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Is there any point to being paleo if you don’t have autoimmune issues?

9 Jan

I certainly see the benefits of whole foods, organic foods, and avoiding sugar and processed foods, but I am not gluten intolerant or lactose intolerant (if anything, I am shellfish intolerant!). And I get fat very quickly if I eat too many calories, regardless of how whole the coconut oil is and how grassfed the butter is and how much wheat I avoid.

I was initially quite traumatised by the following post but quickly started to think it had a valid point:

“Ok, so before you go calling me a hypocrite, or get upset with me because I have promoted this diet in the past let me explain.  First, I still think Paleo in general has some really great qualities.  For most people in our society, they are eating way too much processed crap and when they go “paleo” they feel better and many times they lose weight. People with aches, pains, and lack energy all the time, once on this diet, tend to see symptoms go away for at least awhile. So with all this said, why would I be not promoting it as heavily as I used to. Well there are a Few.

First: Is Rice Really aweful for you?? Asians have been eating rice for Thousands of years and don’t have many of the same problems that hard core Paleo Sycophants claim happen from eating this pretty neutral grain. Also, bodybuilders have been eating rice for years and remain pretty ripped. Japanese also have some of the lowest cases of heart disease in the world and also low on the scale of Cancer as well. In the case of rice quantity is key. Eating a serving isn’t going to cause you to break out in a fat suit or make your body blow up with inflammation. The problem with rice is people eat way too much of it. If we can just remember that our mouths are not a vacuum rice isn’t all that bad.

Second: FOOD IS NOT A RELIGION!!! When I was promoting this diet, I made the mistake of having clients google the paleo diet for recipes and ideas etc…..  It pretty much scared the hell out of many of them. There are blogs of people that would freak out if anyone dared give their kid a bit of processed food, and I also came across communities of  people actually basing friendships around only those that ate paleo. The focus on food goes beyond a healthy relationship with food especially for those the get sucked in. When I was on the diet eating  with others that ate Paleo I felt that everyone was looking over my shoulder when I ate. If I was eating a bag of nuts I couldn’t count how many times I would get asked “are there peanuts in there? You know peanuts aren’t a nut don’t you”? Go on discussions boards and you get people talking about being “orthodox” or “unorthodox” in their approach to eating Paleo.

Third: What the hell is wrong with Beans?

Besides possibly being a bit hard on digestion what is the issue? Sure, we can all agree that soy beans are trash because they are genetically modified and probably loaded with estrogen like chemicals, but I can’t really find any proof that beans are bad besides rhetoric  and hearsay? It’s always based on what so and so said. Kind of like  vegans that can’t do anything but quote other Vegan authors as their source of proof that it is the “way”. So many cultures have consumed beans for centuries without problems to health and disease. If you want to discuss digestion problems give me a few cups of uncooked broccoli and we may issues as well. Again, with beans portion control like anything is crucial.

Fourth: Low Carbing it

Yes, I know the Paleo diet isn’t a low carb diet, but unfortunately most people that are on it tend to turn it into another form of the ATKINS diet. If you are working out hard and kicking ass on your workouts you need carbs. Sure, those that want to eat paleo and get healthy carbs are usually smart and choose starchy squashes and yams, but after awhile yams and starches get old. Seriously folks Beans and rice are OK.

Fifth: Paleo Pizza and Almond Milk

This is what pisses me off the most about the Paleo Religous type. They will freak out if oats, grains, peanuts, or dairy touch their foods and they will tout eating unprocessed foods like the caveman ate yet they have cute recipes for their paleo pizza with almond meal and some sort of paleo cheese they purchased and for a wonderful desert they eat yummy almond milk ice cream shake…. Guess what Cavemen didn’t eat that crap because that too is processed. Kind of funny how we can trick ourselves into thinking something is what it isn’t. Unless you are milking the almond milk strait from the Almond nipples, it is processed.

Paleo and Sports Performance:

Also if you want to really talk about amazing world class athletes and how nutrition plays a roll how many Professional football players, soccer players, basketball, or world class fighters eat low carb or paleo for that matter. It only seems to matter to those that exercise a lot. Crossfitters tend to be notorious for high intensity/low carb paleo and in many cases it is a great way to create burnout and adrenal fatigue, but the funny thing some of the top Crossfit game contenders that really kicked ass this year didn’t eat low carb paleo. Peanut butter and Rice were a staple.

The Best Parts of Paleo

There is tons of research that Gluten and Corn could have some pretty crappy qualities, and that milk can also screw with some people’s digestion and cause inflammation. Realistically cutting those foods out alone could make a world of difference to most people without having to buy in to a certain philosophy that makes you feel less than if you have a bowl of oatmeal. When working with my clients just cutting out the bread and gluten can change their lives. Paleo really can get people on the right track, and at the end of the day it is most likely better than what 90% of the people out there are eating. It just goes too far in many cases and just doesn’t work in all situations, especially for those involved in high intensity exercise and eating low carb.”

