Ancestral Diet Dishonesty ~ AHS14 Edition ~ Derectumfying Paleoism ~ Part I

This post has been a long time in coming.  Bits and pieces have been in the draft since long before the Ancestral Health Symposium this past August even took place.  The abstracts and bios had been online for quite some time prior, so I had a pretty good idea of what was to transpire.  Indeed, I had intended to blog on this before AHS14 just to "compare notes" after all was said and done and had done quite a bit of research.

For an organization and event containing the words "ancestral health", the program in general seemed lacking in relevant material.  Paleo was a less often heard term this year, yet it was sadly not replaced by discussions of more recent and/or definable ancestral diets.  You know ... those that promoted health up until, in many cases, the 20th century and beyond?  

The nods to discussion of the lifestyles of ancestral cultures were clustered together on Day Two of the symposium, all of the shorter 20 minute variety, there along the right side of my screen shot at right. This was announced around the time I had been reviewing The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, wherein she misrepresented the traditional diets of just about everyone she discussed in her book.  But most prominently, were the diets of those indigenous to North America whom she described as subsisting practically entirely on buffalo meat from sea to shining sea.  I was also deep into researching the truth about Ancel Keys, prompted by the hatchet job done on him at the hands of Teicholz.  Thus, the second two presentations caught my eye.  They will be the focus of this post, but I'll include all four in summary, for reasons that should become clear.  (Each heading to follow links directly to the YouTube video, the abstracts and bios are from the preceding AHS14 program link.)

1.  Coconut Gentrification in the Northern Coast of Ecuador

For centuries coconut has been a staple in the diet of the Afro-descendant population of Esmeraldas, a province in the north western region of Ecuador. Based on ethnographic and historical analyses, I examine the sharp decline in coconut consumption among Esmeraldeños during recent decades in the context of shifting values among urban middle classes towards the food traditions of historically marginalized communities. I discuss how local and global trade flows and conflicting ideas about coconut and health, exacerbate economic and epistemic gaps that draw Esmeraldeños away from their native foods while simultaneously bringing them to major cities re-branded as healthy. 
Track: Layperson ... Pilar Egüez Guevara, Anthropology Ph.D., is a native Ecuadorian, postdoctoral fellow in Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Currently she studies the relationships between nutrition and chronic disease among older adults in Ecuador using survey, ethnographic and historical analyses. Her work is part of an independent project documenting food and healing traditions in Latin America ( Her previous doctoral and consultancy work focused on a wide range of themes about the culture, history, health, economics, gender and race relations of Cuba, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil. 
From friends in attendance etc. at AHS, I'm told this was pretty well attended and received.  Firstly,  I wonder why this was classified as a Layperson track talk.  Guevara is an academic/researcher and not only that, this would appear to be a presentation related to her work.    Given that a talk by "That Paleo Guy" was classified on the prestigious Academics & Researchers track, one is left to wonder what the powers that be at AHS are thinking anymore.  But anyway ...

Guevara relates an all too common story of how the traditional foods of traditional peoples were replaced by foods of those cultures which infiltrated (my word) the region and marginalized its peoples.  She brings up a concept we hear often in the IHC -- when these peoples' health began to suffer, it was the *inferior* nature of the foods they ate that was blamed.  When so-called health authorities sought to remedy the situation, they did so by recommending the "standard diet" which includes lots of processed foods.  Ahhhhh, but then the modern-day hippies have discovered that coconut is a miracle food after all.  When this happened, the production of coconut products the cost of this traditional food rose in the land they were produced, making this traditional food economically inaccessible to the very people whose pictures and tales are used to laud the almighty coconut's powers to begin with!  OK ... Guevara puts it in much more tactful terms ... but the point is the same.  

I urge you to watch this one! 

