BCM 332

Pernicious Paleo Pete

Last weekend I was in Dymocks in Sydney, perusing the shelves for something – anything! – that was light enough to read on coffee breaks from uni work but still interesting. I found Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I walked to the counter to pay and in front of me were two women decked out in Lorna Jane and Nike attire discussing their infinite love for a woman on Instagram who was a “wellness warrior”.

“I just saw her on Instagram and she looked amazing. I wanted to buy the book because all you do is eat like juices and healthy stuff.  She’s so amazing! You should totally do it too.”

*Cue eye roll*

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The latest trend in many circles are the diets that eliminate certain food groups so as to achieve optimum health by encouraging eating habits that are supposedly from our ancestors.

Yes people, the Paleo diet and the many other fads untrained, idiotic, self-proclaimed wellness warriors endorse. If you haven’t guessed, I loathe these people and the unwavering promises they make.

If you have been living in a cave – pun intended – Paleo is a simplified diet that is meant to mimic the diets of our Paleolithic ancestors. A somewhat restrictive diet that thrives off individuals eating meats, vegetables, nuts and fruit. It excludes some major food groups including all grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. Even god damn coffee. What monsters.

But one of the biggest criticisms of this diet or ‘lifestyle’ is that they make huge, sweeping and false claims regarding serious medical illnesses and diseases. One that hits very close to home is the supposed ‘cure’ for Autism.

Casey Thaler of thepaleodiet.com claims, “the anti-inflammatory effects of a diet based on real, whole foods, such as Paleo diet, will certainly help many biomarkers related to autism.”

But it is people like Harriet Hall who are putting the story straight. Having done extensive research she wrote an article examining the new fad diets. She found (2014, p.12) that a 2010 review stated that eating more dairy products was associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and death.

However, these Paleo protestors will continue to “explain away all scientific evidence by accusing researchers of being controlled by the food industry” (Hall 2014, p.12).

The almost cult like tendencies of these diets are frightening with people claiming to have been cured from serious illnesses without the help of modern medicine.

I admit that we, as a society, need to drastically change our diets. But why do we need to eliminate the food groups scientists and nutritionists have found to be beneficial?

To be honest – and in my very humble opinion – anyone who wants to adopt the lifestyle of a Paleo diet should really, wholeheartedly adopt it. Live in a cave. Hunt with your bare hands. Forego all modern medicine, comforts and technologies. Because sitting there, in your lavish, ultra-modern house with all the creature comforts of the 21st century whilst preaching a diet that was created almost 2.6 million years ago seems like a double-standard to me.

But don’t just listen to me. Listen to the man who speaks for all of us…Charlie Pickering.

 

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