There is a real problem going on these days in the Paleo community, and I think many need to take great caution not to fall victim. In two words…”Paleo Friendly”.
Years ago when fat became the devil in America a new catch phrase was born; “low fat.” Think about it, the very idea of something being low fat didn’t mean a hill of beans 30 years ago. Once the food industry realized that this simple phrase would attract millions to buy, and make them billions in profit, it became a real food phenomenon. All of a sudden you should not eat an oreo, but you could polish off an entire box of Snackwells and it was all good. They are low fat so they don’t count!
Here is another one…”sugar free.” Type 2 diabetics, on the average, love their sweets. They know they can’t justify eating overtly sweet treats, so they run for the “sugar free” items almost as if they don’t count. Once sugar became a bad thing, the food industry did all they could to come up with sugar substitutes. That lasted for a while, but then…once they became questionable because they are “artificial,” they set out to make sugar substitutes made with real sugar! HUH?! You can’t make this stuff up.
This simplistic thinking can be dangerous. Being low fat does not make things healthy, and neither does being sugar free. But, here is the kicker, the newest catchphrase is “paleo friendly.” And yes, simply being paleo friendly does not make things less dangerous. If we are not careful, it could be the ultimate downfall of the Paleo lifestyle.
Paleo became a viable option for many because it makes physiologic sense. Fuel your body with real food based on a low carbohydrate and protein rich diet, and achieve success in weight loss and overall health. One of the great debates has always been what things truly are “Paleo” and which ones are not. Once those lines are drawn, then it seems that any combination or concoction is fair game as long as the ingredients add up. Is that the right line of thinking?
To me it is overly simplistic reasoning, and it can indeed be dangerous. Suddenly if you crave your treats, you can find a “paleo friendly” version of just about anything. Cookbooks are everywhere promising Paleo treats, Paleo baking, Paleo sweets. All the current necessary buzzwords are there; gluten-free, dairy-free, no refined sugars, etc. Paleo cakes, paleo ice cream, paleo cookies, paleo pies, paleo candy! Where does it stop?
Most who know me and spend time around me these days know how I eat, and that has even spread to the pharmaceutical representatives who visit us on a daily basis. They often bring snacks for the doctors and staff, and over time those who visit my brother and I’s station at the office have learned that we prefer fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts over processed treats and baked goodies. Some have even learned the catchphrase “paleo friendly” and at times bring us treats from local bakeries that have figured out that Paleo people still love their sweets as long as the ingredients fit the bill! The other day I was brought a “Paleo bar” which was promised to be made of “100% Paleo Friendly Ingredients.” It was, and it was so sickeningly sweet that I could only take two bites before having to stop! It was a mix of a candy bar and a granola bar made of paleo safe ingredients. It was “paleo friendly,” but it certainly was not good for me.
As you continue on your Paleo journey do not fall victim to the term “paleo friendly.” After all, what is the Paleo lifestyle all about? Is it not about establishing a healthy relationship with food? Isn’t why you eat foods and what you are hoping to accomplish through eating certain foods important? I believe that it is; in fact I believe that is the whole game. You can crave a paleo cookie as badly as you crave an oreo, so don’t fool yourself in thinking there is a difference! Give some thought to this idea, and ask yourself WHY you are eating those Paleo “treats.” Did you used to eat the Snackwells because they were “low fat?” Come on, be honest! Don’t fall victim to this latest “catchphrase.” It’s not worth it…
We will talk more about this topic in the coming months. As always, I appreciate everyone’s input in the comments below. I have done some work to the blog and plan to try and post more often in the coming year. I will post more on Paleo, and more on my outdoor activities. Make sure and check out my YouTube channel as well and click that subscribe button! Much fun and excitement is to come soon on the blog and the channel this year 🙂
August 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm
I think you make some really good points. Just because something fits into a specific diet doesn’t mean that it’s healthy and eating something weird and processed is probably not even going to taste that good, never mind actually help you be healthy.
I do have one critique I hope you’ll think about. Your statement about “diabetics” was pretty insensitive. Diabetics are PEOPLE who may or may not enjoy sweets. Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetics have no control over the fact that their pancreas stopped working. They still have a right to enjoy sweet things. Why did you choose to talk about diabetics in that statement? It doesn’t make sense to me. As someone who cares very deeply about a person with Type 1 diabetes and regularly hears these types of shaming statements and assumptions about diabetes, it really bothers me to hear it here too, from an MD. Please think about that before you use the word “diabetics” as a stand in for “people I think are lazy and making unhealthy choices.”
August 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm
I certainly hear what you are saying, and will change to to read “Type 2 Diabetics”. That said, saying people like their sweets does not in any way imply laziness. Also, sweet things do lead to elevated blood sugars and poorer diabetic control. Globally, overeating of carbohydrates as a species is leading to a growth in diabetes like we have never seen before. I confess that my article was about Type 2 Diabetics, and I should have made that more clear. I appreciate your input and your passion. Good luck!