7

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Is there an important difference between Eating Paleo and "Being Paleo"?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 29, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Have you read this guest post today by Russ Crandall on Richard Nikoley's Free The Animal blog.

I think it is well worth reading.

You see, I've been following a Paleo way of eating for about 18 months now, and it's had a profound impact on the way I view the world, how I feel, and (obviously) how I eat. I replaced most grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars, and seed-derived oils with whole foods and many of my autoimmune symptoms went into remission. I can honestly say with conviction that I "eat Paleo". However, I do not identify myself as "being Paleo". I think there's a distinction that needs to be made before we move on.

To me, "being Paleo" means that you are self-identifying with a group. It's like calling yourself a musician or a video gamer (as opposed to simply writing music or playing video games). The problem with identification is that disidentification - the mentality of "us vs. them", and a focus on what you are NOT - often emerges.

Do you think there is an important distinction to be made between Eating Paleo and "Being Paleo"?

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 30, 2012
at 02:12 PM

That's very true.. unless it's a knee high.

33a9ae9bc1885572302d64025bd5b540

(5)

on March 30, 2012
at 09:53 AM

+1 Great article & summed up a couple of self questions I had for myself!

2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on March 30, 2012
at 12:46 AM

In seriousness...I think we'd do good by replacing terms like "paleo" and "primal". They sort of beg to be mocked and challenged..."oh really? cavemen drank coffee?". Maybe one day "fattening" will mean loaded with bad carbs or people will associate heart attacks with vegetable oil but for now I avoid the labels and try to really impress what I said above...I eat a healthy diet. Call it whatever you want.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on March 29, 2012
at 11:35 PM

One sock does certainly not fit everyone.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 29, 2012
at 11:31 PM

Nice. I always say that the template is flexible as not one sock fits all - what works for me won't work for everyone. Hence my preferred status of Ninja.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on March 29, 2012
at 10:04 PM

WyldKard, I don't think there is any such assumption there or an us vs them choice. It seemed to me that it is asking people to think about their attitudes and the potential consequences of to much identification with a particular diet.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:21 PM

This assumes that everyone who says, "I'm paleo" means their choices go beyond simply "eating paleo", and I don't believe that's the case. Rather, a good number of people who claim they're "paleo" simply "eat paleo", and that's how they express it. I find it rather ironic that a post claiming to _not_ want things to turn into an us vs them scenario is doing just that - by differentiating so heavily between paleo practitioners merely on how they express their diet/lifestyle.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:14 PM

I think Russ's article is great. These days, I just tell people "I eat whole foods." If they're interested, all I need to add are one or two sentences and they get it.

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4 Answers

6
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on March 29, 2012
at 09:27 PM

Thanks for bringing this here Matthew! I think Russ' article is right on. If I were to say that I AM Paleo, I think I'd be isolating myself much as I did when I was vegan...I definitely would have said I was BEING vegan, not simply eating a vegan diet. BEING paleo, for me, would leave no wiggle room for self experimentation and the like. Also, I have been striving to free myself from strict adherence to anyone else's ideas of anything, and declaring myself to BE paleo would put me into a paleo box that I don't want to be inside of. I eat a paleo diet, and have seen lots of positive changes on every level, and think of this as a constantly shifting way of eating, and am ultimately too open minded about it all to say that I AM PALEO!

4
2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on March 29, 2012
at 10:24 PM

This makes my brain hurt. When people ask what diet I'm on, I just tell them I eat nutrient dense food that promotes health and healing and avoid toxins and foods known to cause inflammation and other sickness. I get confused looks but i find it's typically not worth elaborating unless they're genuinely interested and not just trying to poke holes in my diet for their own validation.

It's like when people ask "what do you do?" I usually pause and say..."I assume you mean...for money?"

2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on March 30, 2012
at 12:46 AM

In seriousness...I think we'd do good by replacing terms like "paleo" and "primal". They sort of beg to be mocked and challenged..."oh really? cavemen drank coffee?". Maybe one day "fattening" will mean loaded with bad carbs or people will associate heart attacks with vegetable oil but for now I avoid the labels and try to really impress what I said above...I eat a healthy diet. Call it whatever you want.

2
78964c5cc470f86a5897db8e1ce8e6f9

on March 29, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Absolutely. It's similar to the difference between being a strict vegetarian and being a vegan. The latter usually connotes involvement in the animal rights movement, not buying leather items, etc.

The Paleo Lifestyle would include eating paleo and some or all of reading Paleo blogs, doing potlucks with like-minded people, looking at hygiene and exercise in a Paleolithic light, etc.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:21 PM

This assumes that everyone who says, "I'm paleo" means their choices go beyond simply "eating paleo", and I don't believe that's the case. Rather, a good number of people who claim they're "paleo" simply "eat paleo", and that's how they express it. I find it rather ironic that a post claiming to _not_ want things to turn into an us vs them scenario is doing just that - by differentiating so heavily between paleo practitioners merely on how they express their diet/lifestyle.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on March 29, 2012
at 10:04 PM

WyldKard, I don't think there is any such assumption there or an us vs them choice. It seemed to me that it is asking people to think about their attitudes and the potential consequences of to much identification with a particular diet.

1
D99531f54ff352a501df0cd0ba1256ae

(20)

on March 29, 2012
at 11:07 PM

I think differentiating between a "diet" and a "lifestyle" choice is very important. I have never "gone on a diet" but I've adopted many different lifestyle choices from a nutrition standpoint. When I was vegan, it was a.) because I was vegetarian by choice and then b.) became lactose intolerant. So, I wasn't a die hard, PETA supporting vegan. It wasn't a way of identifying myself, per se. I think this goes for Paleo. I am new to Paleo and it simply mirrors my choice to eat natural, whole foods eliminating grains, sugar, etc.

Sure, if you adopt the "Paleo lifestyle", it's very possible this goes beyond nutrition. Although, in the end it's all semantics. I'm sure there are many of us that have started Paleo solely for the food outlines and nothing else.

That is to say, no one should be concerned with fitting a blueprint for a diet, or even a lifestyle. I think having guidelines is great and it helps those who might not be sure where to start. Beyond that, we can all create our own lifestyle thanks to the help of x, y, and z. If your body requires something that isn't considered full "paleo", go for it. If you the only way you feel as if you can succeed is by going in head first, then go for it. But I think we need to take a step back and stop being so obsessed with obtaining an image tied to a lifestyle choice.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 29, 2012
at 11:31 PM

Nice. I always say that the template is flexible as not one sock fits all - what works for me won't work for everyone. Hence my preferred status of Ninja.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on March 29, 2012
at 11:35 PM

One sock does certainly not fit everyone.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 30, 2012
at 02:12 PM

That's very true.. unless it's a knee high.

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