Call it Paleo or Not, It’s Really Just About Eating Real Food

Last Sunday, I spent the day manning a booth (can I say that, being a woman?) at A Taste of Paleo 4.0. A colleague and friend of mine, Alia Palmer, founded this ‘festival for the modern caveman’ as she calls it, four years back with the intention to create “the first ever paleolithic (aka Caveman) food tasting festival of its kind, providing an environment in which members of the paleo community come together to celebrate the paleo lifestyle and enjoy an event like no other.” I hadn’t even attended the event in years past so it was a completely new experience for me to not only make the trek down to the OC but to have a booth there, sharing information about my entire platform; from nutrition coaching to my women’s retreats and from Beautycounter to my latest and most favorite recipes. And while I was there in part for a marketing perspective, to get in front of people and chat about why they had attended, how they had found Paleo and what they’d hoped to get out of being a part of this festival, I must confess I also wanted a peek into how the Paleo space continues to evolve, pun intended. Not too long ago, I’d find myself feeling angry when I would read the latest blog post about someone’s favorite new recipe for Paleo chocolate chip cookies, or come across yet another product labeled as Paleo granola. The visceral reaction I’d have was not because I believe one should never have a treat or find innovative ways to create gluten-free recipes to bake a cake for a child with autism. My contention was always that if someone were to see these products, not knowing the background behind what a real Paleo approach is, and simply shift from food products commonly found in the Standard American Diet to versions that are made with ingredients that may have once fallen into the Paleo category, they won’t reap any of the benefits. Not only that, but they may tell their friends, family and colleagues that “Paleo didn’t work” (but they never really tried Paleo in the first place), and perhaps someone in their network who really may have benefitted from the real version never got to try it, much to their own detriment. But I’m over it; only inasmuch as whatever food or diet trends we may see come and go, I’ll continue to believe and teach what I know to be true: eating a diet based on real, fresh food, in season, local and in appropriate macronutrient balance is the foundation for creating a template for a healthy mind and body for all of us humans! And since all of us humans have brains which respond more favorable to what to do than what not to do, I’d prefer to spin positivity and keep sharing ways to strategically and practically incorporate shopping, cooking and eating into everyone’s regular routine, instead of pointing out which viewpoints I happen to disagree with. Taste of Paleo proved to be an outstanding event showcasing everything from names and brands we know and love (who better to rely on than Mark Sisson, who’s been a leader in our space for a long time), vendors offering homemade bone broths and gut healing fermented cabbages, emotionally balancing essential oils and organic csas. So while there were Paleo (ish) treats making an appearance which may or may not be part of what you, the reader, would be on the lookout for, I found it to be overall an informative, educational venue and a day well spent. Definitely worth checking out next year!