The Real Problem With Paleo Isn’t Paleo

by Dr. Daniel J. Heller November 29, 2014

The origins of the Paleo concept stem, at least partly, from the perfectly reasonable observation that modern diets and lifestyles create a lot of unnecessary disease. It’s not a very big step from that to realize that we weren’t meant to be couch potatoes; we weren’t meant to subsist on salty, fried, sweetened, packaged, refined, and manufactured foods that didn’t exist until 50 or 100 years ago.

Based on this information, some authors (or marketers) found an apparently perfect target for their wrath: agriculture! Had not agriculture given us white flour and white rice? Wasn’t agriculture the ultimate source of potato chips and white sugar and corn syrup and genetically modified soy? Who regulates factory farms? The Department of Agriculture. Where are the most and herbicides sprayed and applied? Whoops, not on farms. They’re actually applied to on our lawns and gardens more, or at least those of our neighbors. But anyway, farms are the second most common place for them. Who is responsible for the potential mistreatment of farm animals, and the toxic application of antibiotics and hormones to them?

What this whole idea misses is that agriculture, in the pure sense, is not the problem. It’s modern, industrialized agriculture that feeds a huge food processing and marketing industry. And, of course, speaking broadly, we are the problem because we eat that stuff. I don’t want to try to analyze the ills of modern society, so let’s just stick to this idea of agriculture itself, as opposed to modern, industrial agriculture.

When it comes to food, agriculture is our friend. Plant-based foods, eaten in their whole form, are phenomenally healthy. Put in a caveat that some people are allergic to wheat, or corn, or legumes like soy and peanuts (or to strawberries or other somewhat less likely candidates). Taken as a group, whole plant foods are healthy, and are deservedly staple foods around the world.

If you pick out just a handful of them (like wheat and sugar beets and vegetable oil)—and process them and pulverize them and package them in plastic, then you have convenience store food that is really bad for us. But that isn’t really an agricultural problem—it’s an industrialized agriculture problem (and a food distribution and marketing problem, but let’s try to stay focused here).

Animals that are raised in cramped conditions that increase their saturated fat content and lower their healthy omega 3 fat content aren’t so healthy for us. The change in these animal’s natural diet from grass to grain and soy, which fattens them up, fattens us up too. But again, that is an industrialized agriculture problem. Animal husbandry 500 or 1000 or 5000 years ago didn’t have these problems.

This raises an important point—just about every animal product a modern Paleo advocate chooses to eat is a result of animal husbandry. That is, even their meat comes from agriculture. The kinds of animals and animal products we eat nowadays weren’t available to hunter-gatherers.

If the idea of a Paleo diet helps someone to eat healthier, that’s great. However, you don’t need to eat a lot of animal foods to be healthy, and you don’t need a fancy (or inaccurate) concept to guide you. A plant-rich, Mediterranean-style, whole foods diet with some non-industrial-style raised animal products in it will be healthy. And it will, above all else, be an agricultural diet. Eat more like an agriculturalist, and we think you’ll be as healthy as can be.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Follow Us

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • YouTube


The information and contents contained in this Web site has not been evaluated by the FDA. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or nursing, please consult a physician before taking any dietary supplement. If taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. You must be 18 years or older to purchase products. Individual results do vary.         

About The PMS Comfort Blog

The PMS Comfort Blog is our informal way of keeping you up to date on women’s health issues that we think are important; timely; underappreciated; useful; or just interesting. And, we’ll admit, sometimes we can’t resist poking some good-natured fun at the way the mainstream media portrays health, natural health, and women’s health issues. As always, we’d love to hear from you and are interested in knowing what you think and feel about these or other topics. Leave a comment for us, we’ll always respond. And, if there’s a women’s health topic that’s of interest to you, or that you find confusing, let us know! We want this blog to be helpful to you.


Dr. Daniel Heller is the primary author of this blog, the developer of our PMS Natural Relief Programs, and the founder of He is a holistic naturopathic doctor in Northern California with over 16 years experience helping thousands of women recover from PMS, PMDD, as well as helping women, children, and families find natural answers to all manner of health challenges.


PMS Comfort is here to support you with detailed, practical knowledge presented in a balanced manner you can trust. We are committed to educating, informing, and empowering womenregarding PMS, PMDD, and women’s health, and to providing natural relief for premenstrual symptoms.



Keep In Touch

We hope you find the PMS Comfort Blog worth keeping track of! You can follow us by Feedsubscribing to this blog. We also have an informative e-newsletter that keeps you abreast of what we've been working on. If you haven't done taken it already, our site's most popular and unique feature is our PMS & PMDD symptom quiz, which has been invaluable for thousands of women in helping them to understand their premenstrual symptoms. If you've enjoyed a post here, we'd appreciate it if you give us a Facebook "Like" or Tweet a link. And, of course, we'd love to have you friend us Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: those links are at the top of the page. Thanks!