Dear Pete, I Don’t Hate You!

Pete,

I feel like there is tension between us. Probably because of your strong Paleo views and your criticism against some dietitians and the way they practice. But I want to put an end to this war. I haven’t met you but you seem like an alright bloke. I would definitely sit down and have a beer with you (is beer Paleo? I don’t actually know?!?!). Well I would have a wine and you could have a sparkling water, surely that’s Paleo (even though soda streams weren’t invented back then). Oh I’m sorry I don’t mean to have a go at you that is certainly not the intention of this letter. I want to form a friendship, a collaboration, a partnership in fact. I know you have invited dietitians to ‘join you’ in the past but this will be different. I’m not saying I’m going to jump on your bandwagon and join your tribe, no no no. Any partnership involves give and take. I think we have a lot to learn from each other. I think we can make this work because we both have the same goal and vision – 

‘To Improve the Health of all Australians through Food and Nutrition’

And what a great goal that is to have! It’s a big task and that’s why we need to work T O G E T H E R – you and I, learning from each other and doing what we do best. You have some amazing skills to teach me and to bring to this partnership such as your passion and enthusiasm, your ability to inspire people to get back in the kitchen, your ability to get people excited about eating healthy, your media profile and connections and your ability to create delicious recipes (they are yummy I have tried a few myself!). And I have some great skills too – my knowledge of food and nutrition through my university education and practical experience with a wide range of people, my research experience and ability to critically review scientific articles and my lifetime of eating all foods and still being healthy (yep even those pesky toxic grains haven’t killed me – oh sorry it’s just so easy to make jokes!) I know you are very passionate about ‘The Paleo Way’ but if we were to improve the health of all Australians through food and nutrition there are a few points you will need to consider:

  • The Australian Dietary Guidelines were developed by a team of nutrition and medical experts who retrieved and analysed over 55,000 scientific articles. Check out who is on the working committee, their expertise and credentials are impressive! I feel very confident that these experts developed the the very best guidelines possible for Australians.

  • People from a low socio-economic status (SES) are at a higher risk of obesity, chronic disease and poor health. These are the people we need to target and help. People with a low SES cannot afford to buy kangaroo meat, organic virgin coconut oil, cacao or activated almonds which often appear in your recipes. I would think that most Australians wouldn’t feel comfortable spending that much money on food and ingredients either.  However, together we can create cheaper (and still very healthy) recipes with rice, wholegrians, beans, legumes, flour, pasta, vegetables and a lot of other fabulous, healthy, more affordable ingredients.

  • Ok I know you probably had a melt down reading that last sentence about using non Paelo ingredients but I suggest you read this recently published scientific paper. If you can’t access the full version you can read this wonderful summary. In a nutshell (I’m tempted to make a joke but won’t) plant-based foods were more protective against the risk of developing chronic disease compared to animal-based foods. Amongst plant foods, grain-based foods seemed to have a small edge over fruits and vegetables.

  • A diet full of sugar & processed foods is not ideal, I think we can both agree on that. But it doesn’t mean that these foods have to be banned, forbidden or never eaten again. By doing this it can create a very poor relationship with food, and we don’t want that do we? We want people to love food! And we want people to get excited about eating plenty of healthy, nutritious food while still being able to enjoy eating all food mindfully and in moderation. Because we ARE allowed to enjoy ALL food – and I know you do too! I saw you eating that pudding last night on MKR, you said you didn’t like it……………………you LOVED it (Ahhh you nearly fooled us!!). Don’t take that joy away from people or yourself! I encourage a diet based on vegetables, fruit, wholegrians and minimally processed foods while still enjoying everything in moderation. I am happy to report that I eat ALL foods and I am very healthy indeed (we know self reports aren’t solid evidence however in this case I have 55,000 studies to back me up ie. the Australian Dietary Guidelines).

So they are the main points I want to highlight at the moment but there are more that we can touch on when we catch up. I know you are quite strong in your Paleo ways but I think you (soon to be us) will gain more followers and respect when you take my advice on board and acknowledge that the Paleo way might not be the best option for everyone and that it’s not the only way to eat healthy.

With my good looks and your wit, charm and that sparkle in your eye I think we could be unstoppable!

