While often derided as "the caveman diet", I think the right approach to evaluating Paleo is in thinking of it as a presumptively safe default.
This page is a stub, created on 2020-05-08 (last updated on 2020-10-18). Its contents are notes on the issues and angles I want to address about this topic.
On This Page
- how I got interested in Paleo in the first place
- low-carb "versus" Paleo
- evolutionary perspective in diet versus in psychology
- AIP (autoimmune protocol) and Whole30
- modern-day approximations
- the anti-concept of "processed foods"
- GMOs / organic foods
- Paleo "versus" bodybuilding goals
- presumptive safety versus claims of optimality
- burden of proof
- scientific backing
- claims for self versus claims for others
- Paleo substitutes (eg, coconut sugar)
- refinements/alterations (eg, dairy, potatoes, rice)
- comparison to vegetarianism and veganism, and the standing of each relative to the standard American diet
- philosophical versus scientific justifications
Strictly speaking, Paleo and my calorie-counting/bodybuilding goals are orthogonal (or at least tangential). I eat Paleo for non-bodybuilding health reasons. Think of it roughly like this: Paleo is about what I eat (qualitative/substantive), whereas my bodybuilding dietary plan is about how much I eat (quantitative).
- Yes (overrides anything on the "No" list)
- meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey; not a fan of other meats)
- potatoes (white and yams / sweet potatoes)
- white rice
- nuts (eg, cashews, almonds, macadamia, hazel, walnuts, Brazil; not peanuts, since they're not nuts!)
- animal fats (butter, bacon grease, tallow, etc.)
- certain non-animal-fat oils
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- avocado oil
- sweeteners (sparingly)
- maple syrup
- coconut sugar
- LaCroix and similar "hint-of-flavor" fizzy waters
- caffeinated coffee/tea (before noon)
- decaffeinated coffee/tea (before 15:00ish)
- caffeine-free tea
- 100% fruit juices (particularly if especially pulpy)
- grains (eg, bread, pasta, corn; anything with gluten)
- soy (oil, soy sauce, milk, tofu, lethicin, etc; but tamari is okay)
- legumes/beans (especially soy, peanuts)
- vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, safflower, bran, grapeseed, sesame, peanut)
- cane sugar, corn syrup
- corn starch
- any kind of seafood (not a Paleo thing; just not into it)
This is just my story about seafood; it's not even Paleo-related, but it's most thematically related to this stub for now. Later, I'll carve this out into its own page.
According to my parents, when I was a very young, I liked fish and seafood just fine. I don't remember this at all. My parents claim that I started rejecting seafood based on the influence of my friends, but that doesn't really resonate with me. I can't really validate it one way or another, though. Every since I can remember, the smell of seafood has always grossed me out; it evokes memories of playing in tide pools as a kid (mostly at Hawai'i, perhaps), with the dying, rotting carcasses of marine life all around. In general, it just felt unclean. I realize that not all seafood has that smell, but the psychological association has become very strong, and any hint of that smell (eg, even the proximity of a non-smelly dish to other fishy smells at a seafood restaurant) triggers the association and the disgust.
In a way, it's a shame, since I recognize that, nutritionally, seafood is a huge value, and I can see how much my friends and family enjoy things like salmon and sushi, but it's just not interesting enough to me to want to pursue rewiring my preferences.
Given that, in general, I'm very risk-averse, and culinarily, that manifests as being utterly unadventurous (nevermind my being grossed out by a lot of squishy/slimy textures), I really don't even like the idea of trying any particular seafood dish.
Pro-tip: Trying to pressure me to eat seafood with things like "Just try it!", "You don't know what you're missing!", etc is a failing strategy. No promises, but you're much likelier to influence me by just sharing your own excitement for yourself and telling me what you like about it. (Same principle applies to many other things; I'm not very susceptible to peer pressure.)