Monday, May 9, 2011

The Paleo Diet is Not a Panacea

I had no idea my last post would get so much attention. I was caught off guard by a linkage from Mark Sisson on Friday and it brought a batch of folks here who have never seen my little outpost on teh interwebz before. As anyone who's been a regular reader here would expect, the reactions have been mixed.

Of course I'm not surprised at the folks who've come here and checked out the archives and got upset with my "manosphere" topics. Some commenters at MDA called me a jerk, a misogynist, controlling and domineering and (my personal favorite) "SCARY."

Muahahahahaha! Wait til they get a load of Roissy or Ferdinand...

All that aside, I'd like to clarify a few things...based on some of the criticisms folks made both here and over at MDAs.

My last post was not intended to be a "My kid is better than yours" screed to stroke my own ego.

At all.

I've merely noticed what I see as quite common differences between most babies I know of who are fed formula from birth, and are fed commercially bought baby food once they start eating solids. I've changed plenty of diapers in my lifetime, long before I had my child's diapers to change.

I've also seen the difference in my own bowel function after I gave up the SAD diet and adopted paleo diet principles. It is not "luck" or "genetics" that my child has never had real problems with digestion or diaper rash. As I wrote, when we went traveling, we fed baby the highest quality, organic vegetable and meat baby food you can buy from the store. 4 days of such fare changed babies diaper results dramatically.

Which brings me to a recent comment made today over at MDA's by a Daniel Merk:

The paleo baby article makes me chuckle. Our son is now 1 year old. He’s never had grains, legumes or dairy. He has horrible GERD/Reflux and on meds. He was colicky and still never sleeps through the night. His poop is solid, but not perfect. He loves meat more than fruit and loves all veggies. He begins almond/coconut milk because our PED asked us to give him milk and we are against it so she ok’d coconut milk as long as he was not allergic.

Look folks, this is not black or white. It's not "PALEO WILL GUARANTEE YOUR BABY WILL BE PERFECTLY HEALTHY." Some people can eat the healthiest diet possible, and still experience health problems. That's life.

As I wrote earlier, my baby did get sick with a rather nasty head cold. During that episode last month, baby was congested and constantly miserable. It took almost 2 weeks for baby to get well. During those 2 weeks, we did experience what it's like for newborn parents who are awoken by a crying baby multiple times throughout the night. Not fun.

But once baby recovered, it was back to full nights of sleep and awakening cheerfully most mornings.

I never claimed that this idea that Paleo dieting will make people have "perfect babies" that are the envy of all SAD parents. There are so many factors that can contribute to how a baby develops, diet is just one variable.

But it is, IN MY OWN OPINION, a very significant variable in the overall equation.

I have empathy for parents with colicky babies. I've read up on colic and I understand that Doctor's still don't know precisely how and why some babies experience it and some don't. I personally believe that colic can be caused by a variety of different factors, with diet being one factor. But I still believe, as with adults, that it is an important one. If avoiding SAD staples lessens the chances of your baby developing colic, why would you be critical of someone advocating it?

Everyone knows of the anecdote of the person who lived to 100 years of age chain smoking cigarettes and chugging hard liquor until they died peacefully in their sleep. Doesn't mean you should take up chain smoking and hardcore alcoholism in an attempt to replicate that feat.

But some of the commenters here and at MDA act like the diet and other things I've done with my child have no significance...nor relevance. It's just luck. As if we could have adopted a vegan diet at conception, fed the kid soy formula from birth, and still have the exact same baby I described.

That is just ludicrous.

The nutrient dense foods advocated by the Paleo diet can have profound effects on adults who stop eating the USDA Food Pyramid designed SAD...what makes you think similar effects wouldn't be experienced by infant nutrition as well?

I've seen plenty of newborns in my own extended family, in which babies didn't support their own heads with their necks until they were well over 1 month old. I've seen babies who's eyes didn't even fully open until 2 weeks. And I've certainly changed my fair share of diapers from babies on formula/commercial baby food. In fact, in my own experience, these are the norm amongst most people's infants.

Personally, I'd rather that all of the experiences I related in my last post were common, unexceptional occurrences in today's world. It's a travesty that so many kids are raised on formula and other garbage...or that expectant mothers are encouraged to eat "heart healthy whole grains" and to limit their saturated fat consumption.


Frost said...

I passed the link along to Mark. Hope you don't mind =D

Paleo fitness buffs are a huge audience of potential converts to the red pill full monty. They're smart, curious, and open to the possibility that CW is flawed in fields other than nutrition. Mark himself has a few articles up on Lew Rockwell...

And of course it was a great article. Hundred, maybe thousands of babies will grow up much healthier because of it.



Keoni Galt said...

I was wondering how he came across my post. lol

WP said...

When I saw that he linked your article, I immediately went to the comments - wanted to see how the MDA-folk would handle the mixture of nutrition/social-sexual/govt of topics you cover.

It really is sad, that any commentary diverting from the "(male) kitchen bitch" path is met with scorn by both women AND men alike.

The part that makes me chuckle is 99% of the people gloss over the fact that... you practice "game" (aka: being a fun guy with principles) to maintain/upkeep/build attraction with you and your wife. ???? SERIOUSLY Y R U SO MISOGYNIST! God, how DARE he keep her interested in him!!!


