Last night I had the great pleasure of joining a fantastic panel of Paleo diet and lifestyle authorities at an Eating Paleo in NYC Meetup Event. On the panel were John Durant, Melissa McEwen, Christian Wernstedt and myself. The crowd was filled with the Paleo-curious, Paleo-beginners and overall Paleo-enthusiasts who were looking to gain a bit more insight into some of the nuts and bolts of this way of living and eating that so many of us have come to embrace.
I arrived a few minutes behind schedule (oops, navigating the parking situation in NYC isn’t my strong suit) and was pretty surprised to see the entire room filled with people glued to their seats, listening very intently as the other three panel members had begun to describe the foods eaten as part of a Paleo diet. I was quickly welcomed and introduced, then jumped right into the mix to talk about our experiences, share information and educate the group, and field questions in an informal but structured way. We generally answered each question either across the entire panel, or one or two of us at a time would provide responses to them according to our experiences or areas of expertise.
Panel Member Blog/Site Recap
Some of the topics that we covered in the talk included:
- Foods eaten/eliminated in a Paleo diet and why
- Health concerns, issues and states of overall un-wellness that have subsided since changing our diets and lifestyles
- What other factors play into a Paleo lifestyle besides diet including sleep, movement, sun exposure, community and stress
- The mechanism by which plants defend themselves from predation (ie: us eating/digesting/absorbing them), anti-nutrients and how traditional preparations of some of these foods might alleviate some of the problems but not nearly all of them
- The concept of leaky gut and how neolithic foods contribute to the damage of our digestive integrity
- How to base choices on knowledge of the topic rather than a rigid set of rules of “this is Paleo, that is not” and how Paleo is not a religion, but a framework on which to base educated decisions about diet and lifestyle
Some of the questions asked by attendees included:
- What had each of us had eaten that day?
- What might account for attrition rate from a Paleo diet back to old ways?
- What motivates each of us to lead this lifestyle?
- Where should we buy meat?
- How should we prioritize quality (ie: buying only grass-fed) vs practicality of implementation and budget?
- What is our position on specific foods including: dairy, nuts, sweet potatoes/white potatoes, avocado, saturated fat, butter, yogurt, artificial sweeteners, honey/dates/raisins?
- How much meat should someone be eating?
- What’s the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished? If cows aren’t fed grass, what are they fed and why?
- What are some common experiences people have when making the transition away from neolithic foods to a Paleo diet?
- Would it be better to go whole-hog or make small changes in your diet gradually?
Don’t you wish you had been there?!
Well, there are ways to find out the answers to the questions above in bits and pieces by reading the blogs of each of the panel members, attending events and workshops that we host/teach (many are all over the country, not just in NYC – my workshops are all listed here on my site), reading books that we recommend including Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution,” and listening to Paleo-oriented podcasts (The Paleo Solution, This Week in Paleo, Primal Body Primal Mind Radio to name a few). You can also get a ton of information from my own book (Practical Paleo Nutrition Guide Book) where I explain a lot of the nutrition details as well as provide practical how-to’s, lists of foods and quality choices, recipes, meal planning and more.
Start a Paleo Meet-Up of Your Own
If you have an interest in this topic, jump on meetup.com and start a group in your local area. Before you know it, you’ll have formed a community around which you can rally and host fun events like this one. Hey, you may even be able to all go in on meat shares together! If your group gets big enough and you want to have me come and speak to the group, get in touch. We can arrange a workshop or Q&A session where ever you’re located.