“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.” – Daniel J. Boorstin
Have you ever heard of Paleo f(x)? If you’re brand new to the Paleo community, maybe not. If you’ve ever shopped for Paleo products, you may have stumbled across mention of Paleo f(x). I want to start by saying that I am a believer. It is an amazing event to witness and be a part of. As the founder of a startup “Paleo company,” it has been my goal to showcase my product at Paleo f(x) since before my product even existed. Thanks to the Founders of Paleo f(x), my opportunity came much sooner than I could have imagined. Big thanks to Michelle and Keith Norris!
I launched The Perfect Paleo Powder on December 2nd, 2015. Somehow, just a few short months later, I found myself setting up a Vendor Booth at Paleo f(x) 2016. The entire weekend felt like a “pinch me” moment that lasted 3 days. There I was, shoulder to shoulder with the likes of CJ Hunt, Robb Wolf, and Abel James. Individuals who, in my mind, were sort of “untouchable.” I now have the privilege of calling these men my friends. For that, I cannot find words to express my gratitude.
As I manned the Clovis Vendor Booth, I was bombarded with questions from the Paleo f(x) attendees. And rightfully so! “Who is this ‘new guy’ showing a silly commercial with CrossFit Athletes in diapers?!” “Why is he selling a processed powder and calling it Paleo?!” “Why does he look so freakin’ happy all the time?!”
This was the part of the experience I had been anticipating more than anything else. I had anxiously awaited the opportunity to discuss the nitty gritty details of Paleo with the most educated minds in the world! I was finally going to find “my people” the ones who “get it.” Here’s what I quickly discovered…
The Paleo Community suffers from mass confusion. I know that sounds harsh but stick with me here. They seemed to understand Paleo as a whole and were able to grasp its core principals. Yet, I discovered a huge gap between the knowledge of Paleo thought leaders and the general public. This isn’t anyone’s fault, per say. It comes down to a simple question. Are the Paleo leaders giving clear and concise advice to their followers? With all the conflicting information about nutrition and “diets” out there, it’s easy to see how people have lost their way.
The typical cliches kept popping up again and again. Protests from people explaining why they can’t use my product. Mind you, most of these people were making moot points, they just didn’t know it yet. After a bit of discussion, quite a few of these skeptics went home with a big smile on their faces. Not to mention, a bottle of The Perfect Paleo Powder tucked under their arm.
I decided to write this Blog post to address some of the things I heard over and over. Statements people made with immense confidence as if they just knew they were stating facts. But I could sense it, the bit of confusion behind their bravado. The nervous look in their eyes as they recited something they had read in a 100 word BuzzFeed-style article about “the caveman diet.” Think of this as sort of a transcript between potential customers and myself.
Protest #1 (the most popular): “I can’t use your product, it has 9 grams of sugar, and I don’t eat ANY sugar!”
Whenever this argument came up, I dug a little deeper and started asking follow-up questions. I learned that each person who claimed they didn’t eat any sugar was consuming copious amounts of fruit. Several servings of it, each and every day! Anywhere 3-10x the amount of sugar found in my product. (Granted, one medium banana contains 2x the amount of sugar in my powder, so it doesn’t take much). I would tell people this and get the most frustrating response on Earth, “well, fruit has natural sugar, that’s different.” And then my head exploded! I write to you from beyond the grave! Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but seriously, this topic is so important! There is just no reason why any Paleo influencer or thought leader should be telling their followers to go heavy on fruits. It’s just flat out wrong. I dive into this issue further in my article, “Is Fruit Sabotaging Your Fat Loss?”. The overconsumption of fruit is not the fault of the people who turn to Paleo. It’s the fault of the oversimplified idea that all Paleo foods can be eaten to your heart’s content. Don’t shoot the messenger here, but fruits are dessert, and they should be treated as such. Sugar is sugar. Bottom line.
Protest #2: “Is the protein powder grass-fed? I only eat powder from grass-fed cows.”