2. Culturally Appropriate LCHF Diet Trial

Pacific people in New Zealand are disproportionately represented in the health statistics with rapidly rising obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease rates that impact on both longevity and quality of life. Standard dietary recommendations to choose low fat, wholegrain carbohydrate foods and lean sources of animal protein are at odds with traditional Pacific food sources. I will present the results of a small feasibility trial that tested the efficacy of a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) whole food approach to diet (Primal Pacific) designed around culturally appropriate food choices, when compared to current ‘best practice' recommendations for healthy eating in a Pacific employee group.
Track: Academics or Researchers ... Mikki Williden Ph.D., is a senior lecturer and researcher in the Human Potential Centre at Auckland University of Technology. She is part of a research team who are conducting studies investigating the effects of diet on metabolic health outcomes within various population groups. She is also a practising registered nutritionist and a foundation member of the Ancestral Health Society of New Zealand. 
So first off, Williden gets the prestigious Academics or Researchers track nod.  But the title of this one was interesting from the get-go.  What exactly does this "culturally appropriate" term mean?  Apparently to the Primal Pacific gang, it means taking a culturally inappropriate diet (LCHF) and adding enough coconut fat to make it Pacific Island-ie.  

Around the 6 minute mark Williden states that the health problems can almost assuredly NOT be blamed on their traditional diet centered on abundant fruit, vegetables (I note that the picture does not appear to be local fruit and veg), meat and seafood and starchy tubers like taro and plantains (not a tuber) and, of course coconut.

So the question becomes, why not devote time and resources to developing programs to help these peoples to re-adopt their traditional diets and eschew the so-called Western junk foods that have ravaged their health?  Something like the Hawaiian Waianae Diet Program?  Instead, they are using yet another culturally INappropriate and foreign dietary intervention based on some primal fairy tale of low carb superior nutrition.  That the results were largely underwhelming aside, this talk, especially coming on the heels of Guevara's, epitomizes everything wrong with an organization that claims to be about "ancestral health".  The level of tone deafness here is in and of itself rather deafening!

3.  Native Paleo

Colonization by Europeans impacted Indigenous life-ways, dramatically shifting the health of pre-contact Natives towards the "diseases of lifestyle." Due to the Native healing and wellness movements beginning in the 1970's, much work has been done to empower Native people. Today, there is growing interest to once again embrace traditional lifestyle, hence the birth of Native Paleo- an emerging Pan-Native movement whose goal is to educate and support individuals, families and tribal communities in reclaiming their ancestral diets and activity levels. Participants will learn how diabetes, obesity and heart disease impact the Native population and how Native Paleo is one solution.
Track:  Layperson  ... Regina Aguilera, MS, LAc, FDN, CHEK, is the founder of Native Paleo~Functional Nutrition & Fitness. Regina is a Board Member of Native Wellness Institute, a national non-profit Native organization that focuses on wellness-related issues. Through the need of Native people to reclaim their health and fitness, Native Paleo was born. Regina utilizes the combined philosophies of Native and Eastern cultures to encourage holistic wellness and balance. She is widely sought after as a presenter, bringing her knowledge to Native communities across the United States. She works with groups and individuals of all ages promoting healthy lifestyles, exercise/relaxation techniques and mind/body fitness.
There's not really much to say about this presentation as it was more notable for what was not included than what was.  It was more a discussion of her organization and not at all about the true dietS of Native Americans.   When I first learned of this presentation, I looked on Factbook for the page and more information.  By this point, it was obvious to me that not only is there no single Native American diet, but there are few if any ways that such a diet could be "paleo".  I was curious as to what Aguilera herself ate and/or advocated eating as a return to ancestral ways.  I came across this photo.  There's that coconut -- oh and Asprey's coffee.  

I wondered what tribe she hailed from, which we learn in the talk is the Yaqui of the Southwest.  There is a smidgeon of a chance that the diets of some northern plains tribes could be cherry picked to paleo hunter-gatherer types, though even those would be a stretch.  There is no way any of the southern tribes even come close.  So Native Paleo is an oxymoron, plain and simple, and her movement is nothing but trying to dress up paleo in a tribal label or the other way around.  It's worse, somehow, that she is an "authentic insider" rather than an outsider like Williden.  Her Ancestral Food Wheel (directly linked image) truly inspires some head shaking.  Where are the maize, squash and beans "three sisters" I've read so much about?  Lemon-lime waters??  Broccoli??  

