Big ebook fan for a while, now. I got the Sony a few years back, upgraded to the newer 505 model, but ultimately didn't like having to use the computer and software interface to buy books (plus, Sony refuses to make a Mac version of it, and since my never-to-look-back switchover, I hated having use Windows, even on my cherished MacBook Pro). So, a few months ago I got the Kindle, and just last week, the new Kindle 2. Big hardware improvement.
However, there is a drawback, which gets to the point of this post: you can no longer throw a book across the room, which is what I wanted to do last night — yet again — in my love / hate relationship with Loren Cordain's book, The Paleo Diet.
What I do love about it is the fundamentals, the principles: evolutionary biology, and pretty solid research into what foods our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten, and hence, what we would be most genetically adapted to eating ourselves. What I hate about it is how, when politically convenient, Cordain seems perfectly willing to violate his principles. Skinless white meat chicken, lean meats only, trim the fat, lose the salt, hold the butter, ditch the lard, fear animal fat in general…but, but, go right ahead and wash all that "heart healthy lean leal lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean lean (it's got to be the most frequently occurring word in the entire book) meat with a diet soda.
Many other examples abound, but here's the one that had me in fits last night. He goes on for page after page with valid information on the necessity of a proper ratio of omega fats (6/3) and finally gives us the rundown.
Best: Flaxseed oil is, hands down, the best oil for you. It contains a very low omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 0.24. The next best bet is canola oil, with a ratio of 2.0, followed by mustard seed oil, with a ratio of 2.6. […]
When you add one of these four oils to any food or dish-even by rubbing it on meat before you cook it-you'll help lower your overall dietary omega 6 to omega 3 ratio to a healthful level (the cutoff point is about 3; anything lower than 3 is good). Also, flaxseed oil is composed mainly of polyunsaturated fats (66 percent of the total fats), which will help lower your blood cholesterol. Canola and mustard seed oils, in which the primary fats are monounsaturated, lower cholesterol, too.
Better: Walnut oil is not quite as healthful (its omega 6 to omega 3 value is 5.1), but it's still a good fat, because it contains mainly cholesterol-lowering polyunsaturated fats (63.3 percent).
Good: Olive oil-the staple of the Mediterranean diet-is deliciously flavorful, and it contains high levels of healthful, cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats. However, its omega 6 to omega 3 fat ratio is marginal, at about 13 to 1. The same is true of avocado oil. However, if you love these oils, don't worry. You can still use them, and if you want to improve their omega 3 levels, you can blend them with either canola or flaxseed oil.
Setting aside all the irrelevant, unimportant, "cholesterol-lowering" PC hoopla crapola gobbledygook, got it? Take the oil squeezed out of clearly Paleo food sources like olives and California apples (avocados) and improve them with canola and ("the very best oil") flaxseed — processed frankenoils, as many of us call them.
Cordain is cherry picking, and that's very clear to me; and I think he's doing it to make The Paleo Diet PC. It 'aint. A Paleo diet is bloody and fatty, and that's just the facts.
Now, if that wasn't bad enough, can you guess what is the very worst fat on his list [Correction: I hadn't turned the page and he did have a lot of worse ones, if his numbering arrangement corresponds to bad to worse]? Coconut, the very plentiful tropical staple that grows like weeds and has been nourishing tropical peoples for eons. The Tokelauns traditionally got about 50% of their total energy intake From. Saturated. Fat. Hint: they were studied, and no, not dropping like flies from coronary artery disease. In science, that's called falsification. Cordain needs to go back to the drawing board, to very square one: his protestations regarding saturated fat are false, and to the extent that he does not specifically and thoroughly address the Tokelauans (and others), he's being dishonest.
Here's another clue. He dismisses coconut oil in a slimy way, by implying it has a huge 6/3 ratio, which is true. That's because it has no omega three, so the ratio is "infinite." However, coconut only has 1.8% polyunsaturates to begin with, so though there is no n-3, the n-6 can be dismissed as virtually trace.
I had not posted this short book review by Sally Fallon of The Weston A. Price Foundation before, as I considered it a bit inflammatory, particularly not having read the book myself. However, I have no reservations about linking it now. I recommend reading it for a good laugh.
All that said, there's many parts of Cordain's work that is very valid, very heroic; and there's no doubt he has helped a lot of people. I will try to focus most of the energies I expend on his behalf towards the positive.