Paleo Pete

Oh Pete. Under scrutiny in the media about his new book, Paleo for babies (Bubba Yum Yum - The Paleo Way...), it’s a wonder he has lasted as long as he has. Firstly, the paleo diet. Now, don’t get me wrong, if someone has gone from completely sedentary, eating a very unhealthy diet and paleo has helped them make some healthy changes then that is great. I like that it advocates whole foods. BUT that’s where it stops for me. I say this a lot, but anyone even remotely interested in their health and well being will by default, eat a wide range of fresh fruit, veges, lean proteins and whole foods. You can’t not. This is the stuff that is full of nutrients. It tastes great and more importantly it makes you feel great. This is something I always wonder about – these people that somehow think that anyone interested in fitness doesn't eat this way. I’ll let you in on a secret – we ALL do. No one in their right mind would simply eat poptarts all day every day if they have an interest in their health and fitness. They just wouldn’t. Your inner health is more important than how you look on the outside, these two things go hand in hand. Feel good, look good, feel good. Paleo or not, fit people like to eat well.

Using analogies like comparing McDonalds to Pete’s new Paleo for babies formula is just stupid. People in to fitness don’t eat McDonalds all day every day. They may enjoy the odd burger now and then, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Its their choice and once in a blue moon is most definitely not detrimental to results. I personally don’t really eat McDonalds. I can’t remember the last time I had it. I am partial to their nuggets, but seriously I would not have had McDonalds for a few years. Now Nandos on the other hand… totally addicted! It tastes better, it has far less fat, it’s easier for me to fit in to my macros, and its fresher. Now that is my choice to have Nandos above McDonalds, and those are the reasons why I choose it.

Anyway, McDonalds as much as I am not their biggest fan, doesn’t have exorbitantly high levels of Vitamin A. Some people have been comparing his baby formula thing to McDonalds, stating that at least it is better. Well it’s actually not.

The main problem with Pete’s Bubba Yum BS baby formula is that it contains over 10 times the maximum recommended level of Vitamin A for infants. And contrary to popular belief, it is not necessarily beneficial to have extra vitamins and minerals as your body can only handle a certain amount. There is a maximum that your body can process each day, and anything over and above can actually be detrimental in some cases. Giving infants 10 times the maximum dose of Vitamin A can result in death. It is serious. 

Yet in this new book, this is what he is promoting. He is promoting Paleo for babies and children and this is a major problem. Apart from the issues with the baby formula thing, kids shouldn’t be limited, restricted or deprived when it comes to food. They need to eat a balanced diet they need energy and they need nutrients for their growing bodies. They need to be taught moderation and portion control. Telling kids that some foods are off limits never to be eaten is wrong. And it’s just plain mean. It’s setting them up for disordered eating, and will easily lead to other problems like orthorexia and body dysmorphia. Young females especially are under pressure as it is; society says they should look a certain way. It’s hard. It sucks being overweight at school. And teaching children disordered thinking around food is a really mean thing to do when they have enough pressure with body image as it is.

Paleo is simply two lists of food. One you can have and one you cant. Therein lies the problem. The scientific reasoning’s behind why certain foods are not allowed are non-existent. “Because that’s how we ate in the Paleolithic era” is not good enough. It is not even correct anyway, because back then they ate whatever they could get their damn hands on. And their life expectancy was around 30 years of age. I would already be dead. No thanks. How is following a diet where the average life expectancy was less than half what it is today beneficial? That to me is just bonkers.

The issue with restricting foods is that it leads to an unhealthy obsession with what you can and cant eat. This is not good for the mind (or the body), missing out on vital nutrients is one thing, but doing your head in, stressing, and having cortisol levels affected from this is extremely detrimental to your health. It causes unnecessary stress. We should eat to nourish our bodies, not deprive them. 

The other issue is the quantities of these foods. (I don’t think I need to touch on paleo cupcakes…..) HOW MUCH is the most important thing you need to look at when eating for your goals. WHAT you eat is secondary to this.

