Has Paleo affected your ability to be normal anymore?

by (7490) Updated September 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM Created February 25, 2012 at 6:47 AM

So I think Paleo has ruined me. I mean, I was annoying before (I've always been a cynical, skeptical SOB), but my friends and family may disown me at this point.

And it's not just because of Paleo topics. I don't talk about that much anymore unless someone is really driving me crazy with the craziness of their crazy. But it's spilling over into all sorts of things.

Maybe high fat contributes to a stronger bullshit meter? If we were so wrong about diet etc., what else are we wrong about? I just don't buy the garbage our loud culture is selling about anything these days. Politics, healthcare, philosophy, psychology, economics, yadda yadda yadda. My mind seems to zoom out, look at everything from an evolutionary standpoint and a geological time perspective, and I immediately disengage. It's not even worth having an opinion about.

Anybody else notice anything similar?

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16858 · February 25, 2012 at 12:12 PM

What's normal?

Eating tons of high fructose corn syrup? Taking a cab, or driving for anything further away than 3 blocks? Fooling yourself into thinking that a bowl of cheerios and a can of diet soda is a healthy breakfast, so as to enrich big-agra?

Buying the latest locked-down, closed-source, non-upgradeable proprietary, DRM'ed shiny gadget, made by child labor in near-prison-like conditions, which has a non-replaceable battery and serves only as an e-store to enrich one giant corporation, only to throw it away in a landfill 6 months later and upgrade to the next iteration for another $250-$600? And then argue about the merits of your particular gadget vs your friend's choice in the same kind of crap?

Taking statins, or other drugs for life so as to enrich big pharma, instead of improving your health by exercise, and eating proper foods?

Investing in ETFs, or derivatives instead of real money, so as to enrich big banks? Or maxing out the credit cards and taking out crippling loans to mortgage a poorly built McMansion and lease or buy "luxury cars" so as to impress the neighbors across the street who are doing the same?

Watching brain destroying "Reality TV" shows instead of doing something useful, or enriching with your time? Or worse, watching spectator sports for 10 hours on a couch, while guzzling trans-fats loaded, high carb snacks made from GMO corn and soy to the point of morbid obesity, while getting no activity, or going outside, while claiming to love sports?

Eating nuggets made from pink sludge CAFO chickens that were fed arsenic and other toxins, loaded with MSG, artificial color, dipped in ammonia, and other crap?

Doing chronic cardio for hours on a treadmill, then having a super sized muffin and 32 oz mega-sweetened coffee like shake with soy cream as a reward?

Drinking "spring" water, which is actually filtered tap water, from BPA lined bottles with cool sounding names that are heavily advertised?

Buying new clothing every few months, cheaply made by child labor, made from sythetics, which fray after just a few cycles in the washer?

Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather be the weirdo who doesn't do what everyone else does.

8883 · February 25, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Korion's first law of normality states : never talk about food unless you're on the internet.

Still, I think I am now more normal, even though my perception of life has changed dramatically. I used to be extremely asocial, quiet, ... Since going paleo my mind works better. I can currently talk practically in a normal way with others. I don't get red, and it's only for the first few seconds that I act a bit shy. I still have the tendency to isolate myself, but at the same time I'm deliberately forcing myself to talk with people around me. I've never been outside this frequently in my life.

For example : for 2 years, I didn't go to class more than 5% of the time. Now I go 90% of the time, and I enjoy being around people my age again. It's a bit weird since I don't know anybody but everybody knows each other, but fortunately people at the university are very kind. Unfortunately, they spend most of their time drinking beer, so I have a hard time really connecting with others : I just can't go partying or I'll get sick and autistic again (I used to drink 2 liters daily but for some reason it helped me, maybe because it decreased blood sugar and made me very calm).

I like raydawg's answer : What's normal? I consider eating tons of fruit, animal products etc. completely normal. I don't consider the life's of my brothers normal yet they will not agree themselves : xbox, xbox, fart, xbox, eating crap, watching movies, eating crap, mood swing here and there, doing nothing (literally), showing invisible muscle, ... a constant repetition of the same mistake : forgetting they have a life to live, instead they prefer to forget the real world and hide in a fake one. But maybe we don't live in a real world and then I'm the naive one. I'll just continue to do what feels good, and I consider that to be normal.

