I finished reading the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf a couple of weeks ago, and have been itching to get some dialogue going about it. I was led to this book in my search for information regarding gluten intolerances, autoimmunity, and inflammation issues. As I mentioned in a previous entry, it appears that many roads are leading to gluten as a possible culprit for many issues. And that makes me very sad, but I do prefer sad and well-informed to happy and ignorant…in this situation…as a dietitian…and person concerned with wellness. Although I am sure I would take happy and ignorant in many other arenas! There are plenty of things I’m sure I would rather NOT be enlightened about. Anyway, moving on.
My point is, this book brought up even more questions that I feel the need to investigate. Even if the answers are not the “good news” that all grains are awesome for almost all bodies, like I would hope.
Robb Wolf does a really good job both in his lessons on human nutrition and metabolism of foods, as well as the extensive review of literature and resulting bibliography. He is obviously extremely passionate about the subject matter, and has spent years putting together pieces of a very complex puzzle. I commend what he has accomplished and the lives that he has undoubtedly changed because of his efforts. I am also thankful for his efforts, and am enjoying digging through some of the articles that he has in his citations.
Now enough with the compliments for a minute, because I do have a bone to pick with this wise guy. It is obvious that he has come under a fair amount of naysayers, critics, and disbelief from the medical establishment and dietitians, because his defensiveness is not only palatable throughout the entire book; BUT, he also cuts down, insults, and hammers registered dietitians like it is his job. I mean he is straight up dogging us, and for the most part calling us ALL stupid. He doesn’t even try to be semi- politically correct by saying “many dietitians” or “the dietitians I have spoken to” or “the official position papers put out by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics” before insulting us. It’s just a blanket statement condemning our profession as a whole, as a bunch of schmucks.
Now I can understand his frustrations, and again, am sure he must have come across his fair share of narrow-minded, condescending, and critical dietitian/doctor types in his quest to disseminate the information that he believes in, and is passionate about.
HOWEVER, why is he insulting and alienating the group of people who could be his greatest advocates? We are the established and accepted experts in the field of nutrition and dietetics, AND we are passionate about all things food and nutrition related. Why else would we have gone into this field in the first place? Most of us went into this area of the health sciences because we are caretakers and want to help other people be healthy. The health of others is our entire mission. Robb’s passion developed out of his own illness and a need to figure out why his own health was suffering. He happened upon the Paleo diet as a viable solution, and that was a great discovery for his health.
All I’m saying Robb, is give us lowly RD’s a little bit of credit. We could be your most influential ally and a force in the medical and research arena that could help push your hypotheses to the next level. Be nice to us man, we are good peeps! Our biggest fault it seems, in light of your research findings/uncoverings, is that we all went to college and actually believed what we were taught. And as healthy 18 -22 year olds, in upstanding higher education institutions, why would we question the information that our professors told us we must know, understand, and be able to regurgitate in order to get an A in class and thereby our career? You questioned it at age…30?…because you were sick as a dog with no answers. But again, dude, come on…this does not make you super human smart, and our entire profession a joke.
Ok, so now that I have attempted to defend our (RD) honor, I guess you want to know what this Paleo diet is all about.
Basically, my take home message from Robb’s book, is that our genetics are not wired to process any grains at all, and their HUGE presence in our diets is the primary downfall of our health in general. He is linking heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, digestive disorders, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, among others to chronically high and constant insulin levels/spikes related to our heavy ingestion of carbs/grains, beans, sweets, etc.
Obviously, there is a lot more to it, an entire book in fact, and I think the book is definitely worth reading. It has some great information, and I found all of the anthropology extremely interesting. It did have me questioning why that is not a part of a Human Nutrition and Foods Degree curriculum, as I found it to be definitely relevant information. His explanations of metabolic and biological systems is so spot on, and the way it leads to the natural conclusion of his hypotheses, makes one wonder how more health professionals have not been beating down this line of information/questioning/research all along.
Of course, I need to delve into this further for greater understanding, but I think that Robb Wolf’s Paleo diet does have a place for certain populations, and probably more than we would ever guess. He talks a lot about sleep, stress, and fat, and the roles they play in this big picture as well. I am really glad that he included all that he did on these subjects because I know that they are enormous factors in our nations obesity and poor health epidemic. And he does a great job of showing the exact biological mechanisms of cause and effect.
I found a guy and the UK with a great blog, and liked how he reviewed Robb Wolf’s book. He also goes on to give more specific information on the diet itself, which I am not going to go into here. So, if you want to read his bit, here is the link: www.drewprice.co.uk/blog
Anyway, happy reading, if you want your whole carbohydrate happy world to go crashing down around you! Or you could choose the route of ignorance is bliss, but if you read my blog I kind of doubt that is your M.O.!