Paleo Pete’s “tribe” and the “over to you” stories they won’t tell you.

From the outset, I want to say that eating healthy food is a good thing. So is exercising and looking after yourself, and parts of the Pete Evans’ paleo program are doing exactly that. I applaud anyone who makes an effort to take care of themselves.

What I have a problem with, is Pete Evans elevating himself to the position of health guru. I have a problem with the all or nothing, obsessive, cult mentality of Pete’s paleo that could easily see people winding up with orthorexia nervosa and I have a problem with the carefully curated message from Pete’s paleo team as well, but more on that later.

Go Paleo, before you all die! Are porcelain veneers paleo?

Go Paleo, before you all die!

We have all seen the wonderful “over to you” anecdotes that Pete uses to promote his 10 week program on his Facebook page. There have been stories of people losing weight and feeling healthier, miraculous recoveries from health conditions ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to bipolar disorder, people ditching medications for serious illnesses, and even running marathons, but something has been missing. Unless every. single. person. who embarks on the program has a wonderful turnaround in health, there are anecdotes that we aren’t seeing.

That’s ok though, because like the helpful soul that I am, I have been observing the paleo “tribe” and collecting them! The range of complaints I have witnessed in the closed paleo tribe group is listed below, and although this list is not exhaustive, I think I have gathered a good collection of the woes of the paleo tribe.  I would have shared these with you on Pete’s page, but sadly I asked a question he didn’t like on there one day and got myself banned.

Many of the ailments listed below were reported by several “tribesters”.

  1. Headaches
  2. Rise in cholesterol
  3. Feeling tired with dull headache   

    Bad Headaches

    Bad Headaches

  4. Exhaustion, head and body aches
  5. Nausea
  6. Vomiting
  7. Diarrhoea
  8. Stomach cramps
  9. Acid reflux
  10. Insomnia
  11. Excess weight loss
  12. Night sweats
  13. Inability to concentrate or focus at work, during study or at home
  14. Feeling weak / no energy
  15. Afternoon stomach pains accompanied by nausea and not being able to eat
  16. Weepy and lack of energy     

    Insomnia

    Insomnia

  17. Tired for 5 weeks
  18. Feeling ‘really sick’
  19. Chemical taste in mouth
  20. Moody with short temper
  21. Cessation of period or erratic periods
  22. Feeling like constantly hung over
  23. Nose bleeds
  24. Adverse reaction to kombuccha – (person was so ill they wanted to call ambulance but couldn’t get to phone)
  25. Anxiety
  26. Cramps in calves
  27. Dry “splotchy” skin
  28. General feeling of unwell    

    Thinning hair with bald patches.

    Thinning hair with bald patches.

  29. Light headedness
  30. High BSL in type 2 diabetic
  31. Thinning hair with bald patches
  32. Sensitive teeth
  33. Constipation
  34. Eczema in a child
  35. Feeling too unwell to care for their children

And this one. This experience of a child in honour of an ideology deserves highlighting:

Child so hungry he steals food and cries because he is so hungry.

Child so hungry he steals food and cries because he is so hungry.

Not only are people complaining of the above ailments and giving each other all kinds of health advice on how to deal with them, there has been some outright scary health advice given in the group by “tribesters”. Like this one who advised the wife of a man with high blood pressure (175!) that it probably isn’t that high, and that a homeopath can help. I hate to think of the harm that years of untreated of high blood pressure has done to her own husband.

High blood pressure? No problem!

High blood pressure? No problem!

“Personally I question whether that is dangerously high. My husband is 67 and his BP is similar and has been for a few years now. The mainstream medicos want him on medication but he has been under a homoeopath for years who admits it is on the high side but not dangerous. My husband has avoided medications; he takes his blood pressure every morning and takes some homoeopathic remedies to keep it stable.”

