35

votes

Is paleo getting watered-down?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 04, 2012 at 10:55 PM

It certainly appears (at least from my short-term, 1 year paleo, POV) that paleo is becoming less and less dogmatic. For example, white rice. When I started looking at paleo, rice was a grain and grains were evil. When I implemented paleo, I, too, chucked my rice and bought cauliflower and a food processor. But now you see many folks (myself included) adding rice back into their diets in moderated amounts. Other topics that I see some reversal on: phytates, fish oil, legumes, dairy, non-glutenous grains, soy???

So are we simply lowering our standards or are we simply evolving/adapting to the best current knowledge as to what is important and works? There are still quite a few hardcore paleo adherants around. Or is it that folks disappear when they go beyond the paleo framework?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 02, 2013
at 03:05 PM

Don't lose hope. The quilt's still around occasionally.

B5141236ad924674a96803ee1ccccaf1

(485)

on August 02, 2013
at 02:04 PM

now if Berkeley could only start growing coffee and cacao, id be a full localvore

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 02, 2013
at 12:50 PM

+1 for local. Ancestral living was not a monoculture using global supply chains. There are commonalities but because of local conditions they can't be reduced to rigid dogma.

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on December 04, 2012
at 03:33 AM

Once it transitions from paleo to mypaleo, it may no longer be accurately called paleo. Your daily eating habits might more closely resemble a different dietary protocol entirely.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 14, 2012
at 12:24 PM

So far as I'm concerned the only dietary concern is meat. The behavioral difference is far more important. Hunt-and-gather outdoors every day for as many hours as you can spare and you just might get to being 20% paleo.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 14, 2012
at 10:13 AM

Unless your killing your own wild game and fish, and collecting your own berries, roots, greens, nuts and veg and roasting it all over a fire, every meal, then your not strictly eating paleo! :P

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on April 16, 2012
at 11:58 PM

"half assed paleo" haha

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2012
at 11:19 AM

The diet known as "Paleo" is not from a particular part of the world or from a partiular era. It is based on the supposed diet of the paleolithic era. The "Paleo" diet already has it's own rules laid out. It doesn't need a load of paleo pretenders to come along with their own versions which they also call "Paleo". This is why I say "If it hasn't got a name then think one up if you really must have a label" Just accept the Paleo Diet for what it is and stop trying to change it. If you want to do something slighty different then by all means do but don't try to pretend that it is the Paleo diet.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 06, 2012
at 10:12 AM

It's only going to get worse, when the people mentioned (and others!) see how much money comes rolling in from the fat SADers looking for a solution to their problems. Then again, if paleo becomes a diet fad (I bet it will), whoever becomes the poster boy will be laughing all the way to the bank.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on January 05, 2012
at 07:41 PM

Dogma can infiltrate any organization, no matter how awesome.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on January 05, 2012
at 05:22 PM

Less dogmatic implies the reasoning to be dogmatic, which I don't think it is.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Glad to see so much support for reasonable, evolving, adapting paleo...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:06 PM

FED, I'll sell you that domain name if you like. :P

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:05 PM

So we're fractionating more than anything, it seems. I think that's a good thing, though the best scenario would be a bajillion little tents all within the same campground.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:03 PM

What's wrong with smashing together paleo foods into bar form? Space age paleo! How about paleo Tang? Freeze-dried paleo chow? ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:59 PM

The label thing is funny. We paleo folk are like libertarians. We like to make up crazy labels that nobody else understands, but tries to differentiate and define us.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:58 PM

Yeah, I don't get the whole leptin and low reward stuff myself.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:16 PM

I too am horrified by a future of franken-paleo offerings at our local food court. However, I think you may have locked yourself into a needlessly small worldview in regards to what paleolithic people actually ate. Primitive hunter-gatherers who have maintained their way of life all around the world are sophisticated enough to dig roots, harvest wild grass seeds, transform things like acorns into flour, etc. But if you are confident enough to get in that time machine and go tell grok to drop the roasted marshmallow root because he's "doing it all wrong" by all means.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:07 PM

