Dear Paleo, I Quit.


What is Paleo? There doesn’t seem to be one, simple defining set of words, and yet, for years, we tried so hard to fit our ideas of what a healthful diet was into the confines of the term Paleo. That ends today. We are not Paleo. We are Health-Bent, so go ahead and unlike us on Facebook.


We wrote about 80/20 living, X Number of Days Detox Deprivation Diets, and carbs in our book. So this really isn’t anything that’s changed with the way we think (Which is why we get pooped on for having carbs and dairy options in our book). We still eat and believe in the recipes in our book, but there a few things that lie outside the typical Paleo mindset.


I do not have allergies, autoimmune issues, or celiacs, and I’m not overweight, and that seem to be why a lot of people decide to “go Paleo”. So, if you “went Paleo” for any of the aforementioned reasons, some of the things I discuss below may not pertain to you. Personally, I eat for health/quality of life, performance, and to look good naked. The content below is based on my own personal experience. Everyone is different, and we don’t all do/perform/look the same on the same diet. Please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete your comment if you’re being an a-hole.


How it All Started

It’s 2006, I was in college, and went in for a colonoscopy, and later, an endoscopy, all so the gastro could tell me I had IBS  and here take this pill. I wasn’t impressed. A few months later, Brandon read The Paleo Diet, and thought it could help. I read the book, agreed that it made sense and thus the ball got rolling. We went full-blown Paleo. After years of reading and self- experimentation, we’ve 80 percented our diet as Paleo for almost seven years (That was weird to write, I feel old.). We started CrossFit in 2009, are pretty good at it, and are currently set to open our gym, Base 10 CrossFit, at the end of December.


Let’s Start a Blog & Tell People What We Eat

Throughout those years, we read the blogs and the books, and gave 2 hour long talks at the gym we worked out at. Our talks weren’t about cavemen and only eating what they had available, we talked about the science. Where we got it wrong was where we were looking for the science. We chose to reference the bloggers and books we read, from the people who were picking studies to prove their points; referencing PubMed and studies that, as a layperson, I couldn’t tell the grade A from the grade quack. I rarely (read never) clicked or looked up the reference links to read them for myself, and even if I did, would I even really know what it said (or didn’t say)? Probably not. I just believed the interpretation I was reading. I realized we were cherry picking the cherry pickers, and needed to find/read sources that were selling research, not a diet and a slew of products to along with.


From the very beginning, we always tried to convey ideas of 80/20, moderation, and enjoying the food we prepared and ate. We battled the Paleo Purists, and the “paleo-izing” of our favorite conventional foods & flavors, being told by one popular Paleo blogger that we had “sucrose sweetened venom” running through our veins. Lol. All so now those same dogmatic purists sell the same message, via hypocrisy, in the form of diet books, product affiliations, and cookbooks. Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), we don’t participate in the Paleo circle jerk (I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine) and don’t really find ourselves wanting to be associated with people who perpetuate perfection, dogma, treat/carb-shaming, and disordered eating a la guilt and excuse making when they eat “unpaleo” food. Anyway.


Eating “Clean”

Neither one of us are fans of the super strict challenges. Sure it helps people, and I’m happy if that’s what motivated you to make a change and you’ve experienced positive results because of it, but we think those types of challenges are completely unnecessary if you aren’t extremely overweight/obese, suffering from autoimmune/allergy issues, etc. Beyond that, I’ve never understood why craving something is bad. Why challenging yourself not to eat fill-in-blank for x number of days makes things better? What proof is there that some arbitrary number of days is going to “cure” you of those cravings anyway? And if you’re prone to disordered eating (more of us are than you realize), I really think these challenges of eliminating certain groups of food can makes things worse. It’s an unnecessary test of willpower. If the day after the challenge is over and you binge eat on the “not healthy” foods (who wouldn’t), that is proof enough for me that the challenge does nothing to “cure” you of any so-called “cravings” or “bad habits”.


Read it…it’s worth it, I promise. Why “Clean Eating” is a Myth


Orthorexia/Disordered Eating & Carbs

I came across the website and read about her weight loss success and her current diet. She’s vegetarian (I think), and eats a ton of carbs. I died. I couldn’t believe it. How did she not regain weight? How was she so ripped? Carbs are evil!


I was eating a typical paleo diet: lots of meat, vegetables with fat on top (butter, olive oil, etc.), virtually zero nuts, very little fruit, and I looked swollen & puffy, my face was broken out, and I consistently bonked during my workouts. I wasn’t happy.


This was when I began to realize that a.) I was eating too much and b.) I may have a tinge of disordered eating. Even with my disdain for 30 day detox deprivation diets, I realized that I was afraid to eat carbs. I didn’t vilify carbs per se, but how many carbs I ate took precedence over everything else. With no measurable results of my own, except that I wasn’t as lean as I used to be, I chalked it up to CrossFit and muscle (that you couldn’t see very well, because it was covered by a cushion). With all the hard work I was putting in to the gym, why wasn’t I happy? If calories don’t matter then why don’t I look the way I want to? That’s when I realized maybe I have this all wrong.


Energy Balance & Looking Good Naked

Let me be very frank here: If you don’t look good (my idea of good), I’m not particularly interested in taking your advice. Shallow? Snarky? Maybe. But if you don’t walk the walk, then, to me, you have have little credibility–I don’t care how many letters you have (or don’t have) after your name. And within the Paleo community, there are very few “credible” looking female figureheads. In other words, I’m not really inspired by many female paleos.


“Recently on the Internet, a common meme is that the application of thermodynamics to the human body is incorrect.  This usually comes out of people talking about something that they clearly do not understand in any way shape or form which is the energy balance equation.” – Lyle McDonald via


This is totally me (and most of us, I think). Paleo says don’t worry about calories, they don’t matter. Keep your insulin & blood sugar low, and you can eat all the meat, fat, and vegetables you want. That’s what I did. And that did not work for me (see above). I don’t have a science background, but I have enough common sense to know that if I’m doing what I’m told and I don’t like the results, then it’s time to stop, reevaluate and try something different.


