11

votes

Do we really need to re-brand?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 09, 2011 at 8:32 AM

Do we really have to change the name "Paleo"? I like the paleo name. If people want to misinterpret Paleo as some sort of historical re-enactment, that's THEIR problem. People will find fault with any name, especially if it challenges their beliefs and means they might have to change and stop eating baked goods and fizzy drinks. Neolithic foods are that addictive to people!! I'm proud, not embarrassed to call myself a Paleo eater. I love Paleo, what it stands for and how it's helped so many people. Intelligent people soon realise that we're not walking round in loin cloths and grunting at each other, it's just a base line to which current nutritional science is applied. Seriously if people want to look over the facts and what's important and just poke fun then they can "do one".

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:19 AM

Thanks - I needed some context.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 03, 2011
at 08:57 AM

Great answer. If we want paleo to take off more, and become more accepted and respected, we have to put our personal egos away and lay the foundation together.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 03, 2011
at 08:53 AM

You comPletely described how I feel when I explain paleo to someone! Usually the reaction I get is along the lines of "oh the CAVEMAN diet" or "so you basically eat atkins *psh*". How do you respond in these situations? I feel myself getting frustrated because I feel defensive.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on June 02, 2011
at 03:21 PM

Haha! Of course!!

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 16, 2011
at 02:20 PM

That and Kentish loyalty, no?

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on April 16, 2011
at 11:19 AM

Yeah! ;D.......

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on April 16, 2011
at 11:17 AM

Surpise I chose the question that starts "I entirely agree" as my favourite hehehe :D

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 15, 2011
at 02:34 PM

And I just wanted to use "plethora" in a sentence...

Bbd50c115fa066bea3ac23a4e82447ff

(558)

on April 12, 2011
at 03:01 AM

I also think that KH is exceptionally bad at naming his eating philosophy. I typically say I eat Primally or Paleo...I can't imagine saying I eat PaNu or Archevore...I just don't think either name will ever catch on. Of course, I've been wrong before. Maybe you'll see me at ArchevoreCon next year!

0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on April 10, 2011
at 10:26 PM

I agree. I think the Paleo term brings up thoughts of evolution. I struggle with it too, but you can't argue with the science of health! If you are interested, I created a FB page called Health, it's a God thing

39a1a0bc7855c084ac59df60fdf9c0dd

(1505)

on April 10, 2011
at 12:46 PM

I think a large number of posts on this forum reflect reanactment to some degree - though no one ever admits they are re-enacting.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on April 09, 2011
at 04:13 PM

I've always thought that Christians could do it by saying they only eat what God put on the Earth. Or eat only what could be found in the Garden of Eden. They don't have to be on board with evolution to eat this way.

Cc2a43461ec5b2b7ba5d55215ea0f068

(236)

on April 09, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I think it depends on the Christian Community. So far, I haven't had an issue. Once you go into detail describing what you eat (mostly whole foods with little or no simple carbs other than fruits and vegetables), there's actually a lot of interest. At least, that's my experience.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 09, 2011
at 12:08 PM

Good point Dave S. I'd forgotten that "evolution" might be controversial"

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 09, 2011
at 11:36 AM

I have always considered myself "PaNu" and not really paleo...

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 09, 2011
at 11:35 AM

My question for Dr. Harris is whether he dropped the "Paleo 2.0" designation as soon as he invented it? Kinda left people hanging... Or is Archevore his new word for Paleo 2.0 - i.e. he wants to distance himself from the dogmatic paleo crowd. (I would say we are pretty non-dogmatic here. For the most part. And you know who you are...)

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on April 09, 2011
at 10:21 AM

Paul, I think paleo as a brand is much bigger than just Cordain. After all you are on paleo hacks aren't you? The Paleo "brand" is huge, regardless of where it originated.

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on April 09, 2011
at 10:17 AM

Paul - do you have a term for how you eat? "High fat, moderate protein and low(ish) carb" is kind of a mouthful when people ask about my diet. :)

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on April 09, 2011
at 10:07 AM

I don't like the "we" in it! Even Mark Sisson used his own Primal term a long time ago. Paleo is a THE Cordain term and my diet is not even close to Cordain. Yeah, i avoid gluten, but so do a lot of Vegans.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on April 09, 2011
at 09:08 AM

Haha, this is of course optional, what ever floats your boat...... ;D

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on April 09, 2011
at 08:48 AM

"we're not walking round in loin cloths and grunting at each other" -- We're not? Well shoot. There goes my Saturday. D'oh!

