Paleo - Causing quite a stir in Nutrition Circles
Yes, the popularity of the Paleo-way of eating has been growing on a momentous scale here in Australia and as far as I can see, the public are embracing it with a new found respect for healthy eating. Just in case you have been living under a rock (or perhaps having a grand holiday away from our shores), let me get you up to speed. The paleo diet has also been called the "stone-age/hunter-gatherer diet" or the "caveman style of eating", and it advocates a lifestyle of eating nourishing foods that are readily available naturally in the environment, that are organic, wild-caught, free range and/or farmed according to sustainable living (?). It promotes the intake of nutrient dense foods, loads of healthy vegetables and lean meats and the total avoidance of highly processed, manufactured, pasteurized/ homogenized dairy, high salt and sugar dense foods.
Hmmmm, hang on.....the last statement already sounds very familiar - yes, just like healthy eating right? Well yes, but it is the paleo 'add-ons' that have the dietitian and nutrition professionals up in arms - the paleo-way of eating also advises the removal of all grains, legumes and gluten based foods as well as seed oils such as canola, corn, soy, and sunflower oil (considering these 'rancid seed oils') and it instead advises the use of highly saturated natural fats such as animal fat, lard, coconut oil and ghee.
Okay, so paleo-eating has been around for quite a while, sure, but a big part of the more recent paleo movement is the growing support from celebrity figures such as chef Pete Evans - who has practically become the new spokesperson here in Australia and who has been getting some very negative feedback from the Australian healthy eating guru's - ouch.
Of course, as part of the nutrition and dietetics professional cluster I too can see the problems associated with advocating strict 'population-based' rules on the paleo diet, particularly when it has such a narrow view on cultural aspects of diet, food security, medical conditions and individual care, (not to mention the decades of reliable research supporting high vegetable and wholegrain diets).
However I must concede, that the paleo philosophy has made a big impact on our local community in FNQ, and in general this has been a really positive thing for people who loosely follow this approach to healthy eating - i.e. lean meat, loads of vegetables, and remove the manufactured highly processed sugar and salt rich foods. For many people - anything remotely close to the 'paleo-way' of sustainable living and healthy eating is a huge step forward.