23

votes

Have You Been Seduced by the Paleo Narrative?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

The Paleo diet has a seductive narrative that makes it appealing, even irresistible. It goes like this: our distant ancestors ate a certain way. Genetically we haven't changed much since then. Therefore we should eat as they did. You throw in the Encyclicals from a few of the High Bishops of Paleo- "The Gary", Dr. Harris, Chris Kresser, Loren Cordain, Emily Dean, etc.- lending scientific gravitas- and you have yourself a myth. Perhaps you don't recognize them as Encyclicals because they are written on "blogs" instead of parchment. By myth, I do not mean "false", "fabrication". By myth, I mean a story you live by. A story or principles around which you organize meaning, a lens through which you see the world. I like the story physicist Michio Kaku tells about how as a child he used to imagine fish scientists (in the pond at that San Francisco Golden Gate Park Japanese Tea Garden) who were creating theories of the world based upon everything being submerged in water. Everybody has a myth. Everybody. Even the most "scientific" person. ESPECIALLY the most scientific person!

A lot of people on here are living the Paleo myth and that's fine, if it's working for you: namely, you are truly maintaining good health. The problem with myths is that they can fail you and you are so submerged in them (like the fish scientists) that you can't see beyond them. There is at least a comfort that comes from the certainty they provide.

Now I've got to tell you. I have been seduced by the Paleo narrative, but it's time to throw it off. I have fared dismally on the Paleo diet. Mind you, when I began this experiment I was not overweight. I have eaten healthy for a long, long time, so I did not come to this screwed up from a SAD diet. However, the negative results from this diet (for me, I must qualify) have been dramatic. Despite having come to this conclusion about two weeks ago, when I think about it, sometimes a voice whispers to me, "...what would your Paleolithic ancestors have done?"

EDIT BY PATRIK:

Excuse my barging in -- Thomas Seay makes great points above and I think his POV and voice need to be heard by the Paleo community. Let me add two things:

1) I have a minor quibble with his definition of Paleo Diet. My definition, the one I hope the Paleo community will adopt, is simply this:

The Paleo Diet is a meta-rule (a rule about rules) that only demands one thing; that we look at human nutrition through an evolutionary lens. End of story.

What Paleo Diet means day-to-day will be different as over time better data and research surface through anthropological, genetic and empirical evidence.

2) If you feel the same way, sign up at PaleolithicDiet.com. Working on something that will push this way of thinking.

B0454de6d4f4cdd9ca2e59021dc105bf

(606)

on June 26, 2011
at 12:46 AM

This is a straw man argument. No one is seriously trying to "duplicate the exact diet that was eaten".

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on June 17, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Rose, yes to the other forums, as Silver and SilverEm. :)

Medium avatar

(207)

on June 04, 2011
at 12:42 AM

Totally different question: Thomas, were you on lbo-talk?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 28, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Tell Joe, I said "hi". He'll know me. I haven't talked to him in a couple of years. I lived on Valencia until about 11 years ago. To be exact, I lived at 984 (right across from his store).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Sure I know Joe. He's the best! Wow, we used to be neighbors. I've lived in this neighborhood for about 12 years. I have a small brick and mortar on 20th.

Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

(1098)

on May 28, 2011
at 03:56 PM

HAHA! Fabulous! It's a good goal.......I think....

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2011
at 12:59 PM

Bear not puny and feeble children! (It sounds almost biblical)

0006976d648025769c9a9820dd40589a

(75)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:04 AM

i too have little desire to bear puny and feeble children. it's the truth but that line made me laugh out loud

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 03:56 AM

Paradox is science........always has been

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 28, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Do you realize that I used to live at 21st and Valencia? Do you know Joe who owns the health food store at 21st and Valencia. He and I are big friends.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on May 27, 2011
at 11:04 PM

Definitely Travis. My approach also continues to evolve. I've helped introduce several people to paleo concepts - those that have "come aboard" have, without exception, adopted slightly different versions of paleo than my own. This doesn't bother me a bit - because each person is discovering what works best for

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 10:11 PM

Well, I am in your tribe :) My email address is in my profile OR I will try to contact you through Facebook.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 09:26 PM

