Sally Fallon – President of the Weston A. Price Foundation Attacks the Paleo Movement: My Take and Rebuttal

Primal Power Method Weston A Price FoundationOkay folks, here comes a Gary rant–and it ain’t a pretty one! In the Summer 2013 issue of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) Journal, Sally Fallon makes a seething attack on the Paleo movement in order to make sure WAPF and Paleo aren’t confused with each other. A couple people in the Paleo movement have already given rebuttals to Sally’s piece, but they really don’t go after Sally because they are associated with WAPF, and are afraid to offend her. Plus these supposed Paleo movement people who went after her, are more on her side anyway, and just use the Paleo moniker to make money. So far I don’t know of any individuals on the Primal side of the house giving their take, so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring, as I think I have a little different perspective on the matter and you know I’m not afraid to let it fly. I’m not exactly sure why Sally would lash out at the Paleo crowd, but maybe she’s losing WAPF members to the Paleo movement and felt the need to “rally the troops” with a positioning statement like the one she wrote.

First of all, just to position my own philosophy here; I don’t belong to any single group or follow any one nutrition philosophy and this is why I consider myself to be Primal. My beliefs and teachings are a mix of Paleo, Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (PPNF is the original Weston A. Price endorser), WAPF and the Low-Carb movement. I take the best and most practical pieces from each philosophy and blend it into my own. I firmly believe there is no one universal system that fits all when it comes to nutrition and exercise. Everyone is different. I mean, not everyone out there can tolerate dairy products or grains, and not everyone can squat 400 pounds. This is not to say that these are necessarily bad, but different strokes for different folks.

One of the key differences between the above-mentioned philosophies and the Primal lifestyle is that Primal isn’t just a diet–it’s a holistic health movement that includes mind, body and soul. The above mentioned philosophies are primarily focused on food and diet. Matter of fact, I’ve never heard exercise ever mentioned in the WAPF model, and I have boisterously ranted about that before. But after attending the International WAPF conference last year, trust me, it becomes very clear that they have no interest in exercise. I will say that out of all the conferences I have ever attended relating to health, the WAPF conference had by far the most out of shape and unhealthy group of attendees I’ve been around–and yes, that includes Sally herself. Everyone who follows me knows I practice what I preach, but I find that not to be the case with an alarming portion of the WAPF followers and leaders. I find it not only offensive, but very disrespectful that Sally has started throwing stones at us Primal/Paleo practitioners, when many of us who lead the movement respect and reference Dr. Price’s research and probably send a good bit of memberships over to WAPF as well. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

I’m a member of WAPF (I have since cancelled my membership), but after Sally’s rant I’m pretty sure I will not be re-upping my membership, nor promoting their organization to anyone else. To me it shows that WAPF is more concerned about how their views are represented than actually helping people. We are all in this together. We’ll never agree on everything and that is what makes what we do so dang great. I mean, heck, most of us Primal/Paleo/Low-Carb practitioners started on our path to health from the information dispersed by WAPF.

Now getting back to Sally’s article here; I won’t dissect the entire article, but I’d like to share a few points where she is completely misguided and in most cases flat out wrong and offer a rebuttal to each of those points.

The first paragraph that got my attention was:

“Many have characterized WAPF as advocating a high-protein diet, much like the Atkins diet. While we stress the need for adequate, high-quality animal protein, we have also pointed out the dangers of a diet too high in protein, which can rapidly deplete vitamin A. Traditional diets varied from 10 to 20 percent of calories as protein (See “Adventures in Macro-Nutrientland” at westonaprice.org). Twenty percent of calories as protein is the maximum, appropriate for athletes and growing teenage boys; most of us do well on a diet that has 10-15 percent of calories as protein.”

First of all, this is taking the one size fits all approach. I have read numerous research articles that say the real numbers are more like 10 to 50 percent of calories derived from protein by various cultures. Also, Sally does not handle clients on a daily basis like many of us do, nor does she have a background in athletics. I guess that is why she likes to use a profile picture from about 30 years ago. On the other hand, I was an athlete and I work with high caliber athletes on a daily basis, so I think I might have a little experience in this. Again I have seen what 10 to 15 percent of calories derived from protein looks like at the WAPF conference and let me tell you it ain’t pretty! Here is a simple fact; when it comes to protein consumption and athletes, they need more than the average American for muscle repair and building. If I had any of the athletes only consume 10 to 20 percent of their calories in protein I would be out of business very quickly.

Fact:

Between 1906 and 1918, famous Canadian anthropologist and explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson documented the fact that the native Inuit tribes inhabiting the artic regions had a diet consisted of about 90% meat, offal and fish. Due to the fact that very little vegetation would grow during the cold season, the Inuit would often go 6 to 9 months a year eating nothing but meat, offal and fish—essentially, a no-carbohydrate diet. Yet, the Inuit people were perfectly healthy and displayed amazing physical strength and endurance. Vihjalmur found that he and his fellow European-descent explorers were also perfectly healthy on such a diet.

References:

Collins, Gary. Primal Power Method: Change Your Body. Change Your Life. The Modern Caveman Lifestyle, Simplified (Albuquerque, NM: Second Nature Publishing: 2013)

Lutz,W.J. “The colonisation of Europe and our western diseases.” Medical Hypotheses August 1995 (Vol. 45, Issue 2, Pages 115-120)

I think Sally should stick to talking about something she knows and she should stay out of the professionals neck of the woods–you’re doing a huge disservice. I love the fact that she presents no facts in her so called “expert opinion” on protein consumption for athletes.

