From the Department of "Lighting Up" -- or uh, "Lightening Up":
Certainly hunter/gatherers have gathered and smoked tobacco, and even used it as a sacrament. Perhaps smoking large quantities of organic tobacco on special occasions via cigars, pipes, or waterpipes (aka hooka, nargila) would provide an enjoyable and relatively benign alternative to the evil of cigarette addiction?
As they say: "fight fire with fire".
This fascinating earlier post seems to promote organic cigarettes, but IMHO that is problematic, as it can lead to addiction.
asked byzohar (821)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on June 30, 2010
at 01:57 PM
As far as I know, tobacco only existed and/or was consumed in the Americas until the 16th century. I guess it depends on your definition of Grok, but I don't see any paleo-history justifying tobacco consumption.
That said, I'm growing organic (burley) tobacco next season, and I will probably partake in some of the dried leaves. Growing is more for others around me who smoke rather than myself. I, basically, never smoke, but smoking my own is appealing.
on June 30, 2010
at 02:17 PM
We eat paleo for health, we've eliminated grains legumes vegetable oil to avoid toxins... Why would we intentionally consume a known extreme ACUTE poison?
on July 01, 2010
at 02:46 AM
I don't have an answer for you, just some musings and further questions.
I'm curious about this too, but don't expect to find a good answer because no one is going to fund a study to find out that natural tobacco isn't bad for you. I think Big Tobacco has funded a few studies to that effect for their nasty products, but consider the (lying sack o' BS) source. On the other hand, I wonder if the "Tobacco Is Evil" message is similar conventional wisdom to "Fat Is Evil". It might depend on the type of tobacco, just like we know grass-fed animal fat is good for you and chemically extracted industrial vegetable oil is very bad for you. I'm not saying that any form of tobacco is ever going to be good for you, but perhaps there are forms that are less harmful if used in moderation.
I'm a social smoker. I can go months without smoking. In my experience, this is pretty rare, as tobacco is usually an all-or-nothing addiction. I explained my level of usage to my doctor and she didn't seem alarmed at all. And yes, I use American Spirits. I recently switched to organic, though I think it's doubtful it makes a difference in the relative harm the smoke may do to me--helps keep crap out of the soil however.
So if you choose to smoke (yeah, not healthy, but how many paleos still drink beer or smoke certain herbs?), use American Spirit or similar. I don't have the facts to back this up, but I understand that most U.S. tobacco (e.g. Marlboros, Camels, etc.) is cured with sugar (I might have got that from Dufty--thanks Michael!). Ever made caramel? Imagine what that burnt sugar does to your lungs--I find the use of molasses with shisha mentioned in the article zohar cited above alarming. Not to mention the 400 or so other chemicals they use.
Did Native Americans have lung problems that stemmed from ritual tobacco usage (I assume they didn't chain smoke) before Europeans came along and they changed their diets? Many tribes were at least semi-agricultural at that point anyway, but I don't know if that would make a difference.
With regards to the earlier post about tobacco and possible benefits, one poster said that nicotine is an analogue of epinephrine, and having ADHD, I know that I'm low on epinephrine. It's possible smoking helps me focus. I'm trying to improve my brain chemistry through diet, exercise and the judicious use of supplements (including amino acids), however. Seems a safer bet.