I would like to begin with the disclaimer that I am NOT an expert on Paleolithic eating. However, I am an expert on how the human body functions. I am a low carbohydrate proponent and follower — lately I have drifted to more of a Paleo model of eating. My personal definition is that I eat very little, if any processed, prepackaged foods, very little starchy carbohydrates and simple sugars and no high fructose corn syrup. I stick to the notion that if it can be found in nature, without (or else as little as possible) human intervention, I eat it.
I deviate from what I understand the Paleo plan to be in the fact that I eat some cheese and I have one, very basic protein shake a day. Since I eat out quite frequently, grass fed beef, wild caught seafood and free range poultry aren’t always an option. When I have the freedom to prepare, I consume the previous, but again, with my schedule: which begins by leaving the house at 4:30am and not arriving home until, at the earliest, 7pm — I follow the spirit, if not the letter of the law, of what I understand paleo eating to be.
On my Facebook profile, my buddy Big Tim, posted a link to a Q and A on CNN’s health page where a reader, Courtney L., had asked a question about the Paleo diet. The reader’s question was answered by their “expert” Dr. Melina Jampolis. I have never heard of Dr. Melina before, so I did some, admittedly very brief, research on her before writing this post.
Let’s take her response to fellow Pennsylvanian Courtney L. from Pittsburgh. Dr. Melina starts with a false premise; the premise being that Paleo eating is a fad diet. I agree that fad diets, or any diet which simply has the goal of weight loss is not the way to go. However, if Dr. Melina actually had any intellectual curiosity, she would discover that those who follow solid, natural eating plans are not fad dieters. No, we are just the opposite; we have made a commitment to changing our lifestyles. We eat a healthier way not simply to lose weight, but to live a better quality of life.
Dr. Melina includes in her answer many of the positive aspects of the Paleo eating style, which I don’t have much of a problem with; again, I am not a strict follower of the Paleo methodology, so I will defer to experts how accurate her conclusions and information are.
As a low carbohydrate, unprocessed, natural food follower, I have issues with her cons of Paleo and in relation low carb eating. Her responses are numbered and italicized, my responses are in bold font:
“1. The diet eliminates dairy, an affordable and widely available source of bone-building calcium (and vitamin D when dairy foods are fortified) and protein (yes, calcium can be obtained from greens and other foods, but it is more challenging to consume adequate amounts.)”
Dairy is not essential to get calcium. It is only affordable because the government keeps the prices artificially suppressed. The fact is that the pasteurization process destroys much of the healthful ingredients that raw dairy possesses. The word fortified, much like enriched, is code in the food industry for we put some, not all, of the good stuff we destroyed in the processing of the product back in. Since milk is relatively cheap, how high quality do you think the vitamin D that is used to fortify it is? Her “reason” that it is challenging to consume adequate amounts of greens and other foods are nothing more than an excuse. Additionally, dairy isn’t even essential in the human diet. I challenge you to name another animal that consumes milk after infancy; while you’re at it, name one that drinks another animal’s milk.
“2. The diet eliminates all grains, including whole grains, which are a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and heart healthy fiber, and foods such as beans, peanuts and sweet potatoes, all of which have numerous health-promoting qualities.”
Whole grains ARE processed foods. I have never seen a bread bush, a pasta plant or an oatmeal tree. It takes a lot of effort to get these foods from field to plate. Every day there is more and more research being published that disputes the fact that whole grains are healthy. I really wish we could get over this “whole” grain kick. It is the deep pockets and lobbying efforts of agribusinesses that have perpetuated the “healthful” grain myth and government’s endorsement. It is in their financial interests for consumers to believe that these foods are “good” for us. Having run for Congress, I understand the depth of their influence; and your health and well being aren’t what they are interested in influencing.
For more information I refer you to two web sites I check daily: Jimmy Moore’s low carb standard setting web site Livin La Vida Low Carband Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill web site. I have been honored to be a guest on both gentleman’s podcast.
