Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser: The 6 Biggest Mistakes Paleo-logist Make

June 12, 2014  |  Blog

I have just spent a day with two of the biggest Paleo celebrities today: Robb Wolf, and Chris Kresser.

Robb Wolf probably requires no introduction as one of the world’s leading paleo-logist. In person his energy is palpable, the guy is ripped, and what’s more he got me doing push-ups!

Chris Kresser may not be so well known to an Australian audience but is not a stranger to Australia. He lived near Byron Bay for two years. He practices integrative medicine in San Francisco, and is author of the New York Times Best selling book “Your Personal Paleo Code.”

Robb and Chris shared what in their opinion were the 6 most common mistakes experienced paleo-logist make and here they are:

1. Over Heating Oils

There is a lot of confusion and conflicting information over fats. At least a Paleo diet simplifies the confusion by not demonizing healthful fats.

The problem is that some nutrient dense oils become anti-nutrients when heated to their “smoking point” which is the point at which the oil turns.

Coconut oil is Chris’ preferred cooking oil. Here is a quick primer:

Fat and Oils InfographicSource:

Chris and Robb both said cooking oils are also the greatest issue in eating out. Although a few restaurants are starting to disclose the fats they use, very few do, and most are under pressure to keep prices competitive.

2. Not Activating Nuts and Seeds

What nuts and seeds contain is different to what we can absorb. That is because by design they contain a shell of anti-nutrients to protect the nut or seed that prevents absorption of the nutrients, contain enzymes that deplete other nutrients particularly minerals, and may cause gut inflammation.

The information on removing anti-nutrients is conflicting but the Weston A Price Foundation is considered the most trusted source. All nuts and seeds need to be “activated” by soaking them for about 18 hours (with 1 tablespoon of celtic salt), rinsing them well, and then dehydrated in the oven or a dehydrator.

Chris identified this also as an issue with eating Paleo snacks, and nut butters, which rarely disclose whether the nuts and seeds have been “activated” through this time-consuming and costly process.

3. Paleo Treats

We live in a world where “treats” are the new black. They are everywhere.

They look sumptuous and often are designed to mimic cravings for the very foods we decided were not healthy to eat in the first place.

Chris commented that just because cacao and nuts are Paleo is not a license to eat them whenever our mind (rather than our body) desires. Good health desires that we eat consciously.

4. Preaching Paleo

Preaching Paleo to the unconverted can be an emotional charged experience.

Processed foods are very addictive and pervasive today. People need to be in the right headspace to make the change and challenge their own body’s needs.

Robb said it is more powerful to lead by example, so as to challenge that person’s own concept of possible health, and if asked support that individual to truly explore what fuels their own body. Robb Wolf’s example is profound.

5. Over-training

Exercise is critical to good health but over-training is counter-healthy.

Robb (who has had a fairly public falling out with CrossFit – a Paleo style exercise movement he helped found) makes a passionate argument that exercise should meet that person where they are and support them to improve their own fitness. It is not to be an elite athlete able to outwit, outlast, and out-survive the human species.

This is another reminder that “orthorexia nervosa” and “over-exercising” are two sides of the same coin. Paleo is not about eating and exercising obsessively but really listening to what fuels your own body.

6. Lifestyle Factors

It is very easy to get tied up in food as a lifestyle. Of course nutritious food is an important source of fuel but it is not the only one.

Once you have made the switch to eating real food, large gains in health and wellness can be obtained, through addressing sleep, stress, physical exercise, and relationships.

Chris said that most of his clients were sleep-deprived. He said that the one change that made the biggest difference to his clients overall health was to get more sleep. Just one hour can make a profound difference.

I came away from my time with Robb and Chris reminded of how much my health has improved since adopting a Paleo approach, and inspired by what is possible in terms of my own health. Oh and to get one more hour’s sleep!

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