The Taco Bell & Paleo Conundrum: My Musings and Failings
There was an interesting Twitter thread I had the chance to participate in yesterday regarding the recent news that Taco Bell is launching a Paleo-inspired menu. The hallmark of the new selection? High-protein.
— Samantha Chang (@samantha_chang) July 11, 2014
As soon as I saw Samantha's tweet, I jumped all over it like it was a pile of bacon. As is typical in the real-time cesspool that is the Twitterverse, my fervor and consequent impulsiveness to press "Tweet" betrayed what I was actually trying to say.
— Stephen Murray (@spmurrayzzz) July 16, 2014
Clearly my explicit viewpoint here was needlessly reductionist and a discussion ensued which revealed the pertinent kernel of truth: Paleo is, at its core, macro-agnostic. I even eroded my original claim when, following up my initial commentary, I decried the lack of low-carb language in the press coverage. Contradictions abound, my friends.
I wish more people on the internet (and perhaps the world writ large) would say the following more often...
I was dead wrong.
So why did I react so strongly to this particular headline? Challenging myself to decipher precisely what drew my ire about this Taco Bell piece, I distilled the truly problematic part of all this madness:
What about Taco Bell's processed-food-from-a-tube approach is even remotely Paleo? Even if it was low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein (my preferred macro composition), there's no chance that any well-reasoned individual would dare to call that whole/real food. Not by any stretch.
The Paleo community is quick to defend itself when its characterized as a "fad diet." But in the efforts to dispel this notion, I see no boon by allowing Taco Bell to go unchecked in commodifying the Paleo name in a ploy to create a new revenue stream for their inherently deleterious product model.
This sentiment was brewing in my mind when I made that first tweet. I was just too wrapped up in my own hubris and incredulity to clearly communicate that particular point.
- Samantha was on point — commentary about Paleo and macros is ill-wrought
- Think, and take a breath before you tweet (this message is 100% directed at myself)
- We should fight against the commodification of the Paleo nomenclature, it does service to no one