As we 'paleos' grow to be a larger and larger group, at what point will we become our own enemy?
Will 'paleo' split along high-fat / low-fat party lines?
What other splits and hiving-off await us in Paleo family feud?
Why do we 'need' a united front? Why can't we just be a bunch of people that are loosely connected via seeking the best health we can muster using the best science coupled with evolutionary principles?
That article states that a group has a few defining characteristics. One needing 'an external enemy' vegans? Guvmint dietary recommendations? Another is having 'a religious text', this is not so straightforward in our community, we all read different things. But we have become in some instances hypersensitive to trolling, myself included. Debate and contradiction should always be welcomed. How else do you learn?
To illustrate I found myself reading a science blog where they were discussing the IOM recommendations on vitamin D, this was an intelligent debate that somewhat rubbished the need for any dietary supplementation. They may well have been wrong but it highlighted to me how I only tend to seek out things to read that fundamentally agree with my world view, and how there's no harm in having a break from the echo-chamber once in a while. New years resolution is to actively seek out information that contradicts my view.
Can't we be a group that is defined by furiously but respectfully questioning the finer points of health and wellbeing. If this involves disagreements, so be it. We're all big boys and girls and will learn something new from each argument.
The only groups that need to show a united front are cults looking to recruit members. If you live it, and have good results other people may try it, some may not. That's not really our responsibility either way.
P.S. Art de Vany's response on Melissa's blog was a perfect example of how NOT to have this type of reasoned discussion. I personally was quite taken aback by that comment and thought it reflected poorly on his image.
I've just recently discovered "paleo" and I've been doing a lot of research on this site and others and I've already noticed a discernible division.
One group simply wants readily usable and medically sound information to work into their lives to be more healthy. Give me the info and let me put it to action.
The other group is the "paleo literati." I've noticed a lot of nitpicking of minutia to the point where most of the concepts of the paleo lifestyle have essentially been contradicted. This really confuses those of us just learning and trying to do something as opposed to being locked up with indecision from contradictory information. (For example, is butter a yes or no?)
In a nutshell, the groups appear to be those of us that want paleo to be a fun, vibrant and healthy lifestyle as opposed to those that want to argue every single fine point and make the process more difficult than necessary.
I guarantee you that the low-fat paleos are a tiny tiny minority, only given a soapbox because they are politically correct. And most "low-fat" paleos aren't actually low fat. I've met some of them and I've seen what they eat.
I've been less and less around paleo blogs, not only because I've been swamped at work. I've learned all I needed to lead healthy, paleo lifestyle. And as Paul said above, there are people who take the paleo/primal diet way too militantly, almost like a religion. I take it seriously, but I made it part of my life, not THE most crucial part of it, using it like weapon in paleo crusade. I live paleo, naturally, without even thinking much about it anymore. I stopped over-analyzing, reducing food to its molecules and chemical interactions. I eat that way, because it works, it makes sense, it fits my knowledge about evolution and anthropology (in which I am much more interested than in bio-medical science).
I was put off sometimes by people with "my way or no way" attitude, giving out the stench of superiority, know-it-alls with the one and only correct way to live paleo. I think some of them have simply the zealotry of neophytes, attacking and fighting what they just been themselves not that long time ago.
So yeah, I think there might be a split of the zealots, narrow-minded nit-pickers, and more relaxed, happy with what they do, having fun with science, open to ideas and other people's way of understanding paleo.
I'm thinking that there will be splits based mostly on misunderstanding.
Without better communication, one person could be identifying their style of eating high-fat, and another could be identifying their style as low-fat, and they could be eating the same amount of fat AND fighting about it.
And dairy will likely settle out to personal preference.
Example: Adam likes heavy cream 'cause heavy cream causes him no discernible side effects and is very tasty.
I was just thinking that a split was coming along high-fat/low-fat lines. I use those terms loosely since I've been repeatedly schooled for using the confusing expression "lean meat." Words mean what people think they mean, and sometimes I think we paleos get bogged down by diction and semantics. For example, Cordain's and Wolf's Paleo is what I am calling low-fat paleo, but it is fattier than what the CW suggests we eat. Most high-fat paleos, on the other hand, seem to go out of their way to eat lots and lots of fats, especially saturated animal fats. This is true even though paleolithic people did not have access to unlimited fats, saturated or otherwise. Which begs the question why is this even called paleo? I'm not saying "high-fat paleo" isn't healthy, maybe it is. It just does not resemble any diet that any paleolithic people ate (with the exception of the rare high-latitude, marine mammal-dependent peoples).
This dichotomy of views regarding dietary fat comes up frequently. See this question. Note that the questioner has attributed Robb Wolf's views on dietary fats (i.e. keep it within ancestral limits) to political pressure, as has Melissa above. Why is it that a divergence of views on dietary fats can only be explained by "politics?" Isn't it possible that we just disagree? It's counterproductive to label those with which we disagree, because at that point we're arguing about the labels instead of discussing the issues.
I am not-so-secretly hoping that this will come to a head soon, maybe at the Ancestral Health Symposium, where this dichotomy of views will be well represented. Maybe the leading lights of Paleo can hash it out, but I doubt it. This is a fundamental and elemental disagreement, with both sides claiming that science is on their side. Personally, I side with Cordain and Wolf, as there is an immense amount of science there, but we all have to make up our own minds about it.
In any case, "high-fat paleo" probably needs a more accurately descriptive name.
I think the focus should be on spirited debate, so long as there is doubt on any given food, supplement or biological mechanism. Granted there's some point you say consensus exists (unified face that radiator fluid is bad for you), but given the amount of discussion on this site, I think we are a good long ways from that consensus on any particular version of paleo.
Seems to me the enduring split is the orthorexic hawk/dove fault. With more research on paleo we might know the trade-offs involved, but that research seems a long time coming. In the meantime, unity is definitely premature.