You use a little sugar or dairy in some of your recipes…that’s not Paleo.

We want to deliciously apply the Paleo framework here at Health-Bent. What does that mean? Well…

We use the Paleo prefix here. We need some kind of tag so you guys can find us that gives a decent idea of what we’re about (though not all encompassing). Paleo seems to be the most universal…since we are interested in entirely avoiding what we consider the biggest modern agents of disease: grains, excess sugar/fructose, industrial seed/vegetable oils…while keeping all carbohydrate intake relatively low. This in turn centers what we do eat on foods similar to what was available to our pre-agricultural ancestors.

But we don’t recreate Paleolithic times at our house. We use the theory of what people ate before Western diseases showed up as the basis for what we should think about eating and avoiding. Then we look at all the modern science. If the modern science backs it up…which it usually does, then we start to feel confident about it. But we definitely don’t want to recreate those times in all facets. We want to feed our bodies the way they want to be fed to be at their best but we like our Kitchen-Aid equipment, our indoor plumbing, and the fact that we can get on the computer and have a website.

There are certainly things that fall in between in a bit of a grey area. Some sugar (fruit) and dairy seem to be the ones that receive the most scrutiny.

It doesn’t seem like anyone really wants to go back to using stone tools and understands that eating Paleo as we have come to know it is not about reenacting the Stone Age, but using our reasoning and science to get the best out of both worlds, Paleo and modern.  EVOO is not really even technically Paleo when you think about it (olives maybe but not squeezing oil out of them)…and what about coffee??? Fruit isn’t the same thing as it was pre-agriculture. You’ve probably heard the term Frankenfruit. Whether it’s olive oil, some dairy, a little sugar or fruit…we don’t think it’s worth splitting hairs or feeling bad about…on the technicality of available/not available in the Paleolithic. We know that what we’re really doing is using the theory of evolutionary biology as a framework to apply to our modern food culture. We would not call these things “unhealthy” and feel that these items can have a beneficial place in your diet (or conversely…a less detrimental one) and we (as with everything else) think they’re ok to leave up to conscious evaluation of the individual. It goes without saying that if you have an intolerance/allergy or feel that you definitely want to remove an ingredient we use for health reasons…by all means do so. But that’s what we think the “paleo framework” is all about. It is open to interpretation.

We have written at length about our philosophy here, here, and here – and about sugar here.

 I thought the Paleo Diet was low-fat.

Those who have this notion likely got it from The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain. Here at Health-Bent we don’t LOVE this version of what is paleo. Newcomers to Paleo theory (eat what we’ve been eating for tens of thousands of years, not hundreds) may think that the paleo diet is synonymous with Cordain and his book. However, there are many other names out there for the same idea and different interpretations under the same Paleo moniker. Other names include primal diet, stone age diet, hunter gatherer diet, em^2 (evolutionary metabolic milieu from Dr. Harris). Really, Cordain didn’t coin the phrase or even first popularize the idea. (the paleolithic diet was first popularized by a gastroenterologist named Walter L. Voegtlin – wikipedia) I suppose his ubiquity has come from good marketing and from some good research but on the fat (especially animal fat) hang-up we disagree with his point of view…as do most other writers on the subject.

While it is true that game meat (flesh) is lean…it has been shown that hunter gatherers would have eaten the fatty parts of the animal first (brain, marrow, and organs) and if anything was left it was the lean flesh. Anectodally, it just never made sense to me that the only way to be healthy was to eat only the lean flesh of animals and waste the rest. It is worth noting that The Paleo Diet was published by the same company that owns and publishes Men’s Health magazine (known for its far more conventional (usually) whole grain/low fat promotion).

Our diet is high in fat and much of this is animal fat. Our bloodwork has been fantastic (triglycerides below 50 for example). From a science perspective we believe that including this fat is beneficial for many reasons. We feel that the fear of fat and saturated fat is one of the largest culprits in the health crisis we have in the states today. Rather than go on and on about the benefits of fat (saturated and animal), bad science that led to shunning it, and how this type is far better than new unsaturated vegetable and seed oils, I’d rather give you some links to authorities on the subject for you to read if you wish to continue.

*Note: We try to buy humanely raised (pastured, grass fed, organic, etc) meats when at all possible.

Hands down fantastic video on the bad science behind saturated fat myths.

And lots of articles:

Review of The Paleo Diet

Importance of Fats from PhD lipid biochemist – author of Eat Fat, Lose Fat

MDA on saturated fat – always easy to understand and comprehensive

No nonsense from PaNu

No bologna facts

This is a long one…and the precusor to the impactful book Good Calories, Bad Calories

This is why I said “usually” above – MH shows real clarity

  • More recipe sites! | CrossFit 206
    November 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    […] HealthBent is a recipe site with an index and an FAQ. I love the visual style of this site as well as the recipes. This pulled-pork recipe appeals to me! These writers seem to support the big Paleo picture and to be a bit lenient on some of the details, for example they include wheat-free soy sauce in this recipe. Soy is usually off limits. It is true that a little bit of certain nonpaleo foods (soy sauce) are better than a little bit of others (wheat flour). They address this perceived lenience in the FAQ. […]