Some people just eat the diet, some work-out, some try and live life a little more like a caveman/woman. What I want to know is how far do you take Paleo?
OK, I assume most of you here are eating/want to eat paleo, but how far does/can this thing go?
Do you: Only using candles at night? Hunt game/fish? Follow an earth spirituality? Do not use soap/shampoo? Live a self-sufficient/off-grid life? Live in an 'eco' or 'village' community or in the wilds? Are your children involved? Do you completely re-enact a caveman life?
I am interested to know, as I think Paleo means so many different things to so many people, I was wondering how far the concept resonates with you and if not, is just eating Paleo enough or do you yearn for 'more'?
I came to the Paleo world for mental health and energy with physical appearance second. Besides diet I also follow the circadian rhythm (just ordered some of those blue light blocking glasses), lift heavy weights to mimic moving logs and dead animals, and go on hikes in the sun a couple times a week and no longer wear a hat and have minimal sunblock (I live in LA). When Im feeling down I might add climbing trees to the hike and get my hands in the dirt (Ive read dirt is has anti-depressive qualities). Ive also been big into thinking about how our ancestors lived in a community and have tried to spend more time doing physical activities with male friends (male bonding outdoors, not just always be around my girlfriend) and have continued to pursue my spiritual involvement as it seems to be hardwired into us.
Less artificial light, more real sunlight
Less protection from the sun, dropped the hat and only light SPF
Wear shoes such as Sanuks that basically allow bare foot walking and go barefoot whenever I can
Sleep patterns that are closer to our ancestors (still struggle with this one)
More male bonding time and encouraging my GF to spend time with her friends (males hunting together, women gathering together)
More time in bigger groups of people, instead of one or two of us will invite a tribe
Time for spirituality and reflection
Minimal TV and trying to cut down on internet time
Hope to one day try bow hunting and bag myself a large organic grassfed animal
I find that the more Paleo I become the better I feel overall. I love being Paleo!!!!
All of those things you described in your question were around long before the Paleo diet became popular. We used to call it "getting back to nature," or call folks "naturalists," in the 60's and 70's.
We simplified our lives a while back. We haven't used synthetic products in our home or artificial flavors/preservatives in our food, for a very long time. We live simply and we eat nourishing whole foods as unadulterated as possible. We never really put a label on it. There are many people who have lived this same way for a long time. They sometimes call it "traditional living."
Seems like there are many labels one can give this simple lifestyle.
I find the areas of sunlight/sleep and avoidance/reduction of technology (especialy screens after dark), the reflection and creation of community and its relation to polyculture and male/female bonding-friendships all fascinating.
On 'spirituality', I remember a book I read about 10 years ago by Morris Berman, 'Wandering God' which attempted to reconstruct a kinda Daoist pre-civilization philosophy of living, while rejecting as a dead end any search for the transcendent/mysticism which he argued developed with sendentarism and agriculture. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wandering-God-Study-Nomadic-Spirituality/dp/0791444422/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268167431&sr=8-9
In terms of reconnecting with nature and creating a paleo society, I'm intrigued by the work of animist/primitivsts(?) like Derrick Jensen though I'm unsure as to how accurate/useful the environmental critique is.
I've more affinity with the eco-tech supporting social anarchism outlined by the late Murray Bookchin - a good review of his work is 'Bookchin: A Critical Appraisal' (Pluto Press)
I'm buying raw dairy, veg and some meat from local organic farms and I'm interested in one day being able to purchase land to experiment with.
Did Crossfit for a couple of years, now I mix it all up with some parkour and some larking around in trees and playgrounds.
Plan to build up to running and sprinting barefoot in the spring.
Finding the whole paleo online network inspiring and exciting.
Let's see if I can make my opinion on this perfectly clear...
I'm into Paleo because I think it's the optimal approach to diet and fitness. It's a solution to a problem. Nothing less, nothing more.
I do find it interesting to learn about how humans might've lived in the past but I think I'm just a bit of a history geek so that interest would be there regardless of diet.
Let's see. Before stumbling onto the Paleo diet, I'd done an Anthropology BA with a fair bit of human evolution/archaeology content, done a lot of camping and hiking, taken up fishing, archery (including bowfishing) and hunting. I was also throwing tomahawks, messing around with an atlatl and foraging for wild plant foods.
Then I started eating Paleo; since then I've started messing around with flintknapping, ordered some mushrooming books, and picked up a pair of FiveFingers.
The diet rounded out an assemblage of interests, really. I wouldn't call myself a reconstructionist, but I am fascinated by Paleo skills and technology, and wow, is the diet ever doing a number on my weight, diabetes, and blood pressure.
I'm learning how to shoot a rifle and butcher deer this week! Yay?
In the future I would love to have my own land with a permaculture forest. I would grow tree crops and graze some livestock. I've lived on an eco community before and loved it...might try it again in the future. It totally wasn't like the stereotype, it was clean, beautiful, and the people were rational. I had trouble with the food though...grainy and beany even though some were WAPFers. My stomach hurt so much that I didn't stay as long as I planned to. Communal meals can be disastrous for paleos.
The practices definitely resonate spiritually for me, but I've been interested in arctic shamanism way before I was interested in paleo. They go together very well though. The sweat lodge certainly has great health benefits, though I definitely wouldn't do one unless it was led or supervised by an elder from a tribe that has been practicing sweat lodge for thousands of years.
I think it would be tougher being a paleo Buddhist or Hindu certainly...which is also one of the reasons I don't do yoga. The religious philosophy behind it pretty much completely contradicts paleo and there is good evidence that contorting your body all unnaturally can lead to problems.
Whole Health Source has a post about the paleo mind and meditation, but I kind of don't agree with it. For every nice Hazda tribe there are plenty of warlike tribes (though I'm personally not of the mindset that warlike = bad either). I also don't think the Hazda are representative of our ancestors. They are a marginalized people struggling on bad land.
I've always tilted toward organic gardening and healthier foods and I like to keep things simple. I'm quite happy to just eat paleo foods and try to do short bursts of exercise and not go out and kill my own meat, or live by candlelight.
I am a follower of Jesus. I believe that we were created with magnificently adaptive bodies, but we are pushing their limits with the SAD and lifestyle. I agree with Paleo Dave that it is quiet a luxury to be able to worry about omega 3s and 6s, to eat fresh vegetables everyday and any type of meat at all. So why not enjoy the best of what we've been given, instead of all the crap pumped into our supermarkets?
Also used to be a chronic cardioer, but now i'm enjoying lots of walks, running around with the dog at the park, and lifting heavy weights or sprinting sometimes (and an occasional run too with a friend and our dogs).
Just ordered some five finger shoes too, but i live in asia so mail takes a while.
I'm with Kurt Harris: metabolism first! I like to eat paleo and love the idea of paleo fitness (no more chronic cardio ... big yay!). But I am also intrigued by the idea of barefooting, either with some Vibram Five Fingers or Vivo Barefoot.