Care to define paleo? I don't believe I am making any un-paleo suggestions, just observations of what I have added to a "paleo" template without obviously reversing the health gains otherwise derived from that template. True paleo is virtually impossible because with animal husbandry and farming our food and microbiome have evolved along-side us, no-one is eating wooly mammoth for dinner tonight. Seafood and insects, plus foraged berries, fungus, leaves, seeds and roots are all that is left without being unrecognizably shaped by humans, and even those have been shaped by our eating choices.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 05, 2012
at 11:38 AM

Yeah well that's all well and good but it still doesn't make it "Paleo"

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 05, 2012
at 11:36 AM

Oh dear. It's the beginning of the end! LOL

Ef27a2d75781749b6a3f5bda9a4d33a9

(25)

on January 05, 2012
at 11:11 AM

Berkeley Bowl has this nice little corner filled with superfood and really expensive processed paleo coconut bars. It's already out there, and it's totally edible on your diet without cheating.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 05, 2012
at 10:28 AM

Just wait until the industrial machine gets going on it like it has 'organic'.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 05, 2012
at 10:14 AM

I've seen Lärabars referred to on some "paleo" blogs.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on January 05, 2012
at 09:02 AM

I'd go with watered-down. My body doesn't like the less dogmatic version of paleo.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 05, 2012
at 07:07 AM

water is paleo, though, isn't it?

79cb6f03dc808787f6d26bf37bc4c2b9

(229)

on January 05, 2012
at 06:11 AM

Better be available for Nook ;)

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 05, 2012
at 03:03 AM

agree 100 percent!!!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:05 AM

@Michelle, if you post that as a separate question you'll probably get lots of votes. :-)) My answer is I like the term ancestral because what works for me is probably connected to my personal ancestry and won't necessarily work as well for you. Also, I think I want to blur the line of what's great food to include home-made things like sauerkraut, yogurt, water kefir, etc., in addition to what I might forage/hunt. After all, there's no way I can replicate a true paleo diet but I can eat whole foods and use some sensible techniques my ancestors used.

273729a18d2f18903815d2644a4d64de

(1683)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:58 AM

what would you define as "primal," "paleo," and "ancestral"? ive heard both primal and paleo (obviously) and know the basic differences, but what do YOU define them as? and what do you define as ancestral in comparison?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:43 AM

I think it all comes down to avoiding refined carbohydrates and rancid fats now, barring individual differences.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 05, 2012
at 12:34 AM

I want it for my Kindle!

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on January 05, 2012
at 12:18 AM

I would buy that book too :)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 05, 2012
at 12:08 AM

I would totally buy that book.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on January 04, 2012
at 11:31 PM

Permission to use "eat real food that doen't make me feel like shit diet" as a book title?

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 04, 2012
at 11:19 PM

Ahh ha ha ha. Plus one for tags.

  • 32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

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19 Answers

best answer

40
Dda1dbc296c25b7835053a251ea6868b

on January 04, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Here's my condensed take. When I read the books, it was "Paleo". Once I started implementing it .. it became "My Paleo". I've taken the principals and guidelines and figured out what works for me and my family. Starting out I was much stricter with what what I would eat, but over time I've figured out what makes me feel lousy and what doesn't. So I have no problem eating a bit of white rice (i.e., with Sushi) since it doesn't make me feel as crappy as, say, wheat. Dairy's never bothered me so I use it ... but I stick with full fat, heavy cream, aged cheese, etc.

Ultimately it's become more about "eat real food that doesn't make me feel like shit" and less about sticking with some hardcore prescriptions. IMHO, that's the way it should be.

B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

(554)

on January 05, 2012
at 12:18 AM

I would buy that book too :)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 05, 2012
at 12:34 AM

I want it for my Kindle!

79cb6f03dc808787f6d26bf37bc4c2b9

(229)

on January 05, 2012
at 06:11 AM

Better be available for Nook ;)

Medium avatar

(19479)

on January 04, 2012
at 11:31 PM

Permission to use "eat real food that doen't make me feel like shit diet" as a book title?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 05, 2012
at 12:08 AM

I would totally buy that book.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:06 PM

FED, I'll sell you that domain name if you like. :P

4517f03b8a94fa57ed57ab60ab694b7d

on December 04, 2012
at 03:33 AM

Once it transitions from paleo to mypaleo, it may no longer be accurately called paleo. Your daily eating habits might more closely resemble a different dietary protocol entirely.

