Rebuttal to Wise Traditions Summer 2013 Newsletter article (titled Myth:The WAPF Diet is Like the Paleo Diet)

July 23, 2013 in Categories: , , by

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The most recent Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) Newsletter (a quarterly newsletter called Wise Traditions for members of WAPF) included an article titled “MYTH:  The WAPF Diet is Like the Paleo Diet” in which the differences between the WAPF Diet and the Paleo Diet were outlined and a critique of the Paleo Diet was offered.  This is a rebuttal to that article.

Soap BoxOne of the things that I absolutely love about the Paleo Diet (besides the fact that I’m actually healthy for the first time since my childhood) is that, as a community, we love to continuously debate and adapt our points of view on specific facets of our way of eating and living based on the most current health and nutrition sciences research.  While it makes for a great sound bite, you won’t often find the leaders in this community couching the Paleo Diet in terms of eating the way our paleolithic ancestors ate.  Instead, you’ll find that we approach paleolithic man as a hypothesis, a starting point if you will.  The real rationale for the way we eat comes from modern high-quality scientific studies (for example, my book contains 1200 scientific citations).  And the real focus of the Paleo diet is on eating nutrient-dense foods, including plenty of variety, while avoiding foods that negatively impact the health of the gut, hinder digestion, or cause inflammation.

Certainly, the science is not always crystal clear, which is why there are certain topics within the paleo community in which there are differing opinions (discussed in the most recent The Paleo View podcast).  And, while we may not all agree on the ideal macronutrient ratios, what most of us who blog and write about a Paleo diet do agree on is that there is a large amount of variability in what works for individuals and it’s important to find what works for you.  There are as many ways to implement a Paleo diet as there are people interested in following it.

One of the side effects both of these ongoing debates within the community and of the frequent sound bites that people use to describe the Paleo Diet to their friends is that there can be a substantial amount of misinformation spread about what a Paleo Diet is.  And unfortunately, the above-mentioned article in the current Wise Traditions newsletter is rife with inaccuracies.  It also borders on (and some may say crosses the line into) insulting of our chosen way of life and presents some arguments against a Paleo diet that raise my hackles and which I find to be, quite frankly, outrageous.

Let’s start with how the Wise Traditions article even describes a paleo diet.  Allow me to quote from the article:

“…the diet includes grass-produced meats, fish, and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, and “healthful” oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut).  The diet excludes all cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, salt, and refined vegetables oils. “

The article then goes on to emphasize that lard, tallow, and butter (“because it is a dairy fat”) are not embraced by the paleo community and that we only eat lean meats, citing the notoriously poor food at the PaleoFX 2012 conference as their evidence for how unbalanced our diet is (I did not attend this conference, but heard from many that the food was terrible—and our entire diet is being judged based on one bad catering company).

Wow, really?  It’s hard to even know where to start!

Let’s start with meat.  What you will find most commonly advocated within the paleo community is to eat a variety of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, sourcing the best quality you can afford, meaning that you would ideally eat grass-fed, pasture-raised or wild-caught.  We recommend eating snout-to-tail, including organ meat as part of your diet, and eating every part of the animal (yes, even the fat!).  We suggest that if you can’t afford to eat high quality grass-fed or pasture-raised meat and are eating either some or all conventional CAFO-raised meats, that you eat lean cuts of those meats (because of the omega-6 content in the fat of conventional meat, see this post for more details), and then try to balance those omega-6 fats with better quality fats from other food sources, such as:  fish, shellfish, pasture-raised lard and grass-fed butter.  Oops, did I say butter?

Okay, let’s talk about dairy.  What is advocated in a paleo diet is the avoidance of pasteurized dairy, especially low-fat pasteurized dairy from grain-fed cows.  What we acknowledge is that dairy intolerance is common and that people should experiment to see what works for them (see my post The Great Dairy Debate).  We also acknowledge that dairy fat, especially from grass-fed sources, is a very nutrient-rich fat, including being an excellent source of vitamins A, D and K2.  We fully endorse grass-fed butter and ghee for people who aren’t intolerant.  And, we acknowledge that some people do really well with other full-fat dairy products or fermented dairy and that some even do well with raw or VAT pasteurized grass-fed dairy.  There is a huge variability in terms of how much, what types, and what quality of dairy different people include in their diets.  And you won’t find many within the paleo community demonizing butter.

Let me give you an example from my own life.  My oldest and my husband eat grass-fed butter and ghee, my husband puts heavy cream into his coffee, and they each eat raw, grass-fed cheese and ice cream as treats.  I don’t touch it because it causes my autoimmune disease to flare.  And my youngest is so sensitive that the last time she ate half an ounce of raw, grass-fed mozzarella cheese, I was up all night with her, sitting up in her bed and holding her upright so that she could sleep on my chest because she was choking on the extreme amount of stomach acid her body produces when she has even the tiniest bit of dairy protein.  A few days ago, she literally had a bite of food that had touched a piece of parmesan cheese, and had obstructive sleep apnea that night as a result.  So, how do I personally feel about dairy?  I feel like it’s a pretty darned toxic food for my youngest and I don’t even let her eat ghee, but if it works for you, I have no issues with that.

And when it comes to concerns over calcium, I would like to direct you to this post from Balanced Bites, this post from Eat Drink Paleo, this scientific journal article showing that the calcium from brassica vegetables is more absorbable than the calcium from milk (in complete contradiction to the argument made in the Wise Traditions newsletter, which is not supported by the scientific literature), and this scientific journal article showing that vegetable calcium lowers the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

I want to emphasize that a paleo diet is not by definition based on lean meats. Saturated fats are endorsed. Allow me to quote from the The Paleo Diet (revised Ed):

“Saturated fats have always been a part of the ancestral human diet, and you should not avoid them when they are found in ‘real’, nonprocessed foods.”

Do we need to talk about salt?  We eat salt.  Added salt intake was criticized in The Paleo Diet, but the vast majority of the Paleo community is in disagreement with that stance.  The majority opinion is that a Paleo diet is not a low salt diet, although it’s also not a high salt diet either.  You’ll find that most of us in the paleo community are passionate about the quality of our salt.  I use mostly Himalayan Pink Salt and a little Gray Salt (and I have this awesome truffle salt made with Mediterranean gray sea salt).  Need more info on the paleo stance on salt?  This is Chris Kresser’s amazing article on the subject.

Potatoes?  Are we really anti-potatoes?  Lots of us don’t eat them because they aren’t the most nutrient-dense tuber and are quite calorie-dense (this post by Mark Sisson summarizes this argument well) and they are also from the nightshade family (which is why I don’t eat them, see this post on nightshades).  But, you’ll find that most of us don’t single them out as a banned food.

I could go on a complete tangent about the idea of banned foods and the difference between “going on a diet” and “living a lifestyle”, but instead, I’ll link to Diane Sanfilippo’s brilliant post on Paleo Perfectionism.

And how can you say that we are anti-lard and tallow?  I have a recipe for tallow on my site.  My favorite paleo cookcook is Beyond Bacon by Stacy Toth and Matt McCarry in which lard features prominently.  I cook predominantly with lard and tallow, which I render myself from fat from pasture-raised animals from local farms.  I do admit to liking coconut oil and palm shortening for baking and I do think macadamia nut oil is about the most amazing oil for salad dressings ever (avocado oil is a close second).  And I would totally eat butter if I wasn’t so sensitive to dairy.  In fact, this post on which fats are healthy was one of my earliest blog posts, and lard and tallow are both mentioned as great choices.

