8

votes

Is Paleo just another example of commodity fetishism

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 04, 2011 at 4:42 PM

I found this insightful post over at Scribd that looks at Paleo in the lens of commodity fetishism. After almost 10 months on Paleo and now, I'm taking myself off the "Paleo" diet with great results.

Question: Is the paleo diet falling into group-think that refuses to look at the harmful side-effects of the actual diet? Furthermore, is paleo only beneficial in the short-term or for transition periods? My thought is that no single diet can be followed forever and we may be better off using different diets at different phases since we are cyclical creatures.

Do others here follow cyclical diets and if so, what was your next step post-paleo?

Here's the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/58869976/Paleo-Diet-Blogs-and-Commodity-Fetishism

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 05, 2011
at 07:35 AM

@Stabby I found where I wrote about the stats for grassfed vs butter CLA (http://paleohacks.com/questions/31723/n-3-n-6-ratios-tell-me-how-this-is-wrong#axzz1U8UB0AL7) Butter is a bit richer, but because it's 100% fat, you'd still only need a couple of tablespoons to exceed the difference between grassfed and conventional meat. I dunno about SOD, but aside from fat soluble vitamins (and who eats meat for beta-carotene?), I've never seen any studies that show significant diffs in micronutrition between meats. Of c it's possible, but it seems more like an article of faith or rationalisation.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:26 PM

Very nice and thoughtful Answer, Pale-O-Girl - and hardly "rambling"!

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:26 PM

plus one for the voice of reason

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:16 PM

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:08 PM

agreed. this is a bit like what my profile page says... no diet, no labels, just life.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 04, 2011
at 09:28 PM

@Kamal - why do you have to be a hater?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 09:02 PM

That last bit was with regards to the article, not you. Just so you know.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:53 PM

The switch to carbs isn't so much rational but the notion that we all need to eat very low carb diets to have optimal health is irrational. It was the casting off of something that was really only supported by anecdotes for more anecdotes. I think there is actually good evidence that 100g of carbs per day is probably better than less, but I suppose your point was that most people didn't evaluate the evidence, I guess I agree with that then. But is anything in nutrition anywhere based upon the hard evidence? Might as well have just talked about all amateur nutrition

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Yes talking about PUFAs in ruminants isn't a good argument since both are negligible. The CLA thing isn't negligible, though, there is quite a bit more of it, and not everyone eats pastured butter. One thing that hasn't necessarily been proven but it reasonable is that the healthier animals will have more nutritious meat. In that one study there is more superoxide dismutase in grass-fed so why not more carnosine, beta-alanine, alpha-lipoic acid (actually rob wolf mentioned that there was more), glutathione, carnitine, etc. I don't see it is unreasonable to insinuate that one is better.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:47 PM

upvote from me too akd to balance the downvote I gave baconbitch. Keep up the good work !

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:38 PM

A someone who is still finding a way out of the 'ill-health' maze, thank you for this post from the bottom of my heart.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:36 PM

@ Kamal. Gotcha. There were various ways I thought your comment might relate to my post, but wasn't sure which.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:35 PM

...i.e. keeping neutral on the question of which stance is better. I think the switch has largely occurred without much explicit argument or evidence, but rather on the basis of the weight of rhetoric shifting.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:33 PM

@Stabby. My problem with grassfed isn't that there aren't any studies specifically addressing whether it's better than conventionally. My problem is that the only plausible reasons for it being better more o3/less o6, more CLA or more micronutrients don't stand up because there's insignificant PUFA anyway, insignificant CLA compared to a small amount of butter and the studies do show little difference in micronutrition. I wasn't linking VLC to the grassfed debate- two separate points. I cited the VLC->moderate carb paradigm shift as an example of a largely non-rational, unevidenced switch...

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:27 PM

and subjective emotional value, and most people do. That is one of the many critiques of Marx's idea on the wikipedia page for it.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:26 PM

And this "commodity fetishism" thing seems like a bizarre type of moralizing. If someone loves eating bacon and coconut milk and think that bacon and coconut milk make them healthy and are very positive forces in their life, who am I to judge them for making bacon art, wearing bacon t-shirts, or covering themselves in coconut milk in an erotic fashion? It's just having fun with symbolism. Some people are such judgmental snobs. I don't know the extent of what Marx meant by this stuff but sensationalizing foods is a good time as long as people differentiate between objective nutritional value

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:24 PM

and its psychological subjective importance. That is one of the many criticisms of Marx's idea on the wikipedia page for it.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:24 PM

And this "commodity fetishism" thing seems like a bizarre type of moralizing. If someone loves eating bacon and coconut milk and thing they bacon and coconut milk make them healthy and are very positive forces in their life, who am I to judge them for making bacon art, wearing bacon t-shirts, or coming themselves in coconut milk in an erotic fashion? It's just having fun with symbolism. Some people are such judgmental slobs. I don't know the extent of what Marx mean by this stuff but sensationalizing foods is a good time as long as people differentiate between objective nutritional value

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:22 PM

healthyeatinghacks.com was just a round-about answer to baconbitch's comment above mine.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:17 PM

See I don't know what any of that means. Probably my biggest critique of this whole thing is trying to talk about "paleo" as if it is a single entity and not a whole bunch of people with different beliefs about what is healthy, who will constantly change their minds. If you say something about "paleo" there will always be a massive chunk of paleo that it doesn't apply to unless it is really basic stuff like it is foolish to drink a bottle of soy oil or something. And those who your criticisms apply to now might not be like that 2 months from now. Newbies come in all naive but then change.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:55 PM

Stabby - I think the problem is that paleo is becoming encrypted with layer upon layer of bullshit. The basic premises are still wise (love you neighbor as yourself; don't let them eat gluten) but the smoke from the incense is starting to make it harder to see.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on August 04, 2011
at 07:40 PM

So much practical wisdom in this. You really knocked it out of the park! Who cares what it's called - if it works, it works!

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:14 PM

-think and people ignore negative effects of the diet but mentioned a large switch from a potentially harmful paradigm in a low-carb diet. And indeed, paleo seems to be mostly evidence and reason-based and increasingly so. At least here. Don't talk to me about Mark's Daily Apple..

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:13 PM

-think and people ignore negative effects of the diet but mentioned a large switch from a potentially harmful paradigm in a high-carb diet. And indeed, paleo seems to be mostly evidence and reason-based and increasingly so. At least here. Don't talk to me about Mark's Daily Apple...

