Remembering Kevin Moore

10 Critical Issues The Paleo Community Must Address

The Paleo diet has reached some pretty spectacular new heights in popularity over the past few years. In fact, Paleo has been the most searched diet term of 2013 so far and I don’t see any signs of this slowing down anytime soon. I think we can credit the success of the Paleo movement on the symbiosis of a lot of different things–total frustration by people wanting to lose weight and get healthy using the failed low-fat, grain-heavy diet leading them to seek out alternative ways to get there; the positive influence and education coming from key thought leaders in this community like Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser and Mark Sisson; the mainstream success of new Paleo books hitting the New York Times bestsellers list such as Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and, of course, The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf; the domination of the iTunes health charts by Paleo-focused podcasts like “The Fat Burning Man Show” by Abel James, “Paleo Lifestyle And Fitness Podcast” by Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib and “Latest In Paleo” by Angelo Coppola; and the emergence of some amazing conferences supporting the ancestral movement like PaleoFX in March and the Ancestral Health Symposium in August. This is only scratching the surface of all the things that are influencing the spread of Paleo far and wide to new levels of awareness.

But as with any sign of progress and momentum like we’ve seen with Paleo over the past few years, there comes the inevitable set of key issues that need to be addressed in order to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. If these things remain unaddressed, though, it could have the potential for ostracizing the very people who could stand to benefit from the Paleo message the most and relegate it to fringe status attracting what would be perceived to be a small minority of whacked out renegades. But we know better. The real, whole foods idea is one our culture needs now more than ever before as obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, gut health issues and worse all continue to go down a destructive path as a direct result of our modern-day diet and lifestyle. If we’re ever going to reach more people with the Paleo message, then the Paleo community needs to take a closer look at what I see as 10 critical issues that have the potential of derailing the success train:

1. Paleo Christians

This to me is one of the great unspoken taboo topics that’s been simmering beneath the surface for the past several years in the Paleo community that nobody really seems to want to address. I attempted to do just that in this November 2010 blog post, but the not-so-subtle digs at people who believe in God and also support and use the Paleo lifestyle has only gotten worse. There’s a by-invitation-only “Paleo For Christians” Facebook group as well as quite a few Paleo bloggers who have professed having a Christian faith like Laura Schoenfeld, Ashley North, Lea Valle, Jennifer Maltby, Steven Gray, Dr. Steve Parker, Chris Masterjohnn and Denise Skidmore. And the interest in the complex cross-section between Christianity and Paleo even showed up on PaleoHacks previously with some examples of the kind of behavior I’m referring to. Whether you choose to believe in God or not, that’s a personal decision made by the individual that should be respected. Unfortunately, somehow there’s this misconception out there from some people in the Paleo community who seemingly have such utter contempt for Christians that they think if you believe in Jesus then you obviously don’t believe in the theory of evolution, you must think the Earth is only 6,000 years old, you can’t possibly believe there was such a thing as the Paleolithic era and other such examples exposing their downright ignorance of what Christians actually believe. I realize not every non-Christian Paleo follower has this attitude towards the Christians who support the Paleo lifestyle. But this exclusionary mentality towards those of us who profess Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior AND follow a Paleo lifestyle should stop if we ever hope to see Paleo penetrate into the mainstream even more. Right now there’s probably a Christian who is closely examining Paleo and deciding whether or not to implement these healthy principles into their life. If they feel mocked or ridiculed because of their Christian faith, then perhaps they’ll look elsewhere where they will feel more welcomed. My friend and fellow blogger Karen Phelps from the “Paleo Periodical” blog will be addressing this topic even further in her column appearing in the upcoming April/May 2013 issue of Paleo Magazine.

2. Caveman imagery

Unga bunga! One of the most interesting aspects of the Paleo diet is the popular marketing of it as “The Caveman Diet.” When I first interviewed Professor Loren Cordain on “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast in 2009, he said the media immediately took his groundbreaking 2002 book release The Paleo Diet and attached this caveman imagery to it ostensibly to discredit and mock the idea that we should all start living like cavemen again. Of course, that’s not at all what Paleo is about to those of us who eat and live this way. But the characterization has stuck. In fact, several Paleo bloggers have embraced the caveman concept to the point that they include it in the name of their blog with a cute little cartoon character image of their little Paleo buddy, including Mark Sisson, George Bryant, Badier Velji and Dr. Colin Champ, just to name a few prominent ones. Heck, there’s even a new food truck that has emerged in the past year called the “Caveman Truck” by Shelby Malaterre in Indianapolis, Indiana with a caveman dude named “Pal Leo” plastered across the side. While I can see the value in use the caveman imagery as a creative tool for drawing some people into the Paleo lifestyle, there’s no doubt a lot of people who are turned off by it. In my podcast interview with Paleoista author Nell Stephenson in 2012, she noted to me that it’s not necessary for Paleo to be “cave-y” to attract people to the core components of what makes it work. She says it’s possible to have the ancestral nutrition without having to copy all the actions of the ancestral lifestyle. Nells says you may attract a lot more females to Paleo if we can ditch the caveman characterization. Maybe there’s room for both, but this is an issue that should at least be considered moving forward.

3. Low-carb antagonism

This is another one of those issues that just refuses to go away but still very much remains a threat to Paleo going forward. In February 2012, I wrote a blog post entitled “What’s With The Antagonism About Low-Carb From The Paleo Community Lately?” after noticing a steady drumbeat of anger and just plain ugliness towards people who choose to lean more towards the low-carb end of what Chris Kresser describes as “the Paleo template.” While not everyone needs to be low-carb (something I’ve readily stated time and time again as I’ve encouraged people to “find what works for you”), the fact is a well-formulated low-carb Paleo plan is an extremely effective way to help a great number of people frustrated by obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and other such chronic health and weight issues get themselves back on the right track. By dismissing a real foods-based low-carb nutritional plan as a viable first choice option for creating the desired therapeutic benefits, the anti-low-carb wing of the Paleo community is cutting off a large segment of the population who could stand to benefit from the overall Paleo message. Perhaps once these people begin seeing benefits from the significant reduction in their carbohydrate consumption they can start tweaking around with foods like sweet potatoes and other such things to test how their blood sugar and other key health markers respond. But if members of the Paleo community keep putting out negative messages like eating a low-carb diet will lower your thyroid function and thus should be avoided at all costs (when it’s quite possible a low-carb Paleo plan is PRECISELY what they need to be doing), then that only causes harm to the cause. We’re on the same team and we’d be better served working together than against one another. I don’t know why there is such animosity and antagonism towards those of us who choose to eat a very low-carb ketogenic-style Paleo diet (because we have to), but this is another one of those nagging issues that won’t go away unless it is adequately addressed.