“You have to be in energy surplus to gain weight and deficit to lose weight.  There are some dietary factors that dictate how much of that weight is fat vs. lean, but this appears to be largely dependent on protein and activity.  And it’s a lie that carbohydrates + high insulin favors energy storage as fat while fat + low insulin favors energy usage.  In the end, our carbohydrate stores are so small as to be negligible in determining long term energy balance.  We get fatter if we eat more calories because fatty acids have high energy density, and we store them in fat cells because that’s what they are designed for.  When you are in caloric surplus to the tune of 3500 calories, roughly one pound of lipid is deposited, hopefully in your fat cells.  How this exactly equates to a pound of adipose tissue or other tissue it might be deposited in and/or associated water weight is where the fuzziness comes in, but this doesn’t change the nature of calories and energy.  There’s no magic.” -Evelyn via



One of the biggest misconceptions regarding insulin is that it’s needed for fat storage.  It isn’t.  Your body has ways to store and retain fat even when insulin is low.  For example, there is an enzyme in your fat cells called hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL).  HSL helps break down fat.  Insulin suppresses the activity of HSL, and thus suppresses the breakdown of fat. This has caused people to point fingers at carbohydrate for causing fat gain.However, fat will also suppress HSL even when insulin levels are low.  This means you will be unable to lose fat even when carbohydrate intake is low, if you are overeating on calories.  If you ate no carbohydrate but 5,000 calories of fat, you would still be unable to lose fat even though insulin would not be elevated.  This would be because the high fat intake would suppress HSL.  This also means that, if you’re on a low carbohydrate diet, you still need to eat less calories than you expend to lose weight. Now, some people might say, “Just try and consume 5000 calories of olive oil and see how far you get.”  Well, 5000 calories of olive oil isn’t very palatable so of course I won’t get very far.  I wouldn’t get very far consuming 5,000 calories of pure table sugar either.” -James Krieger via


“Carbohydrates get a bad rap because of their effect on insulin, but protein stimulates insulin secretion as well(ZING!).  In fact, it can be just as potent of a stimulus for insulin as carbohydrate…The bottom line is that insulin doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it’s been given.  It’s one of the main reasons why protein helps reduce hunger.  You will get insulin spikes even on a low-carb, high-protein diet.  Rather than worrying about insulin, you should worry about whatever diet works the best for you in regards to satiety and sustainability.”-James Krieger via (my zing, not James’)


“As I mentioned earlier, people seem to confuse blood glucose control and insulin control.  It is the management of blood glucose itself that is partly responsible for the health benefits of low-glycemic carbohydrates, or reducing carbohydrates, or increasing protein intake, or consuming dietary fiber, or consuming fruits and vegetables, or consuming whole foods over processed foods.  It is not the control of insulin; the control of insulin ends up being a byproduct of these other behaviors through improvements in insulin sensitivity (how responsive your cells are to insulin) and reductions in blood sugar swings.” -James Krieger via


More about insulin and how it works in the body: Insulin…More of a Traffic Cop Than a Storage Hormone:


“It is clear that dairy products are extremely insulinemic, moreso than many high carbohydrate foods.  Thus, if the carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis were true, then we would predict that a diet high in dairy products should promote weight and fat gain.  However, studies fail to show any relationship between dairy product intake and weight gain…The evidence is overwhelming that dairy products do not promote weight gain, and they actually inhibit weight gain in animal studies.  This is despite the fact that dairy products produce very large insulin responses, as much or greater than many high carbohydrate foods.  Thus, it is clear from this article, as well as my previous articles, that the carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis is incorrect.  Insulin is not the criminal in the obesity epidemic; instead, it is an innocent bystander that has been wrongly accused through guilt by association.”-James Krieger via


And also, The Carbohydrate Hypothesis of Obesity: a Critical Examination via Stephen Guyenet:


Context, Dose, and Logic 

“So why is it in the field of nutrition and training that the majority seem to think in absolutes where the context of the situation is never taken into consideration?  Because as often as not, it isn’t.   Rather, individuals will state in absolute terms, regardless of context that such and such is good, or bad, or best, or worst.   Squats are good, squats are bad, carbs are good, carbs are bad, saturated fats are good, saturated fats are bad.  Pick a topic and you’ll find extremist, absolutist viewpoints on all sides…Because what might be perfect for a given situation could be the absolute worst choice for another situation.  Whenever someone starts speaking in absolutes, it’s clear that they aren’t thinking about the situation, they’ve ignored the context. In their mind, there’s only one answer (usually what works for them or whatever propaganda they’ve absorbed to the point of repeating it without thought) and the context be damned.” -Lyle McDonald via


“Yes, Kale does contain chemicals, all foods do. In very large amounts or in certain vulnerable people could cause problems. Many of the studies I chose involved animals with a diet almost completely based on kale, which I think anyone will agree is a bad idea. Most also involved varieties not sold for human consumption and consumed in ways that humans might not consume- uncooked, un-marinated, etc. A lot of the rest involved just scary language about various chemicals and studies involving isolated chemicals.” -Melissa McEwen via


Read the article. It’s satirical, but it makes a fantastic point–any food can be made to look unhealthy. It’s dose. Replace “kale” with “gluten” or “fructose” and this sounds like every excerpt I’ve read from someone tying to sell Paleo. Animal trials (I am not a mouse, and neither are you), or human trials on sedentary, overweight and deconditioned/untrained people (which I am not), dosage administered way beyond a normal intake, sometimes through the brain (I like to use my mouth to eat), and isolating the nutrient/food/chemical.


A few other interesting points from Alan Aragon via:


“Comparitive research favoring Paleo diets have failed to match macronutrient intake, making it impossible to isolate the inherent benefit of Paleo-approved foods.”


This includes calories, and should immediately raise your critical thinking flag.


“It’s impossible to universally define the diet of our prehistoric ancestors due to widely varying intakes according to food availability and geographical location.”


We’ve said this many times. Think about it.


On Grains:


Claim: “Grains contain phytates and oxalates, which are antinutrients (designed to protect the plant), reducing the bioavailability of essential minerals”


Evidence: “Phytates and oxalates are not exclusively contained in grains. They exist in a wide range of plant foods, including green/leafy vegetables…Selectively claiming that certain plants should not be eaten because they were designed to resist consumption is as illogical as claiming no one should eat animals with defense against predation.”


Question: “Are there some populations of people that you believe are extremely maladapted to Neolithic diets and therefore should avoid grains and legumes altogether?”