3914 · February 25, 2012 at 3:28 PM

You touched on it in your last paragraph: when you realize it's possible for practically everyone -- including most of the accepted experts in the field -- to be dead-center 180-degrees wrong about something, you become more willing to think critically about other bits of conventional wisdom. It doesn't really matter what topic you first take the red pill about; eventually you start to see others differently too.

I grew up on a farm, so the first things that tripped my BS meter were mainstream beliefs about things like livestock and rural life. I knew that many of the things being taught by schoolbooks and TV on these topics were absolutely wrong -- and easily proven wrong -- and yet nearly everyone believed them. Once I accepted that was possible, it became easier to question other mainstream beliefs (and they are beliefs, not knowledge). Are grains really good for you, and fat really bad? Is global warming real, and if it is, are we causing it, and could we stop it if we wanted to (and should we want to)? Are teachers really underpaid and schools underfunded? Was this-or-that war really necessary and just? Do I really need to borrow money and build my credit rating? Should everyone go to college? Is it true that anyone can accomplish anything he sets his mind to, if he just works hard enough? Is second-hand smoke actually harmful -- at least any more harmful than dozens of other things we expose ourselves to every day without qualms?

And so on. Of course, you don't want to go too far the other way and start assuming that every piece of conventional wisdom is wrong, just because it's conventional. That way lies madness. But you do want to keep a skeptical mind, and when presented with, "Everyone knows that....," respond with, "Well, if it's that certain, there ought to be plenty of proof for it lying around, so show me some."

It's not so bad being the weird one. Just last night some friends invited me out to dinner. They know I don't eat gluten, but they don't always understand what that means or how ubiquitous the stuff is. Because of my own forgetfulness, I didn't realize they were inviting me to a fish fry. The menu: fish (yay!), breaded and fried in canola oil (boo!); macaroni and cheese; baked beans (quite possibly thickened with flour, not worth chancing); cole slaw most certainly made with soybean oil mayo; and loads of gluten-laden desserts. So I graciously thanked them for inviting me, but declined a plate, and sat and chatted with them while they ate, then went home and had a tuna omelet. A few years ago, I might have eaten just so I wouldn't feel weird, and put up with the headaches and cravings it would cause. I guess as I get older, I just don't care as much about looking weird anymore.

2859 · February 25, 2012 at 8:07 AM

I never was normal.

329 · February 25, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Interesting question. "Normal" is a very strange word though. What about: Has paleo affected my ability to be a happy, well-adjusted person? The answer depends much on mindset I think.

Negative, destructive mindsets...

  • Use paleo as an excuse to look down on the ignorant, the benighted, the bread-scarfers.
  • Feel constant irritation at non-Believers.
  • Feel constant irritation at mainstream wisdom that contradicts paleo orthodoxy. Let it really piss you off.
  • Surround yourself with jerks, then complain about it.
  • If you want paleo people in your life, convert your friends and family. Anyway, they could use fixing (saving)!
  • Preach the gospel to those who won't receive it with an open-mind. Better: Preach it those who don't care to hear it.
  • Allow helpful paleo guidelines to become inflexible axioms that are written into the space-time fabric.
  • Strive for moral rectitude and the demolition of sinners rather than simple truth and happiness.
  • Strive to live up to (or exceed) society's standards by your own devious paleo means (That'll teach 'em!).

Positive, constructive mindsets...

  • Diplomatically and rationally explain paleo when relevant. Otherwise, interesting people have plenty else to talk about.
  • Surround yourself with positive, excellent people.
  • Love and value friends and family for the people they are, not the paleo people you wish they were.
  • If you want paleo people in your life, find paleo friends.
  • Revise your beliefs in light of new evidence.
  • Lead by example.
  • Strive for truth and happiness rather than moral rectitude and the demolition of sinners.
  • Set your own standards and live up to them.

Bottom line, inner-Yoda time: It's not Paleo that makes you "normal" or abnormal or happy or unhappy or well-adjusted or not. It's you that does.

2116 · February 25, 2012 at 8:12 AM

I am of the opinion that there is no "normal". It is a human reaction to feeling marginalised. If we are different on, say, religious beliefs, we insist on being "normal" on sexual orientation. If we are different on those, we insist on being "normal" on eating habits, etc etc.

Everyone is weird. Just accept it and suck it up. I am weird, you are weird....that crazy guy that lives on the street, he's definitely weird.

Once you let go of the idea that there is normal, you can just relax and be you in every aspect of life.

I think Paleo is the type of movement, that while not directly encouraging this way of thinking, does tend to end up there or close to it.

Keep on annoying people. I do. And I love it!!!