4. Negative bloggers

Speaking of negativity, it seems the Paleo blogosphere has become inhabited by several individuals who have made it their sole purpose in life is to spread lies, rumors and hatred about various people within the community who are fully dedicated to the mission of the Paleo lifestyle. I’ve been blogging at “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” for eight years and realize that this kind of thing just comes with the territory when you put yourself out there sharing information about your life. The funny thing is you’d expect vegetarians and vegans to act this way towards bloggers who are promoting animal-based foods as part of a healthy diet–but not people who purport to eat a low-carb and/or Paleo diet. While most of my fellow low-carb and Paleo health bloggers are providing some truly outstanding information and encouragement to their readers, there are a few who do nothing more than spread negativity and dissension in everything they do. In my opinion, these people don’t add any value to the Paleo community and are like a cancer that spreads within if left unchecked. If you can’t add anything positive to the conversation, then I just don’t have the time or energy to waste on you. It would behoove the people in this community who want to see Paleo become more widely accepted by the mainstream to stop giving these negative nannies the attention they so desperately crave and whose true motive is to halt the progress that has been happening. It’s okay to disagree, but being disagreeable in the process benefits nobody.

5. Support positive influences

In contrast to the previous issue regarding negative bloggers, I think it’s extremely important to lend support to those people who are doing great work spreading the Paleo message. I attempt to do this regularly by highlighting new blogs and podcasts, retweeting items of interest I see on Twitter, providing encouraging words and advice on Facebook pages, leaving comments on blogs I love and enjoy and, of course, featuring those people who are making a difference on one of my podcasts. People always ask me how they can get involved in the Paleo community more and I am constantly pushing people to start their own blog if they like to write, create a new podcast if you’ve got the gift of gab, make YouTube videos if you enjoy being in front of the camera–ANYTHING you can do to share Paleo with those people in your sphere of influence is a good thing. And as your work gets out there, others of us will pick up on it and share what you are doing to show the world that this is a lifestyle they should consider trying for themselves. This is where I choose to devote my time and energy to as a means for pushing the Paleo message out into the open so that many millions more can be changed by it.

6. Lean meats mantra

One of my pet peeves about the Paleo community are those who promote the idea of eating “lean meats” as opposed to fatty ones. While I understand we are all on our own journey to health through a variety of ways along that Paleo template, there are far too many people who begin eating a low-carb Paleo plan and think a chicken breast is a good option because they were encouraged to eat “lean meats” in books like the Loren Cordain classic The Paleo Diet. After all, that chicken breast is 99% fat-free and you can’t get much more “lean” than that! Unfortunately, the predictable happens when people eat a green leafy salad with grilled chicken breast on top–they get ravenously hungry two hours later and wonder why anyone would choose to eat this way on purpose. Anyone been down that road before? I realize dietary fat is still a dirty word in most health circles these days, but this is our opportunity to explain why MORE of the right kind of fats are good for you to consume, even saturated fat. As long as we keep talking about “lean meats” as part of the Paleo diet, it only continues the mistaken idea that dietary fat is the enemy in our diet. Refined and processed sugars and whole grains are the true enemies of our diet along with pro-inflammatory vegetable oils and other highly-processed modern-day “health” foods like soy. This is all a part of the education process even for people like Cordain who has since clarified his support for saturated fat on a Paleo diet by writing an entire chapter about it in his 2012 book The Paleo Answer.

7. Metabolically broken

My podcasting buddy Angelo Coppola recently created an interesting new blog he calls “Humans Are Not Broken” extending the idea he shares quite often on his “Latest In Paleo” podcast that “human beings are not broken by default.” And I tend to agree with Angelo’s statement. But I have a special place in my heart for those dear people who are seemingly doing all of the right things in their Paleo diet, fitness and lifestyle and still failing to see the results they desire in their weight and health. I’ve been there myself which is what started me to begin my n=1 testing of nutritional ketosis in May 2012 that has so far resulted in more than 60 pounds being shed off of my body (and counting!) along with various other health improvements. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I am metabolically challenged, damaged, deranged, broken…however you want to describe it. Decades of consuming pure unadulterated carbage have taken their toll on me metabolically and now I’m paying for it by being required to be a lot more strict about my diet than I otherwise would have been. My amazingly courageous Paleo blogging and podcasting friend Stacy Toth from the “Paleo Parents” blog wrote a post about this very subject entitled “Why the Metabolically Broken Can’t Eat Carbs.” She and I are not alone in this internal battle with our own bodies to return to some semblance of normal again. It’s not like we aren’t trying hard enough or doing the same things that others in the Paleo community are doing that is producing great success in them. And yet people like me and Stacy are perhaps looked down upon as gluttons, slothful or failing to meet some unspoken expectations of someone who is supposed to be doing Paleo. Acknowledging that this journey is a lot more difficult for some of us who might be metabolically broken in some form or fashion would be quite inviting to those people who may not see spectacular results when they first start doing Paleo.

8. Commercial success

As with any movement that begins to build an audience and branch out into the mainstream, the opportunities for commercial success are sure to follow. I’m always amazed whenever I hear people actually criticize the capitalistic ventures of highly-respected people in this community like Mark Sisson and his accompanying Primal Blueprint product line or the brand new PaleoLogix supplements brand created by Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser. How much FREE information have those three men alone given out to the Paleo community over the years to help start this Paleo revolution we are now seeing? Don’t they deserve to be remunerated for literally investing tens of thousands of hours into the lives of others at no charge? I certainly think so. And I’ve even heard this same complaint about the work that I do because I have sponsors on my sites and I solicit donations from those who find benefit in my work. Never mind the fact that all of my three podcasts that air five days a week, my blog, my forum, my YouTube videos and so much more are all 100% FREE to anyone who chooses to partake of them. I’m a strong believer in working hard, providing quality content and being appropriately rewarded for your efforts. One of the ways Paleo will become a part of the overall nutrition and health conversation is to have businesses and business ventures succeed in the marketplace of ideas and dollars. That’s why it’s encouraging to see so many Paleo books making it on the bestsellers lists and companies like Pre-made Paleo, Primal Paleo Concepts and Louise’s Foods providing consumers with quality real food-based items to enhance their Paleo lifestyle. We shouldn’t fear commercial success, but should embrace it as a means for expanding the Paleo message even further into the mainstream.

9. Building the community

I’ve heard it time and time again from people I come into contact with wanting to be a part of the Paleo community but unsure about how to go about doing it or have hesitations about putting themselves out there (see #4). Growing the community and making our presence known will tell the world that this lifestyle we are promoting is indeed “normal” and that they too should give it a try for themselves. It’s not enough to just rely on those of us who are already out there because there are millions of people who stand ready to learn about Paleo and give it a try for themselves. When that huge influx of new people looking to begin on their own Paleo and/or low-carb lifestyle change, we need a front line of defense in place and ready to go to help assist them in their efforts. Just as so many of you got your start eating and living this way thanks to the work of people like Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Tom Naughton, Chris Kresser, Diane Sanfilippo, Art DeVany or me, so too does the next generation of Paleo followers need their own inspiration to get going and doing this in earnest. Building the community in this way should be a major priority of the Paleosphere and the sooner the better. Google Trends is showing an explosion of growth in Paleo over the past couple of years. Are we ready for the next big influx expected later in 2013 and beyond?

