6

votes

Does "Paleo" branding undermine us?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 01, 2012 at 10:21 AM

I am always slightly perturbed by the branding of what we do as "Paleo"... Cards on the table, I am a Christian...BUT I don't want to get into a creation/evolution/intelligent design kind of discussion here - that's not the point of the question. (I realise this appeal will likely be in vain, as the raising of the topic seems to inexorably attract people like a moth to a flame...but let the crowd decide!)

My point is this: I eat the way I do because I think it is the best for my body. In determining what I'm going to eat, it doesn't matter (to me) whether I evolved such that this way of eating is best for me, or if I was created in such a way. The science TODAY shows that it is best for me and that's why I do it. It's best for me NOW. I don't particularly care what was best for my Paleolithic ancestors. I don't care whether it has changed in the last x thousand years or not.

Some criticism is levelled at us all (illogical and poorly argued as it sometimes is) that we do not know what our ancestors ate, that different hunter gatherer tribes had very different eating habits, that we are trying to recreate the caveman experience in vain etc etc. And I wonder if the "Paleo" branding is at least partly to blame...

What do you think? Is the association with the past undermining the argument about what is good for us RIGHT NOW?

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on August 04, 2012
at 03:37 AM

Ya isn't it great, I'm just a mechanic and I know more about nutrition than my own doctor!

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 03, 2012
at 07:22 PM

...(cont)...regardless of your belief system. I guess the real test is to re-ask the question without the mention of my belief system - but too late for that now...

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 03, 2012
at 07:20 PM

Zoomia - first, apology accepted, no worries! Second, my point is not about criticising the evolutionary aspect, and I felt, maybe wrongly, that to make the point without setting my cards on the table may have turned into a misleading point down the line, with me being interpreted as criticising the evolutionary aspects because I'm a Christian, when I wasn't. (Have re-read that twice and I think it makes sense!) I wanted to try to be clear that I was focussing on the here and now as the most relevant thing - to me and to others living right now - and that the Paleo label might be a bit passe

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on August 03, 2012
at 06:51 AM

Sorry Gary, but I'm still not clear why it's relevant to your question. I apologize if snarky, but seriously, there are so many Christians that feel the need to announce it to the world. For instance, we got a neighborhood networking site up--and three people have introduced themselves to strangers as hi, I'm so and so, and I'm a Christian. If *I* were to say hi I'm so and so and an atheist, there would be some right wing radio station complaining about how Christians are persecuted. Okay, rant and digression over. And I mean it about saying I'm sorry for the snark.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 02, 2012
at 07:10 PM

Although rhetorical, allow me an answer...I don't feel the need to "tell all and sundry". I wouldn't normally mention it, however I felt that it would be misleading of me NOT to mention it in the context of my question. One of the great things on here is that most people don't try to ask inflammatory or misleading questions - I don't want to be the one that does. Evolutionists never seem to baulk at mentioning that they believe in evolution...and never get criticism for that. OK they might not use those exact words...hehehe... I'll never mention it again :-)

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 02, 2012
at 07:05 PM

@Colin - That's why I'm here!!!

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 02, 2012
at 07:00 PM

@Team Oberg - I have had those comments about bread and I do answer them in that way, plus the n=1 personal experience when I eat bread, plus the anecdotal comments of many others that suffer when they eat bread. But that experience really just backs up the "grain ain't what it used to be" approach

3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

(2262)

on August 02, 2012
at 10:38 AM

I also wonder if perhaps you are having the same problem I had, someone said to me, "Bread is in the bible, you can't live without bread." That is a tough question to get around, but if someone pulls that one out, then you can always say that they grains we eat today are much different than the ones of a few thousand years ago, since they have been genetically modified by men in lab coats causing them to contain more and more gluten and potent toxins

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 02, 2012
at 03:09 AM

genetics + epigenetics + environment = phenotype you can take that to the bank. :)

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 01, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Some people believe that the Garden of Eden story is all about loss of the hunter gatherer "paradise" when people moved to agriculture.

4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

(305)

on August 01, 2012
at 08:18 PM

Most cultures have food taboos. HG, Neolithic or modern. As far as I can see it is just a human thing. The Bible has no special relevance to anyone outside of the Judeo-Christian belief system (e.g. me)

4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

(305)

on August 01, 2012
at 07:53 PM

@Matt, Paleo is different from any other lifestyle/diet approach I have come across. It is not a closed list of foods and activities that are in and out depending on a certain guru. Paleo is a mindset that looks to our evolutionary past to guide us in our choices as how to live in the present. Unless the theory of evolution by means of natural selection is itself proved wrong, it will never be a fad - even if it becomes unpopular. If they end up whole-foods-this-works-for-me without grains, sugar and other processed junk because of evolutionary awareness that's Paleo enough for me...

