2

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Is paleo dietary dogmatism?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 31, 2011 at 9:51 PM

What would it take for you to give up Paleo? Follow this link: http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/08/against-dietary-dogmatism.html

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on September 01, 2011
at 03:43 PM

Paleo is not dogmatic. People are dogmatic. Some people crave rituals, rules, and restrictions. You see it occur in any lifestyle or movement.

99a6e964584f20f3f69ad3a70a335353

(1334)

on September 01, 2011
at 11:33 AM

This exactly. Paleo is among the least dogmatic of methods that claim to be "eating right," rather than simply "eat whatever the **** you want."

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 01, 2011
at 02:52 AM

I like the idea of a template, because I think of paleo as a lifestyle rather than a diet. We can never replicate paleo life, which was mandatory and constrained. But eating meat - Lascaux tells us to do that. Traveling on foot is obvious. These are things I can do which fit the template. Someimes I think about the paleo diet authors holding Grok hostage in a cage for their own benefit. If he makes a lunge for the Cheetos (as I suspect he would given the opportunity) they hit him with the cattle prods. But they don't own Grok any more than I do.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 31, 2011
at 11:38 PM

wait this isn't a question, sorry JJ, have to change it

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 31, 2011
at 11:27 PM

The best anti-paleo argument ever is the best pro-paleo argument ever.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on August 31, 2011
at 10:23 PM

J.J., can you turn this into more of a question? Or, rather, since there is a question here, can you be more specific about what you really want us to answer?

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8 Answers

12
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on August 31, 2011
at 10:20 PM

I think that most of us here at PH understand that paleo should not be interpreted narrowly (Dallas and Melissa forgive me!). In fact, I doubt that there are all that many here who follow the really strict "orthodox paleo" of Cordain (or Whole9). Many here espouse carbs, fat, potatoes, rice, butter, cream (even cheese, chocolate and wine!).

Most of the advice here is "try it and see what works for you". Dairy might be a problem so cut the dairy and see what happens... That kind of "paleo" is flexible enough to suit a wide variety of people (call it primal or paleo 2.0 or ancestral or archevore if you must). And people can be strict if they want or need to be. Macronutients ratios are all over the map (just like real paleolithic people, btw.)

The only way to "give up" paleo is to misunderstand it the first place - or go back to donuts, Fritos and Taco Bell. Heck, the Primal way even lets you cheat once in a while!

I think Chris makes some great points in that post and sometimes people here at PH can fall into those dogmatic traps too. But just because I think eggs are great nutrition, doesn't mean someone with an egg allergy should eat them. My daughter doesn't like eggs. That's fine by me. There are lots of ways to get good nutrition! And IMHO, there is no "One True Paleo Diet".

99a6e964584f20f3f69ad3a70a335353

(1334)

on September 01, 2011
at 11:33 AM

This exactly. Paleo is among the least dogmatic of methods that claim to be "eating right," rather than simply "eat whatever the **** you want."

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on September 01, 2011
at 03:43 PM

Paleo is not dogmatic. People are dogmatic. Some people crave rituals, rules, and restrictions. You see it occur in any lifestyle or movement.

10
218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on August 31, 2011
at 10:54 PM

The way I see it, as long as you are bouncing around some where in the paleo spectrum, cycling foods, eating seasonally, changing things up, having a break from certain things periodically while avoiding all wheat derived products, sugar, and crappanola oils you really cant go all that wrong. Cut the crap - eat well. Amen.

6
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 01, 2011
at 12:34 AM

I think the point of Chris Masterjohn's article was not that anyone should give up paleo (or any other diet that is successful for them), but that they shouldn't treat their diet as something written on stone tablets and handed down from the heavens.

Re paleo specifically, I like Chris Kresser's take on the paleo template:

I suggest we stop trying to define the ???Paleo diet??? and start thinking about it instead as a ???Paleo template???.

What???s the difference? A Paleo diet implies a particular approach with clearly defined parameters that all people should follow. There???s little room for individual variation or experimentation.

A Paleo template implies a more flexible and individualized approach. A template contains a basic format or set of general guidelines that can then be customized based on the unique needs and experience of each person.

But here???s the key difference between a Paleo diet and a Paleo template: following a diet doesn???t encourage the participant to think, experiment or consider his or her specific circumstances, while following a template does.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 01, 2011
at 02:52 AM

I like the idea of a template, because I think of paleo as a lifestyle rather than a diet. We can never replicate paleo life, which was mandatory and constrained. But eating meat - Lascaux tells us to do that. Traveling on foot is obvious. These are things I can do which fit the template. Someimes I think about the paleo diet authors holding Grok hostage in a cage for their own benefit. If he makes a lunge for the Cheetos (as I suspect he would given the opportunity) they hit him with the cattle prods. But they don't own Grok any more than I do.

6
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 31, 2011
at 11:23 PM

I think my boyfriend wrote that because we were discussing people who stick with diets that very obviously do not work for them. Maybe they worked at one time a little, but they are in a rut and they stick with it and even say that their diet is so great and superior blah blah blah.

Thankfully, I've never been in that rut. Unlike low-carb, the paleo paradigm is incredibly flexible, so you can experiment and find what is best for you. You can end up low-carb paleo or high-carb paleo, all within the paleolithic paradigm. Heck, the Paleolithic era spanned over 2 million years, so there is a lot of diversity to draw from.

4
Medium avatar

(19479)

on August 31, 2011
at 11:20 PM

Great article and a humbling reminder that nothing is permanent (even personal dietary "success"), "mystery" is inherent (we will never know "it all"), and what works for the goose may not for the gander (individual responses will vary).

This isn't to say that eating gobs of hydrogenated oil, downing "big gulps" full of high fructose corn syrup, and zapping everything we eat in a microwave (wrapped in plastic of course) is OK.

I think that real foods (fruits, veg, meat, and yes, even grains, beans, etc) should be the basis of any diet. Individual macronutrient ratios, food tolerances, allergies, preparation methods, etc. form the basis of variation (and contention).

3
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 31, 2011
at 10:22 PM

A good argument for not making diet a religion and to not go running our mouths as little paleo know-it-alls, but I didn't see anything in there convincing me that I might be better off eating "modern" food.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 31, 2011
at 11:27 PM

The best anti-paleo argument ever is the best pro-paleo argument ever.

2
99a6e964584f20f3f69ad3a70a335353

(1334)

on September 01, 2011
at 11:41 AM

See my comment on Dave S.'s post regarding the dogma, but as far as what it would take for me to give up paleo, if there were clear scientific evidence that eating paleo were less healthy then I would give it up. My goal is a long and healthy life by whatever means I can. Gluten does not work for me, but if there is clear evidence that, say, eating nothing but rice cakes and apples will mean a longer, stronger, better-feeling life, then I'm there instead.

Of course, there is no such evidence, and there never will be, but I fully accept that there may, however unlikely, be another dietary paradigm that works better, just one that hasn't yet been discovered.

2
F850d793ff83a8deac524a459e520bf3

on September 01, 2011
at 11:07 AM

"What would it take for you to give up Paleo" .....being taken to a detainment center and being tortured for eating meat (a troubling vege-dysotpian future!) give up? no, I would tweak it, adjust it but go back to processed gluten infected science experiments? no thanks. I will take my chances with this camp.

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