It's only fair to share…

pork-kimchi-stew-with-cauliflower-riceRecently I went to a “radical” presentation. The man who was doing the session has been described as dangerous and a threat to our health. Yet, despite this, or maybe because of it there were over 200 people in the room keen to hear his views.

Now I must warn readers that they read on at their own risk. The following is anathema to dieticians, the heart foundation and an assortment of others due to its heresy. This man has been castigated for his ideas and for daring to speak them in public.

For those of you reading on, fasten your seatbelts as it is going to be scary!

The presenter suggested to the audience that it would be healthy for them to eat more vegetables, good quality fats, and moderate meat consumption. He suggests you cut out processed sugary foods, gluten and dairy. In addition he recommended drinking water in preference to fruit juice and soft drinks.

You can immediately see why he generates so much angst in health circles.

Imagine if everyone ate more vegetables, drank water and cut out processed sugary foods. I know it is hard to contemplate such a dangerous scenario, but give it your best shot.

There is a fascinating juxtaposition here concerning the dieticians association who are at loggerheads with this radical advice.

The previous day, dieticians had a stand at a shopping centre where they were promoting boxed breakfast cereal as part of a healthy diet. The sign at the stand invited shoppers to talk to them about healthy eating. The maker of the breakfast cereal provides grant funding to the association.

In fairness, if you ate this once a month as a treat there really is not a problem. But it is not part of a nutritious diet. It is a sweet treat. Personally I would prefer ice cream or a piece of cake, but to each their own.

The people promoting boxed breakfast cereal are the same people who class the gentleman promoting eating more vegetables as dangerous and his advice to be avoided or ignored. Even the President of the AMA apparently tweeted that people not follow the presenter.

To complete the picture, the presenter also suggest cutting out grains and dairy. Personally, I don’t see the need for these to be eliminated completely but most of us would benefit from eating much less of them. Neither is essential in our diets.

No other animal drinks the milk of another. There is nothing in dairy or grains that we cannot get from other sources.  This is where the food pyramid having grains at the base is so wrong.

So who is this radical person who dares question orthodoxy by suggesting we eat more vegetables, good quality protein, good fats and drink water?

The man in question is Pete Evans and the diet he talks about is paleo. I will confess to not having known that much about it prior to hearing the presentation. However any diet based on eating foods that till recently were moving around or growing somewhere is good for us.  I wrote this in the original Do It Yourself Health book.

There are many variations on the lower carb, higher fat diet. The names do not matter. The content of what you eat does. Do you have to totally eliminate gluten and dairy to be healthy? For many the answer will be no. For everyone, eating more vegetables, good quality protein and fats whilst eliminating or severely reducing processed foods is good.

Pete Evans and his approach to diet have attracted much criticism, some of it hysterical. When you actually listen to what he suggests, this criticism is hard to fathom.