Sometimes the Paleo community really irks me. I've seen this in all circles- among vegans, vegetarians, and raw foodies too. It's this mindset that people have to do it "just like you do" in order to fit into the label. Really, I don't even care about labels, but I know labels help us identify things, so, in some ways, they are necessary. When I'm scoping out recipes on pinterest, listing grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free etc will bring me far less results than typing in "paleo".
I know a lot of people who are interested in many of the Paleo principles but are hesitant to try it out because they think they cannot afford it. After all, the major Paleo blogs say you have to buy directly from the farm, grocery stores are the devil. So while some Paleo folks can afford to buy the extremely pricey sugar-free bacon from online vendors, regular folk like us cannot.
Our thought has been to do the best that you can. We all have to start somewhere. So, while some Paleo folks would turn a critical eye at a person picking up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, others understand.
For many, it's a big step simply to remove grains, dairy, and legumes from their diets. (And, yanno, I know some Paleo folks still consume dairy, although our bellies are not able to handle it.)
Don't get me wrong, much of the Paleo community can be very helpful, loving, and encouraging, but there's also that nasty side (just as I saw when I was a vegan) where folks are extremely critical and demeaning.
What is of more importance to us? Our precious label or helping people make the healthiest choices they can manage at that point in their life?
For some of my friends, simply disconnecting themselves from frequent fast food visits is a huge step. Must we nitpick them about where they purchase their meat at, or that it's not organic, and so, "Harumph, you're not Paleo!"
I tell you, if folks are just making the step to cut out grain, that's a HUGE deal. Let's be encouraging and supportive of that step, without being nasty about the 2% of sugar in their bacon they bought at Kroger's.
I think some have forgotten what a trial it can be to make such a drastic change in your diet, especially since some have been eating the typical American diet for 50 years or more. Many people have never gone a day in their lives without dairy or had a meal that didn't involve some kind of grain involved. Even if this is the only change they make, it's still an important one!
We have five children, soon to be six, so we know the importance of being frugal. When we can afford to buy organic, we do. When we can afford to buy straight from the farm, we do. We have shared a cow with friends. We do the best we can, and yes, we are willing to put a little extra toward the healthier things, but we simply cannot afford to spend $8 per pound on chicken! (Which is the price offered at our Farmer's Market.)
Believe me, we want to support the little guy. We prefer to buy local. We want the healthiest produce and meat, so we do the best we can. Let us be more encouraging of people who are trying to make the healthiest choices they can. Let us be supportive of where they are instead of hyper-critical of how they are "doing it wrong".