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13 Answers

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6
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 09, 2011
at 11:39 AM

I entirely agree, paleo is a completely acceptable name and now (that it has become the main label used by the community) is almost certainly the best one. Perhaps something based around 'evolutionary' would have been a less misleading term and made explicit the scientific rather than historic motivations of Paleo, but the moment where changing the moniker would have been beneficial has passed and, in any case, 'evolutionary' lacks a lot of the content that paleo does. (Do we think that humans have evolved enough for grains, dairy etc to be safe? And so on...)

I don't really see the point of any rebrandings. The main problem that most people have with Cordain's paleo is the fact they think he got his conception of what-was-eaten-during-the-paleolithic wrong, not that they think we ought not to try to eat a diet based on what was available during the paleolithic.

I also agree that the 're-enactment fallacy' is so obviously a mistake about what paleo means, that the onus is not on us to change our label to try to avoid people (unjustifiably) making this mistake. Our label 'paleo' just suggests that people ate a certain way in the paleolithic (the bulk of our evolution) and that this tells us something about what we think we ought to do now. If people think that the 'what we ought to do now' is 'eat precisely the same foodstuffs as were available during the paleolithic' and therefore object that "wooly mammoths went extinct, so your diet is impossible" then they're simply making an egregious error in their assumption about what paleo means. Assuming that is akin to assuming that the South Beach diet entails eating sand. We don't need to change the label to rule out such error. The correct response is: "That's stupid, paleo really means basing your lifestyle on conditions we adapted to during the paleolithic" not "Ah well, paleo was indeed about dressing like a caveman and pretending that certain foodstuffs were magical, rather than looking at their biological components, but now we've got a patch for that."

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on April 16, 2011
at 11:17 AM

Surpise I chose the question that starts "I entirely agree" as my favourite hehehe :D

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 16, 2011
at 02:20 PM

That and Kentish loyalty, no?

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on June 02, 2011
at 03:21 PM

Haha! Of course!!

7
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 09, 2011
at 11:30 AM

Well, we arleady have a plethora of names:

Paleo
Primal
Neanderthin (anybody still use this one?)
Cave Man or Stone Age Diet (popular media term)
Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Traditional or Ancestral Diet
Evolutionary Medicine
Perfect Health Diet
Protein Power (has a paleo option)
WAPF (close to paleo)
Lacto-Paleo
Most elimination or ketogenic diets
A number of low carb diets - I first learned about wheat and veg oils on a low carb forum...
PaNu or Paleo 2.0 or now it's... wait for it... Archevore!!!

I actually have no problem with this (sorry if I forgot a few). Whatever brings people around to facing the science and making positive changes is a good thing. Some people will be averse to the "evolution thang" and may hook into something just based on health or basic science or just the excellent results. After all, that's what matters. So what if they are not "doing paleo". Frankly, it is my dream that the term Standard American Diet would come to mean "Real Wholesome Food".

I think we are more likely to see even more splinters as various people try to cash in on the ideas by creating their own brands. I'm okay with that too - as long as we keep discussing the science and tweaking our practices for the better. I actually like to visit the non-paleo blogs to get ideas about what we need to change - or at least to hear the devil's advocate position so that we can sort out the truth - or at least think about it for a while until it can get sorted out.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 09, 2011
at 12:08 PM

Good point Dave S. I'd forgotten that "evolution" might be controversial"

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 15, 2011
at 02:34 PM

And I just wanted to use "plethora" in a sentence...

5
2c3a4e438d71775f45e98d1334b4e8d4

(495)

on April 09, 2011
at 09:38 PM

Actually, I think that this is a normal and healthy thing. You see it any time a small subculture experiences a large influx of new people and branching variations.

Look around at the different "flavors" of Paleo floating around... no-carb Paleo, VLC Paleo, and the folks eating potatoes, rice, honey and fruit... carnivore, meat+dairy-no-veg, meat+veg-no-dairy... raw Paleo, grilling and smoking only Paleo, haute cuisine Paleo... organic-only Paleo, supplement-heavy Paleo... Neanderthal re-enactors, Paleo lifestylers, "Paleo as the Crossfit diet" folks...

"Paleo" became an umbrella term for all of these variations by memetic chance. But everybody doing Paleo -- and especially everybody promoting a particular type of Paleo -- is trying to clearly express their version's identity. We're getting to a point where Paleo is becoming more recognizable due to its increasing popularity and media coverage, but the varieties are also becoming diverse enough that we know that when we talk to a friend about it, their exposure to Paleo is probably not the same as what we're doing.