Perhaps Aguilera is aware of the dark side of Hrdlicka's escapades with the Yaqui.  However, while this may be reason not to promote his works, it is hardly reason to turn against the record such as it is of traditional diets.  He is surely not the only one to have related traditions, and it seems highly doubtful that Aguilera's grandfather would have considered his diet paleo or shunned all grain and legumes.

So before I wander totally off the reservation here, I must share a recent post from the Native Paleo FB page as it was part of the impetus to dust this post off, fill it out and polish it off.  This was a link to an NPR piece on a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe:  The 'Sioux Chef' Is Putting Pre-Colonization Food Back On The Menu.  The meal pictured in the article is shown at right.  The walleye filet is made with maple sugar and complemented with a white bean and walleye croquette and toasted hominy. 
When he tried to learn more about the wild game — and especially the plants — native to the Great Plains, he came up short. He says many Americans don't have a sense of the Lakota diet beyond bison or frybread. (Frybread is actually a fairly recent addition and has a complicated history.) 
"There wasn't a lot of information out there, so I devised my own [research] plan," he says. "I spent years studying wild edibles and ethnobotany."
Surely Nina Teicholz is not helping matters in this regard!
... he continued to try to piece together a picture of the traditional diet of the local Dakota and Ojibwe tribes. He also spent a lot of time traveling across the state, adding more staples to his growing list, including bison, venison, rabbit, river and lake fish, trout, duck, quail, maple sugar, sage, sumac, plums, timpsula or wild turnip, wild rice, purslane, amaranth, maize and various wildflowers.
Identifying the ingredients has only been half of the challenge, however. He has also had to figure out how to preserve everything. ... "The biggest part of the Native American cuisine is just that method of preserving foods. That's what people were doing during the whole summer season — preparing for the next long winter."
So if these northern tribes weren't just eating bison fat and kale, not to mention the even more carby/less meaty southern tribes, what exactly is Aguilera trying to pull here?  

The title of the NPR piece reminded me of the last of the offerings in this quartet:   Teaching Early US History in the Home of Ancel Keys — Gideon Mailer, Ph.D.  I'm going to end Part I here after I note that the full title of this began with Decolonizing the Diet.   Perhaps this explains somewhat my title of Derectumfying here.  Mailer's presentation was nothing but a total disgrace to all parties and deserves a full on dissection of its own.  Soon ...  

A Thought Summary Thus Far ...

Another impetus for this post was a post written about paleo by my friend Antonio Valladares aka @UrbanAntonio on Twitter.  The Paleo Problem with Racism and Sexism.  While not all of that article is pertinent here, the issue of misrepresenting and misappropriating cultures most certainly is.  That post built upon a theme that guest author Richard Garcia wrote for Antonio's blog:   “Paleo Mexican”: Call This What It Is, and ties in with a recent post here at the Asylum regarding Loren Cordain and Mexican cuisine.

I am not quite sure why it is (likely many factors in addition to just diet), but I do think we can all agree that many of the formerly isolated traditional cultures have suffered disproportionate health consequences upon exposure to so-called Western culture, even the traditional fare of Europeans hundreds of years ago, but especially the modern diet.  I think we can all probably agree that their real traditional diets were not the problem.   If descendents of those cultures could return to the diets (and preferably lifestyles in general) of their ancestors, the health of their societies as a whole would improve.

This seems to be -- at least ostensibly -- the goal of Aguilera/Native Paleo.  So what boggles the mind is that Native Paleo is a far cry from the traditional diet of any single Native American tribe, let alone the tribe of her ancestry, or let alone a representative diet for most Native Americans.  So the question is why would someone advocate for not a return to their traditions, but a switch to yet another dietary pattern that is in many ways even more foreign?  If Taco Bell is not Mexican, surely a bunch of recipes from Los Paleo is going to be less so.    The "experts" rattle off a number of reasons with which to justify rejecting traditional foods.  Grains and lectins and phytates and starch oh my!  Legumes -- well, these aren't as nutrient dense a source of what they provide.  There are *better* food sources.  