24
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on January 04, 2012
at 11:01 PM

"Watered-down" implies the change is bad. "Less dogmatic" implies the change is good.

I'd go with "less dogmatic."

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on January 05, 2012
at 05:22 PM

Less dogmatic implies the reasoning to be dogmatic, which I don't think it is.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on January 05, 2012
at 09:02 AM

I'd go with watered-down. My body doesn't like the less dogmatic version of paleo.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on January 05, 2012
at 07:41 PM

Dogma can infiltrate any organization, no matter how awesome.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on January 05, 2012
at 07:07 AM

water is paleo, though, isn't it?

10
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on January 04, 2012
at 11:33 PM

Clearly this community is evolving and IMO it is headed in the right direction. We are still grappling with core beliefs which I see as a good thing. Certain "camps" are perhaps being "watered down" but it's more like a melding of these camps is happening and our bell curve is emerging. I feel like we are becoming more inclusive which is a great thing. I want paleo to be a concept open for all to take and make their own. Eating with a nod to your ancestry and elimination of NADs in order to gain and/or maintain good health is all I feel is required to fall under the paleo umbrella.

9
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 05, 2012
at 08:35 AM

I think "early" paleo diet ideas were limited by the imaginations of those who were studying ancestral eating at the time, and their personal mythical image of cavemen. Diversity and sophistication of hunter-gather societies was underestimated in my opinion. And study into this area is still so young that I think there is still plenty of room for shocking discoveries.

Clinging to absolutes is only going to make the ride less fun. The real work needs to happen separating quality science from the pseudoscience that plagues most work in the field of nutrition. I wholeheartedly understand Michael Pollen's idea of just recommending that we eat what our grandparents and their parents ate, and have taken that sentiment in account with some of my own food experimenting. I eat oatmeal on occasion, it ain't paleo, but my body does seem to know what to do with it, my mood and energy are stable, and I feel good when I eat it. Is that because it was used by my ancestors to stave off starvation, and passed on some coping mechanism to help me eat it? I don't know, but I do think there may be some rapid evolution that can happen in populations. And no, I am not telling you that you should eat oatmeal, I just thing that as true omnivores we shouldn't underestimate our digestive abilities.

The more people who are drawn to paleo, the greater diversity of imaginations and N=1 experiments we add to mix, the more diverse and complex it will become, and that is a net gain for all of us as far as I am concerned. Sure we haven't evolved in big and obvious ways since the introduction of all of those "Neolithic Agents of Disease", but specific dietary pressures in certain areas of the world since the introduction of agriculture have shaped human evolution in more subtle ways, and that doesn't even include the evolution of all of our little gut critters.

I for one am very excited by the ever evolving scope of paleo, and with the rapidity of discoveries I have learned to temper my judgement of others diets. If they look like they are doing okay what business is it of mine? We are each doing our own dietary experiment in world full of new and diverse foodstuffs and environmental chemicals, I'm just trying to figure out how to do right by my body so I can help my kids and their kids have good lives.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 05, 2012
at 11:38 AM

Yeah well that's all well and good but it still doesn't make it "Paleo"

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:07 PM

Care to define paleo? I don't believe I am making any un-paleo suggestions, just observations of what I have added to a "paleo" template without obviously reversing the health gains otherwise derived from that template. True paleo is virtually impossible because with animal husbandry and farming our food and microbiome have evolved along-side us, no-one is eating wooly mammoth for dinner tonight. Seafood and insects, plus foraged berries, fungus, leaves, seeds and roots are all that is left without being unrecognizably shaped by humans, and even those have been shaped by our eating choices.

8
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on January 04, 2012
at 11:26 PM

Personally...I cannot keep up with all the changes. I was still trying to finish understanding Leptin when the Low Reward Conversation came along. However...I would call it dynamic instead of dogmatic--and I like the intensity of the discussion and action.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:58 PM

Yeah, I don't get the whole leptin and low reward stuff myself.

