Paleo and Sally Fallon – An Overview

A short treatise on what is right and wrong with some aspects of the current “paleo/primal” and Sally Fallon (anti-soy) movements.

I’ve done this in two languages, so those who eat a great deal of pork and beef, and those who don’t can both follow along. In three parts. First, for the boeuf crowd:

1. Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink.

2. Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink.

Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink.

3. Oink, Oink Oink Oink Oink.

Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink. Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink, Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink.

Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink, Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink Oink.

Oink, Oink.

4. Moo. Moo.

Now, a translation for those not familiar with their language:

1. I’m not asking or advocating that anyone become a vegetarian or vegan. That’s not my actual interest. My actual interest is “lower on the food chain, with respect to land, water use, efficiency of growth of food, nutritional content, and sustainability. But, that’s lost on those who don’t think that broadly or deeply, and are after a shorter-term sensorial experience, I think.

2. If we truly lived in a “paleolithic” fashion, we’d have none – zero, null, rien de rien – of the animals that we have today to slaughter. Today’s farmed animals are culled from genetically inbred herds of mammals that arose thanks to human intervention. These are not “paleolithic” animals. (Mice are more “paleo” than pigs or cows). If you want to be “primal,” you have to hunt game, which is not something you can do, sustainably, at the level of current farmed, bred, altered, “non-original” animal consumption. You will be eating meat, animal flesh, maybe – maybe – once per week – as do these people [Link],  who live a small-scale, interwoven, mutually-dependent local, farming and gathering and herding society in Greece – who are also some of the healthier and long-lived people on Earth.

If you take the “paleo” out of the “paleolithic,” and your “paleo” is that “whole shitload of beef and meat” version – then you are left with a high-protein, high-fat fad diet that will probably do your kidneys and bones (and breath and bowels) some injury in the long-term.

3. We live in the age of oil, and the age of excess. All of our daily needs are met by virtue of the black fluid running out of the Middle East, powering our vast shipping networks, and creating the energy to mill the factory farms of both animals and genetically non-diverse and now deeply altered corn and beans.

We are, thus, accustomed to a level of luxury, of consumption of very large, land-and-water-intensive mammals-as-food at such a volume as was never enjoyed by anyone but kings (fat, gout-ridden kings, to be sure), but not working people, who subsisted in good health, or better health, on the fruits of the field and garden. The “gatherer” was more effective and efficient than the “hunter.” Hunting brought feast, but it could also bring famine. Animals that required months to gestate and years to grow could not be ingested at whim and at will. This was a prized commodity; they had to be treated with a respect to their process of growing.

The fruits of the field – grains, pulses (beans), roots/tubers, greens, seeds – these were and are, and will remain the most effective, efficient means to take the real energy of the world – sunlight and water – and turning into the material to make us run. Very large animals consume a great deal of food to produce a very little bit of edible material. They were consumed, except in cases of historical excess and inherited wealth, with respect to their economics. The notion that seeds, beans and grains are now “toxic” is belied by the entirety of human civilization, world-wide, which learned to cope effectively with the limits of some seeds or grains by: grinding, mixing, soaking, cooking, fermenting or otherwise lightly processing them with the materials in the air (bacteria to make a sourdough), or a little salt, or lime.

The current technology that processes grains without the traditional methods may be what is causing the issues that the small but growing number of ‘grain-sensitive’ persons is facing.

4. The anti-soy movements seems to be seeking to validate its point-of-view (more meat, more suet, more bacon, more flesh of large, hoofed mammals), at the expense of reality. The idea that soy is a deadly “new” food is undermined or completely eradicated by the simplest search for the history of the bean. The idea that only “fermented” products were “traditionally” used is erased by, again, looking at the culture and history of Asia. The idea that soy causes disease is undermined by every population study of both Western and non-Western soybean eaters. The idea that the isoflavones in soy are the same thing as mammalian estrogen is not borne out in actual studies of living populations, where soy seems to demonstrate an inhibiting effect on these long-term toxic accumulation diseases.

The idea, though, that anyone should be drinking either quarts of soybean mash (soymilk), or cow’s mammary fluid (cow’s milk) per week – or per day (which some soymilk and Sally Fallon milk drinkers seek to do) arises from that self-same “excess” that was previously mentioned.

Thanks for reading. Moo. Baa. Oink. Cheers.



  1. The research on soy is interesting – lab research almost always misses the point (most studies are done by looking at one factor, but not defining it well – ie; looking at ‘vegetarians’ but not looking at their actual diet (is it cheese and eggs, or tofu and greens, or pasta and tomatoes? – they don’t bother to differentiate in university and pharma studies). But, here’s on on soy.

    “Of importance are the observations of a significant increase in the 2-hydroxyestrone/16alpha-hydroxyestrone ratio and a decrease in the genotoxic/total estrogens ratio. These data suggest that soy isoflavone consumption may exert cancer-preventive effects by decreasing estrogen synthesis and altering metabolism away from genotoxic metabolites toward inactive metabolites. ”

    And another which hedges its bets a little more, and is a little more conservative (but that’s the current mood, given the many attacks – time will tell).

    You’ll notice neither gives you much cause for alarm. The benefits are clear in a sober analysis – it’s a plant. It is protective against some disease. Populations which eat it in much larger quantities than we do (and which don’t eat like the piggies in the U.S. tend to have avoided our Western disease – until they adopt a Western diet).

  2. Great points made!

    We DO live in an age of excess, and because of that, well, something’s going to give sooner or later. Something big, most likely. “WE” can’t keep doing what we’re doing forever. I’m not saying this from some sort of moralistic point of view that eating flesh food is inherently wrong or immoral. I eat animal products and have a lot of issues with it concerning health, environment, sustainability and my own psychic drama as far as “if I had to kill it myself, would I be eating animals?” Probably not.

    I think most of us in the more modern, western world could cut way back on eating of animal products, and more than likely be healthier. But, we’ve got a huge medical industry to support. So, there are considerations! And, that’s some bone-dry humor there in case folks can’t see it.

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