@Thomas, "deleterious" is indeed very clearly spelled out here - grains, legumes, and dairy are deleterious. Thats all this has ever been about. Not eating those three things and seeing if you feel better from that avoidance. Its always always been about simply what not to eat. Thats it. from there we all do what we want - low carb, high carb, whatever. ive even heard of vegetarians the paleo idea - they can do it too, they just avoid those three things. This is all so simple, so straight forward.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 08:49 PM

6 months- ok November 27, I am going to hit you up for pics! It's in my calendar, so don't think I am going to forget.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 08:00 PM

No not like a broken record at all. Reading a post thoroughly and understanding it is sometimes hard to do the first time around. I read yours twice last night and once today before answering hoping to understand your POV. There are so many bay area Paleos I would love to meet someone in my tribe:))

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:07 PM

I upvoted all the comments between Thomas and Rose. Both of you held your ground very well, with totally differing opinions, but correct in your own right all the same. I like the exchange.

Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

(1098)

on May 27, 2011
at 06:06 PM

Your welcome, Cave Rat. Glad to be of service.

Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

(1098)

on May 27, 2011
at 06:05 PM

HAHA! Well I'm still in the early stages of trying to heal myself, so I prefer to not blind you. Check back 6 mos ;-)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 27, 2011
at 05:25 PM

Thomas, I know I ragged on you in my answer, but your comment here is really sharp. There is no contradiction. Two people, two results. Yes, yes.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on May 27, 2011
at 05:17 PM

@Thomas Seay: I've never bought into the mythical part. luckybastard has already posted Dr. Harris's opinion on it and that's where my head lies on that subject. The older I get, the less I care about vague abstractions and generalized baloney. Practical results are what I care about. As you tweak your diet and find exactly what makes you feel best, go with it! Good luck to you!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 05:16 PM

Laura, I am not leaving PaleoHacks, perhaps to the chagrin of some! :) As I have said before, this has got to be the best diet board EVER, in that you have a lot of skeptics here (I mean that in a good way). And I believe you when you say you question the Paleo Myth daily. Patrik did not try to silence my dissent, for example. He amplified it! Welcoming dissent proves how healthy PaleoHacks is. If you really want to know how I do in this experiment, you can always invite me for lunch. I'm only in Palo Alto. Am I starting to sound like a broken record on that point? ;)

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on May 27, 2011
at 05:11 PM

Me too, Aaron. My results tell me that my personal version of paleo is working out well. I've made tweaks, particularly with carbs, and I'm still tweaking.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on May 27, 2011
at 05:03 PM

Same here Melissa. One BP med gone, and the other one is being phased out. My doctor is very pleased with my weight loss.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 04:56 PM

Please share how it goes. I like to read what women are doing as I hope their experiments will naturally have results I might be able to mimic.

6e4b38a97f74c32c4d12977acf7cba35

(0)

on May 27, 2011
at 04:29 PM

hmmm. was rather vague and not defined, so I still feel you haven't answered. sorry it's a fail for you. we are all different bodies. still love the conversations your post brought up.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:29 PM

Yeah, I've been seduced by many a myth in the past as well, not all of them food related, though I was macrobiotic too for a number of years. I think it left me pretty cynical about the human ability to know the difference between truth and falsehood, or to really know anything definite about anything. Nowadays I don't believe nothing :) which is probably just as bad.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:17 PM

But this still begs the question. What foods are "deleterious"? You list dairy, but Kurt Harris describes whole cream as "diesel fuel," and also recently described himself eating Rice Krispies with half-and-half. So, he doesn't think dairy is "deleterious." Are all grains deleterious, or just gluten grains? Again, that's an open question.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:02 PM

sherpamelissa: it's nice to hear from someone who lives in the real world!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:33 PM

Robb's book is not low carb either......he is pretty spot on in my view and his book has more science than sissons. I think sisson book is more of the paleo diet with a paleo story of grok. I think Robbs humor in his style made his book very readable and if you marry that with his humor it rocked. Guys like me are going to be more science based because to really help patients we need to change the way healthcare people think. And I think if patients know a bit about science biochemistry and physiology. I just don't want to overwhelm people with doctor talk but some is needed to explain it

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:20 PM

With few exceptions, wherever you go on the planet, the locally available meat is good and safe to eat, from penguins to porcupines. Big cats in zoos happily eat sides of beef, and do better on that than on kibble (although I'm sure they'd like a live antelope now and then). It's the plants that we've always had to watch out for; a dumb decision could kill you. In that respect, little has changed: any meat perfectly "paleo" (however that's defined), and you still have to be careful with the plants. The big difference is what were once local safety issues are now global, due to our engineering.

