Oh Great Paleoista ... What Shall I Eat?

A little rant.

A friend once said that in the diet and fitness industry it is rarely what you know but who you know.   I'd have to say that on balance, I'd have to agree with that.  There are a few outliers and gems of course.  Whenever you wonder how so-and-so managed to get a book published ... think who they know.  There's usually your answer.  So it is, I believe, with Paleoista Nell Stephenson.  She knows Cordain through some route.  End of story.  No, I haven't read her book.  I do, on occasion, peer at her blog when it pops up on paleobuzz.

So it was this morning with:  OMG, OMilk is Omazing.

OMilks are nut milks.  There are four flavors:
Cashew Classic: made with Madagascar vanilla bean, unfiltered – enjoy this milkshake-like treat as an afternoon snack, meal replacement or even as dessert
Organic Almond: this is our most versatile nut milk, scarily close to the real deal. Use this on or in anything or enjoy on its own
Cold-Brew Coffee Almond Milk: We took our refreshing almond milk and mixed in a rockin' cold-brew coffee extract for a delicious summer pick-me-up
Pumpkin Pie Cashew Milk (seasonal): A lightly sweetened cashew milk seasoned with a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and more — like Fall in a bottle!
Unfortunately going to the website did not bring me to the ingredients so I'll take Nell's word for it that there is no dastardly cane sugar "lightly sweetening" the pumpkin pie variety.  Honey perhaps.  

But ... whoa up there!  Cashews?  Now ... cashews are a tricky one.  While the poor peanut is an easy no-go for the legume eschewing paleoists, the cashew is more difficult.  The cashew is technically a drupe that is attached to a cashew apple that grows on a tree.  Although called a nut, a drupe is more technically a seed ... if you're going to be picky.  Now while Cordain allows them, it's quite odd that he does.  Let's turn it over to another expert, Mark Sisson!  
... the interior of their shells are lined with a poisonous resin called cashew balm. Cashew balm is used in insecticides, so don’t go shelling your own cashews.  The cashew is, however, one of the richest sources of phytic acid in the nut and seed world, containing more phytate than almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and chestnuts. For that reason, I consider it helpful (and perhaps paramount) to soak your raw cashews before consuming them...
So there you have it.  Canola is from rapeseed and they make mustard gas out of that, grains are full of phytate, raw potatoes have toxic saponins ... Yeah but cachews are totes primal!  Just don't overeat them because ... well ... shhhhhhhh ... calories do count.  Which is why the prima doyenne of paleo these days, Diane Sanfilippo, doesn't allow cashews on her 21 Day Sugar Detox diet:
Cashews tend to trigger sweet-taste habits and become hard to limit, so they are out.  (Kindle location 974)
Sweet taste habits.  But macadamias not so much?  Apparently, these are OK on 21DSD!!  OK .... let's allow them.  

Almonds ... those are great, right?  Well not so much really.  Despite them holding up quite well in terms of consumption vs. benefit, if we pick apart the poor almond it's pretty bad.  A horror show once you add in the phytates.  It's a good thing that almonds share the universal quality of plant foods so cherished in paleo:  low absorption of caloric content.  (This is discussed here - you may wish to browser search on almonds).  

Almond milk, however, is low in everything so it should be OK, but apparently Paleoista hasn't read the Manifesto of one Comedy Central star John Durante!  Almonds are GMO folks.  

Bad, baaaad, baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddddd.   

Ahhh, but that's not the impetus for this rant in the end.  It is because of what Nell signs off her post with:  
Now, do keep in mind that this would still be something to consider a special treat once in a while, or a good option for an endurance athlete to have after a long session, rather than something to chug down for breakfast each and every day.

Have you looked at the nutritional info on almond milk?   I don't know that I've ever had this brand but it's roughly in line with what I remember.  So even if you chugged a whole quart of the stuff, we're under 200 calories, with nary a carb in sight.   Even the coffee variety.

Is she talking about the pumpkin variety?  What could possibly even be in that to make it so dastardly -- a few grams of honey? 

No ... athletes only need apply for any regular use of this food (which differs from her paleo smoothie daily thing on Oz, but eh, it's TV and all standards go out the window then.)  But not just any athlete!!  Must be endurance (dreaded chronic cardio) athlete ... and only then after a long session.   

Because ...
We don’t want to lose focus on the mainstay of our diets being fresh, local veg, wild proteins and natural fats, but knowing this product exists for specific occasions is quite refreshing!
OK ... this has been bugging me for forever now.  This idea of fresh local veggies.  She snuck that in on Dr. Oz during both appearances.  She mentions it as almost synonymous with paleo.  I happened to note the URL of her nut milk supplier there ... Brooklyn, NY.  Now I know they're not getting their almonds and cashews from anywhere local, and I could have sworn Nell hailed from California.  That Forager's Market where she found this?   Also out of Brooklyn.  Hmmm.   I did a double check on the CA thing and this news report on LA dining paleo mentions two homes.  So she's been staying at her east coast home in NYC.   Guess it's easier to eat local when you have two homes in different climates, and I'm taking they spend less time in the NY home in the winters.  Perhaps she needs to live for a full year in NY because it's no small point that there would be no fresh veggies (except dastardly root veg) and only frozen with the help of modern appliances for the majority of the year. 

