Sunday, 6 April 2014

Hamilton M. Stapell - The end of Paleo - Will it go mainstream? Barriers to entry

This lecture is from the Ancestry Foundation and can be seen here on youtube.
Will Paleo go mainstream?


I like Hamilton Stapell's lecture, he poses some really good insightful thoughts about the Paleo movement.
I agree with most of what he says but disagree perhaps on some other of his reasonings. Here is a review and my conclusions on what he said.

Will Paleo go Mainstream? 

This question is worth being asked I suppose. It's on the lips of so many Paleo people. It's natural to think and wonder if you and your friends are Paleo. That's a high percentage in your world.
But, at the end of the day, It shouldn't affect your continuing to live a healthy lifestyle. We chose the best way for ourselves, and what other people do is up to themselves.
Saying that, will Paleo ever go mainstream? We can see benefits to Paleo for sure, and wouldn't be easier if everyone lived healthy!
Hamilton Stapell conducted an online survey in 2013 on which he is basing a lot of his findings for this lecture. He doesn't say however how big the sample of the survey was or his methodology, perhaps that was on the screen behind him, but it's a shame he didn't mention any of them.
So what were his results?

Who go Paleo?

There are two groups, there are those who are sick and those who traditional medicine has failed. This includes people who use Paleo for weight loss. Then there are also those who want to increase performance.
Both groups of people are highly motivated, it takes a special type of person.
In his experience they are often professional, entrepreneurs, trainers and Type A personalities.
On his study 74% had a bachelors honours, far more than the national average.
Here I wonder about the sample size and selection. Without this proof the data doesn't mean much. But I can appreciate that it takes a motivated person to go Paleo. But it also takes a motivated person to starve themselves thin on some of these other modern diets.

A clear majority of Paleo people are middle aged and more women than men. 68% claim to be in a committed relationship.
So that's the type of person that goes Paleo, do I agree? Somewhat, I don't agree that going Paleo is based on a level of education or wealth, but I do agree that it takes motivation and to a lesser degree a Type A personality.

Barriers to Paleo going Mainstream - 

Cultural Barriers


Neolithic foods are tied in and woven around culture. Whether its the french with their Baguette or a Baseball game with hot dogs etc.
It is hard to imagine grains, legumes and dairy being removed from modern culture. I agree with that, grains are part of our culture and it will be nearly impossible to move away from this culture or habit.
Can you imagine a wedding with no wedding cake he argues?
Really though, I eat Low carb/ Paleo/ Ketogenic for 95% of the time but if I happen to be at a wedding once in a blue moon, am I really not going to have a treat? I agree that the whole world isn't going to go Paleo. It's not for everyone, but at the same time being paleo doesn't mean that you never ever ever have any of these things. That's what I think he is missing in some of his arguments. I don't know anyone Paleo that doesn't on a very rare occasion treat themselves or have something non Paleo.
Lets take his example of a baseball game and the culture of hot dogs. Even though its not a healthy choice, if someone ate clean, natural and unprocessed foods all week, and then had one hot dog at a game, I don't think that makes them unhealthy. I also don't think it prevents them from being called Paleo either.

Physiological Barriers

Neolithic foods appear to be addictive he adds. They appear to be a challenge to give up. They taste good? Really? Try and eat a carb only meal and it will taste horrible. A plate of plain pasta anyone? When they are mixed with fat however they taste good.
Sweet goods are definitely addictive. This is a huge barrier to someone going Paleo. Its not unusual for someone to have huge withdrawal symptoms from removing sugars and grains from their diet. The standard American diet is 70% neolithic or industrial foods. That's a lot to give up, and the addictive part.

Social Barriers

As humans we have a desire to have fun at our own detriment. We don't like being told that we cant have certain foods. We live in a generation that wants instant gratification. We want it now and we don't want to wait.

His Conclusions... My Conclusions

He concluded his lecture by stating that Paleo will not go mainstream because of the size of the step it takes and the interests that people and corporations have in not going Paleo. The barriers above are huge blocks preventing people from being Paleo.
I agree with him, because from my own experience, I've seen people try to eat Paleo, or at least no sugar and grains, and have either lost motivation or the drive to continue. 
People live in the here and now, most people aren't willing to change just for the future benefits. 
However, how I feel Paleo can find growth, is in the weight loss game. People aren't motivated to clean up their act until they finally have to, or are forced into it. 
Paleo is great for weight loss, Paleo shouldn't just be for Christmas but if that's all that people use it for, well, it's a start. Perhaps then, some might keep living that way even after the weight loss? 

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