Answer: “I don’t think it’s practical or even accurate to assume population-wide extreme intolerance to grains and legumes. The issue with grains inevitably boils down to some level of gluten intolerance. The most current estimates of celiac disease prevalence fall below 1% of the population. As far as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) goes, a very recent study led by Daniel DiGiacomo of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University estimated that the national prevalence of NCGS is a smidge over 0.5%, which is about half the prevalence of celiac disease. I’ve seen higher gluten sensitivity prevalence estimates in less reliable literature, but the bottom line is that the gluten-tolerant fraction of the population is likely to be well over 90% of us. So, it simply makes no sense to view gluten-containing foods as universally “bad.” Adding to the illogic of banning foods that are tolerable by the vast majority of the population, the traditional Paleo diet doctrine selectively ignores the fact that ‘Paleo-approved’ foods (i.e., nuts, fish, and shellfish), have a combined prevalence of allergenicity comparable to – and by some estimates even greater  than that of gluten-containing grains. Another amusing fact is that 4 of the 8 “major food allergens” designated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act are Paleo-approved.” -Alan Aragon via


On Dairy:


Claim: “Cow’s milk is good for baby cows, but not humans. We are the only animal that drinks the milk of other animals.”


Evidence: “…Who gets to decide which parts of the cow we should consume? It’s perfectly Paleo to eat the cow’s muscle, but not the milk that laid the foundation for the growth of those same muscles?”


On Fructose:


“So, is fructose really the poison it’s painted to be? The answer is not an absolute yes or no; the evilness of fructose depends completely on dosage and context. A recurrent error in Lustig’s lecture is his omission of specifying the dosage and context of his claims. A point he hammers throughout his talk is that unlike glucose, fructose does not elicit an insulin (& leptin) response, and thus does not blunt appetite. This is why fructose supposedly leads to overeating and obesity. Hold on a second…Lustig is forgetting that most fructose in both the commercial and natural domain has an equal amount of glucose attached to it. You’d have to go out of your way to obtain fructose without the accompanying glucose. Sucrose is half fructose and half glucose. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is nearly identical to sucrose in structure and function. Here’s the point I’m getting at: contrary to Lustig’s contentions, both of these compounds have substantial research showing not just their ability to elicit an insulin response, but also their suppressive effect. on appetite [3-6].” -Alan Aragon via


Performance & Fat Adaption


“Low-carb diets have never gained a foothold in professional sport for one simple reason; professional athletes are expected to perform consistently at a high level. Their very livelihood depends on it. If their performance suffers, all hell breaks loose. Sports columnists start writing savage critiques, fans start calling for their heads, sponsors start wondering whether they should continue with lavish endorsements, and team selectors start sizing up other promising athletes as potential replacements. So, apart from the occasional wayward Joey, low-carbohydrate diets are avoided like an infectious disease in the upper echelons of sport. Given that they’ve been repeatedly shown to kill performance in glycogen-dependent activities, it’s little wonder that top-flight athletes and their coaches avoid them like a bad smell…The bottom line is that both zero-carb and low-carb diets are a disaster for those engaged in regular strenuous exercise. And for anyone with a sound knowledge of the biochemistry of energy production, this is no big surprise…If you want to train, perform and look like a serious athlete, you better damn well eat like one. People who perform vigorous exercise have no business eating a diet best suited to diabetics and sedentary soccer mums.” -Anthony Colpo via


“So what we have from Phinney’s study is sprinting performance that promptly went down the crapper, worsening endurance performance in 2 of the cyclists even at low exercise intensity levels, no significant change in another of the cyclists, and extremely unlikely increases in “endurance” in the remaining 2 that are most likely an artifact of test familiarization. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the pinnacle study from which we are supposed to conclude that low-carbohydrate dieting will not hurt endurance cycling performance.” -Anthony Colpo via


“During an interview at the [CrossFit] Games every individual athlete was asked who follows a paleo diet, and not a single one raised their hand.” -Talayna Fortunato, CrossFit Games competitor, via


Sidebar Figuring Out My IBS


Issues with my gut would wax and wane over the years. Sometimes I felt okay, sometimes I was pumped up like the Hindenburg. It wasn’t until 2011 when I read about FODMAPs and realized what MY IBS was…I can eat a meal full of gluten, grains, sugar and dairy (pizza and ice cream is my particular favorite) and wake up the next morning with a completely flat stomach, and no bubble guts (you know the gurgle noise your tum-tum makes) to speak of. What really sends me running for the bathroom and gives me a food pooch rivaling a 2nd trimester pregnancy are vegetables. Not all vegetables, but certain FODMAPs (pdf). Bloat sets in after I eat cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, eggplant, kale, raw zucchini, beets, most dried fruit, and chicory root or inulin. So, I avoid most of this stuff. It’s so funny to me the things that are unarguably Paleo are the things that mess me up the most.


What I Do Now

Within my routine below, there is some context that is important to know: I do CrossFit 4 times a week and want to eat to fuel performance, look good naked, and for overall health and enjoyment (that’s really important to me). I don’t have very much weight to lose, but I gain weight very easily–I’m the “last 5 pounds” kind of person. I have to work pretty hard and be very “present” about the food and quantities I eat to remain lean. My personal goal is to be a little bit leaner, not 6-pack ab- body builder lean, just leaner. It’s completely cosmetic and superficial, I know, but that’s what I want and I’m not ashamed of it.


1. My priorities are: Calories > Protein > Carbs > Fat


2.Within that hierarchy, I want to eat a varied diet, made of whole foods, most that I prepare myself. That’s nothing new.


3. Calories. Calories do count.  I believe that. First week, I weighed most of the food I ate (and I continue to do that off and on), so I could see what 4 ounces of meat looked like, or 1/2 cup of a rice, and stayed around 1800-2000 calories a day. I do CrossFit once a day, just whatever Brandon programs at the gym… strength, skill, and conditioning components are always there, but it’s a total of an hour of work, tops.


4. Protein. Most mornings I eat low-fat plain greek yogurt of low-fat cottage cheese for breakfast, mixed with sweetener like maple syrup or jam or a few eggs with some sort of toast, or very occasionally I’ll eat plain oatmeal with peanut butter and a banana. Lunch is leftovers or a salad with quinoa or a rice tortilla filled with meat and some cheese, snacks are vegetables (mostly cukes and red peppers) dipped in a yogurt dressing I make, fruit and/or a protein shake, and dinner is a lean protein, a veg, and some form of starchy carb.


