Probably the biggest downside to going paleo: the stank. I avoid using generic soaps and deodorants, instead opting for organic soap and no deodorant. I don't know if anyone else has this issue, but Grok could not have mated with Mrs. Grok if he smelled like I do.
I'd love to hear you own solutions and experiences.
I suspect that Grok dealt with it like this: If everybody smells equally bad, nobody notices.
For me, functioning in a 21st century world requires soap and shampoo and whatnot.
To borrow Kurt Harris's phrase, I'm not so much into the "paleo re-enactment" as I am into letting science be my guide. If I see some convincing science suggesting that the personal hygiene stuff is bad for me (and I will watch this thread to see if some pops up) in a world where everyone else is using it, I'll revisit, but not 'til then.
Hi Rob. The soap and shampoo issue has been addressed by a previous thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/593/any-women-tried-no-soap-or-shampoo . Also, Richard Nikoley has posted about this topic several times at "Free the Animal." The consensus seems to be that soap and shampoo make your sebaceous glands work overtime, and that it takes 2 to 3 weeks of no soap and no shampoo for them to adjust.
Re: deodorants, I agree with previous post that life is not a paleo re-enactment. If you feel that you stink, it's ok to use deodorant/anti-perspirant. If OTC products aren't strong enough, there is a prescription anti-perspirant called "Drysol" which is also used for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) of the hands and feet. Anti-perspirants do not work on the surface of your skin. They actually penetrate the sweat glands, which takes several hours. The best time to apply anti-perspirants is at bedtime. If you shower the next morning, the anti-perspirant will still work because it's inside your sweat glands, not on the surface. A good resource for those with hyperhidrosis is the Hyperhidrosis Society ( http://www.sweathelp.org ).
In my own personal experience, going paleo meant smelling sweeter - after about a month on the diet, my breath smelled loads better (I lost the white coating on my tongue) and body odor was nearly non-existent after about 6 months. I agree with Ed, if I start using soap a lot, then my sweat glands seem to compensate somehow and start to work overtime again, but it is fine to use it every now and again.
I have been off no 'poo for about a month now and it takes time for the body to adjust, I also color my hair with henna and indigo which complicates the issue a little. I am just being patient and waiting, giving my hair a little soap at times when it needs it, just washing in water if it is OK with that.
And the no soap thing really works, but it does take time: what I did was stop deodorant but kept up with the soap for a while, probably about five or six months, but eventually as time went by, I just stopped using soap altogether and nowadays I use it occasionally in the summer.
I figure that the body, even after a substantial time on paleo, still has a lot of toxins to get rid of and this is probably what you are smelling on your skin right now. Just give it time and take it in stages; if you smell OK without deodorant then stop using it, if you then start to smell OK without using soap, then stop using it.
I have a vision of Paleo man as genteel, smelling sweet and having just enough of the right BO in the right places to attract a paleo gal ;) I believe Paleo girl smelled sweet but her odor changed throughout the month (which is what I notice) in order that paleo man need not have to second guess her ;), this could have also been a great way for paleo gal to keep on top of her own fertility/reproduction cycle.
Some sweat is definitely a good thing for successful male/female interaction and eating paleo style means, after a while, sweet sweat, which is even better for successful male/female interaction. I think it also depends on how much hair there is around to keep that odor trapped next to the body and what use that can have when things get personal.
This is my own experience of course, my husband has not complained yet ;) ......don't give up hope and keep us posted!
Many people, including me, have found that getting enough magnesium results in a tremendous improvement in bodily odors. No one seems to know why that I'm aware of.
Shortly after I started using the Natural Calm, I found that I hardly needed to use any deodorants anymore. When I do need something, I use the Tropical Traditions all natural deodorants that are based on coconut oil.
Shave your pits, it cuts down on surface area and moisture for the bacteria that break down apocrine sweat into the nasty volatile compounds. I only need to disinfect my pits about once a week using either tea tree oil deodorant or rubbing alcohol. I scrub myself with water in the shower whenever the clean musky smell becomes strong enough that I'm worried it will be noticeable to others.
Grok didn't have to go sit in a classroom or work in a cubicle farm full of people who most decidedly did not want to have to put up with his healthy, natural scent. Doing what it takes so you aren't smelling like BO all day is part of being a functional adult these days, whatever Grok would have done. We're not actually trying to re-enact the paleolithic here. If you stink and you want to use deo, then use it.
While your carb load is still high, sweat in some people seems to have enough sugar-type compounds in it to make certain bacteria very happy.
When you cut out the carbs, the bacteria are not as happy, and for some the odor problems go away at this stage. However, if you are also losing weight, toxins that were previously stored in your body fat (which is how the body manages them) are released into the blood, and can come out in the sweat, creating a new and sometimes much worse odor.
Once you get past the weight loss phase, that odor tends to go away, and you may find that what remains is not unpleasant.
Changing the soap you use can throw another wrench in the works, particularly if your sweat glands have also been shut down after years of antiperspirants.
Many deodorants are surprisingly full of toxic crap that I'm either extremely sensitive to, or that simply don't work. At any stage of the process above, if you find you need one, the best I've found, by far, is the Kiss My Face Liquid Rock roll-on (unscented).
I LOVE the crystal deodorants they sell at the health food store. They allow you to sweat, but not smell. I used to use very heavy antiperspirant, maybe because I was self conscious about sweat as a teenager. When I stopped my armpits hurt for a week...not really a good sign.
Just curious what your beef is with deodorant? I understand staying away from antiperspirants, but there are plenty of harmless deodorants out there, IMO. As far as soap goes, after Richard's last blog about going soap and shampoo-less, I stopped using soap on any part of my body except pits and privates. I wash my face only with water and it has NEVER been clearer than it is now. I shampoo my hair about once every 7-10 days now instead of every 2-3 days and have had no negative effects (I have long hair). As for shaving, I LOVE Shave Secret. Has anyone else tried this? It's basically essential oils in a small bottle. I use only 3 drops of oil for an entire leg. To get a smoother shave, you use more water, not more product. I love this stuff! I first got it in a schwag bag at a triathlon, and now I buy it at Wal Mart. It's the only thing I ever go to Wal Mart for!