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National Nutrition Month and Paleo- Can We Find A Common Ground?

By Nell Stephenson, B.S.
March 20, 2015
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National Nutrition Month and Paleo- Can We Find A Common Ground?

March is National Nutrition Month and according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,1 “the campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”

A recommendation from the USDA suggesting we take preventative measures to avoid leaky gut and cut out grains, or rely on leafy greens rather than milk for calcium, is a long way off. But, are there any suggestions for good health, which parallel what true Paleo diet living exemplifies?

The USDA,2 offers several resources for getting yourself on track for eating a “healthier” diet, including eating right on a budget, food plans, and tips of the day.

Unsurprisingly, the tips of the day tend to include advice like “make sure half your grains are whole grains” and “choose low fat dairy products in order to keep the calorie count low.”

But where are these recommendations coming from?

Marion Nestlé’s Food Politics,3 provides some insight in response to a report by the industry watchdog group, Eat, Drink, Politics,4 on some of the corporate sponsors of the USDA including Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and the Dairy Council. These food industry corporations influence the nutrition healthcare professionals’ curriculum, meanwhile in part or in whole develop the dietary recommendations for the general public.

So you’re saying, I’ll just find a Paleo practitioner! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Paleo is still a niche market where the many interpretations of what is and what isn’t Paleo are at odds.

We don’t know what we don’t know, until we know. In other words, it’s easy to simply go to the doctor when something is wrong and, if there is no indication that what you’re eating has a role in how you’re feeling, there isn’t a reason to naturally doubt their council.

In an ideal world, we should be able to go to the doctor, get sage medical advice, and be straight on our path to healing. And in some cases, this can happen. If you’ve found an incredible functional medicine doctor, or an amazing naturopath who knows to ask if you’re eating gluten when you complain of a skin rash, or tell you eating dairy plays a role in symptoms of gassiness and bloating, great! But for many, this is not the case and as a result, patients are faced with long term medicating and challenges dealing with moderate to severe symptoms. Misdiagnoses are common and so often, consuming a toxic Standard American Diet (SAD), is the unidentified culprit.

What can we do? Educate!

Everyone in the community can benefit tremendously by learning the effects of eating refined wheat-based products or drinking low-fat milk and eating battery raised chickens. And, while global change isn’t going to happen overnight, if we can approach it in stages, and get people on board little by little, it’s going to promote tremendous awareness.

One admirable and significant example is Jamie Oliver’s mission with Food Revolution:5

“My wish is to create a strong sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”

Start a community garden, offer to give a talk at your children’s school, or team up with other neighbors to create Paleo potluck meals or picnics on the weekend. By proactively approaching the health of our society with positive, fun activities, we can collectively get ourselves on the right track to health far more easily than sitting around stewing about the erroneous, inaccurate advice we get from the MyPlate recommendations.

Remember, we can catch more flies with honey, and since honey is Paleo (once in a while), we may as well take this route!


REFERENCES

[1] "National Nutrition Month." National Nutrition Month. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

[2] "ChooseMyPlate.gov." ChooseMyPlate.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.

[3] "New Study: Big Food’s Ties to Registered Dietitians." Food Politics New Study Big Foods Ties to Registered Dietitians Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

[4] "New Study: Big Food’s Ties to Registered Dietitians." Food Politics New Study Big Foods Ties to Registered Dietitians Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

[5] "Food Revolution Day - 15/05/15 - #foodrevolutionday." Food Revolution Day 2015. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.

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