Our forty-ninth show!
Ep. 49: Paleo Philosophy – Part 2
In this episode, Stacy and Sarah tackle part-two of the Paleo Philosophy series, discussing Sally Fallon’s article and the controversial areas within the paleo diet: fat, dairy and sugar. But first, an open letter from Stacy.
To listen to part-one of the series, check out episode 48.
Bear with me, this is going to be long but I just can’t keep quiet anymore.
Last year my family, along with our near-family member Aimee (the infamous photographer), visited Sally’s farm. It was at this time that I learned Sally was anti-paleo. Yes, I mean anti-paleo. Not just pro-WAPF, but actively frustrated and wanting to disassociate from the movement and word paleo. This was further confirmed with personal correspondence I exchanged with Sally earlier this year regarding input for Beyond Bacon, in which she is both pictured and quoted.
Our visit with Sally one-on-one was wonderful. I don’t want to discount that. I have the utmost respect for the work that the WAPF foundation does and her personal passion for farming. I enjoyed spending time and learning about how Sally runs her sustainable farm just about an hour from my home. During this visit, she picked up my children and commented on how solid their structure was and how healthy they looked, even saying as she lifted my oldest “Oh, this must be a raw milk child!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her he’s casein-free because otherwise he wets the bed and misbehaves in school.
So believe me when I tell you that I’ve given a lot of thought to what I’m about to share and how I’m about to say it. Since recording this podcast nearly a week ago quite a lot has transpired that most of our readers wouldn’t know without my sharing. And I think it’s imperative it is shared so that we are all on the same page about the intentions of the Wise Tradition article that this podcast references.
Dear WAPF, Your Leader is Ignorant
Ignorant: (a): destitute of knowledge or education <an ignorant society>; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified <parents ignorant of modern mathematics> (b) : resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence <ignorant errors>
Over the course of last year I have had several exchanges with your leader, Sally Fallon Morell. While my personal face-to-face interactions with Sally were nothing less than pleasant, I am dumfounded and insulted at the apparent misinformation, judgement and fallacies being spread about the lifestyle through online forums and publications. Perhaps someone within your organization could help her become better educated when writing these pieces?
As you are probably aware, paleo is a movement which is taking off. Not that it matters, but personally, I believe that’s because of the success people have following it. Part of the success surely has to do with some of the similarities between what paleo leaders and the WAPF have in common. For example, Diane Sanfilippo, whose book, Practical Paleo, has sold more copies than any other paleo resource available and is considered the quintessential guide to all things paleo, references WAPF, fermented foods, bone broth and organ meats as well as the importance of nutrient density, fat soluble vitamins, digestion, and animal fats. She specifically cites grass-fed butter, ghee, lard, tallow as well as coconut oil which are the easiest for our bodies to digest and cause the least amount of inflammation (the true tenant of the paleo diet, a low-inflammation diet).
You might be thinking right now, “OH! I didn’t know that! We’ll just share this with Sally and everybody can play nice in the sandbox again!” But unfortunately you would be wrong.
Sally knows all this. And I know that Sally knows all this because I have personally witnessed several different people (including myself) exchange e-mails with her whereby she disregards this information in favor of seeing things from her own perspective. After all, Chris Masterjohn and Chris Kresser speak at the annual WT conference! Yet, she has personally told me she does not want to be associated with paleo, which I would think could do wonders for helping to educate our own community on the things which she believes we do not believe in or promote.
I would love to share the personal e-mail exchanges and quote Sally for you, but there’s no need for me to be disrespectful and share a personal conversation. But if you read this blog you know me to be honest and open in all that I do here, so I will paraphrase:
Sally (paraphrased): I know there are many variations of this diet, but the common approach of lots of lean meat and no dairy is a very dangerous diet. Fatty meats, raw milk products and traditionally prepared grains are great foods for growing children.
Stacy (quote): I’m sad to hear that’s your perception of paleo, as I think it’s less than a 10% minority that believes that and WAPF and paleo/Primal/ancestral eating have become good “sister” groups attending one another’s conferences. Obviously we feel that way, since our book is pro-saturated fat and uses lard, stock and organ meats in almost every recipe!
Sally (paraphrased): When one of our leaders attended a paleo conference, she said the meals were lean meat and vegetables served without fat. So, while I know that you endorse fat, this is not what is happening in the greater paleo community.