“3. The diet is high in animal protein, which could lead to an excess intake of saturated fat, resulting in elevated cholesterol levels, an increased risk of heart disease and increased risk of certain types of cancer.”
Again, the supposedly scientifically minded Dr. Melina hasn’t done her research. The research is starting to show that it is insulin that is responsible for much of the heart disease and cholesterol cases. In the absence of carbohydrates, there is very little insulin released and there is little evidence of elevation of the risks she stated. But take the previous sentence away; saturated fats in grass fed beef, wild caught seafood, free range poultry (and their eggs) is relatively low. But how dare she allow the facts to get in the way of her conclusions.
“4. Finally, the diet can be expensive (grass-fed, organic meats and eggs are more expensive) and inconvenient due to the limitation of food choices, both of which make this diet less practical for the average person long term.”
My favorite and the easiest to debunk argument is one of expense. This is another b.s. excuse which many of the enemies of good health like to use to justify prepackaged and processed junk. Are some natural foods more expensive? Yes they are, however you are not buying these good foods in addition to the crap that the average U.S. citizen consumes, you are purchasing them in place of the trash. Therefore, the increased cost is going to be offset by no longer purchasing highly refined, sugar soaked foods. Add up how much a person will spend on soda, candy, doughnuts and other refined foods in the course of a day and you will learn that it really adds up. Cut out the crap; save money. Then there is the money spent on healthcare, gas (it cost more to drive around 350 pounds than it does 225) clothes and other obesity related expenses and the cost will be further offset. Besides, isn’t it worth cutting back somewhere else and spending a little more on nutritious foods to have a better quality of life?
She advises Courtney L. to steer clear of the Paleo lifestyle, however she strangely includes this statement… “we can take away something from our ancestors by eating foods closer to their natural state (less processed), which are more nutrient-dense and digested more slowly by the body.”
Am I missing something? I thought so until I checked out her web site. It seems that the Doctor’s site is peppered with processed prepackaged food suggestions and videos. All she appears to do is replace really bad garbage, with what she claims to be not so bad garbage; when in fact it isn’t any healthier. Perhaps the most disturbing, at least to me, tidbit of claim I found on the Doctor’s web site was this line, ” There are no gimmicks or empty promises here.”
No gimmicks? Really! Look at the top of her site and we find a tab to Dr. Melina Bars. Yes, the good Dr. Melina has her own line of chemically concocted, fake food to sell you. Her bars have over twenty chemical ingredients; including soy, which is the topic for another posting, the protein shake that I have each day has FOUR; that is 4 simple, pronounceable ingredients. So, Dr. Melina Jampolis doesn’t want you to spend money on good natural foods, but wants you to purchase her fake food items.
Her Facebook page has an interesting note ” I just wanted to explain that while I welcome comments & questions on my fan page, I am not interested in arguing with people or allowing comments with which I disagree completely scientifically. I work very hard to provide what I feel is the best information for my fans. If you don’t agree with me, please do not follow me on facebook. ”
So in other words; She’s right, everyone else is wrong and only the science that supports her conclusions will be accepted.
If you want to recapture your health and wellness I will give you the secrets Dr. Melina doesn’t ant you to know:
-eat foods that are as close to nature as possible
-avoid starchy vegetables
-avoid fruits while losing and then reintroduce them as you reach your goal
-don’t eat prepackaged, chemically concocted fake foods
-exercise every day
-keep a positive mental attitude
-most importantly, spend your money on real, great tasting foods.
Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book; Fat Then Fit Now; A life beyond weight loss.
Dr. Joe Leonardi is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared on Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
************The posting that I write do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.*************
- The Paleo Diet: Are Our Ancestors the Key to Weight Loss? (fitsugar.com)
- Thanks To #AHS11, I’ve Shifted My Diet To A Low-Carb Paleo Approach (liberationwellnessblog.com)
Dr. Melina Jampolis’s Advise: Don’t Waste Money On Natural Whole Foods — Buy Dr. Melina Bars