5. Carbs. I eat a lot more of them now. Things like potatoes and sweet potatoes, but also non-paleo things like: quinoa, rice, rice noodles, and really good sourdough spelt bread with lots of butter. I don’t completely eschew gluten, but I don’t eat it everyday either.


6. Fat. It’s lower than it used to be, for sure, not because I think it’s bad, but because it’s not helping me reach my goals. I don’t eat bacon very often. I’m kind of sick of it anyway. I stick to leaner cuts of meat and add things like sour cream, cheese, avocado, etc. on top of the meat, so I can have greater control over the amount of fat I eat, because the #1 priority for me is calories.


7. Breaks. Once or twice a week (sometimes more) we’ll go out or make and eat whatever we want. It’s usually pizza and either Ben & Jerry’s or Häagen-Dazs. Yum.


Simply put, I’m eating fewer calories, eating food that I like, and food that makes me feel full. It’s been really easy.


That’s how things have been for the last 6 months. I lost 6 pounds easily, and have kept it off for the last 3 months, all without feeling deprived. I look better naked, my clothes fit better, I feel and do better in the gym, my skin has cleared up (with the exception of a minor blemish here and there) and I eat what I want when I want, in moderation. I feel really good. What else could I ask for?


At the end of the day, we started this blog and called it Health-Bent, because that’s what we are. We’re not Paleo-Bent. We want to eat the way that makes sense to us, even if what makes sense changes. We don’t know what we don’t know, so that’s why we believe it’s paramount to continue to read, learn, experiment and keep an open mind.


Resources: Who I Linked To & Who I Read


Alan Aragon

Lyle McDonald

Melissa McEwen


Evil Sugar Radio

Armi Legge


Go Kaleo

Whole Health Source

Anthony Colpo


290 responses to “Dear Paleo, I Quit.”

  1. I miss the posts, too. I’m sure you have a lot going on in your life with the gym and all. Just wanted to say that your website truly sustained me (and apparently a few others) when I was seeking a better lifestyle to help heal my hurting tummy. I find that overall a whole foods diet fairly free of grains and starches is the way to go, however, I’m not going to beat myself up if I decide to enjoy something that doesn’t fit that bill. It takes too much time and energy to do that over something that SHOULD be enjoyable. Eating can/should be fun and there are as many ways to do it as there are people on the earth!

    1. Dear Brandon and Megan Keatley,
      I would like to express a word of encouragement to y’all. It sadden my heart when a small group of people can derail the lives of those changing lives around them for the betterment. You will always have those come against you when you trample on what they feel is only there territory. They feel that they are experts because someone gave them the title. But God has given you talent and passion to create such a cookbook and more recipes. Never loose site of what he has given to you. Keep moving ahead. God will be right with you that is his promise.
      God Bless and Merry Christmas
      Ps. We bought your cookbook and love it

  2. I’ve low carbed for years and just recently have gone as Paleo as my life, and family, would allow…and I feel much better now than I ever did. I have certainly lost more weight now than in my previous all-carb-is-evil life. I think what is important is to remember to listen to our bodies…which is something almost none of us do anymore. And going through these quality-of-food/life dietary changes really helps with re-connecting with ourselves. Love this post. Thank you for the inspiration and honesty.

  3. Thank you, you have expressed my feelings on eating and “not eating” to a “T”! A few years ago I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, and then a gluten sensitivity (not allergy). This has made eating a challenge, and I want to say here that resisting a craving does not make it go away…I have not had a slice of pizza (real pizza with real cheese–not putting down anyone’s gf/df pizza here) since 2005, almost 10 years, but I still crave it! LOL Our bodies have the same basic road map, but each is unique, has unique needs, unique issues, so why do we insist on such food “straight jackets”? My goals are: to be healthy, look good naked, age well and with few issues, and to eat well (this means enjoyment too, which isn’t a bad word) all of which will allow me to live a full and active life. Kudos to you!

  4. … miss you guys!

  5. Elena Hamel

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I wish everyone could read this. I love your recipes, I love your ideas. You are just great.

  6. Wow. And I bought your book. Honestly your book offers great alternatives for the splurge desserts and meals etc. I can get similar recipe other places and I do. But…what a let down! Sigh. Oh my. Truly, I’m glad you feel better…but I’m sorry I gave you my money.

    1. And that attitude from peoiple is why they “quit”.

    2. “but I’m sorry I gave you my money.”

      You didn’t give anyone any money. You bought a cookbook. Geez.

    3. Jane, you are a very rude person!! I will never understand people like you that feel the need to say something so negative and mean.

      1. Paul- why would the cookbook be a let down? I actually just bought their cookbook last week and love it. I am not Paleo and never will be. I bought the book because I thought the recipes looked tasty, budget friendly, easy to make, and the book was rather beautiful. I’ve lost 10lbs doing what Megan has just described. I count calories, exercise, eat fresh foods, but I make sure to indulge and enjoy life every once in a while. Life is too short to not enjoy food. Keep up the great work you guys!

        1. Oops, Jane, not Paul

  7. Man, I miss this site and the posts. Really wish you would “un-quit” and continue spreading your awesome brand of amazing.

  8. This was incredibly refreshing and honest to read. I’ve experienced a similar learning process, and as an aspiring registered dietitian, quality research is the first thing to look at when deciphering whether a diet is legitimate or junk science. There is no one-size-fits-all diet but calories do matter and it’s up to each of us to figure out what works best in terms of where those calories are coming from and whether the diet is sustainable in the long term.

  9. I appreciate your honesty. It couldn’t have been easy. I applaud you.

  10. Rise’ Smith

    Thank you for your honesty and integrity. Cooking for a diabetic husband, I have appreciated all your healthy recipes and I do love your cookbook. But we’ve struggled with Paleo, and I still don’t think we’ve found the right balance for his insulin problems and our weight issues. So I will definitely be checking into the resources you cite, and will hopefully end up further down the road to our personal food understanding and lifestyle. Thanks again. I wish you success, peace, and many blessings!

