Pete Evans: diet guru, “wellness” advocate, celebrity chef and surfer guy. He’s probably more famous, now, for his health ideas than his year-round tan and work on My Kitchen Rules. Pete Evans is a chef but somehow the lines around that profession have blurred and he’s been causing outrage for some time now over his penchant for giving out questionable health advice.


Here’s a few examples of Paleo Pete’s that have set my eyes rolling:

Pete Evans and the Activated Almonds

The first time I thought Pete Evans was a little wacky, it was when he went public with his nuts. You know, the fact that he was soaking them in water to “activate” them. No inactive, lazy old nuts for Pete Evans. I didn’t understand it then and I’m still not clear on the moisture = active thing, but hey, whatever floats your, erm, nuts. Apparently, hydrating your nuts makes them easier to digest. People better educated in the nut-digestion area than I say that actually, we already digest nuts pretty well. But whatever, right? All I hope is that you’re sensible enough to wet your nuts yourself instead of spending all your hard earned money on (significantly more expensive) pre-soaked nuts.

If only he’d stopped at the nuts, before things got dodgy and dangerous. Sigh.

Active Almond is active.

Anti-Fluoride Cavity Fan

Okay, okay, he hasn’t come out and said that he wants people to have unhealthy teeth. But this is the reality of being an anti-fluoride campaigner. He and his wife advocate homemade toothpaste and he’s a well-known supporter of an anti-fluoride group. He recently said, on national telly, that we should “do our own research” about fluoride and by that, he means we should google that shit until we find a blog or website that confirms whatever it is that we want to believe. This is not research. Most people don’t have the training, equipment or access to information to perform scientific research. Even reading studies can lead to dubious conclusions unless you know what you’re doing.

Water fluoridation was introduced in Australia in the 1950s and you know what the primary effect has been? A reduction in dental caries. It has been well studied. If you want to go to the trouble and expense of having fluoride free water and homemade toothpaste, that’s up to you. I hope you have top-level dental cover.

You know what bothers me more than these inaccurate concerns about fluoride? The fact that oral decay is one of the leading causes of chronic infection in children. If untreated, it can cause secondary infections. It can lead to surgical intervention or even cause death. I’ll keep the fluoride, thanks.

Uhhhm…

Pete Evans and Bone Broth for Babies

Pete Evans, in collaboration with naturopath Helen Padarin and “wellness blogger” Charlotte Carr, decided to put out a cook book. One of their recipes was a bone and pureed liver broth. It was intended to feed babies that couldn’t have breast milk for whatever reason. The trouble being that such homemade baby formula is not safe. Store bought formula is far from perfect but boiling up liver and bones and feeding that to an infant is fucking dangerous. Don’t take my word for it; I speak only from a place of common fucking sense. Plenty of people more educated than I in baby health and nutrition said basically the same thing, only they used words like “irresponsible” and “dangerously high levels of Vitamin A” and “toxic for babies” and “a baby could die”. In the end, the book deal was scrapped but Pete and his mates released it as an e-book. Apparently, Pete and his co-authors added some vitamin C and calcium to the recipe, still leaving it with dangerously high levels of vitamin A. Awesome.

Magic broth for babies. Never mind the known dangers.

 

Actually, forget broth. Camel Milk for babies!

Then there was the time that Pete Evans reportedly said camel milk was basically identical to human breast milk so yeah, totally cool to give that to your baby. Once again, this had to be corrected by someone with actual medical knowledge to hopefully prevent vulnerable parents from replacing breast milk with frigging camel milk. President of the Public Health Association of Australia, Professor Heather Yeatman, said that camel milk has triple the amount of protein that human milk does and could cause kidney damage. Just what new parents want for their child, right?

To be fair, Evans did say the media had it wrong and it was actually a nutritionist who wrote the Facebook post on his page about camel milk that detailed how similar it is to human breast milk but didn’t actually recommend people feed it to babies. They just made a super-favourable comparison for no reason at all. However, the camel’s milk recommendation was also then found on Pete’s Paleo Way website. Well, how awkward.

If the camel knows you want to milk it, it may react like this.

Fuck Sunscreen

Pete Evans says he doesn’t use proper sunscreen. Why? Well, he said the following during a Facebook Q & A session last year:

“The silly thing is people put on normal chemical sunscreen then lay out in the sun for hours on end and think that they are safe because they have covered themselves in poisonous chemicals, which is a recipe for disaster as we are witnessing these days.”

He’s been quoted as defending his stance by talking about vitamin D deficiency and sure, he might have a point. However, the real concern seems to be a fear of “chemicals”.

Sunscreens, even those with the nano-particles that some people are so worried about, have been studied and found to be safe. You know what is definitely not safe? Skin cancer. Living in Australia and going out without sunscreen is the real recipe for disaster here. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Pete is effectively using his influence to encourage people to stop using proven sunscreens, RIGHT HERE IN MELANOMA CENTRAL. Not cool, Pete Evans. Not cool.

Do yourself a favour and look after your skin!

The Latest

Look, I could go on and on here. There are more examples. Pete Evans once told a lady with osteoporosis to stop consuming dairy because it “leaches calcium from the bones” even though it fucking doesn’t and he’s a chef and not a doctor but actually, that example segues into my next point really well. Pete went on the telly the other night and said he didn’t need a qualification to give out medical or health advice. This was, confusingly, in amongst times where he questioned the qualifications of doctors to provide advice on things like fluoridated water. It would seem qualifications only matter when they suit Pete and as far as health advice that HE believes in, he’s fine to give it out, will-nilly.

Excuse me?