There haven't been local veggies here in the northeast in months.  Months.  And it will be some more months before there will be any.  The reality here is that we have fresh, "local" grown produce maybe 4 months of the year tops, unless you extend that with some early spring and late fall items.  Also, whatever extended seasons we have involve hot houses.  I'm getting kinda tired of the local movement.  It's snobbish.  It's really strange that the farmers markets in some big cities have cheaper produce when in season than you can buy in the supermarket Salatin chides we are all addicted to.  Also in more rural areas.  But here in suburbia?  Crap, "the farm" (and it is a farm, been there since I can remember as a child and you can see the stuff being grown and harvested) where we can buy stuff in the summertime is super expensive, sometimes twice the price which is already inflated in this area.  

Now I live where I can be in the boonies quite quickly in a car ... but ... there's that car thing.  While I don't live in a city, my area is quite densely populated, and I've made the point here before that even if "just" everyone from my town sourced veggies from the local area in season, we'd be in deep trouble.  It's not a matter of supporting local farms because they'd run out of produce and there's nowhere for them to expand.   So ship in from elsewhere ....  it's not local when you do that.  Ahem ... Brooklyn.  Which is in no way to diss the farmer's markets and such, but just to be realistic.  The Forager's Market website states:
In 2009, we even established our own farm in Canaan, New York to help meet our customers' demands for local produce and pastured eggs.
There's that word *local*.  WOW!!  By that standard, I went to college locally, as Canaan is not far from Troy.   Google maps puts the distance from Brooklyn to Canaan at 144 miles.  That isn't local, especially in the paleo sense before the wheel let alone cars.

So as "paleo" has become nothing more than a marketing term intended to imply  "real whole food eating", it seems that "local" has become the code word for something grown on a farm not owned by a multinational corporation.  While I am as cognizant as the next guy about the problems with "corporate", "factory", "industrial" or other "scare quote" farms, there are certain realities these folks simply do not want to deal with.  I'm happy for the person who has access to and can afford to live by Paleoista's standards for food, but what of the vast majority that can't?  For starters they get the guilt trip, then there's the "everyone can afford grass fed beef if they care about their health, why it's only $5/lb for ground beef".  I can eat my own dry age prime rib for just a couple dollars more than that.  Salatin lost me in one of those Croxton summits when he discussed the lawn area in the US and how we could all have chickens.  Oh yeah, that would go over well in my neighborhood!  Local eggs are easier to find but still.  

Then there's the notion of paleo and farm in the same sentence.  Agriculture.  Remind me the evils of that again?  But I digress ...  Oh wait, one more point, even the Masai consume the dairy but far less rarely the animal from which it came for meat.  OK ... now to sum up.

Nell, like every other endurance athlete, uses gels and such when racing.  Nell, like the vast majority of paleos eats her fair share of refined foods (yes, drinking food through a straw counts there).  Nell, like the vast majority of everyone eats foods that were grown/raised anything but locally.  Nell, like the vast majority of everyone else doesn't eat remotely seasonally.  Enough code words, kay?  Oh and 99.999% of humans aren't endurance athletes and yet the vast majority consume starch (tubers, grains and legumes) and sugar (fruit) as a significant portion of their diet and thrive.  


billy the k said…
Upon being puzzled by the meaning of life:
Commence fasting till your perplexity is replaced by a desire for food.
Should the bewilderment again return upon a full stomach, abandon the roof over your head and give away all your worldly goods until finding a place to sleep occupies your mind.
Should puzzlement beset you yet again, it is proof that you have been somewhere sneakily eating and sleeping comfortably.
[J.P. Donleavy: the Unexpurgated Code; a Complete Manual of Survival and Manners,
Delacorte Pr., 1975]
carbsane said…
My bad ... I'll change that ... I was thinking of mustard gas ... though I believe that's a myth too. :)
charles grashow said…
Scott Peterson said…
Paleo is so unintentionally hilarious at times like these. I'm sure they will dismiss you as a "hater," but that probably means you have touched a nerve by pointing out their inconsistencies and their absurd Paleo claims.
charles grashow said…

Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food

Researchers asked if one diet could be crowned best in terms
of health outcomes. If diet is a set of rigid principles, the answer is
a decisive no. In terms of broader guidelines, it's a decisive yes.

"The ultimate point of this diet review, which is framed like a tournament, is that there is no winner. More than that, antagonistic talk in pursuit of marketing a certain diet, emphasizing mutual exclusivity—similar to arguments against bipartisan political rhetoric—is damaging to the entire system and conversation. Exaggerated emphasis on a single nutrient or food is inadvisable. The result, Katz and Meller write, is a mire of perpetual confusion and doubt. Public health could benefit on a grand scale from a unified front in health media: Endorsement of the basic theme of what we do know to be healthful eating and candid acknowledgement of the many details we do not know.

