Just curious. I know no one likely has an actual answer - but what's your answer to this question: are there more men than women following a paleo diet?
My sense is overwhelmingly that there are more men than women interested in and following this lifeway, principally because I see so little female-specific info discussed.
If this is so, I wonder why this is. Is it the "caveman" association? ;)
Most of the women I know are obsessed with eating junk food, and just eating in general.
I've never known many guys to obsess about wanting to have a slice of cheesecake. I just don't get it.
Nearly all fringe or small communities are male-dominated. I've noticed this especially in self-improvement focused communities (like hardcore meditators, or extreme dieters). Statistcally, males are over-represented in both the positive and negative extremes in nearly every way (IQ, mental disorders, physical ability, etc.).
Here's a great read that may help answer this: http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm
The paleo diet and assumptions that women gathered while men hunted in the paleo era is a sexist assumption that has been disproved. There is plenty of proof that women AND men hunted.
The paleo diet, when it is attached to reminiscing about the days when men hunted and women looked gorgeous, appears to be an attempt on behalf of some "nerdy/macho" men to reclaim their masculine identity. It should be noted that men who do this are being sexist towards women by ESSENTIALIZING and GENERALIZING- creating sexist stereotypes.
Men AND women are dieters. Men AND women are vegans. Men AND women are vegetarians. I thoroughly disagree that veganism/ vegetarianism is a "chick" movement, and I disagree that men have no part in "feminine vegetable" diets. Why is diet associated with feminine and masculine identities? Because of sexism.
Now, to prove that women read just as much scientific literature as men, I must say I stumbled across the paleo diet while reading science case studies. As a feminist, this "paleo diet" stinks of a new form of machoism taking root. Perhaps female scientists are not being read by the "male paleo" community? Perhaps female bloggers, like PhD Darya Pino at summertomato.com, are being ignored due to their gender?
The fact is, putting a gender to a dieting movement that will save the world's health is like saying men or women have a claim to success due to their gender. Men and women both have a claim to equality in the science community.
I eat a paleo diet not for vanity or weight, but because I lift weights and am seeing good results proven to be associated with good health, blood glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, etc.
I want to thank other female commentators for responding to this post. I wish for people to avoid attaching gender to successful scientific claims.
There is just no proven correlation between gender, food, clothes, and lifestyle. The proof is in the diversity of our sexual community- heterosexuals, homosexuals, transgendered, bisexuals, etc. Humans have had diversity from the get go. Therefore, it is not fair to associate females with any type of lifestyle really. Females= gatherers is just wrong. Females= skinny blonde vegetarian is just wrong.
Wake up fat frat boys, stop making assumptions and stop writing like macho frat boys! Sincerely, -Feminist, political scientist, activist, and pissed off "paleo/healthy" dieter
p.s. Don't stereotype me either. No I am not a hairy, obese, ugly, rejected female that most men like to posit as feminists. I am actually quite friendly.
I commented on this on another blog...and of course was promptly censured by other commenters. This blog was more mainstream and not paleo-oriented, so I should have held my tongue and waited for a better opportunity. Well here it is!
Let me say first off...I think a combination of stereotypes, marketing practices, and the sordid history of gender discrimination in our society are the reasons for the differences between men and women in regards to paleo. In a vacuum, there is no reason to believe that a man or a woman would be more or less capable of following a paleo lifestyle.
As a result of these outside influences, I think women have a harder to warming up to paleo and/or have less of a desire to follow it. I also think women have a harder time giving up grains and legumes. I can't tell you how many women have told me, after I informed them about my diet, "But I LOVE carbs!" How many men have said this to me? None that I can think of.
I think it is in the minds of many women that by eating meat they are in essence demonstrating their dependence on men. Grains and legumes are thus empowering for women, and so that may be the reason you see more women than men following a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.
I wish there was more focus on women among paleo bloggers and proponents as well. I think a shared experience exploring a paleo lifestyle would be a wonderful addition to any relationship, and personally I would love to be able to convince my girlfriend to go paleo.
So you paleo women out there...keep putting out good, woman-specific info. The boys are watching and reading. Every "Grok" wants a "Grokette!"
I think there is actually more women interested and researching the Paleo diet.
These are visitor's statistics for thepaleodiet.com, both sets of stats indicate that there is more women than men visiting the site. My guess is that most people searching about the Paleo diet end up visiting this site.
I have two websites about the paleo diet (a general site and a recipe site) and they also both get much more women visitors.
I think the take home message is that men might be more active on a site like this one, but women are certainly really interested by the paleo diet.
Nah. I don't agree! I think that there are as many women as men involved in a paleo diet and lifestyle. If you read the comments on some of the biggest paleo blogs, you will note that there are as many women as men commenting. Sometimes MORE women than men. Go, chicas!