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:18 PM

Er, so to answer the question you actually asked, it's not possible because 1) there was way too much variation in the foods different paleolithic groups had available and 2) we don't have enough information to describe a comprehensive paleolithic diet with any certainty. But there's no guesswork required to say what they didn't eat.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:16 PM

Ben, I would suggest that almost ALL diets purport to be just how you define Paleo. That is, they purport to be about avoiding deleterious food. So, what is "deleterious"? Are all vegetables deleterious? They create toxins, even the organic ones. I don't want to argue over that specific point. The point is that we have to define "deleterious" and "healthful" and that's where the contention is. AND, one person's poison is another person's panacea. That's another point to keep in mind. It's complex and one size does not fit all. At least, that's my opinion.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:11 PM

At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to. It works for you. We should be informed by science, but we should not put ourselves into a Procrustean Bed to fit the science or the theory. Melissa is right. It works for her. I am right, too. It has not been working for me (at least as I have interpreted it). There is no contradiction. Two different individuals, two different results

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:10 PM

At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to. It works for you. We should be informed by science, but science should not put ourselves into a Procrustean bed to fit the science or the theory. Melissa is right. It works for her. I am right, too. It has not been working for me (at least as I have interpreted it). There is no contradiction. Two different individuals, two different results.

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 27, 2011
at 01:39 PM

Also, the diet you eat is very likely better than what they had, since you have the luxury of picking virtually any food at any time. It may also be worse. There's still a lot we don't know, and that's my point. We can find some human teeth in a cave somewhere and say, 500,000 years ago, this person ate meat, these kinds of animals were in this area, and he probably ate tubers and berries too, but how much of each? At what time of year? How often? These questions are nutritionally significant, and we just don't have enough answers to make outright imitation a sound basis for anything.

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 27, 2011
at 01:30 PM

Andrew, it's true that many of the foods you list are probably quite similar and maybe even identical to foods that some paleolithic hominins ate. And yes, the word "like" is a broad one that just means similar, so in the sense that there are many parallels, then yes, you are eating like our ancestors. But I was addressing the idea of re-enactment eating as a means of achieving optimal nutrition. How do you decide which paleo humans to emulate? Where? What time? You have to make many, many generalizations, substitutions and just plain old guesses to say your nutrition is as good as theirs.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 27, 2011
at 01:25 PM

+1 for Thomas for making me snort.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:31 PM

nothing like explosively tossing a weighted bar around to clear out the sleeveless tees.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:30 PM

IF didn't serve me well for gaining strength either. it kept me slim but once i realized that my real goal, what i really wanted, was strength I really noticed that I did not perform as well under heavy iron fasted. Anecdote but I have yet to hear ANY power lifter or oly lifter who is working heavy ever ever ever say or recommend going under the bar fasted. I started having protein, carb, and a bit of fat in me and my poundages started creeping back up.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:27 PM

thanks you, Lareth. You've said it well: this whole thing called Paleo is simply avoiding deleterious foods. Done. I still fail to see how avoiding grains, legumes, and dairy will make one feel worse. This whole thing has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with macro ratios. I eat 250 grams of carbs each day. Fantastic results. Some may eat 1 carb per day. Doesn't matter, doesn't factor in the conversation. We are all here I would hope/think because we are interested in feeling and functioning better by avoiding deleterious food.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:24 PM

I would agree with your premise that "eating real food will not fail anyone." However, i would only comment that I don't think there's anything wrong with tracking and knowing one's macro-intake, caloric intake, etc. For those of us with concrete goals, keeping a roadmap that one is on is essential for tracking and really knowing what works or does not work for one.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:19 PM

Paleo IS low carb and this diet will NOT work for everyone. I think we can all agree about the bad oils and grains but if you read the "high bishops" of Paleo they are all about low carbs. To not eat low carb is something else, not Paleo.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:18 PM

Thomas, I'm sorry but your entire post is based on a false reading of paleo - ie that its low-carb. Sisson's book is THE ONLY book I know of that does indeed profess lowish carb. However, from the very getgo the people that started this movement like Cordain have always always always maintained that paleo does not stipulate macro ratios. You yourself may have. Thats fine. Lots of new comers especially are interested in weightloss so they may go lowcarb but thats nothing to do with the premise that LIFE WILL IMPROVE BY AVOIDING GRAINS, LEGUMES, AND DAIRY. Am I wrong?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 27, 2011
at 11:03 AM