The Wise Traditions article goes on to say that WAPF takes issue with the lack of fat in the paleo diet as it is portrayed and practised.  Given how common it is for people to blend grass-fed butter and coconut oil into their coffee (yum!), this is not an accurate statement about a paleo diet. It’s certainly not the way I practise a paleo diet.  I lick the lard off my spoon when I’m cooking.

In fact, the WAPF diet and the Paleo diet are very, very similar.  I believe that the core principle of eating nutrient-dense food is something we have in common.  This amazing graphic comes from Diane Sanfilippo (used with her permission)’s article What Is Paleo?


Yes, the WAPF diet and Paleo diets overlap extensively.  And, it has been pointed out that we should include healthful animal fats and cold-pressed oils as a place where we overlap on this chart.  It occurs to me however, that I’m not sure what WAPF’s stance is on olive oil.

In fact, there are only two areas in which the WAPF diet and Paleo diet differ substantially, and that is the inclusion of grains and legumes as dietary staples (even if traditionally prepared).  However, I should emphasize here that while most in the paleo community do not include grains or legumes in their diets on a daily basis (although many who need more carbohydrates do include rice a la Perfect Health Diet), many of us do eat gluten-free grains as occasional treats.  It’s also common to eat legumes as occasionally treats too (but not typically soy or peanuts). When I organized my pantry last month, I found both basmati rice and wild rice and I did not throw them out.  My kids and husband will love them and all three of them tolerate that well (I don’t, so I won’t partake)—but I might cook them once a month at most.

I want to take a moment to focus on the common avocation for offal consumption between WAPF and the Paleo Community.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly or listens to The Paleo View podcast knows that I am a huge fan of bone broth, organ meat and other unusual cuts of meat.  Bone broth is a staple for many in the Paleo Community too.  The Wise Traditions newsletter claims that parents are unlikely to give their children whole fish (fermented so the bones are soft), bone broth, or insects for the added calcium.  Well, we consume bone broth nearly daily, my youngest’s favorite food is sardines (granted those aren’t fermented); but, boy, you’ve got me on the insects.WAPF vs PALEO

The real myth is the one perpetuated by the Wise Traditions article, that The Paleo Diet and the Weston A. Price Foundation diet are nothing alike.  That’s wrong.  The two diets are incredibly similar.  And you will find references to the WAPF diet in the New York Times Best Selling Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo and in my favorite paleo cookbook Beyond Bacon by Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth (it’s probably in more books, but again, I feel a little bit like it shouldn’t have to be my job to look for all the ways the Paleo community supports WAPF). You will find many Paleo bloggers and authors attending and even speaking at WAPF conferences (like Chris Kresser and Chris Masterjohn).

So, why is the WAPF going to so much trouble to distance itself from the paleo diet? I don’t know.  I don’t know why they want to be seen as so fundamentally different.  I would think that we could help each other, focus on the commonalities and work together to educate people.  But, maybe I’m an idealist.

So far, all of my rebuttal is centering around the inaccurate way the Wise Traditions article presented the Paleo Diet.  But, there was a paragraph near the end of the article that really, really raised my hackles.  Again, allow me to quote:

“Do we really want to bring up our children in our grain-centered and dairy-centered by denying them these delicious foods, foods that can be nourishing and wholesome if raised, handled and prepared properly?  Many advocates of a paleo diet are childless and may not have thought this through.  What does it do to the psychology of a growing child to always say “no” to foods that are prevalent in our culture, to deny them ice cream (homemade, of course), whole milk, sourdough bread with butter, baked beans and potatoes with sour cream?  While we certainly should be careful of our children’s diets, they need to grow up on a diet that says “Yes, you may”, not “No, you can’t”.”

Oh lard.  Where to start this time?!

Okay, how about the part about many advocates of a paleo diet being childless.  Last I looked the majority of the major paleo bloggers and authors have kids (including Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, Loren Cordain, Stacy Toth and Matt McCarry, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Chrissy Gower, Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, Peggy Emch, Danielle Walker,Sarah Fragosso, and ME!)  In fact, I’m missing dozens and dozens of paleo bloggers who are raising paleo families, and while I completely admit to not doing an inventory (because why on Earth should I need to?), I’m willing to bet that the list of paleo bloggers and authors with kids is longer (probably much longer) than the list of paleo bloggers and authors without.  And, we parents have thought this through.  And we continue to think it through every day as we strive to be the best parents we can be and make the best choices for the long term health of our children.

And I resent the mere suggestion that the way I feed my kids is depriving them or that by feeding them nutrient-dense foods that fuel their bodies and their brains is someone equivalent to me constantly saying no to them!  Do you mean to say that every parent who says “no honey, we’re not going to eat at McDonald’s today” is psychologically damaging their children?  Do you mean to say that you insisting that your child’s ice cream is homemade is somehow a superior parenting choice than me making homemade coconut milk ice cream?  We’re both still saying no to soft serve at the mall, aren’t we?  Do you mean to say that you’re homemade sourdough bread is better than my homemade almond flour bread (which by the way, I spread with lard instead of butter for my dairy-intolerant child)?  And, when a couple of months go by without me making bread, because my kids seem really happy and healthy eating quality meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, does that make me a bad parent?  Can I ask what it does to a child to let them eat foods that are unhealthy for them simply because you don’t want to deprive them or find a constructive way to say no?

I work really hard to be a good mom.  This means hundreds (if not thousands) of different small things that I do for my kids.  Feeding them foods that they enjoy, that they find exciting, and that nourishes their bodies, is one of them.  Finding ways to avoid foods that make them ill, without making this a huge emotional negative, is another.  We enjoy our food (because it’s ridiculously delicious).  All of us.  The whole family.  Me, my husband and my girls.  And I don’t think my girls would tell you that they feel deprived.  Sure, they might tell you how much they love ice cream, and that they wish they got to eat it more often (and by the way, they mean my homemade nutrient-dense ice cream).  They also might tell you that gluten hurts their tummies.  My girls eat a nutrient-dense diet, which is very similar to the WAPF diet, and they are thriving.  And somehow in the mix, I still get to be a good mom.

I’m not the only paleo blogger who found that Wise Traditions article to be divisive, inaccurate, and inciting.  Here’s some other responses:

april2013 -7269  2I too was both enraged and saddened by the WAPF’s view of children who eat a “paleo diet.” First of all, my children don’t eat a paleo diet – they Eat Like a Dinosaur: enjoying nutrient-dense and health promoting plants and animals while avoiding foods that don’t feel good to their growing little bodies. Is that really something I need to argue for? It breaks my heart to read this article because to me the WAPF has served as one of the fundamental foundations upon which my entire family – children included – have found health and wellness.

Of course we don’t want our children to feel deprived or socially abnormal! This is EXACTLY why Sarah and I have built our sites around family-friendly recipes and frequently encourage a transition period for families and children, to adapt to a new lifestyle. We never advocate being 100% strict and encourage all people to find what works for them. I guess WAPF must have just missed the announcement that we wrote TWO cookbooks incorporating lard with plenty of treat and snack options for children to feel “normal”. Oh wait, Sally is actually IN one of those books because my children have visited her farm, tasted her cheese and made our own ice cream with the nutrient-dense eggs her chickens laid!

If you ask my almost 8yo boy today, headed into 3rd grade, if he would eat a socially normal diet tomorrow if he could, I guarantee you he’d say “No”. I’ve heard him tell people “I prefer to be healthy, to no longer have asthma, to be strong and be able to pay attention in school.” If that means he eats a grain-free cookie on special school days instead of the junk other children bring in, he’s OK with that – not to mention, it’s not like he doesn’t make his own choices outside a paleo framework sometimes, too. Which leads me to the question, by what standard is WAPF framework of having to ferment and sprout grains and eschew commercial dairy any different from the principals I practice? Because a WAPF child wouldn’t be eating that junk food either, right?

