That's Not Paleo

The paleo diet is about getting back to doing things how our ancestors did them. Great concept, but, thanks to marketing and bro-science, it may have led some people astray.

Just like with the Paleo diet, I believe we should be mindful of eating processed, packaged foods. I think we should be thoughtful about eating nutrient dense foods and not just eat whatever hyper-palatable shit pops up in front of our face. But at the same time, I don’t think we need to be food phobic and weigh and measure food, including every grain of quinoa, count every calorie we consume, and eat exactly the same meals day after day. That’s not what the cavemen did. They didn’t prove worth or exert control by being restrictive or disciplined with food and they probably didn’t freak out about how a night of consuming bear, berries, and beer around the campfire would fit into their prescribed macros. Cavemen  ate to survive and have energy to do tasks. They ate communally and were grateful for food.

I also believe in a healthy exercise regimen. I think we should move around, run, and lift heavy things to stay healthy and fit. Cavemen did those things to provide food and shelter and to play, not to punish themselves,  to compensate for the food they ate, or to compete to the point of injury. They probably didn’t say "well, my garmin says I ran five miles at 10mph yesterday to catch that deer, so today I have to run at least that far and I need to run it faster."

Several of the clients that see me for eating disorder therapy reported their eating disorder started innocently, in the name of going paleo. It then blossomed and was concealed in the context of restrictive diets and excessive crossfit workouts. Without a solid sense of self we can find identity in diet and lifestyle trends. Without mindfulness and ability to trust our intuition we can fall prey to relying on rigid rules, restrictions and regulations. The Paleo diet goes bad when we focus on  "WHAT cavemen did" and forget  "WHY caveman did it". They did it probably for two reasons: 1. Survival and 2. Community. If your diet and exercise are not helping you live your best life and connect with your family and community, it might be worth looking at it and asking yourself "what would a caveman do?"

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or think you might be on the brink of an eating disorder, call us and we can help you work through it.