As an organization, I would hope that you would not base your beliefs of an entire community’s lifestyle off of food that was served at a conference. After all, I’ve heard that the food served at the Wise Tradition conference is sparing and left people hungry, but I would never think that was the overall intent of a WAPF-approach to eating. And, for a point of clarification, the specific conference mentioned also had many paleo attendees complain; resultantly, the following year food was not provided and instead the local BBQ stand ran out of fatty pulled pork and brisket while Whole Foods was attacked for fermented foods because that’s what attendees ate every day.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this specific leader create drama, either. The specific leader also said using the WAPF formula for babies is better than breastmilk unless the mother herself is following a traditional diet. I’ve also has a personal experience with her whereby my copyrighted materials were used without permission despite accusations that she herself was plagiarized.
As an overall organization publishing articles like the one in Wide Traditions, I can’t just pinpoint this on one or two people, however. Even though Sally herself wrote the article and the other leader may have created the drama on purpose, it was the foundation as a whole that published it. Several contributors and editors must have had their hand in putting it out to the members and general audience. So my question, and those a lot of us in the community are wondering, is why? Why when we are so closely aligned and share some of the same intellectual resources, both closely tied to wholefoods and an ancestrally based approach, why would the WAPF be motivated to publish a factually incorrect and insulting column?
This is the question I’ve been pondering all week. The question that made me think maybe Sally and others are simply ignorant to our actual beliefs as a community. Maybe they’ve missed the hundreds of podcast episode where the many leaders of our movement (because we don’t have a Foundation with one named leader) have referenced the brilliant work of Weston A. Price, recommended fermented cod liver oil, or told people to eat broth, pastured animal fats and organ meats. Sadly, this bubble I was hoping to be true was burst earlier this week when an e-mail exchange was shared through a public group to which I belong. Out of respect for those parties involved I won’t reveal the full exchange but a few parts stood out so glaringly to me and boiled my blood that I had to share.
Sally (paraphrased): If paleo is at all similar to a WAPF diet, the work we do needs to be supported and referenced, acknowledging debt to WAPF.
This one stood out to me as a bit hypocritical. Just a few days ago the Wise Traditions article said we didn’t have anything in common at all. And now what is being asked for is acknowledgement? I began to sense a bit of frustration, perhaps that paleo as a movement has had such success without bringing WAPF along with it? Could this, perhaps, be a marketing strategy motivated by attention-seeking behavior? Then it was made very clear to me that it was.
Sally (paraphrased): If the paleo community believes in animal fats, then they need to have a website saying so, they need to get their act together and put out a big press release declaring their love for fatty cuts and organ meats. Then we could join forces.
Sally (quote): I am deliberately stirring the pot here, to force the community to have a conversation on this–to get together and make sure that their message is consistent on this point.
So I get to be insulted. Told I’m a bad parent. Emotionally stressed all week over this ridiculous debacle charging through our communities because WAPF wants some site traffic and attention? Apparently, the WAPF knows full well that MANY websites and leaders advocate these things but wants our alliance broadcasted?
First of all, we aren’t a singular body that makes unilateral decisions. We are a group of intellectuals who critically think and develop our ideas and concepts over time as we learn and grow. As far as I’m aware, WAPF hasn’t re-looked at their approach, other than to create studies which support it’s own beliefs, since Weston A. Price’s passing.
Second, those leaders of our movements already have shared this information. It’s the reason many individuals have signed up for membership with WAPF, because our leaders encourage them to do so. Even Laura from Ancestralize Me, a leader in both our movements, blogged about this!
Third, there are a TON of websites already advocating these ideas. I encourage you to check out BalancedBites, CaveGirlEats, ThePaleoMom, PrimalPalate, Chris Kresser and our own site and podcast (among MANY more) for more information and recipes that align with WAPF-beliefs, if you are seeking to find them.
Why this letter to you? What do I hope to gain? Well, I hope that you will see how close-minded and factually incorrect your article was. After all, even Dr. Deborah has acknowledged this. Such inaccuracies and accusations garner a retraction and apology for those of us who have been offended by the publication. Specifically, the paragraph on children that specifies “the biggest concern” being paleo parenting is unacceptable; this is the root of my hurt, disappointment and frustration. I have already responded to that specifically here.
I also write this letter to let you know that if stirring the pot is your goal and it is attention you seek, henceforth you will NOT get it from me. I will no longer encourage our podcast listeners, blog traffic and social media audience to your foundation and the otherwise wonderful work you do. I will not be attending the conference. I will not be supporting the organization in any way if these are the intentions of it’s leaders.
