As an advocate for the Paleo / Primal lifestyle, I have watched as the movement has been heading in a direction of excesses and substitutions. I will call myself out on the excesses. I love BACON. Those who know me would have never guessed I used to be a vegetarian, vegan, and oh the horror, a fruitarian. What attracted me to the Paleo diet was that meat and saturated fat were not dirty words. As long as I did not consume grains, legumes, and processed foodstuffs, I could eat as much bacon, ribs, steak, etc. I wanted. One of the mantras for the Paleo diet is you can eat all the bacon you want, just don’t avoid grains, legumes, sugar, you know the bad stuff. Awesome, I can replace toast with bacon, orange juice with bacon, turkey bacon with REAL bacon. Why are we having a hard time making this diet “mainstream”? Oh, don’t get me wrong we are making headway, just not as quick as most would like. I think it comes down to the heavy consumption of meat most see us posting on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Speaking of wanton craving for comfort food, what the hell is going on with all the “Paleo” cookies, breads, cakes, brownies, pancakes, you name it there is a Paleo (enter your recipe here) out there. I am waiting for Paleo motor oil. It seems Paleo is heading the way of the Vegetarian / Vegan movement. What I mean by that is as more people became Vegetarian, the more animal substitute recipes starting showing up. Google “Fake Meat Recipes”, can you say wheat gluten (seitan). You see Vegetarians and Vegans think meat is bad and substitute wheat gluten for it. While Paleo and Primal followers think wheat gluten is the devil and substitute meat for it. Hmmm. We turn to excess by avoidance. We are starting to see the substitution of grains, legumes, sugar, you name it into comfort recipes. You can substitute nut flour for wheat flour, sugar for honey, maple syrup, or agave, milk chocolate for dark chocolate, dairy based ice cream for coconut ice cream (my personal favorite). So are these Combo Abombo’s (borrowed this term from my 30 BAD days) healthier? I don’t know, but they are a way for us to connect to our old eating habits, give us comfort, and make us not feel so… weird for eating Paleo or Primal. Here’s a great conversation I recently had explaining how I eat. To protect his identity, I will call him Vegan Bob.
Vegan Bob: “So you eat meat?”
Me: “Yes and also vegetables, nuts, seeds, roots, tubers, and occasionally rice.”
Vegan Bob: “That’s cool except for the carcass part. Do you eat desserts? I have a great vegan recipe for vegan cheesecake.”
Me: “I occasionally eat Coconut Ice Cream or Paleo Brownies.”
Vegan Bob: “What is a Paleo Brownie?”
Me: “I substitute sweet potato and coconut flour for wheat flour and honey for sugar.”
Vegan Bob: “Umm, ok, that sounds nasty. How does it taste?”
Me: “Well, not as good as regular brownies.”
It basically ended there. That conversation made me realize we have not changed our eating habits only found ways around them. Yes, we are seeing lives saved by reducing heart disease, getting people off of medications, people losing weight, and helping people get moving. But other diets are reporting the same. What makes our movement different? Is it the sustainability? Is it whole real foods? Or is it we can make a Paleo version of your favorite food? I believe our message should be about Whole Real Foods procured locally, eaten seasonally, with as minimal processing as possible. This is the message we need to give everybody looking at our movement.
I am not sure this is a coherent post, but I needed to get that off my chest.