Oh well, it was expected. Just hope there were a few open minded guys who checked out your blog and had their eyes opened a little.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised. Your post was honest, genuine, and insightful. The fact that you are a man and instituted such changes is honorable. Women should wish they had an attentive and caring man like you to help raise their children.

And if men can't believe you, they should go read up on it. Many of us women report similar findings on our own blogs.

I'm thankful that Mark posted your blog that day. You have some really interesting posts and an intelligent style.

I, at least, commend you!

(R)Evolutionary said...


re: Daniel Merk's kid's a year old-what's he eating, besides paleo? At one year, the kid should still be breastfed. Mr. Merk didn't mention what his wife was eating (if he didn't mention it, it's probably not paleo.) Plus the kid's on meds. ON MEDS.. for gerd @ 1 year.. outta be considered child abuse. WTF?

At any rate, no, paleo's not a perfect panacea, nothing is, but it's the best fueling for the body what we know about, and the one that makes the most sense from a number of different scientific perspectives.

@Frost, yeah I hear you on the paleo crowd being open to the red pill realities. It's especially true of a more down-home crowd. But there is a subset of paleo/primalists whom are died-in-the wool SWPL, sheeple, to whom paleo is simply the latest urban fad, like vibram 5-fingers, and before that Bikram yoga and yoga toes.

Kikilula said...

I've always wondered about those flabby newborns, because both of my babies turned around and lifted their heads, eyes wide, wide open when they were only 3 days old.

The Original Hermit said...

I totally agree with what you're saying Keoni. I whole-heartedly think that Paleo is the healthiest way to eat. However, every baby is different. I didn't start on paleo until around the time my third kid as born, my wife started after that. Our oldest, who by far has had the worst diet, including being bottle fed at 2 months (not by our choice), is also the brightest and most active of the three. In the hospital when he was born, the nurses said he had the most aware eyes they've ever seen. The youngest (1.5 yo), who's had the best diet, is also the fattest and least motivated (he was also born with several health complications). That's just how things work out sometimes.

Stingray said...

If you think the people claiming, ""how dare you think your kid is better than mine" is bad with this way of eating, you should try homeschooling. People come out of the wood work for that one. It is quite interesting to watch. Especially considering, that you are merely informing of your choices and most likely don't care a whit how they feed/educate their own children. You are merely informing them of your choice and how it has effected your family. It is amazing how that then turns into you think your child is better than mine.

Stingray said...


Ever seen a kid at one year old with GERD?

Svar said...

hahahaha You're a scary jerk? I've been reading Roissy and Ferd(and back when STD was around Tally and Alki) so long that you're a nice guy by my standards

Svar said...

@ Frost

What is CW?

gallier2 said...

CW = conventional wisdom

katana said...

Frost wrote:

Paleo fitness buffs are a huge audience of potential converts to the red pill full monty. They're smart, curious, and open to the possibility that CW is flawed in fields other than nutrition. Mark himself has a few articles up on Lew Rockwell... 

And of course it was a great article. Hundred, maybe thousands of babies will grow up much healthier because of it.


Very good points, and well said.

The Paleo/Primal diet viewpoint is the thin edge of the wedge for many discovering that Conventional Wisdom (CW) is full of fatal errors.

The USA has produced stupendous achievements in science and technology, putting man on the moon, inventing the microchip, the internet, and so on. You would think it would also have officially researched the ideal and optimum diet for humans. Have come up with practical answers and then promoted such knowledge so that Americans would now be the healthiest humans that has ever existed! But no, it has done the exact opposite, as demonstrated by the results. Shamefully, Americans on average, have become an obese, sickened lot. Leading, waddling, at the forefront of the parade of Western nations, an embarrassing disgrace to the rest of the world.

Greed, money politics, is the dominate hand in the USA and is destroying it in multiple ways. Health is just one of them.

This blog does its part in exposing some of the lies while offering practical counter advice. A public service.

BIGasTexas said...

Being a Libertarian myself, I'm sure I already now you're opinion on pot prohibition. But I would really like to see a post from you on pot as it relates to a primal lifestyle. Seems to be the most primal way to relax or medicate for some illneses. But finding munchies that are paleo is hell.

Anonymous said...

I like your post's, I came through the link. I too am trying to raise a mostley paleo family, but tend to raise too many eyebrows!
In your original post, is that a picture of Sabastian Chabel?
I plan to come back and read more posts in the future, keep up the good writing.

Patrik said...

Hey Keoni,

Have enjoyed your Paleo baby posts -- I too have an 11 month old Paleo babby and the description of yours matches mine.

Very alert.

Strong neck muscles literally since birth. (He lifted his head & looked my wife in the eyes 2 mins after he was born -- nurse said, "I have never seen a baby do that."

No colic. We eliminated a few foods from my wife's diet that seemed to induce colicky symptoms.

Happy, cheerful.

Very communicative.

Walking and crawling earlier than all his formula-fed brethren.

Loves his meat & veggies.

Height was 80% percentile, weight was 40% percentile. Tall & lean.

Strong as a horse.

Last thing: if you put him next to his peers who are formula-fed, you see that they are significantly more fat and less alert. I suspect that formula causes systemic inflammation.