The Paleo Diet: Meeting Stacy & Sarah and my Paleo Experience

Today, I ventured to my first-ever book signing at the Bay and Bloor Indigo to meet Stacy Toth and Sarah Ballantyne, two best-selling authors and voices in the ever-growing Paleo diet movement. Now, to be honest, I only ever listen to their Paleo View podcast when my partner, who’s the real fan, plays it on her phone for everyone to hear, but I enjoy it nonetheless (speaking of my partner, she just worked 26 hours at Sick Kids Hospital and was recovering in bed, hence her absence in the photo). I wanted to buy a couple of Paleo cookbooks and have them signed just as a little present for my slumbering doctor back home, so I arrived an hour early to beat the rush and get in line. But, after my purchase, I noticed that Stacy and Sarah were already sitting at their signing table with nobody else around. Seeing a golden opportunity before me, I made a beeline to the table, introduced myself, got my books signed just like that, and had a nice 10-minute chat about their latest travels (they just got off a plane from Minneapolis), Sarah’s post-doctoral work in Toronto (she did a fellowship at St. Michael’s Hospital), falling glass from downtown buildings, what a great city Toronto is, and miscellaneous Canadiana. It was a great experience and I was really glad to meet the owners of the podcast voices that regularly fill my home.

Am I a devoted follower of the Paleo diet? I’m off-and-on, and not nearly as much as I’d like to be (see my McDonalds post for proof). There’s definitely credible evidence around in favour of the Paleo diet. Eating good meat, lots and lots of vegetables, reducing/eliminating grains, and getting rid of processed foods, to me, just makes a lot of sense. You really can’t argue against eating REAL food. Also, and more to the point, any diet that says that it’s good to eat saturated fat, butter, and bacon will always be viewed favourably in my books. For the two months that I was a really good boy, I actually did lose weight. However, lately – and especially during the holidays – it’s been tough to not overeat or resist the yumminess of cookies and sandwiches. Thirty years of eating whatever without much regard for anything inevitably takes some time to undo. I’m working on it. It doesn’t help that McDonalds keeps sending me coupons.

A few years ago, I shared with my Grade 9 math students this blog post that contains a scatter plot showing the lack of association between saturated fat intake and heart disease. They were surprised to see that the negative messaging that they had received regarding saturated fat was actually not backed up by scientific evidence. But, as I am not a health professional, I didn’t tell my students to head to the nearest fridge and start downing butter sticks. I let them think about what the data might suggest and left it at that. Now, with some mainstream media writing about how doctors got saturated fat all wrong, I would direct students to read up on the topic, and also read some counter-arguments, and make up their own minds.

All in all, today was a fun day. My partner loved the cookbooks, and now I have no excuse to ever eat McDonalds at home, ever.

Unless more coupons come my way…

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