13

votes

Does being paleo come down to faith?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 13, 2012 at 9:31 PM

I will start by saying, I have been paleo for 1.5 years and firmly believe it is the healthiest way to eat. However, often when I talk about it with friends/family, they say it sounds like a cult. Mostly jokingly, but there's always some truth to humor. I am happy to discuss/debate the merits of the paleo approach with them, but as I think back, my side of the discussion often ends with (even if I'm not willing to admit it to them) "because I read it on KGH's blog or Stephan's blog or wherever."

Realistically, I don't fully understand the biochemistry behind why polyunsaturated fat is more likely to oxidize in the human body. I don't fully understand how omega 6 and omega 3 compete with each other for use in the body. And if I'm not willing to invest the time/resources and/or don't have the capability/understanding to really figure out those things for myself, the best I can do is find others who are willing to do the research/thinking for me. Then, read as many different views as I can, pick the ones that seem most reasonable/believable and synthesize across them as best I can. If I'm really pushed, isn't that faith?

Yes, there is always the argument that I feel better since I've switched to this way of eating, but I've heard the same from people on almost any diet (e.g., vegans). There are so many things that affect "feeling better" (exercise, stress, etc) and I'm sure just being thoughtful about what you are eating through almost any diet can be helpful, that I don't think it's good enough proof. Also, feeling better now is not definitive evidence that this way of eating is best in the long run.

And, there is the argument that the simple logic behind paleo just makes sense. I.e., our decision of what to eat is informed by the types of foods that we likely encountered as we were evolving. But, many years ago, I would have said that eating low fat just makes sense. You don't want to be fat, then don't eat fat. And, not too long ago, the carbohydrate hypothesis made sense. So I think the simple logic is not enough either.

I personally do think there is more to it than just faith, but I would imagine anyone who has real faith in something, wouldn't call it faith either. They would just call it the truth. So... what do you think? Does making the decision to adopt a more paleo lifestyle really come down to faith in the end?

And I guess the follow-up question that someone will post in the comments anyway, who cares?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on April 16, 2013
at 01:59 AM

The iceman cometh.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 10, 2012
at 12:58 AM

Not if you're mainly an empiricist. The only thing I have faith in is the predictability of human nature.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 10, 2012
at 12:57 AM

"With science, there is always a little bit of faith, especially in trusting base theories to build upon." Those base theories have tons of evidence to support them. All of good science is based on evidence. Where there is no evidence, all you have is a hypothesis, not a theory. The distinction between the two is important and great. As some other wise poster said, "By definition, evidence is the only thing that justifies faith. You can have faith without evidence, but it isn't justified."

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 15, 2012
at 11:48 AM

Also, there are benefits of paleo I believe I'll get, even though I have no personal evidence (and little understanding of the underlying science), such as reduced future risk of heart disease. I doubt I am alone in that.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 15, 2012
at 11:42 AM

Touche. Plus one.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 15, 2012
at 11:41 AM

@LikesLardinMayo - +1, good point on the definition. I agree there is clear evidence. Where I struggle is whenever I see anything contrary to commonly held paleo beliefs (e.g., a new study showing saturated fat is bad, a healthy/happy vegan, etc), I automatically assume there is something wrong with the study methodology/interpretation and the vegan won't stay happy/healthy for long, even if I have no evidence for that.

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 15, 2012
at 04:25 AM

Aw shucks, Doris, you made me blush and giggle.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 02:10 AM

I really think people should consider what the word Faith means. 1 - Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2 - Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Who here feels like crap? Who here has gained weight over sad? Who here isn't looking better and performing better? That's your evidence. Faith is belief without evidence and we are surrounded by it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 02:06 AM

I really think people to to consider what the word Faith means. 1 - Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2 - Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Clearly the second doesn't apply. The first? Who here doesn't require evidence? Who here isn't skeptical when they read a health claim on cheerios? Who here would continue eating this way with no results? Who here would tell a perfectly healthy person they weren't healthy because they didn't follow Paleo, even if they had evidence that they were healthy? Few..

