When I first heard about Paleo last summer (through Mark's Daily Apple), I don't think there was really any aspect of it that I was skeptic about. And coming from a vegetarian/eating-disordered mindset, it amazes me now how I was so immediately accepting of it. But of course as a bio major, I spent countless hours doing research on the multitude of the claimed physiological & biochemical benefits that came with adopting a Paleo lifestyle and it only confirmed that this was worth a shot.
But I'm curious now how many people were like me--who were almost totally unquestioning about Paleo--and how many people were hesitant to jump on board for whatever reason(s).
What were your initial skepticisms about Paleo (if any)? Are there still some things you're unsure about or did any new skepticisms arise after being Paleo for a period of time?
asked byApril_S_ (10663)
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on June 10, 2013
at 03:58 PM
I was a bit skeptical about the focus on animal meat (although I was under the impression that meat was proportionally the main component of every meal, rather than veggies). A fair number of "squeaky wheels" make it seem like paleo is all about meat--even our "food pyramids" place meat as the base layer. When I started thinking about a food pyramid in terms of importance of each item rather than volume--quality animal protein is the base of a solid diet, but it isn't necessarily the biggest proportion--things made a lot more sense to me.
on June 10, 2013
at 09:14 PM
I was not won over because the paleo community dispelled my skepticism, but because they embraced it (I'm mostly talking about paleohacks, since this is where I hang out). There are reasonable theoretical bases for most of the big paleo ideas, but ultimately everyone is encouraged to try it for themselves. I've been able to watch my own level of energy, well-being, and mental clarity as I've added or removed certain foods and am drawing my own conclusions about what kind of diet I should be on. For longer-term stuff, you can also get more information by monitoring your own blood glucose, fasting insulin, and lipid levels (there's some controversy over whether certain "bad" patterns are really bad, but at least some people show stable or improved lipids). I also appreciate the fact that when people come here with a problem the usual advice is to try changing something, as opposed to more dogmatic diet communities where the advice is invariably to be purer and try harder (eating tons of bananas is making you sick? eat more bananas!).
To be honest I'm not a total paleo convert -- the effects I've noticed have been disappointingly small. In a month or so I'm getting my cholesterol re-tested, and then I'll go back on my previous diet (pescatarian with lots of nuts, oats, and sprouted wheat) and see if I can find out anything from that. Assuming I survive, I'll evaluate what's worked and either settle on a hybridized paleo scheme or test out something more extreme next (VLC? Pure carnivore? Pure vegan? I'm not sure. The world is my oyster! Assuming I don't do vegan).
on June 10, 2013
at 05:37 PM
I didn't question everything, and I should have, a lot more, especially the low-carb dogma and that eating meat, seafood, and organ meats would prevent me from having nutritional deficiencies. For example, the idea that very-low carb (less than 50g of carb per day) or low carb (<100 g of carb per day) or zero-carb were the de facto paleo state (i.e. because it was thought that carbs were quite hard to obtain). I thank the perfect health diet for helping me see that this was not necessarily the case.
Also, I think a lot of people over-relied on fish oil, because mark sisson and others really pushed fish oil. I thank Denise Minger for helping me see too much omega-3 can be just as bad as too much omega-6.
I also now see the importance of a variety of vegetables locally grown (should be the base of the paleo food pyramid, which should be by weight, plus starches and fermented veggies) for growing the good gut bacteria.
overall paleo by robb wolf or mark's daily apple are good templates to START, minus buying into the nutritional supplements parts of them - read the Perfect health diet to understand what to supplement and why, and get a good doctor (osteopathic) to help you with any herbs you might want to explore.
I also wish I hadn't said, mark sisson goes some days on VLC and eats 1 g of protein per lb of lean body mass, I can too. It just didn't work for me. and I'm an idiot, I admit it, for saying if X, Y, Z person says it it's all right and it should work for me. Unfortunately, when you're a guru, and you're pushing things and I'm adopting your way of life, but your books and sites don't convey principles that are exactly scientifically sound, one feels at even more of a loss.
I guess just keep in mind when you adopt a new way of living that the whole if cavemen did this or that breaks down very quickly. One guru pushing one thing won't necessarily work for you because we're all unique snowflakes as robb wolf said.
but it doesn't mean we can't learn from the history of health, evolution, human development and biomarker and disease studies, etc.
So in conclusion: I wish I'd read the studies paleo gurus cite myself. I wish I'd done my own research and listened to my body better.
on June 10, 2013
at 09:22 PM
There are several things about Paleo that I'm skeptical about.
-Inordinate focus on diet. Paleo is a lifestyle. Eating is about an hour per day. So the natural focus should be on the 23 non-eating hours. Our metabolic patterns have been distorted way more than our diets have been.
-While we need to shift our way of eating it should not be done obsessively. I ate at a glatt kosher restaurant a week ago. Margarine was served because meat is not to be consumed with dairy. It goes deeper than that: utensils for cooking meat cannot contact dairy products, and only non-dairy (whey free) margarine is allowed. My point is not to criticize glatt kosher, but to show that Paleo (and vegan as well) has a tendency to follow the same strict ordering. This is Neolithic ordering which has very little to do with how our ancestors survived.
-All the non-ancestral baggage, especially the books, gurus and supplements. It has taken me some time to order my life and eating to being more local. I will never be able to survive on what I can gather in the wild, but everything that I gather displaces something non-local. The Paleo movement seems oriented to the exotic rather than the ordinary.
on June 10, 2013
at 06:00 PM
I was surprised that fat didn't make you fat!! :D I just have to remember to keep my sugars low though, because I tend to over eat when it comes to fruit! Everyone is always shocked to hear/see the amount of fat I eat, and now it just makes me laugh. :)
on June 10, 2013
at 04:21 PM
I came to the general "paleo" idea after I had made major changes in my diet and exercise routines. I made changes based on a book called "Anti-cancer: A new way of life" and it helped me see that everything I eat and do affects me on a molecular level in some way or another.
When I came across paleo was when I was researching Vitamin D and came across Marks Daily Apple and realized that there was a name for what I was doing. The only difference was that the Anti-Cancer book still pushed the whole-grain angle. Other than that, living anti-cancer and paleo are almost identical. The Anti-Cancer approach to life also helps me avoid bad paleo foods (like bread substitutes and desserts). I understand that, even though the ingredients may be natural, the overall affect of spiking my insulin on a regular basis is not good for me in the long run. I know that the "occasional treat" should be measured in weeks, not days.
To answer your question, Paleo made perfect sense to me and it answered pretty much all of the incongruities of why people fail at dieting and health.
on June 11, 2013
at 07:05 AM
I first discovered Paleo via Marks Daily Apple website while searching for easy gluten free recipes about a year ago. In my late 40's, I had just been diagnosed with a severe gluten allergy and gluten induced dermatitis. The health issues cropped up about a year before that and I had been mostly bedridden for more than a year due to severe symptoms and side effects of drug cocktails. I've always been an avid reader of nutritional/health books and news articles and following a whole grains, lowish fat, organic diet. I had tried Atkins, vegetarianism, veganism, raw veganism, etc but couldn't stay with anything for long. But since I've never been overweight, I thought I was doing everything right. Never mind that my stomach constantly churned at night, I burped a lot, and my joints were constantly sore.
Anyway, the health crisis led me to research different foods and I've been really happy with Paleo. It's solved my digestive issues, dermatitis, and skinny fat problem (which I thought was part of middle age). I've seen wonderful results for my teen kids as well. The only problem I have remaining is that I still break out on my face a lot, much more than when I was a teen. What gives with that?