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:11 PM

First part is great and gets my upvote. However the notion that people say that grass-fed meat has health benefits when there is no evidence is incorrect. You can't find a study with the conclusion "grass fed beef was shown to have significant health benefits" but you can make an argument based upon superior nutrition to grain-fed that we should consider it to be healthier, and consider ruminant meat to be a desirable addition. I don't see how the fact that VLC have problems expounds upon the benefits of including grass-fed meat in the diet. And you just said that paleo is falling into group

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:03 PM

great answer. thanks, david. yours is as erudite, succinct and well-thought out as mine is emotional, verbose, and knee-jerking! thank you!!

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:00 PM

@Kamal. Sorry, I'm not sure which point you're responding to with the question about healthyeatinghacks.com.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:59 PM

@BB I wasn't defining it in terms of "not industrialised" but in terms of "not neolithic." I thought that was the point. There might be some benefits to particular forms of dairy, in the same way there may be benefits to fermented soy, but I hardly think it follows that paleo is only acceptable for short time periods because it excludes mature cheese/natto.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:56 PM

+1 Ditto. My goal here is to figure out how to undo some of the bodily harm I have incurred from not questioning modern CW about diet and how I clothe/move my body. And sometimes the changes that have resulted from feeling so much better make me want to shout it from the mountain tops. Just want to be a happy healthy human, sorry if it can sometimes make things awkward for people who'd rather not think about taking personal responsibility for their health.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:56 PM

+1 Ditto. My goal here is to figure out how to undo some of the bodily harm I have incurred from not questioning modern CW about diet and how I cloth/move my body. And sometimes the changes that have resulted from feeling so much better make me want to shout it from the mountain tops. Just want to be a happy healthy human, sorry if it can sometimes make things awkward for people who'd rather not think about taking personal responsibility for their health.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:54 PM

thank you for number 1 - i totally agree - i thought the paper was strange at best - and very one-dimensional

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:52 PM

What if this forum was called healthyeatinghacks.com? It would still be very similar in content, as healthy eating necessitates awareness of toxins in food and cognizance of pre-existing conditions that one is trying to address. Paleo is just a good proxy for this, as our ancestors were not able to eat processed foods, and we got our genes from them. The bulk of paleohacks posts are about these two topics. The remaining portion consists of exercise stuff, lifestyle questions, and Meredith and Aravind exchanging sweet nothings.

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:48 PM

+1 - I also find it odd that you're the only person to have said this.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:47 PM

like ANY fanatics, they are loud but a minority. debate is good. refinement is good. disagreement is good. and i also think that cycling is good (calories, macro nutrients, animals, etc) and can still be "paleo". when i fist came to PH i was horrified at the numbers of people eating the same meal every day and who were rigidly adhered to the same menu, never deviating. i thought this wasnt my place. but soon realized they were just once voice in the crowd. i find PH to be much more open and flexible than other forums.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:40 PM

And I had to upvote you for your faux Italian broken English.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:38 PM

Felice-- no, she didn't invent this. There used to be a user named "Thomas Seay", who was a fan of languages, ice cream, and powerlifting. This user is now known as "Felice Cazzo". I would advise anyone formerly known as Thomas Seay to not be antagonistic. My crystal ball does not see positive things coming from that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I'll take exception with the dairy as I believe it has huge health benefits. But again, if paleo is just "no industrialized shit", that's not paleo to me. That's just eating well.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:35 PM

Nicely put, David.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:28 PM

I consider myself Paleo and describe myself to other people that way. I don't worship bacon, though I do enjoy it. I also don't read ANY of the Paleo blogs nor post in any other forums. I don't have time for it. I have no issues with people that don't eat Paleo. I just helped my sister come up with a meal plan for her Pescatarian Ornish husband's weight loss. I know the people that are fanatical have bigger voices sometimes, but they aren't the whole Paleo movement either.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:26 PM

She begins article with quote from user "Thomas Seay". I do not find that user on Paleohacks. Did she invent this?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:23 PM

I don't think she is trying to say that people are happier when they are not trying to be happy. Where did you read that?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:23 PM

The bacon thing is interesting. For so long bacon eaters were rudely told that they were killing themselves and weak, hedonistic slobs. Now we know that bacon, while maybe not an optimal food, is far from the devil it was. Thus, the fun with bacon. But is that really a bad thing? Honestly most of this stuff is just rhetoric and non sequitur. Oh no not emotional valuations of foods! Why then we couldn't look down on others for evaluating foods beyond their objective nutritional value! And why is "unenlightened" in quotations when nobody says things like that? There is debate, so what?

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:19 PM

I'll have to come back later to +1 this, I'm out of votes for the day. I love what you've said here. I'm doing this to optimize my health and fitness, all else comes from that idea. No matter what we call it, no matter the name calling.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:18 PM

Yes! FTW! I may just go back to my 3 days a week with no meat. I'm also checking out the big carb re-load days. Despite my name on here, I'm not a bacon worshiper :)

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:10 PM

AMEN to this!!! You've said what I was thinking far more eloquently than I ever could. How I eat is best for ME - I define it as paleo, but that is very much *my* definition. There are people here who eat a lot more carbs than I do, and those eat a great deal less, but that doesn't make their version of paleo any less valid than mine, or mine any less valid than theirs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:10 PM

Very, very good answer!

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:07 PM

@wjones i was in the same boat but then my body started doing better on starch and fruit. i still eat 2+lbs of meat a day, i just also eat a couple potatoes and some fruit also. i guess i've learned that some people don't do that well on high protein or super-high fat and that's cool too. as long as they have a strategy to fix any under the hood problems and are able get a nutrient dense, balanced whole food diet that is sustainable then they shouldn't even think twice about the macronutrient ratio.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:00 PM

No so much Michael Pollan. My food rules are "eat food, in ridiculous quantities, meat only."

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:59 PM

At the very beginning.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:58 PM

@Stabby - which quote? @AKD - hehehe I finally came of the closet and admitted to fruit consumption and lentils :) And YES, its the membership aspect whereby we may fall prey to group think - myself included.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:57 PM

Still, this whole thing is kind of inane. It's called caring about food quality. Dissenting voices are not "silenced" when have I ever dissented and been 'silenced" people love dissenting voices. We all voted up the heck out of Namby's atherosclerosis thread. Of course you find some nutritionism in newbies, but is it right to characterize paleo as a nutritionist movement? Most people respond well to anti-nutritionist explanations in my experience.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:52 PM

i certainly have seen a lot of paleo folks bash the hell out of vegetarianism (kamal, you KNOW who im talking about in real life!) to the point where i was like ashamed to admit that i enjoy vegetables. for sure there are people everywhere (including all of us) who use membership in a group to give a nudge of validity to their choices, right?

