I've followed the ex-vegan community for some years now. I find it interesting to see how these poor people are vilified by their former peers. The number one reason they give for quiting is "health" (of course, right?)
So, I am wondering if there is a similar ex-Paleo community. Not every lifestyle can be expecting to work for everyone, and it would be nice to see if Paleo hasn't worked for someone and why. I am definitely not here to judge those folks and tell them "they did it wrong" (common vegan phrase), but I am just curious.
It might be useful to see what didn't work for others to try and avoid similar things for ourselves.
I don't think paleo has been popular enough for long enough to generate a significant community of people who experienced a failure of the diet. So give it some time ;)
Also, it's a lot harder to "fail" with paleo as spectacularly as you can with a poorly constructed vegan diet, since paleo is by definition far more diverse than any vegan ideology. You can certainly fail to see benefits, especially if you start out healthy (and so see no gain) or have real medical problems (and so diet wasn't going to help anyway), but I don't think I've seen many account of people who took a stab at paleo and then became seriously malnourished the way many ex-vegans tend to talk about.
To unfairly use Grok as an example: he talks about eating pounds and pounds of fruit. If you don't eat enough, or the fruit isn't ripe enough, you will fail as a low fat raw vegan with all the health disasters we hear about. I still count that as a diet failure, because the person tried and failed to comply. Grok or a LFRV would claim that the person didn't eat enough (which would be true), and so doesn't count as a fair test. I disagree.
I am counting anyone who fails while trying what they believe to be the paleo diet to be as a failure. Everyone here has probably told someone else, "Wait, that's not paleo" when they tell you what they think paleo is, but if we're to evaluate fairly the rate of failure, we have to count those people as well as anyone who was perfectly orthodox and failed. There are plenty of failed vegans out there who probably did the vegan diet wrong, but who still count as vegan-fails. Consistency is key.
So my definition of a failure has two requirements:
With that out of the way, the failures I've read about tend to fall into two categories:
1 may simply be unrealistic expectations, and presumably is a criticism of any diet. So I'm not sure that's really a failure.
2 is more along the lines of what you're looking for, I think, and it's probably a valid criticism of the basic paleo principle. You certainly CAN perform athletically on paleo, and it need not limit you at all, but if your take on paleo leads you to low-carb or some other restriction that prevents you from performing, you're not going to be a world-class cyclist anymore (or whatever).
I've yet to see an account of someone who achieved severe malnutrition on a paleo diet.
I was an ex-paleo for awhile and I'm slowly working my way back to it. After several years of lowish carb all-the-meat-I-can-eat paleo with sporadic dairy, my digestion was really screwed up. Massively, abundantly screwed up. Insane abdominal bloating, gas out the wazoo, IBS-D, and even a freaky bout of what I think was colitis. Not good times. Abandoning paleo for awhile got my digestion back to normal. I still haven't worked out all the kinks, but I'm suspecting my main issues on paleo were too much protein and too few carbs (particularly the starchy kind), and to a lesser extent not being thorough enough in eliminating dairy. I'm coming to realize I do better eliminating dairy and consuming sporadic grains than I do eliminating grains and consuming sporadic dairy.
I know this is an old thread, but I think part of the reason why there wouldn't be as many 'ex-paleo-ers' out there is in part because of the 80% attitude. I know not all paleo people follow this, but if you're having trouble with the diet, then you would quickly find that and you could 'cheat' a bit and not be 100% paleo. Whereas with veganism, you're either 100% vegan or not. There's no 80% vegan. So this leads to a whole spectrum of people that find success with some portion of paleo. I think the biggest thing is having that change in attitude about our food. Avoiding processed foods and foods that cause you issues. There is also a huge focus on n=1 in the paleo community, which helps individualize the diet for people.
I'm paleo, just a different variety ;) Low-fat, high-carb, mostly raw, far fewer animal products.
Energy wasn't really the issue on paleo (although I usually used stimulants). Nothing was really an issue. I just saw improvements on everything as a vegan, so why not stick with it? All I did was loosen up on the "vegan" part. The result is a superior diet without the risk of deficiency.
Paleo & low-carb are generally grouped together. This seems silly. Demonizing fruit that all throughout history has been deemed as health food seems silly.
