecological disaster…[the 2006 UN report Livestock’s Long Shadow] concludes animal agriculture produces 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalents)…Every person that Paleo gurus convince to follow an animal food-based diet brings us one more step closer to the end of the world, as we know it.”
Wow. We need to embrace cannibalism to be Paleo and the world is going to end because of Paleo! I didn’t see that coming!
Firstly – the idea behind the Paleo diet is to “emulate, as closely and as practically possible, the diet our ancestors would have eaten”. Not mimic it exactly because that is literally impossible and would be unrealistic. This is just an absolutely ludicrous point made by a person desperate to present a more wordy argument.
Secondly – one of the main reasons that I can see that ‘animal agriculture’ impacts so unfavourably upon the environment is due to the unnatural way animals are commonly farmed, such as feed lots, sow stalls, barn/shed hens. Paleo does not support these methods but rather natural, sustainable animal rearing [read: grass fed beef]. Obviously, our ancestors didn’t farm, they hunted, but I’ll say again ‘as closely and as practically possible’. I think that the more people who turn to Paleo, the less these environmentally damaging farming practices will thrive. Maybe, we’ll see a shift in the way we think – and eat. Plus, it will never be reality that the entire planet is Paleo so I think we’re in no danger of Paleo ending the world.
I hope that anyone who embraces Paleo keeps in touch with their own health, tests theories, pushes boundaries and finally does what it is that works best for them, whatever that is. And I definitely agree with healthy debate.
But there is a difference between discussing a subject objectively and just running something down because you don’t agree with it.
To all the haters – I say do your research before you post or blog because you just come across as bitter and ill-informed. If you want to be a vegan: do it. If you want to consume foods loaded with chemicals, sugars and grains: go for your life. The answer to your aversion to Paleo is simple: don’t go Paleo. I sincerely doubt any Paleo people out there care whether you are or not!
Despite what all the people out there may say, for me, eating vegetables, meats, healthy oils and fats, fruit and nuts makes sense. I feel better for doing it and judging by the comments I’ve received in the last couple of months, I look better for doing it. So I’ma keep on doin’ it!
One site I absolutely have to mention in closing is peaktestosterone.com and their page “Paleo Diet – Just Bad” [peaktestosterone.com/Paleo_Diet_Bad.aspx]. Their top point for why this diet is ‘bad’ for you begins with: 1. Blood flow. What’s the one thing you need for good erections? Blood flow.
Oh. My. God.
I rest my case.
As always, take care out there, and thanks for reading x