Wednesday, December 14, 2011


One of the Paleo bloggers I have been following declared recently that he now thinks Paleo is a fad diet and he's no longer an advocate. Now, obviously he didn't conclude that boxed macaroni and cheese was better for him. He just thinks the diet as most people follow it contains too much fat and protein (i.e., meat) and not enough carbohydrates (i.e., vegetables). So now he eats mostly fruits and vegetables, with fish a couple of times a week.

I was a little confused by this, because as far as I can tell his diet is still Paleo—at least it follows all the same guidelines about what not to eat. And it got me thinking: What's the difference between identifying with a diet "movement" and just trying to eat as healthfully as possible, according to your understanding of what an optimal diet is? I think it boils down to this: Being part of a movement is more fun. We all know we should eat healthy foods, but that's a day-to-day struggle and, frankly, kind of boring. Plus, everybody does that. It's much more entertaining to embark on a special 30-day challenge and then tell yourself you're eating a certain way because you're now a different kind of eater.

The past few days, I've gone down a rabbit hole of reading about nutrition research and the debate over "Paleo," and I have several takeaways:

  1. I'm going to continue to think of myself as a Paleo/primal eater. ("Being healthy" was never the motivator that "eating primally" has become.)
  2. There's a lot of debate over what percentage of fat, carbs, and protein people should eat, and some dedicated and well-meaning people are busy trying to figure that out. But I've come to the conclusion that I've been eating too much meat and fat lately. I think I'm going to try to not be so free and easy with the bacon for a while. (As a bonus, eating less meat will be great for our grocery budget, which has gotten out of control.)
  3. It just doesn't seem like humans are built to eat dairy outside of infancy. The fact that most people in the world are actually intolerant of it should probably be our first clue. I'm going to try harder to stay away (again, good for the grocery budget).
  4. The federal food pyramid, which tells people to make grains the foundation of their diets, is just wrong. If people replaced all those mostly-wheat carbs with fruit and vegetable carbs, it would make a world of difference. People may debate about the sugar in fruit, but you just cannot go wrong with vegetables. That doctor who cured her MS by improving her diet suggested eating 9 cups a day. I'm going to keep learning to cook them until I love them.
  5. You should definitely not be coming to my blog for nutritional advice. I don't know nothing about nothing. All I'm doing is giving you my impressions and sharing my experience. If you have time and good critical-thinking skills, go find a blog with lots of citations to get your advice from instead.
And sorry to post another long diatribe about nutrition. It's just that when I get into something, I really get into it. This, too, shall pass. Maybe next I will become obsessed with something fun, like roller derby, or balloon animals!

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