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on August 01, 2012
at 06:49 PM

I follow a lot of Christian WAPF blogs. Most don't eat "paleo" for various reasons, but they strive to eat whole and as unprocessed as possible, because those were the foods that "God" put for us to eat.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on August 01, 2012
at 06:44 PM

@Karen according to most creationists, we were not eating meat until after the "fall of Adam," so it's not a Garden of Eden diet :).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 01, 2012
at 05:09 PM

@Brewster, I call it a 'fad' simply because the majority of folks who try it aren't going to stick with it long-term. Paleo will never become mainstream. I think it will probably be more like Atkins, a very solid diet (be it for weight-loss or whatever), but it will wax and wane over time. Even amongst paleo adherents, I'd wager most eventually come off paleo and get more into a whole-food this-works-for-me sort-of diet.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 04:16 PM

Your "edit" is the part that peeves me the most.No one owns Grok IMO.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 04:13 PM

I'm enthused about a lot of things in paleo, but branding it and selling it not so much...things like wheat bellies, leptin reset and the fructose "theory" that are ginned up just to create mystery where there isn't any...buy my book and it's all explained...hubristic hogwash...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 04:05 PM

The concept of kosher food-avoidance was around several thousand years before the Paleo food-avoidance diets were developed. You might say that Paleo is no more than a tired retread of what's in the Bible.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 03:59 PM

...just so long as we don't drift towards the blood type diet...if genetics can accurately assign best foods to eat fine, but otherwise it descends to the level of using horoscopes...

4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

(305)

on August 01, 2012
at 03:55 PM

If Paleo is a fad diet (i.e. based on fashion) then yes of course it will wane. If it is not a fad diet but actually the recognition that evolution has shaped our biology to be better adapted certain foods than others then it will not wane. If it is correct then it will become scientifically verified and become recognised as the basis for a normal healthy diet. Only time will tell, but I am betting my life on it not being a fad :)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:56 PM

I don't think our ancestors had such thin skin. Regarding leptin reset (fad within a fad), I found that if I upvoted Kruse's negative comments he left me alone.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:38 PM

"Yes, with my teeth" would have been my response.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:17 PM

Somebody didn't like me calling 'paleo' a fad. ;)

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 01, 2012
at 01:35 PM

A lot of criticism is leveled at us for various reasons. If they didn't grab the "caveman" image it would be something else. People can ALWAYS find something.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 01, 2012
at 01:32 PM

Have to say that when you immediately mention your religious views in conjunction with why you don't like the term paleo, you opened that can of worms yourself. For me, paleo is a clear representation of it's validity as an evolutionarily appropriate diet for humans. You can eat this way for any reason you wish to. Call it a garden of eden diet to yourself, but recognize that that won't help people searching for info find it. Especially since AFAIK some vegan already grabbed that term.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:47 PM

"Super fun healthy time" has a nice ring to it...seeing something so close to Jolly Time triggers Pavlovian carb hunger...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:44 PM

I like ancestral, with emphasis on lifestyle over diet.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:41 PM

+1 for recognizing the branded Paleo product (fish oil and diet books) as opposed to home-made paleo. By branding Paleo, a link is forged to the other pay-to-play diets.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:36 PM

Even in mid Neolithic Bible times riding on a donkey was a special treat for poor foot travelers....horses were like a rich man's Lexus...

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on August 01, 2012
at 10:41 AM

Good question. While I believe in evolution, I'd think that even if you don't, Adam and Eve probably didn't hydrogenate their vegetable oils.

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10 Answers

8
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:24 PM

Meh, who is us? I don't have an agenda other than my own health improvements, so I don't think I can be undermined by a label. If my goal was to convert the world I'm sure I'd need a catchy brand-name.

Edit: Also the label would matter to me if I was selling books or website advertising/hits.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 04:16 PM

Your "edit" is the part that peeves me the most.No one owns Grok IMO.

4
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 01, 2012
at 11:42 AM

Fad diets have boom and bust periods. Paleo is experiencing a boom period and like others, its popularity will wane over time. The question is will it be like Atkins which seems to truly cycle over time, or just another one-hit wonder? And yes, paleo is a fad diet, like other fad diets, when mentioned in polite conversation, you'll often heard a response filled with disdain.

The name has really nothing to do with it in my mind. The strike against paleo is its extreme nature. Many of us, myself included, eat a very loose paleo diet. We did our time and now we choose to eat good food that is good for us as well, whether or not if it fits into the paleo framework.

