OMG, have I just become a paleo convert?

There is such a kerfuffle in food land this month, isn’t there! And on my Facebook page I’ve been receiving a bit of hate from both sides. Being moderate in my approach, I’m confusing people. So for the sake of transparency, I thought I’d be CLEAR on just what I think about the current Pete Evans/paleo ‘debate’.

I HATE that we are having a ‘debate’ at all, and that sides must be picked in a healthy food war. It’s silly and ridiculous that food has become so ‘either or’. Apparently if I am not eating paleo and drinking raw milk, I am sat on my fat bum eating as much processed food as possible, and washing it all down with Coke. The fervour of this debate exhausts me.

I LOVE that a person with such as large following as Pete Evans is inspiring people to lift their game, cook, eat fresh produce and rethink what goes in their mouths.

I HATE that he doesn’t share a bunch of recipes for free, online. They’re all in cookbooks, or in tv shows that he’s being paid to do. It makes me suspicious of the motives. Or just aware that he’s surrounded by very smart people. And hey, we’ve all got to make a dollar, and possibly I’m just jealous that he makes more out of a speaking engagement than I do all year.

I LOVE that he has such twinkly, lovely blue eyes. He’s quite handsome.

I HATE that certain foods are now ‘poison’. Even lovely foods straight out of the ground, like potatoes. Poor little potatoes.

I LOVE that he’s questioning the role big business plays in food production. Although there is a point where we DO have to feed everyone on this planet. Resources are strained, especially with all these healthy people living longer and needing to be fed for so many years.

I LOVE that the paleo/wholefoods movement is offering alternatives. I’ve read ‘Wheat Belly’ and have to agree that processed flour is overly prevalent and bad for us. There are other ingredients that we can use instead, although not in a sponge cake. Sad.

I HATE that food and fashion are so intertwined. Maybe I’m just jaded, but at 42 I’ve seen a bunch of fads come and go and I consider kale to be similarly aligned to shoulder pads in terms of taste and longevity.

I LOVE that Pete Evans is prepared to put himself on the line and be one extreme end of this debate. He’s shaking things up and I have a sneaking suspicion that the general consensus will end up resting somewhere in the middle between food evangelism and pragmatism.

I HATE that people are so uptight about food. It’s masking a bunch of problems. Heard of Orthorexia? It’s like a socially acceptable anorexia and it really concerns me. It comes complete with food group exclusion and obsession with what you’re putting in your mouth. I hate to see people being anxious rather than grateful over food.

I HATE that there’s no sense of humour around this topic. NONE. And this is possibly what I hate most, because while food definitely is thy medicine, so too is laughter.

So am I turning paleo? No. But there are some fantastic ideas in paleo in terms of ingredients and cooking methods that I’m happy to incorporate into my own long-term healthy approach to food and life.

So don’t hate on me if I decide to post a ‘paleo’ type recipe from time to time and don’t fret. Because next week it might be vegan, then sugar-laden, then vegetarian then raw. And that’s ok. I’m going to be the ultimate mum and not pick a side, but to urge you all to use your words, stop whining and play nice.

24 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Rebecca said,

    Very well written & I think I sit with you. I am GF & so is my daughter & we try to ensure there is lots of diff types of food in our house but without additives & preservatives. I take a bit from all “diets” or “fads” & do what works for us 🙂 thank you for the first non preachy post I’ve read on this subject 🙂

  2. 2

    Laura said,

    Great post Wendy. 🙂
    I’ll add ‘I love that he creates recipes that are suitable for my delightful little boy who has been medically prescribed a restrictive diet as it makes cooking for him so much easier!’
    Although the free ones online from lovely bloggers are even better. 🙂

  3. 3

    Kate said,

    I love your approach to nutrition and cooking and am so grateful you haven’t become paleo or sugar free or vegan or anything else, just balanced and moderate. I agree completely with your post (except for Pete Evans being handsome, I just can’t get past the tan and blindingly white teeth!) and am so sick of food religion!