What that translates to is that the traditional foods and cuisine of insert-culture-here are inferior to the white-man Euro-inspired fairy tale paleo diet.  It is both surprising and disappointing to see someone from the "inside" engaged in such deception and denigration of her own ancestry.

In Williden's case in New Zealand, it's different but no better.  As an outsider she laments the plight of indigenous peoples in the face of modern refined foods.  She even goes so far as to say that their traditional foods cannot be to blame.  But then what?  Advocate for a return to those foods?  Of course not!  That would make too much sense I suppose, because we "know better"??  One subject interviewed even went so far as to express how she felt she was denying her heritage in abstaining from cultural staples.  I'm not sure we need to attach moral tones to choosing not to eat one's traditional foods, but it would make so much more sense to embrace the culture full on traditional, than replace the modern diet with yet another dietary construct dreamt up by "the white man", no?   You don't make any diet more "culturally appropriate" by adding a food or spice combination.  

So Primal Pacific acknowledges the real traditional diet of Pacific Islanders, cherry picks coconut from the mix and advocates for a "culturally appropriate" extreme and untested, non-traditional LCHF diet to fix the health problems of a population.  Oh I don't know ... because Atkins has really turned the tide in the last 40 years?!   Meanwhile Native Paleo pays some lip service to their own ancestral diets and advocates for replacing it all with an unverifiable fantasy of what humans ate over 10,000 years ago.    In both cases the more reasonable and simpler task would be reverting to the known ancestral diets.  It seems rather ridiculous and kinda sleazy to instead use these folks as guinea pigs for your pet diet.

They are both engaged in different versions of exactly what Guevara was talking about in Equador.  Is this REALLY what the Ancestral Health Symposium (Foundation) is all about??

The other videos embedded 


Lighthouse Keeper said…
The paleo movement loves it's coconuts, of all the edible plants in the plant kingdom this is the one that's putting two fingers up to the "Nanny State" don't eat saturated fat directive.
charles grashow said…

Starchy foods are the foundation of the traditional diet. For example, the traditional Hawaiian diet is 75 to 80% starch, 7 to 12% fat, and 12 to 15% protein. Starch in the diet comes primarily from root vegetables and starchy fruits, such as taro, cassava, yam, green bananas, and breadfruit. In addition, the traditional diet is plentiful in fresh fruits, juices, nuts, and the cooked greens of the starch vegetables (e.g., taro, yam). Traditional meals include poi (boiled taro), breadfruit, green bananas, fish, or pork.Poi is usually given to babies as an alternative to cereal. Many dishes are cooked in coconut milk, and more than forty varieties of seaweed are eaten, either as a vegetable or a condiment. Local markets with fresh foods are still abundant in most islands.

As expected, fish and other seafood are abundant in the Pacific Islands and are eaten almost every day in some islands. Most fish and seafood are stewed and roasted, but some are served marinated and uncooked. Pork is the most common meat, and it is used in many ceremonial feasts. Whole pigs are often cooked in pits layered with coals and hot rocks. Throughout the Pacific Islands, pit-roasted foods are used to commemorate special occasions and religious celebrations. The part of the pig one receives depends on one’s social standing.

Samoans usually welcome visitors with a kava ceremony. Kava is made from the ground root of a pepper plant and is mixed with water. It is strained and usually served in a stone bowl or a half of a coconut shell. It looks like dirty water and tastes somewhat like dirty licorice. Guests are expected to drink it in one gulp. In Hawaii, luaus are common. A luauusually features pit-roasted pig, chicken, fish, and vegetables.

Traditional meals are highly seasoned with ginger, lime or lemon juice, garlic, onions, or scallions, depending on the dish. Lard and coconut oil (both saturated fats) are the most common fats used in cooking and give foods a distinctive flavor. Traditional beverages include fruit juices, coconut water, local alcoholic concoctions, and teas (primarily introduced by Asian immigrants).
MacSmiley said…
Re: Aguilara's FB food pic respondents:

Either Renae Yellowhorse considers herself a whole tribe or else she didn't understand the question.
justjuliebean said…
I sat through a Taubes talk once, and was shaking my head at the suggestion that the Pimas were eating high fat low carb before Whitey came along. Of course, he didn't come out and say it, but if I hadn't read on my own about them, and known better, that's what the takeaway message would have been. This sort of deception by omission and/or inference is one of the biggest annoyances of the paleo gurus, and other cults, and pushy salesman, and a big reason why I can't listen to them without getting very annoyed.
MacSmiley said…
What happened to the screenprint I uploaded with this comment?
Nutrivorous said…
Traditional methods of preparation probably added significant amount of nutrients to the diet of Native Americans. Maize itself is not particularly high in nutrients. However, masa (corn meal) is traditionally made by grinding the corn with stone, and then mixing it with lime water.