–Stacy Toth,

imageLiving a Paleo lifestyle (note I did not say eating a Paleo diet) has been one of exploration, research, education, learning, eating damn good food (thanks Pete!) and most importantly support. Decades long struggles that I’ve battled with digestion issues, sleep disorders, PCOS and acne have all been rectified by simply changing my diet to eat real food. The aspect of support alone has been enough to justify to me why being Paleo is more a lifestyle than a diet. This community has been one of the most inclusive and supportive ones I’ve ever been a part of. It’s through my Paleo community that I first found out about the Weston A. Price Foundation and immediately became a member and subscribed to their publication. A publication that I typically look forward to working my way through in one night as soon as I receive it. However, this past issue, I couldn’t make it past page 13. I recognize that WAPF and Paleo have slight differences, but despite the fact that I will never go back to eating grains or legumes again, regardless of how long I could maybe soak them (if I could find non-GMO sources) to make them somewhat digestible, because they make me feel horrible for two days and bring no nutritional value to the table that I can’t get from real food, I still felt that the WAPF was an ally in this food movement. A strong one. Because this food movement is a long uphill battle. And we need to give and receive all the support we can. But to read the President’s Message basically bashing Paleo, based on misinformation and with tragic insults, pretty much stopped me in my tracks. It felt like I was back in high school listening to the suddenly unpopular girl spread dirty rumors about the new prom queen. That latest publication is still sitting on my desk, and I do want to finish reading it, but don’t feel like I can until there is some sort of recognition or acknowledgement issued by the WAPF. We, in the Paleo community, aren’t asking for WAPF to change their views on grains/legumes/dairy, but WAPF drawing a line in the sand and attempting to point out all the differences between our two communities (many based on falsities) isn’t supportive. It isn’t representative of everything I love about my Paleo lifestyle. And in the end, isn’t going to help either “side”. Misinformation like this will only set us all back.

– Sarah,

Angie AltAs one of the Paleo bloggers out there, I’m happily adding my voice as a parent who thinks that this lifestyle has been transformational for my entire family. My nearly 13 yr old daughter has struggled a few times around SAD foods & social interaction, but she will also tell you herself, that having a gluten migraine is NOT worth it 95% of the time. This lifestyle was a vehicle for teaching my daughter about real nutrition & empowering her as she begins her journey to womanhood to make WELL INFORMED choices. Isn’t that the whole thing about parenting, teaching them how to make good choices, not teaching them to “just do what feels good, so you won’t have to go against our illness-perpetuating society?” Isn’t that what got most of our country so sick in the first place? I think that is damn fine parenting.

-Angie Alt,



I have Hashi’s and I have read that brassica vegetables are thyroid suppressive. What do you think? I personally think this is overblown.

I also have Hashi’s and from what I’ve read the goitrogenic effects of brassicas on the thyroid is ameliorated by cooking – so we steam ours, or sometimes roast ’em when the weather is more amenable to that (hard to think about roasting right now in July!). I miss cole slaw, mind you, and do have a little now and again, but we also loves us our butter-sauteed cabbage and our steamed from-the-garden-or-farmers-market cauliflower and broccoli. 🙂

Jury seems to be mixed on whether fermenting enhances, eliminates, or does nothing to those effects – but if anyone has new information, I’d love to know, as I also miss sauerkraut. 🙁

Thank you Sarah, I suspected that this was a case of “a little knowledge”. Also, low thyroid function is very non-specific whereas Hashi’s is very specific. The two are not the same!!

Thank you. I have low T3 uptake and have been learning about this. I sent the info to my Mom and you confirmed the info I’ve aggregated. Heck, it’s just reassuring when a PhD sums everything up.

Also your reply to WAPF was very well done. It’s disappointing to read the excerpts because WAPF was helpful as we learned about real food, but we lean Paleo since my youngest and I don’t tolerate grains well (even gluten free grains beyond rice). The comment about Paleo bloggers not being parents or not having thought this through was mind boggling.. I’m glad you crafted such a wonderful reply. I’m still bummed and angry at the moment.

Hi tabitha, if you happen to see this, do you have any links to articles on T3 uptake, or efficient conversion of T4 to T3, that you could share? I started doing some reading earlier in the year when I experienced some problems with energy levels, and I suspect it was the latter of those two things. I hadn’t come across much on T3 uptake (although I seem to recall that iron deficiency can be a cause of low T3 uptake?) tho so I’d be interested in reading more about that.

Excellent post!!! I was contributing to the WAPF org and my renewal is due but honestly after this, I am seriously reconsidering. When the president writes something like that, it is just insulting. I am a mom of 3 young kids and started off WAPF but after doing the W30 and feeling amazing during that time, I’ve decided to transition the family to a Paleo lifestyle. I think that I will continue with the raw dairy (as they love milk and yogurt, and I enjoy cold lattes or kefir smoothies on occasion, but the methods they recommend for grains and legumes are just too much. I do my best for my kids and the comments in their article are rude, biased, and most importantly incorrect! Thank you for your great rebuttal!!!

Thank you for this! I love how you were able to come from a place of facts and tact and not from a place of anger.. which is hard to do.. that article was out of line and I’m glad that you stood up for us 🙂

I totally hear you on this — I don’t disagree. I follow a more WAPF approach as our diet includes dairy, but this issue (and several others) is why I’ve taken to creating my own label for my eating lifestyle and what I advocate for my life and wellness coaching business. Paleo is becoming political, which breaks my heart, as it is where I started and what I love. But if you hit up the Paleo/Primal forums for advice, be prepared for an onslaught of brutal, nasty arguments. I am part of a support group working with people who are recovering from a diet mentality, and a LOT of folks are coming from adrenal fatigue, food fear, etc. as a result of following a “Paleo” diet. Now, I would argue, they didn’t get their information from the right sources, as I don’t think Paleo should be some stringent lifestyle (low carb, no dairy, no potatoes, etc.) but that is sadly what they were told and/or interpreted it to be based on the information they found online or in the community.

How do we fight this becoming an us or them situation? For my business, I stay out of it, embrace whole foods, and try not to be too regimented. But I’ve had someone tell me I wasn’t Paleo because I ate peanut butter. Um, excuse me?

Anyway, awesome response. Love you and Stacy on the podcast. 🙂

Thank you very much for focusing on the strengths and common ground of these types of diets. It is the commonalities that I see over and over again in GAPS, SCD, Paleo, Primal, Whole30, Terry Wahl’s MD, and others that remind me there’s probably lots of truth here. Is there a way to reblog this, in addition to posting on FB?

Wow, Sarah! What a great rebuttal.

I just became a member of the WAPF and registered for the upcoming regional conference in Oregon, and am seriously considering canceling both. I have noticed a their dogmatic approach growing lately, with the rising popularity of other ancestral diets, and it is really unnerving.

Fortunately, the international conference on human nutrition and functional medicine is the following week, also in Portland, and I think my time might be better spent there.

What a disappointment. I will not leave Weston a Price behind as a resource, but I will definitely not have the same enthusiasm as I once did. Thank you for sharing this and please keep up the great work that you are doing. My grandchildren and I greatly appreciate it. By the way, my granddaughter just finished off her first jar of homemade sweet potatoe, avocado, egg yoke, and chicken broth baby food and wouldn’t give up the spoon when it was all gone. Loving introducing they to real healthy food.

Great rebuttal…you did an awesome job of sticking to the facts. I am new to Paleo (just under two months). I have lost 15 lbs, have more energy, feel great and have totally embraced the lifestyle.
I am also the owner of a small natural health shop and have been having great conversations with my customers and clients about the Paleo Diet. Its a shame that Sally Fallon (whose books I have) and the WAPF have taken this stance but it doesn’t matter when you know in your gut that you are doing the right thing for yourself and your family.
Thank you for the time and effort you took in your response!