    1. Karen H

      To get a kick start on dropping BS levels, try going raw vegetables, seeds, etc for at least 21 days. Check out Tree of Life video on Youtube. They had T1 and T2 try it for 30 days and 5 out of 6 that stayed all had normal numbers within first 1 – 2 weeks including T1!. I know that 3 years ago I did a somewhat raw/veggie diet and slowly over 6 months added meat, cooked some veggies, berries and whey protein (no breads/pasta) and lost 50 lbs, 5.0 A1c, cholesterol numbers in above normal ranges (HDL doubled to 69). I also had coconut oil every day some how or another. Some things I have learned along the way: T2s (and some T1s) are mostly like deficient in minerals (mostly Mg) and vitamins, hormones are probably out of whack, flour, sugar, potatoes, pastas, high sugar fruits cause Triglycerides to go up very high and that is what causes cholesterol numbers to go up. Also, you need cholesterol for your brain. DON’T go on statins unless you absolutely have to. Thanks for the blog. I just found it and it is very interesting and informative.

  11. Walter Sobchak

    Words can’t convey how much I love this post.

    Clearly, many people seem to do well on “Paleo,” whatever that means these days. For those people, I am sincerely happy.

    But, for me — a male in my mid-40s with years of crappy food — the endeavor was a failure. It was a combination of carb restriction with excessive exercise, obsessiveness with macronutrient ratios, paranoia about eating the “wrong” food, etc. There’s also somewhat of an elitist/cult-ish mentality.

    After a little more than three years on the plan, I experienced what I can only conclude was a adrenal/metabolic crash. It’s almost a year later and I’m still struggling. I fear I may never return to “normal.” Fatigue, random / wandering muscle pain and weakness, poor sleep, cold hands and feet are some of the things which I continue to experience. Some days are better than others.

    This is just my experience, given my specific genetics and history. It’s not to say that everyone will have the same experience. But, I hope it will serve as a warning to (1) use common sense (rather than blindly following gurus, like I did), (2) perform your own research and experimentation, and (3) listen to your body and do not ignore negative signs.

    I encourage folks to read some of Matt Stone’s e-books. Check Amazon for “12 Paleo Myths,” as an example, so you can get a link to his other books. They are cheap and worth the minimal investment. I also bought the audio versions, since I learn better by listening.

    Whichever path you take, I wish you the best of health.


    1. I experienced the same thing Walter! I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read your comment. Now, though, my body is so messed up that I have reactions to many different foods. I didn’t used to react to anything! I don’t even know how to transition to a regular diet.

  12. This is great news! I don’t believe in paleo anymore but stop by your site from time to time bc your recipes are great and simple, I also own your cookbook (one of my favorites). I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next with not as many restrictions, this may become my favorite blog. Good luck!

    P.s. Everyone needs to cut down their meat consumption anyway

  13. This is a great post! Thank you for it.

    I, like many others, have tried various “diets” over the years in search of what works best for me (in terms of sustainability, common sense, etc.). While I happen to LOVE a lot of the different paleo recipes out there and have some great cookbooks that I turn to frequently, I realized something recently that resonated within me: Jesus ate a lot of bread, drank a lot of wine and walked around a lot. (Don’t worry, I’m not a nut job – I’m just stating the obvious.) What does this mean in terms of carbs, grains, etc? Well, it just means that we each need to figure out what works best for us and do that thing. If it’s paleo, great. If it’s Weight Watchers, great. If it’s vegetarianism, great. Whatever your approach, be sure to get out there and MOVE your butt regularly!

    No matter what approach a person takes, they should bear moderation in mind (although no one really likes to) because, at the end of the day, too much of even a good thing is still too much.

    Keep up the great work! (I have your cookbook, too, and will be checking it out now that I’m settled into my new apartment.)

  14. Hi ya’all! Gee, I couldn’t believe it when I found your website and read thru….I have gone on Paleo for 2 years despite of my financial difficulties. I actually lost weight but when we moved back to NJ, Paleo doesn’t work anymore when I had my cholesterol tested. It spiked way up high and the doctor said Paleo diet is a no no for me. Too many saturated fats with the butter, lard and even coconut oil. Sure, I will miss the Paleo and the invested time with it sure is a hardcore!
    I don’t understand how this could be happening, I actually thought Paleo was the most healthiest diet there is. Now I’m on Dash/Mederritian Diet and loving it, I actually felt a lot better. Crossfit is out for me, I just don’t enjoy hard exercises. I loved going for a walk and will be going for the light run when weather warms up. I even thought of joining Zumba. I am enjoying foods more now that I’m able to eat varies of healthy foods with healthy additions judgementally. I would love to check your cookbook! Could I have the titles?

  15. Thank you for posting. I have had a very similar experience. My stomach issues actually got worse when trying to conform to paleo (and the more I talked about it (or complained about it) I found out many of the women at the crossfit gym were too ironically suffering the same problems-bloating, constipation, general stomach blah) but no-one would EVER blame it on paleo! After firing two GI docs (who blamed it on bad genetics and Rx Prilosec and Mirilax) then a functional med doc (who acknowledged it was food related and put me on an even stricter diet than paleo) I CAME ACROSS THE FODMAPS DIET!!! I love onions, ate onions inEVERY meal. I never restricted it because it is paleo and whole 30 complaint…… But onions are high in fructans and so is garlic…… you combine that with polyols (avacado, cauliflower rice, and cabbage) and you have a perfect lil chemistry project bubbling in your stomach. Of course as she mentions everyone is different (my husband can eat anything under the sun and stay, look, and feel fit). So if this sounds like you give it up and try something different!! Again thank you health bent for boldly speaking out.

    1. Jessica

      I had the very same problem! Paleo for 3+ years, and in the last year I started have stomach troubles (bloating/pain/gas etc). I came across the FODMAP diet and through this have found the following to cause me issues: onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot. I have to wonder if I haven’t done this to myself by loading my plate with these foods for 3+ years on the paleo diet. On top of this, after going very low carb (</~50g per day) I started feeling terrible and found out my TSH had gone way up and my thyroid was underactive. Added in some starch and my thyroid is back to normal (plus i've lost weight:))
      I now follow a modified paleo diet; eliminating these high-FODMAP foods and feel great. I would encourage anyone to try strict paleo, then introduce foods back that they feel ok with, rather than restricting yourself to so few foods (particularly if youre very low carb) to the point where you develop an intolerance/ gut imbalance like I did. I feel amazing after adding back in white rice, white potatoes, some dairy.