Piki bread, consumed by the Hopi Indians of Arizona, is actually mixed with ash from burned wood. One nutritional profile I found online indicates that 100 g of piki bread has 18% of RDI for Calcium, 34% RDI for Iron, 45% RDI for Magnesium, 37% RDI for Phosphorous, 13% RDI for Potassium, 25% RDI for Zinc, 14% RDI for Copper, 91% RDI for Manganese and 21% of RDI for Selenium.

Native peoples are also known to consume not just the corn itself, but also a type of fungus which grows on the corn ("corn smut"). I haven't found much nutritional info on corn smut, but it's probably at least as nutritious as an ordinary mushroom.
carbsane said…
I see it now Mac. Sometimes that happens to me too with uploaded pics in Disqus. I suppose that answer is in response to my question and is indeed odd, eh?
StellaBarbone said…
Not to mention socking it to all of those liberal, "eat local" types.
carbsane said…

I note how you rarely, if ever, see an actual coconut though. It's a sin really when fresh coconut is so delicious and available these days. How many coconuts go into making one jar of coconut oil??
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Yes, eat local is silly in so many ways but is as much a paleo, WAPF edict as lets say eco-vegan.
StellaBarbone said…
I mostly eat vegetables and fruit grown in my state. Of course, I live in California....
Bris Vegas said…
I saw an old documentary from the 50s about the Solomon Isalnds (near New Guinea). The people spent al their very money on expensive canned fish, white rice and sugar. The irony was they were surrounded by as much delicious free ancestral food (fish, fruit and vegetables) as they could eat. However the kids would only eat the expensive and bland junk food - much to the despair of their elders.
Bris Vegas said…
Didn't you know the Pima had massive herds of grain fed bison that produced double fat cream? They grew beans and corn to fatten their animals not to feed themselves.
Bris Vegas said…
Virtually all the saturated fat in coconuts is in the form of medium chain triglycerides. MCTs are biologically inert and don't raise cholesterol. They are widely recognised as safe by legitimate researchers.
Bris Vegas said…
Over 80% of people live (including me) in the tropics and subtropics. Eating "local "for us is bananas, mangoes and watermelon.
Bris Vegas said…
I see them every day of the year at my supermarket. They only cost $2-3 each

Not everyone lives in the frozen wastelands above 50 degrees latitude.
carbsane said…
Bris says so many inane things it's hard to know when he's joking ... but I do believe he just made a funny :-)
David Pete said…
Corn fed bison is not paleo
John Smith said…
I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit grown in Mexico because they can grow stuff in the middle of winter.
Radhakrishna Warrier said…
"How many coconuts go into making one jar of coconut oil? "

Since we used to make our own coconut oil in the distant past, I think I can give a satisfactory answer. Since I don't know how big a "jar" can be, let me use the measure "litre" that I am more comfortable with. A dozen coconuts from our back yard used to provide us roughly a litre of coconut oil. The yield varies with the size of the coconut.