Yes. Yes. Yes. You are awesome and thank you such a well thought out rebuttal. It’ll be nice when everyone can focus on all the things we have in common instead of our (perceived) differences.

Which is sad when you consider how many people came to WAP through paleo – instead of enlarging their influence (and their market share) they are actually diminishing themselves in the name of some perceived monopoly on the “true” real food movement.

Yeah. I don’t know Fallon, and I’m not in WAPF, so my thoughts here are just speculation. But market share/dollars, coupled with a “we were here first” attitude is the only reasoning that makes any sense to me. It’s too bad; I’m one of those people who found WAPF through the paleosphere. But no way will I join/give money to a group that makes a point of telling me to go away every couple of months. This journal article isn’t the first time Fallon has gone off on this.

Does that Sally person have kids herself? Because if she does, I don’t understand how she can say that kids shouldn’t be deprived of the foods that are prevalent in our culture. Ahem, has she heard how popular and prevalent McD’s are? How about Coke? Why does she think her rules are the right ones and paleo way of eating is terribly wrong for our kids? Ugh, I hate hypocrites.

Very well written response! I belong to WAPF not because I eat think grains and legumes are particularly good for you, but because it seems to be the most powerful organization promoting real foods. I think if everyone who agrees with this post would take the time to write to WAPF, there is a chance we could change Sally Fallon’s position. It may have been written in desperation as she sees more and more people abandoning grains completely. Dr. Price’s research is invaluable, but it was done almost a century ago, before GMOs and other sorts of modification of grains. I believe if he were alive today, he would embrace the paleo way of eating. He had an open and inquiring mind and was not closed to new ideas. Please, let’s keep trying to work together! We need large numbers to try to influence government policy on food!

Fantastic post! Do you think that some of the “anti-Paleo” thing is that WAPF is trying to distance themselves early because they believe it is more of a “fad diet”. Yes, I hate that term but it’s definitely gotten labeled that in the mainstream. Rather than realizing that there are people committed to making it a lifestyle, they are just trying to distance themselves from what they will believe will be just some weird diet thing people did when we look back five years from now.

And seriously. Go Paleo Moms! My choice for the Paleo diet comes from a lifetime of health and hormone problems because of my allergies, and you can bet your butt that I will do the very best I can to feed my children paleo. With the addition of goats milk that I will be milking from my own goats in my backyard. I hope that somebody who supported a sustainable, natural diet would look at the way I want my children to eat and be encouraging rather than insulting.

Great post Sarah!

While I love the work of Weston A Price the man (I think everyone should read his book), I’m not always as keen on the Foundation. There is a lot of great information on the WAPF site (like all the Chris Masterjohn articles) but I too dislike the divisive nature of some of their posts and proponents. I don’t even have children but that paragraph at the end really got me going too! I also recently un-followed a rather well-known WAPF blogger/leader as I find her to consistently misrepresent issues in order to make them more inflammatory.

What I love most about Paleo isn’t the evolutionary part at all but the enthusiasm and camaraderie of the people involved, and I’m not even really a part of the community at this point (though I’m fixing to start a blog so I can be ;). It’s just so inspiring to know that there are people who want so much to live their best life and help others do the same.

Can’t wait for your book Sarah, it will actually be the very first Paleo book in my personal collection. I’ve read most of them but via the library. Gotta save my dollars for a side of beef!

Sarah, Thank you so much for writing this. I could not have said it better myself. I myself was thoroughly shocked when I read the original article by Sally – I literally almost spit out the homemade chicken stock I had been sipping on. We originally started our real food journey via the WAPF and thought it was amazing. However, certain health issues that my son and I had didn’t get completely better on the WAPF so we had to try the GAPS diet. We did that for over a year and then when trying to add back in grains (prepared traditionally in the WAPF manner of course), we noticed our son had issues with it. I myself also noticed when adding back in grains and beans that I had issues. So we decided to transition over to a Paleo lifestyle for the forseeable future as we all just FEEL so much better on it. It’s not that we are following a fad or trying to deprive our kids of anything, it’s about our health. But yet even if we went back totally to just WAPF we’d still be depriving our kids of the opportunity to have exactly what all the other kids are having on their SAD diets, and so that argument by Sally really saddened me. If she has issues with the science of the diet or any practices that we might endorse then fine, talk about those. But to attack it on the ideals that we all share and should all be working together to educate the rest of the world about is truly disappointing to me. We all want our kids to thrive and to do that we ALL (Paleo, GAPS, SCD, gluten-free, allergic, AND WAPF) have to offer them alternative treats to what their friends are eating. And it’s not like they are deprived. Look at any one of the Paleo blogs out there and you’ll find thousands upon thousands of delicious, healthy treats. Any number of them that make my son jump up and down with utter joy when he gets to have it. And I pretty much band any almost-4 year-olds that want bone marrow, raw milk kefir, liverwurst, or cod liver oil as snacks in the same boat no matter what “diet” they may be on. How are we ever going to make a change to our disastrous food system here in the US if we are denouncing each other but saying the exact same thing? Just really disappointing to me….

this is my first time commenting, but i use your site and recipes and encouragement and ideas weekly around my house. i’ve been committed to paleo for a year now (flirted with it for a while) and am trying to convert my husband and kids as well because i feel so much better. problems i didn’t even realize were problems have gone away, and it’s only in their absence that i realize how much they were dragging me down. problems that i recognized are also gone, which is a huge part of why i want to convert my family. while it may take a while (husband is resistant), i cook only paleo foods for myself and mostly paleo for them, and their health has improved dramatically. my kids used to get sick every few weeks for a week at a time, and now the, they get sick so much less often. their sleep and behavior are better. while they still eat bread (argh!), their sugar intake has reduced by probably 75%, and they eat so much more whole foods. when people argue with me that removing an entire food group (grains) can’t be healthy, i argue that it makes more sense to me that a diet based on whole, real foods – protein and produce – is going to be better for me – and my family! – than a diet based on foods created by chemicals and artificial ingredients.

I stopped listening to WAPF’s opinions when they posted that it was better to feed a baby their special version of formula than to give a baby breast milk from a vegan or SAD mom. Sorry but no matter how much McDonald’s you eat, breast milk will always be superior to substitute, even WAPF’s fancy version.

My favorite source for anything is one that is full of scientific citations (even when your hackles are up)! That is why I have loved your blog since I found it and am so looking forward to your book. I have learned so much from you and the rest of the Paleo community. I also love that this is not a “one way to perfection” dogma, but one that we each have to figure out for our own best good. Thank you so much for being just way you are, educated, helpful, and kind to all who are seeking good, solid information.

I do find it quite hilarious that they would criticize paleo lifestyle and diet for being too restrictive when they then put ice cream- but only if it’s homemade!- right after it…and they advocate soaking and sprouting grains and legumes…well look if you can digest it and have time to do that then great but it isn’t exactly saying “YES” to children unconditionally. So basically instead of “yes, you can have a cookie as long as it’s grain-free with natural sweetners” it’s “yes, you can have a cookie as long as it only contains raw, grass-fed dairy and soaked, sprouted wheat with Grade B maple syrup”- the same story. Now I do think they have a point (that also applies to them) that you have to tread a fine line between advocating healthy, real food for your family and pushing it on them and denying them any SAD food ever which can trigger disordered eating. I also agree with another response that the reason “paleo/primal” can get caught up in the “fad” world is that you have a large segment pushing for low carb or higher protein or IF and really selling it as a get ripped diet rather than a get healthy for life one that you and Stacy really support. So it can be confusing and I also belong to a group that has a lot of people coming from a burned out state having tried Paleo (and many other diets) and been told to cut this and that and eat only 1200 calories etc and are literally frazzled out of their mind. I still eat a primal diet if you will but I also follow a lot of WAPF tenants with my FCLO and have added sugar back and carbs and a lot more calories with great HEALTH success but I will say that es, definitely in some of the forums you will find a lot of cognitive dissonance and “diet mentality” that is making “paleo” into more of a “fad” than a lifestyle which is sad because at its core both are just advocating eating REAL, healthy food to nourish our self and families. ‘paleo” and WAPF have so much more in common than not and it is very bizarre to see such a generalized, obviously not well researched statement in their publication.

