So three months ago, I wrote a (sort of) takedown of the lack of anthropological data in many popular Paleo/Primal books and information in general. My view on this has not changed and I still will be looking into other data as I said I would, I just don’t have the time to write right now…I’m doing enough of that for school!
But recently in the last month or so, the whole paleosphere has basically blown up due to (thanks to?) the publication of Marlene Zuk’s new book entitled Paleofantasy… in which she basically says everything paleo is bunk, based on made-up garbage science, et cetera. So this sent pretty much everyone into a tizzy on both sides of the debate, something I’d frankly kept out of because I’ve been doing something more important than keeping up with a trend: reading books. Anyway, her book sent many people either into body-twisting shit fits or lots of finger pointing and sneering, depending on what side of the fence you’re on. I’ve read enough now to know that much of her book is written as a smear attempt, based on factually incorrect data that she, a evoltionary biologist, should have known better than to use. Kind of like Derek Freeman’s attempt to takedown Margaret Mead’s Samoan data by using his own heavily biased data, which was summarily ripped apart by the anthropological community. Zuk attempted a hit on the scene and she’ll sell a lot of books, convince a lot of people that eating meat and veggies (and other real foods) are a “fad”, but I don’t think she’ll be writing an update to the book in the future, her credibility will have suffered too much.
However, I did read a pair of great posts by Miki Ben-Dor of Tel Aviv and one by Paul Jaminet, author of the Perfect Health Diet (still the best Paleo diet book I’ve read to date) that go heads and shoulders above nearly everything else everyone has written. Not because they try very hard to maintain a neutral bias, but because they do one thing: stick to facts. Nikoley has a great post full of piss and vinegar, as anyone would expect, but it’s not something I would point someone to if I wanted to say “this will explain in detail why Zuk’s wrong”, whereas Ben-Dor and Jaminet nailed it on the head. One thing I read that I can really agree with is that Zuk’s book “should have been a blog post in 2012, not a book in 2013″ (Sisson, natch!). And he’s totally right. She mostly covered stuff that the community figured out about two years ago and summarily left behind.
All of this back-and-forth only proves one thing: paleo’s hit the mainstream and it’s having some real growing pains. Prominent TV talking heads have been talking about it for the last year or two, numerous news outlets have run articles on it (pro and con), and it’s even crept on to The Biggest Loser. This book will be both good and bad for the community as a whole, but it certainly will do little to stop its progress forward.