10. Perfectionism

And finally, let’s address that annoying little “p” word known as perfection. Diane Sanfilippo from “Balanced Bites” says demanding Paleo perfection is “paralyzing others” from even attempting to begin this journey of giving up sugar, grains, vegetable oils and all of the other core principles that make up Paleo. She’s got it exactly right when she states that “You have to understand where people are coming from before you can throw a list of rules and dos/don’ts at them thinking it’ll be possible for them to ‘just do it.'” And that statement is so very true. Sadly, too many people seem to think Paleo is an all-or-nothing proposition. But I absolutely love how Dallas and Melissa Hartwig at “The Whole 30” describe this as a work in “progress, not perfection.” Here’s a key quote from their post: “Follow the rules, but don’t self-impose perfection. Changing your life doesn’t happen in just 30 days, so think about this as ‘kaizen’ (continual progress or improvement), not ‘flip the switch’ to Paleo perfection by Day 30.” The sooner we stop ridiculing people on Paleo who happen to do non-Paleo things from time to time, the sooner we will gain better acceptance by those who have been brainwashed into believing that must be 100% on target all the time or they are a failure. That’s the mentality that so many of us grew up with regarding diet and that anything that wasn’t low-fat, high-carb that crossed our lips doomed us to a lifetime of obesity and disease. It’s time to break that cycle and embrace the pursuit and the journey rather than perfection. That simple concept alone could make Paleo more attractive to people than anything.

What do you think about these 10 critical issues I believe the Paleo community must address in order for this message to continue progressing forward into the mainstream? Is there anything else that you think might be pressing and warrant more attention? Feel free to share your comments about what I’ve shared as well as your own ideas in the comments section below.

  • Great list Jimmy! I can relate to number 1, though I’m not Christian (I’m Jewish) and have started a facebook page for those of us keeping kosher and following a paleo “template” (facebook.com/KosherPaleo). I’m glad you brought up the negativity issue as well. We can accomplish so much more by showing respect, especially when we disagree.

    • LLVLCBlog

      THANKS for sharing about your Jewish Paleo Facebook group. Awesome! United we will stand no matter where we come from in our background.

  • Jan Allison

    Directly as a result of involvement on your forums Jimmy I moved from being an Atkins Acolyte to embracing a Low-Carb Oriented Paleo Template over the last year. This list of issues begging resolution is a great one and I am eager to comment.

    1. Paleo Christians – I find most of the ugliness around this to be individualized. I grew up in West Texas, plenty of good ole Christian ethics there. Although I no longer profess much of what you and others do, I respect your right to believe. PERIOD — I used the following signature on e-mail for a long time and find it quite applicable here: “You are welcome to practice your religion as you please, just don’t practice it on me.” I appreciate that despite a deep Christian background and a degree from Liberty U, I have never seen you show a lack of respect for folks who don’t embrace your faith and I genuinely appreciate that.

    2. Caveman Imagery – I am of mixed feeling. Everything movement needs a marketing mantra, I just wish the mantra for this movement was a little less brutish.

    3.Low-Carb Antagonism – I don’t think it is as as prevalent as it seems. Most folks in the “Paleo/Primal” camp observe a variation on Low Carb in comparison to the SAD if they are even remotely trying. I think there is a subset of folks who need a point to pick at and this is a dandy for picking, but not so much for valid criticism. See #4.

    4. Negative Bloggers – Before I read my first Usenet group roughly 20 years ago I had no idea what an “ad Hominem attack” was. Turns out that is the price we pay to have freedom of speech in this medium. Not pretty, but not the end of the world. Over the long haul the naysayers fall to the wayside if the thing they are attacking is good.

    5. Support Positive Influences – Hear Hear!

    6. Lean Meats Mantra – I don’t see this as a big deal. If the choice is lean meats vs vegetarian or vegan it is no contest. I’ve chosen to increase my fat content based on research (and taste) but if you lean toward the Chris Kresser “template” camp you have to welcome all comers.

    7. Metabolically Broken – Now here you and I are on precisely the same page. I know that a lifetime of obesity and associated habits has left me less than able to eat a “normal” diet whatever that is. On this journey I am learning what works for me. And I am not ashamed to admit that I have some broken parts.

    8. Commercial Success – I’ve never trusted folks who don’t appreciate making a decent living, no matter what the topic. I tire of some of the over the top self promotion and walled gardens of knowledge (I am thinking of bloggers who charge for access to their personal secrets)… but I have no problem with commercializing this lifestyle. If you or a Dianne SanFilippo or Mark Sisson can write a book that has valid information or put together an online program or podcast that makes money while delivering solid content good for you! Just save me from the people trying to package Paleo the way Atkins Bars came to be packaged after the good doctor’s death.

    9. Building Community – Gotta do it. And community building fits right in with the Ancestral lifestyle we are basing this diet on.

    10. Perfectionism – Totally agree. There ain’t no such thing, and insistence on “by the book” Paleo is a guaranteed fail. Whether it is “no dairy, grains or legumes” or “grassfed or nothing” we are not perfect beings and any effort folks are making to improve even if they aren’t “perfect” has to be appreciated.

    Thanks for a thoughtful piece.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Outstanding feedback Jan!

    • Kate

      There is nothing wrong with lean meats. Plenty of us choose a lower fat, higher carb paleo diet and don’t want to eat fatty meat. How is Tom Naughton, a celebrity comedien, paleo? Just because someone is a low carb blogger like Tom or Gary Taubes does NOT make him/her paleo. Yes, you can be paleo and low carb, but low carb is not automatically paleo. Stop trying to make the two separate communities the same. If you look at low carb forums, many are eating Atkins bars and shakes, Walden farms syrups, and all sorts of stuff from netrition that is low carb and not paleo.

      • LLVLCBlog

        I make great distinctions between the two concepts Kate and I’m all about people in doing what works for them. If you like lean meats and do well on that, then go for it. Most of us cannot. Many low-carbers are choosing the better quality foods thanks to the influence of the Paleo community.

        • Kate

          “Most” is probably not accurate. Paleo encompasses a wide range of people. They are very different from the folks on most low carb boards who will eat walden farms syrup over a bite of potato.

          • LLVLCBlog

            I don’t know any enlightened low-carb eater who is following a Paleo template who eats anything from Walden Farms.

            • Kate

              I’m not talking paleo eaters, Jimmy. That is the thing. The low carb and paleo communities are not one and the same. There are many low carbers–millions–who are not paleo, and millions of paleo eaters who are not low carb (i.e. under 100 gm. a day). They are separate communities with different needs and concerns.

              • LLVLCBlog

                True. But there’s a growing cross-over of people from both communities who want the food quality of Paleo with the health necessity for some who need to be low-carb. So while the two communities aren’t the same, there are people who identify themselves as low-carb Paleo. A LOT OF PEOPLE!

              • Jimmy, it seems like when we get into the nitty-gritty, you talk about some people having a health necessity for low carb. I’m pretty sure we would be in agreement on this. But typically, my impression of your stance is that most people would do well on low carb. (If accurate,) I completely disagree with this. I think way too many people are using low carb as a form of calorie restriction to lose weight when a more balanced approach would serve them better.

              • LLVLCBlog

                I wouldn’t know how to accurately quantify what that number would be of the people who need to use low-carb. Your position is one that mimics Paul Jaminet who readily states his diet is low-carb. If that’s the balanced approach you are referring to with a sliding scale depending on your specific circumstance, then we agree.