I know you asked the question in a light vein. But it was an interesting question and I thought I should answer it:)

We used to eat plenty of coconut, in different forms such as fresh, freshly grated, grated and ground into a thick paste, and of course all these forms cooked in curries, besides using the oil as our cooking medium. Unfortunately, my observation is that there is no magic health formula hiding in coconut. We are not anymore healthy than those who hardly use coconut or its oil. Also, if we used too much cocount oil we would get stomach discomfort and possible diarrhea :)

Would like to add that for most of us coffee would taste bad if we added coconut oil to it :)

Totally . . . It's hard to tell when he's transitioning from serious conjecture to subtle parody and vice versa, or when he's mingling the two. I'd like to think that this was one of his clever funnies.
Mark said…
Here in the frozen wastelands outside DC, coconuts are regularly available. This summer, my Whole Foods even had guys outside the door lopping off the tops and offering fresh coconut water.
carbsane said…
Hey Rad! Thanks for the info :-) BTW, do you have that link to all that goes into processing coconuts you once posted here? I've wanted to use it once or twice but cannot seem to find the comment. Thanks!!
Snarks said…
Aside from the yuppification of the farmer's market, I'm having trouble seeing the downside to local agriculture. *Insisting* that your food is local might not work out so well in some climates, obviously.

I like Salatin a lot more before I watched a few of his talks and read a chunk of his condescending rant, er, book.
Snarks said…
The idea that "if a little is good, a lot must be better" is in no way confined to the paleosphere. That said, they do seem to find a lot of outright bizarre ways to push the limits of even semi-reasonable thought. Adding coconut oil to coffee is definitely an example.

Superfoods are a perfect example of this thought process that is completely common and not unique to paleo. Maca, goji berries, noni, hell, even spinach - all of these things are probably good foods. None of them are good for you eaten in vulgar amounts. The fact that native peoples consumed them doesn't make them any more magical than a potato, though.
Snarks said…
I imagine the implication was "in paleo food porn" - coconuts themselves are all over the place in both "young" and mature forms. Paleos seem to gravitate to coconut products that come from a can, jar, or sack, though. "How to make your own coconut milk" instructions invariably start with "buy some shredded coconut from [good-guy organic coconut supermart]".
charles grashow said…
Please provide links to studies to support your statement.
carbsane said…
Salatan is pretty cool until he talks about our addiction to super markets. Needlessly condescending.

I, too, see nothing but positive to eating local when you can. When we lived in CT, the local stands and roadside stands were super economical and light years better than grocery. Where we now live, our markets are more expensive than the grocery. Neither sell truly local for more than 4-5 months of the year.

We've eaten oranges from Fla and Cali our entire lives. There are no coconuts here ... sorry Paleoista!! I like that I can get a tomato in January that tastes like a tomato. It's still not what I would pick from my own garden, but close and I'll take it and I will NOT be made to feel guilty about that.
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Yes, "insisting" is the key word here. So long as eat local is not preceded by "should", "must" or "ought to" we can then assume it to mean "eat local as well as non-local" - which is the same as saying "eat global".
Ken said…
Actually My sister said coconut oil in coffee was a suggestion made on Dr Oz in the last few days. It sounded so bad she decided to try it and liked it. I have not tried it.
Bris Vegas said…
I'm joking!

Unfortunately this 'fact' will probably become paleo dogma soon. [Non GM toxin free corn of course!]
Bris Vegas said…
FFS. II is basic lipid biochemistry. Why don't you google it yourself if you don't believe me? [published by the Cleveland Clinic a world class medical research facility.]
Bris Vegas said…
Coconut oil is used in small diesel lighting generators in some parts of the Pacific. I've even heard of it being used to fuel 4x4s.
Screennamerequired said…
Listen to his debate online where he's sided with Masterjohn against the plant based diet guru's. Every time he speaks he sounds like an angry old defensive hillbilly uncle. I think even the people on his side of the panel thought he came across as a clown
Screennamerequired said…
Any paleo guru will jump on that link as a beautiful source of information to "cherry" pick from.

"As expected, fish and other seafood are abundant in the Pacific Islands and are eaten almost every day in some islands"

"Whole pigs are often cooked in pits layered with coals and hot rocks"

" Lard and coconut oil (both saturated fats) are the most common fats used in cooking"

Just ignore the rest that doesn't fit the agenda
Bris Vegas said…
One or two very small pigs. A hundred or more people. Two or three times a year.