Followed by other advice to try lavender. (not pictured)

“Try lavender look into it Lowers blood pressure”

Then along comes Alyx Lee, health expert (apparently) and chiropractor with health advice so far outside the scope of chiropractic, and a claim about chiropractic being proven to reduce blood pressure that is not supported by evidence. Why am I not surprised by a chiropractor giving rubbish advice on the Internet that has nothing to do with their own scope of practice? Perhaps a complaint should be filed with AHPRA.

Chiropractor advises on blood pressure.

Chiropractor advises on blood pressure.

Alyx: “CoQ10 , omega-3, hawthorn, vitamin C. ADDRESS STRESS FURTHER.Number one thing for an atypical high blood pressure patient. B Complex vitamins can help significantly with your body’s ability to COPE with stress EVEN if it’s mentally managed. Eating foods based on his blood type can also reduce stress on his system (whilst trying to advocate paleo). Check BP with your doctor first before doing anything!. Also, chiropractic care has been proven to reduce blood pressure. P.s I am a chiropractor and have experience behind my opinion.”

Anyway, I am pleased to say that some sensible people urged the woman to get her husband to a doctor ASAP, but examples like this show the dangers of unregistered and unregulated health gurus who shun evidence based medicine and lead their followers to believe that their way is the only way and the best for their health.

Looking a little closer at the paleo way of doing things raises alarms. The quick deletion of dissenting opinions on social media, the outright dismissal of criticism, while criticising actual trainned professionals is eerily familiar. Well, he did go to the same online ‘college of nutrition’ as Jessica Ainscough so they were bound to have come out with similar ideas and business models!

Pete criticises The Heart Foundation

Pete criticises The Heart Foundation

Paleo Pete goes out of his way to criticise food companies, the Dietician’s Association of Australia, The Heart Foundation and anyone else who either doesn’t agree with him, or criticises the restrictive paleo diet. It is often claimed that they are scared of losing money now that the “paleo tribe” is growing and shunning packaged foods for fresh alternatives. Its all about the money for them you see, not health. While poor persecuted Pete is just trying to improve the health of the world as a charitable act.

Oh wait… how many top selling paleo cookbooks does he have out now? Including the one that is so dangerous to babies that he had to self publish it electronically so people could buy it? Nah, I’m sure he doesn’t make a bucket of money selling books, surely not, because he just wants everyone to be healthy!

Bubba Yum Yum. Electronically published last week.

Bubba Yum Yum. Electronically published last week.

And the ‘tribe’. All those people who paid $99.00 to purchase access to The Paleo Way 10 Week Activation Program. Lets see, at the time of writing, there is 16,519 “tribesters” in the Facebook group attached to the program. At $99.00 each, that’s a tidy sum of $1,635,381 heading the way of Pete and his team. If only half of those people sign up to the follow up program at $49 each, that’s another $404,715.50, totaling $2,040,096.50.

So, based on my guesstimates, its fair to say that Paleo Pete & co are making an absolute killing from The Paleo Way 10 Week Activation Program and the follow up program alone. In excess of $2 million dollars, so its in their best interests to dismiss anyone who criticises paleo to keep the punters on board. But lets not worry about any of this, because look! LOOK OVER THERE! Its another “over to you” success story!

What money? My motivations are pure.

What money? My motivations are pure.

Edited to add: Due to feedback received today I have removed the names from most of the screen captures, although anyone who expects privacy in a group of 16,000+ strangers with no screening process for entry is a bit naive in my opinion.

Disclaimer: I do not work in the food industry, not is my income or livelihood dependant on anything to do with food, diets or health products. I do not get paid to write, nor do I make money from this blog, it is my hobby. If every person on the planet went paleo tomorrow it would not impact me one bit, so tribesters – when you try to explain away this blog post as “vested interests” or “someone threatened by paleo”, think again, and try to come up with some more original claims for a person who criticises your way of life, because the usual ones don’t apply. (Not that they apply to most other people they are applied to either).

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31 thoughts on “Paleo Pete’s “tribe” and the “over to you” stories they won’t tell you.