I have repeatedly said on this site......Context is critical When you read my levees......especially number one this should be obvious. Sometimes a simple thought concept can change your perception of the meaning of things.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:16 AM

I actually can't see why eating like our ancestors isn't even remotely possible". The venison I eat comes from wild deer - just like my ancestors. Ditto wild duck, pigeon, salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, boar, mussel, shrimp, razor clam, scallop, crab, blackberries, wild strawberry, wild raspberry, coconut, cobb nut, pomegranate - the list could go on for ages. Granted some of the veg we eat now is very unlike our ancestors veg - but even some of those are still the same. I try to eat as near to my ancestral diet as I can with butter, modern veg and of course year round eggs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:48 AM

Haha, yea they would trample each other too to drink the yellow snow lol. I know a guy who developed parkinsons at a young age after years of taking prescription drugs to deal with health problems. Nothing has stopped the shaking in his hand, physical and mental pain like amanita muscaria. He drinks "ambrosia" everyday. But of course we aren't talking about shamanic doses, it can be used as a tonic at lower doses too. This is far better than any antidepressant, anti anxiety drug out there. And it's fairly cheap, thanks to mail amanita can be eaten or stored all year around.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:08 AM

I like the way you are approaching this.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:48 AM

Thanks for posting this LB!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:44 AM

If you go back to the first comments under my post, I list why I consider it a fail FOR ME.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:40 AM

you know... i've heard that the reindeer were so enamored with mushroom urine that they were known to charge people who were urinating out of doors. just saying, you think they're adorable... but they're just out for one last fix.

09e3a4b532dd8898d8eee23d1d8e121c

(162)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Me, too. I hope you share it with us.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:58 PM

Thanks, PaleoGran and Futureboy. PG, do I know you from another forum? The "Gran" rings a bell...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:57 PM

Okay, I get drama queening. Roll on. :)

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:31 PM

What would life be without obsessions?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Patrik, I like your meta-rule, as it does not fixate on one period of time, nor does it fixate on a static concept of dietary rules, but rather suggests an optic through which to consider diet. Just got through listening to Dr. Kruse's interview and also like the way he emphasizes the individual in context. The way an obese person eats should eat is not exactly the same way as say, a skinny person should eat, etc. etc.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:21 PM

While I respect Dr. Harris, he too very much is based in mythology, specifically the notion that HG's eat like the Lakota and other Native Americans AFTER they got horses. Lakotas did eat great, and had ample amounts of fat after they got horses and could hunt buffalo with great efficiency. Prior to that, eh, not so much. I brought this up on his blog, but, to the best of my knowledge he didn't approve the comment or respond. But Harris maintains that HGs had constant and ample saturated fat, something I find is unrealistic without horses. Hunting on foot is often a low success endeavor.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:45 PM

plus one..........

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:20 PM

I use dramatic language, because I'm a bit of a drama queen :). Got nothing to do with sour grapes. It's just how I roll :)

2e060a5edde44c1fe77abcf8d3997e01

(865)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:13 PM

You know, I workout at an Oly lifting gym (but don't oly lift myself), and I think you can safely add (4) They impress the hell out of all the other gym patrons.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:08 PM

Geoff, glad that you've found what works for you. I never did IF. You are right about everything except the Buddhism part. Everything I know about religion, I learned on Acid (or mushrooms, or ayahuasca). Seriously.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Baconbitch :) Seeing as you have tracked your data, you probably have a lot more to add to this conversation than I do. So I look forward to what you have to write when you have more time.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:58 PM

@ThomasSeay -- Gotcha. Thanks for signing up. What do you think of my meta-rule?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:56 PM

@Patrik: I signed up for your new Paleo site some time back and I eagerly await for it to come on-line. I'll be there!!!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:51 PM

Well, I am finding that I am doing better since reintroducing lots of carbs: fructose, tubers, dairy, even some ice-cream. These remedied the problems I was having in short-order. I am still eating a good amount of meat and saturated fats (although I am not having to MUNCH on Butter to stave off hunger :). No, I am not eating grains or PUFA oils and do not plan on doing so. More broadly, I am questioning the whole, "we got to get back to the garden" attitude towards diet. I am not saying it shouldn't figure. I just don't know how reliable it is to place so much emphasis on it.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:46 PM

