Are you struggling to afford paleo? Today’s post is for you.
Soon—as in less than two weeks from now—I’m launching a podcast called Harder to Kill Radio. As such, I’ve managed to corral a few of my wonderful friends to be my guests so we can shoot the breeze about how to build unbreakable humans. So far, it’s been educational, entertaining and enlightening. (I’ve already recorded with a former roller derby badass, a unique naturopathic doctor, a couple living in a recovering earthquake zone, and more.)
Just the other day, I returned the favor and appeared on a podcast produced by one of my guests, Jamie Scott, the president of The Ancestral Health Society of New Zealand (AHSNZ). It so happens I’ll be traveling to New Zealand to speak at the first-ever AHSNZ International Symposium this October. That’s a picture of Queenstown, the venue, below. (Oh, and it’s open to guests, so if you’ve had Middle Earth on your vacation bucket list, this is a great event to tie into your trip.)
Change is Good
The topic of conversation with Jamie turned to paleo, and he asked how I think the community has changed in the last five years.
My answer: a lot. Naturally, paleo has evolved since I got involved back in 2009.
It’s a movement, a living, breathing, grassroots collective of individuals bringing diverse viewpoints and novel ideas to the proverbial table. Scientists, health care professionals, bloggers, and laypeople continue to come together to move the discussion forward of how to manage living in this modern world while respecting our bodies and minds. This isn’t a community led by a bureaucratic governmental body or heavily influenced by legislative lobbyists.
Debate is good. Change is inevitable.
So, what’s the bad news?
As paleo becomes more mainstream, it has turned into a prime target for marketers wanting to make their bucks on a “new and popular” paradigm. I’m not talking about folks within the community offering their expertise to the public in the form of products and services. Rather, I mean the opportunists from outside the community who notice paleo is trending and can’t wait to capitalize by putting the p-word on their products.
In a way, it reminds me of the low-fat diet craze of the 80s and 90s. Snackwells, anyone?
Companies seeking to twist the “rules” and take advantage of technicalities, hawking “paleo” products and making claims that sound too-good-to-be-true seem to be popping up like mushrooms on a rotting forest log. Am I against capitalism and a free market? No. Is it my job to help educate my audience? Yes.
This brings me back around to the title of this blog post.
If you are struggling to afford paleo and feeling the pressure from marketers who claim you need whatever they’re selling to do it better, the first step is to buy food, not products. You don’t need “products” to eat a nutrient-dense, satiating, whole foods-based array of amazing, wonderful fare.
Eating paleo doesn’t mean you need pre-packaged energy drinks, snack bars, breads and cereals(!), meal replacements powders, crazy-expensive, single-use kitchen contraptions, and the like.
If you have the money and the spirit moves you, certainly buy what you like (there are no paleo police), but if you’re feeling the pinch in your wallet, always come back to meat, seafood and eggs; veggies and fruit; and healthy fats. Prepare these with a simple set of kitchen tools like pots and pans, a cutting board or two (so you don’t cross-contaminate), and a couple sharp knives. Learn how to make food irresistible using a balance of flavors like salt, savory, sweet, and sour plus adding a bit of texture. These can all be achieved using no more than actual food. “Products” not required.