  1. “He’ll NEVER tell you”… and yet the comments are public for you to screenshot? Oh that Pete Evans, how very deceptive of him! (In Backwards Land)

      • You’ve copied and PUBLISHED comments from closed groups with the writers’ names attached and you’re challenging Chef Evan’s integrity? The people posting in a closed group have the expectation that their comments will not leave the forum they’re posted in.

        That is against Facebook TOS which wouldn’t be as bad if you weren’t also promoting this article in Facebook!

      • Yes, that’s what I did. Expecting a group of 16,000 + people on the Internet to be private and secure is naive. Especially when there is no screening process for admission to the group.

      • So Laurie, you’re saying adverse health effects and dietary neglect of children that could have irreversible developmental impacts should be kept secret to protect showbiz Pete Evan’s ‘integrity’?

        Are you aware deceptive and misleading advertising is a crime under the Australian crimes act?

        Well done, Rosalie.

      • Lol. They will attack you any way they can think of, won’t they? If you hadn’t printed names, they accuse you of plagiarism. Also, it isn’t actually against FB’s TOS.

      • There’s no admission for AA either.

        It IS naive, I agree. But it doesn’t change that you’ve broken Facebook’s Terms of Use with your Facebook account. What kind of person joins a closed group to spy and then brags about breaking the rules and betraying members’ trust while using the same service to promote the post?

        Thinking that what you’ve done is OK because people would be naive to expect you to honor the terms you agreed to is disgusting. Congratulations on failing at humanity.

      • “failing at humanity”, really?

        I’d say that sitting in a comfortable home with all the food you need and pontificating on the internet over whether your meat was grass fed, your veggies organically grown or your almonds were activated, while people die of starvation on the other side of the world is failing at humanity, but we all have different ideas about humanity I guess.

    • Is it not wrong/ illegal to use someones name and photo without their permission. And so what if you or anyone else thinks we are silly its our choice not yours or anyone elses. You talk about money also none of your business every year I pay for a god damn insurance when I register my car I have never had an accident or hurt anyone but to drive my car on the road I must pay it I get nothing for that I go to the drs and have to pay for a 5 or 10 minute consult and they write me a perscription. If anyone chooses to follow its there choice people spend millions on cigarettes go tell them how stupid they are and leave our tribe alone!

      • Except it’s not just you and other individuals being taken for mugs is it, Tania? I couldn’t care less what you eat and drink. But, when some wellness evangelical starts rolling out a business model based on health claims which cannot be substantiated, and of which some are dangerous, then it’s everyone’s business. This is right. This is proper.

  2. Natural selection. Let them all die off. The earth is over populated and could do with a few less idiots taking up its resources anyway.

    • I think that flinging around phrases like “Natural selection.Let them all die off” is
      a) unhelpful
      and
      b) rather cruel, considering that the people likely to suffer the most are undoubtedly children unlucky to be born to parents silly enough to force the latest punitive eating fads on them appallingly inflexibly! Seriously, was there even a cogent question hidden in that mother’s heart-rending “cry for help” with “managing” a 5-year old child so clearly on the brink of ACTUAL STARVATION that he was desperate enough to eat a partially eaten baked good he found on the ground somewhere ?

      I mean, when I was a small child my own grandmother “lost it” and started trying to make me follow the (even then) long discredited Pritikin diet* – but then she did at least have the excuse of suffering from galloping Vascular Dementia, a condition anyone with an untreated Systolic BP of 175 may reasonably fear the development of, along with say, suffering from a massive stroke among a number of adverse effects. I’m left wondering just how complicit this fellow is in his new Paleo lifestyle – it’s not like he wrote in with his own query now, is it?

      To sum up, I agree with Rosalie that anyone who makes a concerted effort to improve their own lifestyle should be applauded. Those, however, who enjoy meddling in the affairs of others only to give or enforce advice which is far from appropriate (no matter their motivation) are not. I only hope that someone reported that overzealous mother before she does irreversible harm to her child(ren).

