Updated: Jan 4, 2019
THANK YOU for being part of Paleo55plus. Sincere best wishes for a safe and healthful new year. Here is a holiday hodgepodge of thoughts and tidbits going into 2019.
Writing for ThePaleoDiet.com
I am honored to continue my association with this great web site, started by Dr. Loren Cordain and his team. I have several articles in the works with them, and will let you know as they appear. Dr. Cordain's work is a very firm foundation for the Paleo "movement." His book The Paleo Diet, Revised bears re-reading.
Books I continue to recommend
I have caught myself recommending The Whole 30 more and more. (For Keto, look at Primal Fat Burner by Nora Gedgaudas.)
While The Whole 30 is not specifically a "Paleo" or even a "weight loss" text, it amounts to the same thing--and gets to the point quickly and clearly. If you have friends who need the fastest, most dependable introduction to anti-inflammatory, Ancestral dietary practices, start with that.
The Primal Blueprint was, for me, the "master's degree" in Paleo. You can start there too, of course. I was helped by having first read (and felt a bit confined by) The Whole 30.
If you have the time, Blueprint is a complete, in-depth treatment.
Books in their own categories
Death by Food Pyramid: PLEASE read it if you haven't yet. Government dietary guidelines are just the tip of an almost bottomless iceberg here. Author Denise Minger's research into the Western diet, how it has changed, and what has caused all our public health issues is informative, thought-provoking, and fun to read. Some may have to look past her generously ironic tone, but this is a groundbreaking (and unsettling) book. The history of "vegetable shortening," which introduced trans fats into the American diet, is just one of many "must-knows" for diet and health fans. (Why isn't that everybody?)
While this is not a "Paleo" themed book, (Denise has gentle criticism for Paleo and other diets), anyone concerned with avoiding conventional Western food traps needs this information.
If and when someone finally agrees to hear your views on food and health--you'll sound a lot smarter if you've read it.
The Smear: this is not a "diet" book at all, but deeply examines how public opinion can be (and is) nakedly manipulated by media "influencers." Author (and mainstream investigative reporter) Sharyl Attkisson writes against a backdrop of politics, but the machinery exposed here applies to anything you read, see or hear in major & "social" media. The revelations are chilling, and confirm just about any wild or subversive idea you've ever had about online, TV or print content.
Sheryl also produced two of the best TED talks ever alone the same lines, about "fake news" and "astroturfing" (the creation of disinformative or manipulative online content). I watch the astroturfing video at least twice a year. Please view this. Your googling for info will never be the same.
Remember, the entrenched, conventional Western diet makes huge profits, from our cradles to our graves, for global corporate interests.
Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto or carnivore--any "elimination" diet--all threaten these profits. Good health threatens these profits.
The tactics highlighted in Attkisson's book and TED talks pervasively infest all forms of public content, as Big Food pours millions into fake science and pre-fab social media trends every day.
Try to keep an eye on where you're being led--by what you're being fed...about your food!
Healthy excercise: 1 Junk science: 0
Hats off to Greg Glassman, founder of Crossfit, for his one-man war against Big Soda-influenced junk science. Please take the time to read this article, paying close attention to the final section on how Greg stayed the course and rooted out conflicts of interest behind (supposedly impartial) anti-Crossfit scientific studies.
(Can you imagine what would happen if everyone stopped buying soda all at once? Soda companies are beginning to imagine it...)
Not everyone knows about Glassman's mission (through Crossfit and a VERY Paleo-ish diet) to eliminate chronic disease.
Chronic disease, of course, is strongly linked to conventional Western dietary norms.
Corporate proponents of those norms continue to push back against healthy dieting and exercise. Too much easy money could be lost if too many people get healthy. The insidious faux-scientific nibbling at Crossfit is only one example.
"Buying science" is a very common way of influencing consumers.
Food and medical corporations spend millions, if not billions, of dollars each year on seemingly innocent foundations and research--which (surprise!) tend to validate our media-hyped, sugar- and seed oil-heavy, refined carb- and trans-fat-rich, highly processed Western menu.
Remember, everyone wins if you stay on that diet...except you.
The meat (tax) of the matter
Health nuts and Paleoids everywhere may have noticed online rumbling
about a possible meat tax, due to the supposed carcinogenic nature of red meat and processed meat. (No argument here on the processed meat...though I still eat Paleo-friendly bacon.)
As a committed, high-volume user of grass fed beef, my initial reaction was dismay. It's already expensive, after all.
I ran this by our grass fed beef supplier, Bar 10 Ranch (see below). They offered a fascinating, well-informed perspective:
CAFO ("feedlot") beef is cheap, in part, due to multi-billion dollar US Government subsidies. If everyone paid the actual cost of CAFO production--along with a cost representing its heavy environmental and health damage--people would definitely eat less meat. Given the unhealthy nutritional profile of mass-produced beef (and lamb, pork and chicken), this isn't the worst outcome...unless you're a CAFO producer.