As a woman, paleo just makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint and according to the scientific literature. Plus, I feel great. It's the proper diet for humanity in general, so my guess is that women are jumping on board as often as men are.
As far as "female" types of issues go, I would like to see more of those discussed here as well, so perhaps I will start a few more threads. I can only speak from my own experience, but I feel more alive, more active, more sexy, more.... female... the longer I stick with my paleo diet. Yay!
Ironically, it's always my boyfriends who clamor for carbs when I serve only meat :)
I wrote a little about this on my own site, but I think lots of it has to do with quasi-religious cultural memes about "clean" food. It's considered desirable for women to eat "clean": yogurt, high fiber things, fruit, cereal. Meat is unhealthy, bad for the environment, makes you smell bad, and putrefies in the colon.
Oh how far that is from reality. I suffered a lot on this diet, which is promoted by mainstream woman's magazines, TV shows, and books.
My family friends have said so many sad things to me ranging from "BUT yogurt is SOOOO healthy" to "isn't meat bad for your colon?" Then they tell me they are struggling with their weight. It's pretty hard to let go of the cultural mythology surrounding food and women I suppose. I wasn't really raised in the mainstream culture, so maybe it was easier for me.
In 2007, I went to a week-long survival school as part of a program I've participated in since I was 13 (it's like the Scouts). As part of our training, we had to kill, skin/clean, cook and eat two rabbits. There were 17 boys in the group and 3 girls. We were divided into two teams, and each team leader was a girl (me and my friend Molly were Team Leaders). When it came time to thump the bunnies, a number of boys couldn't stomach the thought. Molly and I ended up whacking them over the heads with a big stick, Babe Ruth style.
It never even occurred to me to think that there was a disparity between men and women following a Paleo lifestyle.
I too wondered why the Paleo movement seems to be so geared towards men, though from the posts it does seem that there are a lot of women involved. I think it is the idea of when we think of paleo it is associated with "cavemen", emphasis on the "men" part. I decided to start my own blog, on the one hand, to chronicle my journey, but on the other hand, focus on the female aspect of paleo. http://paleolady.wordpress.com
For instance, on the whole "women eat grains/plants vs men eat meat" discussion. I have a theory that men generally are better able to digest large amounts of meat and woman thrive on a more balanced plant/meat diet due to the hunter/gatherer lifestyle. Since men went out for large game (we will get to female hunting in a moment), I believe that a larger part of their diet was meat, and also they needed more protein to sustain them on the long hunts. Whereas women were able to have a more varied diet, with plants and small animals.
So, everyone calm down, I hope I don't perpetuate the men hunt/women gather gender issue! In my anthropology of human behavior course, I actually chose to study the topic of women hunters. Of course, the info has to be drawn from contemporary hunter/gatherer cultures. The truth of the matter is, there is a spectrum on whether or not women hunted, in a lot of cultures they did not, but in many they did. The difference seemed to be more based on the environment. Women tend to hunt small game, and not the big game. Therefor, it tended to vary on whether or not the game available was large or small.
Why did women hunt small game and not large game? Going with the current stereotype, one might think it has to do with strength. Not so, dear sir! When looking at what was successful and probably for women, you must take into account childcare. It is much easier to take care of your children and gather plants, or lay traps, or fish and come back to the nets later, when quiet is not as much of an issue.
Another aspect to the whole women hunting issue is status. Those who bring home the meat and are considered good hunters get higher status & power. For a variety of reasons (which I won't go into here), men tend to be more hierarchical and concerned with power & status (theory is they have to prove they are good hunters and good fighters to impress a woman to believe she and her children would be safe & well fed with him; whereas women need to signal that they would be faithful so that he wouldn't worry about raising some other fellows offspring, and that they would be good mothers, and are healthy - in which appearance becomes more important, beauty signals health). So, men have a vested interest to monopolize the power plays, and also keep women out of dangerous situations so they can continue to raise the offspring. However, I did find one society where women participated in the distribution of meat, making them key in understanding the social dynamics.
Okay, that is me nerding out about that. Sorry I don't have the notes handy from what I found, I'll look at my home computer to back that up.
I think you may be right that there are more cavemen than cavewomen so far, but there are a few women out there for sure. For instance, I like to check out http://girlgoneprimal.blogspot.com/2010/01/recipe-index-post.html from time to time.
After all, back when, it was likely mainly the men who went out and killed the meat so it makes sense that this way of eating appeals to men. And even when our diets got all messed up, men were there standing at barbeques all over the land happily getting huge chunks of meat ready to eat!
I think more women got sucked into the vegan and vegetarian frame of mind because we are more sensitive to killing animals and felt that it was nicer to just eat plants. Look up http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Myth-Food-Justice-Sustainability/dp/1604860804/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261163258&sr=8-1#noop for an interesting read.