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 01:59 AM

No. Unless you are heavy on the Woo almost nothing is based on faith.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 01:58 AM

Apparently not.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 15, 2012
at 01:19 AM

I'm sorry you don't like my question. I can accept the feedback, so long as it's really the question you hate and not the answer.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:35 PM

I wish I could upvote Epic Beauty Guide at least 15 times.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:16 PM

A very thoughtful question. Thank you for posting it. I started with Gary Taubes then to Kurt Harris to the Jamenits and on. Take a little from one and then the other. About 2 years now. Feel great, but wonder sometimes if I'm wrong. Time will tell. I'll be 70 next month. My Mom is 91. She does not eat much processed food and has no dogma about anything. I want to be just like her.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on April 14, 2012
at 09:44 AM

What a great answer! That's certainly what I'm doing. It's what I end up doing in a lot of areas - economics, global warming, the history of early Christianity. It's just not realistic to expect everyone to become experts in everything they need to have an opinion in order to make necessary choices.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:07 AM

I think this is a great answer. The fact that HG populations live relatively free on chronic disease and SAD-eaters don't is actually well documented and people like Guyunet and Taubes give references to the literature in their work. YOu could print up a few of the scientific articles and use them as evidence that the way you are eating is based on scientifically-based theory, not just mere belief in the opinions of bloggers. Those bloggers have done the work, all you have to do is go from them to the source.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:49 AM

Nice! I like that. Very true.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 14, 2012
at 12:25 AM

But, many (especially those not on paleo) argue that there is a big sacrifice made in terms of missing out on tasty foods. There are certainly many foods I miss. So then the how much question becomes important. Is the benefit big enough to overcome the sacrifice. Some here might say that stay on paleo long enough, and you won't miss those foods. Perhaps, but to stick it out until then might also require a bit of faith.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 14, 2012
at 12:11 AM

How much faith is really required for "eat real food and not a bunch of processed garbage"? The rest of it is just niggling over what is real and what is junk. But the basic premise seems kinda self-evident. Of course eating real food is going to be healthier. Is it a lot healthier or just a little healthier? I don't know the answer to that, although I suspect it depends heavily on a person's health status, nutrition status and reaction to various foods. You can take it on faith if you want to - I just don't think it's necessary.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:51 PM

Well I tried to pray for it to get hotter. Maybe next time.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:13 PM

No and I think this is a good thing for us to talk about. I often find myself going "shit why did I even go there" when I get on something that feel like unstable footing. People can sense when you're not confident in your own words and their bullshit meter goes off = cult. It's a fine line to be sure.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:11 PM

A cold shower???

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:05 PM

I would also recommend visiting your local library to find alternative sources of "paleo" information. By doing this, I have found numerous books, audiobooks, etc. that explore everything from basic evolutionary biology, to evolutionary theory, and beyond.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:04 PM

It's not that I find them lacking in quality, scientific rigor, or anything else; I also admire their entrepreneurial ability to turn a passion (in this case paleo) into a business. However, I am interesting in expanding my personal understanding, rather than borrowing the understanding of someone else. My own blog is an expression of my desire to understand "why?" and I find that writing my thoughts in the form of a post helps me to really flesh out my own assumptions rather than just assume them.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:01 PM

I wouldn't say that you are being too much of a devil's advocate, I would say that you are thinking about your thinking (getting meta all up in your head!) which is something most of us could benefit from. It seems to me that while Paleo (or whatever you want to call it) has made intuitive sense to you, you have yet to really dive into the science behind it (whether it is nutritional, anthropological, etc.) My personal journey has followed a similar path, which is why I don't read paleo blogs, listen to podcasts, etc...