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:52 PM

Oh that was Thomas's quote, my bad. Funny though that his quote would be used when he is still very paleo, he just doesn't make the silly mistake of thinking that paleo is any particular macronutrient ratio anymore.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:50 PM

i really love this post - thank you!

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Exactly. You're supposed to talk about the details and archive it because you never know when it's going to come in handy. That is what every single academic discipline has always done. That is how you become successful and create an impressive body of knowledge. Were we actually just accused of nutritionism? Stabby the raccoon?! Who is docile enough not to understand that when you take thousands and thousands of regular people who know nothing about nutrition and tell them to do nutrition you get some nutritionism. And who is so naive as to call out an entire movement by what its newbies do?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:48 PM

And I don't mean to come off rude. Your posts are always insightful and I gain so much value from what you write. I just want to make sure you read the entire article. She wasn't poking holes in paleo.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:48 PM

i love personman. truly i do.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:47 PM

@Stabby - no offense but did you actually read the entire article. There wasn't a mention anywhere of the author failing on paleo. That wasn't the point of the article.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Your "personman excluded" made me snort at my desk! Hahahahahaha.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Your "personman" excluded made me snort at my desk! Hahahahahaha.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:45 PM

Kamal, I am working on it! Just don't tell my sister that my visit to her in New Hampshire is really just a thinly veiled attempt to get to Boston! October is a possibility. Her town has "Pumpkin Fest" and it's the highlight of their year.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:45 PM

@Kamal - I disagree. I know vegetarians who are very skeptical. Not so much with vegans and lately I've become fatigued with the minutiae of paleo. I blame myself because I was getting caught up in that. And no, I've seen too many paleos bash anything they don't consider paleo and be very condemning. I totally include myself in that group. Don't get me wrong, there are people on here that are open-minded. AKD did a good job in her answer. I wish more people were like her (and you, and Stabby and LB and of course, Ms. Meredith)

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:45 PM

oh, and LB, i do like bacon. i just dont think that bacon and eggs ben and jerrys is suddenly "paleo" because it has bacon in it. ;)

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:44 PM

not sure why you're the ONLY person that's said this so far...

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:44 PM

trust me i KNOW that this site and all of us on it have a tendency to get way over caught up in the details, but i think we are just the type to do that wether its paleo or something else! i dont think any of us (personman excluded) live in a way that is representative of our PH posts. i dont think that we, the pH community, accurately represent the larger paleo community. i think we are all here and hacking as an intellectual exercise. its fun to reduce things to their molecules, but i know i dont live like that. except here. because its fun. and yes, melissa, kamal and i want you here.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Since when was paleo ever intended to be "anti-consumerist" it is essentially applied evolutionary nutrition wherein people tend to care about food quality. Deal with it. Maybe that dude failed on paleo because he didn't know a thing about it and was far more narrow-minded and dogmatic in his current beliefs than most people, who get fantastic results are.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:42 PM

But there are all different kinds of vegans, too! So maybe not.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:41 PM

and i love you too... God. this post was some powerful ish. money quote "i dont know how many people here realize how high the stakes were for some of us".

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:39 PM

Good stuff, this is the one response of them all that I will upvote. I read that bunch of rambling and thought to myself "is this me"? I just study nutrition, talk about it with some people who eat in a similar way, and care about food quality. Get over it!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:39 PM

You just put me in my place :) I was getting caught up in the dogma and was borderline zealot so in a way, my post was directed at ME. I was sharing this as a way of questioning my belief system. Yes, AKD, your posts are utterly inspiring. But you've never been dogmatic and you've always been so hella chill. You just rock!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:39 PM

melissa- can you please come visit akd and I?

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Me thinks a lot of people tend to overthink 'paleo' and get caught up in minute details, we need to pull back and look at things holistically, our world has been made very complex but we are essentially very simple to understand creatures, we are out of place in this world we have created.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:37 PM

bb- in your estimation, is the average paleo eater skeptical? I'd say yes. There are dogmatic practitioners in all fields, but I'd say that paleos are much more open-minded than vegans, raw foodists, or most other "diets" that have a name attached.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:37 PM

akd, you were doing really well til you disparaged bacon!!! grrrrr... good post though

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Dead from infection, accident, predation, parasites and other forms of natural population control, not because the diet killed us. ;)

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:36 PM

your answer brought tears to my eyes. thanks for sharing this!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:35 PM

hehehe - all_the_time! Question the pope and off with your head! Reminds me of the dark ages when questioning a person in a position of power meant you were labeled a heretic.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

i think the fuzziness around the everything outside the basics is not a bad thing. as someone said before, the body is a moving target and a person's diet should reflect that. as your body changes, your diet may likely change also. same can be said for activity levels, environment, etc.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

I love you. Call it whatever you want, I don't care. It made me healthier, so I will continue to do it. If it makes some one feel more sick then they shouldn't eat this way.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

Beautifully written response. Though my question isn't "What is paleo" as that is beating a dead horse that is already decomposing. The question is how do we not fall prey to group think and self-fulling prophecies of any "diet". Just making sure we're constantly questioning.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:30 PM

I love you. And you have nice tits. <3

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:29 PM

But has anybody ever been ex-communicated from Paleohacks? How could it happen?

2d4ff23c8ce7fb00708fa88ceffd4087

(408)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:28 PM

What is Paleo??

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:28 PM

As a reformed Catholic and 9 years in the old plaid and pleats, yes, that is spot-on. But it is not attacking paleo rather, attacking the dogmatists. That's why the article is so good. It helps us keep our minds in check and asks us to be skeptical.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:20 PM

From Jones' essay, "The Paleo religion has its sacred texts, high priests, ex-communicatedmembers, commandments and a grand story that romanticises the lifestyle livedby our Paleolithic ancestors." Nobody ever get ex-communicated from Paleo. Is it right? This is not Catholic Church, right?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:14 PM

I enjoy very much this article by Allison Jones that you have posted. Think all Paleo people should read this.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:11 PM

So basically, you eat in a Michael Pollan fashion whom I adore. The article is good for those of us who got caught up in the paleo dogma or really, any food dogma. Yeah, "hacking my gut flora" or getting into the genetic crap is way over the top IMO.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:11 PM

