I feel compelled to write to paleo folks because I am a curriculum developer, currently working on a program that requires a focus on family nutrition. As you folks already know, CW is highly grain-based, something that I KNOW is a huge detriment, especially for the people for whom the curriculum is destined, a population (Native American)with high incidence of diabetes, heart disease and so on. I know you folks cannot change my job requirements but I am hoping to get a few ideas as to how to cope with this.
asked byAili (544)
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on November 11, 2012
at 05:52 PM
There's a lot that pretty much everyone can agree one: minimally processed foods are best, fruits and veggies are generally healthy, and that refined flours/oils/sugars are bad. If you have to promote grains, then focus on nixtamalized corn. You could explain why nixtamalization is important, and how today's industrial corn differs from the original varieties. I think you could appease your bosses by emphasizing the three sisters (corn, beans, winter squash), since CW loves non-animal sources of protein. Since your population is at risk for diabetes, you could also discuss the nopal/nopales cactus and how it helped regulate blood sugar levels. If your bosses want you to downplay animal protein, you could do so in the context of grain-fed animals and use that as a mounting board to discuss how pastured animals that eat their original diet have a better fat/nutrition profile. And of course you could discuss how the whole animal was eaten, so the way we typically eat animals today (muscle meat only) isn't optimally healthy. So there are a lot of ways you can sort of start off with a CW approach and end up at more intelligent conclusions about health and nutrition.
I think the most important thing is to have them thinking about things in terms of "what should humans eat, and why it matters". Sometimes people grab onto that idea in thinking about their own ancestors, and sometimes people grab onto that idea in thinking about what cows should eat, or what chickens should eat. So having both in the curriculum seems like a good idea, and there are lots of insertion points to talk about those topics under the guise of a CW viewpoint.
on November 11, 2012
at 05:59 PM
- As miked mentions, how far are you willing to go to risk your paycheck? -- Be open: "I am required to say X, but X is why you have rates of diabetes and obesity higher than the rest of America."
- How open to suggestions is your supervisor? -- Reference films like In Search of the Perfect Human Diet (archaeological and anthropological backgrounds) and My Big, Fat Diet (Vancouver First Nations fighting diabetes and obesity by returning to tradition). Track down the study with Australian Aborigine diabetics that reduced or removed their dependency on insulin by returning to traditional food sources and Weston A Price's study of Australian Aboriginals.
- The safest path? Stick to the curriculum, but place more emphasis on fresh vegetables and meat, emphasize cutting out sugars and processed foods, gloss over the grains sections, tell them to honor their traditions (both food AND culture).
- See if there's any related threads on here for any other ideas/inspiriation:
- How many natives are currently living paleo ... other than me?
- Examples of societies whose health went downhill due to Neolithic foods
- Any Dietetics/Nutrition students here? - comments about working within the system
- related: Paleo by Profession - Is it Possible? by Amy Kubal on Robb Wolf's blog
on November 11, 2012
at 05:18 PM
You have to decide if doing what your employer requires, which conflicts with your personal beliefs, is worth the paycheck. Lots of people make that decision every day in every field of work. Only you know where your threshold is.
on November 12, 2012
at 01:11 PM
You may also consider incorporating information on recent entrants to Westernized diet, i.e. native Americans, as you have mentioned, and how such populations are more susceptible to the impact of refined carbohydrates as exemplified by their increased risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Evidence of this can be obtained from peer reviewed sources by conducting searches at Pubmed.