              • I believe Jaminet is at somewhere around 150g of carbs per day, and I’m probably a bit higher when averaged out over a weekly basis. Also, my approach (and Jaminet’s and most others on the Paleo side of things) doesn’t *focus* on carbs. This is an advantage, I believe, because when we focus on carbs, by calling our diets “Low-carb Paleo” or just “Low-carb,” this is a cycle that I’m observing:

                • a person will have initial success
                • weight loss eventually plateaus when an isocaloric state is finally achieved
                • the dieter looks to reignite the weight-loss fire
                • the first place someone with a low-carb focus looks for a solution is to reduce carbs even more!

                …and this could be a completely mistaken approach that leads to failure, potential health problems, disordered eating, etc. Of course, this isn’t the outcome for everyone, but it should perhaps be talked about more.

              • LLVLCBlog

                I appreciate the perspective, Angelo. And traditionally with low-carb diets I would agree with you. But as I’ve learned with my nutritional ketosis experiment, carbohydrates are merely one component of this equation. If I haven’t said it already, let me be very clear here: a healthy diet isn’t just about cutting carbohydrates more and more and more. I agree there could be new issues created by an over-obsession on carbs. But I’m not advocating what you are describing and neither are other leaders in the low-carb community.

              • Hunter Copeland

                Jimmy- Do you think that your wegiht gain after initially losing lots of weight goes right along with the observation Angelo describes above. I have seen the same cycle over and over. I’m scared that you are just repeating that cycle with your most recent nutritional experiment. Do you think you might just be jumping on to another dietary fad? I just don’t see this working as a long term solution. I hope I am wrong and I wish the best for you. Just basing this on what I see in working with clients trying to lose weight.

              • LLVLCBlog

                Appreciate it Hunter and I suppose it remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

  • mrfreddy

    Haven’t you said before that you didn’t believe in evolution? I think THAT is what has been attacked, not that you or someone else is a Christian. Speaking as an atheist, I can’t see why it would matter to anyone what a paleo supporter believes, if you don’t believe in evolution and you can still find sense in a paleo diet, more power to ya!

    Regarding the negativity… luckily that one person you probably have in mind is such a horrible, godawful, unreadable, incredibly unreadable, I mean, get to the point once in awhile would ya? type of writer, I can’t imagine her ever getting much more of a following than she has now. I’m sure she has some good points to make, but I’ll be damned if I can find them that that collection of verbal drool she calls a blog.

    • LLVLCBlog

      I’ve never publicly stated my position on that issue. That’s what makes the assumptions so hilarious to me. And it’s more than one negative nanny out there.

  • We have a somewhat uneasy truce among different factions. Diet, like politics, makes strange bedfellows. Once we make some progress against the low-fat/high carb orthodoxy, we may become even more fragmented. I hope everyone will try to keep an open mind as new research continues to explore what works and what doesn’t. If a well-done study, like the ones we expect from NuSi, reveals some new truths, I hope we will all embrace the findings and adapt.

    Here are some of the reasons that I still call myself “low-cab” rather than paleo or primal, even though I have now given up wheat and grains:

    A lot of Paleo and Primal recipes use dates, figs, bananas, pineapple and other very high-sugar fruits and they use honey, maple syrup, and other “natural” sugars. These are still real sugars. If you are young and athletic you can probably tolerate them, at least for a while, but you may suffer from them further down the road.

    Lean, lean, lean meats is the refrain of many Paleo sites. Early man probably ate all parts of the animal, including the organs, which are not lean. They also likely ate a lot of worms, slugs, and bugs. (They found human lice in the stomachs of South American mummies.) I would suspect that other small creatures and insects are similar in nutrition to clams, mussels, oysters, crabs, etc. This is not “lean” muscle meat. Maybe that is why seafood is so healthful! (It doesn’t seem revolting if it comes from the water. It must be the slime.) Many anthropologist say that humans became meat eaters by scavenging bones left by predators to get the marrow and brains, which are mostly fat.

    Cheese and butter are ancient foods and unless you are sensitive to dairy, I see no reason to avoid good organic versions. To say that early man could not get dairy products does not take into account that humans have always been very resourceful. If they hunted a lactating animal, I think they could have figured out a way to get the milk! Does it really matter whether early man made butter and cheese or not as long as it is good animal fat?

  • I like this list. A would love to see the community spread love towards each other instead of hateful twitter wars over something like saying “low carb paleo”. I wish more people would understand Paleo is not black & white. You will find your own path. Looking forward to seeing you at the low carb cruise.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Can’t wait to meet you on the cruise! 🙂

  • Eknola

    Good list, Jimmy but I’d like at add another issue: ageism. Sometimes subtle but often not.

    • LLVLCBlog


      • Deniseregina

        Ageism and not-so-fit-ism. Some of us are trying our best at 60+ to increase activity levels that might seem sluggish to the CrossFit crowd!

  • Janknitz

    With respect to items 1 and 2, I’ve always much preferred the title “Ancestral Diet” rather than paleo and primal. The fact is that we don’t know for sure how the cavemen ate, and we certainly don’t do our own hunting, gathering, and cooking over an open fire for the most part. Our modern food sources are not the same. Paleo and Primal seem like soemthing a slick marketing department thought up.
    Ancestral diet is so much more inclusive of traditional diets from many parts of the world and can be as recent as what our grandparents and great grandparents ate. It eliminates the whole Paleo/Christian question because it doesn’t require a belief in cave men or evolution.
    I know that horse is out of the barn already, but it seems to me that ancestral diet would have been a much better way to describe this to the rest of the world.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Ancestral does have a better mass appeal.

      • And it has a society (and soon a journal), which ought to help with the community building aspects as well as adding main-stream and professional legitimacy to this foundation. Keep up the good work, Jimmy!

        • LLVLCBlog

          Glad to hear it, Aaron!

  • Mark Siegrist

    Great article, Jimmy. My issue with Paleo is that it’s becoming a ‘movement’/clique ala vegetarianism. Perhaps this is good, since the majority of young people who go vegetarian/vegan, don’t do it because of health or ethical reasons but because it’s cool and they get to feel part of a community. Crossfit, vegetarianism/veganism, and now Paleo – they all share that cultish community trait.

    As for me? When someone asks how I lost all the weight (I get asked it all the time and I never tire of it : ) – I simply tell them I “eat a high fat diet”, with a smile. And they always think I’m joking!


  • thekoof

    I think biggest issue in Paleo is the lack of vetting of many of the so called Paleo gurus

    • LLVLCBlog

      Who do you think needs to be questioned?

  • thekoof

    I think a real issue is the lack of vetting of many of the so called Paleo gurus. Trumped up credentials and books written with a true lack of scientific knowledges

    • LLVLCBlog

      Who do you think needs to be vetted more?

  • mysharonatx

    all good points! I think that Christians (and I am one) also need to lighten up about theological creationism as we discuss the erosion of conventional food sources and re-discover the kinds of foods we were likely created to eat in the first place. It’s not like we can go back to the purity of any created food source. So we have to do the best we can with what is available to us today.