Calories do Count – it was written in the satiety all along

9 Jan

Overeating paleo-style is still overeating

So Robb Wolf has finally admitted that yes calories do in fact count….


Even if paleo people generally had been in denial of this fact for a while, I have to say, just the phrasing of the paleo framework trotted out again and again by all the grand masters of the ancestral health world has always implied to me that at least subliminally calories have always counted.

“just listen to your body, man” – Mark Sisson

fat has higher satiety

protein has higher satiety

All this kind of talk suggests that the aim is to eat less, by means of eating foods with greater satiety.

Ergo, eat fewer calories.

Propter calories count.

I’m no wonder-amazeballs logician but it makes sense that the whole reason for eating foods that fill you up is so you eat less. So saying ‘eat as much protein and fat as you need for satiety’ is really just taking a gamble that whoever you are instructing to do this will not just keep eating for fun, and will actually be sated once they have ingested an appropriately restricted amount of calories.

So what’s all the fuss about?

The fact that the other blaring message on the foghorn along with ‘eat lots of fat and protein to satiety’ has been ‘calories don’t count’, thereby confusing people who don’t know when they are sated and think they have an unlimited licence to eat fat!

Birthday crack

9 Apr

I have mentioned my grandma’s yummy choccy cake elsewhere on this blog. It’s delicious. But more than that – who’s going to refuse a cake baked lovingly by an 83 year old?

We had a family get together the other week and grandma’s trusty cake made an appearance again.

And I was genuinely frightened by the single-minded focus and drive with which my 2 year old nephew devoured the thing. It was like an alien ship had temporarily taken over his body with the sole purpose of “eat cake”. Resistance was futile.

I don’t have kids and I challenge anyone without them to tell a parent what to do – just from observing my sister I know parenting is damn hard work! – so I’m not even going to go there.

Where I am going to go is the crazy
Power sugary crap seems to have over kids, seemingly innately. Even kids who don’t usually eat the stuff. Why does it taste so irresistible to them? What is the source of this inexplicable power? And I guess the most important question is – how do we deprogram them?


Real Life: Paleo-au-no-no

3 Apr

When I first got ‘into’ paleo I was working part-time, had a lot of spare time to cook, shop, work out, prepare fiddly SAD-substitute foods and generally make the paleo life the be all and end all of my existence.

That’s when I started this blog.

Now I work full time.

Ain’t so easy. Especially with the long commute, limited time to prepare meals (breakfast on the go, lunch at work, often time constrained, starving after work, get home and have to prepare dinner), need to shop and plan meals and cook and clean and exercise and look after the dogs and …


Well, as you can see, the burner approach applies: You have 4 burners, and to be moderately successful, you can only have 3 alight. To be very successful, only 2. The burners are:





I’d like to think I ‘cycle’ my burners – I cook the friends for a few weeks, then I cook work for a while, then go on a healthy binge of cooking good cookery, then I might even bung the family on the stove for a super burn-up of love.

But if I try to keep all these things on the boil at once… I’m the one that boils over, or burns out, or another like burner-y pun.

And so I have found with this paleo lark – Goddamn is it hard to be as strict with a more hectic lifestyle compared to the breezy days of paleo-obsessing and paleo-naval gazing.

During busier periods it feels like I don’t really care what is going on paleo-wise, as long as the weight stays off (which it has).

There is no doubt that I have taken away some extremely valuable lessons from paleo and implement them daily, but increasingly I find I have to apply a somewhat ‘pragmatic’ approach in order to get through the day.

I don’t know how mums like Nom Nom Paleo do it – working night shift and preparing gazillions of meals every day for a whole family.

I guess planning and preparation are the key, and as a friend of mine recently observed – a bigger fridge. It’s very very difficult to buy all those wonderful fresh ingredients, cook them up, and store them for later consumption in paleomergencies when your fridge is packed full to the brim with just the bare necessities.

Also, I find summer doesn’t lend itself to paleo cooking – you can’t just whip up a batch of stew and devour it gradually throughout the week, because your face melts off. Salads are great, but fresh ingredients don’t keep for an entire week so you need to shop more than once a week.

See, how it starts to get tricky?

Also, there’s something I like to refer to as ‘whimappetite’.

On Sunday afternoon it might seem like a good idea for Thursday’s dinner to be spaghetti bolognese (with zucchini spaghetti, of course), but what about when Thursday night rolls around and the last thing you feel like eating is a big sloppy warm mess of ragout? What about steak? Or burgers? Or Caesar salad? It kinda takes away from the joy food is meant to bring to you to be so regimented.