Well, we agree on that point, then. And I'm sorry to project on you, but I don't understand why, if you're not chewing on sour grapes, you're using all the dramatic language about a seductive narrative and so on. Most of the narrative happens to state the facts, as FED points out. Maybe I just have a more deadpan way of looking at things: People get excited when their health improves, and disappointed when it doesn't. Monotheistic myth-mongering, like plumage for dead parrots, don't enter into it. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:44 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's simply the only safe way to ingest "raw" amanita mushrooms. There have been shamans known to eat large doses of fresh amanitas and living with no ill effects however. This guy considers himself a modern day soma shaman: youtube.com/watch?v=NulcJReAHIU

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:44 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's simply the only safe way to infest "raw" mushrooms. There have been shamans known to eat large doses of fresh amanitas and living with no ill effects however. This guy considers himself a modern day soma shaman: youtube.com/watch?v=NulcJReAHIU

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:42 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's simply the only safe way to infest "fresh" mushrooms. There have been shamans known to eat large doses of fresh amanitas and living with no ill effects however. This guy considers himself a modern day soma shaman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NulcJReAHIU

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:33 PM

My goals as an Olympic-style weightlifter are indeed NOT Paleo. I do the Oly lifts (1) because they are fun, (2) because they keep me in good shape and (3) because, despite my age, they keep me looking pretty good so naked womens wants to have the sex with me ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:31 PM

reindeer could "fly" because they were eating amanita mushrooms and drinking the urine from snow that shamans left after they pee. Stockings over the fire is a tradition we still do today because shamans back then hung amanitas in stockings to dry them. So yea that's the story of santa clause. lol.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:29 PM

So is your question then, "Have you been seduced by a monotheistic, hegemonistic paleo narrative?" In other words, a pejorative casting of the Paleo "story?" Because otherwise you're just asking if we talk about Paleo in story form, to which the answer is, of course, "yes, and so what?"

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:29 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's the only safe way to infest "fresh" mushrooms. Many christmas traditions are from the old use of amanitas. The christmas tree is nothing more than a place to hang amanitas(ornaments) to dry in the sun to covert the active chemical and make it safe. Santa is just a shaman(wears suberian shaman clothes) that went around with a bag of amanitas to root tops of snowed-in villagers. He would jump thru the chimney to get in the house give amanitas.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Please stop accusing me of sophistry. My use of the word "myth" is widespread, albeit not how it is typically used colloquially. So I dispute your claims that I am "lubricating" the word. I don't know about these "shows" that you've seen before, but please don't project them on me. I have no truck with the Paleo Diet. I am not sour grapes. I just need to expand out from it, that's all. There are people who do well, even on strict Paleo. Good for them. I am not on a bandwagon to discredit the Paleo project. I agree with you that human metabolism varies. That is my point, in fact.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:25 PM

I purchase mine from a local place in Austin, I get them already dryed and heated properly. I've had pleasent as well as very intense trances on amanitas. Not to be taken lightly, work your dose up till you get used to moderate doses before trying high doses.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:22 PM

amanitas aren't toxic if prepared correctly, I've taken them many times. Ate 8 grams 2 days ago actually = ) If you pick them you must dry them, and then heat them to a certain temperature. This converts "ibotanic acid" into "muscimol". Muscimol is what gives you the high or mystical state. People who don't prepare them ingest ibotanic acid hence why they feel sick. I was very pleasent, peaceful and I woke up the next day with an awesome afterglow and sense of peace that lasted days. I believe amanitas have aided me also along with paleo diet and some urine therapy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:04 PM

CaveRat, I am not leaving the site by any means. I agree that people here are more critical and less dogmatic than any diet website I have ever been to. Besides, there is a lot I agree with. Obviously, as several people have suggested, who defines what Paleo is? I can live with Patrik's definition of considering diet from an evolutionary perspective.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:00 PM

No, it's not slippery. I tried to explain that "narrative" and "myth" are not used pejoratively by me. We are all proceeding according to some kind of "myth" or "narrative". IT'S ONLY WHEN MYTHS BECOME "MONOTHEISTIC", BLINDING and HURTFUL that they turn bad. By MONOTHEISTIC, I mean a hegemonistic myth, that considers itself the ONE AND ONLY TRUTH.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:57 PM

@luckybastard --- agreed! me too!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:57 PM

Thanks for the link to that book. So what animal does he drink the urine from? As you probably know, a lot of people get severe gastric problems even when they drink the Amanita tea (don't even talk about eating the mushrooms directly). So Siberian shamans would let reindeer eat it-doesn't hurt the reindeer, they just get stoned- and then drink their urine. This is why I always stick with Psilocybin mushrooms.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:52 PM

Just in case you do decide to start running around in a loin cloth, can you send me pics?