Pete Evans is a chef. He likes healthy food and has come up with his own (dare I say HISTORICALLY INACCURATE) version of paleolithic eating. Loads of people rave about the healthy lifestyle they have thanks to his ideas on food. And that’s great.

If people want to give up dairy, eat activated nuts and they feel better for it, that’s fine. I even agree that what we define as healthy food needs to change in line with current research and I hope it gets there soon.

What I don’t agree with is that Pete Evans, a chef, dishes up whatever advice he likes because he’s decided that qualifications (i.e. years of study) are somehow meaningless. That is beyond arrogant and bloody dangerous.

 

 

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  • Seriously, most chefs have more of a clue about proper health and nutrition than this guy does.

    • sydneyshopgirl

      True and they are up front about how what they serve at restaurants are ‘sometimes’ foods versus the reality of everyday eating.

      SSG xxx

    • He’s just so extreme and fanatical!

  • LydiaCLee

    I’m still stretching my head around Paleo diet, when we all know Paleoman died at 18 or something (that was their old age…most died at 14-15…). I did some research on activating almonds, because I was bored and had paid stupid money because they were the only tamari almonds in the shop. The activation process needs to be done in salt water, which means it can’t be good for you as it’s salt…and we all stopped having tuna in brine because of the salt…(add the delicious tamari and there’s nothing good for you at all in the tasty, tasty treat.). If you soak them in water, you might change the texture of the almond a little by moving it a little further a long in the germination process. However, it doesn’t appear to alter nutrients. But check the sodium levels on the pack if activated in salt water…shocking!! So I think it’s more like mashing (I refuse to say smashed) avocado and scooped avocado. Same nutrients, different texture. Can I get my own tv show now?

    • LydiaCLee

      Where do you buy camel milk? Or do you have to get a camel? (and cold coffee fiasco is my next installment of mythbusting..)

      • I have no idea. I imagine a woo-tastic health food shop might stock it?

    • So activated almonds are just saltier! Ha!

  • sydneyshopgirl

    Thank you for being so concise and considered in your Pete discussion. I tend to just feel irrational rage whenever I read his latest headline. I never quite make it to reading all the research and facts that dispel his beliefs. Ironically, it is the comments from dieticians, nutritionists and those with a medical background on articles about him that I find the most educational. So I guess good old Pete does raise awareness about nutrition but not always for ‘his facts’.

    SSG xxx

    • Yeah! It’s great to see the almost immediate response from health professionals every time he says something outrageous but that also tells me they worry about his influence.

  • Kathy Marris

    Don’t get me started SSG! I think Pete Evans is a complete whacko for preaching this type of advice. If he is so “natural” why is his wife so full of botox, restalin and breast implants. She should be living on the farm in a completely natural state – no makeup, no injectables, hairy armpits and un-highlighted hair. They are complete hypocrites – the both of them. #TeamLovinLife

    • It amazes me that people who preach a natural life ignore hair dye of all things. And you’d think, since she’s so against what she’s done in the past, she’d get the implants out!

  • FFS he makes me so mad. People are impressionable, especially mums with new babies working with such little sleep and a completely different scenario in front of them. Some people would assume he’s an expert and follow what he says without researching it.

  • I hate it when celebrities use their celebrity status to dish out advice not based on scientific research. The celebrity culture in Western Societies is dangerous all round really because people do believe them and follow what they say. Your post really highlights the idiocy behind some weird advice, and your little videos and memes had me giggling all the way through. #teamlovinlife

    • We do idolise those on the small screen and assume they’re correct when in reality, they have no qualifications to dish out such advice. Glad you liked the gifs, they made me chuckle too!

  • I totally agree with you about Pete Evans. How is he qualified to give advice on health matters? The sunscreen advice makes me particularly mad as my Dad died of melanoma, so I’m really insistent on wearing sunscreen and drum into into my kids that it’s important if you want to avoid melanoma… sigh! #TeamLovinLife

    • It is super important. In light of your family history it must infuriate you! I’m sorry to hear about your dad xx

  • Chris @BoomingOn

    Hahaha, I agree – he’s a bit of a dick. I enjoyed reading that. Another reason not to watch that despicable show that people pretend is about food but is just an exercise in people behaving badly.

  • Totally agree. Stick to what you’re trained for Pete – anything else isn’t just unhelpful, it’s dangerous. #lovin life crew

    • You know, I heard that he isn’t actually a trained chef, either. How strange!

  • I liked Pete Evans when he did cool things with pizza back in the day. We own his bench top pizza oven. He lost points for me when he became a judge on the cooking show (for no reason other than I don’t like cooking shows). Then it was just a HUGE downhill slide from there. Avalanche in fact. He should have stuck with pizza …
    #teamlovinlife

  • Min Write of the Middle

    I must agree that it is quite concerning some of the things he is coming out and saying. I do like some of his recipes though! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  • I’ve gotta agree, that bone broth recipe was utterly frightening. People have killed their babies by deviating from breast milk or baby formulas.
    Sunscreen, not so bad. Many cultures use clay which makes a fine sunscreen. (Not sure if I want to run about the town covered in clay however!)
    Toothpaste? Whatevs! I wonder what his recipe is? I have spoken to dentists who don’t mind alternatives but that’s because our water contains fluoride.

    • The trouble with the sunscreen is this misinformation and fear mongering about nanoparticles and the endorsement of unproven products instead. I wonder if Pete gets a commission from surf mud?

  • Andieharrie

    we just called it meat and 3 veg when we were growing up – wish i had of thought to market simple fresh food eating years ago i’d now be the multimillionaire ….