First of all, I realize the paleo label is a big tent. I've found my little niche in that tent that works for my health concerns (paleo+dairy, or a version of primal that's stricter in some ways) and I'm pretty happy with that. I've done a couple Whole30s along the way that have taught me some critical facets of the puzzle, and that's kind of where my question comes in.
I have a friend who's legitimately celiac with a dairy sensitivity. Lately her whole family is on a "paleo" kick. I put it in quotes because it seems like a large amount of what she's cooking up are sweets, treats, and chocolates made with real food type sweeteners. Which is great for a few reasons, I'm totally happy she's finding a way of eating that works for her health, and I'm happy to see her kids enjoying some treats. But I feel like it's a little bit off the rails of what I'd consider paleo, which really keeps a cap on those sort of high sugar carb bombs, no matter how natural or authentically paleolithic honey is. There's a big difference between an apple and a zucchini chocolate muffin.
So here's the thing... do I say something? Like "Hey, I know how much easier it is to turn to paleo as a label because it really helped me organize my eating. But a lot of those treats you're eating are more of grain-free dairy-free real food than actual "paleo"." Or do I just BUTT OUT already, since she's a busy lady with health concerns and kids to raise. Generally speaking I'm a BUTT OUT kind of person... but it's at the point where she's far more likely to talk about paleo "mug cakes" than the latest and greatest chili, or side dish she cooked. As someone who dramatically limits sweet treats and can't tolerate even "natural" non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia, this is really distracting to me. I think paleo and I'm thinking roasted sweet potatoes, not pumpkin ice cream.
asked byjj_2 (2485)
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on January 19, 2013
at 07:14 PM
I'd lean more towards the side of butting out. If she's serious about managing her celiac disease (which should go without saying, but I'm meeting too many people with celiac disease who don't seem to take it seriously enough, especially the asymptomatic ones), then she's struggling enough with the loss of her previous food life. Even for someone like me, who didn't care for breads and cakes and stuff, anyway, it's been a struggle to know that there are a lot of foods I can no longer eat, that I can't just go to any restaurant to eat, and that determining my meals is a time consuming process. I have to scrutinize everything that goes in my mouth, and it's exhausting, frustrating, and disheartening to have to do so, especially when one thing I previously liked about myself was my omnivorous approach to food.
So, I'd say let her cope how she needs to, and if she comes to you for advice, than you can help her out by suggesting she try cutting down the treats. Especially if she's newly diagnosed (say, in the last few years), then it may just be a phase she's going through to try to cope with the loss.
I guess my bottom line here, is, that being gluten-free dairy-free due to celiac disease or allergy, where trace amounts really matter and there's no cheating ever, can be a lot different mentally than being strict paleo. I was paleo only a few weeks before my diagnosis (and subsequent discovery that I really cannot tolerate even trace amounts of gluten), but it was a huge change for me.
on January 19, 2013
at 06:57 PM
Does she have any weight issues? If not, then perhaps her way of eating is working fine. Or is it causing some other health issues? Hopefully she is also eating meat, vegetables, eggs, etc to get nutrients?
If she is struggling with her weight and asking you for advice, then definitely, that's a great opportunity to try to help. What I've found personally is if I stick with whole foods, it's much easier for me to know when I'm full and stop eating and to not crave food when I'm not hungry. Perhaps that kind of a message would resonate with her.
If she is struggling with her weight and not asking for advice, then it probably doesn't make much sense to try to offer it aside from perhaps sharing recipes, inviting her over for dinner, being an example through your own health, etc.
on January 19, 2013
at 06:50 PM
Maybe the two of you could get together and cook up some scrumptious full-Paleo meals? She may be one of those cooks who is better at making baked goods rather than dinners, or prefers them because she views cooking regular meals as a chore. You could help her out with some tasty recipes and hints, because she may be bored with the regular Paleo foods she's been making.