I'll quit experimenting when I'm dead. - \o/ TOTALLY.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I inched up my fat from 20% to 40-50% verrrry slowly because it was a really new concept for me and I was scared to death I would wake up fat again. My body seems to like it, if I do much more than that though, I have some issues.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Your last sentence pretty much sums it up! However, I wonder if we should mix it up based on the phases of our life and seasons. Upping carbs in the winter or adjusting to our menstrual cycles. That sort of thing. Or maybe, just chill out and EAT :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:05 PM

Patrik should delete your account, just like he did to Thomas Seay! Out with all traitors to the Paleo cause!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:03 PM

Great answer! For me, I never ate SAD but found Paleo through xfit and tried it for the mental health aspect. Including more fat for the brain made sense. Unfortunately, my tummy has revolted :)

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11 Answers

39
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:27 PM

i dont really understand all this paleo backlash. the only thing ive found to be consistent with "paleo" is that everyone interprets it differently and i dont really see much that contradicts that. certainly some people are into the reenactment and the grock thing, and some feel best on a super strict autoimmune protocol, and some feel best eating rice and corn....whatever there are as many different versions of paleo as there are people who define themselves as paleo. i eat hominy on occasion but not often because it makes me gain if i eat it too often and im trying to lose. im managing my multiple sclerosis well, but i never have followed the AI protocol. im not a huge fan of meat, and dont eat it more than once a day, sometimes not at all. im not into this bacon fetishism that so many people seem to be. i like protein-free meals, and fruit and dairy. ill eat a big ass bowl of broccoli roasted in olive oil and some nuts and call it a meal. and if i define my diet, i call it "paleo" for better or for worse. i know a lot of people who consider themselves paleo who eat nothing like i do. i love my vegetables. i feel good. i dont eat processed food and my definition of "processed" is probably a lot different than other peoples. i like food and i like to cook. ill eat a corn torto=illa with my carne asada, nut i fond i dont often want to. i have yet to be kicked out of the paleo cult. if some people feel the need to hack their diet within an inch of their life, then more power to them. if someone feels the need to tightly control what they eat, then thats fine with me. if someone wants to use hormonal BC and someone else doesnt but they both want to call themselves paleo or primal or ancestral or WHAT-FREAKING-EVER i dont have any problem with it.

i dont really know what harmful side effects of the diet are. particularly if everyone interprets the guidelines so differently.

this paleo thing, whatever you want to call it, has made me able to feel my fucking hands again. i dont know how many people here realize how high the stakes were for some of us. i was looking at a wheelchair. i slept 16 hours a day. i couldnt parent my kids. i couldnt button my own fucking shirt. i dont know how else i can communicate how much this diet has improved my life. i have two lesions on my brain that are no longer there. MY BRAIN WAS EATING ITSELF. i have no doubt that giving up grains had an enormous impact on my health. i couldnt go for a walk around the block before, and now i can do 50 pushups. i owe a lot to the wisdom of cordain, wolf, sisson, harris, and everyone here on PH. cordain has been kind enough to email with me personally through this journey of mine and has helped me immensely. he has never told me that im not paleo because i ate ice cream, drank wine, or had some birthday cake.

why all the semantics?? eat some lentils. eat some nitrites. eat some ice cream. call yourself whatever you want. i dont think anyone is checking membership cards a the door. i also have never had any interest in deconstructing the paleo paradigm. i just want to be healthy, and im finding the best way to be. ill be on this diet for the rest of my life, even if it might look different month to month.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:39 PM

melissa- can you please come visit akd and I?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:30 PM

I love you. And you have nice tits. <3

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:10 PM

AMEN to this!!! You've said what I was thinking far more eloquently than I ever could. How I eat is best for ME - I define it as paleo, but that is very much *my* definition. There are people here who eat a lot more carbs than I do, and those eat a great deal less, but that doesn't make their version of paleo any less valid than mine, or mine any less valid than theirs.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:38 PM

A someone who is still finding a way out of the 'ill-health' maze, thank you for this post from the bottom of my heart.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on August 04, 2011
at 07:40 PM

So much practical wisdom in this. You really knocked it out of the park! Who cares what it's called - if it works, it works!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

I love you. Call it whatever you want, I don't care. It made me healthier, so I will continue to do it. If it makes some one feel more sick then they shouldn't eat this way.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:39 PM

Good stuff, this is the one response of them all that I will upvote. I read that bunch of rambling and thought to myself "is this me"? I just study nutrition, talk about it with some people who eat in a similar way, and care about food quality. Get over it!

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:41 PM

and i love you too... God. this post was some powerful ish. money quote "i dont know how many people here realize how high the stakes were for some of us".

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:48 PM

i love personman. truly i do.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:45 PM

Kamal, I am working on it! Just don't tell my sister that my visit to her in New Hampshire is really just a thinly veiled attempt to get to Boston! October is a possibility. Her town has "Pumpkin Fest" and it's the highlight of their year.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:44 PM

trust me i KNOW that this site and all of us on it have a tendency to get way over caught up in the details, but i think we are just the type to do that wether its paleo or something else! i dont think any of us (personman excluded) live in a way that is representative of our PH posts. i dont think that we, the pH community, accurately represent the larger paleo community. i think we are all here and hacking as an intellectual exercise. its fun to reduce things to their molecules, but i know i dont live like that. except here. because its fun. and yes, melissa, kamal and i want you here.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:39 PM

You just put me in my place :) I was getting caught up in the dogma and was borderline zealot so in a way, my post was directed at ME. I was sharing this as a way of questioning my belief system. Yes, AKD, your posts are utterly inspiring. But you've never been dogmatic and you've always been so hella chill. You just rock!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Your "personman excluded" made me snort at my desk! Hahahahahaha.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:50 PM

i really love this post - thank you!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:16 PM

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:45 PM

oh, and LB, i do like bacon. i just dont think that bacon and eggs ben and jerrys is suddenly "paleo" because it has bacon in it. ;)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:46 PM

Your "personman" excluded made me snort at my desk! Hahahahahaha.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:19 PM

I'll have to come back later to +1 this, I'm out of votes for the day. I love what you've said here. I'm doing this to optimize my health and fitness, all else comes from that idea. No matter what we call it, no matter the name calling.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:36 PM

your answer brought tears to my eyes. thanks for sharing this!

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:37 PM

akd, you were doing really well til you disparaged bacon!!! grrrrr... good post though

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Exactly. You're supposed to talk about the details and archive it because you never know when it's going to come in handy. That is what every single academic discipline has always done. That is how you become successful and create an impressive body of knowledge. Were we actually just accused of nutritionism? Stabby the raccoon?! Who is docile enough not to understand that when you take thousands and thousands of regular people who know nothing about nutrition and tell them to do nutrition you get some nutritionism. And who is so naive as to call out an entire movement by what its newbies do?