Mwahahahahahah!!!!! (That's the sound of the evil laugh, in case not obvious...)

20462 · February 25, 2012 at 1:11 PM

My inner-bs meter has always been in place but with a side of empathy and understanding. If I can make more of an impact with a smile and the topics, as inflammatory as they may be, actually productive and interesting instead of a shizshow... then that's my preference. It's worked so far.

EDIT ---> Of course I forget the Paleo part. Erm.. if anything, I think adopting the Paleo/Primal lifestyle has pulled off the food goggles and made me see even more of what is happening, negatively, with people and their diets. I now have a super sized view if you will. I keep very Ninja with the way I eat but it's been noticed, I talk to whoever asks me about it, and have successfully transitioned and supported several friends into trying P/P. All have held true, one is going on 5 months now - yay!, and to quote "you make it fun and interesting, never make me feel like an idiot with my questions, and I'm always learning." I guess my velvet hammer approach is working. <--- END EDIT

I've never been in the "normal" category, preferring my perpetual state of dorkdom.

To quote Revenge of the Nerds "Those nerds are a threat to our way of life." Yes, yes we are.

3967 · February 25, 2012 at 7:19 AM

I find I can't keep my mouth shut when someone mentions "healthy whole grains". My retort is often along the lines of "whole grains are to grains as low tar is to cigarettes" and "there is nothing in grains you can't get more of in better quality elsewhere".

Folks look at me like I'm crazy.

70 · February 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM

Leading by example, with kindness and compassion, is an amazing way to convince people. Like anything, most people feel his/her values are being judged when you stray from the path. We are surrounded by misinformation, propaganda, and old-wives tales in all aspects of life. Just do your thing...people will be drawn to the results. As an artist, high school teacher, metalhead, guy who trains in MMA, I learned to just follow my instincts in all I do. In a conversation about what is good art with an older artist friend and mentor, he said: "you can't argue with awesome." I think that applies here, too. Just be cool as hell to everyone and everything and walk your path. Be opinionated and passionate, but also just listen. That was something hard for me, but has changed my view and made me assume less and be less disappointed, annoyed, argumentative. You'd be surprised how receptive people are to change. The amount of people who I've turned onto a paleo diet by just doing my own thing is nuts...

11476 · February 26, 2012 at 2:49 AM

Growing up as a skeptical atheist surrounded by energy-feeling hippies, I've always had to try and keep a lid on spouting off about the bullshit surrounding. As a rule, I question things constantly UNLESS they are making me feel crazy- then I back off. Will the world come tumbling down if you don't resolve the differences between the political party you support and your feminist ideologies? Will you make it through the day if you don't illustrate enough reasons to vaccinate? It is fantastic to form new opinions that spout off a core belief (like paleo), but if you find it alienating, upsetting, or overwhelming, take the advice from my long-time skeptic/atheist/paleo mother: "What is going on in your mind is less important than you think, so just chill out. Yes, it is good to be angry about things, and sometimes you need to be "that person", but make sure you can dominate your opinions in every arena, never the other way around".

4232 · February 25, 2012 at 3:47 PM

I've come to realize that my own dogmatism about this way of eating is just as unpleasant as I've always found other varieties of dogmatism to be. As such, going Paleo has helped me to relax my soapbox tendencies on other topics, pay more attention to what works for me and to express my enthusiasm in a more socially acceptable manner. And to be happy for people when whatever they're doing works for them, even if it's not my thing. It's been fairly enlightening.

303 · February 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Haha. I have become borderline orthorexic. I would rather not eat at all for a little while than put junk like McDonald's or Subway into my body. I'll just wait until I get home even if I'm starving. Not that I never cheat, but when I do I at least want it to be a high quality cheat. Plus, I cringe everytime I hear my friend talk about her daily morning bagel.

713 · February 25, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Absolutely -- though there is a chicken/egg aspect to it: Did I start to wake up and become aware because of the lifestyle and diet change, or were the changes just part of the natural order of things after waking up? In my case I know it probably tips slightly to the latter, but at this point it's almost irrelevant... it's like a feedback loop: The concrete physical improvements -- especially nutritionally -- continue to clear the near-lifetime of mental fog from by brain, while the resulting clarity of thought keeps me grounded and sane in this existence that yea, is a bit out of phase with most of my friends and family. Without the clarity I get from it though, I don't think I'd be able to negotiate the differences that come up with those around me with any tact or kindness.

