Will the Misconceptions Ever Stop?

September is Self Improvement Month

What are you doing to improve yourself?

Have you upped the ante on your exercise regime? Promised yourself to cut out that sugary, blended iced-coffee drink, once and for all? Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve decided to consider that crazy Paleo diet after hearing about it time and time again on the news, online and even in the tabloids?

I suppose whether or not one chooses to try their hand at a Paleo inspired approach would depend on what their source of information about what Paleo really is.

Was the source a reliable one, such as www.thepaleodiet.com ?  

One of a scientific nature with citations to studies, published journal articles and decades of experience all factored in?

Or was it a website created by someone who happened to lose weight by their own interpretation of what Paleo is, or, perhaps the worst of all, a mainstream media source with a tremendous audience to whom biased opinions are distributed, not with the best interest of the health of our society in mind, but that of maintaining the highest profit margins from the most lucrative sponsors?

Take, for example a recent article published on The Huffington Post’s Website, entitled Sorry, Paleos: Early Humans Ate Carbs And Were Better Off For It , presents the perfect example.

Let’s dive in.

Before even beginning to read the article, the title alone suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what a real Paleo diet really is.

The piece opens with a suggestion that we “shouldn’t listen to everything our Paleo-obsessed friends tell us about your early ancestors because it turns out there’s a high likelihood that hominids ate starchy carbohydrates and cooked them too.”

Ok..and this goes against the principles of a true Pale regime exactly how?

It’s one thing to acknowledge that as part of a Paleo routine, one does eschew grains, legumes, dairy and white sugar, but who ever said there are no carbs, or no cooking for that matter, involved?

The article continues with several references to studies proving how much glucose the brain needs (reminder- we can train our brains to synthesize the glucose needed to function from fat ), illustrating that perhaps there were several variations of the original Paleo diet, depending on where one lived and finally, the closing recommendation to “do yourself a favor and indulge in a few healthy carbs as your body asks for them. It’ll do you — and your brain — some good”.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that sound a little too much like that age-old recommendation to go ahead and enjoy everything in moderation?

You’ve got scientific references to back up statements, but the statements seem to be refuting arguments that aren’t even supported by anyone who is truly well versed in what Paleo really is.

Combine that with an audience that may have already heard or read numerous additional erroneous articles about Paleo and are skeptical as a result, and it’s easy to end up where your doubts are confirmed and you return, once again to that safe, familiar, comfortable place where you are having just a little sugar, just a little bread and just a little bit of whatever else may be part of your go-to in the category of a not-so-healthy food extra.

And along with that, you still find yourself holding on to those annoying ten extra pounds that won’t come of, that uncomfortable joint pain that seems to come out of nowhere and that darn ruddy complexion.

Paleo isn’t a fad, it’s not crazy, it’s not radical and it’s not even weird.  It’s just about eating what’s fresh, local and in season where you live, and not relying on processed, packaged items designed to make eating as easy as an afterthought. (Isn’t that what’s weird?).

In addition, Paleo is, in fact, safe for everyone (as long as it’s a real paleo approach we’re talking about) to follow long term, not dependent on being a member of a cult (sadly, another misconception) or having to wear five-finger shoes and amber lensed glasses (oh, will the stereotypes ever end?).

In fact, I can sum up what it is, in just four words. 

Paleo = Eat food and move.

Pretty simple and straightforward.  Who can argue with that?