And I quote “the best part about this diet [paleo] is that calories don’t count” – Pete Evans.

I’m sorry, what now? Calories DON’T COUNT?? The last time I checked, every single study within in the past 100 years supports the theory of calories in vs calories out for weight management. Hormones play a big part too, but essentially your results will come down to energy in, energy out. So for Pete to say that calories don’t count, really just proves his intellect on the subject of nutrition. For someone to get that SO WRONG, yet have such a large following is actually really scary. The amount of people that are blindly following his idiotic instructions is mind blowing. The fitness industry is rife with cowboys like Pete. People with a large following of the public who believe anything they say, and for some reason haven’t stopped to think logically about what he is actually saying. They aren’t even taking his advice with a grain of salt. The important thing to do for your health and well being is to do your own research. If you are doing something, then you should be able to give the reasoning’s behind this rather than “such and such celebrity chef told me too” (or another great one “because my coach said so”).

Know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Your coach needs to explain why they have you doing certain things, so how come this yobbo Pete makes idiotic statements like “calories don’t count” and everyone stupidly believes him? It’s ridiculous.

The baby thing. Pete is promoting Paleo for babies and children. Now as mentioned, kids need a balanced diet. They need to be kids. They don’t need the added stress of wondering if what they serve at the school tuck shop is paleo or not? WTF!! This is wrong as it is, but now he has even gone one step further with his idiotic ramblings and decided that his version of a bone broth is better for babies than their mothers breast milk.. This is taking things far too far.

Not only is recipe 749% higher in Vitamin A than breast milk, it is 2,326% higher in vitamin B12, 1,067% higher in iron, 879% higher in sodium, and 220% higher in protein. The Vitamin A levels are the most concerning as this can literally kill a child. But they also can’t handle that amount of iron or sodium, it affects their kidneys and it can interfere with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.

It is extremely irresponsible of him to be giving such nutritionally incompetent advice. Yes people need to make their own choices and its up to them whether they listen to him or not, but as we have seen, people believe him on the old “calories don’t count” stance so in terms of him telling people to feed their babies something that could kill them, I’m pretty sure we would have more than a few morons actually doing this should his book be released. And if this happens, children WILL die. It is that simple. And it is that serious. 

Several professionals have made a stand against this Paleo for children book, mainly in regards to this baby formula alternative. These are health and nutrition professionals. People who are qualified to make these calls. Pete Evans is not. He does not know one thing about adequate nutrition for adults, let alone for children who are still developing, and babies, the most vulnerable of us all. He is a qualified chef, yes (so am I) so that means he knows food. You know what you learn in cooking school? How to make things TASTE GOOD. Good flavour does not necessarily correlate to good nutrition. And we all know by chucking loads of butter (paleo friendly incidentally, but only if its from grass fed cows, and churned by fair haired virgins in a lush green meadow) in to something then it’s going to taste damn good. Fat is flavour for sure!

Speaking of fat. Many of the foods on the approved paleo list are extremely high in fat Butters, avocado, coconut oil, the list goes on. High in fat means high in calories, and high in calories DOES mean weight gain. You CANNOT simply eat an abundance of high fat paleo foods without any repercussions. High fat diets have been proven to be a cause of heart disease amongst other things. Looking at how MUCH you are consuming, rather than WHAT is essential to a healthy body, inside and out.

The problems in the fitness industry all stem back to mis-information. That, and people wanting quick fixes (another topic for another day, and I have written on this previously as well).

Pete spouting on about Paleo this and Paleo that is actually very dangerous. Paleo is NOT optimal for anyone. Yes it can be a stepping stone from a very unhealthy lifestyle, in the right direction. But to be honest, I am a fan of getting things right the first time. Do your research. Don’t listen to people who clearly have no understanding of basic nutrition. Look for things that MAKE SENSE – calories DO MATTER. There is no doubt about that. Don’t waste your time on things that are not optimal for you, your health, your goals, your body, and your mind. Find balance, and don’t restrict yourself unnecessarily. And for goodness sake, don't feed your kids something that can kill them!