  16. I wish you would come back and post recipes for your version of healthy!

    I follow what I call a paleo-ish diet. I’m not strict paleo and I find mine works for me. I don’t get obsessive about macronutrients except maybe fat/cholesterol b/c I’m watching my blood cholesterol levels.

    come back to blog land!!!

  17. Enjoyed this post! It’s another reminder that we are all unique and how it is so important to listen to your body and do what works for you and brings you closer to your goals! Thanks!

  18. Rachel Kiecana

    I don’t really care if you are technically “paleo” or not. Your recipes are still great, and you make a good point. I still have to stick to a stricter paleo lifestyle due to celiac, but making major cuts to your diet isn’t good for some people, carbs are not the devil, and it’s OK to have a cheat meal. Glad you are more focused on healthy versus just blindly following a diet.

  19. I came to look for recipes and stumbled upon this post. Thank you!!! I feel exactly the same way and was so glad to see my thoughts verbalized by you. Here’s to those last 5lbs and leaning out!

  20. This is an absolutely fantastic post. Was here for a different post and got into this one. Well done, and shared.

  21. BlueSkyRedDirt

    I never take diet advice from someone who looks good but eats a meal full of gluten, grains, sugar and dairy (pizza and ice cream in particular) and wakes up the next morning with a completely flat stomach. We share little common experience.

    Best of luck on your journey.

  22. Love your site and this post! I also don’t have have any specific medical conditions that require a certain diet, but I have thrived on “paleo-ish” food in the last year. I don’t classify it out loud anymore, though, because 1) there are so many different definitions of Paleo it gets confusing and 2) certain people love calling me out if I decide to have a scoop of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, and who needs that?

    I think your philosophy is super healthy, both mentally and physically. Do what works for you and it’s OK if it’s not exactly–or at all–the same as what works for anyone else. The proof is in the pudding (however you decide to prepare it) so if you feel good and look good then you’ve obviously found your magic bullet. ‘Nuf said.

  23. I relate to you so much! I gain albs at the drop of a hat if i’m not careful. Counting and weighing my food is the only thing that works. Kuddo’s to you! I would love to hear about your new meal plan. 🙂

  24. Jacob Smith

    It is extremely, EXTREMELY ironic that you absolutely crush diet myths while promoting exercise myths. Cross Fit is just as bad as a dad diet and if you email or talk to any of the people you quote such as Alan Aragon or McDonald they will tell you that Cross Fit is the equivalent of the Paleo Diet for exercise. The problem is that you can get better results and more safely doing the exercises you can read about on the forums.

    1. maybe. but how can you bash something that motivates people to work out? the best workout in the world is the one you’ll do. whether that’s standard gym stuff, barre or crossfit. who cares?

      1. Jack Miller

        Well, couldn’t you say the same thing about Paleo, that it motivates you to eat better? It certainly did for me. I agree with a lot of your post in that I follow Paleo but sometimes I do it half-a** because I don’t think eating should be that damn difficult–although Paleo is certainly easier than most other methods I’ve tried. I’m a big craft beer guy so “gluten free” be damned if I have a nice oatmeal stout in front of me, but at the same time I’m not going to drink beer every day.

        So I am not super strict, but the BIG takeaway I got from Paleo (and from the Clean Program before that), is to eat natural, unprocessed foods. That is going to be my focal point going forward and being Paleo-ish has helped me in that regard.

  25. I’m a little late to the party since this was wrote about a year ago – but I see some people are still commenting 🙂

    Your comment “I was eating a typical paleo diet: lots of meat, vegetables with fat on top (butter, olive oil, etc.), virtually zero nuts, very little fruit, and I looked swollen & puffy, my face was broken out, and I consistently bonked during my workouts. I wasn’t happy.” is me right now. I’ve been doing paleo a lot less time overall than you did it looks like. About 4-5 months. I’d consider my self in shape at around 135 give or take 5’5. I’ve been crossfitting for about 4 months so a lot of muscle mass has been gained.

    My goal is to lean out also… I’m almost scared to stop doing the 80/20 paleo. I’ve become so adapted to it. Any advice on how to transition? I’d be curious to hear more about how you felt the first couple days/weeks when you started to eat more of a whole diet.

  26. So you are basically going against everything you wrote about in your cookbook, yet it is still funding your lifestyle even though you don’t agree with it?

    What a load of rubbish.

    1. huh?
      “We still eat and believe in the recipes in our book, but there a few things that lie outside the typical Paleo mindset.”

      and to say we’re funding our lifestlye–L O freaking L. Hardly! I’m flattered. Not as many people want a sane “paleo” book, as much as they want a miracle, woo-woo, black & white, dogmatic paleo book.

    2. Lou, what an asinine deduction. Read again.

  27. Still use the awesome recipes on your site. Don’t blame you at all for “quitting”.

    Those of you who paid for a cookbook with great Paleo recipes, received said cookbook of great Paleo recipes, and yet somehow feel cheated because the author chooses to modify how SHE eats:

    Get a life!

    …or don’t.


  28. Amy Simonson

    I LOVE the way you think! I totally agree with your thoughts. Makes sense to me and you just validated the way I’ve been eating for the last few years. No more guilt over not going Paleo! Thank you!

  29. Tami O’Brien

    Just discovered your site today(via Food Renegade). Don’t know what I missed out on with your posts, but if the recipes are any indication, a lot.

    I feel sorry for you, in that you have to read all those replies from hostile people.

    Sometimes, all you can do, is what’s best for you and your family. A shame, because you appear to have a love for healthful living and sharing the knowledge you have gained because of that.

    Good luck to you, and I do hope to see/ hear from you in the future.

  30. Hope you come back to posting soon. Love your recipes! love your approach!

  31. CaptainBinks

    I am truly confused. I have just finished reading “The Paleo Diet” book by Dr. Loren Cordain and happened on your blog while searching the internet for what people do when they find they “can’t do Paleo” (the diet is quite a leap from modern day fare). Dr. Cordain is very strict about what should be considered “Paleo” and butter, or anything dairy, is not Paleo. Also lard is not Paleo. Lots of fruit and vegetables are, along with nuts in moderation (but not peanuts, which are actually legumes), with emphasis on lean protein.