4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

(305)

on August 01, 2012
at 03:55 PM

If Paleo is a fad diet (i.e. based on fashion) then yes of course it will wane. If it is not a fad diet but actually the recognition that evolution has shaped our biology to be better adapted certain foods than others then it will not wane. If it is correct then it will become scientifically verified and become recognised as the basis for a normal healthy diet. Only time will tell, but I am betting my life on it not being a fad :)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:41 PM

+1 for recognizing the branded Paleo product (fish oil and diet books) as opposed to home-made paleo. By branding Paleo, a link is forged to the other pay-to-play diets.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:17 PM

Somebody didn't like me calling 'paleo' a fad. ;)

4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

(305)

on August 01, 2012
at 07:53 PM

@Matt, Paleo is different from any other lifestyle/diet approach I have come across. It is not a closed list of foods and activities that are in and out depending on a certain guru. Paleo is a mindset that looks to our evolutionary past to guide us in our choices as how to live in the present. Unless the theory of evolution by means of natural selection is itself proved wrong, it will never be a fad - even if it becomes unpopular. If they end up whole-foods-this-works-for-me without grains, sugar and other processed junk because of evolutionary awareness that's Paleo enough for me...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:56 PM

I don't think our ancestors had such thin skin. Regarding leptin reset (fad within a fad), I found that if I upvoted Kruse's negative comments he left me alone.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 01, 2012
at 05:09 PM

@Brewster, I call it a 'fad' simply because the majority of folks who try it aren't going to stick with it long-term. Paleo will never become mainstream. I think it will probably be more like Atkins, a very solid diet (be it for weight-loss or whatever), but it will wax and wane over time. Even amongst paleo adherents, I'd wager most eventually come off paleo and get more into a whole-food this-works-for-me sort-of diet.

4
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on August 01, 2012
at 10:29 AM

You have a good point, but we have to call it something, you could call it the pre-agricultural diet, but that might confuse people away from eating veggies. You could call it the super fun healthy time diet I suppose? I mean we have to label it something, paleo/primal/evolutionary diet brandings just seems to work, especially since there are so many books on the topic, it would really suck if they did not have one cohesive branding. Who cares what it is called, if you have to explain your diet to a bunch of creationists then don't use the word paleo, just say your on a diet that focuses on whole natural organic foods. That way you don't have to bring evolution into it.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:44 PM

I like ancestral, with emphasis on lifestyle over diet.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 12:47 PM

"Super fun healthy time" has a nice ring to it...seeing something so close to Jolly Time triggers Pavlovian carb hunger...

3
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 01, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Reread Genesis. Abel was a shepherd, an eater of animal products, and simultaneously the one God actually liked. God didn't like Cain- the grain eating brother killer. So, your Christian bethren who are misinterpreting God's permission to eat plants in Eden as meaning it was all vegan all the time in the Garden are just plain wrong. Cain and Abel are after the fall, but before God's explicit permission for folks to eat animal products. And if you read the curses as Adam & Eve are cast out of the garden, well, with a paleo mindset, they sound different- the curse is agriculture, or as I half-jokingly put it to one of my friends- the curse is in the food!

So, I don't know how many people really balk just because this is an evolutionarily based diet, but you may be able to make a case for it, even to a pretty fundamentalist audience. If you think of evolutionary theory as part of the framework that allows us to imagine hypothesis and then test them, then maybe you can focus on the success of the test rather than the this one idea that you disagree with that led to the test in the first place.

That said, I really don't know how many people are not eating paleo just because they are creationists or something. Most Christians aren't eating paleo for the same reasons everybody else doesn't- they like cookies too much. If it really seems to be a problem for someone, drop the evolutionary talk and try to show how what you are eating can be seen as consistent with the bible.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on August 01, 2012
at 06:49 PM

I follow a lot of Christian WAPF blogs. Most don't eat "paleo" for various reasons, but they strive to eat whole and as unprocessed as possible, because those were the foods that "God" put for us to eat.

3
66b4936ad7461490d6a22d24b0ffc0ad

on August 01, 2012
at 11:39 AM

I personally just say that I don't eat grains or sugar and don't actually put a name to it in conversation. Once I did say paleo and the woman looked shocked and said "so do you go out and kill your own meat?" WTF?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:38 PM

"Yes, with my teeth" would have been my response.

2
E0f5cc680bb8ae31c07abeb706d70a15

(370)

on August 01, 2012
at 01:27 PM

Agreed. Everytime I tell someone that "I'm Paleo", or "I'm on he Caveman Diet", or any similar statement, I inevitably have to deal with the jackass who remarks "Did Cavemen have almond milk HAHAHALOLOLOZZ!?!?!" when I tell them about a breakfast smoothie I made that morning. For my own sanity I think if it comes up in conversation in the future I'm just going to tell people I'm gluten/lactose intolerent, just to avoid retards.