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:44 PM

@Mark but that type of reenactment isn't really the type that frequent this board. THomas is questioning the diet and alot of us would like to know what aspects of the diet he's actually questioning. I have been paleo for a year hand have been at various macrionutrient levels and still consider myself in the paleo realm. For me, paleo is about excluding industrial seed oils, gluten-containing grains, and excess fructose. Is THomas saying that he performs better with these substances in his body? I'm extremely curious...

Medium avatar

(5639)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:43 PM

Well put Rose!!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:36 PM

Yep. Calling something a "narrative" is a slippery way of discounting it; you have plausible deniability (of course it's a "narrative," because it's a story people tell -- that's how we communicate), while implying that the facts are incorrect, without having to say exactly why and how they're incorrect. Nice reality check, FED.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:30 PM

Thank you very much for posting this. I always enjoy reading your words, so full of common sense, and refreshing.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:25 PM

@ben i was thinking the same thing

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:51 PM

Great post Thomas, for many people Paleo is more than just a diet, it is a lifestyle and way of looking at the world. Walking or running barefoot, wearing Vibrams is one example. I saw a website where people are hunting game with homemade "ancient" bows and arrows. I think people romanticize the primitive and Paleo is going to grow and be around for a long, long time.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:34 PM

Thomas I am standing up clapping for you. Context is everything and you are a living example. I just got finished talking about this very issue on todays Jimmy Moore's POD cast. Plus one!!!!!

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:16 PM

@Thomas Seay --- I think your post would have more impact if you shared exactly what you did and how you fared.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:13 PM

I guess my point is that low-carb isn't "paleo" it's simply low carb. It tends to be a paleo adjunct, but it needn't be. Carbs are great. I ate a 350g sweet potato for breakfast.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:10 PM

Ben, I haven't read his blog in a while. I'll try to do so this afternoon.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:07 PM

I don't have to provide a burden of proof, because I am not out to overthrow the Paleo diet. I am just saying that I have not done well on it and I suspect that there may be others as well. I don't "need a weatherman to tell me which way the wind is blowing", to paraphrase the Bob Dylan lyrics.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:48 PM

I commented under my first entry about the negative effects that I have seen. I am a software engineer, but I also am a long-time Olympic style weightlifter, so I am strong and active. In any case, being a Software Engineer is a constant. I was a SW Engineer before beginning Paleo, so given that fact, I don't see how that should figure. I am happy that you are doing well on the diet Future boy and I thought I went to pains to say that I realize some people DO VERY well.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Paleo doesn't mean low carb, it means good carb! *nicely said

19eedcc966e18e2864383fa53dcb80f6

(110)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Thomas -- I think you should try adding in white rice. Check out Kurt Harris's views on diet: http://www.archevore.com/get-started/ if you haven't already. He does eat white rice now and then because it's a good source of glucose to give us energy. It's not paleo, of course, but it's a relatively harmless (if nutrition-less) source of energy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:29 PM

So I consider that as the sine qua non of the Paleo Diet: that you eat like your paleolithic ancestors. It's a notion that I will continue to entertain in the background but it's not going to be the overarching factor that it has been.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Yes, I get people's point that maybe there is more than one Paleo narrative (and there is!). I was laughing to myself the other day that maybe I should propose a Paleo 3.0. After all, I'm still not going to eat grains. The underlying "myth" or maybe I should say "first principle" of Paleo is that we should be eating like our Paleolithic ancestors. As healthful as that could be for some of us, for others it could be (to some degree) deleterious and prevent us from finding what is truly optimal.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I agree with everyone here...Paleo doesn't mean low carb, it means good carb! I don't do well with VLC either! It's all about finding how paleo can work for you; it took me about a year to figure out my optimal paleo diet.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:17 PM

*blink* I enjoy and eat a lot of carbs and still consider myself paleo because they don't come from grains or sugar (or usually white tubers). I feel more functional with fruit and such :) Perhaps I fail to understand what Paleo means?