Yep, my thoughts exactly on saying yes versus no when I was reading that. It’s just a different kind of no.

Your articles/blogs are inspirational and thorough and objective – thank you! Unfortunately, it seems to me from years of exposure the fact is WAPF is anti-evolution. They don’t want the nutrition to be linked to an understanding of an evolution diet, or ‘evolutionary nutrition’ at its foundation. So, they hum and haw and think Dr. Price (a great man) was a demigod or close to god or something.

Thank you so much for a fantastic rebuttal. When I first started looking at healthy food alternatives, I joined WAPF (years and years ago now), but still couldn’t get well. It was only once I discovered Paleo, and in particular your immune protocols, that I’ve started to get better. Even after 7 months, it’s still an uphill battle, but, as another contributor said earlier, it’s so fantastic when you feel well! My 14 year old daughter and husband eat paleo. My daughter acknowledges she’s gluten and lactose intolerant, and won’t touch softdrinks. While she will sometimes eat bread (who can resist freshly baked challah?) she knows her limits, and definitely won’t eat any SAD foods. They still eat some potatoes and rice as it doesn’t cause them problems.

Me, I’m intolerant to EVERYTHING! I can handle a wee bit of butter and cheese, but no other dairy. No grains – hurts too much, and I don’t miss the migraines. No FODMAPS, no nightshades, no legumes, no fermented foods. I don’t miss the grinding bone-aching pain. Thank goodness I LOVE MEAT! And that I live in New Zealand, where the only meat you can get is grass-fed!

thank you so much for your blog, and all your blog-mates – and shame on Sally Fallon, a woman I used to have a great deal of respect for.


I would make one eensy weensy correction and add “grass fed and FINISHED meats” ….Finishing on grass is a technicality I don’t overlook. Well written!

Two girls 10 and 8. Real food Paleo for 2 years now. Hardly deprived!

Very well said. That part about the kids really really pissed me off. I just recently made the lifestyle change for my family and I.. and eating those “healthy grains” has my oldest in a downward spiral in her weight. We have been Paleo for 4 months, I’ve lost 55 lbs, and she has lost 30. Why does it matter what we feed our children as long as they are getting the food they need. More people need to worry about their own lives rather then focusing on what other people are doing in their families.

I was a skeptic of the Paleo “diet” when I heard about it, as it seemed to be one of many fad diets that were coming out. However, after a lot of research and actually implementing what truly is a lifestyle choice, I fully stand by and recommend it for everyone (kids included). Also, the awesome thing about the Paleo lifestyle is that it isn’t marketed by any one person or company that is trying to make money, such as, the Atkins Diet or Weight Watchers diet plan- where it is being directly marketed. People do make money off of it, because they are avid believers in the Paleo lifestyle, but no one entity. With that being said, I think the motivation (in my opinion) for a company like WAPF (non-profit or not), is coming from being monetarily driven. WAPF wants to separate themselves from the Paleo lifestyle, to make themselves more marketable; hence, producing more monetary value for the company. If their “special” diet, which is extremely similar to Paleo, has something different to offer, it is more likely to draw people in, that may not be committed to Paleo or who may not know any better. However, WAPF trying to separate themselves from the Paleo lifestyle is really seeming to have a negative backlash, in many ways. If your diet plan (WAPF’s) or lifestyle truly works, there is no need to make their diet seem superior to others- it will speak for itself; automatically, bringing people’s support. In this sense, the Paleo lifestyle speaks for itself- life altering!

One additional thing I found pretty much comical, which others commented on, as well, was the WAPF’s comment about depriving children and teaching them “Yes, you may.”. Does that mean we should allow them to have transfat filled food, fast food, candy, and anything they desire because they shouldn’t be restricted, or told “No, you can’t”.”. Children don’t know any better, heck, a lot of adults don’t know any better in regards to what they put in their body. EVERYONE needs guidance and EVERYONE needs to be told “no”, to things in life. I would hate to see the children of the WAPF employees, if they truly stand by that viewpoint- they either have spoiled or overweight children. The problem with American eating habits is over-indulgence, as a society, more children need to be told “no”. Also, I have eaten some of the best food I have ever had, when I started the Paleo lifestyle- no deprivation here!

Sarah, this is an awesome piece, thanks for writing! Like many commenters (and paleo/primal people in general), I have a lot of love for the work of Weston and Florence Price, but find the actions of some of the people within the Foundation baffling.

There’s a great post here about a huge survey of people who eat a paleo/primal diet: Note how the average person in their late 30s, and in a committed relationship. The idea that someone like that hasn’t considered having children (even if their decision is not to!) is absurd.

As to the fat content, one of the things I like about a paleo/primal approach is that you aren’t tied to a macronutrient ratio – you can eat a ketogenic, low carb, Zone or high carb/Kitavan-style diet as your needs dictate, and still benefit from the nutrient density and minimal allergens.

As to the examples picked by the WAPF to criticise, there’s a snarky joke to be made about over-reliance on observational evidence….

Because he has exactly what to do with this conversation? That guy is so removed from this part of the paleo world as to be completely irrelevant.

We should all bombard Sally Fallon about how she needs to do more research on the Paleo diet, because she is off the mark on many marks. It’s mind boggling that she did this, because I have to imagine that their membership has increased quite a bit since the paleo diet became popular. I know that I became a member because I heard Chris Kresser and Angelo Coppola talk about WAPF so much.

I have to think they are trying to avoid the stigma of the recent “fad” diet, since they are so traditional in nature, but it’s still way off base.

Love it! I’m one of those single paleo people – but I do work with kids every day of my life and have a pet that I feed a paleo-based doggie diet for the same reasons I would feed the diet to my children if I’m ever blessed to have any. (Through, of course, protecting my fertility with a gluten free and paleo based diet that has helped me to lose weight AND solve GI troubles that often contrivute to infertility).

I’m thinking of writing a rebuttal of my own – is it alright if I cite yours and link back?


When individual paleo people–especially new ones, which are often the loudest/most argumentative–get all orthorexic and go on grain-bashing benders, that’s one thing, because they are merely part of a large, diverse, and relatively non-cohesive group. Sally, however, as founder of WAPF and leader of a movement, should arguably try to be a little less contentious and petty. It would have been different if her letter were more diplomatic, or informed–maybe even god forbid both. But it was neither.

Seriously well said. Tackling the nutritional inaccuracies along with the blatantly false accusation that paleo people are single, and so don’t have to be concerned about children. Ironic to claim paleo advocates are “childless” when so many adopt the lifestyle in order to become pregnant! It’s a shame WAPF is putting down the same people who promote their message day in and day out. Nice sources and supports — hope it helps them see the light.