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Maybe I am being too much of a devil's advocate? I don't know.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:54 PM

Good answer, but (for example), how do I know that a majority of HG groups that achieved relative balance with their environment were also remarkably free of chronic disease? Honestly, primarily because I trust certain bloggers. People will often say, then why did paleo man die early? I will respond most deaths were often due to starvation, exposure to weather, wild animals, etc rather than disease. But how do I know that? I haven't done the research. I tried looking up health statistics for Inuit before their diets became so influenced by white men. I found it very difficult...

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 13, 2012
at 10:20 PM

Paleo, to me, encompasses one thing: eating naturally. I honestly don't think there any exceptions to this. There are only exceptions to the details. One man's protocol could be another man's poison. So, no, we shouldn't be evangelical, but we also can't help that the facts are the facts: eating close to nature and not dipping your mitts into a box of Cheezits is good for everyone.

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 13, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Paleo, to me, encompasses one thing: eating naturally. I honestly don't think there any exceptions to this. There are only exceptions to the details. One person's leptin protocol is another man's poison. So, no, we shouldn't be evangelical, but we also can't help that the facts are the facts: eating close to nature and not dipping your mitts into a box of Cheezits is good for everyone.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I agree with what you're saying. I have learned not to talk about it unless people ask, though because eating is such a social event in our society, it does come up and people do ask. And because my understanding is often not deep enough to provide adequate explanations, I have referred people to websites. Of course then, you get the "Oh, I see. It's something you read about on the internet. Nice." Doesn't really bother me. I have thick skin. But, it does make me think.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:17 PM

I agree with what you're saying. I have learned not to talk about it unless people ask, though because eating is such a social even in our society, it does come up and people do ask. And because my understanding is often not deep enough to provide adequate explanations, I have referred people to websites. Of course then, you get the "Oh, I see. It's something you read about on the internet. Nice." Doesn't really bother me. I have thick skin. But, it does make me think.

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 13, 2012
at 10:16 PM

So well written, Sunny. Both your original answer and this follow-up comment. I especially share the same sentiments about hunting. Very noice. ;)

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:06 PM

Haha, @ the processed food comment: when I was a child, I was absolutely HORRIFIED by the idea of hunting. Obviously, I didn't think about the fact that I was going to eat chicken for dinner that night and that chicken had died. Nowadays, I actually would like to hunt. Not for sport or fun, just for food. I see it as a way to let animals live the way they were meant to live in the wild, and that hunting would help me respect animal life in a whole new night. I don't want my grass-fed beef to feel like an object, like it's just something I mindlessly picked it up, you know??

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:05 PM

I appreciate the benefit of the doubt. :) But I wonder if that is what I'm saying. What is the difference between faith and religion? I agree 100% that we don't have the right or obligation to change how someone else eats, but if you were pushed to give your opinion on whether the healthy vegans would be better off on a paleo diet, I'm guessing you would say yes? And wouldn't you answer the same way for "every human on the planet?" If no, who are the exceptions? Again, not saying we should be evangelical. We shouldn't.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:01 PM

p.s. Whenever someone says to me (or implies) that a particular diet is the best diet for every human on the planet, I think "this is a religion I don't want to be a part of." Hopefully that's not what Mike is saying.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:01 PM

Yes, this is a good answer. And I often do come back with a similar response of why do you believe in evolution. I also employ the strategy of falling back on non-processed foods, but what does non-processed food really mean? One definition of process is "perform a series of mechanical or chemical operations on (something) in order to change or preserve it" By that definition wouldn't a pound of grass fed beef from Whole Foods or a bottle of pastured heavy whipping cream also be considered processed? Maybe just a nit pick...

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10 Answers

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8
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:26 AM

Who was it, Arthur c. Clarke?, who said "any sufficiently advanced technology will be seen as magic" or something close.

Science must be seen the same way when viewed by those unacquainted with the details. Biochemistry, genetics, immunology, etc. must be taken on faith (see what I did there!) when you aren't the one doing the science.

