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definition of the Paleo diet

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM

I just watched Christina Warrinners video that allegedly debunks the Paleo diet. I am new to this forum. But surely the Paleo diet is the same as the modern or recent hunter-gatherer diet, which varies from one region to the next worldwide. The amount of vegetable food eaten varies, generally the percentage increases the further south the people live, some such as S Sea islanders rely entirely on fish for protein, others eat vast quantities of meat. In other words the Paleo or Hunter-gatherer diet is eclectic and exists in an infinite variety of forms. It can be reasonably simulated by someone keeping chickens and pigs on a smallholding and growing their own vegetables and berries and some fruit trees; fishing from the ocean or nearby lake. The important point is not what is eaten but what is not eaten - to wit adulterated and processed foods, laden with pesticides, herbicides etc and probably GM to boot. Wheat, bread and pasta must be excluded. The hunter-gatherer would not have access to vegetable oil. Consumption of raw dairy products is debatable - it is not available to the hunter-gatherer, but raw milk has many nutritional benefits - and then there are nutritional supplements such as brewers yeast, chlorella, spirulina and many others. It seems to me that the Paleo or Hunter-Gatherer diet is largely commonsense and not a question to debate.

582e89904fef55ad5c7dac673653ef8c

(281)

on April 21, 2013
at 09:23 PM

I think the word "diet" in and of itself is a huge problem. We associate diet with restriction, hunger, and willpower. If we called it the "Paleo Lifestyle" or "The anti-inflammatory (insert something besides diet here)" it wouldn't seem so crazy.

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on April 21, 2013
at 08:41 PM

+1 for "the Paleo or Hunter-gatherer diet is _eclectic_ and exists in an infinite variety of forms", and your other points.

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4 Answers

4
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on April 21, 2013
at 07:08 PM

I think a big problem is the word diet, which universally means restriction to people. People look at paleo and see that many people don't eat grains, legumes, common oils, sugar, or processed food. For many people that means the bulk of their diet, so from the outside it seems really restrictive. But when you start eating Paleo you realise that it's not restrictive, and I think most people find themselves eating a wider variety of food then before, and as their taste buds change, instead of being a diet that is anti-food it becomes all about loving the food you eat.

And paleo is highly adaptable. You want to eat less carbs, more carbs? You want to eat fruit or not eat fruit? Are you trying to lose weight or gain weight? That all can be done. Yes, some of the proponents have really specific views of what paleo means, but who cares? You can pick and choose and modify to your heart's content. There's no laws here. When people write questions about "cheating" I cringe, because that doesn't fit with my view. There's no cheating, and if you start owning your behaviour as choice (other than in the case of disorders) then the sooner you will understand that you can make other choices.

2
39311794c054f89a226f33e1afd08721

on April 21, 2013
at 07:45 PM

I think "paleo" was a conversation-starter, but the topic has drifted. The term is still useful as a very googlable tag. I google "paleo stew" and I know I'll come up with a recipe I'll be happy with.

Unfortunately for people who still devotedly use the word "paleo" to refer to the paleolithic era, we've taken their ball and run off. They can either accept it as a new synonym or be frustrated.

2
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on April 21, 2013
at 06:53 PM

I really think it's a problem that this 'diet' is called the 'Paleo Diet' so it leads people to hurt they head to no end wondering about if every food is paleo or it isn't.

I think it would be way better if someone called it from the start 'The anti-inflamatory diet'. Which is what it is in the end. Animal flesh from meat and seafood and 'gatherable' vegetables plus some modern food that is proven to give benefits with no harm. Basically, as you say, avoiding all sorts of refined sugars, gluten, lectins, phytates, omega 6, hydrogenated oil... and all what it may be pro-inflammatory in the end.

That anti-inflammatory effect is what makes paleo different from the rest of the diets/nutritional approaches IMO... just happens to be similar (but evolved) from what our ancestors eat.

582e89904fef55ad5c7dac673653ef8c

(281)

on April 21, 2013
at 09:23 PM

I think the word "diet" in and of itself is a huge problem. We associate diet with restriction, hunger, and willpower. If we called it the "Paleo Lifestyle" or "The anti-inflammatory (insert something besides diet here)" it wouldn't seem so crazy.

1
582e89904fef55ad5c7dac673653ef8c

(281)

on April 21, 2013
at 09:28 PM

I really try not to say "I do the Paleo Diet." Diet is like a bad word, people associate "diet" with a host of negative things. Paleo lifestyle doesn't explain itself either. So, I don't say "Paleo Diet" anymore. I just tell people I only eat meat, veggies, fruit, and eggs if they are really that curious. If someone thinks I'm insane for cutting out grains or asks "where do you get your fiber?" or says "all that saturated fat is bad for you." Or any of the plethora of other nutritional "truths" that they've heard. I just explain I'm allergic to all grains (which I seem to be.) I only explain enough to satisfy their short-attention curiosities unless they are actually interested because of the benefits of the lifestyle.

People are excited to "debunk" things that have become popular. Paleo has become popular. Every time someone uses the word "paleo" in a blog, podcast title, recipe title, etc. It has more of a chance of being shown on Google under a search for Paleo. Thus upping the ranking of the website and getting them more viewers which equates to more money for the owner of said website. As long as Paleo exists, there will be people who use it negatively for their own gains.

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