We’d just like to say, before WW3 starts between the Paleo diet and the WAPF diet, that we ourselves avoid nightshades and grains, and watch out for undesirable side effects that can be caused by eating unfermented dairy (yes, even A2 raw dairy).
So according to this we are more Paleo than WAPF ourselves. As far as we are concerned there should be no conflict between Paleo and WAPF diets. We are keen supporters of the Paleo diet. Individuals have different dietary requirements.

Wellington New Zealand Chapter Of The Weston A. Price Foundation

Awesome. Thank you for writing this rebuttal. I feel as though I am always having to explain why I eat what I do. So many people are filled with the wrong information about nutrition. Your rebuttal was perfectly said and backed up with facts.

Fantastic article…
The part about the kids really annoyed me. We are criticized for not allowing our kids to eat dairy, grains and pulses, but they are fine and “oh so virtuous” by not allowing their kids the very same junk foods that we don’t allow. I bet there are plenty of WAPF moms out there who say “no you can’t” to their kids when they ask for something that does not fit their personal food philosophy.
And I am just one more Paleo person who has kids… 4 of them in my case.

Thanks for this rebuttal, well done. I joined WAPF a year ago after the recommendation of Liz Wolfe and Diane Sanfilippo. I later studied the work of Weston A. Price in school and often to refer to the WAPF website and recommend that my clients join. My local chapter has a combination of Paleo/Primal/WAPF folks. When I read the letter from Sally, I felt a door was being closed in my face and immediately wrote to the WAPF. I was impressed that Sally herself responded. While she thanked me for supporting the WAPF, my take at the end of our exchange is that there is a lot of grey area out there with regards to what Paleo is. With no dairy being a main theme (although a grey area for Paleo), I think because the WAPF is primarily about supporting raw dairy, they see us as a competing entity, drawing potential members from them, rather than complementary (as I believe most of us saw us as). I personally think because of their information on raw dairy (as opposed to commercial dairy), many Paleo/Primal folks have embraced it as a nutrient dense whole food if tolerated, which I would think she would be happy about. However, I am left with not really knowing if I am welcome as a member of the WAPF and wondering if I should renew my membership. I think it is a shame. I encourage everyone here that is a WAPF member and felt unwelcome and offended by the letter, to write to them.

Such a great and thorough post, I hope Sally reads it. As a Family Doc who has been instructing people to eat a la Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) for a decade, and Paleo for about 6 months (sorry sorry, late to the game, I know!!) I believe that there are true pearls of wisdom in both schools of thought, and, in alignment with this post – their tenets are about 95% in perfect agreement!

I love Paleo’s slate-clearing first step: “Just take out all grains, legumes, dairy for a MONTH, and then we can talk about if and how you re-introduce foods, with particular attention to how you prepare those foods.” Frankly, that is MUCH easier than step by step going through the quality of everything they are eating, all of which usually needs some tweaking.

I also appreciate the individual adjustment that is intrinsic to all the serious Paleo work I’ve done. Adjustments that allow people like Loren Cordain and Dr. David Perlmutter to change their stance on saturated fats to come closer to what WAPF has always recommended. To allow my rheumatoid arthritis patient to experience relief from her constant pain, that stayed gone when she re-introduced dairy, but returned when she re-introduced wheat.

I must admit I do a little translating in my mind… when I hear someone say “lean meat”, I do translate that into, “pasture-raised meat, and you can and should eat all the fat on that meat that you want to.” By far the most important words in those lines are “pasture-raised” and both the Paleo world and WAPF will do well to attend to the work of HackMeat – trying to solve the problem (great problem) of demand for pasture-raised meat outstripping its supply.

And that is truly the point – we all have a lot of work to do, through the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund and through the dollars we hand to our local farmers, insuring that we have nutrient dense (a WAPF term that the Paleo community has popularized broadly!) food available to us from farmers who are safe and well-reimbursed for the service they provide.

I think the communities of WAPF and Paleo overlap as naturally as do our shared tenets – I hope Sally Fallon will be happy to learn that she has mis-represented the depth and integrity and versatility of the Paleo message, and that Paleo-ites will forgive that one column and ultimately be deeply grateful for the work WAPF has done sustaining the farmers we need and the understanding of nutrient density on which we all depend daily.

Most of the WAPFers who oppose Paleo do so from reading Dr. Loren Cordain’s “The Paleo Diet”. WAPF’s issues with Paleo come from that — not the hundreds of bloggers out there doing it “their” way. Subtle differences, and not-so-subtle use of language or your interpretation of the language used has caused many a rift.

Think of it this way – if “paleo is the way to go” had been pushed hard on you and then you show up to a conference purporting to BE Paleo, and the food is s**t, wouldn’t you take to your blog to bash it? The number of commenters here who are “rethinking joining WAPF or going to their conferences” are doing the same thing. One person’s opinion, interpreted in negative ways continues to perpetuate a lack of understanding. On both sides of the issue.

Real conversation and dialogue. It’s really hard to do from a blog. Right?

Kudos on this post! I’ve been very disappointed in the direction some of the WAPF leadership has been taking and it puts a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m sure it’s confusing to others just wanting to eat REAL FOOD (like Diane’s image shows).

Thanks for this -very thorough!

You wrote a wonderful response there!! I am too saddened by the statement of WAPF and have removed myself from their newsletter as that article did hurt my feelings a LOT .. as a mom to a little boy who has now been on AIP for a year to feel good (and that means saying no to LOTS of things but thanks to many great recipes of lots of awesome food bloggers we can say yes to lots of things too) I have felt criticised in a very bad way. If my boy even eats eggs or tomatoes or a gluten free grain like corn his whole body goes out of sync. He cannot sleep, he cannot function normally, he cannot enjoy just being a kid. So how is that depriving him of all that he misses out on. I am sure he would choose this for himself , after being up with tummyaches all night. Now, after a year, he’s actually fine with small amounts of raw pastured dairy (I am so not against it and drink it myself!!) and ghee. Also almonds.. I actually found paleo over WAPF , as the food recommendations did not work for us, BUT I do beleieve in whole foods and not junk.

Sarah, as both a journalist and someone trying to figure out my own best definition of nutrition-dense, real food-based eating, I thought this was an excellent post. Reasonable, well-argued, tactful and yet passionate – well done!

Thank you Sarah for this well written response.

I have been a proud member of the WAPF for about 5 years, and have also been immersed into the paleo movement for the last 2-3 years.

I found the “President’s Message” to be completely insulting, uneducated, and misrepresents the majority of what is actually happening in the paleo world.

I tried doing the raw dairy and fermented grains diet and it didn’t work for me (my children eat more of a WAP type diet), so finding paleo was the natural next step.

I’m not sure what the foundation is trying to accomplish by this when there is so much the movements can accomplish together towards spreading the real food and sustainability message.

I encourage all those that are WAPF members to write letters in response to this.

If there is no appropriate response from the foundation I may have to reconsider my support.

The statements made in the WAPF magazine article were uninformed, misinformed, and insulting, demonstrating a sort of one-upmanship. Your rebuttal is well-cited and on point, and very much appreciated.

One item of note, where you mention the food at the first Paleo FX as from “one bad catering company”:
The person with that company’s title “Executive Chef” at the time is also a Paleo FX partner, and, according to some, had promised but not made good on providing help to the caterer, leaving the company owner alone in preparing lunches for both full days for all the attendees of the event.

Just sayin’, before that catering company’s reputation continues any further down the drain, there just may be more to that story.

I’m new to your blog. As a longtime WAPF member and paleo lifestyle follower (rather loosely at times), I appreciate the excellent job you’ve done discussing the many areas of overlap. I’m not happy with Sally Fallon’s recent anti-Paleo talk, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to get some blowback from her own members and contributors.

Good job!