Here is the next doozie:

“The recommendation to increase protein intake using egg whites, lots of lean meat, skinless chicken breasts, skim milk or protein powders is not only dangerous, but unnecessary—getting enough protein is not an issue in the Western diet. What we tend to lack is good-quality animal fats, which help stabilize blood sugar, support numerous processes in the human body, and serve as a key source of the all-important fat-soluble activators.”

Okay, I’m not even sure where she got these “recommendations” from, maybe from one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s books from the 1970’s. I don’t know of anyone within Primal/Paleo recommending the above. This is just making up your facts as you go along. Hey Sally, for the layperson, how about you define what the fat-soluble activators are?

And it gets better:

“Advocates of very low-carb diets (I guess this is us) insist that we have no biological need for dietary glucose, but intriguing new evidence indicates that carbohydrates support thyroid function, protect the digestive tract, and even help with blood sugar regulation. This may explain why people develop cravings for carbs after following a carb-restricted diet for some time.”

Wrong again Sally! People who initially convert to the lower-carb form of eating have a desire for sweets and carbohydrates for 12-18 months because they are sugar burners and are addicted to numerous feel good hormones (serotonin – dopamine) released from over consumption of sugars and refined grain-based carbohydrates.

Fact:

“Hungry rats that binge on sugar provoke a surge of dopamine in their brains. After a month, the structure of the brains of these rats adapts to increased dopamine levels, showing fewer of a certain type of dopamine receptor than they used to have and more opioid receptors. These dopamine and opioid systems are involved in motivation and reward, systems that control wanting and liking something. Similar changes also are seen in the brains of rats on cocaine and heroin.”

“In experiments, the researchers have been able to induce signs of withdrawal in the lab animals by taking away their sugar supply. The rats’ brain levels of dopamine dropped and, as a result, they exhibited anxiety as a sign of withdrawal. The rats’ teeth chattered, and the creatures were unwilling to venture forth into the open arm of their maze, preferring to stay in a tunnel area. Normally rats like to explore their environment, but the rats in sugar withdrawal were too anxious to explore.”

Reference:

http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S22/88/56G31/index.xml?section=topstories

Maybe take a look at this study Sally it has been around, since 2002.

She just keeps digging deeper:

“Dairy products are especially important for growing children in the Western world because they supply calcium in amounts needed for optimal growth and healthy bones. Much as Paleo dieters (and advocates for a plant-based diet) may insist otherwise, vegetables are not a good source of calcium. You need to consume three cups of raw kale, for example, to obtain the same amount of calcium found in one cup of raw milk, and much of that calcium will be blocked by oxalic acid (even when the kale is cooked), whereas raw milk contains numerous components that facilitate the absorption of calcium. (To get the same amount of calcium in one cup of milk from carrots, you would need to consume eight cups!)”

Fact:

Huh! Okay, elephants have the biggest bones of all animals, pretty sure there is no raw milk and cheese in their diet, except milk young get it from their mother. I’m pretty sure they eat a lot of green vegetation, must be that raw cow milk based grass!

Reference: Elephants! Sorry I couldn’t help myself with this one, obviously I know we are not the same as elephants a little Prima/Paleo sarcasm.

Ok just one more this one about made me fall out of my chair:

“And this brings me to my biggest concern about paleo—the application of this restrictive diet to growing children. Do we really want to bring up children in our grain-centered and dairy centered culture by denying them these delicious foods, foods that can be nourishing and wholesome if raised, handled and prepared properly? Many advocates of the paleo diet are childless and may not have thought this through. What does it do to the psychology of a growing child to always say “no” to foods that are prevalent in our culture, to deny them ice cream (homemade, of course), whole milk, sourdough bread with butter, baked beans, and potatoes with sour cream? While we certainly should be careful about our children’s diets, they need to grow up on a diet that says, “Yes, you may,” not “No, you can’t.”

What the hell is she talking about at this point? I’m pretty sure that shoveling a ton of grains and ice cream down the throats of our children plays a huge role in the epidemic of child obesity that we’re witnessing today. This doesn’t surprise me in the least, considering every meal at the WAPF conference I attended was loaded with grains and there were far too many dessert options out there to be called healthy. But as I later discovered, WAPF’ers love their organic, farm-fresh desserts much more so than they do their waistlines. Let me get this straight by pointing out that Sally calls it hogwash what our ancestors ate in the paleolithic period, but then has the audacity to preach that feeding our children a diet of baked beans, sour cream and ice cream, which I’m pretty sure Dr. Price never mentioned in those “traditional cultures,”is totally okay because it is Sally approved! I’m not going to even get into Sally’s statement that most Paleo followers are without children because I think those Paleo bloggers out there who are parents do a fine job ripping Sally a new one.

I could go on and on about this article, but I think you get the point. You know that saying “those who throw stones should not live in glass houses?” Well, I think this is a perfect example of that. I guess it is more important to make sure your little empire is protected and people don’t get confused with those other healthy diet ideas. That is why I created the Primal Power Method to give you the building blocks, but you have to make the tweaks for what works best for you.

Another important point is Sally lives on a ranch, 99.9% of Americans do not, so I think she is so far removed from what us health professionals deal with on a daily basis, she has no clue what she is talking about. I think it is best said to leave it to the professionals, writing about, or should I say having other people write about it is one thing, practicing is a completely different animal (no pun intended – ok maybe).

This last point tells it all a recent picture of Sally Fallon, I think you now get the point! Remember one of my rules: if the person is in worse shape than you that you are getting your health advice from that is a big problem.

Primal Power Method Fat Sally Fallon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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