Here is the thing, NOT eating Paleo is equally taken on faith as Paleo is, don't be fooled and don't let others tell you otherwise. Turn it around on them and ask them the same question about them taking their nutrition on faith and see how they respond.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:49 AM

Nice! I like that. Very true.

14
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on April 13, 2012
at 10:13 PM

Your paleo seems to come down to faith. I would venture that most people are the same. Just because you don't understand the science doesn't mean it's not there. You are either unwilling or unable to spend the time to understand it so you choose instead to have faith in others who seem to be making sense or seem to know what they are talking about or who seem to have been given a leadership role in the community which you assume means they must know something of the science. So yes it does some down to an act of faith for most. It's unfortunate but it's the reality. Most of us abdicate our responsibility to educate our selves to a level where we are competent to truly make our own educated decisions. We're busy having lives and it's hard to find time to study biochemistry in between cooking dinner and getting the kids to bed or studying for our next exam or whatever it is that is the main focus of our life. Mostly this works out o.k. for us. But sometimes we trust the wrong people and end up sitting in bathtubs full of ice or eating 30 bananas a day.

It seems to me that the answer to your dilemma is to stop talking to people about paleo unless they specifically ask. Then you point them towards the resources so that they can set out on their own journey to learn and understand and perhaps have a little faith in something and someone. Trying to make someone understand something you yourself don't understand has little chance of ending well. But you certainly can show them where to go and what to read and set them on the path.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:13 PM

No and I think this is a good thing for us to talk about. I often find myself going "shit why did I even go there" when I get on something that feel like unstable footing. People can sense when you're not confident in your own words and their bullshit meter goes off = cult. It's a fine line to be sure.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on April 14, 2012
at 09:44 AM

What a great answer! That's certainly what I'm doing. It's what I end up doing in a lot of areas - economics, global warming, the history of early Christianity. It's just not realistic to expect everyone to become experts in everything they need to have an opinion in order to make necessary choices.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I agree with what you're saying. I have learned not to talk about it unless people ask, though because eating is such a social event in our society, it does come up and people do ask. And because my understanding is often not deep enough to provide adequate explanations, I have referred people to websites. Of course then, you get the "Oh, I see. It's something you read about on the internet. Nice." Doesn't really bother me. I have thick skin. But, it does make me think.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:17 PM

I agree with what you're saying. I have learned not to talk about it unless people ask, though because eating is such a social even in our society, it does come up and people do ask. And because my understanding is often not deep enough to provide adequate explanations, I have referred people to websites. Of course then, you get the "Oh, I see. It's something you read about on the internet. Nice." Doesn't really bother me. I have thick skin. But, it does make me think.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on April 16, 2013
at 01:59 AM

The iceman cometh.

7
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on April 13, 2012
at 09:48 PM

I think science and faith are intertwined. I don't believe that we ever can say that we know what "the truth" is. Years pass, new technology comes along, and bam, something that we once thought was proven is found to be wrong. This happens not only in nutritional science, but in the physics world, botany, astronomy, etc. For example, new species are always being discovered in environments where scientists thought life was simply impossible (e.g. extreme heat and cold temperatures, lack of light).

With science, there is always a little bit of faith, especially in trusting base theories to build upon. There is a lot of theory in the unknown in science. An example of this are the hypotheses on how and when the earth was created and how the dinosaurs died. There are various sources of evidence, but in the end, it comes to faith in knowledge that we do have, and using that to make an educated guess.

I personally believe that paleo is a healthy way to eat, but I am not certain that we have found all the answers and that there is no room for growth, change, or a possibility that there is something that we are missing. I don't think theories=facts. That's not possible because fossils, drawings, and observations of some groups do not give us all the answers. So we rely on what we have. If I ever talk about paleo with others, I'll probably focus on talking about non-processed foods and eating close to nature.

Science is continuously evolving. New gasses that we didn't know existed are being discovered. New science is suggesting that some dinosaurs had feathers like birds today, something that people in the past never would have thought of. So whenever we claim something, I think it's always important to be open to new ideas.