    I think the second-most polarizing issue is #10, perfectionism. Working two jobs and menu planning is tough and I don’t always succeed. I only know that every choice I make towards improving my health is worth it. But the idea of perfection or you’re not Paleo is enough to run any one off. I do call myself Paleo, or Primal, but I know there are times it just doesn’t happen. Even with all that, I know my health has improved and the knowledge I have gained is supremely important. Let me work out the rest without judging me. It’s still my choice.

    The issue of healthy fats is a tough one too and kind of dovetails with the low-carb one to me. I can tell when I get a higher fat, low carb breakfast I last longer. But is it the same if the higher fat has a bit more carbs? I don’t know where to draw the line with that and I get a bit confused by some of the scientific discussions about it. And it is sooooo hard to constantly justify that whole avocado on my salad when everyone is wondering how that can help me lose weight and hearing the conventional wisdom all around me!!! I haven’t figured that out at all.

    It seems that on many of your other points, we get so defensive we either bash others, preach incessantly, or get self-righteous and judge someone who is sharing their knowledge and (gasp) earning actual money from their research and knowledge. The Paleo movement needs to lighten up…share as much knowledge as another might be willing to receive and live our own lives peaceably. Um…it’s not like you were around during the paleolithic era either. No one person has all knowledge. I am much more likely to receive information from someone who shares their journey, encourages you on your own journey, and has a great recipe or two, as opposed to the dogmatic “you will be disgusting, fat, and sick if you don’t do what I tell you” kind of people.

  • B. Clark

    Thank you Jimmy, all very well said. I am happily low carb paleo and always will be.. it works for me. I must say the negative bloggers do not even make my radar or waste a moment of my time… in fact, I don’t spend very much time with my face in front of a computer anymore..why? because I have lost 120 lbs and I have a new life and the health and abundant energy to enjoy it… When your dreams are starting to come true, you find your time is better spent with happy positive people, the hate-mongers, fame whores, and their sycophants will have to exist without me.

    • LLVLCBlog

      For sure! That’s been my philosophy too. 😀

  • I’m metabolically challenged… I have to eat low carb high fat by necessity being T2 Diabetic and NOT on insulin. It’s the only way I can keep my blood sugars within safe limits. Now I refuse to use the artificial atkins shakes and other high cost rubbish pushed by those jumping on the low-carb bandwagon, but get my low carbs by eating just above ground multi-coloured veggies along with just sweet potatoes and celeriac as my other side dishes… I can’t understand the low-fat higher carb paleo thing at all… I love leaving the fat on and going for the cheaper fattier cuts… makes it so much cheaper and easier to follow. The favourite dish in my household being slow cooked belly pork done with sliced chorizo added while frying off the belly pork to add extra punch and it’s a very cheap dish to make. Slow cooked shin beef is also an excellent dish with loads of lovely fat in it. It’s great being able to leave the skin on the chicken as well as that’s got most of the flavour when you roast the bird with herb rubbings.

    What grips me is that there seems to be a paleo belief with it having to be grass fed beef etc. The entire point is that you ditch the grain products and the seed derived oils and cut right back on the starchy carbs… we can’t all afford the high cost grass fed or organic products… much as we’d like to eat them…

    I’m not ultra low carb… I eat to my meter, there’s no way I could bear to go as low carb as Dr. Bernstein desires in his recommendations. The book that kicked me off in the right direction for getting my diabetes under control was “Escape The Diet Trap” by Dr. John Briffa, and I’ve subsequently tailored my diet using Jenny Ruhl’s “Diet 101; The Truth About Low Carb Diets”. There’s elements of paleo in mine along with LCHF elements, but you can’t call me paleo at all…

  • LLVLCBlog

    Thanks for your perspective Laura.

  • LLVLCBlog

    Thanks Kyle! Here’s a link to that lecture:

  • LLVLCBlog

    Because food quality is not questioned in the Paleo community. It’s a part of what defines Paleo. Low-carb is another matter though.

  • LLVLCBlog

    I suppose it depends on what your definition of that term means. I’m open to hearing what others think evolution means. Sounds like a semantic issue.

    • Simon Carter

      Jimmy, sounds like you lied and have been found out by Chris!

      • LLVLCBlog

        Not sure how I “lied” but I appreciate your input. Having a good working definition of terms is always an excellent idea in any discussion.

        • Simon Carter

          Jimmy, so what do you understand by the term Darwinian theory of evolution?

          • LLVLCBlog

            I appreciate the question and I’m happy to answer that. But I want to hear what others think regarding that first. This is an important conversation.

  • Great post, Jimmy! Thanks for the shout-out. So you know, I got a ping back from this site who’s reposting your content without reference: http://kickthediets.com/?p=390

    • LLVLCBlog

      THANKS Stacy! Yes, that site has been stealing my content and I’ve been sending cease and desists. This is unfortunately part of being online too. 🙁 GREAT COLUMN by the way! 😉

  • Dan (aka Renegadediabetic)

    Great post. The one thing I detest is the all-or-nothing, one-size-fits-all mentality. I got into that trap with the low fat dogma and it ruined me. Of course, free speech being what it is, people have a right to be dogmatic and negative, but you and I can use our free speech to speak out against it.

    Now I have to eat low carb. Over time, I have gone more to real food and away from the low carb junk. I can’t use honey or maple syrup, but am using more stevia than artificial sweeteners. Paleo, primal, ancestral, or whatever you want to call it can cover a wide range of choices and still observe the basic principles of real food, and avoiding grains, sugar, and seed oils. We should agree to disagree on small points.

    As a Christian, I still respect people’s right to believe otherwise and I think that this is the true Christian attitude. I will tell them what I believe and engage in civil discussions, but it is their choice in the end. One’s religious beliefs are mostly irrelevant to diet choices. You don’t have to eat pork or shellfish to be paleo or low carb. People in Biblical times ate real food. There is no biblical mandate to eat grains. Find what works best for you.

    Name calling, ridicule, putting others down is usually counter-productive. Per the old cliche, you attract more flies with honey than vinegar. Don’t we see enough of that in politics. Oh well, free speech…..

    Thanks for all you do in keeping a positive message and trying to reconcile the factions.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Appreciate your input as always Dan!

  • LLVLCBlog

    It doesn’t have to be, but I understand where you’re coming from.

  • LLVLCBlog

    THANKS for your comments, Angelo. But I think you misunderstood what I was saying regarding the metabolically broken. I have no doubt that the Paleo template does a lot to help people heal from metabolic damage that has made them obese or deal with some sort of autoimmune issue. And I realize that many in the community, including yourself, are indeed empathetic towards those who have a more difficult time–no doubt about it. If more Paleo people talked about their ongoing journey, then I think that would be an encouragement to those who feel like they don’t measure up because they do struggle. I greatly admire and respect your work, Angelo, which is why I linked to both your fantastic new blog and your already-incredible podcast. 😀

    • Thanks, Jimmy, for giving me an opportunity to respond.

      • LLVLCBlog

        My pleasure buddy! I appreciate your valuable contributions to this community.

  • Radnutrition

    XO Jimmy!

