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