Our elevator speeches have been shifting over from a simple explanation of what we eat and why, to an awkward dance of distancing ourselves from one group and aligning ourselves with another... a weird apologia of identity: "I do Paleo, but it's not like this guy's Paleo or that blog's Paleo. Have you read this author? And I do this, but I think that is overrated/unnecessary/silly/dangerous."

Anytime this happens, the schismatic rebranding comes next.

It's why the term "vegan" took off: both the vegans and the vegetarians wanted a little distance from each other. And those groups have their sub-identities: ovo-lacto-vegetarians, raw vegans, fruitarians, etc.

It's why there are different denominations of religions, for that matter. Different groups and individuals lean toward different practices and preferences. Once those differences become pronounced enough that people are fighting about it, they split off and rename things.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 03, 2011
at 08:53 AM

You comPletely described how I feel when I explain paleo to someone! Usually the reaction I get is along the lines of "oh the CAVEMAN diet" or "so you basically eat atkins *psh*". How do you respond in these situations? I feel myself getting frustrated because I feel defensive.

5
8f4ff12a53a98f3b5814cfe242de0daa

(1075)

on April 09, 2011
at 03:12 PM

I don't expect any of the re-branding to take. As a whole, the term paleo gets attention and has been around for a long time. But most of the off-shoots are unlikely to reach any kind of critical mass without the intervention on the scale of Oprah/Huffingtonpost style dietary cheer leading.

And that is probably very unlikely, so.... paleo it is.

4
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on April 09, 2011
at 04:15 PM

FWIW, I completely agree. Trying to enact some kind of change right now is silly. We're all more alike than we are different. I don't think it wise to create such schisms in such a small overall movement. We actually need to start consolidating resources and messages rather than fracturing and multiplying. As a movement, we have to be able to adjust and adapt, and we don't have to rebrand everytime there's a change.

65430e39d7e9e9322718d016fe668051

(2944)

on August 03, 2011
at 08:57 AM

Great answer. If we want paleo to take off more, and become more accepted and respected, we have to put our personal egos away and lay the foundation together.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:19 AM

Thanks - I needed some context.

2
6fa48935d439390e223b9a053a62c981

(1676)

on April 09, 2011
at 03:53 PM

I really don't see any problem with the name. I always thought it meant nothing more than dietary choices informed by the diet of ancestral humans, who evolved during the paleolithic. Even if there is some disagreement about "what's in, what's out," the name paleo seems quite apt. This name change issue seems to stem from a few prominent bloggers, who want to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Bbd50c115fa066bea3ac23a4e82447ff

(558)

on April 12, 2011
at 03:01 AM

I also think that KH is exceptionally bad at naming his eating philosophy. I typically say I eat Primally or Paleo...I can't imagine saying I eat PaNu or Archevore...I just don't think either name will ever catch on. Of course, I've been wrong before. Maybe you'll see me at ArchevoreCon next year!

1
03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on April 11, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I think there's more going on here than just trying to separate the "movement" from "reenactment." The term paleo, at its simplest, has meant "eating what paleolithic man ate." People might argue over what that diet included, but that's what the term meant. So dairy, potatoes, and legumes, for instance, whether or not they're good for you, are not paleo, by definition.

Now many people are using the paleolithic diet as a starting point, but including neolithic foods that don't have any apparent harmful effects (at least for them) or which seem like they would have fit into the paleolithic diet if they'd been available back then. So butter fits, for instance, because it's a saturated fat, and the paleolithic diet included lots of saturated fat. If we were designed to eat animal fats and coconuts, we should be able to eat butter. But wheat simply can't fit, because it contains things that weren't in the diet at all back then.

So we're sort of working two directions toward the middle: what do we know about the diet back then, and what's available to us now? How do we bring these two lists together to create the optimum diet? If you start at the paleo end and just add a few newer foods, "paleo plus" might seem like a good name. But if you start at the modern end, looking around the grocery store and eliminating the known harmful neolithic agents, you could end up with a similar cart-full of food without knowing a thing about paleolithic times, so a different name would make more sense to you.

I also wouldn't minimize the effect that a popular book or two can have on a name. Sure, maybe Cordain doesn't "own" the word paleo, and he shouldn't be allowed to stamp it forever with his sat-fat-phobias. But that's life. Any low-carber knows what it's like to say, "I'm cutting carbs," and have people automatically go, "Oh, you're doing Atkins. Isn't that the bacon-and-lettuce diet, and didn't he die of a heart attack?" Never mind that there are dozens of other low-carb diet books out there; the one with the bestselling title (more precisely, what people were told about the book) defined the term. If a popular book has taken your favorite term and distorted it so the public thinks it means something it's not supposed to, you can fight an uphill struggle to get your term back, or you can move on and pick a new one.

