A little trifecta for you here of things are responsible for the evolution of the term "paleotard" through neolithic times and flourishing in the present. Some examples of dietary dogma to chew on the next time you consider what foods are *OK* to eat.
First up, the man himself, the guy with the advice column "Is it Primal?" I've read these for years now and they seem to get evermore ridiculous. I vividly recall reading my first installment before the IIP roundups became more the rage, a "Dear Mark" about buckwheat.
At first glance, buckwheat certainly looks promising. Unlike grains, it’s not a grass, but rather a flowering pseudocereal. The triangular seed from the buckwheat plant, called a groat, is harvested and can be milled into flour or used whole in cereals. Seed? Seeds work, right? Not necessarily. While I love most seeds for their high fat content and protein, they do have to be low in carbs to pass the test. Buckwheat groats are decidedly starchier than, say, flax (another story altogether) or pumpkin seeds, so we must use caution. Buckwheat’s glycemic index is 54, which is still fairly high despite being lower than actual grains.
He goes on to discuss buckwheat in historical context, first cultivated 6000 years ago (I'll take his word for it) and imagines that wild buckwheat would have been too rare to have been consumed in the paleolithic.
Yes, I'm sure coming across something like this, Grok would have walked on by and gone to forage for calorie bereft ancestral foliage resembling modern day salad greens. Yeah ... right.
True, buckwheat might not have the fat content of, say, sunflower seeds, it stacks up pretty well nutritionally as a FOOD.
This is for 100g dry buckwheat which is 2-3 servings. But for 350 calories (I know, I know, it is disordered to even think about this), you get enough magnesium and potassium to replace your primal supplements (that at least last time I checked contained inferior MgO), and 12 g of complete protein! That's about half the protein in 100g sunflower seeds, but by calories, buckwheat is a respectable 14% protein while sunflower seeds are 12%. Now in 2009 Mark wrote his Quick Guide to Edible Seeds. In it he acknowledges the O6:O3 ratio problem of most. Seeds are "last – and possibly least – on the list of Primal-approved foods. You don’t want to make them the bulk of your diet (there’s no way Grok ever did), but they can’t be beat for portability and convenience." Now he's not a big fan of flax, but flax seeds are undigestible unless ground (and they go rancid fast and taste like crap). If we're going to think WWGD, I cannot imagine he'd ever, EVER, eat a flax seed but leave the energy rich buckwheat groats behind. It's all just too ridiculous. He closes with:
Any of them are fine in moderation, though, so don’t worry too much. Just mix ‘em with some other approved Primal nuts, maybe a bit of bittersweet high-cacao dark chocolate, and some dried fruit for your next excursion.
Ha ha! Grok would have dark chocolate now, but not buckwheat? After all, "Historically speaking, buckwheat certainly isn’t paleo. You can put lipstick on a pseudocereal, but it’s still a high-carb, high-glycemic-loading grain wannabe. It also requires significant amounts of processing (grinding, roasting, rinsing, sprouting) to become edible to humans" . Ha! But chocolate grows on trees and requires no processing whatsoever.
Recently Mark bemoaned how nobody understands him because everyone *mistakenly* thinks he hates carbs. Gee, I wonder where they get that idea when pretty much it is the carb content, more specifically starch, that has something make the grade. I'm pretty sure that most of the vegetables in his "big ass salad" weren't cultivated in the paleolithic either, and I doubt Grok would have bothered with most of them had he encountered them in the wild. But don't worry, if you do more than PB exercise (4-5hrs long and slow, 2 lifting sessions and some sprints each week) you, too, can eat some real carbs over the 150g mark.
If you are asking Mark Sisson if a food is safe to eat, you are nuts. Seriously. His diet is a decent one but this whole nonsense of WWGD -- based on some made up notion that Grok avoided starch -- is just ridiculous. He makes it up as he goes along, and he can protest as much as he wants, he is on the record -- over and over and over again -- demonizing carbs on the basis of insulin. Only now that he's written the glowing Intro for the new Perfect Health Diet, he's gotta give the appearance that they aren't so bad after all.
Jane of her Healthy Kitchen
Next up ... from Jane of Jane's Healthy Kitchen, "a gluten-free, Paleo chef, health practitioner, and author of Paleo Desserts.", we have a guide to the Best Paleo Sweeteners. See anything wrong with that off of the bat? Really folks. Can there be anything less "paleo" than cookies and cakes and whatnot?? Perhaps Twinkies, but these hypocrits make me wonder about that sometimes. Her post ranks sweeteners as paleo, not, and paleo-but. Can you guess what the but is? Not low carb.
Mini-Rant: If I see one more carbo- fructo-phobe using an apple for their logo or website name whilst denouncing the carb:fat ratio or sugar content of any food to decide if it's "paleo", I'm gonna scream. But I digress ...
