And I Thought Vegan was Extreme...

The Paleo Dieter's Missing Link - Adam Farrah

When I wrote a negative review of a diet for diabetes with a Vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs) approach, someone pointed me towards Paleo as an alternative I might consider. To me vegetarianism, let alone veganism, makes no sense as an optimal diet given human biology and evolution. So I liked the idea that Paleo was an approach that included meat, and that it was based on an evolutionary approach--that is purportedly following the diet of our ancestors, of the foods our body was designed to thrive on.

In the end I find this approach every bit as extreme as the Vegan approach. No, more--I have a friend who is vegetarian and pointed me to a Vegan cookbook, and I found the recipes and meals you could build from that tasty--far more appealing than what is outlined as Paleo in this book: no grains, legumes, dairy, "nightshade" vegetables (such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers), no condiments or pretty much anything that comes in a box or jar. And the ironic thing is that this book is lauded as not "dogmatic" because it allows that some might be able to tolerate quinoa or rice or dairy products such as yogurt and kefir or raw goat's milk which strictly speaking aren't Paleo, and Farrah confesses he occasionally has a slice of (sprouted, sourdough whole grain organic) bread.

If you're looking for evidence or arguments for why we should eat this way, you're not going to find it here--this is a book really for those who already are convinced and want to embark on the lifestyle. It's also filled with lots of pages on matters spiritual I could have done without--there are other books out there on such subjects if that interests you. No recipes by the way--and that would be fine actually except that then so much material was </i>not</i> about diet but his personal lifestyle and philosophy. And a lot of material was repeated, making this book feel padded to me.

What saves this from a one-star rating is that if you <i>are</i> curious about what Paleo is, this will give you a solid introduction. It has an extensive bibliography and links to various blogs, a handy history of the Paleo movement and allied approaches such as the Zone Diet and Weston A Price Foundation. It satisfied my curiosity certainly, even if I find this way of eating completely unappealing and unconvincing as an optimal diet.