UPDATE: President’s Trainer Calling Paleo a “Silly Fad Diet” Is a Vegan Advocate




What? Am I psychic, or does my attempt to make a logically connected hypothesis just blow my own mind? In yesterday’s post, I linked the politics of veganism to that of agribusiness by way of what I thought was a coincidental connection… An article by President Obama’s Personal Trainer, Cornell McClellan.

Shocker! News just floated my way that Mr. McClellan just happens to also be a vegan advocate! An ABC affiliate reports (emphasis mine):

“For three years, [Cornell McClellan] served on the inter-national(sic) board for Earth Save, an organization founded by John Robbins, author of “Diet for a New America.” Their mission is to bring the world closer to a plant-based lifestyle. He was a member of Roots of Peace, a Chicago-based vegan group, whose mission is to educate the children and community about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.” -ABC News Chicago

Well now does’t that put this hokum visual of your insides rotting in a bit of melodramatic context? “Eating a steak three times a day can potentially whittle your waistline, but the impact it’s having on your insides might not be as attractive”

The other main idea I proposed in the article was that religious folks often have an axe to grind with paleolithic diets because of the reliance on adaptive principles of Darwinian evolution. And double shocker:

Cornell’s Statement of Commitment
“I want clients to understand what needs to be done, and to commit to doing it. Living a healthy life is just one way to give thanks to God for the life He has given us.”

Now, I can’t say that Mr. McClellan is a Creationist at this point. However, the implications of the statement that “God” has “given us” life are many. It hints strongly at the negation of adaptation in human evolution. Notions of a creator god don’t allow room for evolution to happen in an adaptive way. Unlike the release of Darwin’s 1959 1859 work, “On the Origin of Species”, the paleo diet has a very real and visceral day-to-day meaning to people. Using the logical framework of a paleo approach tends to inherently keep the logic of evolution in one’s mind. Like Darwin’s book, paleo has the potential to cause further erosion of beliefs in Creationist myths and the anti-adaptationist motives of ID.

The new information on McClellan’s vegan advocacy adds another dimension to the lack of journalistic integrity in his original article. With this new light, the attempts to berate paleolithic diets by completely sensationalized rhetoric is amplified by concealing a very significant motivational bias. Sinister may be too strong of a word, but hiding a vegan advocacy agenda behind a nutritional propaganda is, to borrow the words of Mr. McClellan, “somewhat questionable”. Is that enough to qualify for “shill” status? You tell me.

UPDATE: November 7, 2010

McClellan apparently has a real problem with celebrities eating meat…

“McClellan bemoans the fact that celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Jessica Simpson have misconstrued vegan diets as being unhealthful; in a recent interview for her movie Salt, Jolie said that being a vegan “nearly killed me. I found that I was not getting enough nutrition.” …The best part of the article, though, is the fact that McClellan recommends Dreena’s cookbook Eat, Drink & Be Vegan” -Arsenalia.com

…and he’s clearly not skimping on the ultra vegan bias in general.

Perhaps the more important question is whether the vegan fad diet is healthy.

For a comprehensive list of paleo related links and, including some related to veg*an ideas, you might check out paleodiet.com.