The other 360 days a year is sweet potatoes for dinner.
Bris Vegas said…
Coconut is one of my favourite foods, Coconut oil is absolutely revolting - it leaves a disgusting greasy film in your mouth.
carbsane said…
I'm not sure if my comment was misinterpreted or not. Here in the northeast US we can now buy coconuts year round for relatively cheap. It didn't used to be that way but it has been so for years now. My point is how rarely we ever see a paleo snacking on a chunk of fresh coconut for a snack. Paleoista actually once suggested putting coconut oil on celery in place of peanut butter for a snack. Eeeeeew.
StellaBarbone said…
Assuming that the meat shown in Ms Aguilera's photo is bison, there are five pre-contact foods. The remaining foods in the picture are Eurasian, Australasian or African in origin.
StellaBarbone said…
The metadocs paper recommends up to 2 tsp of coconut oil per day and notes (with scorn) several papers that found adverse effects from 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil -- an amount that in paleo circles would not be considered excessive, but which the paper authors saw as outlandishly high.
Lighthouse Keeper said…
A word of advice to all the off-grid or SUV owning members of the paleo movement and Kerrygold Keto Krew - DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME.
Snarks said…
There are remarkably few banana or coconut trees here in the southwest high desert. Or brussels sprouts. Or broccoli. Maybe as you get closer to the grand canyon their numbers increase. If you like to eat juniper berries or "walking stick" cholla you're in luck though. Or rabbit. Or raven. Or mice.

That spread reminds me of one of Rob Wolf's "debunking" posts where he proved that paleo isn't expensive by buying a couple days worth of groceries and claiming it was enough for a week. Naturally, he refused to actually produce a 7 day meal plan from a pair of chickens, some veggies and some coconut oil (which he admitted to buying bulk online, not a WF). He even suggested that coconut oil was a totally reasonable food to use to supplement cals, since to his mind apparently, once it's purchased in bulk from tropical traditions on mega-sale and stuck in your cabinet, the net cost of *using* it is zero.

Respondents were honestly saying things like "Yeah, I do 1 lb meat, 1 lb veggies, and lots of coconut oil - that'll last me a few days" with the obligatory "I'm so full all the time I need to be reminded to eat" or what have you. I'll admit, that if I was looking forward to a meal of 6 TBS of coconut oil and a half head of broccoli you'd have to convince, er, remind me to eat as well...
Snarks said…
Hell, 3-4 tablespoons is barely enough for coffee, let alone snacking.
LWC said…
Yikes, that's gross. I missed that Wolf post, but I did see the very, very long one about him turning 42. Apparently at 42, a guru feels confident enough to admit that conventional nutrition and fitness wisdom isn't always wrong. Wolf now eats carbs, including rice, to the tune of up to 400g a day, and doesn't add extra fat to his diet. To me, those sound like ADA type macro numbers.

He also admitted that to build stamina there's nothing like aerobics-- you know, the kind of repetitive heart rate raising stuff you do on a treadmill (for example). It was an excessively long post, and those two tidbits were buried near the end, but they were there.

The entire post made me wonder if he'd shared his new found "wisdom" with those poor Reno cops on whom he inflicted his low carb diet. Shortly thereafter Chris Kresser had a post about how he helped an anonymous SWAT team member who had no energy to do his job by adding carbs to his diet. As I read it, I kept wondering if the guy was from Reno.
Snarks said…
Here's the post

He's *completely* FOS about the prices of meat at the Santa Fe farmer's markets - no cut of grass fed anything is $4/lb there. Soup bones go for more than that. Even purchasing half steers here, directly for the ranch, you're looking at about twice what he's quoting there.

