So it seems that there has been somewhat of a “social media frenzy” and a bit of an “adult b*&ch fight” going on between the ol’ Paleo Pete and the DAA (Dietitian’s Association of Australia). Everyone seems to be getting in on it and having their two cents worth, so I thought I may as well get on the band wagon and blog about the “situation”.
Now I have always liked Pete Evens. He’s a good chef, he cares about health and he has the best facial expressions on MKR when he tastes something you know is shit. I like to pretend I know what he is saying from the look in his eyes when he is tasting the contestant’s food, something along the lines of “why the f#ck did you make me put that in my mouth”, or “if I could kill you with my eyes for that ridiculous excuse for a ‘meal’ I would”. I did however like him a bit better when he had more meat on his bones because over the last season I started to get a bit worried about him, as he visually got skinnier and skinner (George Calombaris, I’m worrying about you too buddy). I hoped it wasn’t something serious like cancer, but turns out it was just Paleo.
The Paleo diet has actually been on my radar as a dietitian for much longer than it’s been popular on facebook and the main concepts manifest themselves over and over in different forms of diets all the time. And I don’t have a vendetta against Paleo itself, just diets in general. But here’s the thing, there are a lot of concepts of the Pete Evans version of the Paleo diet that I 100% agree with, less processed foods (my ongoing quest), less sugar (although none is a bit boring don’t you think?), more vegetables (hurrah!), ethically sourced free range meat, fish and eggs (yes, yes, yes) and smaller portions of meat (I have been banging on about this for a while). And while I’m not hugely keen on taking out food groups like grains and dairy (me and dairy struggle big time but mostly because I don’t hanker for cold liquids), seriously if you make an effort to replace the nutrients that usually come from those food groups then who really cares right?
If you really are motivated to follow a certain diet and are willing to make a good effort to reach the nutrient levels you need then there’s no need to slam anyone for wanting to do so. I was going to look into the nutrients you may lose and the foods you could replace them with but it’s here anyway so if you are following Paleo, then please do it right (don’t just eliminate foods, substitute instead and cover your nutrients). Just like I would suggest for vegetarians, clean eaters, atkins, zone, etc etc etc. At the end of the day, there is more than one way to skin a cat. There are a million different ways to eat to get the nutrients you need and no one way is better than another.
I do however have a bit of an internal snigger when anyone labels certain foods as “toxic” because well really toxic means poison and clearly people aren’t dropping on the spot after having these foods. And really, I have NOT done the research on most of the claims he is making (others have and have rebutted his claims) because basically my care factor is zero. It’s about level with my care factor for researching every other person talking about nutrition’s claims. I think everyone is missing the point. Food is there to be loved, not hated on. It’s there to be enjoyed, not restricted by a strict set of rules. It’s our culture, and part of all of our lives so let’s just keep it varied, and realistic. Eat a bit of everything, fill most of your eating with foods that give you nutrients and don’t make you sick and Just. Enjoy. Yourself. And if you do feel like you want to do something about your eating, look at your behaviours, I can guarantee it’s going to give you more bang for your buck. If it was as easy as just following a diet, no-one would have weight issues!
I love carbs, bread and dairy so I would never be able to give them up completely. Nor would I ever be able to be restrictive with my eating, I’m just not that type of person. I love food, all food. I don’t discriminate. The fact of the matter is that even though the Paleo diet is a wee bit sensationalised, and Pete Evans now reminds me of one of those crazy evangelists, he will probably get the general public thinking more about what they put in their mouths, and increase vegetable consumption more than most government programs have managed to achieve, because he is popular. We live in a world where popularity rules.
So the moral of my story is….
Eat what makes YOU feel good. Follow who you want to follow. Don’t cut out food groups without replacing the nutrients with something else. And be kind to each other, stop the facebook slander and work together because surely health for all is what’s important?
Happy Sunday peeps,
The Dietitian Mummy