Since the recent Ancestral Health Symposium just happened, there has been an influx of conversation about what ‘Paleo’ really is and what we should do. There has also been some discussion about the ‘proof’ anyone has when it comes to nutrition. This seems to have led to many debates: the science debates, the historical debates, and even the debates about who is ‘really’ doing Paleo and who is ‘not.’
Silly, I tell you! Silly!
Why do I say that? Well, I personally feel that Chris Kresser had it when he wrote a blog about the “Paleo Template.” What a great idea! My friends on Low Carb Conversations and I discussed this for episode 20 of that podcast. My opinion: I subscribe to it wholeheartedly! There are many ways people take the ‘Paleo’ message, and many ways of life. We are all individuals with different bodies, lives, and aspects…so why say that EVERYONE should do ONLY this or ONLY that? I am a firm advocate for individual choice (An it harm none, do what thou wilt), and with that belief comes the understanding that each person views his or her own world in his or her own light. I also accept the responsibility that comes with my choices and advocations. With that being said, I do believe that there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Paleo.’ How can there be? We don’t have enough knowledge about the era to truly KNOW it, let alone live it today. I also understand that cultures and lives vary today as they may well have in the past. This can make for some differences, in my opinion. Let’s look at it this way: We don’t all find that low-fat or SAD diets work for EVERYONE, right? Why would we say that ours does? It just can’t be factually said without debate and success stories in many aspects. I honestly don’t believe that there is a SINGLE DIET for EVERYONE. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am of the belief that there are certain things one can do to help one stay healthy and THRIVE; however, what is right for one may not be right for another (one man’s trash kinda deal, right). My own beliefs and experiences have led me toward discussions more on the Paleo/Primal/Low-Carb front. Ultimately, I think these are generally lifestyles that push people toward real, whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods. THAT is important to me. I believe that such foods have a HUGE impact on our well-beings (whole and separate). I have seen it, experienced it, and felt it. BUT, I am open and willing to work with those who choose other things.
Science is a fascinating thing. It is something that really varies…some of the sciences have some strong data and correlations that hold true. Others can vary. I look at nutrition sciences as one of those great mysteries of life. While we know a good deal about biology, anatomy, biochemistry, and human physiology, we still do not know for sure how everything works. Science (and in particular, nutrition science), is one of those things that needs wording like ‘sometimes,’ ‘for some people,’ ‘in this case,’ and ‘most likely.’ Maybe one day we might not have to say that, but so far…well…
Anyway, I am personally dedicated to getting more people to eat real, whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods if they so choose. I believe that is the ultimate message of ‘Paleo.’ To me, it is not about following a way of living that emulates cavemen and women. While that is a catchy way to introduce people that I have absolutely embraced, I don’t think our lives could truly emulate this in real life. We can choose to eat better ingredients. We can choose to live with less physical, mental, and emotional stress. We can get more sleep. We can listen to our bodies. We can do N=1 experiments so we find what works for us and what does not…and that, to me is living healthfully. I think Paleo is about healthy living…choosing that way of life that helps us THRIVE. Emulations, no. Personal health and success: yes! Trust me, I don’t think we all need to go out and find caves, get rid of our refrigerators and stoves, or anything else. I just think we should try to live as healthfully and ‘sustainably’ as we can…for ourselves, our world, and our planet!
One last thought: While you may have a different idea about this than I, and while you might not agree with me, I support you. I find that we should each support one another in order to spread the word and grow this way of life that is bound to be more healthy and freeing for our world, planet, and fellow man!
Thanks and have a healthy day!
My inspirations for this were as follows:
Mark Sisson: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/
Mat LaLonde: http://podiumlive.com/crossfit/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=12
Robb Wolf: http://robbwolf.com/
Chris Kresser: http://chriskresser.com/
Misty Humphrey: http://www.free-healthy-diet-plans.com/about-me.html (You rule, sistah!)
Jimmy Moore: http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com/
Mindy Noxon Iannotti: http://minthickandthin.com/
AHS 11: http://ancestryfoundation.org/
and finally…to all my friends in the IPMG (International Paleo Movement Group)! Our conversations have been so inspiring and encouraging! I thank you all!
Great article Rachel
I too agree with a “Paleo Template” as Chris Kresser has put it. We have biochemical individualtiy and what works for me may not work for you.
There are also social and economical circumstances that we must take into consideration. Socially, it can be difficult to eat paleo and so many consume restaurant food these days. It is well known that the omega 3:6 ratio is out of whack within this society and unless one is eating in a sustainable restaurant, this whacky ratio applies.
Second point but still pointing to the 3:6 ratio, is our current economic status. While I might be able to purchase Wild Caught Salmon, my neighbor may only be able to afford farmed Tilapia. Does this make him/her any less paleo than me? Not in the mind only the food supply.
So many situations we could point to but again, at the end of the day, as Robb Wolf states “Don’t make it a religion and do the best you can. If you look feel and perform better, you’ve got it right”.
Thank you for your contributions!
In good health
Great contributions, Misty!
Thank you so much for sharing this perspective Rachel! Before I even saw your post I posted this in IPMG: Paleo pet-peeve: “Strictly Paleo”. This assumes everyone is eating from the same specific paleo-era, on the same continent, same state with the same access to what is local and seasonal. This disregards to personal preference which is quite neolithic yet very good practice. Strictly Paleo = Bullshit when it comes to food, fitness and lifestyle! Why do we us this word phrase when talking about paleo?”. As soon as I read it I knew we were all moving along this wave length lest we become what many think other groups are today, “Extreme Elitists”.
I Love what Misty said here too: “Does this make him/her any less paleo than me? Not in the mind only the food supply.”. We’re all in this together and we need each other! The neighbor eating wild salmon today may need to share in your farmer talapia rations tomorrow.
Rachel, I couldn’t have said it better! Keep up the good writing!
I agree completely.
Our main focus should be to change what is currently known as the “modern lifestyle”, into a healthy lifestyle; to get more people living closer to the ways in which our population can thrive, instead of merely surviving.
I applaud your current level of success, and wish you luck in your continued endeavours to spread the healthiness, and I will make as much of a contribution as I can.
Great job on the post 🙂
Thanks so very much for the compliments and contributions you guys! I am pleased to be a voice for health and wellbeing in man and womankind!
Thanks for a great blog Rachel! Well said!
Following a Paleo diet involves no measuring or calorie counting (if you aren’t interested in quick weight loss anyway). All you need to do is follow the diet in regular and systematic way.
Great article, hope this helps: http://paleoworks.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/what-is-paleo/
I miss your posts!
I know Mom! Been sooo busy, though! I’ll get to it soon, I promise!