Weight Watchers (recently rebranded to WW) put out an app for kids and teens who want to lose weight a few months ago. It’s called Kurbo, and it assigns “traffic light” color codes to different foods. Green foods like fruits and vegetables can be eaten freely, yellow foods like low-fat dairy, lean meat, and bread can be eaten in moderation, and red foods like full-fat dairy and sweets should be eaten sparingly or “planned for.” Kids under 13 need to sign up with a parent, while older kids can sign up on their own. Online coaching is available for an extra fee. Users are urged to track their food intake and body weight, even if they choose a goal like “Have more energy.”
Critics hit back. The Atlantic claimed that using apps like Kurbo won’t make a difference for the kids who need it most—those living in “food deserts,” those exposed to junk food marketing, those whose parents can’t afford healthy food and haven’t the time to fix healthy meals. Outside Online warned against the potential for Kurbo to create unhealthy fixations on food and “clean eating” in kids, setting the stage for eating disorders that can increase the risk of mortality, depression, and anxiety later in life. They called for an overhaul of “food policy” instead.
Most people learn about ancestral health through books and blogs, which makes sense—Primal folks tend to be big readers, and the complexity and depth and constant evolution of the knowledge almost requires the written word for proper transmission. But a well-produced, beautiful film with great content has a unique effect on viewers. The combination of video and audio are more convincing than prose to our lizard brains, making documentaries a great vehicle for the introduction of a radically new idea. Skilled creators in the paleo space have taken note, producing some excellent ancestral health documentaries.
Doesn’t hurt that we’re right, of course.
And though “ancestral health documentary” is definitely a sub-genre that’s on the smaller side, trends are emerging. Earlier documentaries were celebrations and explorations of (and introductions to) the relatively young lifestyle, intended for individuals hoping to gain control of their own health. Future documentaries are looking at the bigger picture—how ancestral health can help the entire world and the natural environment get healthier. In today’s post, I’ll go through some of the standouts, explain what they offer, look to some upcoming movies, and track the trends.
Change is in the air.
As the rest of the country engages in the same old partisan bickering about how best to rearrange the Titanic’s deck chairs, we have a chance to redirect course and avoid the iceberg. The USDA is considering some major changes to its dietary recommendations, and they’ve put out a call for comments from the public—an unprecedented request. Even better, they’ve requested comments on specific nutritional topics that they’re presumably interested in amending for the upcoming 2020 guidelines, including the safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets and the current maximum recommended intake of saturated fats.
In a perfect world, there wouldn’t exist such an absurd notion as a “sweet tooth.” Primal diehards, usually so commendable in their clean eating and healthy living, wouldn’t find their resolve crumbling in the face of a cafe counter overflowing with baked goods. A hearty meat and vegetable dinner or big ass salad lunch would fulfill all dietary and sensory requirements, rather than needing to be rounded off by something called dessert. Beyond the detriments of sugar and fructose and the toxins of artificial sweeteners stevia and an increasingly popular trademarked product called Truvia. How do they compare?
Sure, this post comes right on the heels of Cyber Monday…but is there ever a perfect time for a message like this? Yes, I run a business, but I still don’t mind kicking the cultural hornet’s nest. Some things don’t change.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t contradiction. Here I am doing my own holiday shopping today (don’t tell Carrie)—and offering my own deals to those who are interested. The holidays—with all the shopping and parties and prep—are fun. No doubt. Simultaneously, I know financial stress takes a major toll this time of year, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
As much as humans think they’re objective beings whose every decision emerges from cold logical calculation, we’re just irrational, emotional animals. That’s why stories and anecdotes are more convincing than facts, why people fear losing money twice as much as they enjoy making it, and why the guy making $100k per year feels poor if his neighbors make twice that. This kind of phenomenon is best explained by behavioral economics, a method of economic inquiry that uses psychological, emotional, cognitive, and social factors to explain why we make the often-irrational financial choices we do. And it has some interesting applications for health….
Time and again I find myself on the topic of eggs. I’m a fan really. In fact, I had them for breakfast just this morning (as most mornings).
They’re one of nature’s true superfoods after all—pre-packaged and ready to enjoy however you see fit. The healthy fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals contained within simply can’t be ignored, regardless of all those misguided cholesterol-haters out there.
Back in 2008, I provided a brief look into deconstructing egg carton labelling. That simple guide to egg purchasing has gotten a fair amount of attention and shares over the years, so I’m revisiting the subject to update and elaborate where it makes sense. I don’t see eggs ever losing their place in paleo/Primal eating, and I know others share my enthusiasm.
As the calendar draws toward the close of another year, I’m inclined to take stock of where the Primal vision stands. Are people slowly warming to the idea of Primal eating (and living), or are we merely seeing inconsequential, lateral shifts within the same old confines of conventional grain-based, saturated fat-averse, dietary “wisdom”?
All right, all right. It’s fair to say that, without examining the numbers, the majority of people are still stuck in their same detrimental ways. But are the cracks in CW I noted a few years ago deepening and expanding? If we look closely enough, could there be a bit of whole-food common sense shining in there? Or is it just some refracted marketing gloss that catches the right angle from time to time? Or just wishful, starry-eyed delusion?
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First up is a controversial topic: vitamin D supplements for breastfeeding babies. Do they need it? Can they get enough through mother’s milk? Or is there another, better method for ensuring optimal vitamin D levels in breastfeeding infants? Next, what’s my take on the ol’ ingredient bait and switch employed by food manufacturers? And finally, say a person’s trying to program kettlebell training into their weekly routine. Should they consider it cardio, strength, or something else entirely?
First off, let?s make no mistake. Americans are still binging on junk food. No one is declaring the end of fast food. Financial trends show as much, as does a casual look around. That said, there?s plenty to suggest that we find ourselves at an interesting junction these days when it comes to the food economy.
We?re seeing big packaged food giants, who lost four billion dollars of the market share last year, initiate ?healthy? or sustainable changes they hope will drive consumers back to their product lines. Several fast food chains are doing the same. It?s all part of a ?Big Food versus Granola Startup? movement, as described by a recent Fortune Magazine analysis of the food industry, a review that highlights the increasing role of health goals and smaller sourcing as well as questions the ability of large food companies to maintain their market share, particularly without heeding the alternative writing on the wall.