The Federalist seems to be having fun with Jeb Bush’s paleo diet, but don’t forget there are trillions of dollars at stake.
The Federalist has published a piece that blames Jeb Bush’s paleo diet for his lackluster performance during the debate. Under the headline, “Carbohydrates: A Love Letter,” Heather Wilhelm calls to him, “Jeb! Come back! There is a better way!” She writes of the debate:
He looked drained. He looked wan. He looked, in fact, like he was about to topple over at any minute.
This is because he has stopped eating carbs.
“Is there a blander, more boring personality in American politics?” Camille Paglia asked in her debate recap for the Hollywood Reporter. “The guy looks like the runny yolk of a fried egg.”
I love you, Camille, but you’re incorrect: He looks like someone who hasn’t touched a hamburger bun, a blueberry muffin, or a baked potato in six months. Since December, Jeb has lost 40 pounds on the “Paleo Diet,” which instructs its devoted followers to eat like ancient cave people, because ancient cave people clearly had long lifespans, really fun lives, and all the best ideas.
And she goes from there.
I almost wrote this off as a “human interest” piece of some kind, but remembered Mark Horne’s post, “Jeb Bush Paleo? Not If He Wants to Be President.” He’s right. There are trillions of dollars in subsidies at stake in American agriculture. So as fun as Wilhelm’s piece is, rejecting grains would be considered virtually a threat to national security by many companies.
I favor the paleo diet. So instead of describing it to you I’ll simply reproduce Wilhelm’s highly negative portrayal:
If you’re not familiar with the paleo diet, congratulations! You are a Real American™, and you’re probably enjoying some sort of delicious, carb-laden treat at this very moment. Those simple carbohydrate sugars are likely spiking in your bloodstream; you are probably happy, perhaps even enjoying a slight moment of inner peace. The paleo way of life largely eschews those glorious, life-giving carbs you just ate, in favor of protein, vegetables, some fruit if you’re lucky, and maybe a seed or two.
Wilhelm’s claim about Jeb Bush’s eating history is almost certainly not true. The story Mark cited makes it clear that Jeb Bush certainly has consumed “a hamburger bun, a blueberry muffin, or a baked potato in the last six months. If not that, then perhaps a piece of pie and some French fries, as Reuter’s reported:
Just last week at a “politics and pies” event in New Hampshire, suddenly he was holding a plate with a slice of blueberry pie on it.
“To hell with the diet,” he said as he dove in. “Where are the french fries?”
And Wilhelm herself admits it too later in her piece:
In one particularly poignant little detail, Jeb has also told the press that his family has “Sunday Funday,” where he “cheats” on his diet, maybe eats a few chips with his guacamole, and brings a little light into his cold, bleak, empty culinary world.
In any case, I really doubt Jeb Bush’s paleo diet is the reason for his bad performance at the debates, no matter what value that way of eating might or might not have.
Since I don’t believe in evolution, I won’t worry about Wilhelm’s statements about cave men or how we developed big brains over many generations.
Since The Federalist doesn’t want to entirely alienate readers (or their own writers) who have a different opinion on food options, they also included a post that took the other side: “In Defense of Paleo.” If you are interested in the topic, perhaps for personal health reasons, you should look at it and follow the links.
But you can be certain that there is a huge issue embedded in this diet advice. If people decide they are better off eating primarily meat and vegetables, especially grass-fed meat, that would destroy everything the FDA has been preaching. There are already signs that the public is learning ways of eating that are in opposition to Michelle Obama’s campaign and that are changing the economy slightly. The FDA is pushing back against people with other views of what is healthy.
If the hysterical circling of the wagons around climate change is an indicator, I suspect that an increase in fat and meat consumption will produce a similar attack from the FDA. I suspect we will also see many conservative blogs suddenly worried that people aren’t eating enough bread and corn.