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:47 PM

upvote from me too akd to balance the downvote I gave baconbitch. Keep up the good work !

16
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:31 PM

A couple of thoughts:

1) This is a bizarre usage of 'commodity fetishism'

2) Its account of "nutritionism" seems upside down. Apparently PaleoHacks "displays what Gyorgy Scrinis has identified as the "ideology or paradigm of nutritionism" that is characterised by a reductionism "with respect to nutrients, food and diets" (2008:40)." Now, for one thing, PH seems to me to be resolutely anti-nutritionistic, but that's not important to my point. What I find totally mistaken is the claim that [PaleoHacks'] nutritionism "obscures the broader cultural, geographical, and ecological contexts in which food, diets and bodily health are situated" (2008:40), which leads the author to conclude that "nutritionism is a unique form of commodity fetishism." But this seems the exact opposite of what one would expect: obscuring the "cultural, geographical, and ecological contexts in which food, diets and bodily health are situated" would seem to counter "commodity fetishism" (as idiosyncratically defined by the author). Rather it's the way that paleo culture emphasises the relation between food and diverse cultural, ecological etc. contexts, that serves to allow "imaginary/symbolic relations to be injected into the construction of meaning at a secondary level" (the definition of commodity fetishism being used).

As to the actual questions:

Is the paleo diet falling into group-think that refuses to look at the harmful side-effects of the actual diet?

Inevitably: the most prominent examples being the insistence that grassfed beef carries significant health benefits in the absence of any evidence and the recent, largely unargued switch from low carb being optimal for all but athletes interested in performance, to moderate-high carb being preferable for any-one without a broken metabolism or substantial weight to lose. I think from reading various mainstream (or other minority) diet blogs, that the paleo diet is still substantially more reflexive than most other groups (probably because it's not mainstream and has a big focus on being evidence-based and has largely avoided a highly moralised culture (contra veganism).

is paleo only beneficial in the short-term or for transition periods?

I'd be shocked if this were so. The only reason for thinking this that I can imagine, is that one is construing paleo as a fixed diet rather than as a heuristic. Paleo is a very broad school and I can't imagine any circumstances where gluten grains, vegetable oil, high fructose or dairy would be necessary for health.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 04, 2011
at 09:28 PM

@Kamal - why do you have to be a hater?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:36 PM

@ Kamal. Gotcha. There were various ways I thought your comment might relate to my post, but wasn't sure which.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I'll take exception with the dairy as I believe it has huge health benefits. But again, if paleo is just "no industrialized shit", that's not paleo to me. That's just eating well.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 09:02 PM

That last bit was with regards to the article, not you. Just so you know.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:54 PM

thank you for number 1 - i totally agree - i thought the paper was strange at best - and very one-dimensional

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:53 PM

The switch to carbs isn't so much rational but the notion that we all need to eat very low carb diets to have optimal health is irrational. It was the casting off of something that was really only supported by anecdotes for more anecdotes. I think there is actually good evidence that 100g of carbs per day is probably better than less, but I suppose your point was that most people didn't evaluate the evidence, I guess I agree with that then. But is anything in nutrition anywhere based upon the hard evidence? Might as well have just talked about all amateur nutrition

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:59 PM

@BB I wasn't defining it in terms of "not industrialised" but in terms of "not neolithic." I thought that was the point. There might be some benefits to particular forms of dairy, in the same way there may be benefits to fermented soy, but I hardly think it follows that paleo is only acceptable for short time periods because it excludes mature cheese/natto.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:33 PM

@Stabby. My problem with grassfed isn't that there aren't any studies specifically addressing whether it's better than conventionally. My problem is that the only plausible reasons for it being better more o3/less o6, more CLA or more micronutrients don't stand up because there's insignificant PUFA anyway, insignificant CLA compared to a small amount of butter and the studies do show little difference in micronutrition. I wasn't linking VLC to the grassfed debate- two separate points. I cited the VLC->moderate carb paradigm shift as an example of a largely non-rational, unevidenced switch...

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Yes talking about PUFAs in ruminants isn't a good argument since both are negligible. The CLA thing isn't negligible, though, there is quite a bit more of it, and not everyone eats pastured butter. One thing that hasn't necessarily been proven but it reasonable is that the healthier animals will have more nutritious meat. In that one study there is more superoxide dismutase in grass-fed so why not more carnosine, beta-alanine, alpha-lipoic acid (actually rob wolf mentioned that there was more), glutathione, carnitine, etc. I don't see it is unreasonable to insinuate that one is better.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:52 PM

What if this forum was called healthyeatinghacks.com? It would still be very similar in content, as healthy eating necessitates awareness of toxins in food and cognizance of pre-existing conditions that one is trying to address. Paleo is just a good proxy for this, as our ancestors were not able to eat processed foods, and we got our genes from them. The bulk of paleohacks posts are about these two topics. The remaining portion consists of exercise stuff, lifestyle questions, and Meredith and Aravind exchanging sweet nothings.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:35 PM

Nicely put, David.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:00 PM

@Kamal. Sorry, I'm not sure which point you're responding to with the question about healthyeatinghacks.com.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:22 PM

healthyeatinghacks.com was just a round-about answer to baconbitch's comment above mine.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:14 PM

-think and people ignore negative effects of the diet but mentioned a large switch from a potentially harmful paradigm in a low-carb diet. And indeed, paleo seems to be mostly evidence and reason-based and increasingly so. At least here. Don't talk to me about Mark's Daily Apple..

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 05, 2011
at 07:35 AM

@Stabby I found where I wrote about the stats for grassfed vs butter CLA (http://paleohacks.com/questions/31723/n-3-n-6-ratios-tell-me-how-this-is-wrong#axzz1U8UB0AL7) Butter is a bit richer, but because it's 100% fat, you'd still only need a couple of tablespoons to exceed the difference between grassfed and conventional meat. I dunno about SOD, but aside from fat soluble vitamins (and who eats meat for beta-carotene?), I've never seen any studies that show significant diffs in micronutrition between meats. Of c it's possible, but it seems more like an article of faith or rationalisation.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:13 PM

-think and people ignore negative effects of the diet but mentioned a large switch from a potentially harmful paradigm in a high-carb diet. And indeed, paleo seems to be mostly evidence and reason-based and increasingly so. At least here. Don't talk to me about Mark's Daily Apple...

