Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Paleo" Guilt!

As some of you know, I've been following a Paleo diet for the last month or so.  I've finally started to break through and shed fat.  It's been great, I feel great, my energy levels are up.  Overall, I know the Paleo diet is working for me.  I've had a few cheats here and there, but I'd say I've been almost 90% Paleo over the last month.

As much as I enjoy the Paleo diet, and tell people about it, I have to say, it always reminds me how fortunate I am to have the option to eat this way.  First off, not everyone in the US has the means to eat a Paleo diet.  I'm not wealthy by any means.  In fact over the last 12 months my wife stopped working to stay at home to raise our baby.  This has put a huge dent in our income (I was shocked when I saw the year to year difference in income on our taxes that's for sure.)  Many Americans can't afford to eat a Paleo diet.  I don't have any statistics, but lets just think if you're a single mother with 2 kids at home and a $30K income.  Will you be shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store where all the perishable food is, or are you going to be looking along the aisles of the store, picking up deals on processed foods that won't spoil?

Free food with coupons...but would you want to eat it?
On top of that, a few of my friends are couponers.  They get some amazing deals.One of my friends has a few kids at home and gets great deals.  Here's a picture of some food she got couponing.  She got all of this food pictured here for free.  The sad thing is, this food, while affordable, is terrible food for kids or anyone. Sure it may be cheap, but it also may slowly be killing you.

So that's just one example of people in the U.S.  Sure, most Americans could probably make healthier choices if they wanted to.  You could find a cost benefit analysis, give up something to eat better.  The vast majority of Americans could eventually see the light and eat more vegetables and less grains.

But what about those that aren't in the developed world?  What about those who are living in the third world.  Their only choice is some minimal amount of grain.  We can sit comfortably in our climate controlled homes debating the merits of Paleo vs Primal diets, Grassfed beef vs Big farm cornfed beef.  Ultimately, we have to remember how lucky we are to have the choice to eat a Paleo lifestyle.  (As an aside, some would argue that it was agriculture that fostered the possibility for such income inequality to exist in the first place, and I'm inclined to agree with them.)

When it comes down to it, 7 Billion people on Earth can not possibly all eat a Paleo diet.  There aren't the resources.  There's not enough grain to go around to feed the human population, there certainly won't be enough land to feed the 7 billion people of Earth grass fed meat.

While I'm not using this as a way to knock the Paleo diet and lifestyle by any means, I think we should always remember that unless we happen to be part of a hunter gatherer culture, we are very lucky to be blessed with the resources to choose a Paleo diet.


  1. Interesting post. I think about that a lot too- that the planet could not sustain it's entire on a Paleo diet. I do indeed feel lucky that I can manage it.

  2. Supposedly, there's actually plenty of grain to go around, for the whole world. It's more a matter of transportation of said grain to those that need it (the logistics involved are a bit insane, especially when dealing with unstable governments/dictators).

    There are some proponents of sustainable agriculture that think that locally-grown, sustainably-raised crops and livestock *could* feed the world.

    Part of the problem we run into is not being able to get past our idea of food from monocultures. We see grains and grain-fed livestock as the epitome of scalable agriculture, and to an extent, they are, but there are definitely areas of the world that these staples would be difficult, if not impossible to grow. That's where the transport logistics come into play.

    On the flipside, pretty much everywhere that humans live, there's *some* food that's local (how else did humans survive there before we could transport tons and tons of rice/grains/etc?). Local fruits, local vegetables, local fauna.

    If we could move to an economy of local farms cultivating local crops and livestock, feeding local people (rather than just selling them to the highest bidder hundreds or thousands of miles away), I think there's a good chance that the world *can* be fed a healthy, sustainable diet.

    Maybe just wishful thinking on my part, though. :)

  3. I feel that if a lot more people start to learn about aquaponics, than more people could follow the paleo diet sustainably.

  4. Wow, Paleo diet, have to try it sometimes.! great blog anyways!