I use "facts" to guide me through paleo, but also realize that there is a bit of faith.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:06 PM

Haha, @ the processed food comment: when I was a child, I was absolutely HORRIFIED by the idea of hunting. Obviously, I didn't think about the fact that I was going to eat chicken for dinner that night and that chicken had died. Nowadays, I actually would like to hunt. Not for sport or fun, just for food. I see it as a way to let animals live the way they were meant to live in the wild, and that hunting would help me respect animal life in a whole new night. I don't want my grass-fed beef to feel like an object, like it's just something I mindlessly picked it up, you know??

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 13, 2012
at 10:16 PM

So well written, Sunny. Both your original answer and this follow-up comment. I especially share the same sentiments about hunting. Very noice. ;)

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:01 PM

Yes, this is a good answer. And I often do come back with a similar response of why do you believe in evolution. I also employ the strategy of falling back on non-processed foods, but what does non-processed food really mean? One definition of process is "perform a series of mechanical or chemical operations on (something) in order to change or preserve it" By that definition wouldn't a pound of grass fed beef from Whole Foods or a bottle of pastured heavy whipping cream also be considered processed? Maybe just a nit pick...

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 10, 2012
at 12:57 AM

"With science, there is always a little bit of faith, especially in trusting base theories to build upon." Those base theories have tons of evidence to support them. All of good science is based on evidence. Where there is no evidence, all you have is a hypothesis, not a theory. The distinction between the two is important and great. As some other wise poster said, "By definition, evidence is the only thing that justifies faith. You can have faith without evidence, but it isn't justified."

5
Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:46 PM

I applaud the original poster for bringing up this question. I think that discussions like this are wholly positive and important so that Paleo does not become a religion. I've seen traces of fanaticism and fervor reminiscent of such a development and hope that we can curtail this trend.

To the question, in my opinion, there is faith and there is FAITH!

I would suggest that scientific theories, ones that are falsifiable (meaning that they can be proved wrong) are not a matter of faith in the same way that religious beliefs are.

One example of a scientific, falsifiable theory would be that of evolution (at least as far as fossils are concerned). If someone found a human fossil in a Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous sediment layer, it would falsify the theory that humans and dinosaurs did not live together. Of course, this has never happened, not even once, so we can be reasonably sure that dinosaurs existed long before humans. This is not a matter of faith, but a matter of understanding the scientific basis of the theory.

In matters of religious faith, however, the beliefs are not falsifiable. Personally, I have had experiences that lead me to believe that there is a "higher power", "God", etc., but it could also be that my brain is wired for such beliefs due to an evolutionary benefit conferred upon enough of my ancestors to make "belief in god" advantageous to survival and thus widespread among humans. However, I really can't "disprove", or falsify, that God exists, so it remains a matter of personal religious (or "spiritual") faith that I believe in some guiding force in our lives.

The paleo diet (in so far as it is simply the idea that human beings had an ancestral dietary like every other animal, living or dead) is falsifiable in that we can look for examples of human populations where a ecologically relative diet based on hunted and gathered plants and animals led to ill health and disease. One might pick out isolated cases where this seems to be true, such as the high level of cavities found in the remains of prehistoric Easter Islanders. However, we also know that they had a relatively limited water supply which led them to drink sugar cane juice. This does not falsify the notion of a "paleo" diet per se, but it does show that consuming large amounts of sweet beverages leads to tooth decay. For the most part, when we look at hunter gatherer groups that have achieved a relative balance with their environment, they are remarkably free of chronic disease, so much so that they lack words for things like cancer, obesity, diabetes, etc.

To me, this suggests that the healthfulness of the Standard American Diet (and one might also say Standard American Lifestyle) has been falsified. It predictably leads to a host of diseases in any population where it has been introduced.

