My Response to Mean Commenters and Why My Husband Eats Paleo


Screen-Shot-2012-06-08-at-12.22.48-AM3-263x300.pngI’m told over and over again that I should pay no heed to people’s negative, nasty comments on this blog. So I steel myself to their cutting insults, their glib responses to my thought-out posts, their unwavering buy-in to conventional “wisdom”, and to their ignorant assumptions about me.

Here’s a good example from my post, “Dr. Oz Is Lying To You” (because he was, in fact, lying) to demonstrate what kind of comment I’m talking about:

“Yikes, your review of Dr. Oz was annoying. I can’t stand your constant nagging. Figures why he’s famous and no one cares about your blog.”

But yesterday I received a comment that was the proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back, and I need to personally ask you all to please stop and think before you write a comment on this blog or any other. Be kind, compassionate, and productive with your comments, anywhere you post them. You’re writing to real people who have feelings and cortisol levels that are affected by stress, just like you. I write on this blog because I like to help and educate people, and because I love writing. And I love constructive criticism and healthy debate, but I don’t like being cyberly sucker punched in the face.

So, I’m making an entire blog post out of one commenter’s comment because 1) I’m sick of asshole commenters and 2) my husband’s autobiographical Paleo journey is worth sharing.

Ok… Now that that’s out of the way, the commenter that sent me over the edge (who will now be called the “camel commenter”) wrote in response to a blog post called “Why No Grains and Legumes Part 1: Lectins“, which I wrote in March of 2011. I opened the post with this statement, and you can read the rest of the post here if you so desire.

“Recently my boyfriend has been straying from his normal Paleo ways because he feels that grain-laden cookies are more important than his overall health and longevity.”

After receiving some negative feedback about the contents of this post in the comments, I recently commented myself that I had “anti-fans”. The camel commenter, Jim O’Donnell, wrote the following in response to the blog post and that comment:


I doubt you have “antifans” as much as your lifestyle has skeptics. Much of your article is very much your opinion and people will take issue with statements like “since they’re basically poisonous” regarding whole foods which have been staples of societies that remain healthier than eurocentric populations and have for thousands of years.

None of this is particularly “well documented” and there are certainly contradictory studies indicating that beans and grains, certainly, are beneficial. You admit that you are highly sensitive to some of these foods. I submit that you are in a small minority, that people would benefit enormously from simply omitting highly processed foods and selecting organic wherever possible.

Paleo devotees sometimes come off as the sort of handwringing worriworts that wear masks in restaurants, shun digital audio and believe gluten and casein cause autism. Let’s be clear: SOME people MAY be sensitive or allergic to SOME environmental constituents, including certain foods (and some may be obsessive-compulsive hypochondriacs).

You clearly state that you feel worse after eating beans and grains–that they make you sick. While I accept that about you, it may not actually apply to your boyfriend. He may tolerate the occasional cookie very well and, assuming his lifestyle includes an abundance of healthy alternatives, exercise of mind and body, adequate rest and limited stress, he may well outlive you by many years. If I, however, happened upon a public article written by my girlfriend and beginning with such a narrow-minded and judgmental opener, it might give me cause to rethink my situation and pack my things. Just sayin’.

That was a well-written comment; I’ll give him that. Everything was relatively friendly (except for that whole hypochondriac thing) until he told me he’d think about leaving me if he were my boyfriend. Here’s what my boyfriend, Seth, who’s now my husband, had to say about it.


Screen-Shot-2013-01-31-at-6.31.32-PM.png@ Jim O’Donnell

I am the boyfriend Neely was writing about in the first few lines of this post. As she mentioned we are now happily married (perhaps you shouldn’t imply that a couple should separate based on 2 lines in a blog post) and while I don’t usually comment on her posts I thought that since I was specifically targeted here I should respond.

This post was written at a time when I had been on the Paleo diet for around 6 months. I was transitioning out of Architecture school and into a desk job and was rock climbing consistently better than I ever had. I was regularly climbing 5.14 and V11 and if you know anything about climbing you will know that these grades aren’t something you accomplish as a hobbyist. I spent 8 years of my life in pursuit of 5.14 and didn’t do a single one until I switched to Paleo. I was suddenly able to train for 6 hours instead of 3 hours, recovering faster, and feeling better on my days off. I also noticed that my complexion got better and I was much less gassy. I am someone who’s prone to injury and I noticed that my old injuries were less inflamed after training and I wasn’t feeling any new injuries lurking.

So, you are probably asking yourself why would anyone stop if they were seeing such great improvements? Well, I stopped for two reasons: First, I missed all of those foods that I had eliminated and wasn’t sure whether the diet was actually helping me or whether I had suddenly turned into SuperSeth; and second, I had gained 10 lbs of muscle and a little fat (a bad thing as a rock climber) and I was concerned that the Paleo diet might have been the cause.

I had several very long talks with Neely about what I was thinking and about whether she thought Paleo might have been the cause. She said she didn’t think so and that she was worried that all of my old symptoms and injuries might flare up again. She also said that while she was worried about my health, she thought it might be a good idea for me to add foods back in to my diet slowly in order to see their effects.

As I began adding foods back into my diet, Neely was right, the symptoms and injuries slowly started to return. An old finger injury started to get worse, my arms would get sore and tight for days and I couldn’t recover, my performance dropped off, and the weight stayed on. Neely wrote this post around this time in the story as she was listening to me complain about my poor performance and watching as my face broke out for the first time in 6 months. As you might imagine she was worried and frustrated and wrote this blog post about her struggles with my dietary shift. She consulted me before writing it and I told her what she wrote was fine.

Since this experiment I have switched back to the Paleo diet and am climbing and feeling better than ever. I was laid off from my position at the architecture firm and my weight immediately dropped back to normal. It turns out sitting on your butt for 40 hrs a week and getting older means that it’s easier to gain weight on any diet.

So, that’s the background behind this blog post. As you can see there was a lot more going on behind those two lines in the blog post. There has been a rash of negative, presumptive, and ignorant comments on the blog that Neely has been having to deal with lately. Jim, I would just ask that before you personally attack someone based on what you would like to assume is their stupidity, ignorance, or whatever other negative generalization you choose, consider that they might actually be an incredibly intelligent, thoughtful, and well-read individual who has spent over 10 years of their life researching the topic about which they have posted. You are entitled to your opinion, but it might be good to (like I hope your parents taught you) apply a filter.