  • Regarding low-carb antagonism…I see this a bit differently. I constantly read things from the very fit paleo community that admonishes people to not eat carbs unless you’re one of “them” (the highly fit cross-fitters/athletes, etc.). The tone is kind of condescending: “If you’re one of the chubby folks and not a highly fit exercising machine like us, then you’d better not ever eat sweet potatoes or fruit…ever!” I followed this advice for a while (since I’m one of the chubby folks) and didn’t realize that my VLC diet was leaving me drained of energy. On the advice of a naturopath, I added more carbs in the form of sweet potatoes and fruit, and I now have more energy and feel so much better. I haven’t lost weight, but I wasn’t losing on the VLC bandwagon either, but I feel better now – and that’s worth a lot!

  • Angelo, I had a light bulb go off in my head on the “metabolically broken” thing when I heard that Dr. Davis had found research showing pancreatic beta cells changing on a seemingly permanent basis after an individual having been Metabolic Syndrome. When I use the term I use it in a nebulous way on purpose because I would LOVE to know WTF is wrong with me and a finite definition might help me resolve it!
    That said your point is extremely well taken on eating disorders. After being on the front-side of this paleo movement I’ve learned that QUITE a few of us have had eating disorders in the past. I believe some continue to use Paleo as an orthorexic approach to eating, which of course is unhealthy and off-putting for the general public.
    I just hope we can all continue to be honest, open and respectful to one another on all these topics – because doing so had led to amazing discoveries towards optimal human health over the last few years and I’d love to see that continue… instead of greed or power starting to have an influence which negatively affects the movement.

    • Hi, Stacy. When we change our diets, we can often see short-term results that don’t necessarily translate into long-term stability or health benefits. I say this from experience, and from realizing that our bodies are not machines — but rather, constantly adapting biological entities. So, when we do see positive results from something, it’s very easy to fool ourselves into believing we’ve “figured it out.” It’s very easy to construct a story in hindsight that makes sense and explains everything. The “obese-people-can’t-eat-carb” story can be told in such a way that it makes a lot of sense with words, yet millions of obese people lose weight and stay healthy with carbs…and (tens of?) thousands of people stay obese while following a low-carb diet.

      As far as eating disorders, this is an extremely important topic to start talking about. And if we’re going to talk about it honestly, we’ll have to talk about how low-carb and Paleo can lead to or contribute to disordered eating. I have 4 daughters being raised in a home with some pretty strong ideas about food, so this is a very real issue for me.

      Finally, you mentioned “continue to being honest, open, and respectful.” What I’m seeing is that we need to *start* being more honest, open, and respectful. Honest and open: who do we *disagree* with and why? Respectful: Yes, to our readers. We owe them more than giving everyone in the community pats on the back and affiliate links.

    • Stacy & Matt, I completely agree with you that Paleo is an orthoexic approach to eating. After suffering from an eating disorder in the past and now “disordered eating” patterns, I know that Paleo is an excuse to continue with the continued occupation with food. Being metabolically broken is how I always feel. I often wonder why I can’t just eat like normal people and feel normal when I’m finished. Of course the metabolic symptoms go hand in hand with the years of disordered eating patterns. Not everyone in Paleo has an eating disorder and I understand that. Eating disorders are just another issue I would like addressed and treated as important as a gluten or dairy issue. For example, not everyone is lactose intolerant but Paleo pushes its importance. Why not address the psychological issues such as restrictive eating and binge eating as well.

  • Exactly! I am a Christian who has studied evolution, and I simply don’t believe it’s a theory that can be proved scientifically. OTOH, I’ve also studied the translation of Genesis, so I’m not so sure the world was created in exactly 168 hours, either. I think there’s more to the story of creation than is written in the Bible, but I do believe that God is the One who set it all in motion. If some people want to get rabid and diss me for my belief in God. they’re welcome to think what they will. I’m still going to think what I will.

    I gravitated to Paleo, because I think it most closely reflects the original human diet. I arrived at that conclusion from a different set of premises than most Paleo-ers, but, nonetheless, we do agree on what we should be fueling our bodies with. So, let’s focus on that and on the scientific evidence that supports our conclusions, rather than get into matters of faith, like evolution or creationism.

  • Steven

    The caveman imagery and lean meats is unfortunate. You see it most often in the media where they call it the caveman diet and quote/reference Loren Cordain’s ‘The Paleo Diet’.

    I don’t see that much low carb antagonism. Most people recommend ketogenic/low carb/high carb where appropriate and against them where inappropriate, which is reasonable. What isn’t reasonable is making blanket statements like ‘everyone should be ketogenic/low carb/high carb’, ‘fructose is a poison’ or absurd statements like ‘carbs + fat = donuts’, ‘all body fat comes from dietary carbohydrates’. That might be where the antagonism comes from, and if so it’s well deserved

    I don’t care whether someone is Christian, and actually I don’t really care if they don’t accept evolution. Evolution may be rejected because some people think it’s incompatible with Christianity or other religions, or a feeling is disgust at the thought that we share a relatively recent common (~5-7 million years ago) ancestor with chimpanzees (and other primates).

    Evolution simply explains how successive generations of organisms change over time, which is due to heritable traits being selected for or against, that is all. As soon as you have heritable traits and selection pressures for or against those heritable traits you have evolution

    Even those who believe the world was created a few thousand years ago can accept evolution, though they may have trouble with fossils and other markers that the world is much older

    Without evolution how does one make sense of things like genetic variation between people and ethnic groups, genetic adaptation to new environments, antibiotic resistance, and even the irish potato famine? Without evolution how to animal/plant breeders and most geneticists and microbiologists have a job? If the world forgot about evolution biologists would discover it again. If the world suppressed evolution then many in the biological sciences couldn’t function in their job.

  • Steven

    On metabolically broken. Angello makes a good point that it’s poorly defined, but then it’s used to justify something. It’s using a poorly defined concept to make a definitive statement.
    If metabolically broken is insulin resistance or mitochondrial dysfunction, well low carb and Paleo can resolve most of that quite effectively. If it’s insulin release, then beta-cells can regenerate.
    ‘Metabolically broken’ should be used less like ‘I’m metabolically broken, therefore X’ and more like ‘X, therefore I seem to have some unresolved issues’. We understand that people can have unresolved issues. The second approach can help define and resolve them. The first approach can foster ignorance

    • LLVLCBlog

      Outstanding Steven!

    • Steven, yes we do have to be careful about confusing generalizations for specifics — both in our vocabularies and in our thoughts. It’s so easy to misdiagnose based on self-evaluation, but then adding on top of it undefined maladies with imaginary prescriptions is a recipe for frustration.

      • PaleoPhil

        I agree with you, Angelo, that “metabolically broken” is too vague and used in too many contradictory ways to be practically useful. I decided some time ago that it’s probably not natural for most humans to have the sorts of problems with carby foods that I have. As you say, “humans are not broken by default” and I think that applies to “carbs” too. Instead of just throwing my hands up in surrender and say I can never eat “carbs” again, I’ve explored whether I can reverse the underlying problems that are causing the problems (while at the same time trying to avoid the pitfalls of “carb addiction”). I’ve been encouraged by the many “Paleo” dieters who have found certain carby foods that they could add to their diets and actually further improve their health. Some people, like Jimmy and me, don’t respond as quickly or well to even “safe” carbs as others do, even in my case when I follow carb-advocates’ advice to the letter, but I haven’t given up and I have found some carby foods that I handle fairly well, and some tools, like fermentation, have helped. I don’t want to have to rely on extremely low carb as a crutch the rest of my life, though if I have to, then I’ll learn to live with that. Keep up the good work!