Now ... Honey is THE one and true official "paleo" sweetener, even mentioned in the famous Eaton papers to compose 2-3% of the caloric content of the paleo diet. But (and Jane lists it as a paleo-but):
Raw, unprocessed honey is a true Paleo sweetener that is twice as sweet as sugar. It is also regarded as a sacred superfood, and a remedy for many health ailments. Our ancestors were willing to take the risk of gathering it from beehives seasonally. But wait a minute – not every day! Honey is very high in carbs and calories, and it will give you a nice big blood sugar spike. It contains roughly 50% fructose, 44% glucose, and 1% sucrose – that’s close to sugar. For this reasons I reserve it as a rare Paleo treat, and do not use it in my recipes. However since there are no Paleo Police, you are free to choose.
This is truly laughable folks, I'm sorry. No .... we must go in search of the perfect paleo sweetener. It's in the bag in the picture above: Just Like Sugar. Jane can't say enough nice things about JLS which is chicory root fiber and orange peel. It reads like an ad for the stuff as I suspect it is. Jane uses this in all of her recipes b/c of its taste, texture and substitutability for good old sugar in recipes. Interestingly, just right above it she describes the major constituent of JLS -- inulin:
Inulin is a dietary fiber produced from plants such as chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke. Inulin has minimal impact on blood sugar, and is considered a diabetic-friendly aid in managing blood sugar. Inulin is a soluble fiber often prescribed as a prebiotic to promote healthy intestinal flora. Conversely, it is also considered a FODMAP, a class of carbohydrates which are problematic for certain individuals.
I admit, I had to look up FODMAP after 10 minutes at Paleo Hacks, but if inulin, which IS chicory root fiber is a FODMAP, so is JLS. Jane has apparently visited the JLS factory. In true paleotlithic fashion, the chicory root is grown in South America, shipped to Europe for grinding (what, no grinders in Brazil?) then shipped across the pond to the US for final processing. I imagine more than just grinding is required to produce "crystals" of almost pure inulin which is a fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS). Here's two cites for probable extraction processes. As they go, inulin purification processes do not involve much toxic, but this is a processed sweetener. Don't be fooled.
I can't much stomach all of Jane's list, but two other peeves. First, she discusses how we can turn wood pulp (or something) into xylitol or erythritol in our kitchens using the yeasts she identifies. This makes these "sugar alcohols" that are often termed "wood alcohols" because that is what they are derived from. Xylitol gets the paleo-but label b/c of its high carb content and gastrointestinal effects. (Yeah, try eating a bunch of inulin too!). But here's the pseudo-WWGD hilarity for erythritol, that gets the full paleo A-OK!:
In fact, if you have the starter yeast Moniliella Pollinis you can make this in your own kitchen, sort of like Kombucha. For this reason I consider Erythritol a 100% natural, Paleo sweetener. I’m trying to imagine a Paleolithic cave fermenting system and it’s pretty far-fetched, but not impossible
Not impossible! LOLOL. Yes, it's possible that Grokajane made some still in her cave, but get this ... she would never have come upon a sappy tree and noticed that syrup coming out, eh? OK, she lists sap as true paleo, but ... maple syrup?
Maple Syrup, commercial (89% carbs, Refined, not Paleo)
Common maple syrup is refined by boiling the raw sap down into concentrated syrup. The sap is reduced to 2% of its original volume to make commercial maple syrup. It takes 55 gallons of raw sap to produce 1 gallon of commercial maple syrup. Is that Paleo? Maple syrup is very high in carbs – 85 to 93%, and especially high in fructose.
Boiling down is not paleo? Someone alert the bone broth brigade!! I don't suppose she ever merely concentrates anything in her desserts. No ... inulin just jumps right out of the chicory root and magically combines with orange peel extract. Nnnnn kay.
Jayson & Mira Calton
And last, but certainly not least, I had an interesting discussion with the Caltons on Facebook a couple of days ago. But first, I'm sure some of you are wondering "who?". Well, the Caltons certainly should be written up in some medical journal as case studies for hyperletteremia: Jayson B. Calton, Ph.D., FAAIM, DCCN, CMS, CISSN, BCIH, ROHP, A.M.P ... and his wife: Mira Calton, CN, FAAIM, DCCN, CMS, CPFC, BCIH. They wrote a book called Naked Calories and just this month Mark Sisson's Primal label published Rich Food Poor Food. Not paleo or low carb per se, they are still published by the man himself. They were recent guests on Ask the LC Experts, and will be on the LC Ketanic Cruise in May. Near as I can tell, RFPF is a guide to grocery shopping to avoid all manner of nasty ingredients in food.
Again, this is a noble effort and one I would love to get behind. And then I saw them on Fox&Friends on Sunday morning offering up breakfast food choices. The usual Wheat Belly take on grains and a message on yogurts I can certainly get behind: most aren't yogurt! But at the end of the segment they looked at a yogurt that came with a separate blueberry "fruit stuff" in a separate container. Their suggested replacement -- after bemoaning the GI of wheat and the evil insulin surge it would cause -- was Greek yogurt containing 20+ grams of (insulinogenic dairy) protein and some fresh blueberries. Again, who could argue with that? Not I! But in the closing seconds of the segment, Mira got in a comment on hidden bad guy additives and stated that pectin was another word for MSG. Not wanting to misquote -- since it was a quick quip just as she got cut off by the host -- I asked on FB: "Did Mira really equate pectin to MSG this morning on Fox & Friends?"