I listened to the Jimmy Moore interview with Sally Fallon Morell. I am not convinced. She kept repeating that she doesn’t like the term “paleo”. There seems to be a backlash within the WAPF community of people who thrive on grains and are tired of hearing about the grain free lifestyle. I have unsubscribed from a blogger on Facebook because of her anti-low-carb rants. So perhaps that’s where Sally was coming from. She didn’t really apologize. I hope this doesn’t get worse. I really enjoy reading the quarterly journal and I don’t want it to change.

Everyone makes mistakes. However, at this point, she must know that she committed an error and that she didn’t get her fact straights, or deliberately misinterpreted them.. That she is still trying to justify her position speaks of pride and close-mindedness, or maybe deliberate ignorance. At worst, she is pursuing her own agenda. Ironically, this attitude is reminiscent of Ancel Keys and of every arrogant health experts and government officials that have spawned the fat phobia. It reeks of “Don’t confuse me with the facts!”. This kind of dogmatism is what has landed us into our current health crisis in first place. Sorry, but she has lost any credibility for me.

I contacted my local WAPF leader who I know runs a gluten free home to see what her perspective was. She gave a response that was in line with your perspective that the 2 groups are similar and should be supportive rather than divisive. This gives me hope that Sally’s perspective is a minority opinion. Thank you for all that you do.

Here…here. A well stated rebuttal that needed to be made but never should have had to have been made at least not to WAPF. I previously viewed WAPF as a complimentary organization to Paleo. I guess I was wrong at least from their perspective.

Well perhaps it is time for us Paleo folks who are interested in Price’s research but want to leave Fallon behind go back to the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (which predates WAPF) –

Thank you. I have done the WAPF diet for years and used grain and raw milk, but still feel that something is missing, I took out grains and am GF and adopting more of the Paleo diet which I don’t feel is a huge switch from the WAFP and feel better. A friend of mine who is big on wafp talked about this article and said many people were complaining that after going on a paleo diet they were getting sick. I am finishing up the Gluten free summit and one thing they mentioned is that when you go off gluten and grains you go through a detox for several days not all but many do and that will cause one to have flu like symptoms etc while your body is “detoxing” from gluten. What do you think’

In response to ECS: Here’s another factor/possibility to consider when you hear of people who switched to a Paleo lifestyle and felt worse. When people go grain-free, the tendency is to turn to nut flours (specifically almond flour) to replace the grains. Almonds can cause a lot of intestinal issues for some people—myself included. My gluten-sensitivity practitioner had warned me to to limit my consumption of nuts to the equivalent of about a handful a day … but I didn’t fully heed his advice. Trail mix here … almond-flour pancakes there … chopped nuts on my salad … It was so easy to over-consume the nuts. I kept having a feeling similar heartburn, but it was lower in my abdomen. Very uncomfortable. I felt lousy and had no energy. Turns out, all those nuts (properly soaked and dehydrated, by the way!) caused an issue call “illeocecal valve dysfunction.” Google it for more info. Basically it was causing the valve between small and large intestine to be irritated and to stick in the “open” position, which essentially causes “back flush” of the intestines—a toxic situation. This is more common than people realize. Once my doctor helped me discover this, I found that I do much better avoiding almonds, walnuts, cashews, and a few others. I occasionally have gluten-free grains (mostly for financial and social reasons), but I honestly feel better when I stick to a more strict Paleo diet—without nuts.

By the way, that detox thing you mentioned can also occur when you cut out refined sugar. I experienced it myself. Felt achy and horrible for the first several days or maybe even a week after going cold turkey from [what I thought to be] a “healthy” diet, to a Paleo diet.

I agree that Sally Fallon’s article was very upsetting. I had not read much of her articles until the WAPF chapter leader (from whom I purchased a 1/4 share of one of her grass-fed steers) gave me this specific issue when I picked up my organ meats. How embarrassing to see that article and then understand why the chapter leader had given me a suspicious look when I told her I was doing a more Paleo-type diet. I wanted to immediately email the chapter leader some links to scientific research rebutting that ignorant article. I wanted to fax her the Cyrex lab results we have, which clearly show antibodies to gluten, oats, dairy, millet, and some other foods. I did not, though, because I respect her efforts to raise animals the way God intended they be raised and I certainly don’t want to offend her.

One thing I soooo wish the WAPF would understand is this fact: It does not matter how long you soak your grains, nor whether you’ve sprouted them, nor whether your dairy products are raw or pasteurized: it’s the PROTEINS that cause the immune response! The proteins remain UNCHANGED, even if you soak your grains till kingdom come and drink your milk straight from the udder of your grass-fed cow! They cause inflammation for many, many folks. For these folks, complete health will never be experienced by following the WAPF protocol. The Paleo diet/lifestyle can (literally) be a life-saver for them. Please WAPF followers: do your research!!

Totally agree…my hard core WAPF friend keeps saying just sprout….use sour dough that will help…well she can’t grasp that my daughter who has a sever intolerance to gluten can not digest even the most fermented sour dough…the article written is full of errors …..makes me wonder about other articles and their accuracy

Well said, my Paleo advocate. Unfortunately, Sally Fallon has put a good deal of information out there with no scientific research basis.
And unfortunately, WAPF has become somewhat of a cult. Some WAPF members truly believe that Sally is the final word on nutritional issues. The ‘sheeple’ mentality is taking over all aspects of life and that is detreimental to personal growth.

I stopped eating legumes and grains 15 years ago on my own. No
literature influenced me to do that. I just paid attention to my body and noticed that I would belch, have distention, become lethargic and have constipation for a couple of days. Signals! If more people would take the time to pay attention to what their body is saying, they would know which foods they can tolerate.

Recently, I heard an interview on The Gluten Summit with Dave Asprey. Blew me away! I am seriously paying attention to the Bullet Proof Diet that he developed. He bio-hacked his own body to
design this eating style. Interesting and fascinating: He’s in the Paleo camp.

I must be in the minority but I do NOT see Sally as trying to start any trouble. I think she was merely trying to state the differences between Paleo and WAP. Apparently there are many, many variations of Paleo but if a new person googles Paleo they will the references that Sally referred to

I didn’t necessarily think she was trying to start trouble with the first commentary she made on Paleo in the summer journal, even if she was inaccurate in her portrayal. But now she’s gone on to take on Robb Wolf in a somewhat abrasive tone. Her review of The Paleo Solution in the fall journal did nothing to try and bridge the gap. It was an opportunity to say here’s Robb’s book and here’s where I think he’s gone wrong, but look, we agree on so much. Instead it seemed very mean spirited. She seems bent on taking down Robb Wolf, and not looking at Paleo as a whole. There are soooo many people who are working under the Paleo name that are virtually WAPF people. I think that’s why she’s mad. Because she thinks people should be calling themselves WAPF, not Paleo. So she feels Paleo is a threat. If that’s the truth, I guess I understand, but I think it’s getting in the way of supporting a real food message and moving it forward. We don’t have time for petty arguments when so many people are sick from eating wrong. And most people in Paleo are truly trying to spread the word of healing people, where Sally seems bent on making enemies by using an us vs. them mentality. It shouldn’t really be like that. Her message should be: “Hey, it’s better over here, come join us.” Not: “Hey, you’re stupid. Stop being stupid.”

Why are there so many variations of the Paleo diet? Being that there are, then I would say it is no longer Paleo. It seems like they keep changing things because the diet doesn’t work the way people would like. Why can’t we all just eat Real Food?

Because it’s based on science and when new research is performed, we are not so stubborn as to not incorporate new information into our recommendations. Much of what you see when you google paleo is how the diet has evolved over time as new research has been incorporated. Some of what you see is people with their own extreme versions that are not based on science, but that’s also a very small fraction of the paleo community (and this isn’t a phenomenon unique to paleo). You will not find huge variations in recommendations within the mainstream of paleo, nor among the many expert authors and bloggers.