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:17 PM

Not sure what paleo myth flavor you were following, but there's plenty of people here eating a lot of carbs via potatoes and whatnot. I second Paul's query as to what went wrong - maybe there's a warning in there for other people.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I agree with you. When I say that the Paleo diet has a mythical dimension to it, I am not saying that it is wrong or that Paleo dieter are all guilty of re-enactment. I take people's word at face-value when they say they are doing well on it.

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:14 PM

Thomas, do you eat grains? Just curious.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Well, then maybe your problem wasn't so much with paleo as it was with low-carb paleo. I do better with more fruit than some people here advise; it's part of the self-experimentation process. There isn't one singular paleo narrative. It's a concept that we then extrapolate individually.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:13 PM

WCC Paul: that's a fair question. Here goes a list: -Poorer sleep -Greater sensitivity to stress (get stressed out and and for longer -diminished libido (came back within days of adding in LOTS MORE CARBS -constipation -reduction in strength (lost 50 pounds on my deadlift alone!) -chapped lips -increased gray hair. It's true that I am 51 years old and can expect some gray hair. However, up until a few months ago when starting Paleo it was restricted to my head, now I am seeing some on my chest. Coincidence? This one, ok, maybe.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Wrong gone2croatan. It DID help. Since I added back in MASS Quantities of carbs I have done MUCH MUCH BETTER. In fact, I have temporarily added back in daily servings of ice-cream for just this reason.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:06 PM

Wrong gone2croatan. It DID help. Since I added back in MASS Quantities of carbs I have done MUCH MUCH BETTER.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:05 PM

oakOy, I don't believe that Paleo is a marketing scam. I really don't. True, there are people that will try to profit financially. Some of those will be unscrupulous. The same could be said of anything. I am not criticizing anybody. Any movement, diet, etc no matter how well-intentioned, how scientific, etc, starts to take on mythical elements to it. It's part of the human predicament to be myth making beings. The question is does the myth serve you or not?

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:03 PM

Eating things like "One pint of Haagen-Dagz vanilla ice cream (that's about 1000 calories. Here's the kicker. I bought one of those big cooking bars of Ghiradelli Bittersweet chocolate, broke off pieces to use as spoons to eat the ice-cream with. That totalled 800 calories, so it was about 1800 calories of fat and sugar all totaled." probably didn't help.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:58 PM

Hi Thomas, I know you've been active on the 'Hacks for a while so maybe you've talked about this already and I haven't seen it, but I'm curious as to how eating paleo has failed you. I mean, your question kind of leads one to wonder that .... PS, I personally am lovin' the myth.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:54 PM

i definitly believe that you get sdeuced here. A lot of this gurus are marketing experts. The half of them wanna help you the other helf wanna see $$$. So the only honest way is to seduce you. Open your mind and look around what looks healthy for you. The truth is out there.

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29 Answers

29
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:24 PM

Well, I'm glad most commenters got a lot out of Thomas's post. I have to say I'm just annoyed, and I'm not even someone who applies the "paleo" label to myself. I've seen this same phenomenon in the zero-carb community (such as it is): A way of eating works great for a bunch of people, but it fails a few, as is to be expected, even if the reasons aren't crystal clear at the time. Those few get a case of sour grapes, and begin to paint the success stories as being a bunch of "true believers" who have been sold a "narrative" or a myth (and yes, Thomas, you are very eloquent and do a lovely job lubricating the word "myth" so nobody can say you're accusing a Paleo approach of being intrinsically false or bad, but I don't buy it; I've seen this show before, and I know what's driving the plot).

Look, human metabolism varies. We are one of the most phenotypically diverse species on the planet. Looking through an evolutionary lens confirms that -- variation is one of the engines of evolutionary change, for heaven's sake. And as Chris Masterjohn says (paraphrasing here): anything that varies exhibits a distribution, and the within the tails of those distributions some strange things happen.

So the question of why Paleo eating failed you is interesting -- it's as interesting as the question of why some overweight women don't lose weight even on a strict zero-carb regimen (or apparently any other regimen). But for me, the question of whether there's a myth or a narrative that people cleave to is far less interesting; it doesn't ask anything meaty or real.

