Resisting mainstream capitalism
I’m a big believer in capitalism. In my lifetime, capitalism has pulled a billion people out of starving, soul-crushing poverty. Yay capitalism!
Unfortunately, when applied to food, capitalism tends to push for what is simple to sell. And what’s simple to sell is mass-produced junk food. The paleo template represents resistance to this basic pattern of efficiently producing cheap palatable junk that fills the belly but generates malnutrition and disease. Over the last 15 years or so, paleo has gone from something no one’s heard of, to laughed at, to argued against, to an approximation of a mainstream trend.
That’s made especially manifest when Oprah magazine recommends paleo. Sort of like when the Gap moves into trendy urban spaces and thereby drains all the edginess away, when the “cave man” diet is a popular trend, then the market inevitably zooms in to distort it. We’ll see “paleo” restaurants in a number of cities and “paleo” frozen dinners in upscale markets. The word “paleo” will be corrupted to mean gluten-free and low in sugar. What it won’t mean anymore is real food, because it’s hard to make serious profits off of real food and most people have no idea what real food is. It’s much easier to pick just a couple of parameters and make food that meets those technical requirements in the cheapest manner possible that still sells. That’s what paleo will come to mean in terms of mainstream products.
Eventually, paleo will be old news and the mainstream will move on to some other fad.
“Oh, yeah, I used to eat that stuff. How early 21st!”
In the meantime, the big companies will try to profit from it. For the next few years, much of what paleo actually means will involve resisting what the market wants “paleo” to become.