Besides, some "paleo" people are into reenactment, right down to how to use the toilet, and more power to them. They have as much right as anyone -- maybe more -- to claim the term for what they're doing.

1
7f4c64d6caca80c74a6c2d91efa3259b

(831)

on April 11, 2011
at 09:35 AM

"What's in a name?, as the great George Fatpimple once said" (quote from an old British comedy series).

Seriously though, I'm happy to use the term Paleo, or any other term, to describe my choice of diet/lifestyle as long as other non-Paleo people can understand the concept of eating good, healthy food and cutting the processed stuff (much like Deirdre's answer previously).

This is not always easy to do since, unlike some of my friends, I do not (to my knowledge) have any medical issues, allergies or intolerances to justify my choice. I know I shouldn't have to feel guilty about my choice but valid medical reasons always help to justify things without too many questions. My only is issue is being overweight - always have been despite various diets, cycling, playing squash 2-3 times per week etc. Perhaps I do have undiagnosed intolerances that have stopped me losing the weight? Anyway, there are some people who will only accept my change of diet because I have managed to lose about 28lb in 2 months.

All the usual arguments, "it goes against medical advice", "too much fat", and "be glad when you're back to eating normally" are regularly trotted out and, frankly, whatever name is applied to the brand is irrelevant if people don't wish to understand the concept.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on April 16, 2011
at 11:19 AM

Yeah! ;D.......

1
0fd24d837dbad54740f53cc5f72068a0

(285)

on April 09, 2011
at 04:17 PM

I can understand why it is a good idea (imo) to evolve the brand. Paleolithic is a word that already has a well established meaning. Like it or not, the word invokes knapped stone tools and painted cave walls. The same day that I first saw the PaNu site changed, there was a report on a hispanic speaking channel talking about how one man lost considerable weight following the Paleo Diet (no beans, no grains, no dairy..all the meat you could want and some veggies). This is the first time I've heard anything on Paleo in the mainstream Hispanic media. The photo displayed as they talked about it was basically a primitive barrel-chested man, hairy, dirty and wearing some kind of loin-cloth. Of course, there was a nutritionist attacking "primitive diets", how they acquired food and health. In short, I think the term Paleolithic already has a well established meaning behind it that makes it far too hard to overcome. And in light that KH's view is as much science based as seeing what was eaten, the Paleolithic term in it's images of primitive technology, doesn't fit KH's model, imo. But, he was my introduction into the diet, so I'm probably always going to stand by him.

1
0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on April 09, 2011
at 11:55 AM

I talk about my lifestyle and depending on who I talk to, I may use the term Paleo. Most often, I just explain what I eat and what I don't. I tell them why (leaky gut, antinutrients, etc.) I may explain inflammation. Some people are just put off by Paleo, particularly in a Christian community.

0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on April 10, 2011
at 10:26 PM

I agree. I think the Paleo term brings up thoughts of evolution. I struggle with it too, but you can't argue with the science of health! If you are interested, I created a FB page called Health, it's a God thing

Cc2a43461ec5b2b7ba5d55215ea0f068

(236)

on April 09, 2011
at 01:31 PM

I think it depends on the Christian Community. So far, I haven't had an issue. Once you go into detail describing what you eat (mostly whole foods with little or no simple carbs other than fruits and vegetables), there's actually a lot of interest. At least, that's my experience.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on April 09, 2011
at 04:13 PM

I've always thought that Christians could do it by saying they only eat what God put on the Earth. Or eat only what could be found in the Garden of Eden. They don't have to be on board with evolution to eat this way.

1
F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

on April 09, 2011
at 10:33 AM

I think that it could be damaging in some respects. A fad by definition is "An intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, esp. one that is short-lived; a craze."

No sooner has 'paleo' gained widespread traction in the mainstream than it is changing. However, I reckon that if anyone can shift things on to a robust scientific footing, KGH can. Whether he can do it alone or not, I don't know - perhaps if a few of the paleo 2.0 luminaries teamed up, it would have more 'clout'.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 09, 2011
at 11:35 AM

My question for Dr. Harris is whether he dropped the "Paleo 2.0" designation as soon as he invented it? Kinda left people hanging... Or is Archevore his new word for Paleo 2.0 - i.e. he wants to distance himself from the dogmatic paleo crowd. (I would say we are pretty non-dogmatic here. For the most part. And you know who you are...)

0
2291ce3d4e93ac289c253c548b7de1eb

on January 25, 2012
at 05:10 AM

I dont know. sdf sdfsdf * ssdfsf sd

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