I attach this letter to our podcast because it contains my personal thoughts on this travesty, to which I hope you will listen. The only way forward, that I can see, is to help this ancestrally-based community come together once again by:
- Issue a public apology through WAPF’s site or in the Wise Traditions publication for the offensive and in-factual data provided in this month’s article.
- Work with WAPF’s President and divisive leaders to step-forward into the future and see that our forces combined are more powerful than this approach, that members will be lost from your own organization if expectations of press releases and declarations is not seen as unreasonable and unrealistic, since we are not an organization like your own.
Until then, I BEG people within the paleo movement to stop visiting the WAPF website and trafficking the blogs of people who seek out attention through controversial “pot stirring” posts. Let’s not play their games.
Please note, I normally would have linked to specific blog posts on the referenced articles. But I’m making an effort to reduce site traffic, since I wholeheartedly do not want to support the intentions of those leaders.
Now on to the podcast!
To listen to part-one of the series, check out episode 48.
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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 49: Paleo Philosophy – Part 2
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 1:19 – News & Views
- Canada has been good for Sarah, but she doesn’t feel like she has been enjoying it much – her relatives are playing with the kids while she works on editing
- Sarah feels like she is missing out, but she knows that the book has to go to print
- Sarah’s girls are spending great time with their relatives that they haven’t seen in awhile, so it is good
- In the midst of editing, Sarah wrote a rebuttal to an article that appeared in Wise Traditions, Weston A. Price Foundation newsletter, where there was a lot of misinformation and criticism on parents who are raising their kids paleo
- There were several bloggers talking behind the scenes when the newsletter went live because many folks felt personally insulted
- Diane from Balanced Bites dedicated a podcast in response to this newsletter as well
- There are so many similarities between the paleo and Weston A. Price community, so it was very disappointing to see the Weston A. Price Foundation strike a divide between the communities and to attack and put many myths forward
- It is overall uncool to be divisive like that, it doesn’t help the community or foster growth at all
- When you are a guiding voice within a community you have a responsibility to be a mature voice, to do your research fully and to present factual information
- Every leader in the paleo community has there own way that they put forth information on how to create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, and at the core of all these messages is ‘figure out what works for you – strike your own balance’
- Stacy points out that through education her kid’s are able to define what their own splurges are and how to develop their personal balance so they are able to enjoy life in a way that still supports their health
- If the argument is that paleo kids are so deprived, what part of a Weston A. Price Foundation diet isn’t also depriving these children – if you have to sprout your grains, eat only raw dairy, where are you finding that in schools?
- For Stacy the article was infuriating and upsetting because an article like this doesn’t help anyone, it only stimulates misconceptions
- Sarah notes that since there are so many similarities between Weston A. Price and paleo, you think that we could combine our resources to educate instead of trying to show some level of superiority – you could reach so many more people if we were to work together with a focus on nutrient density
- The Weston A. Price Foundation seems to be determined to separate out from the paleo movement, and it isn’t clear why any organization would want to go against something that is supporting the same key principles
- Sarah finds it infuriating that her mission to raise her children in a healthy way, where they don’t feel like they are different or missing out on something, makes her a bad parent – being told that Sarah is in the wrong for feeding her daughters in a way that supports their health was like a punch in the stomach
- Stacy points out that this is not the first time that the paleo community has experienced this attitude from the Weston A. Price Foundation, however, this has been the most blatant attack that they have ever distributed
- While Amy Kubal was promised for this week’s show, we need to wait for the Ancestral Health Symposium to come to a wrap and will feature Amy at that time
- This week, Sarah and Stacy will be moving right into part-two of the Paleo Philosophy discussion, as last week’s show received such a great response
- 24:51 – Paleo Philosophy Part-2
- If you haven’t listened to episode 48 yet, go back and listen to that show to help set the stage for where the discussion is at in this show
- One of the Weston A. Price’s criticism was that we don’t eat fat, we only eat lean meats and low omega-6 plant fats, like coconut oil or olive oil
- Stacy wrote a book about lard, so Stacy’s feelings towards fat are pretty clear
- Even for someone without a gallbladder, like Stacy’s situation, consuming monounsaturated fats is easier on the body than if it was a polyunsaturated fat – Stacy finds it easier to digest the fats that are saturated and monounsaturated because her body doesn’t have to work as hard to break them down
