I see Paleo People. And it’s often awkward.
The Paleo movement has been a great movement for scores of people. It’s helped people lose weight, get healthier (for the most part) and fix busted metabolisms. The framework, based on eating Paleolithic style foods, is outstanding and following a Paleo protocol can get you a very long way.
If you compare my Reboot protocol with a guide to eating Paleo, you’re going to see a lot of similarities. There are many differences though, as I feel Paleo fails to address many factors involved with total health, wellness, and performance and falls a bit short on guiding people through transition (this may be nit picky since Paleo is an eating outline, not a total health makeover). But this isn’t a comparison article, it’s about where many Paleo people have gone totally wrong in recent years.
Invasion of the Paleo Mombloggers.
I admit that the major problems with the current state of Paleo eating isn’t just confined to paleo moms who got carried away with posting recipes on their fun Paleo blogs, but they’re an easy target nonetheless. Low hanging fruit is still fruit, people.
Go to the heartland of mombloggers — Pinterest — and search for “Paleo Recipes.” You’re bound to find some good stuff. And you’re bound to find lots of that awkward stuff I’m talking about.
To reiterate — it’s not just the mombloggers. But, what’s the deal with Paleo people making it their mission to recreate SAD foods with “technically approved” ingredients? Paleo cupcakes, cakes, cookies, bread, drinks, ice cream, candy bars and the list goes on.
This is the stuff that made us fat in the first place and trying to recreate it with approved ingredients tells me that we’re not as serious about health as we should be.
The Great Nutrition Void
SAD foods are terrible for you. They don’t just have horrendous macronutrient ratios, they have staggeringly low levels of micronutrients. And they’re full of toxins and chemicals. It’s disgusting.
SAD foods made Paleo style don’t have the chemicals (yay!), but let’s not pretend that’s all that matters. Does a Paleo cupcake have healthy macronutrient ratios? It’s still sugar at some point right? Does substituting wheat flour with almond flour increase the micronutrient content? Doubt it.
“Technically approved” doesn’t make it good for you and it doesn’t help you reach your goals of optimized health and wellbeing. Let’s be clear: It’s a way to cheat with a few less side effects.
Losing weight and getting healthy is serious business.
I take weight loss and health seriously. I started the Reboot movement to change people’s lives and show them the way to optimal health and performance (whatever their definition of performance may be — whether it’s playing Tennis or keeping up with their children).
There are lots of broken people walking around looking for help. If they are lucky enough to come across Paleo, or Reboot, or Primal or similar it’s an amazing opportunity for them. We have a responsibility to these people: to teach them the truth about health and wellness. But, we have a huge subset of our culture leading them astray by tempting them with the foods they used to eat.
It’s not innocuous, it’s damaging. For a lot of people it would be like AA promoting O’Douls beer — we’re talking about true addicts here in a lot of cases.
People have enough challenges already, what with family being unsupportive, SAD food being everywhere at every time of day and holidays and hangouts being full of temptations. Let’s not mimic what we shouldn’t be eating, let’s completely shift our paradigm of what food is.
Food versus food products
The world is short on food and heavy on food products. A food product is an assembly of ingredients that create an end result that often has macronutrient ratios and flavor profiles — fatty, salty, and sweet all at the same time — that never occur in whole foods.
This all in one flavor profile is defined by scientists as hyperpalatable and leads to psychological addiction. The human brain begins to seek out these foods because it believes they have everything the body needs all in one.
But food products don’t have what the body needs, even if they’re “technically Paleo”. They’re low in micronutrient content and high in calories. The ingredients may be better than most of the compared processed foods, but can rarely be considered beneficial either to our body or our mind.
The reproduction of SAD foods within the Paleo community could very well bring down the movement just as food products, a lack of focus on food quality, and too much focus on macronutrient ratios killed the Atkins movement.
Agree or disagree?
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.