Recently the Dietetics Association of Australia (DAA) released a media release titled “Don’t go the Paleo Way”, which you can access here. While it seemed to criticise the paleo diet as a whole and discourage the Australian public from adopting such a lifestyle, it largely came off as a personal attack as “The Paleo Way” is in fact the title of celebrity Chef Pete Evans’ world famous cookbook and soon to be launched 10-week weight loss program.
Since then, the battle between the DAA and Pete Evans has gone viral with many Dieticians and Nutritionists speaking up to express their view. You’re no doubt already aware of the recent happenings, and wondering whether you need to follow Pete and his supporters, or you haven’t heard a peep and need to know more about paleo and similarly, whether it’s time you jumped on board.
So let’s dive in with some background information first.
What Is Paleo?
“The Paleo Diet” is a term originally coined by Dr. Loren Cordain in 2010. For the purpose of this article, the term “paleo lifestyle” is used to encompass the many different approaches that now exist.
The term paleo is derived from paleolithic, as the key concepts take us back to what our caveman ancestors ate. In summary, paleo prioritises meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, or basically, real food. What you don’t eat with a paleo lifestyle is gluten, grains, refined sugar, refined seed oils, dairy or legumes.
The popularisation of the paleo lifestyle was really the catalyst for the real food revolution and the exponential awareness that the food pyramid is wrong. Yes, it was created with vested interest by the government and the agricultural industry, just to start.
Here are some of the facts that the paleo lifestyle has helped support, and as a result, bust the top food myths of the last five decades:
- There is in fact no requirement for whole grains, when fibre can be found in higher quantities in fruit and vegetables, accompanied by essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Pasteurised cow’s milk is devoid of nutrients as they are destroyed by the heat treatment. If you want calcium, eat green leafy vegetables, bony fish and sesame seeds for a start.
- Saturated fat does not cause heart disease. You can learn more in Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.
- Low cholesterol is not an indication of health. Cholesterol is one of the most vitally important substances. Every cell is made from it, and all steroid hormones are synthesized from it, including all sex and adrenal hormones. Cholesterol is also essential for the formation and function of each memory synapse in our brain. Elevated cholesterol is not the problem, it is a symptom of the real cause of heart disease – inflammation. Grab yourself a copy of Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore for more information.
- Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain 11 vitamins and minerals and are one of the highest sources of vitamin D. Eggs do not cause heart disease (refer to point 4). And please eat your yolks, they have an army of Vitamin D.
So what about the DAA then?
Good question. The answer is two words: vested interest. The DAA partner with both Dairy Australia and The Grain and Legumes Nutrition Council. Enough said.
So do I need to go Paleo?
Here at AmeliaPhillips.com.au, we believe dietary labels are unnecessary. When “The Paleo Diet” first became popular it was quite restrictive, dogmatic and almost militant. It’s great to see this has now changed, with many influential Paleo experts are now teaching moderation and non-judgement, and denouncing perfectionism. So the decision is entirely yours, just please be mindful of your approach. No one wants to be roused at the breakfast table for their avocado and feta mash.
Speaking of breakfast, try these Breakfast Muffins from our resident Nutritionist, Steph Lowe at The Natural Nutritionist. They make for a delicious paleo breakfast on-the-go, as well as great training snack or afternoon tea.
- 1 cup hazelnut meal
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs, free range
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 3 bananas, mashed
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Add hazelnut meal, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to a large bowl. Combine well.
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add to the above mixture.
- Add coconut oil and bananas and stir thoroughly until well combined.
- Transfer into a well greased muffin tin and cook for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Makes 8 large muffins or 12 smaller muffins.
In summary, there are many great aspects of following a paleo lifestyle, but the key is to find an approach that works for you and ensure it is one that is nutrient dense, sustainable and enjoyable. Food is to nourish, share and enjoy and certainly not a quest for perfectionism.
Do you follow a paleo lifestyle? Or do you choose not to because of your favourite foods?