  • PaleoPhil

    Jimmy wrote: “the positive influence and education coming from key thought leaders in this community like Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser and Mark Sisson”

    Amen to that! Love those positive vibes and their open-minded, questioning minds! They disagree with folks without becoming disagreeable.

    1. Paleo Christians – I’m one nontheist who believes that biological evolution is a key concept and yet also welcomes Christians into the big tent. Whether you see “Nature’s God” or just nature at work you can benefit from evolutionary/ancestral nutrition either way. I adopted the broader, less divisive term “ancestral diet and lifestyle” back in 2004 after I discoved that some people were turned off by terms like Paleo and evolution, with some getting angry at the mere mention of evolution. I have found you to be unusually tolerant of nontheists.

    2. Caveman imagery – I’ve hated it from the start, and it’s one of the reasons I favored the “ancestral” term over “Paleo”.

    3. Low-carb antagonism – It’s rarely noted that even “safe starches” advocate Paul Jaminet is low carb (around 25% of calories). So it’s possible to love BOTH “safe starches” AND “low carb.” I think one thing that may get anti-LCers’ goat is that you sometimes play the role of impartial moderator/interviewer/promoter in the Paleo community, but they don’t see you as impartial. I think they fear that you will drive Paleo into what they would regard as an extreme and bogus LC niche. I suppose you can try to offset this somewhat by emphasizing repeatedly that you are not saying that Paleo is necessarily LC and addressing some of the concerns of the more reasonable critics and continuing to have excellent guests who are not seen as dogmatic LCers, like Stephan Guyenet, Paul Jaminet and Chris Kresser.

    You have already learned about the perils of insufficient screening of guests and have promised to do better on that, which I give you the benefit of the doubt on. I wish your critics would engage you in open discussion so we can try to get some of the controversies and misunderstandings resolved, but I can also understand if you don’t want to risk getting drawn into a quagmire of endless argument. The most important thing is not to let them take you off the overall focus of doing positive work.

    I’d like to make one humble suggestion–instead of calling guests “low carb experts,” how about “health and nutrition experts” or “Living La Vida lifestyle experts” other less LC-dedicated terms? Some of them are not even advocates of LC (such as Stephan Guyenet, PhD http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2013/01/appearance-on-ask-low-carb-experts.html).

    Antagonism towards good carby foods is also a common problem in Paleo circles. I tolerate carbs less well than the vast majority of people, yet I nonetheless experienced clearing up of dry skin, scalp flakes and greasy hair when I started consuming reasonable amounts of raw fermented honey (horrors! 😉 ).

    4. Negative bloggers – They will exist in every movement. The Dalai Lama said, “In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” I try to also learn from my critics and use them to test speculative notions on, and I find that my most ardent critics can be convenient devil’s advocates–sometimes doing a lot of research legwork for me.

    5. Support positive influences – I don’t agree with you on everything, but hats off to you for trying to help folks. I wouldn’t do everything as you have, but if I tried to do what you’re doing I bet I’d make more mistakes.

    6. Lean meats mantra – I would like to suggest “quality meats” (meaning pastured and wild meats, preferably rich in healthy, tasty fats) in its place.

    7. Metabolically broken – I also suspect that some people who attribute all their diet and health problems to being metabolically broken may actually have other issues too, or instead, such as gut dysbiosis, or a lifestyle that is insufficiently hormetic.

    8. Commercial success – This is a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t problem. I can’t imagine how someone could become influential and financially successful in Paleo without some appearance of commercial influence. Typically, critics of commercial success tend to hypocritically have heroes who also benefit from commercialism. I do wish you’d disassociate from all highly processed LC products, but I could say that about other Paleo and LC bloggers who have not been targeted for attacks and you have moved toward trying to emphasize food quality more. I suspect that your success has something to do with this.

    9. Building the community – Thanks for doing that.

    10. Perfectionism – Probably another inevitable problem in any new movement. Early-adopting experimenters who try unusual new things (even very old new things like Paleo) apparently tend toward perfectionism: http://www.forbes.com/sites/brennasniderman/2012/03/21/the-five-personalities-of-innovators-which-one-are-you I find that it pays to relax one’s standards a bit now and then. I agree that one doesn’t need to do it perfectly to get started and those Commandment-like Do and Don’t food lists can be a problem (I suspect that some publishers urge them on authors, because readers tend to want such simple answers). When someone asked me to make one, I instead made it into a continuous spectrum rather than Do’s vs Don’ts. In my case I found I did need to be super-strict to avoid serious problems early on, but less so as my health continues to improve, and I’ve found other things like hormetic cryotherapy (both hot and cold) that have provided additional benefits beyond what diet alone provided.

    I would add 11: Women’s perspectives, interests, particular needs and even very existence are often given slight or no consideration in the broader Paleo community, though that is improving as more outspoken women join the movement.

    Interestingly, nearly every Paleo blogger claims to advocate a rough “template” approach. For example, here are some of the terms that have been used:

    Loren Cordain, PhD: evolutionary template, Paleolithic nutrition, evolutionary nutrition
    Boyd Eaton, MD: Paleolithic nutrition, evolutionary nutrition, biological discordance vs. adaptation
    Chris Kresser, Robb Wolf: Paleo template
    Mark Sisson: Primal Blueprint
    Kurt Harris, MD: a framework, evolutionary metabolic milieu (EM2)
    Walter Voegtlin, MD: human ecology
    Brent Pottenger: ancestral health thinkering


    • Kate


  • I am very new to paleo, just completed The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and gearing up to an autoimmune protocol. I am female and I am drawn to the caveman imagery. Of course we are taking old ideas and applying them in a modern context, but we really have so much to learn from our ancestors. I do breastfeeding counselling and often make anthropological references – there is a reason why our species survived for thousands of years and it is the drastic change in lifestyle in the last 200 years especially that is endangering us now. I also am a big fan of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children books and the vivid imagery she uses of food prep and cooking keep coming to mind for me. I have no desire to cook over a fire (other than for fun during an annual camping trip), but the idea I can make simple, whole foods that are satisfying and I don’t need anything packaged, chemically enhanced or sugar laden.

  • Hey Jimmy,

    Great article mate!

    It’s important that as a community, we ‘keep it real’ and stop the internal sh!t fights when we actually have more in common with each other than different.

    Our energy should be directed elsewhere and if we are too busy squabbling about whether to eat sweet potato or not, we are not united. This will prevent us from making real change in the world.

    I would like to expand on your first point about Christianity: What about people of other religious faiths and cultures who want to engage with the paleo community? How do we support someone who is Hindu, Jewish or Muslim to start and maintain a paleo lifestyle given their unique cultural/religious protocols? Instead of thinking in terms of binaries (Christian/Non-Christian,Low Carb/Paleo, lean meat/fatty meat, commercial success/charity) we need to think more in terms of ‘multiplicity’

    The above also links to the issue you had with ‘Building Community’; we should be inclusive of diversity across the board. Let’s be honest, paleo is pretty white & middle class right now (myself included). How do we minimise individuals feeling alienated from paleo by virtue of their culture, religion, sexual orientation, disability and social economic status?