I was working w/ a WAPF group (providing local grass-fed raw milk and other farm products including bones and meats and organs to those interested in them) when this article came out and it was the FIRST time I realized that my diet, which is WAPF w/out grains or legumes MIGHT JUST BE paleo.

I also personally don’t do dairy, but sourced it for my children. My many many children. And the WAPF is a little hard nosed and critical of anyone who does anything differently. I was tired of hearing that if I made REAL sourdough, I could eat wheat, or else I wasn’t doing the WAPF diet well enough. And that during prenancy I HAD to drink milk daily even if it killed my gut and felt horrible. Not to mention the cultural shame around not following the child-spacing rules religiously enough for the group.

So, needless to say, I wandered away and landed pretty squarely in paleo realm. With my lard, pastured butter, coconut oil, organ meats, bone stocks, and fermented cod liver oil, I have not regretted the good company!!!

A client found your site and directed me here and I’m so enjoying exploring!

Welcome. Paleo has changed our entire family!!!! So many health benefits . We did WAP but since my kids are gluten intolerant. we just didn’t find that thar sourdough bread helped….and ibdont think that the WAP people get that at all. We tried it can’t do it….paleo just makes sense to me. Grains….legumes just wreak havoc onbmu digestive system… and milk does the same…although we do consume ocassional grass fed raw cheese.. from time to time. I find that the paleo community is more forgiving and that some even say that consumption of grass fed raw milk is OK as long ad you can tolerate it. Getting back to consuming hunter gatherer diet is what our body needs welcome….our bodies aren’t meant to digest grains and legumes….this is a great site….

Thank you for this very thorough and articulate response. I too am disappointed at the rift created by those I assumed to be allies in our fight for real foods, solid nutrition, and eating to meet the needs of each individual’s unique body and responses to food items. As I walked past the kombucha and jun fermenting jars next to the fermenting ginger carrots on my counter, and the yogurt machine that is incubating raw milk yogurt, to pull the raw milk yefir from the refrigerator to accompany the amazing vegetable beef soup made with beef bone broth–simmered for 3 1/2 days in the crockpot as I learned from my well-worn copy of Nourishing Traditions–I am saddened to realize that this ally has turned on me. Why would such a similar-minded group choose to turn on all of us who have found the Paleo-Primal template to be best suited to our health needs? I am grateful for what I’ve learned from BOTH groups. And saddened by this deliberately created rift.

This is a late response, as I’m just now reading many of these “debate” postings when doing follow-up reading. I too am disappointed at the rift created by those I assumed to be allies in our fight for real foods, solid nutrition, and eating to meet the needs of each individual’s unique body and responses to food items. Why would such a similar-minded group choose to turn on all of us who have found the Paleo-Primal template to be best suited to our health needs? I am grateful for what I’ve learned from BOTH groups. And saddened by this deliberately created rift.
Thank you for your thorough and articulate rebuttal.

I too agree that there is so much that the two viewpoints have in common…it really is a shame that there should be any dissention. There is a tendency for “food beliefs” to become religious in the sense that people believe it’s their way only and every other diet is therefore demonized. We personally follow a WAPF/Paleo way of life, finding what works for us best along the way. I appreciate your non-combative response to the article and hope that more people will take on this type of attitude when it comes to navigating the food belief world. Thank you, take care 🙂

If you looked into the history of the WAPF, would you find that Dr. Price’s research was funded by the Dairy/Beef Grower’s Asscociation?

Proof please Betty. WAPF states they do not receive funding from the, as you say, Dairy/Beef Grower’s Association. In fact, I can’t even find an organization by that name. Where did you get your information?

You can view their funding sources and spending here: – “Although many of our members are farmers, the Foundation has no ties with the meat or dairy industry, nor with any organization promoting these industries.”

Plus, Dr. Price has nothing to do with the foundation since it was founded in 1999 long after his death in 1948.

Not that I am defending what Sally has done. I am actually very against that but that does not make it okay to spread lies about who funds WAPF nor to try to undermine the great work of Dr. Price by implicating that his research was swayed by some industry association.

First of all I think paleo has evolved to be a lot like WAPF. Some of the earlier publications I’ve read about the paleo diet we’re very exclusive with no dairy not even butter as well as no nuts. I think the term paleo has become more of an umbrella term for clean foods that are grain free. For folks that are intolerant to grains it’s a great way to get them into healthy eating. It’s also very catchy and trendy so a lot more folks are jumping on the bandwagon than there are following WAPF.
WAPF however is based on the research of Weston Price. Not only is data from his research but many other nutritionists and anthropologists who have studied the diet and longevity of traditional cultures appear throughout Sally Fallon’s books.
One of the differences that puzzles me is the exclusion of sprouts in the paleo diet?!?!
Not all sprouts are grains! Broccoli, raddish and mustard are my favorite. I mean come on if you don’t eat them as sprouts there just going to grow into vegetables. However in the winters I can’t get fresh vegetables from my garden and opt to have sprouts for salads instead of something from the store. I mean how many humans in the Paleolithic age were able to eat vegetables at all in the winter? I’d rather stick to the stone age and enjoy some fermented sauerkraut than go without.

I honestly think ppl were made to eat properly-prepared grains and legumes. I honestly think alot of ppl can eat them again, once they’ve healed their gut from the abuse of factory-farmed, unsoaked etc, grains and beans. Then there are those who won’t be able to as the environment we breathe in from conception and the mutated genes due to environment before conception, adds to our issues to make it intolerable. We as humans have screwed up our world, to say it mildly. We have transformed wheat into a nutrient monster, not even talking about gluten. We wash our hands in antimicrobial soap and slather them with antibacterial gel thruout the day and then wonder why Mersa is a household word now? We ingest and rub on chemical upon chemical daily. We nuke our food daily.
We Are Going to Have Problems.
So while I heartily recommend grains and legumes as heatthy food, I don’t disparage those who have found, in spite of their best efforts over several yrs maybe, that they can’t eat it. It’s way too prevalent now that ppl can’t eat way too many things. It’s happened in the last 30-50 yrs and there’s no way even evolutionary theory could account for that (as the Paleo Diet is based on).
God bless those who must refrain from things every day. I do it myself. While you can enjoy your diet as there are many good things to eat, it’s a very expensive, time consuming way of life. No one should frown on that.

Since ‘Paleo’ evolved into WAPF w/out grains why not just call it that ? Why the need to create a seperate ‘brand/camp’ ?

When Paleo first started it was different enough to warrant a different title, but as you said it kept changing and dovetailing into what the WAPF has been saying for decades, just without the grains.

Imagine for decades you’ve been working towards increasing awareness on a particular lifestyle and then someone comes along and comes out with something that slowly changes to match 95 % of what you have been advocating but changes the name….it’s left me personally wondering why the Paleo people just dont say they now follow the WAPF without gains and give credit where credit is due ?

Did you read the original post? Because Sarah spent a lot of time giving credit to WAPF, as do many other Paleo people, but I’ll be most Paleo people didn’t start with WAPF, they started with Paleo because that worked for them. Then they started hearing about nutrient-dense foods in the Price tradition, such as bone stocks, snout-to-tail eating and fermented foods, and those have become adopted by many Paleo adherents. Paleo was developed independently of the WAPF, and many Paleo adherents have probably never read Boyd Eaton or Loren Cordain, so they’re not especially bound to follow their early versions of the lifestyle. It’s evolving, based on the best scientific and nutritional research that comes along, plus personal experimentation. All these points were addressed in the excellent OP.

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