8
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on January 04, 2012
at 11:02 PM

I don't think that paleo is getting watered down so much as being a big tent with different factions ... in the same way that one can be Jewish but be orthodox, reform, or conservative or be vegetarian and be vegan, ovo-lacto or pescetarian.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:05 PM

So we're fractionating more than anything, it seems. I think that's a good thing, though the best scenario would be a bajillion little tents all within the same campground.

7
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 05, 2012
at 08:55 AM

It's definitelty being watered down. It's only a matter of time before somebody is manufacturing paleo protein bars and meal replacements with "acceptable" levels of non paleo ingredients(if they havn't already).
Some people want to cling to "Paleo" even though they are not doing strict paleo. Just like you get all these "near vegetarian" or "near vegan" people. They want to belong something and they like the sound of it.
All this stuff with rice, dairy, potatoes etc just muddys the water. As far as I'm concernd you are either doing paleo or not doing paleo. If it's not paleo then it's something else. If it hasn't got a name then think one up if you really must have a label.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 05, 2012
at 11:36 AM

Oh dear. It's the beginning of the end! LOL

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 05, 2012
at 10:28 AM

Just wait until the industrial machine gets going on it like it has 'organic'.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:16 PM

I too am horrified by a future of franken-paleo offerings at our local food court. However, I think you may have locked yourself into a needlessly small worldview in regards to what paleolithic people actually ate. Primitive hunter-gatherers who have maintained their way of life all around the world are sophisticated enough to dig roots, harvest wild grass seeds, transform things like acorns into flour, etc. But if you are confident enough to get in that time machine and go tell grok to drop the roasted marshmallow root because he's "doing it all wrong" by all means.

Ef27a2d75781749b6a3f5bda9a4d33a9

(25)

on January 05, 2012
at 11:11 AM

Berkeley Bowl has this nice little corner filled with superfood and really expensive processed paleo coconut bars. It's already out there, and it's totally edible on your diet without cheating.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:03 PM

What's wrong with smashing together paleo foods into bar form? Space age paleo! How about paleo Tang? Freeze-dried paleo chow? ;)

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 05, 2012
at 10:14 AM

I've seen Lärabars referred to on some "paleo" blogs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on January 06, 2012
at 11:19 AM

The diet known as "Paleo" is not from a particular part of the world or from a partiular era. It is based on the supposed diet of the paleolithic era. The "Paleo" diet already has it's own rules laid out. It doesn't need a load of paleo pretenders to come along with their own versions which they also call "Paleo". This is why I say "If it hasn't got a name then think one up if you really must have a label" Just accept the Paleo Diet for what it is and stop trying to change it. If you want to do something slighty different then by all means do but don't try to pretend that it is the Paleo diet.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 14, 2012
at 10:13 AM

Unless your killing your own wild game and fish, and collecting your own berries, roots, greens, nuts and veg and roasting it all over a fire, every meal, then your not strictly eating paleo! :P

7
B2cadbf43bddfbb523b8a53155656188

on January 05, 2012
at 01:45 AM

I wouldn't say that paleo is being "watered down". In fact, I think its great that people are adapting certain changes to fit with their lifestyle. Adding in the occasional rice dish shouldn't instill feelings of guilt. If a side of rice or a few squares of dark chocolate is the only thing that one is worried about (and eating strict paleo otherwise) then congrats to you because you are eating better than 99.99999% of the population!!!! Think to the way you were eating BEFORE paleo, and think to the way you eat now (including those "non strict paleo" foods like rice or dairy). Personally, I have gone from eating a ton of packaged "food like substances" to eating REAL food. I feel great and refuse to feel guilty if I have the occassional non-paleo food. Think 80/20 rule people!!

7
4d6aa1a676240b15dc569ff8ade0500f

(2546)

on January 04, 2012
at 11:05 PM

my 'evolution' was strict paleo, primal, low-carb primal, primal, PHD. i just keep experimenting in order to optimize my diet FOR ME. i'm trying to stay away from the dogma.

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on January 05, 2012
at 03:03 AM

agree 100 percent!!!