"I think Bertrand Russell nailed it," Katz told me, "when he said that the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so sure, and wise people always have doubts. Something like that."
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Why the Paleo love affair with Joe Salatin and Polyface farm? He is a neolithic farmer producing neolithic livestock. A tad closer to medieval perhaps
charles grashow said…

141 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health
(Just Kidding, it’s 143)
By Nancy Appleton PhD & G.N. Jacobs
Excerpted from Suicide by Sugar
charles grashow said…

A new ketone drink could not only help you lose weight, but also treat epilepsy, diabetes and even Alzheimer's, scientists claim.

Researchers have found that the drink might also be an incredible energy booster.

The drink has been developed by Kieran Clarke, professor of physiological biochemistry at Oxford University and head of its Cardiac Metabolism Research Group, at the behest of the US Army, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The drink contains ketones the tiny, but powerful sources of energy our bodies make naturally when we start using up our fat stores for energy because there are no carbs around.

Clarke found a way to make ketones in the lab. This means that instead of having to follow difficult diets (with unpleasant side-effects such as constipation and bad breath), you can just add ketones to a normal diet ¿ in the form of the Drink, as it's known.
Bris Vegas said…
I had a look a some almond "milk" at the supermarket. it was nothing more than 1% ground almonds, water and some emulsifier. A very, very expensive way to consume almonds IMHO.
eulerandothers said…
Lewis Black is very funny!
Scott Peterson said…
Lol. Nut milks are okay.

But soy milk? That's processed GMO industrial solvent based crap that will KILL YOU!

I wonder what the Paleos think of these liquid beef aminos? Are they Paleo? I guess you could call it beef milk or something.

Sanjeev Sharma said…
has any of these oh-so-rigorous folks one rationalized why "local" would matter AT ALL to nomads?

I suspect this is more tested-and-retested application of the ONLY science that matters to these folks
charles grashow said…
Loren Cordain on eggs


"As I have previously noted, although eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of dietary cholesterol (212 mg per egg), dietary cholesterol has a minimal effect upon blood cholesterol concentrations in most people.1,3 Further, high cholesterol egg diets cause an increase in blood HDL particles (the good particles that remove cholesterol from the body)1 and reduce the highly atherogenic small dense LDL particles while simultaneously increasing the less atherogenic large, “fluffy” LDL particles.4, 5

So, should everybody include eggs in their diet on a daily basis? Not necessarily, particularly if we examine the evolutionary template. Without question our pre-agricultural ancestors would have collected and consumed eggs from birds’ nests whenever possible. However, in the wild, bird eggs only appear seasonally. Hence, pre-agricultural humans
could have never consumed two eggs for breakfast every morning of the year similar to some westernized people, but rather only occasionally for a few brief weeks or months."
Frank Chen said…
If anyone's interested, there's a blog that tests different low carb/sugar free food claims. I have a hard time believing that they can make a decent tasting sugar free Klondike bar: http://www.betterhealththrunutrition.com/category/food-testing/
Bris Vegas said…
Most of those paleo eggs would have been very small too.
Screennamerequired said…
Why are you so concerted about what Cordain says you can and can not eat?
carbsane said…
I think it's hilarious how many paleos use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce. They are obviously not too familiar with what's in coconut aminos :p
carbsane said…
One faction of the paleos (Pendergrass and the Paleo Movement gang) is into certifying farms "paleo". Wolf is into this now too. It's quite hilarious but understandable as the "cave man diet" schtick wears thin and "real food" has greater mass appeal.
carbsane said…
This is H-I-larious!! Nut juice :-)

Look at me, I'm peeing clear!
charles grashow said…
I just find it interesting what the so-called experts have to say as to what is allowed on their diets.
Screennamerequired said…
What about Fred Hahn?
Lighthouse Keeper said…
You would think that for some the paleolithic era ended circa 1800 - old time pre industrial traditional farming, thats really stepping on WAPF turf, no wonder Sally Fallon got her knickers in a twist. " Paleo Farm" is my new favourite oxymoron.
carbsane said…
Sisson once claimed our Founding Fathers were paleo ... I kid you not.
Hello_I_Love_You said…
He's annoying too but the most annoying person now is David Perlmutter, who is so shamelessly opportunistic. His book, Grain Brain, should be subtitled: How I jumped on the low-carb bandwagon before too late to expand my Florida practice and exploit the elderly worried about going senile. "Saw 'Wheat Belly' and how an obscure Milwaukee cardiologist named Davis made money and grabbed fame, now it's my turn. Though I don't know much about metabolism or blood sugar, I can use Alzheimer's as a bugaboo to scare enough patients to come and see me. Stop me if you can. I'm no Gary Taubes. I'm a board-certified neurologist."
carbsane said…
Frankly I'm surprised Perlmutter's newfound fame hasn't brought more scrutiny on his questionable glutathione practices.
Hello_I_Love_You said…
That glutathione therapy for Parkinson's is his moneymaker and it's not only invasive but very expensive. It's like liposuction or plastic surgery for the unfortunate people with Parkinson's. Some see improvements but end up discontinuing because they can't afford it continuously. They deteriorate as soon as they stop. He's been a shrewd mercenary for a long time and I suspect that's the reason behind the decision to throw his hat in the low-carb ring.