I have tried tubers (sweets), and also rice, beans, etc.. (WAPF style) as a carb source. I find them inferior to fruit. You know that sluggy feeling at Thanksgiving? Yeah, something like that ;)
It's nice not having ravenous cravings anymore. It's a total myth that you have to eat all day. There's virtually no kitchen time, usually no dishes except a spoon and paring knife I rinse and keep in a plastic bowl used for throwing peelings & stems.
I'll spam the link here in case someone hasn't seen it: http://castlegrok.com/174-days-of-fruit/
Paleo is a pretty fluid definition. You can tweak your diet quite a bit and still call yourself Paleo. A vegan does not have as much room to maneuver. I can go out to dinner every couple of weeks and have excess vegetable oil, wheat, and excess fructose and still call myself Paleo. A vegan will rarely eat steak every couple of weeks and still call themselves vegan.
I think that the definition of 'paleo' is evolving and as it adapts, some of the problems highlighted above may well be resolved and actually reduce the 'abandonment of paleo'.
'Paleo' has been used interchangeably with low-carb (you could argue paleo was once seen as 'LC + exercise'). But we are seeing 'paleo' break away.
For example, we now see the inclusion carbohydrates and dairy in to some interpretations of 'paleo' (as supported by KGH at PaNu). In fact PaNu seems to focus on avoiding 'neolithic agents of disease' rather than 'eating what was available in the paleolithic'. If Grok above ate more starchy tubers, maybe he'd have avoided the lack of energy he experienced?
The roots of 'paleo' come from looking at diet (and exercise) from an evolutionary perspective. Abandoning such an approach is a leap of faith in to a scienceless fad which may or may not damage you.
Paleo is so much more flexible than veganism and there isn't much of an ideology behind it. I guess I could be an ex-paleo now since I am 20% WAPF, but that's so standard for the paleo community that I'm not really considered ex-paleo. With veganism you can either be vegan or not-vegan and most vegans consider non or ex vegans to be various shades of immoral. With paleo you can be "primal" or "mostly paleo" and you are still part of the paleo community. Even Castle Grok still considers himself paleo. And while paleo people might shudder at what lapsed paleo eaters or SAD eaters consume, most of us don't have moral indignation at it!
The vegan diet has a huge failure rate. People drop it because their health gets much worse and they cannot sustain it. The militant vegans claim to be so compassionate animal and planet loving Kumbaya singers. Their diet and doctrine does not work and people get sick.
Blame the vegan diet, not the people who really give it a good try and fail. Vegans are angry and have proved to be violent. They have little compassion towards real human needs.
Vegetarianism is a scam to justify overpopulating the world, amiking it sick, and then profiting from Soy and medications.
Considering that the core of paleo involves shunning neolithic foods, only someone who returned to eating grains, and legumes might be an ex-paleo. The rest is negotiable. No matter where on the raw/cooked scale you are, or how much carbs you consume. Even dairy is an option (primal vs paleo).
We do know of one such person, Don Matesz, but I believe the definition would be a return to the SAD. (Standard American Diet.)
The whole point of Paleo, isn't a historical re-enactment, but rather avoiding poisons. Certainly when we speak of eating meat and seafood, we're excluding poisonous animals, or at least their poison glads. (i.e. Fugu can be eaten, where as certain central american frogs are lethal.) There certainly are plants that will outright kill you, when eaten, but others, such as grains and legumes, do it more slowly, and it's those we're trying to avoid.
It certainly is possible to eat grains and legumes by disabling the anti-nutrients, via WAPF, but that's incomplete. You won't get rid of all the anti-nutrients through cooking and fermenting, so while it may be a traditional view of food, excluding modern day chemical laden crap-in-a-box, and industrial seed oils, it's still a neolithic way of eating, and it will, to some lesser degree lead to some of the same diseases. You'll certainly live a lot longer and suffer less disease than on the SAD.
"Farewell To "Paleo"
I have experimented with eating a so-called “paleo” diet for at least 14 years. Although I had confidence enough in the concept to invest in self-publishing a book on putting it into practice, over this time I have endured increasing cognitive dissonance because the currently popular concept of paleo diet—animal-based, relatively high in protein and fat and relatively low in carbohydrate—conflicts with empirical nutrition knowledge accumulated over the course of 5 thousand years in both Asian and Western medicine, including a rather large body of clinical and laboratory data accumulated since the 19th century, all pointing toward humans being more adapted to a plant-dominated, high-carbohydrate diet supplying significantly less than 30% of energy from fat."
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