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Paleo lifestyle and the modern world

by (3509)
Updated about 7 hours ago
Created January 11, 2011 at 10:04 PM

No less than ninety percent of what we discuss here is about paleo diet, and perhaps the remaining ten percent is about fitness. I am sure those two factors explain a good share of someone??s health. I have my concerns, nevertheless, about other things that set the urban citizen of today apart from traditional hunter gatherers: In winter, some five hundred years ago, a Native American on the Great Plains would have lived bearing the load of snow and icy mornings without any heating, except the one provided by his own garments and nomadic tent. Today "Neo-Paleos" will typically not resign the modern world indoor-heating, that results in indoors temperatures as hot in winter as they are in the summer. My question is what are your thoughts on this, whether you think that ideally people should converge to a life-style that does not isolate us from Nature, or would that be a totally misleading idea? Also in which other sense do you feel that there could a "Paleo life-style" that goes beyond optimal diet?

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40 · January 18, 2011 at 3:32 AM

In the next decade as the Paleo Diet gains solid support, amny changes will be forced upon our pesent destructive agricultural ways. MUch like organic gardening has ramped up world wide support, grass-fed cattle farmers will have customers knocking on thier doors. Community gardening, rooftop gardening, and a return to a reliance on more hardy perennials supporting permaculture is inevitable. The Paleo Diet will become a lifestyle for many and the food pyramid will change, as it has many times in the past. This will change the dynamics, and relationships to land. Hopefully sooner then later.

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478 · January 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Thanks, Tom. I'm writing a bunch of stuff behind the scenes. If an agent or publisher gets in touch with me, it would get done much sooner! :)

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b
898 · January 12, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Hey Andrew, I really like your stuff on evolvify. I'm just putting it out there but you should write a book about it ;) It's really fascinating to match up (paleo) anthropology and evolutionary psychology up with the modern world.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b
898 · January 12, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Hey Andrew, I really like in your stuff. I'm just putting it out there but you should write a book about it ;)

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Ed what I was suggesting had nothing to do with a Government controlled device to set residencial temperatures. I believe you did not understand my point, not at all....

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11478 · January 12, 2011 at 3:33 PM

I like Paola's answer. Adaptability with tools and brainpower is natural and usually desirable. I live in the southeastern USA, and I'm thankful for the indoor heating during our recent snowstorm. I can open my door and "connect" to nature any time I wish. Some tools, like my cross-country skis, actually lead to more "quality time" outdoors. The use of tools involves individual choices, for good or ill. Are we going to have the "thermostat police," as they propose in California? Let individuals make their own determinations about adaptation, comfort, etc.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Paola my point is about whether it would be desirable for humans to live more connected to natural (Nature) cycles. I agree with you that most civilizations will try to achieve a degree of control over nature, the question is, to what extent should we control it, and to what extent should we adapt to weather, local conditions, etc.

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20411 · January 12, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Is fire in an Igloo indoor heating?

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1
2245 · January 12, 2011 at 7:44 AM

Love that book!

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1304 · January 12, 2011 at 6:04 AM

Ignacio, it looks like we disagree about what is natural for humans and what is not. I think that it is natural for humans (as a species) to exploit natural resources as much as possible for their most pressing biological goal (increasing offspring). Whether this explotation has so far had good outcomes or not is another issue, to which I would probably answer negatively, because it has damaged both the world and our health as individuals. So, probably I agree with you that overheating our apartments is a waste of energy, but I'm not sure that it is unnatural.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
1304 · January 12, 2011 at 5:48 AM

Ignacio, it looks like we disagree about what is natural for humans and what is not. I think that it is natural for humans (as a species) to exploit natural resources as much as possible for their most pressing biological goal (increasing offspring). Whether this explotation has so far had good outcomes or not is another issue, to which I would probably answer negatively, because it has damaged both the natural world and our health as individuals. So, probably I agree with you that overheating our apartments is a waste of energy, but I'm not sure that it is unnatural.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
1304 · January 12, 2011 at 5:01 AM

Ignacio, I envy your certainty about what is natural for humans and what is not; I really do.

