So, we all love (or soon will love) the paleo lifestyle. The question is remains where is the line you have drawn in the sand between pursuing optimal health and fitness, and being a crazy person who romanticizes the stone-age. I am all for being of optimal health, but I for one am not prepared to dissect all of the non paleo aspects of my life until I have my diet, exercise, body-composition, and sleep dialed in. Once I have those aspects of my life the best they can be. Maybe I will be prepared to obsess over the details.
What's your line in the sand?
And what's the most extreme act of following paleo you have taken?
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Line in the sand: The point where I actually try to emulate anything paleo on the basis of my belief that it's paleo.
Paleo is a heuristic. You use it to generate hypotheses and to figure out what to eat for dinner. Then, crucially, you test the hypothesis (and eat the dinner) and see if it actually works for you.
You become a "paleotard" when you start pretending like you actually know how paleo people lived and begin trying to emulate it. We don't know to any degree of certainty and emulation on the basis of "they did it" is not well founded, especially given the massive variety in human behaviors across populations. I've noticed that this reasoning is often used as a way to justify any random bias a person might have (Melissa's answer about polygamy highlights a perfect example), which is just bad philosophy. Test those ideas, don't blindly follow them because you think they're paleo!
Most paleorific thing I've done: Dunno. Since the above is my philosophy around the whole thing, I guess I haven't done much on the basis of "following paleo". To date, my paleo interventions are:
1) Wearing moccasins. Appears to have solved a weak arch thing I've had since puberty. Win.
2) Stopped using soap except in extreme cases. Appears to have had zero effect on cleanliness/body odor/etc. Removal of unnecessary activity = win.
3) Zero carb/VLC/no starch/no fiber. Appears to have successfully controlled Crohn's. Ongoing experiment, though. Not ready to declare a win, although I'm excited with the results. It's also an extreme variation of paleo which you wouldn't settle on unless you limited your paleo research to Stefansson and the Alaskan Arctic Inuit; it took modern feedback to justify it in my mind.
"What's your line in the sand?"
Polygamy. Some paleo men seem to think this is "natural," but I think it's just an excuse to get around.
I'm too territorial to tolerate that one.
Lines in the sand are negotiable depending on the situation. Example, hunting/gutting/cleaning for me. Can I do it? Yes. Well? No. Do I WANT to do it? Hell no... Hurrah for the modern age!
I don't use soap or shampoo anymore
I squat, it's comfortable!
Don't use deodorant
Don't use toothpaste, instead I brush with baking soda.
Hardly shave, I always feel more natural when I have a beard.
I wear shoes less
Started doing "movnat" type things like working out by sprinting in nature, climbing and picking up logs.
Don't watch ANY television. I see TV as one of the worst drugs on earth.
(I do however use the computer but it's not brainwashing like starring mindlessly at a TV!)
I was playing with going no-soap, but I guess I don't really see the value added in totally cutting it out (I am only shampooing once a week though, and my hair is looking pretty good!), so i guess that's my line in the sand.
Cutting down to one shampoo a week may be my most extreme thing; I'm a lightweight ;)
Ask my CW friends though, and they'd probably call me extreme on the following counts:
Wearing VFFs to the store
Using coconut oil as sunscreen (and I'm a pale girl!)
Buying a cow heart
line in the sand: squatting
some things are just not worth the hassle!
I'm interested in health and longevity, not regression and poorly-informed historical reenactment.
This ties in very nicely with a recent blog post by John Durant. And I think that the point he's trying to make, that Paleo role-playing in the fantasy sense might get a little silly, needs to be balanced against the fact that there are some people who've come to the primitive living thing from an anthropological background, and who've been experimenting with primitive skills for scientific or personal-interest reasons, and who have arrived late at Paleo with a headpalm, asking ourselves why the hell didn't we think of that ages ago.
I'm one of those people. That being said, my line in the sand would probably be moving into a primitive shelter wearing primitive clothing for more than a few days. I'd miss my wife. So I gues I'm a Paleo-wuss.
There is no way that I am going deer hunting this fall without my Gore-Tex. Small game hunting in Utilikilt and Fivefingers? Been there, done that. The brambles were a bitch.
Bowhunting? Once I'm good enough with a bow. I already gave bowfishing a try; only downside is that the only legal game around here is carp. Spearhunting for feral pigs? I'd do that in a heartbeat. I'm saving up and I already have the spear. Foraging for wild foods? Occasionally. Mushrooming? Studying up for it. Flintknapping? For a N00b, I can make a pretty creditable projectile point, TYVM. Build primitive shelters in the woods? Been doing that since I was a kid.
But my outdoors/primitive skills shenanigans aren't an outgrowth of my interest in the Paleo diet; the Paleo diet is an accessory to my primitive skills interest (which motivated me to do my first degree in anthropology these many moons ago) that I stumbled upon by accident. So based on your question, I'm guessing that a lot of what I do for kicks might seem pretty odd to an urbanite who came to Paleo as a fad diet. And to answer it, there's not a lot that I wouldn't experiment with doing (except perhaps for polygamy; my wife is a very good shot), but the desire to do so is not driven by interest in the Paleo diet. It's driven by a larger constellation of interests.
"What's your line in the sand?"
Going barefoot all the time.
Creating my own stone tools.
Actual hunting and gathering (okay I might try it...)
Only living on:
A: Coconuts and Salmon
B: Whale blubber and Caribou
C: Cattle milk and blood
Killing and eating other humans. (Soylent Green anyone?)
-- I really haven't done anything really extreme. I still get flak for my VFF's, eating meat, and telling people that all the nutrition is in the yolk...
I think it depends on the individual. When my girlfriend is out of town for work I do a "caveman week." I minimize all electronics as much as I can, have no artificial light after sunset, go for a 45 minute walk before my first meal and eat only organic food. I get more done in this week than I normally get done in three. My girlfriend as youve probably guessed is not Paleo and is a night owl so this goes out the window when she's back.
I still take showers, wash my hair and use sunblock on my face. I dont think that nature deemed it as necessary to have nice skin past the age of "breeding" so if this is important to us we need to implement a 21st Century strategy.