Chris Highcock is the latest to write about a shift away from a paleo-TM approach:
There is probably more to write about why I’ve moved on from low carb paleo, but essentially I drifted from low carb – I realised that carbs were not the enemy but often the preferred source of fuel. Then overtime I started to question much of the dogma of paleo, particularly the quasi-religious nature of the whole paradigm, this utopia from which we fell in which we all lived these ideal lives, with optimal diets, social interaction and physical activity.
He makes an interesting point about the Internet leading him astray. I guess you can see how there could be a “down the rabbit hole” like quality to what Chris calls the “alternative realms.”
For now, Chris is sticking with the basics. As he sees it:
- Eat real food
- Progressive strength training
- Stand up straight
- Get enough sleep
Reading Chris’ post got me thinking about Kurt Harris, paleo, and orthorexia. A quick Google search later and I was reading Kurt’s interview with Chris Kresser (an oldie but goodie from back in the Danny Roddy days). It holds up well for a two-year-old post, but this comment by Kurt re his IBS stuck out to me:
I would say that I can get away with eating just about anything [if] my mental state is good.
I’ve mentioned here many times Yoni Freedhoff’s maxim to live “the healthiest life that you can enjoy, not the healthiest life that you can tolerate.” I wonder if my life would be easier if I had the “no candy cigarettes” conviction of a paleo-TM guru, but Diane Sanfilippo’s admission of going on two years being tired shows that that’s not enough either.
I have never been hardcore paleo-TM, but these days, I find I’m increasingly with folks like Melissa or Amber on a less dogmatic, more real food approach. It’s not that I think a paleo-TM approach is wrong — it clearly works for many folks. But sometimes it doesn’t, despite how much you know or how diligent you are.
And when it does work, it’s not really clear whether the benefit is from excluding SAD foods compared to excluding dairy, grains, and legumes entirely. The science is not yet definitive (see Alan Aragon’s The Paleo Diet: Claims vs Evidence presentation for his take). Given that, the arguments about the paleo-TM diet are feeling to me a little bit like the “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” debate. Fine if you have the time and interest for it, but it can be a rabbit hole if you don’t.
For me, like Chris, I “will keep reading, writing, thinking and hopefully progressing.” But I’m shifting my energy away from macronutrients and micronutrients and towards more pragmatic endeavors: I’m going to improve my cooking skills!
First, I’m working through the domestic section of Tim Ferriss’ The Four-Hour Chef and then I’m going to work through Michael Ruhlman’s Twenty. I always thought myself a decent enough cook, but the reality is, I would like to see myself cooking more. So spending some time with these books (alas, I’m too far from a decent cooking school) is meant to help me improve my skills — and my meals!
But it’s not just about that. I’m also going to use this time to explore the ways that cooking is both a personal as well as a political activity (paging Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Jamie Oliver and yee gads there must be some women in this space).