6
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 05, 2012
at 11:57 AM

From my point of view, as this is not a historical recreation, I don't have any problem listening to the science, and using the best of the best out there. I do take supplements, I do look at the research that I can access, and when new information comes out that invalidates old, by all means I can change my point of view.

As long as we stay away from crap-in-a-bag or crap-in-a-box products, and cook for ourselves using the raw ingredients ourselves, granted we can't make our own coconut oil, or our own CoQ10 or carnosine supplements, we are miles ahead.

For some people, the goals aren't to lose fat, so things like rice are not a problem, as long as they're aren't showing allergenic sensitivity to it, by all means. Ditto for dairy. I've got problems with cow diary, even raw milk cheese, but have had no issues with the same kinds of things from goats.

Years of SAD living broke us in different ways, and we have different issues, so by all means, the approach should match the issues. There's no such thing as the one true way, it's not a religion after all.

That said, I am seeing a somewhat disturbing trend on both Loren Cordain's website and Robb Wolf's. Both are starting to promote things in a way that smells of TV commercials. You know, but the book from here, and I'll throw in one of my papers, or spend $25 and get this 60 page ebook that tells you where to start, where previously a lot of that stuff was freely available (or still might be). While I don't have a problem with them making money off their work, it's the stench of the "Call now! Operators are Standing By, and if you buy before next week, I'll throw in this other ebook and samples of my super whey protein power that you can also use to wax your car and give your dog wonderful peppermint breath" that seems annoying.

I don't mind them putting out new editions of their books, by all means, updating the content with the newest information is absolutely the right thing to do, and I'll happily purchase the updates. But the rest of it, just has the stench of a late night infomercial. Maybe that's attractive to some people who just can't resist purchasing anything pushed by the ghost of Billy Mays, but to me, it's a huge turn off.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 06, 2012
at 10:12 AM

It's only going to get worse, when the people mentioned (and others!) see how much money comes rolling in from the fat SADers looking for a solution to their problems. Then again, if paleo becomes a diet fad (I bet it will), whoever becomes the poster boy will be laughing all the way to the bank.

5
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 14, 2012
at 11:18 AM

The paleo community, archeologists, figure heads, have never agreed on everything. The whole defination of the diet has changed many times already. As the thing gets bigger, that will continue probably.

I think the main thing to tie it all together, is that paleo is about whole foods that you are adapted too. Theres some genetic variation in that. Sure its largely meat and veg, but some will handle starch more, some fat more, some dairy more, according to there genetic make-up and health. Its not nessasarily paleo, but its in the spirit of paleo.

Its worth remembering that some people have fish intolerances, or egg intolerances. Ghee and coconut oil did not exist in paleo times. If paleo was a strict ruling - eat all of these, and none of these - some people would function sub-optimally on it, and nobody could practically do it.

The spirit of paleo is eating what we are adapted to, whole foods that our body can process. I think our idea of what that is, has evolved with the term.

Given we are not all genetically identical, and some change and split has occured, its perfectly reasonable to consider foods outside what grok ate, so long as its still within whats optimal for your body. Just like its fine to consider foods grok didnt eat, as long as they are nutrionally very similar (like coconut oil). Neither are strictly paleo, but they dont nessasarily break the spirit either.

If that makes it no longer "paleo", why would you want to be paleo anyway? Isnt the point health benefits, not re-enactment?

I remain currently unconvinced that rice is a "safe starch" at all, except in perhaps something like the odd sushi. Why is one grain better than another. Asain people who eat alot of it, get a high rate of IBS, much like the italians, though not quite as bad. And its mostly used for transforming your meal from highly nutrient dense, into a flavoured sea of starch - that mentality seems as dangerous to me as any nutrient bad guys...

Doesnt sound safe to me.

The conflict here, i guess, is perhaps just because someone "tolerates" something, doesnt mean its optimal.

Anything that is tolerable but has no proven optimal quality, no basis in genetic heritage, and varies wildly from the paleo or even historical nutrient pattern (and perhaps offers no unique nutritional value) would seem to me to be questionable, as a health standard.

Anything between that, and what is more strictly defined as paleo is a grey area. What is strictly defined as paleo may be slightly off itself for an optimal diet, and is itself an evolving knowledge based on science and nutrition.