    Yet you say right off “I was eating a typical paleo diet: lots of meat, vegetables with fat on top (butter, olive oil, etc.), virtually zero nuts, very little fruit.”

    Maybe I’m so new at this I wasn’t aware of the original definition of Paleo and it has changed since 2006. Your old diet sounds typical of a “low carb” diet, like Atkins. Perhaps it was less Paleo than you realized? You admit early on “Where we got it wrong was where we were looking for the science. We chose to reference the bloggers and books we read,..” Either you are more right than you know, or the science has totally changed.

    Your blog is very popular and fun to read. I might suggest, however, that you rename this post “Dear Atkins, I Quit”.

    1. If you go online, many Paleo ‘scientists’ and authors, say butter is in, others disagrre. You can find any viewpoint supported on the net.


      (not my site-just a random result)

  32. Vengas Bong

    Listen up. This may appear cruel, but nonetheless I seriously tell you to consider carefully the things you just stated. This is totally messed up. Email me, and I will explain:

  33. It’s all a journey….and unfortunately, when the term “Paleo” is attached to it, all sorts of commentary gets stirred up (and worse when you are in the public eye). I did go Paleo to deal with Celiac, but still mix in some rice and rice noodles here and there because I feel ok doing it. I also HATE the term Paleo at this point, because it has become so loaded and fraught with angst over WHICH Paleo, HOW Paleo, IS IT Paleo, etc. Really, we seem to all need our own, personalized term for what we are doing: which is adjusting a healthy, whole food diet to our particular body’s needs. Mine are different from yours, and everyone else’s. The recipes you guys have put out have helped many of us, even with our very different journeys and concerns. Don’t waste time on the idiots that don’t get it. They don’t get it! 🙂 Sad that you needed to post that, I’m sure there’s a story behind that. I didn’t bat an eye at it, because I just assume that ANY person eating this way is adjusting it to their needs. My assumption is that your Paleo is different from my Paleo…and there is no need to question that or argue the details! Be well (and thank you for the pumpkin muffin recipe that I CANNOT stop making)

  34. This post kind of confuses me. You say you quit paleo, but you never really were strict paleo anyway, and say you still go by what you said in your book… so why did you quit blogging? Wouldn’t it be better to have a blog that has information that could help people instead rage quitting?

    I don’t know about all of these super strict paleo people, but you really shouldn’t let other dickwads affect your attitude towards how you eat. It’s not the diet that is bad, it’s the people. I know it’s worked for me, and plenty of others. Which makes me laugh at your comment about how different diets work for different people and to be kind, then go on an anti-paleo rant, full of cherry picked quotes (just on the opposite end of the spectrum). Yes, you have to do what works for you. But there is actual sound scientific evidence about certain things being detrimental, and, even if it doesn’t affect you immediately, it doesn’t mean it isn’t damaging in the long run. Just because you don’t get the shits from dairy the day after doesn’t mean you should be eating it. (On the opposite end, it could be perfectly fine, but it’s best to do a thorough test for possibly problematic foods rather than “well whatever LOL!!!”) I’m not saying !SCIENTIFIC STUDIES! should be completely relied upon, because I am literally 100% sure that every study out there contradicts another, but I don’t think they should be completely disregarded, either.

    People addicted to drugs crave drugs; does that mean they should do more drugs? lol
    I think the point is that sugar is bad. Don’t get me wrong; I love sugar. I love sugar so much and I will fight anyone over it. But, it’s a bad man, and, the more you get, the more you want. I actually cut out sugar a while ago, and, surprisingly, no longer had any urge for it. No, seriously. I decided to try a brownie… I made a huge mistake. Somehow it was even worse to try to get off it, and I STILL HAVEN’T. I FOR ONE WELCOME OUR SUGAR OVERLORDS.
    That said, I do not think cravings are inherently bad. It depends on what sort of craving it is, and how often you get cravings. No, wanting take-out once in a while is not bad, and if people shame you for it, they are dumb.
    Me? I want all the things all the time. I cannot eat this way. I get fat eating this way. It is not a case of “oh, someone SAYS it is bad, so it is” — I GET FAT FAT FAT when I eat how I want to eat. This was the case long before I knew of any paleo . I cannot “eat the things I want” because the things I want make me fat. I HAVE to suppress my cravings 100% of the time, because if I DO give in, then it’s even worse — I WANT MORE, MORE, MORE. (with a rebel yell)
    I don’t know if other people are this way or not, but you can see why a more extreme approach is needed in some cases.

    As for calories, I actually went by that for a while — didn’t work for me, at all. Meanwhile, limiting carbs did — while not even having a caloric deficit!! TAKE THAT, SCIENCE!

    About the fatties giving advice comment; I don’t really care, because I somewhat agree, but on the other hand, it’s possible they’ve done very well but are still progressing, and, thus, not at the super lean fit sexy point, but still had a lot more success with their current lifestyle than any others.

    I have to say, though, reading both your post and the comments I kind of lol’d. “YEAH!! FUCK!!! I QUIT PALEO!! FUCK PALEO!! IT DIDN’T WORK!!!” Uh, is paleo even a thing to quit? AFAIK paleo = eat meat, vegetables, fruits + limit grains + stay active. So… people stopped trying to live healthy? LIVING HEALTHILY DIDN’T WORK FOR THEM?! I dunno man, to me primal/paleo has always been a pretty lax and vague kind of lifestyle without any real strict guidelines beyond GRAINS R THE DEVIL!! but that’s pretty easy to get around… idk. I hate to say “UR DOING IT WRONG” but to fail at it sounds worrying…

    1. instead of rage quitting*

      Yes, that sentence was clearly incomprehensible without that note.

  35. thanks for sharing and we miss your recipe
    hope you can back anytime

  36. *sigh*

    If you’re eating vegetables, you’re eating carbs. Why don’t people figure this out, like, YESTERDAY, and stop pretending that only grains and tubers are carbs? Because it’s not true, and it’s causing a lot of alienation between the low-carb and the whacked-out-to-here-carbs camps.

    If it’s made of a sugar, it’s a carb. All plants are made of sugars, even the leafy ones with not very much starch in them. Fiber is a sugar. Just sayin’.