    I am not firing these questions at you Jimmy. They are general questions that I ask myself all the time. I don’t necessarily have answers either. But we all need to be thinking about these issues more if we want to keep growing as movement.

    At the end of the day, I couldn’t care less if someone was low carb or primal or Christian-primal or non-Christian Paleo etc. We can acknowledge variation within the paleo/LC community and just get on with it.

    What I do care about is the obesity epidemic and soring rates of diabetes, heart disease and dementia. I am concerned about the economic and social impacts of these diseases on a global scale.

    I worry about the future for the next generation/s and I want to do something about it.

    That’s what keeps me focused and committed to this lifestyle.

    Jo F 😉

    • LLVLCBlog

      Excellent thoughts to chew on Jo.

  • Susan Ryan-Vollmar

    Hi Jimmy, Great blog post!

  • Deniseregina

    Back in the day, women started to say: “i’m not a feminist, but…” This was in reaction to perceived “radical” elements who were not acknowledging the many choices women can and do make. I’m starting to see the same thing: “I’m not Paleo, but…” Many pathways here, people!

  • Love this!!! As a nutrition coach, just starting out, I am loving the support within the Paleo community. Do any FB groups exist for Paleo Health/Nutrition Coaches?

  • mnuffins

    This was so incredibly excellent! I am a Christian and have absolutely no problem being Paleo and Primal; I don’t believe in the caveman thing OR in evolution, but I think functional fitness is a GOOD idea, and getting back to eating “real” things from nature instead of processed foods from the store. Christians can definitely be primal.

  • LLVLCBlog

    But it’s also a fact that our Paleo ancestors would not have skimped on consuming the part of the animal with the most energy–fat.

    • Kate

      Yes, but that is not an argument against lean meats, or for eating only ribeyes 🙂

      • LLVLCBlog

        And I do neither. 😉

  • LLVLCBlog

    Do you have links to where she had stated this? And to a certain degree, she’s right. Fat isn’t making people fat. Protein is when consumed in excess. And culprit carbage most certainly is.

    • Kate

      Eating fat in excess of calories doesn’t make people fat? Sure does.

      • LLVLCBlog

        Eating fat doesn’t make you fat any more than eating leafy greens make you green.

        • rob

          She means the source of body fat is for always always dietary fat. DNL from carbs is insignificant. (Although it does ramp up when fat is lower than 10% of calories in someone diet or during super high carb feeding for multiple days after glycogen stores are full).

          All this doesn’t mean a high fat diet is more fattening than a low fat diet when total calories are equal. But the body efficiently stores dietary fat as body fat. For carbs it’s rare, protein ever rare.

          When you regained body fat jimmy, it wasn’t the protein that was converted to fat. It was the dietary fat. Now for you reducing protein and increasing fat has apparently suppressed your appetite through w/e mechanism and created a consistent caloric deficit. Great. But again your body was never converting protein or carbs to body fat.

          good article by lyle explaining all this in detail http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/how-we-get-fat.html

          • LLVLCBlog

            Fair enough Rob. But is it the fat in and of itself leading to the weight gain? No.

            • PaleoPhil

              Jimmy, wouldn’t you agree that certain fats, such as margarines, do contribute to making people fat?

              • LLVLCBlog

                Kate is referring to saturated fats, not margarine.

              • PaleoPhil

                Even if she is, my question still stands. If some fats, such as say margarines, can contribute to making people fat, then wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say that “Eating healthy fats doesn’t make you fat any more than eating leafy greens make you green” and that there may be differences between various carbs too? For example, maybe berries and potatoes don’t contribute as much to making people fat as gluten grains? If so, then doesn’t that suggest that there is effectively a variation on what Gary Taubes said–that there are both good fats and bad fats, good carbs and bad carbs?

              • LLVLCBlog

                Certainly, a fake fat like margarine is going to be much worse for your health and weight for a myriad of reasons. Nobody will deny that. But it’s not the fat, but the inflammatory properties of consuming something like that that leads to the obesity and chronic disease. Butter and other natural fats would not do this.

              • PaleoPhil

                Might that not also be true of carby foods–that it’s not the carbs, but the inflammatory or other bad properties of consuming unhealthy versions of carby foods that leads to the obesity and chronic disease?

              • LLVLCBlog

                Absolutely! And for my body at least, virtually ALL carbohydrates do that. Perhaps for some people the “safe starches” are not going to cause them issues. Some of us do though. It’s a “your mileage may vary” issue.

              • PaleoPhil

                OK, thanks for the clarification Jimmy.

  • I’ve always preferred the terms “primal” or “ancestral” to paleo. “Paleo” is certainly easier to say, but I find calling my diet primal or ancestral is far less polarizing, and people seem much more interested in what I’m doing when I don’t call it paleo. It’s just too “faddish” sounding, and I do believe that a lot of folks aligned with Judeo-Christian belief systems DO have difficulty conceptualizing of a diet that was around before *their* ancestors were even *created*! We all have ancestors, however, and many people have expressed an interest when I say I’m on an “ancestral” diet. I’ve had people at parties roll their eyes when I’ve mentioned the word “paleo”.

  • Thanks for this post Jimmy. The one that I’m frequently addressing with folks is the Christianity one. I not only am a Christian but also a Mormon. In Mormonism we have been taught about how good grains are for us and giving up wheat was a tough one for me. This is why I was so excited to do an interview with a fellow Mormon and medical doctor from Salt Lake City, Rick Henricksen. That interview can be found here: http://www.paleo30daychallenge.com/rick
    I have no problem believing and living the Paleo Lifestyle in light of my Christian beliefs.

  • PaleoPhil

    Thanks for the acetic acid suggestion, Angelo. That’s the sort of tip that makes blogs like this one and yours valuable. I do include lemon juice and raw vinegars in my diet, so I’ll try to remember to especially use them with carby foods.

  • Grassfed meat is leaner than corn and soy fed meat, so I certainly don’t skimp on lean meat. But I think it is important to eat a high fat diet and we should not emphasize “lean” meat to the exclusion of “fatty” meat.

    • Kate

      I don’t agree that it is important to eat “high” fat, but adequate fat.

  • kfg

    I would like to take a moment to point out that vinegar is added to sushi rice as a fast and convenient way of imparting a culturally traditional flavor to the rice.

    The reason for that flavor being a cultural tradition is because they used to actually ferment the rice, but this takes some days to achieve.

    While adding vinegar to the rice can help in lowering it’s phytic content, it doesn’t hold a candle to breaking it down by in situ processes of fermentation, which is not only paleo, it’s pre-human.

    It’s how ruminants manage to survive on grasses.

  • Thank you for this I have completelyunbranded from the term Paleo fir many of the reasons you stated. I have been told that I am not paleo enough, font. Fit, etc. 260 gone and still moving foreard is a darn good tging in my book but if tge elitests dont want this farmer, others woll! Thank you again!

    • LLVLCBlog

      It’s sad people like you are shunned. Hopefully some sort of coming together will happen.

  • LLVLCBlog

    THANKS Herby! I’ll be doing a podcast panel on this later this year. 🙂