Not so much that paleo era food is wrong, more than our understanding of it often results in less than perfect emulation. For example, paleo lifestyle folks once ate nuts with abandon as a snack. Now we know about omega-6, and it makes sense given nuts were highly unlikely to be a staple food, we have revised that idea a bit.

Most of all, hopefully all of this is somewhat grounded in science, reason, logic, rather than simply including things because they are more "normal" - if paleo is to be an effective umbrella term, and its various factions also, we IMO should accept that they are are grey areas, but call them grey areas and look deeper into them, rather than shift the goalposts.

If we operate in total black and white, we are no better than SAD, or the food pyramid nutrionalists, and we may repeat their same mistakes only to be later proven wrong (how sad would that be!)

But if we operate in total grey, without agknowledging the greys for what they are, then we are providing no grounded centre from which to expand from and the whole idea becomes too nebulous.

Eliminating harmful foods, in a complex range of foods, is about reducing to the simple, the basic (what we are definately evolved for and can eat), and then expanding - carefully. In terms of the individual thats just about immediate health. But in terms of the "paleo" diet, and its many sons and daughters, thats about longevity, and long term optimal health. The expansion should be careful, scientific, and we should avoid coming to black and white conclusions - especially ones that apply to genetically different people.

Thats something mainstream scientists, dieters, fads, and everyday people have already obviously gotten wrong, mostly due to either lack of digiligance, or a black and white, this thing might be bad, so lets warn everybody, witch burning mentality.

Somewhere in the middle is the voice of reason..

Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 14, 2012
at 12:24 PM

So far as I'm concerned the only dietary concern is meat. The behavioral difference is far more important. Hunt-and-gather outdoors every day for as many hours as you can spare and you just might get to being 20% paleo.

5
Medium avatar

(10611)

on January 05, 2012
at 07:31 PM

Dogma has to have intellectual buttresses or it loses its adherents.

Paleo proves out on short term health benefits for the obese especially, but long term isn't known. Was Jack LaLanne's way better than Bob Atkins'? No way to answer that but to pick a path and follow it for the next 50 years.

As Frosty the dogmatic paleoperson melts away, I visualize that the meat and the motion will be left.

5
Medium avatar

on January 05, 2012
at 07:17 PM

If Paleo = dogmatic approach to food choices, and if "watered down" = thinking for oneself based on factors related to one's actual existence, then three cheers for dilution; sign me up.

4
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on January 05, 2012
at 10:53 AM

The people who heard about and practised Paleo previously were likely to have specific health issues they were trying to fix. It was very clear what foods made a difference, and typically required a stricter adherence to the basic principles. Increasingly, people with an interest but without an apparent health problem are learning about bits of pieces of the paleo lifestyle theory. In general, these people are going to be less concerned with finding out all the details without a current medical condition hanging over them, and they are inevitably going to find that many foods outside the orthodoxy are actually not a problem for them to eat. They will also be able to find supporting arguments for whatever choices they make.

But we don't know what the long-term effects will be, whether on us as seemingly healthy individuals or for that matter on us as a species. Not knowing whether rice is good or bad isn't a good reason to eat it. And there seem to be a lot of people these days who are choosing to eat things just because they think they can, and if there's any ambiguity in the community they will claim n=1 and do what they want. That's their choice of course, but it's similar to those who quote the 80/20 'rule' as a reason to eat crap 20% of the time. Most don't I know, but it's a very thin line. How loose should the term paleo be? Because without a strong identity it will be torn apart if it ever reaches mass consumption.

Maybe rice is ok, more so as an occasional event. But there's no need to eat it for most here so why bother? Bored of ricing caulifower? Unable to conceive of meals that don't have the appearance of half the plate covered in starch? Because it's tasty? Because you can't seem to get your body functioning on a natural diet? Simply to avoid the appearance of being dogmatic? All reasons that may net out in a better result for you, but not optimal, and not paleo. There are places where people truly need such agricultural foods to survive. We're not being mean or cruel when we acknowledge that their lifestyle isn't Paleo in the strictest sense, and I wonder if we're being helpful if we include it as paleo because the central tenet of our religion is to make the best choices for the individual from what is available and don't sweat the small stuff. Personally I don't think such an attitude is going to lead to a health revolution for the human race, but perhaps there will be some small steady evolution which may be enough for some people.