      *An extremely limited version of it, until “caught”…

  3. I was going to comment “expect to be under attack by the tribe” and there’s one already here having a go, they attack the messenger and try to silence criticism rather than address their faulty interpretation of science.

    What they fail to take into consideration is that these outcomes were experienced by people trying this fad diet and it’s not the magical elixir that it’s made out to be and they’ll try to create a strawman argument against criticism “what’s wrong with eating fresh food instead of processed crap” etc.

    This restrictive diet isn’t going to work for everyone, and it certainly shouldn’t be forced onto young children, it’s dangerous and negligent.

  4. Thanks Rosalie,

    One has to wonder when the fact that your child is hungry on this fad diet is going to perhaps indicate that the diet is not providing the nutrition the child requires whilst growing.

    One also has to wonder at commenters that choose to ignore the message and criticise the sources used, rather than be concerned about starving children and other symptoms reported that could be indicative of nutritional imbalances.

    Paleo does have some good recipes, and I’m all for people eating healthily and exercising. But the paleo diet is based on myth, and Pete Evans is a chef, not a health care professional, no matter how hard he tries.

  5. Great read, and some quite disconcerting comments from the brainwashed ‘tribesters’ and self-proclaimed health gurus. Though, I would recommend to remove their names.

  6. I understand ensuring that your children eat healthy foods what I will never understand is limiting the AMOUNT of heathy food that a child eats. It is irresponsible and neglectful

  7. It’s great to see a new post from you, Rosalie!

    I can’t believe that one woman who is basically starving her children. If you want to do a scientifically unproven diet (that will likely not meet your nutritional needs), that’s on you, but forcing your kids to do it is insane. What’s even more frustrating is that there are so many parents who would kill to be able to give their children enough food. These people have the means, they just choose this ridiculous lifestyle instead.

  8. I personally believe in the paleo diet and have had success following the principles… but I’m also pretty laid back with it and I follow a lot of websites that promote the message of you have to find what version works for you! You have to experiment with different foods and see how things actually affect you. What works for Pete will not work for everyone!

    I also think if your kid is hungry… feed them! That seems like common sense, paleo or not!

  9. Don’t mind Laurie, she’s what you’d call a ‘devout’ fan of Pete and Paleo.

    But you’ll probably end up on the page she runs (on facebook) where anyone who questions Pete’s cult is vilified, stalked, mocked, slandered and so forth with great vitriol.

    If you want to go have a laugh it’s called ‘Blocked by blocked by Pete Evans and true, healthy Paleo’ .

    Contrary to what the title implies, they haven’t been blocked by a page called true, healthy paleo – they supposedly advocate it (although precious little genuine advocacy goes on).

  10. Pingback: An Open Letter to Lorna Jane Clarkson | the unwholesome

  11. as a person who doesn’t search the internet for all kinds of crazy “health” groups, it was ineresting to find out about yet another ***ed up group. Interesting how crazy ideas are advertised to the public and how public reacts in a devoted zeal compiting who’ll take it even further. Even if their own body screams with pain in return. I was there, i know how WILLINGLY blind i was. I am wondering how many people like me notice that for some reason (what’s behind it?) Paleo camp has a great model of the product promotion, doing it in a very private, individual level, makes people feel good.
    And Rivera person is just a joke grasping at strws.

  12. Great to see you posting Rosalie. I was hit with Pete’s ban hammer some time ago when I also asked an unlikeable question. Yvette Luciano also banned me after commenting on a post when interviewing the other two beacons of truth that co wrote the Baby Paleo book with our Pete. Geez, I just cant get a break from that ban hammer! Cheers Rose

  13. On another note completely and more in the Jess Ainscough vein….has anyone seen any recent pictures of her best friend Melissa Ambrosini? Recent pictures of her at an event are terrifying – the girl looks sick, as in really really unwell. I looked on her blog and she said she is doing the ‘GAPS’ diet to cure leaky gut/candida – two conditions for which the ‘diagnosis’ I have serious woo issues with…but the girl looks so underweight its terrible. Perhaps it is grief 😦

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