  4. 6

    Terri said,

    Lol Kate you cracked me up. I can’t get past the tan or white teeth either. There will always be someone who is extreme in their beliefs and are going to save the world, we all know that is not going to happen. Love your approach to balance Wendy and sanity!!

  5. 7

    Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid said,

    Bravo! You can’t see me, but right now I’m standing up and giving you a standing ovation! Thanks for being the voice of reason.

  6. 8

    Gem said,

    Here here 🙂 Gratefulness is my approach to food too Wendy 🙂 We are incredibly blessed to be able to choose what we eat and to have variety of epic proportions from which to choose! Gratefulness is also what we teach our children (not a guilt laden type of thankfulness) and I have found that this too is an antidote to fussiness at our dinner table. What could be more right than to give thanks for the amazing vegetables we picked from the garden and cooked that same day?! Potatoes and all!!! hah! Thanks for a very engaging and moderate article, and recipes that my kids get excited about 🙂 ps. And thanks too that you blog lots of your recipes for free. I’m thankful for your generosity too!

  7. 10

    Kay said,

    I LOVE your honesty.

  8. 11

    Catherine said,

    As for the motives behind Pere Evans and not having free recipes…you are so very very wrong…I can get nearly every recipe from his website or Facebook page. And even if I couldn’t he needs to earn a loving just like me, you & everyone we both know!!! His books are very reasonably priced plus I can get most online anyways (which I have when I lent my book to a friend and needed a recipe to something I looked it up & bam found it online & free).

    • 12

      wendyblume said,

      We must be looking at different websites Catherine. And I find his Facebook page good but the recipes are buried amongst the hype. A nice Jamie Oliver-style recipe portal would be great.

  9. 13

    Ros Guy said,

    No whinging here. Just wanted to say Pete has put lots of free recipes on his FB page.

    • 14

      wendyblume said,

      Yes. Noted. Hard to sift through. There’s a recipe section on his website with a big “coming soon” banner. Hopefully they come soon. I use Jamie as my poster boy for this – tonnes of easy to search, free recipes AND he still runs a successful business, too.

  10. 15

    Kym Petersen said,

    A very common sense article from a very common sense person. I too, cook a variety of recipes from a variety of sources, using all manner of ingredients
    Sometimes I go all rad on coconut oil, tahini paste and chia seeds just to keep the kids on their toes. Then I’ll revert to a Women’s Weekly recipe book that Mum gave me eons ago, to give the kids a trip down memory lane. Then it’s time to bring them back to the present and try some Vegie Smuggling. Trying to round out their palates and keep my interest up in the kitchen!
    Whatever blows your hair back is what I say, no judging here.
    Moving on……

  11. 16

    Kerri said,

    Great post. Thank you.

  12. 17

    Alexx said,

    I adore this post Wendy. ADORE x

  13. 19

    Barbara Good said,

    Just like in politics, the moderates cop the hate from both sides, but we all know that’s where the answers to our questions really lie! I’m with you, a bit of everything and nothing on the banned list. ANd as I’m pretty happy to not be living in the paleolithic age I think I’ll pass on the paleo diet.

  14. 20

    Kate Rogers said,

    Great post. Except for one thing you got wrong. He DOES post free recipes online. Heaps. And they are usually straight out of his cookbooks. Almost every day on his FB page. And they are wonderful recipes.

  15. 21

    Jo said,

    I’m sorry to hear you’re still receiving hate from people. I love your mixed and moderate and relaxed approach to food.

    At this point in my life I have to eat a restricted diet for medical reasons, but I have no desire to force that on my family and certainly don’t want to be preached to. I have tried reading some of Pete Evans FB posts but have been disappointed with how promotional it all was. It’s possible that I caught him at a busy time but I think I will stick with you and a few other more relaxed bloggers.

    Thanks again for all your wonderful efforts. 🙂

  16. 23

    Toni Coward said,

    I love this post Wendy! So many people I talk with I feel like I have to “be careful” what I say about food so as not to get their backs up!!! Moderation in everything. Eat sensibly but enjoy it too! Go you!

  17. 24

    […] I really loved this piece from Vegie Smugglers about the way any discussion about food has become very either/or, us/them. Let’s stop doing […]

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