4
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 04, 2012
at 10:59 PM

It's interesting, because today's post at the Daily Apple is relevant to your question.

I like your final question--if people experiment and evolve, at what point do we say they aren't "paleo" any more and/or at what point do they say "paleo" is no longer relevant?

In my case, I started out "primal" and evolved to "ancestral." I'm not going anywhere though. I haven't added rice but I am using a little cream and I eat home-made yogurt every day. Otherwise, I still eat the same things I did when I called myself primal. :-))

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 05, 2012
at 02:05 AM

@Michelle, if you post that as a separate question you'll probably get lots of votes. :-)) My answer is I like the term ancestral because what works for me is probably connected to my personal ancestry and won't necessarily work as well for you. Also, I think I want to blur the line of what's great food to include home-made things like sauerkraut, yogurt, water kefir, etc., in addition to what I might forage/hunt. After all, there's no way I can replicate a true paleo diet but I can eat whole foods and use some sensible techniques my ancestors used.

273729a18d2f18903815d2644a4d64de

(1683)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:58 AM

what would you define as "primal," "paleo," and "ancestral"? ive heard both primal and paleo (obviously) and know the basic differences, but what do YOU define them as? and what do you define as ancestral in comparison?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 05, 2012
at 01:59 PM

The label thing is funny. We paleo folk are like libertarians. We like to make up crazy labels that nobody else understands, but tries to differentiate and define us.

3
B5141236ad924674a96803ee1ccccaf1

(485)

on August 01, 2013
at 03:24 PM

I think as paleo grew it begun to appeal with those on tighter food budgets. Thus the increase in low cost compromises. Insisting on grassfinshed beef, organic/local produce (no bananas in Oakland) and shunning factory farming has me eating like a european peasant (not a bad thing really).

Lots of crockpot stews with tough shanks and neck bones. Organ meats. Bacon ends. Lots of pastured eggs. Lots of potatoes and veggies, occasional white rice to fill any energy deficit (these days my weights up to health so i don't hit the rice all that much).

I think the compromises should always be subjugated to the grey area. However, I dont think many buy rice instead of tenderloin purely on flavor prefence

Good fish/steak/pork cuts are a really treat for my students budget.

B5141236ad924674a96803ee1ccccaf1

(485)

on August 02, 2013
at 02:04 PM

now if Berkeley could only start growing coffee and cacao, id be a full localvore

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 02, 2013
at 12:50 PM

+1 for local. Ancestral living was not a monoculture using global supply chains. There are commonalities but because of local conditions they can't be reduced to rigid dogma.

3
B33f7c04c09d8bbbf181dd8aca04f373

on January 05, 2012
at 12:30 AM

I have to agree with the posters that say the diet evolves to what works for them/their family/their situation.

I found the "paleo world" through clean eating - I was already cutting out processed foods, and sugar, and some grain products - because I basically never lose weight when eating grain products and I always over eat wheat products. I flirted with vegetarian/veganism over the summer but was constantly hungry and sick the whole summer. Now I am doing LC Lacto-Paleo (I love milk and am fortunate that it does not bother me) and feel better than I have in years.

3
C116f7e54620c6003b67cd4450a298cd

on January 05, 2012
at 12:25 AM

Sounds like we're all on the same page. I'll do a bit of rice with sushi once or twice a month, but no wheat or legumes for me right now. Very little dairy (a little cheese here and there). I think things can eb and flow according to your body. I will say that anyone "trying" Paleo needs to jump in hardcore and go clean for 45 days minimum to see how you're feeling....THEN, maybe introduce things.

For those that say it "doesn't work" are 'cheating' somewhere and consuming something their body doesn't agree with.

Eating REAL food is the key! oh, and dump the wheat. :)

0
Dba4686e589eb5ce6bb2d69a9a0036c7

on August 02, 2013
at 06:31 AM

Paleo has been on the decline since Dr. Kurt Harris left the scene.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 02, 2013
at 03:05 PM

Don't lose hope. The quilt's still around occasionally.

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