At that point I ate what I considered a "Paleo + rice" diet. I read the blogs of all the so-called Paleo diet gurus, which seemed to give reasonable enough advice, but when I actually went out and looked for "Paleo" recipes I realized what the word meant to other people. I was astonished that anyone would actually title a recipe "Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes," as if hunter-gatherers made coconut flour and baked cupcakes. (I made the cupcakes, for my sixteenth birthday, and they came out horribly.) Everyone said that they were in favor of simple diets based on meat and vegetables. If so, why the cupcakes?
That was my first experience with the hypocrisy of the Paleo diet gurus. Later on, in one of the cookbooks I received for my birthday, I saw a recipe for fake mashed potatoes made out of cauliflower with an amount of added fat that bordered on the disgusting. It struck me as extremely sad that the author of the book was proud of the fact that she had fooled her entire family with the fake potatoes, when white potatoes are a nutritious food. Surely our ancestors would have been more likely to have starchy roots than jars of coconut oil.
I was disillusioned with modern Paleo cuisine, but not yet disillusioned with the idea of Paleo itself. Eventually I realized that all of the authoritative voices on Paleo nutrition seemed to be more interested in appeasing the crowds and selling supplements than educating and searching for knowledge. Everyone was trying to commercialize their advice and make money off those unfortunates who thought that "Paleo" snack bars were healthy food, instead of the processed junk they are. The gurus were selling superfoods, as if carob and spirulima were some kind of substitute for the meats and vegetables they claimed to favor on their blogs.
Furthermore, I learned that the common supposition that legumes were not Paleo was not actually based in reality. In fact, various hunter-gatherer peoples ate legumes regularly, whereas the baking of cupcakes has never been demonstrated in Paleolithic times. (See Stephen Guyenet's post on the subject.) Although I don't tolerate them well, legumes are highly nutritious, as Guyenet is careful to point out. They are also thought to contribute to the longevity of inhabitants of the Blue Zones (places in the world where a high proportion of the population lives into advanced age.)
I have genuine sensitivities to many non-Paleo foods, including gluten and dairy, so I will keep up my current diet as long as it continues working for me. However, I do not wish to put myself in the same category as profiteering Paleo gurus, so I have instead titled my blog "the Ancestral Chemist." Although it doesn't sound as cool as "the Paleo Chemist," it allows me to draw on the wisdom of Paleolithic, agricultural, and modern society for inspiration on good food and the good life.