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478 · January 12, 2011 at 4:46 AM

I'm not a professional scientist and/or researcher. In the service of writing, my research tends to focus on anthropology, behavioral economics, and other disciplines relating to evolutionary psychology.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:35 AM

Thanks for the reference!

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:34 AM

Thanks, I am curious to know what is your area of research, is it anthropology?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:31 AM

Paola of course indoor heating is isolating us from Nature, and I understand that people living in harsh climates choose to have heating. Nevertheless the question remains whether you view that as an ideal outcome. Think of the innuits pre-sedentarism as compared to the lives they lead today....

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:28 AM

Paola of course indoor heating is isolating us from Nature, and I understand that people living in harsh climates chooses to have heating. Nevertheless the question remains whether you view that as an ideal outcome. Think of the innuits pre-sedentarism as compared to the lives they lead today....

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7 Answers

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6fa48935d439390e223b9a053a62c981
3
1676 · January 12, 2011 at 12:43 AM

See this question and the excellent responses. Finding an answer to this question was actually the life work of Paul Shepard, and I would recommend his excellent book Coming Home to the Pleistocene, or any of his other books (but I'd start with CHTTP). He was primarily concerned with establishing cultural practices that comport with our true nature, as dictated by our genetic heritage.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1
2245 · January 12, 2011 at 7:44 AM

Love that book!

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:35 AM

Thanks for the reference!

best answer

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
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1304 · January 12, 2011 at 2:22 AM

Well, human beings originated in climates much warmer than the American Great Plains, and moved there relatively late (in evolutionary terms). Humans can adapt to harsh climates because of technology, to make, for example, knives, needles etc. and thus sew clothes; or to make fire (yes, fire was also used to keep warm in the Great Plains, not just "garments and tents"...), and the list could go on and on. Humans also underwent some major physical adaptations to colder and less sunny climates.

I don't think the Great Plains or Siberia are ideal niches for humans, but rather harsh environments to which we have adapted. If you think indoor heating is "isolating us from Nature", where would you stop? Is the domestication of fire "unnatural"? And what about spears? Clothes? Tattoos? Espresso con panna?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Ed what I was suggesting had nothing to do with a Government controlled device to set residencial temperatures. I believe you did not understand my point, not at all....

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64
11478 · January 12, 2011 at 3:33 PM

I like Paola's answer. Adaptability with tools and brainpower is natural and usually desirable. I live in the southeastern USA, and I'm thankful for the indoor heating during our recent snowstorm. I can open my door and "connect" to nature any time I wish. Some tools, like my cross-country skis, actually lead to more "quality time" outdoors. The use of tools involves individual choices, for good or ill. Are we going to have the "thermostat police," as they propose in California? Let individuals make their own determinations about adaptation, comfort, etc.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Paola my point is about whether it would be desirable for humans to live more connected to natural (Nature) cycles. I agree with you that most civilizations will try to achieve a degree of control over nature, the question is, to what extent should we control it, and to what extent should we adapt to weather, local conditions, etc.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4
20411 · January 12, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Is fire in an Igloo indoor heating?

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
1304 · January 12, 2011 at 6:04 AM

Ignacio, it looks like we disagree about what is natural for humans and what is not. I think that it is natural for humans (as a species) to exploit natural resources as much as possible for their most pressing biological goal (increasing offspring). Whether this explotation has so far had good outcomes or not is another issue, to which I would probably answer negatively, because it has damaged both the world and our health as individuals. So, probably I agree with you that overheating our apartments is a waste of energy, but I'm not sure that it is unnatural.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
1304 · January 12, 2011 at 5:48 AM

Ignacio, it looks like we disagree about what is natural for humans and what is not. I think that it is natural for humans (as a species) to exploit natural resources as much as possible for their most pressing biological goal (increasing offspring). Whether this explotation has so far had good outcomes or not is another issue, to which I would probably answer negatively, because it has damaged both the natural world and our health as individuals. So, probably I agree with you that overheating our apartments is a waste of energy, but I'm not sure that it is unnatural.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9
1304 · January 12, 2011 at 5:01 AM

Ignacio, I envy your certainty about what is natural for humans and what is not; I really do.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:31 AM

Paola of course indoor heating is isolating us from Nature, and I understand that people living in harsh climates choose to have heating. Nevertheless the question remains whether you view that as an ideal outcome. Think of the innuits pre-sedentarism as compared to the lives they lead today....