Personally, I blame Robb for a *lot* of the confusion surrounding paleo. He has done more 180s than the Duke Boys trying to get away from Roscoe P Coltrane. His entire shtick in the early days was that low carb was an essential part of paleo - his version of "heart health whole grains" was "grain free low carb paleo" on his podcast. Many discussions about how XYZ would start to get bad for him or andy or someone they knew as soon as carbs started creeping back into their diets. Oh, and how taking 65 fish oil pills (or whatever) with a meal was reasonable. A year later when he was here in the high desert where there's no air, he was already back-pedalling concerning carbs, since doing jits at high altitude when you roll in from cali will *kick your ass* and I guess to off set that he had to do some yams, or wtf. Basically, I find him intellectually dishonest - I'm not sure if he's fooled himself, or if he's an outright liar, but either way I'd consider him a harmful person.
Snarks said…
Well, as far as I can tell, that's exactly what he is. The piece of his book that I read was not about how to free yourself from the system and get back to nature, or whatever, it was about how *everyone except joel* was doing *everything* wrong. Railing against where and how people purchased food, railing against technology, and against those damned kids and their rock and roll music, etc. It is literally a stream of consciousness "and ANOTHER thing..." type manifesto about how dumb everyone else is. It was amazingly depressing considering the impression I had of him from the movies he's been in.
Radhakrishna Warrier said…
Hi Evelyn, I posted a reply with two videos (not the original ones which I couldn't find) and I saw the post come up. But then, a few moments later, it went to some black hole of Disqus. Let us wait and see if Disqus brings it back or not. :(

MacSmiley said…
Up to 30% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is palmitic and myristic acids, the fatty acids that DO raise LDL in many people.
Darryl said…
The definition of medium chain fatty acids used by nutritional scientists is usually saturated fats shorter than 12 carbons.

Why this delineation important? Because of their very different metabolic fates. Short and medium chain fatty acids solubilize in intestinal fluids and are absorbed directly into the portal system, where they form complexes with albumin and are carried to the liver for oxidation. Fatty acids with 12 or more carbon atoms have a more arduous route: requiring enzymatic cleavage of sn-1 and sn-3 fatty acids by pancreatic lipase, protein mediated absorption long chain free fatty acids and passive diffusion of sn-2 monoacylglycerols into enterocytes, reesterifcation into triglycerides, packaging into chylomicrons, release into intestinal lymphatics, thoracic duct and finally general circulation, and finally chylomicron dissassembly by lipoprotein lipases at target tissues. Lauric acid, being 12 carbon atoms long, takes this long route to systemic circulation, and is hence not a medium chain fatty acid.

So what's in coconut oil?

14.1% short and medium chain fatty acids
0.6% caproic acid (C 6:0)
7.5% caprylic acid (C 8:0)
6.0% capric acid (C 10:0)

72.4% long chain saturated fatty acids
44.6% lauric acid (C 12:0)
16.8% myristic acid (C 14:0)
8.2% palmitic acid (C 16:0)
2.8% stearic acid (C 18:0)

With the balance being primarily
5.8% oleic acid (18:1, monounsaturated)
1.8% linoleic acid (18:2, polyunsaturated)

While I'll agree that the short and medium chain fatty acids that comprise 14.1% of coconut oil are generally considered inert or beneficial, the same cannot be said for the 72.4% which is longer chain fatty acids. Even lauric acid is associated with an elevation of LDL cholesterol. Its by no means as problematic as myristic acid, which has a more pronounced effect on lipoproteins, or palmitic acid, which adds inflammatory response to the concerns.
John Smith said…
You were joking but you hit very close to the truth. The Xahanthia tribe of the deep Amazon jungle, which had first contact with the outside world in June of 2013, has existed for thousands of years by cultivating tubers which they use to entice howler monkeys into pens, thus being the only known society to have successfully domesticated a primate.

Despite eating few foods other than howler monkey flesh (they consider it beneath them to consume tubers), the Xahanthia people have an average life of ninety eight years and are still very vigorous and active well into their late eighties. Cancer is completely unknown to them.
Screennamerequired said…
John Smith! Please! Start a parody paleo blog with your unique theories. You have a great insight into the paleo WOE and a really creative sense of humor. I'm sure a lot of paleo zealots will even link to your blog as proof of their theories.
Screennamerequired said…
I can't give you the direct link, but he did have a quote in Michael pollons book.

"Why do we have a New York City? What good is it?"

That will give you enough insight into Joel Salatins worldwide views.
StellaBarbone said…
Ah, Santa Fe, that explains the vitamin poisoning. Santa Fe is a lot like Portland only without the water. My mother's Santa Fe doctor has a rather "flexible" view of medical licensing, but at least she doesn't practice homeopathy.
Snarks said…
Let's just say I don't have a whole lot of positive things to say about NM.
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