Whether you eat SAD or Paleo, it isn't a matter of faith, it is a matter of understanding.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:04 PM

It's not that I find them lacking in quality, scientific rigor, or anything else; I also admire their entrepreneurial ability to turn a passion (in this case paleo) into a business. However, I am interesting in expanding my personal understanding, rather than borrowing the understanding of someone else. My own blog is an expression of my desire to understand "why?" and I find that writing my thoughts in the form of a post helps me to really flesh out my own assumptions rather than just assume them.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:55 PM

Maybe I am being too much of a devil's advocate? I don't know.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on April 14, 2012
at 06:07 AM

I think this is a great answer. The fact that HG populations live relatively free on chronic disease and SAD-eaters don't is actually well documented and people like Guyunet and Taubes give references to the literature in their work. YOu could print up a few of the scientific articles and use them as evidence that the way you are eating is based on scientifically-based theory, not just mere belief in the opinions of bloggers. Those bloggers have done the work, all you have to do is go from them to the source.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:54 PM

Good answer, but (for example), how do I know that a majority of HG groups that achieved relative balance with their environment were also remarkably free of chronic disease? Honestly, primarily because I trust certain bloggers. People will often say, then why did paleo man die early? I will respond most deaths were often due to starvation, exposure to weather, wild animals, etc rather than disease. But how do I know that? I haven't done the research. I tried looking up health statistics for Inuit before their diets became so influenced by white men. I found it very difficult...

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:05 PM

I would also recommend visiting your local library to find alternative sources of "paleo" information. By doing this, I have found numerous books, audiobooks, etc. that explore everything from basic evolutionary biology, to evolutionary theory, and beyond.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:01 PM

I wouldn't say that you are being too much of a devil's advocate, I would say that you are thinking about your thinking (getting meta all up in your head!) which is something most of us could benefit from. It seems to me that while Paleo (or whatever you want to call it) has made intuitive sense to you, you have yet to really dive into the science behind it (whether it is nutritional, anthropological, etc.) My personal journey has followed a similar path, which is why I don't read paleo blogs, listen to podcasts, etc...

2
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:29 PM

I'm not much of a faith person. I'm not religious, in the traditional or non-traditional sense, and I'm highly skeptical of everything I come across. I've ruined every acupuncture session I've ever gone to by constantly questioning (mostly internally) and coming out of the process more worked up than I went in it. I called my mom's naturopath a quack to her face (she's a legitimate, documented quack, that wasn't just a judgement of the profession). I call my hippy brother's bullshit every chance I get, and grit my teeth when I sit in weirdo traditionalist by-the-book doctors offices. I don't think I would have started eating paleo if it was a judgement based on faith, but at the end of the day it was a leap from the safety of conventional nutrition, with an understanding that some of it was trusting my incomplete knowledge of the human body.

However, I did work towards this based on probability, which, as my stats minor would suggest, is my comfort zone. Maybe for some people, working towards this conclusion based on faith is more their speed. I figured eating a natural diet was probably a healthy conclusion to come to, and I was unsatisfied with the blanket statements and rigidity of what I viewed as an "unnatural" system of standard nutrition. Maybe for others, they would define that question process and the change as an act of faith. I think it is a matter of wording and experience, and that neither is "superior" to the other. Just a different way of looking at it.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:00 PM

NO.

Faith is belief in spite of evidence.

This is a theory, and it has had many flaws and they are being fixed as we learn more. If this were faith we'd all still be doing IF everyday, eating low-carb, avoiding starches and hoping beyond hope that we magically got better.

For the record - I hate this question. Belief in the absence of 100% of evidence, like educated guess work, doesn't require faith, it requires the ability to extrapolate from probability. Now if you excuse me I need a shower.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:11 PM

A cold shower???

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 15, 2012
at 01:19 AM

I'm sorry you don't like my question. I can accept the feedback, so long as it's really the question you hate and not the answer.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 15, 2012
at 11:42 AM

Touche. Plus one.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 13, 2012
at 11:51 PM

Well I tried to pray for it to get hotter. Maybe next time.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 01:58 AM

Apparently not.