    Also, anyone who needs to be validated in not going Paleo has got worse problems than whether they’re doing Paleo “right” or whatever. Do it if you want to. Don’t do it if you don’t. Just keep in mind that not all health problems are obvious, and sometimes the worst stuff is the quietest.

  37. Brian Bailey

    Hi just wanted to drop a line saying I liked your cookbook. Sounds like you guys have had some ups and downs just wanted to let you know that everything you have done and are doing is still appreciated. Thank you.

  38. I see I’m late to the party (as usual :)), but I felt like my two cents might be valuable to another reader. We ended up on the Paleo wagon after an extensive journey into GAPS due to some serious issues with one of my kids. I have to say, that GAPS made huge and beneficial changes for her. Did it solve everything? No. Should I have stuck with the pretty damn restrictive guidelines longer? Possibly so. But, we sorta migrated over to a more manageable “Paleoish” diet…but perhaps more “Primal” since I am a firm believer in the benefits of raw milk, etc., etc. (thank you, Weston Price). What I found is that my youngest daughter was NOT thriving on Paleo – which I guess is what I used loosely to define a diet with zero grains, etc., etc. My eldest daughter was doing alright, but spent each and every day longing for pasta/bread/etc. She can’t have dairy with emotional upset and gluten sends her off the deep end. My second daughter was struggling with daily stomach aches and what some might call growing pains. In realizing that my version of paleo-ish wasn’t working for all (me included – bloated, gassy, exhaustion, etc., etc), we have begun implementing significantly more starches and grains into our diet. We ALL feel better. Less indigestion, fewer stomach aches and body aches, etc. I also discovered FODMAPS. Amending my diet to exclude high FODMAPS foods has made a big difference (but, oh dear God, I do miss onions!). I still believe that healing one’s gut in the secret to good health and we implement a number of healthy snacks, supplements and ingredients to continue work on that.

    My body (and my children’s bodies) was telling me I needed a change and I made one – and two, and three and…:). However, Paleo was not the right one – nor (despite what some people may say) is it the only one. I will admit that the fanatical aspect I get from some of the adherents of Paleo also is a total turnoff. Plus, on Paleo I couldn’t have buttered coffee :). Imagine how deprived I would be without that!

    The only reason I’m here on the blog today is because I checked the cookbook out from our library and like it a lot. I am a cookbook fanatic and I have found a number of recipes in this book that my kids should like, I should like and the somewhat irreverent attitude found therein makes me like the authors :). Will I add some of these to my own dictated food lifestyle and feel good about it? Absolutely “yes”.

  39. I first tried a Paleo diet two years ago with great success. I lost weight, felt great, and had a lot of energy. But things got so bad, so quickly. My thyroid levels were low, my hormones were out of whack, I developed a true intolerance to gluten and casein (dairy), and the final straw was that my cholesterol, etc were at the very high levels (genetics to some degree). I relate to never having an appetite anymore and as a former joyful “chef” in the kitchen, I lost my love to cook. What I did gain is an appreciation for eating less processed food, less gluten, and less dairy. Ironically, after time, I held onto weight. I noticed after a binge-y weekend I lost weight. I am aiming for a more plant-based diet now. Thanks for commiserating!

  40. Thank you. Great read and very timely for me. Helped me a lot in my recent decision to quit making excuse for mono diet gluttony. Absolutely loved your post.

  41. So to summarize, you once cherry-picked data that backed up your views, but now, realizing that that sounds bad, have replaced that model with one where if the researcher is unattractive, their data should be ignored.

    What an improvement…

  42. Late to the party, but really glad I stumbled across your blog and cookbook. Love your recipes and ‘voice’. I also appreciate your honesty about changes you’ve made to your diet. We all need to constantly evaluate what is working for us in our lives, be that food choices, career, family or extracurricular activities. Nothing is ever static and new studies and information are coming out all the time…usually conflicting or opposing views. Always learning is the one set in stone thing we should all do.

  43. Agree, agree, agree, 200%!!!! I´m a quitter too. I quickly realized that low carb is definitely not the right thing for me. Me too, I make a lot of sports and when I went on paleo I startet to really s… at it. I had no energy, my muscles were aching all the time, I had muscle cramps and was always in a pretty stinky mood! >:-/ I went paleo because I have celiac disease but there are so many good gluten-free alternatives (like rice noodles, corn). Besides, I never understood, why some good NATURAL food should be bad for us: like beans, sweet corn, lentils or peas. Paleo people´s main arguments are the so called “anti-nutrients”, but there is so far NO study, which has proven this hypothesis properly. In contrast: Soy bean products are healthy for women, especially during the climateric period. Further, paleo is just terribly impracital! A pain in the a…..! If you´re a full time jobber, working 8-9 hours per day, plus having hobbies, beeing sporty…who the heck has the time to spend hours in the kitchen? To search for meat from grass-fed animals? Well, who the heck WANTS to spend half of his free time in the kitchen, anyway?! For people on paleo diet there are almost ZERO options for quick snacks! So, you have to plan every day, prepare all your snacks ahead and thus: You spend half of your free time in the kitchen!! Another reason why I quit paleo: It is very expensive!! And boring. After 6 months you are fed up with all that veggies and meat, by the way, I don´t want eat so much meat. This is one more reason why I quit. I have chosen to be about 90 % vegetarian. So I went back to a high carb, low fat and natural diet and start feeling much better. My mood starts rising and my muscles don´t ache anymore. To me, paleo makes no sense.

  44. Much to my dismay, at age 40 my weight began to creep up. I assumed it was because of my age, a slower metabolism and hormonal changes. To change I had tried EVERY diet program, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Atkins as well as medically supervised programs with hunger suppressing medications. Each was successful to varying degrees. However, I ALWAYS gained the weight back. How could this happen? I have been on a weight loss/weight gain roller coaster for the last 20 years. I purchased several Paleo books until I found Nancy’s blog and then my life changed. This is the best overall in information and has great recipes. I have lost several pounds in a couple of weeks. I feel more energized, strong and balanced throughout our days. The best part is, for the most part, no crazy out of reach ingredients, the meals are simple and really tasty…all which fits in very nicely with our busy lifestyle.

  45. […] and health enthusiasts alike are guilty of cherry picking from the cherry pickers, says Megan over at Health Bent. A phrase so amazing because it’s so […]

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