Bar 10 feels that "meat tax" revenue could be directed toward regenerative agriculture, sustainable ranching programs, and organizations like the Savory Institute. Would this happen? It certainly makes sense (although that makes it less likely!)
No matter what, Paleo devotees need to increase their awareness, understanding and support of regenerative agriculture. I will be revisiting this concept in 2019. If you like to argue with vegans and vegetarians, you NEED to be up on this.
Smaller, sustainably operated ranches and farms are the lifeline of any healthy diet, Paleo most of all.
Shout out: Bar 10 Ranch
Bar 10 Ranch, located on the border of Utah and Arizona, has really made our Paleo journey easier and more rewarding. We are lucky enough to live within their local delivery area (which includes Las Vegas, NV) but anyone can have their great beef and other items shipped by UPS. They are the genuine article, small enough to be family-owned, big enough for a substantial herd. You can get anything from a few pounds of ground beef up to a whole-animal-combo.
We have always received great personal service from them, even just dropping by to pick up at their warehouse. If you don't already have a supplier, give them a try. Try them even if you do have one.
No beef changed hands for this testimonial. We are thrilled to have found Bar 10.
Paleo vs. Obamacare
During my 23 years in financial services, I watched "health" insurance evolve from prudent necessity to mainstream public mania. This crested with "Obamacare" and the online public healthcare exchanges.
The Affordable Care Act, with its relentless advertising in the early years, practically screams that everyone, everywhere, must absolutely make sure they have health insurance...and most people would agree.
Because billions of us, whole generations, get sicker and more obese each year. Illness, especially long-term chronic conditions can "appear out of nowhere" at any time. You never know if you'll be next. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, all seem to be waiting to pounce.
This backdrop of treacherous, uncontrollable illness-waiting-to-happen, and the unthinkable costs, helped make it possible for the government to COMPEL the purchase of health insurance--preferably through the enormous (and porous) personal information net of online healthcare exchanges.
ACA now serves as yet another reminder that we are a helplessly ill population. This mind-set is continually reinforced everywhere you look in health and insurance media.
Don't get me wrong--health insurance is not a bad idea. Things happen.
But...is illness 100% inevitable? Should we just accept this "average American" fate as fixtures in our physician's office? Do we need to live in constant fear (as I have), fleeing to the doctor at the slightest provocation?
I say NO--because disease is not normal.
Hundreds of generations of our hunter-gatherer ancestors--and existing (if isolated) "ancestral" populations--were and are mostly disease-free. There is too much undeniable research, and too many well-documented current examples to ignore...unless, of course, you never hear about these.
And you don't.
The "science" you hear do about only serves to reinforce the dominant paradigm (eat hyper-palatable but unhealthy food, get sick, spend all your money on palliative--not curative--treatment.)
If mainstream media (and government dietary guidelines) are your lifestyle touchstones, and you're just too busy to look past how most people live and eat--you too are likely to be lost in a wilderness of astroturf and thinly disguised advertising.
In 2019: create more readers and thinkers
My sincere wish for all of us in 2019 is that we quietly step out of this diet-from-hell hand-basket, embrace clear-eyed health and longevity...and help others to do the same.
But what might be the best form of "Paleo activism"?
Is it economic? I guess my family does this by default--our food dollars go strictly to small organic farmers, ranchers and fishermen. OK, vintners too. Since January 1, 2016.
How about culinary activism? We have personally prepared at least 95% of the food we ate this year. That includes meals at the office, or while traveling. Packaged-, fast- and convenience foods don't really exist in our world.
By setting these examples we have influenced a few friends and loved ones--but many resist. Cravings and outright addiction to processed, hyper-palatable food are tough to dislodge.
Conversation? While I am hardly shy...I prefer to express my views here. This keeps the arguments organized and the supporting evidence handy. I won't bend anyone's ear about Paleo at a wine tasting or dinner party.
My goal, if pressed in an exchange, is to convince someone to read up on it. That's what worked for me--and for everyone I've actually "converted."
SO: let's create more happy, independent researchers this year. Paleo is an easy choice to make once the education is complete.
Let these authors do the heavy lifting for you.
And don't forget:
DAVID WHITESIDE IS NOT A DOCTOR and does not give medical advice or treatment. He offers information and personal experience only. Nothing you read on this website or blog should be construed as medical advice or as intended to supersede information you get from your medical professional. Following the advice given here or on any recommended resource site does not create a doctor-patient relationship or create liability for David or anyone else. David is not liable for any loss or complication you experience from following any diet or taking any action. You should check with your properly accredited medical professional if you think you are injured or ill.