Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paleo is reaching its Tipping Point

The Paleo Diet is reaching its tipping point. You know that critical point that Malcom Gladwell talks about in his book? The movement started to gain momentum last year when I realized that a few of my co-workers were in a transformational program addressing workouts and nutrition - and guess what their nutrition plan was...yup basically Paleo. Next thing I knew 10 or more people I worked with were changing their diet to Paleo, Robb Wolf released his book The Paleo Solution and it made the New York Times Best Seller List, Art DeVaney and Robb Wolf were featured on Nightline, Paleo is listed on the US News report about diets, and this week Yahoo featured an article titled "Paleo Diet: Smart eating or latest fad?" "Paleo Diet: Smart eating or latest fad?"*

Image used in the Paleo article by Getty Images - Please note: baby corn = not Paleo and the sauce that is covering the ribs is probably not Paleo either
Why is Paleo on the tipping point? Simple answer: because it works and people are seeing results. They are feeling better, experiencing more energy, improving their body compesition, but most importantly they are noticing that they are getting clincially healthier too. Paleo practitioners are reducing inflammation in their body and noticing that they don't have headaches anymore. They are healing their gut which has been damaged by the constant onslaught of anti-nutrients that are found in grains, legumes, and dairy, and they are reducing their risk of lifestyle diseases (or syndrome X as it's also called) like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

As the successful health benefits continue and more and more people buy into this eating reformation, you are going to start hearing more about the Paleo/Primal diet. And when it finally reaches that mainstream point, watch out because the Paleo movement focuses on whole foods, foods that are in season, and local and organic food, which means that what people put into their carts when they go to the grocery store will drastically change and the food companies aren't going to like it.

With all new eating fads, it's important to be wary of immitators attempting to take advantage of the publicity. Watch out for packaged foods that claim to be Paleo or Primal. You need to understand what Paleo is and read the ingredients on anything that has a label before you purchase it Check out the Primal food example Nell Stephenson found and blogged about at Whole Foods, a product called Primal Strips that is most certainly not Paleo/Primal!

So what are the principles of a Paleo diet, I think the Yahoo article actually summarized the basics of the Paleo diet quite well:
So there you have it eat meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and little starch and knock out of your diet all the excess sugar, grians, dairy, and legumes. Sounds like part of the definition of Crossfit's world class fitness to me!
"The idea is simple: You eat a diet that's gluten-free, but rich in lean, organic meats, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts. As much as possible should be sourced locally. You exclude grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils."

*Disclaimer - this is not a complete timeline of Paleo in the news, just the stuff that I specifically remember


  1. Watch out for upcoming packaged foods that say "Paleo" this and "Primal" that- good point I never thought of that yet. I'm sure this will be coming, especially because there is every other kind of food that has claims to catch the eye.
    Example that come to mind, a few years ago when "NATURAL" was evolving more than ever, Skippy introduced Natural Creamy peanut butter that was all natural. Well, it's not, clearly listed in the ingredients is sugar that is added- that does not sound like a 100% natural product.

    1. Exclude salt? In a diet free from salts in processed foods this sounds like a bad plan. Salt is essential to body function for both humans and animals.