1
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on April 13, 2012
at 09:58 PM

I don't see how we could ever "prove" that paleo is a better diet than some other because diet is far from the only factor that affects our health. Let's say we did a study of a group of paleo folks. We measured their health markers and compared those numbers to those of a group of vegans. Whatever differences we find would leave me wondering if other lifestyle factors are being considered (sleep, exercise, pollution, stress, relationships, genetics, and a slew of other factors.)

If I were one of those people being studied and I had all the good markers then all I could conclude is that paleo was good for me given the particular state of my body at this point in time and given the version of paleo I'm doing.

While it may be that, all non-dietary factors being equal, paleo folks are overall healthier than vegans one still needs to consider that there are healthy vegans and that we shouldn't decide that paleo would be better for them just because it's better for us.

Ultimately, all that matters to me is that my current diet is supporting my health at this time.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:05 PM

I appreciate the benefit of the doubt. :) But I wonder if that is what I'm saying. What is the difference between faith and religion? I agree 100% that we don't have the right or obligation to change how someone else eats, but if you were pushed to give your opinion on whether the healthy vegans would be better off on a paleo diet, I'm guessing you would say yes? And wouldn't you answer the same way for "every human on the planet?" If no, who are the exceptions? Again, not saying we should be evangelical. We shouldn't.

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 13, 2012
at 10:20 PM

Paleo, to me, encompasses one thing: eating naturally. I honestly don't think there any exceptions to this. There are only exceptions to the details. One man's protocol could be another man's poison. So, no, we shouldn't be evangelical, but we also can't help that the facts are the facts: eating close to nature and not dipping your mitts into a box of Cheezits is good for everyone.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on April 13, 2012
at 10:01 PM

p.s. Whenever someone says to me (or implies) that a particular diet is the best diet for every human on the planet, I think "this is a religion I don't want to be a part of." Hopefully that's not what Mike is saying.

0e395acc856e3353f3f5892e6b09b0e7

(1227)

on April 14, 2012
at 01:35 PM

I wish I could upvote Epic Beauty Guide at least 15 times.

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 15, 2012
at 04:25 AM

Aw shucks, Doris, you made me blush and giggle.

D811808d3bfa5aebc7a1bd971fb6375b

on April 13, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Paleo, to me, encompasses one thing: eating naturally. I honestly don't think there any exceptions to this. There are only exceptions to the details. One person's leptin protocol is another man's poison. So, no, we shouldn't be evangelical, but we also can't help that the facts are the facts: eating close to nature and not dipping your mitts into a box of Cheezits is good for everyone.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on April 16, 2013
at 02:11 AM

jake3_14 hit on the head for me. I scoff at faith-based diets that rely on toxin cleanses, fasting, drinking lemonade, using supplements instead of food, putting butter in your coffee, etc etc. I use the parts of paleo that work to improve my health in measurable ways, and ditch the magic sketchy parts. That's empiricism not faith.

0
640faf87ecf4899d7d156cc2ddd9ef0e

on April 16, 2013
at 01:23 AM

I'm personally not eating on the Paleo diet. But I believe that because our bodies formed, developed and relied on these natural, organic and fresh foods for over 100 thousand years, that eating foods that we weren't reliant on will have some effect on us. It's already proven that all of the chemicals that we are assuming is messing with our natural human progression - such as girls starting puberty years before they did even 40 years ago. This is just the way I view it because there are some opposing views in the comments. :)

0
Medium avatar

(2338)

on April 13, 2012
at 09:58 PM

isn't everything in life just based on "faith" i think you can apply this question to practically anything that you believe in or practice... i don't think there's much that's set in stone... everything is constantly changing

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 15, 2012
at 01:59 AM

No. Unless you are heavy on the Woo almost nothing is based on faith.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 10, 2012
at 12:58 AM

Not if you're mainly an empiricist. The only thing I have faith in is the predictability of human nature.

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