1
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:39 PM

What does being a Christian have to do with anything? Why do Christians feel the need to tell all and sundry their religious beliefs? That's a rhetorical question by the way.

In answer to your question--there are going to be people who disagree with anything one chooses to do/believe/say. If you call it Paleo, some may object. If you say you don't eat grains, others might object. Who the hell cares?

Now, if you were to ask me whether you think that Christians undermine themselves by managing to tell everyone that they're Christian, well, that's another story ...

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 02, 2012
at 07:10 PM

Although rhetorical, allow me an answer...I don't feel the need to "tell all and sundry". I wouldn't normally mention it, however I felt that it would be misleading of me NOT to mention it in the context of my question. One of the great things on here is that most people don't try to ask inflammatory or misleading questions - I don't want to be the one that does. Evolutionists never seem to baulk at mentioning that they believe in evolution...and never get criticism for that. OK they might not use those exact words...hehehe... I'll never mention it again :-)

1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on August 03, 2012
at 06:51 AM

Sorry Gary, but I'm still not clear why it's relevant to your question. I apologize if snarky, but seriously, there are so many Christians that feel the need to announce it to the world. For instance, we got a neighborhood networking site up--and three people have introduced themselves to strangers as hi, I'm so and so, and I'm a Christian. If *I* were to say hi I'm so and so and an atheist, there would be some right wing radio station complaining about how Christians are persecuted. Okay, rant and digression over. And I mean it about saying I'm sorry for the snark.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 03, 2012
at 07:22 PM

...(cont)...regardless of your belief system. I guess the real test is to re-ask the question without the mention of my belief system - but too late for that now...

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 03, 2012
at 07:20 PM

Zoomia - first, apology accepted, no worries! Second, my point is not about criticising the evolutionary aspect, and I felt, maybe wrongly, that to make the point without setting my cards on the table may have turned into a misleading point down the line, with me being interpreted as criticising the evolutionary aspects because I'm a Christian, when I wasn't. (Have re-read that twice and I think it makes sense!) I wanted to try to be clear that I was focussing on the here and now as the most relevant thing - to me and to others living right now - and that the Paleo label might be a bit passe

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:29 PM

For me a paleo diet/lifestyle plan is not about pretending to be a hunter gatherer but aiming to follow a diet (and lifestyle) most appropriate for our genes.

Ultimately we may find ourselves discussing a gene diet and more specifically a gene diet specific to our individual genome.

Therefore another way to say paleo diet would be to say a gene diet.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 03:59 PM

...just so long as we don't drift towards the blood type diet...if genetics can accurately assign best foods to eat fine, but otherwise it descends to the level of using horoscopes...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 02, 2012
at 03:09 AM

genetics + epigenetics + environment = phenotype you can take that to the bank. :)

1
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on August 01, 2012
at 02:22 PM

Maybe, but the paleo world is a great place to get honest nutritional information, people in this community are open minded and generally very knowledgeable about nutrition, anthropology, biology and other cool stuff.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 04:13 PM

I'm enthused about a lot of things in paleo, but branding it and selling it not so much...things like wheat bellies, leptin reset and the fructose "theory" that are ginned up just to create mystery where there isn't any...buy my book and it's all explained...hubristic hogwash...

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on August 02, 2012
at 07:05 PM

@Colin - That's why I'm here!!!

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on August 04, 2012
at 03:37 AM

Ya isn't it great, I'm just a mechanic and I know more about nutrition than my own doctor!

0
4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

on August 01, 2012
at 03:05 PM

There seem to be two totally different ways to come to a 'Paleo' conclusion. First (if you are convinced of the scientific evidence for evolution, which I am) then you treat humans like any other animal in need of nutrition. You find out what its natural food is and then give it to them. Job done.

The other approach is to use science to find out what is optimal for 'average human' nutrition. Lots of meta-studies, correlations and the odd rodent study thrown in. Seems to be your approach?

The fact they are zeroing in on the same nutritional conclusions gives me confidence we are on to a winner here. But ultimately I like the Paleo label because it provides scientific and logical structure around which we can generate and test hypotheses. Be it N=1 or N=1,000+.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 01, 2012
at 04:05 PM

The concept of kosher food-avoidance was around several thousand years before the Paleo food-avoidance diets were developed. You might say that Paleo is no more than a tired retread of what's in the Bible.

4e6baf393fd5f339ae5a92ffbeadc884

(305)

on August 01, 2012
at 08:18 PM

Most cultures have food taboos. HG, Neolithic or modern. As far as I can see it is just a human thing. The Bible has no special relevance to anyone outside of the Judeo-Christian belief system (e.g. me)

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