So when one healthy eating expert calls out a paleo expert for 'selling out', is it ok? Do we need to get along better? Or is it fair game ...
This feature was inspired by a recent article I read where one heavyweight in the clean eating world did a serious hatchet job on a Paleo heavyweight in an article. I'll not name names because that's not my style and I don't want to give it the traffic.
This article criticised heavily how many in the Paleo world were now 'selling out' by selling e.g. Paleo processed products - which per the author of the article completely goes against the ethos of Paleo (i.e. to not eat *any* processed foods and live like our cavemen ancestors).
Initially I bought into the sensational-style article a little and thought 'shame that so and so is selling processed food when he advocates eating nothing but natural food'.
But then I thought to myself, 'hang on, get off your soapbox woman, who made you judge and jury?!'
And I think that's half the problem, a lot of people in the Paleo community have seen the Paleo audience grow from almost nothing to the worldwide movement that it now is. It was initially loved by the press then vilified by the press (god forbid anything gets popular eh!) and some of its longer serving members are understandably becoming more opinionated as to what Paleo is, or should be.
At the end of the day, all of us, whether we like it or not, have to make money to survive. Running a blog or a Paleo website can be hugely rewarding in all ways except when it comes to earning £££ from it. If Paleo experts get behind brands that aren't strictly, strictly unprocessed Paleo, do they deserve to be shot down in flames? Trust me, if they started supporting Monsanto or one of the Food Juggernauts, I'd be the first to ask why but they're not. They're still ‘Paleo' and believe in its values, they just have bills to pay too.
When I started the UK Paleo Awards
recently, I was really worried that I was sticking my head above the parapet, ready to get shot down by people saying that I can't have categories like 'paleo snack of the year' or 'paleo-friendly drink of the year' because it's not truly 'Paleo' - our paleolithic ancestors would not have access to processed snacks or drinks. I get that. Not disputing that. [I'll add that other than a few heavyweight vegans, haven't heard anything negative, hoorah!]
I, like most others, live in a fast-paced world where I'm constantly juggling too much. I would *love* to make sure every bit of food that passes my lips was natural and not in any way ‘processed' but for me, it just isn't always feasible.
Sometimes, I need a shortcut - so do I carry on buying the cr*p that litters most shop aisles, full of sugar, sugar alternatives, grain, gluten, fillers, additives, preservatives and stabilisers .... or do I get a cleaner, paleo-ingredient alternative? It's a compromise that works for me and if the whole population switched to these products instead of the mass produced stuff, our health would be better (not perfect I grant thee, but better). And YES I know, I repeat it would be awesome if everyone ate unprocessed natural Paleo food for life, but I'm keeping it real in our modern world ;-)
These companies who produce such 'Paleo' products should be celebrated - yes sure some are there to cash in on a growing market but I know that the vast majority I deal with just want to play their part in making our nation healthier, one energy bar or cup of bone broth at a time.
And a note on 'processed food' - unless you tear meat raw of an animal that you've just hunted and killed, it's processed, it goes to an abattoir/butchers and will get processed into cuts we will consume. So, where do you draw the line as to what is and isn't processed?
We are facing the biggest health crisis that we have ever seen in the UK (and other developed countries). I'm therefore all for championing those who are trying to help get Britain healthier, however they are doing it. Whether it's what our ancestors would have done is largely irrelevant, it's about intent, re-education and giving a sh*t about our children and future generations.
BUT don't call something Paleo that doesn't have Paleo ingredients, that's a big no-no and makes my blood boil - there is enough misinformation out there without it being added to.
Here endeth my soapbox session, I'm getting off it right now ;-) Let's stop throwing our toys out the pram eh and all try to get along nicely …. together we are stronger :-)