Powdered protein isolates do not have a fatty acid profile. I address this in my article, “Grass-Fed Gimmicks.” The proteins and amino acids from properly pasture-raised cattle are identical to that of 100% grass-fed cows. Animals that are free from any antibiotics, hormones or GMOs. The difference is, the grass-fed company will charge you twice as much for no added benefit. Sounds crazy? It’s a fact. The pressure for all powders to be grass-fed is immense, thanks to this new gimmicky marketing trend. You always want to know the quality of your meat, of course. But if you’re going to use powders, just watch out for nonsense. Want to save yourself some money? Trust me on this one.
Protest #3: “I do CrossFit 6 days per week, is it safe to use every day?!”
First things first, I would never sell a product that isn’t safe for you to consume every single day. Next, why on Earth would you ever do that much CrossFit?! Unless you are competing, and hopefully making money, this is madness. I learned over and over throughout the event that many CrossFitters believe they can eat whatever they want. That think they can somehow “burn it off” with absurd amounts of high impact training. This could not be further from the truth. I actually released a video on this issue because I think it is extremely important. Common practices like carbohydrate loading and lack of recovery are destroying peoples’ health. I can confidently say that 5 years from now, most CrossFit addicts will no longer be capable of CrossFit. It’s sad but true. You can do CrossFit safely, I promise. You just have to put in the time it takes to learn how.
I have to say; I’m a little nervous that the Paleo community has lost its way. We’ve shifted our focus. We once put our faith in true ancestral health. Preventative nutrition to reduce our risk of disease and a sane approach to fitness and primal play. The focus now lies on Paleo cupcake recipes, body crushing daily CrossFit WODs and overconsumption of “Paleo-Friendly” foods with reckless abandon. The overuse of catchy marketing terms and high conversion keywords is damaging to our community.
As a result, the Paleo Diet has become, dare I say… “trendy”?! Don’t get me wrong, I still believe The Paleo Diet is the answer to taking back our health in America and beyond. All I’m saying is, we need to shift our focus back to proper education. This is why terms like “The Caveman Diet” should be abolished. Making a blanket statement such as, “I don’t eat anything cavemen didn’t have access to” is straight-up lunacy. None of our ancestors ever had access to copious amounts of fruit year round. Nor could they eat an entire bag of roasted cashews with sea salt or sweet potato chips during a Game Of Thrones binge. You have to understand, just because a food is Paleo, it cannot necessarily be eaten in excess every freakin’ day.
Just start being kind to yourself! Nourish your body and treat it with respect. Stress will hurt you. Overtraining will hurt you. Overeating will hurt you. Take a breath every once and a while and focus on what makes you happy. Skip your next CrossFit WOD and take your family for an easy hike. Try some yoga. Eat more leafy green vegetables. Dare to ingest a little coconut palm sugar. Sleep in once or twice a week. The World will not stop spinning while you catch up on rest, I assure you. When did the primal lifestyle become so scheduled and rigid?! It’s time to take back Paleo. It’s time to share Paleo. It’s time to let others see what we see. Gently. With kindness. Ok, ok, I sound a bit cynical here. I don’t mean to; I just sense the severity of this situation. It’s like meeting a preachy vegan. One that is all “skinny fat” with sunken eyes, pale skin, and chicken legs. You’re standing there thinking, “How dare this person try to tell me how to eat?!” I don’t want that for the Paleo community. I don’t want our future to be halted by preachy followers who lack an accurate understanding of the science. It’s hard to spread the principals of Paleo with an army of advocates suffering from poor health. Your family and friends won’t take advice from you about Paleo and CrossFit while you stand there with excess belly fat, a torn rotator cuff, and a bum knee. It just ain’t gonna happen! They will shake their heads and continue eating their low-fat diets.
Life is good! It is meant to be enjoyed! Savored. It’s a slow ride, people… Take it easy.