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:28 AM

Paola of course indoor heating is isolating us from Nature, and I understand that people living in harsh climates chooses to have heating. Nevertheless the question remains whether you view that as an ideal outcome. Think of the innuits pre-sedentarism as compared to the lives they lead today....

Medium avatar
9
39841 · January 11, 2011 at 10:14 PM

I think many of us experience too little contrast in our lives. As a result, we have a greater difficulty appreciating things such as warmth, a full belly, and just comfort in general because we rarely experience cold, hunger and discomfort. There is something psychologically damaging about insulating yourself from what we might call the "real world."

That being said, I don't know where the threshold is that separates "sound steps toward aligning oneself with one's design" from "regressive attempts at historical reenactment."

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478 · January 11, 2011 at 11:19 PM

The myriad psychological impacts of our life within an ecology we're not adapted to is one of the primary concerns I'm working toward with my writing. Long-story short, I think we're maladapted to modern life and our instincts are hijacked by artifacts of evolution and the emergent institutions (nation-states, corporations, et cetera) are not optimally suited to individuals.

The study of evolutionary aesthetics deals with this specifically in its attempt to extract the environmental structures that are fundamentally important to us once the sociocultural pressures are stripped away.

All that said, I don't think a Luddite solution is any kind of solution either. A mental understanding that we're living in a maladaptive environment to begin with is the first step. From there, it's a matter of applying modern tools in a way that doesn't interfere with our innate preferences.

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc
478 · January 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Thanks, Tom. I'm writing a bunch of stuff behind the scenes. If an agent or publisher gets in touch with me, it would get done much sooner! :)

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b
898 · January 12, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Hey Andrew, I really like your stuff on evolvify. I'm just putting it out there but you should write a book about it ;) It's really fascinating to match up (paleo) anthropology and evolutionary psychology up with the modern world.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b
898 · January 12, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Hey Andrew, I really like in your stuff. I'm just putting it out there but you should write a book about it ;)

630c94db61d822a0855533fafbeb11bc
478 · January 12, 2011 at 4:46 AM

I'm not a professional scientist and/or researcher. In the service of writing, my research tends to focus on anthropology, behavioral economics, and other disciplines relating to evolutionary psychology.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd
3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:34 AM

Thanks, I am curious to know what is your area of research, is it anthropology?

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b
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898 · January 11, 2011 at 10:43 PM

I like the tendency of the community to be satisfied with less comfort. Examples are Nikoley's no soap-thingy and Erwan leCorre's ability to sleep on hard surfaces (without pillows and blankets). Especially the latter is something someone would not try to emulate quickly, but once achieved imagine how much that would make your life easier!

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422 · January 12, 2011 at 2:37 AM

I personally try to let it get kind of cold in the winter, and kind of hot in the summer. Do I have heaters and air conditioning? YES. But I don't turn them to max in any season. I use clothing and blankets to keep me warm, or stripping down as much as I can to keep cool.

I've never liked the idea of keeping a home at a constant 72 degrees or whatever room temperature may be.

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3509 · January 12, 2011 at 4:40 AM

Modern technology has in fact "separated" people from the cycles of Nature, to a large extent, and temperature is a clear example of this: definitely, Native Americans where much more subject to the cycles of summer-winter than we are today, and the same applies in many other parts of the world. I do not think that we should reject technology (that was one of the Luddites point) but I still think that being closer to what the natural cycle dictates is also a human need. For temperature I do as Sigil said, trying to "let it kind of cool in winter, and kind of hot in summer". In any case I view this as just one important issue, and the broader issue would be, to what extent are we prepared, or interested in moving towards older technologies, or lives less based in the "modern comfort" idea in order to live lives that would be more similar to the ones that hunter gatherers did have? I also appreciate Marks answer on Shepard´s work!

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