I look forward to chatting to you soon so we can take on the world, well we will start with Australia first. And I promise I won’t even make any Paleo jokes at your expense.

Talk soon. Or send me a tweet! #pateandalex #peacenotwar #thedynamicduo #healthyaustralia

Warmest regards,

Alex

Image Credit

Latest Comments

  1. Philomena says:

    Brilliant Alex! Looking forward to Pete’s reply

    Like

  2. Emma says:

    Alex I absolutely loved this! We really do just need to work together, on our common ground, and do our best to improve the health of all Australians!
    Love love love this. I cannot wait to see his reply either!
    Well done lovely. X

    Like

  3. steph says:

    Oh Alex!,

    I love this, and I really hope he reads this and he loves it too!…

    I tried the paleo way, and I’ll be honest it just didn’t butter the bread for me…and I was paying triple to have all these fancy things!

    (Not to mention John almost left me for feeding him such food)

    I hope you two make a wonderful team, if not we will conquer MKR next season!!

    Much love to you x

    Like

  4. Tim Crowe says:

    I love this post more than you love Pete

    Like

  5. The Nutrition Guru says:

    Love this. Hilarious! As funny as it is, it’s so very true!

    Like

  6. Candice says:

    I know the paleo way works because I am sick and my health has improved. I don’t care how many tests have been done. This was of eating is the best way to improve your health….I’m not talking about loosing weight I’m talking about feeling good the right way….I feel good when I eat carbs but would rather eat health filling good fats and veggies (btw organic isn’t that pricey if you know how to shop). Don’t mock it until you’ve tried it! 🙂

    Like

    • Candice says:

      sorry I meant to say I feel good for a moment when eating carbs and it slowly kills me, I have improved my brain fog, anxiety, joint pain, hair loss, depression, dry skin…etc through this way of eating…no dietician has helped me reduce my symptoms this much ever!

      Like

      • The Dietitian's Pantry says:

        Hi Candice, great that you are feeling better! I certainly don’t have a problem with the Paleo diet it can be a great, healthy way to eat. However the point I am trying to make is that it’s not the only way to eat healthy, it’s not suitable for everyone and some of the information around grains and dairy being unhealthy/toxic/bad for us etc. is incorrect. Some people may find that they can not tolerate these foods very well (and in that case best to avoid them!) but that doesn’t mean it applies to everyone or that everyone should avoid them. The study above actually showed that they can be protective against the risk of developing chronic disease. Some of the healthiest populations in the world eat wholegrians on a daily basis such as people who live in the blue zone. I am just saying if Pete was a bit more open minded he would be able to reach out and improve the health of a lot more people which is what we all want! 🙂

        Like

  7. Amy says:

    Love, love, love your letter! I do hope he replies. There are so many things that he could learn from real dietitians with real credentials, rather than his woo woo practitioner friends (as my community dietetics supervisor called them). Let’s eat all the carbs! All the vegetables and fruits! All the dairy! And eat them all in moderation! Let’s embrace a whole way of eating, rather than a narrow, expensive, almost cult like expression of a diet…

    Like

    • The Dietitian's Pantry says:

      Thanks Amy! Love your approach to eating! Moderation all the way!! I haven’t heard back from Pete and unfortunately it looks like even the health authorities can’t get through to him after he insists on publishing his book which could actually cause serious damage to a child’s health.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Naomi says:

    Thanks for writing this! I’m hoping to become a dietitian for this very reason -to make sure that the information available to the public is credible and promotes a healthy relationship with food, rather than load up on expensive superfood and impose restrictions on the ‘bad’ foods by making people feel guilty. This letter seems very friendly and not at all demeaning, so the block on Facebook seems quite unfair. I really do hope that dietitians gain more recognition for practicing evidence based nutrition and prevent people from getting sucked into pseudoscience and fad diets. I’m so frustrated by the ‘food shaming’ that people seem to be spreading and that a specific way of eating is ‘perfect’. It’s a way of putting others who don’t eat as ‘healthy’ as you below you and creates a hierarchy.

    I really appreciate your blog and you writing about these topics Alex! Can’t wait to read more 🙂

    Like

  9. Kerryn Boogaard says:

    Love this Alex! I too believe we can work together, learn and actually help people NOT confuse the hell out of them!

    Like

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