I've also realized that I haven't disengaged completely -- I've just kind of refocused my attention down to a more micro level. The folly of politics on a national level becomes something meaningful when it's about me standing at a podium in front of the city council trying (like a fool in the end, but hey) to keep my local dog park open.

37013 · February 25, 2012 at 11:14 PM

I think there can be times during your first months that you will be "different" because you are testing and experimenting with new concepts and thoughts.

Speaking only for myself, as I approach my one-year anniversary I'm more confident and, for lack of a better word, relaxed about how I'm eating.

I don't use the words "paleo" or "primal" any more. I don't even think of it as ancestral eating either, although I did for a while there. Honestly, I think what I'm doing is MODERN nutrition. I define modern nutrition as practical application of the information that is available about paleolithic nutrition and the human body (current research) to select the whole foods most likely to support my health and well-being.

For some people, there is a somewhat dogmatic phase but I think it's because they are following "rules" and they're trying to do so by rote rather than through understanding. I don't need to do that any more and my understanding can be fluid as new information is received.

Because of all that, I think my family finds me much more "normal" now because I am rock-solid content with how I'm eating and I look/act healthier than I have in decades.

140 · September 29, 2012 at 9:31 AM

This entire page is the most worthwhile thing I've read all month.

4113 · February 26, 2012 at 5:18 PM

I've never been normal either. What am I missing?

4236 · February 25, 2012 at 11:05 PM

I think for me paleo has made me aware of my fundamental nature in certain ways. Being human isn't about being modern, participating in certain cultural practices, etc. It's a lot broader and deeper than that. I can't really articulate all of it well at this point, but I do agree with you. Paleo has been something else to mark me as separate from most people, with a low BS meter and a growing urge to throw of the yoke of what I was taught for two decades and really analyse everything for myself.

7741 · February 25, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I've never been 'normal' by most people's standards. :)

I got into paleo long after I had already rejected most of the ideals and ideas I was raised with and that most people I know believe in, so it's just one more thing. I've learned to not let the fact that I strongly disagree with most people and systems in the modern world bother me much anymore, or disturb my relationships. It's always a work in progress of course; I've mellowed a lot with age, for sure (26 now).

393 · February 25, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I think eating Paleo has turned on some more brain cells. Besides, my normal is not your normal.

2487 · February 25, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Yes, post-Paleo I am definitely less complacent. I am contanstly fighting the urge to say "because gluten"...because, honestly, 'because gluten' in the reason behind all of my crazy. And most everyone else's, as far as I can figure (unless, 'because dairy')...however, not everyone has got it yet, and beating them about the head and shoulders won't help them get it. So find a way to not offend, while at the same time fighting against their inanity, and you'll sway the influentiable (and eventually the others will come around). But most importantly, you're living your life in the healthiest way possible and that's what's important. For millenia, the fittest have survived, and in our current envirnmont, I feel those of us who disengage are the healthiest, so it will be weird for a while. Keep following your path, and those of us who march to a different drummer will eventually band together and form a cohesive group.

2056 · May 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Not in the slightest. My exploration of paleo is a result of my questioning other things, not the cause.

1803 · May 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Yeah, I've been wondering lately how in the world my hubby still loves me, haha! I've turned into a nutcase and people are starting to notice - Homemade kombucha! Homemade keifer! Raw milk searches! WAPF joining! Advocate against soy! Advocate against sugar!

Yeah, i'm turning into what society thinks is a nutcase. Too bad I think they are all nuts.

10004 · February 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Being paleo definitely changed the way I view the news whenever they have a report on latest drugs, diets, and health research. The main stream media seem to focus on the wrong concepts most of the time. I tend to see most of the main stream news on health and science with a skeptical view now.

641 · February 25, 2012 at 1:31 PM

I take my inspiration from Rob Wolf. My BS meter may peg, but I keep my mouth shut.

If they don't already get it, they'll never get it. There's no point wasting energy.

549 · September 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM

You're falling into the 'slippery slope' argument. It's an easy fix. Just because we believe that the consensus is wrong about fat and cholesterol doesn't mean or have anything to do with other consensus in our lives. Don't be overly skeptical, keep your critical thinking cap on and see everything through the same (hopefully unbiased and even keel) bullshit filter. Don't get overwhelmed with 'zooming out' and thinking on a geologic timescale because after all we humans do not experience such a thing. take things as they come, make the decision based on the best info you have and learn from any follies. Life is all about experience, and its probably the only life we'll have, emerse in the moment and live.

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