Calton Nutrition YEP ! "We will alert you when mono sodium glutamate may be masquerading under the following aliases: glutamic acid, glutamate, autolyzed yeast, auto- lyzed yeast protein, yeast extract, textured protein, monopotassium glutamate, calcium gluta- mate, monoammonium glutamate, magnesium glutamate, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed corn, yeast food, carrageenan, pectin, soy sauce, natural flavors.*" Additionally it is an everyday micronutrient depleter too leaching beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein
Pectin is not MSG... not even close. My mom used to use it once or twice a year to make jelly from various berries (we grew a lot!) , and nobody was an additive hawk like my mother! So to see pectin -- whether it belongs in yogurt or not -- called out as another name for MSG really bothers me. This is the same issue to be had with Wheat Belly and so many more "Paleo Police" (yes, Jane, they exist!!) in the IHC. They make good points -- it's a no brainer to avoid artificial colors, flavors and preservatives -- but then undermine their credibility by parroting idiocy. So I just had to say something ;-)
WOW. That's just wrong!
Pectin (polygalacturonic acid) is a fiber isolated primarily from apples and citrus fruits that is used as a gelling agent. Our slim and healthy grandmas might have used it to make homemade jams & jellies.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pectin , structure: http://www.food-info.net/images/pectin.jpgIt is not MSG. structure: http://0.tqn.com/d/chemistry/1/0/e/L/1/MSG.jpgThere are 0.3g pectin in a half cup of blueberries that you recommended eating instead of blueberry yogurt (a recommendation I wholeheartedly agree with). Though blueberries are a relatively low in pectin. http://www.blueberry.org/faq.htm
Which garnered the response of the true source, despite their lettered educations, of their information. Sites such as: Truth In Labeling hidden sources of MSG. Pectin is on the list -- presumably as a possible contaminant because it is not chemically related otherwise -- but it is NOT MSG. Pectin is a natural gelling agent, not unlike many of the things people use in their "paleo" and low carb recipes. From their list, we're talking about the glutamate molecule. From a website named none other than MSG Facts, we find some other things on the labels we should avoid because of their glutamate content:
Breast milk, eggs, beef, mackerel, chicken, potatoes, corn, oysters, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, peas, grape juice, tomato juice, walnuts, soy sauce, parmesan cheese and Roquefort cheese.
Got that? This list ranks free glutamate in mg/100g food. For regular servings, 1T soy sauce comes in at roughly the content of 1 oz of walnuts (just under 200 mg), which lest anyone question their paleo cred, walnuts are featured in this Paleolithicdiet.com infographic! My request for clarity on eating walnuts went unanswered ;-)
But the other thing was that pectin in and of itself is bad because it is a micronutrient depleter. To make this case, they linked to this article concerning lutein absorption:
Mineral oil, corn oil, medium chain triglycerides, olestra, and pectin may also inhibit the absorption of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Gee, if pectin inhibits lutein absorption from foods it is found naturally in, whatever are we to do? But there, right along with all the bad things on planet paleo, we find the ultimate refined paleo food. Medium chain triglycerides -- the stuff of highly processed coconut oil (and its derivative MCT oil). Also found, in lesser amounts, in ... dairy fat.
I wonder if they'll lecture Jimmy on the evils of run-of-the-mill industrial dairy -- Daisy Sour Cream and Philly Cream Cheese. Bwa haha.
So to sum up, it's food people. When one looks just the slightest bit past the surface of those telling you what is or is not OK to eat, it becomes obvious that many are suggesting things based on everything from personal food sensitivities to making sheet up out of thin air. And though I've used these three (well four) as examples, they are by no means isolated cases. The truth of the matter is that one person's "paleo" is another's toxin (visit the Paleoista if you want a tough dose of nutritional browbeating ... no vinegar for you there!) and there really is no rhyme or reason in that whole wing of the diet world. No continuity, no consistency. Just a mish mosh of protocols, cleanses and detoxes to transition you paleo or some IHC approved eating regime. Whether or not each food group is or is not healthy is determined on a totally arbitrary basis ... except for those who universally deride carbohydrates because they have apparently taken leave of their formal educations.
When you tire of the orthorexic approach, you will be encouraged to either move beyond to suit your tastes (just don't criticize the pious, mutiny or actually leave the movement, they need your numbers!) or you will be reminded of that 80:20 rule. That's the worst of all because you can't demonize everything in foreboding fashion and then say that one day out of five (that's 20%) is going to cut it to avoid all that harm you'll be doing to your body whilst sinning. Whatever you do, don't you go enjoying any buckwheat pancakes with a dollop of homemade blueberry jelly, a dusting of confectioner's sugar and perhaps a second one with -- gasp! -- maple syrup. That's no good. A stalk of celery with flax butter, coconut oil and an inulin sweetened chia chocolate macaroon for dessert is the way to go. I have it on good authority it's what Grok would do. Manga!