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:03 PM

great answer. thanks, david. yours is as erudite, succinct and well-thought out as mine is emotional, verbose, and knee-jerking! thank you!!

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:35 PM

...i.e. keeping neutral on the question of which stance is better. I think the switch has largely occurred without much explicit argument or evidence, but rather on the basis of the weight of rhetoric shifting.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:11 PM

First part is great and gets my upvote. However the notion that people say that grass-fed meat has health benefits when there is no evidence is incorrect. You can't find a study with the conclusion "grass fed beef was shown to have significant health benefits" but you can make an argument based upon superior nutrition to grain-fed that we should consider it to be healthier, and consider ruminant meat to be a desirable addition. I don't see how the fact that VLC have problems expounds upon the benefits of including grass-fed meat in the diet. And you just said that paleo is falling into group

12
531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

on August 04, 2011
at 05:05 PM

I don't know what a paleo diet is, quite frankly. Nor do I care particularly. I have never followed a "paleo diet." I suspect many of us that sort of fall under the paleo umbrella find it useful as a construct. I enjoy reading the blogs and getting ideas.

The people/blogs that I've read that really resonate with me have followed the same path, elimination of gluten for celiac and then elimination of other foods and continued experimentation. This is the hallmark of whatever plan I'm working. I'll quit experimenting when I'm dead.

I've never bought into this, "can I eat cheese?" or "can I eat x number of eggs?" I'm going to do what I want to do based on my own outcomes. In the meantime it's nice that there is a community of people doing similar things--I struggled with finding enough things to eat and the paleo community has been very helpful in providing ideas and menus and the like. Could not have done this otherwise, at least not as smoothly.

Frankly I don't know or care much about "commodity fetishism" either. I'm not much into the deconstruction of paleo.

I eat real food because it has fewer ingredients and therefore fewer, and identifiable, allergens. I don't get any points for purity for its own sake.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:00 PM

No so much Michael Pollan. My food rules are "eat food, in ridiculous quantities, meat only."

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:11 PM

I'll quit experimenting when I'm dead. - \o/ TOTALLY.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:11 PM

So basically, you eat in a Michael Pollan fashion whom I adore. The article is good for those of us who got caught up in the paleo dogma or really, any food dogma. Yeah, "hacking my gut flora" or getting into the genetic crap is way over the top IMO.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:07 PM

@wjones i was in the same boat but then my body started doing better on starch and fruit. i still eat 2+lbs of meat a day, i just also eat a couple potatoes and some fruit also. i guess i've learned that some people don't do that well on high protein or super-high fat and that's cool too. as long as they have a strategy to fix any under the hood problems and are able get a nutrient dense, balanced whole food diet that is sustainable then they shouldn't even think twice about the macronutrient ratio.

11
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:28 PM

Paleo for me, is not a diet, it is a Lifestyle based on what we are naturally meant to eat and do. A diet comes with rules & restrictions and failure. I live & eat for Life. I follow a Human Diet if you will, eating as we were designed to eat and if I find something does not work well for me I change it, the rest is in the hands of the Universe.

I don't get hung up on labels, the only thing I want to be labeled as is 'human'.

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:44 PM

not sure why you're the ONLY person that's said this so far...

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:56 PM

+1 Ditto. My goal here is to figure out how to undo some of the bodily harm I have incurred from not questioning modern CW about diet and how I cloth/move my body. And sometimes the changes that have resulted from feeling so much better make me want to shout it from the mountain tops. Just want to be a happy healthy human, sorry if it can sometimes make things awkward for people who'd rather not think about taking personal responsibility for their health.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:56 PM

+1 Ditto. My goal here is to figure out how to undo some of the bodily harm I have incurred from not questioning modern CW about diet and how I clothe/move my body. And sometimes the changes that have resulted from feeling so much better make me want to shout it from the mountain tops. Just want to be a happy healthy human, sorry if it can sometimes make things awkward for people who'd rather not think about taking personal responsibility for their health.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:08 PM

agreed. this is a bit like what my profile page says... no diet, no labels, just life.

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:48 PM

+1 - I also find it odd that you're the only person to have said this.

9
91d422b073139d35e0856967ba1c21d6

on August 04, 2011
at 05:22 PM

What an interesting question and also paper that you link to. (I wonder what grade the student got!) My rambling response:

  1. My impression of this site thus far, and I'm assuming that this site is representative of the Paleo movement as a whole (I think that's a reasonable assumption), is that the participants lie on a spectrum of sick/fat to healthy/strong/lean and what's needed for one isn't right for the other. The questions and answers on the site don't consistently account for that and so information is given from one perspective that might not be helpful to the questioner and reader. Or could even be hurtful, in some circumstances.

  2. The group-think here seems to exacerbate any shortcomings Paleo may have. The comments make it impossible to discern for example how to treat carbs and calorie counting and exercise and ketosis and supplements under the Paleo diet if you are on the sick/fat side of the spectrum. In fact if one uses the word "diet" that's frowned upon, and I even see some frowning upon people who use the word "Paleo!"

  3. And then there are the different writers and books and blogs, each of which seems to be a flavor-of-the-month or even flavor-of-the-year and then superseded by the next flavor, making it difficult for the newbie to discern which books are helpful and which are to be ignored.

  4. If all else fails, the community resorts to, "listen to your own body, it will tell you what it needs." But that in my experience is a total fallacy if the person is "metabolically deranged" as I've heard writers and posters refer to it (and that term seems to fit what it's describing). People who are healthy or on the road to health may be able to listen to their bodies and do what their bodies want. And others should ignore their bodies because their bodies are telling them to eat bad things or eat too much of good things. (And yes, in my opinion it is possible to eat too much of a good thing.)

  5. I also think there is a significant but unaddressed gender divide here, confounding the site's usefulness further. That's another topic that has been discussed a lot in other posts albeit not really to my personal satisfaction.

  6. So, yeah, if this site is indicative of the community as a whole then in my opinion there is a monolithic group-think that compromises the effectiveness of the diet for any one person who is new to it and hasn't yet found where they are on the spectrum and what will work for them individually. Each person's hormonal and metabolic profile, whether due to nature or nurture or both, is wildly different. For most people like me who want to lose fat (and I think a lot of the people new to the diet are in that category), most likely the diet itself really only works if calories and carbs are restricted, and exercise is approached carefully and non-traditionally, which is a practice that most on this site would maybe find laughable and ignorant.