- Sarah provided a scientific overview on the difference between the three kinds of fats and how they impact your body
- Stacy went from being a coconut oil, broccoli and chicken paleo person to a lard/tallow paleo person, which is when she got into nutrient density because she learned that she wasn’t properly absorbing food
- When Diana Rodgers was on the show Stacy learned a ton about how she should be supplementing and eating to absorb nutrients
- Not only is the paleo community interested in eating the fats of healthy animals, the paleo community encourages people to find what works for them to make them feel their best
- Sarah feels that there are more folks who do low-carb and high-fat, as opposed to a low-fat approach
- Sarah notes that there is still so much misinformation about the impact of fat on our health – people are still really scared of eating fat
- When Sarah was doing the research for The Paleo Approach, she found that the most important micronutrients that people are deficient in that are strongly linked to autoimmune diseases are fat-soluble vitamins, and that comes from us not eating enough fat and from eating the wrong kinds of fats
- If anyone listening to The Paleo View is afraid to eat fat, don’t be – go eat some lard
- (39:20) Dairy
- On the autoimmune show with Mickey Stacy mentioned that she had reincorporated dairy fat successfully, which is really exciting since Stacy has had an issue with dairy her entire life
- By healing her body through the autoimmune protocol and a nutrient dense approach to eating, Stacy has been able to successfully introduce dairy into her diet
- While Stacy still believes that it is somewhat unnatural to eat the breastmilk of other animals, she has also read Practical Paleo and researched Weston A Price and knows how nutrient dense grass-fed dairy is, and if Stacy is able to tolerate dairy it can be a nutrient dense food for her
- When Stacy started incorporating grass-fed butter and grass-fed heavy cream she saw improvements in her skin and joints and other things that use to experience negative effects from dairy
- For Stacy her paleo philosophy on dairy has evolved a great deal since she started paleo, but she doesn’t think her family will ever be consuming high quantities of dairy since her kids are extremely sensitive to it
- The Paleo Parents family walks a fine line to enjoy high-quality dairy products because it is a nutrient dense food, but they will not incorporate it at the sacrifice and health of their family
- Stacy is at a new phase in her paleo journey when it comes to dairy and will continue to enjoy it in moderation since her body is tolerating it
- Sarah notes that there is some research that suggests there are benefits to being cautious with dairy protein, however, dairy fat from grass-fed animals is a healthful fat that has an overwhelming nutrient value
- Raw, whole milk from grass-fed cows has some great stuff in it, and science doesn’t stand firm on one side versus the other
- This is why you see variation in how people approach this, people who identify as primal or lacto-paleo incorporate dairy into their lives in a way that works for them
- Some people do really well with dairy, some people do really well without dairy – it is far more important to find what is working for you as an individual
- As a paleo community we sometimes get really focused on the no-rules that we forget that some of these foods are potentially nutrient dense foods depending on your tolerances
- As the paleo diet evolves and we learn more about how food effects our body, genes, proteins our body makes, etc. we are going to be able to narrow down what foods are beneficial and if that applies to some people, all people, etc.
- Again, there is no right answer for the role that dairy plays in our diet, it is about finding what works for you
- Beginning your paleo journey dairy free can be beneficial so you can do some elimination dieting to see if you tolerate it upon reintroduction
- (52:30) Fruit & Sugar
- For Stacy she avoids refined sugar, her kids have incredibly negative reactions to it
- The Paleo Parents still enjoy treats, as them being defined just as that, treats
- No matter what sugar you are talking about, Stacy would never define it as “paleo”
- For blogging purposes treats are labeled as “paleo” so that folks can easily Google alternatives to refined sugar treats
- Sarah’s family doesn’t eat much of the treats she prepares for recipe development, they either give them away or freeze them – they find a way to practice treating treats as just that, and practicing control and moderation
- People get very passionate that we should eat exactly as a caveman ate, but that isn’t possible in today’s world – food simply isn’t the same as it was then
- Sarah doesn’t think it is a healthy approach to food, to restrict foods that are very healthful foods just because they look like something unhealthy
- To Stacy when we start to say no to things in absolute terms that are made with wholesome ingredients, we are getting into the topic of orthorexia, disordered eating, etc. – there is nothing wrong with eating coconut flour egg yolk crepes or something with a base of cauliflower with meat and vegetables on top
- Define your paleo how you want to define your paleo, but don’t judge somebody else for what they chose to do, don’t tell them what they should or shouldn’t do
- We will discuss sugar in greater detail in part-three, but the content will be broken up my other podcast topics
- If you have specific topics that you would like us to cover in this series please send topics to the podcast question box
- And if you are enjoying the show, please don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes!
- 1:06:38 – Outro