Of course the solution often ends up being: We eat out a lot more often. This can get expensive, unhealthy, and throw your lifestyle right out of whack. And of course, it means there is this looming prospect of frozen bolognese sauce and unused zucchinis, just waiting for their time in the sun.

So… how do you do it? How do you exert such microscopic control over everything you do and eat, whilst managing all the other aspects of your life?

Paleonaughty over Christmas and New Year

11 Jan

I was fairly paleonaughty over the holiday period – not least because I was travelling for humongous periods in a car, staying at hotels, eating out, and eating food at my grandmother’s house. if you have ever had a grandmother and she has ever provided food for you, you will know that it usually breaches both conventional wisdom and the alternative hypothesis in regards to keeping off weight and being healthy.

Same goes for road trip fare.

The reaches of my naughtiness were far. I’m talking meat pies, croissants, bread, Pizza, beer, wine, Christmas cake, dips and chips, fruit salad, mcmuffins, hash browns, m&m’s, bun cha, gelato, mozzarella sticks, banana split, pancakes with maple syrup, savoury crepes, sausage rolls, um… I’m sure there was more but my dignity demands I stop now.

The weird thing is – I didn’t gain any weight over that time! AND I didn’t simply lose muscle and gain fat, because my clothes are loose and getting looser.

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YES EXACTLY!! – Good food can’t be marketed

23 Nov

From here:

The problem with food, is that good food can’t be marketed.

When is the last time you saw an advertisement for a steak on TV?  How about an apple (not the iPad) advertisement?  What about coconut oil, do you see many ads for that?  Sure, occasionally you’ll see an ad for avocados or something by the grower’s association, but they are 1-100 to processed food ads.

But make a chemical concoction of corn syrup, red number 5, emulsifiers, glues, anti-foaming agents, thickeners, plasticizers, taste acids, preservatives and “natural fruit flavors” and you’ve got yourself a product for an after-school TV ad:”

My thoughts exactly!

Go here to read the rest!


Calling this shit "food" should be illegal

Processed , marketed food only exists to put money in the pockets of the marketers, media, advertisers, “food” companies and shareholders (oh – and then all the people who profit from obesity like big pharma). It ain’t to make you healthy or happy and it ain’t gonna.

Pretty good summary of ‘the caveman diet’

22 Nov

Usually mainstream media ‘articles’ on going paleo (or ‘caveman’ – oooh!) are sensational simplistic crap. But this one is actually a great summary of the main principles:

“Here are six key elements of the Paleolithic lifestyle, according to Pedro Carrera-Bastos, a Swedish health researcher specializing in the effects of “ancestral” diets, and his colleagues.


Getting enough vitamin D is crucial to bone health, and may also play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The simplest way to meet your needs: sunlight. But modern office-bound humans rarely spend enough time outside to get enough. Some hunter-gatherer cultures at high latitudes have found other ways – the Inuit, for example, rely on fatty fish for vitamin D.


Go to sleep when it’s dark, get up when it’s light. Our bodies have powerful internal clocks that try to enforce this simple rule. Even a night or two of disrupted sleep has immediate effects on your appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin. That’s why sleep patterns are closely related to obesity and metabolic syndrome: Too little sleep is most common these days, but too much isn’t good either.


An obvious one – but easier said than done in the modern world.


The typical hunter-gatherer life punctuated long periods of low stress with short bouts of acute stress that triggered the fight-or-flight response. In contrast, modern office workers often show signs of chronically elevated stress, which can have consequences such as elevated blood pressure and a weakened immune system.


Sure, paleo folks got more exercise than we do. But what kind?

-Large amounts of light-to-moderate activity, such as walking or jogging, while hunting and foraging. Estimates place the typical distance covered at five to 16 kilometres per day.

-Hard days were usually followed by easy days – though not totally sedentary.

-Short bursts of very high-intensity activity. This can be mimicked with interval training once or twice per week.

-Wide variety of daily activities that strengthen the whole body, ranging from carrying children and digging tubers to dancing.


The paleo diet is often hyped as a meat lover’s fantasy. While it varies from culture to culture, modern hunter-gatherers typically get only 35 per cent of their calories from meat, with the rest derived from plants. Even if we assume a 50-50 split, the greater caloric density of meat means that, by volume, the paleo “plate” would have had significantly more vegetables and fruit than meat on it.

BOTTOM LINE: So will going paleo really pay off with better health? As a big-picture guide to how to organize your life, definitely. But don’t get carried away with trying to recreate the exact details of a long-lost diet. Humans have changed and diversified even over the past few thousand years, so the only way to know what works best for your genes is to experiment. Go wild.”