  7. I personally, wanting to lose the last 10 lbs of fat, am compelled by the posts of people who have gone VLC to accomplish just that, and/or who monitor their ketones daily to get feedback as to whether their bodies are using fat as energy. But that's the exact opposite of what I think the group as a whole would recommend. And probably the group as a whole would say that this is not even "Paleo."

I am hoping that Paleo isn't something that works only in the short-term, but rather that differing approaches to Paleo can be recognized as appropriate for different people wherever they are at in the spectrum, and that as someone goes from unhealthy to healthy they have ideas under Paleo for what might be good to transition to, like more carbs for example.

The question I guess, then, to really address your question, is WHAT IS PALEO. Everyone agrees on a very general description of what foods should be avoided and what foods (and quality of foods) should be eaten (with a few exceptions around fruits and starchy vegetables), but beyond that it gets extremely fuzzy.

2d4ff23c8ce7fb00708fa88ceffd4087

(408)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:28 PM

What is Paleo??

66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:38 PM

Me thinks a lot of people tend to overthink 'paleo' and get caught up in minute details, we need to pull back and look at things holistically, our world has been made very complex but we are essentially very simple to understand creatures, we are out of place in this world we have created.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

i think the fuzziness around the everything outside the basics is not a bad thing. as someone said before, the body is a moving target and a person's diet should reflect that. as your body changes, your diet may likely change also. same can be said for activity levels, environment, etc.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:32 PM

Beautifully written response. Though my question isn't "What is paleo" as that is beating a dead horse that is already decomposing. The question is how do we not fall prey to group think and self-fulling prophecies of any "diet". Just making sure we're constantly questioning.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:26 PM

Very nice and thoughtful Answer, Pale-O-Girl - and hardly "rambling"!

8
Medium avatar

on August 04, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Didn't think I would ever see a Marxist critique of the paleo diet. I wonder what grade this paper got?

Anyway, it seems like the implication is that those eating an ancestral diet are starting from a point of anti-consumerism and then spinning The Wheel of Subculture Diets and choosing whichever one the arrow lands on. I may be going out on a limb here, but I think nearly all of us are first and foremost trying to be healthier (though we may use different metrics to measure that). If being healthier means that my food budget doubles, then so be it. Historically speaking, Americans spend much less on food as a percentage of income than they used to, though our taxes feed the subsidies, so maybe it's at least partly a wash. The truth of it is though that the cost doesn't really go up, and that the only difference is that you tend to spend more time preparing your own food and your grocery bags get heavier.

The author seems to think that our food actually isn't of better quality and that we are unable to know where it comes from or how it's produced. In some cases that's true, but a lot of the farms that create the food I eat welcome people to come visit them and see how everything runs. I'm tempted to delve into minutiae of why the food is better here, but to speak generally, an ancestral diet isn't a fad diet, it's a form of nutrient acquisition that more closely matches what our DNA "expects" as a result of millions of years of evolution. The last 10,000 years have been, evolutionarily speaking, a series of fad diets. "Paleo" is simply a minimzing of toxins and a maximizing of nutrients. There's nothing totemic about it, it's the most obvious route.

That all being said, I think ZC and VLC are terrible dietary missteps that most people who think they know what paleo is would ascribe to the diet. I feel like ultra low carb is kind of like "pork" that has been slipped into a paleo bill before congress. I think nearly all of the problems that people encounter, whether they be new health issues or simply a lack of fat loss, stem from this in one way or another. Eating the minimum number of grams of carbohydrate needed to replete glycogen stores has always seemed to me to be the obvious choice. Relative to the SAD, this is technically "low-carb" in most cases however.

The term "paleo" is such an easy target, but its only importance in my opinion is as a thought exercise initially. "You know your idea of food that you've held dear your entire life? It's only 10,000 years old at most and it's not actually food."

"Oh."

I think people like this author are assuming that there is an evolving set of arbitrary edicts being handed down that people are checking their diets against constantly, but we're actually taking the knowledge at hand (gleaned from scientific papers and anecdotes) and finding the safest way to eat. I think most people are unaware of the sheer magnitude of the average person's daily toxin load. We're exposed to huge amounts of toxins pretty much no matter what we do. Without relocating, we can't really control the multitude of airborne toxins we breathe constantly. We try to filter our water and eat foods that aren't dense sources of toxins. The bioavailability, such as it is, of the many heavy metals, (fat soluble) persistent organic polluntants etc. and our bodies' lack of mechanisms for excreting them is a woeful thing indeed. That's to say nothing of the more "natural" toxins such as WGA and gluten that are linked to a whole host of diseases. Who knew that plants would be pissed if you ate their method of reproduction? It may not be enough and we all may still get cancer at some point but I'll fucking be damned if I'm gonna give up without a fight.

Sidling up to the putrid trough of the SAD is not an option.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on August 04, 2011
at 10:26 PM

plus one for the voice of reason

6
E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:04 PM

Thank you for this thread and for the link to the paper!

I think:

A) Cyclical diets may be a smart way to go, IMO. The beneficial effects of diets such as Atkins, raw foods, even veganism seem best in short doses, not as lifelong ways of eating. In the short term they can reverse chronic conditions but long term they may lead to deficiencies and orthorexia. It seems to me that if we have access to this incredible variety of food in our modern lives then we should make use of that. HGs and other native populations made the most of what they had access too (whether that was eating mostly seal blubber or mostly sweet potatoes) and we can do the same. For example, avoiding fruit because HGs didn't have access to the types that are grown nowadays and we're scared of fructose means we miss out on cheap, easy and delicious sources of important vitamins. Healing myself so I can tolerate and properly digest a wider variety of foods is my goal, NOT life-long avoidance.

B) Paleo has become a post-modern religion/commodity fetish. As the article suggests, "food for Paleo adherents becomes representational of something more than fuel for the body. It becomes a political and social statement,representative of the values and tastes of both individuals and the group that adheres to the diet." Bacon worship comes to mind. Also, guru (blogger) worship. And the religious fervor with which I see people bemoaning their encounters with "unenlightened" eaters who just don't "see the light" scares me because religious fanatics scare me.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:18 PM

Yes! FTW! I may just go back to my 3 days a week with no meat. I'm also checking out the big carb re-load days. Despite my name on here, I'm not a bacon worshiper :)

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:24 PM

and its psychological subjective importance. That is one of the many criticisms of Marx's idea on the wikipedia page for it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:10 PM

Very, very good answer!

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:17 PM

See I don't know what any of that means. Probably my biggest critique of this whole thing is trying to talk about "paleo" as if it is a single entity and not a whole bunch of people with different beliefs about what is healthy, who will constantly change their minds. If you say something about "paleo" there will always be a massive chunk of paleo that it doesn't apply to unless it is really basic stuff like it is foolish to drink a bottle of soy oil or something. And those who your criticisms apply to now might not be like that 2 months from now. Newbies come in all naive but then change.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:55 PM

Stabby - I think the problem is that paleo is becoming encrypted with layer upon layer of bullshit. The basic premises are still wise (love you neighbor as yourself; don't let them eat gluten) but the smoke from the incense is starting to make it harder to see.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:28 PM

I consider myself Paleo and describe myself to other people that way. I don't worship bacon, though I do enjoy it. I also don't read ANY of the Paleo blogs nor post in any other forums. I don't have time for it. I have no issues with people that don't eat Paleo. I just helped my sister come up with a meal plan for her Pescatarian Ornish husband's weight loss. I know the people that are fanatical have bigger voices sometimes, but they aren't the whole Paleo movement either.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:26 PM

And this "commodity fetishism" thing seems like a bizarre type of moralizing. If someone loves eating bacon and coconut milk and think that bacon and coconut milk make them healthy and are very positive forces in their life, who am I to judge them for making bacon art, wearing bacon t-shirts, or covering themselves in coconut milk in an erotic fashion? It's just having fun with symbolism. Some people are such judgmental snobs. I don't know the extent of what Marx meant by this stuff but sensationalizing foods is a good time as long as people differentiate between objective nutritional value

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:24 PM

And this "commodity fetishism" thing seems like a bizarre type of moralizing. If someone loves eating bacon and coconut milk and thing they bacon and coconut milk make them healthy and are very positive forces in their life, who am I to judge them for making bacon art, wearing bacon t-shirts, or coming themselves in coconut milk in an erotic fashion? It's just having fun with symbolism. Some people are such judgmental slobs. I don't know the extent of what Marx mean by this stuff but sensationalizing foods is a good time as long as people differentiate between objective nutritional value

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 08:27 PM

and subjective emotional value, and most people do. That is one of the many critiques of Marx's idea on the wikipedia page for it.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:23 PM

The bacon thing is interesting. For so long bacon eaters were rudely told that they were killing themselves and weak, hedonistic slobs. Now we know that bacon, while maybe not an optimal food, is far from the devil it was. Thus, the fun with bacon. But is that really a bad thing? Honestly most of this stuff is just rhetoric and non sequitur. Oh no not emotional valuations of foods! Why then we couldn't look down on others for evaluating foods beyond their objective nutritional value! And why is "unenlightened" in quotations when nobody says things like that? There is debate, so what?

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:47 PM

like ANY fanatics, they are loud but a minority. debate is good. refinement is good. disagreement is good. and i also think that cycling is good (calories, macro nutrients, animals, etc) and can still be "paleo". when i fist came to PH i was horrified at the numbers of people eating the same meal every day and who were rigidly adhered to the same menu, never deviating. i thought this wasnt my place. but soon realized they were just once voice in the crowd. i find PH to be much more open and flexible than other forums.

6
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:02 PM

Your obviously disenchanted with this as a "diet". Thats fine...heck when going through school I had a nutrition teacher who was "natural hygiene" that presented a very good case for how he lived and treated some of his patients. I even went vegetarian for a few months. Felt light and airy, but not necessarily healthy as a lot of my fitness markers fell (my point is i've eaten in a variety of manners also). The nuts and bolts of this diet are sound, the theory is interesting at least, the physiological effects are measurable and positive when done in the form of elimination and reintroduction from what I can tell. We avoid toxins and give the body necessary sufficient nutrients. Of course its caused a niche market, but do you need any of that crap? If you wanna make faux bread, maybe but I've done without most/all of it myself....piece of protein and veggie at every meal...how easy is that? But for me I've stopped chasing "diets", eat well get some exercise stay positive and health will continue to improve.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Your last sentence pretty much sums it up! However, I wonder if we should mix it up based on the phases of our life and seasons. Upping carbs in the winter or adjusting to our menstrual cycles. That sort of thing. Or maybe, just chill out and EAT :)

6
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on August 04, 2011
at 04:58 PM

I went through a lot of different nutritional phases while losing weight. I started off typical SAD low calorie/low fat and did great on that, lost around 60lbs. I learned more about nutrition and changed to a more moderate carb, higher protein protocol and continued to do well and lost another 40lbs. Again, through my research, I learned to eat more whole foods and less processed foods, this made me healthier, but didn't really affect my weight. Paleo was a natural transition and after 10 months, I am healthier than I ever have been.

I have noticed no harmful side effects while eating a Paleo diet, except possibly to the pharmaseutical industry, now that I no longer need to take a bunch of pills to make myself "healthy".

I am not a die hard supporter of any particular plan. I take what works from me in each protocol and apply them to what works for me and my body. I don't find it necessary to give it any particular name.

If I find new nutritional information that I think applies to me, I will give it a try.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:09 PM

I inched up my fat from 20% to 40-50% verrrry slowly because it was a really new concept for me and I was scared to death I would wake up fat again. My body seems to like it, if I do much more than that though, I have some issues.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:03 PM

Great answer! For me, I never ate SAD but found Paleo through xfit and tried it for the mental health aspect. Including more fat for the brain made sense. Unfortunately, my tummy has revolted :)

4
2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on August 04, 2011
at 09:05 PM

Insightful, hardly. 'A case study of how commodity fetishism manifests in a diet sub-culture' - having read it, I am none the wiser. The title itself is as hard to digest as plate of pancakes and syrup. I'll stick with paleo.

3
C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:34 PM

The psycho-social effects described in the article do apply to the paleo communitiy, as they do to any group of people who communicate with each other and engage in similar practices while working toward a common goal (in this case, healthy living). Humans are social creatures. We are affected by what our neighbors do and say, and we are all subject to the effects of advertising.

But the effects of the paleo approach are measurable, testable and repeatable. That's the cool thing about science. It works whether you believe in it or not.

As for the Marxist rhetoric, the entire persuasive point of the article is founded on the assumption that people are happier when they're not trying to be happy. If this were actually true then there would be no need for "paleo" literature. Indeed, there would be no literature, and no other kind of diet. We would all still be 100% paleo. And most of us would be dead.

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on August 04, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Dead from infection, accident, predation, parasites and other forms of natural population control, not because the diet killed us. ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:23 PM

I don't think she is trying to say that people are happier when they are not trying to be happy. Where did you read that?

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