The folks who find that Paleo, or zero-carb (or hell, Weight Watchers) works for them are going to be excited about it. The people whom it fails are going to be disappointed. None of that should be taken as evidence that people have fallen prey to a myth. When an approach fails, it just means we have more to learn.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:57 PM

Okay, I get drama queening. Roll on. :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:20 PM

I use dramatic language, because I'm a bit of a drama queen :). Got nothing to do with sour grapes. It's just how I roll :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Please stop accusing me of sophistry. My use of the word "myth" is widespread, albeit not how it is typically used colloquially. So I dispute your claims that I am "lubricating" the word. I don't know about these "shows" that you've seen before, but please don't project them on me. I have no truck with the Paleo Diet. I am not sour grapes. I just need to expand out from it, that's all. There are people who do well, even on strict Paleo. Good for them. I am not on a bandwagon to discredit the Paleo project. I agree with you that human metabolism varies. That is my point, in fact.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:46 PM

Well, we agree on that point, then. And I'm sorry to project on you, but I don't understand why, if you're not chewing on sour grapes, you're using all the dramatic language about a seductive narrative and so on. Most of the narrative happens to state the facts, as FED points out. Maybe I just have a more deadpan way of looking at things: People get excited when their health improves, and disappointed when it doesn't. Monotheistic myth-mongering, like plumage for dead parrots, don't enter into it. :)

Medium avatar

(5639)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:43 PM

Well put Rose!!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:58 PM

Thanks, PaleoGran and Futureboy. PG, do I know you from another forum? The "Gran" rings a bell...

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:30 PM

Thank you very much for posting this. I always enjoy reading your words, so full of common sense, and refreshing.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:07 PM

I upvoted all the comments between Thomas and Rose. Both of you held your ground very well, with totally differing opinions, but correct in your own right all the same. I like the exchange.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on June 17, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Rose, yes to the other forums, as Silver and SilverEm. :)

18
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on May 26, 2011
at 10:32 PM

I was not seduced by the Paleo myth. I was seduced by the fact that eating Paleo finally corrected my high blood pressure issues. I don't care what it's called or why it works for me. I'm just glad it does.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:02 PM

sherpamelissa: it's nice to hear from someone who lives in the real world!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 28, 2011
at 03:56 AM

Paradox is science........always has been

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:45 PM

plus one..........

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:10 PM

At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to. It works for you. We should be informed by science, but science should not put ourselves into a Procrustean bed to fit the science or the theory. Melissa is right. It works for her. I am right, too. It has not been working for me (at least as I have interpreted it). There is no contradiction. Two different individuals, two different results.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:11 PM

At the end of the day, this is what it comes down to. It works for you. We should be informed by science, but we should not put ourselves into a Procrustean Bed to fit the science or the theory. Melissa is right. It works for her. I am right, too. It has not been working for me (at least as I have interpreted it). There is no contradiction. Two different individuals, two different results

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on May 27, 2011
at 05:03 PM

Same here Melissa. One BP med gone, and the other one is being phased out. My doctor is very pleased with my weight loss.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 27, 2011
at 05:25 PM

Thomas, I know I ragged on you in my answer, but your comment here is really sharp. There is no contradiction. Two people, two results. Yes, yes.

10
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:22 PM

At least two of the High Bishops you cite have made their paleo myth exclusionary: don't eat sugar, wheat and vegetable oil. That leaves virtually everything else in quantities to be determined by individual tolerance.

I agree with your general characterization of the myth/generalization process by which everyone leads their lives. However, the above myth is so incredibly soft that I find it hard to compare to a fish scientist. Is there anyone out there who genuinely needs sugar, gluten and vegetable oil to be healthy? That seems pretty unlikely, even absurd. People might like foods with those things, but excluding them leaves you with meat, vegetables, fruits and maybe dairy. I think you'd have a hard time finding an individual who couldn't be healthy eating from that selection.

More details on what happened in your case would be greatly appreciated - maybe you're that individual which falsifies the above paragraph!

9
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on May 26, 2011
at 08:28 PM

"The concept of a Paleolithic diet is flawed for a number of reasons. Most of the foods that we evolved eating are not actually available to us now, either in type or quantity.

And there never was any one diet eaten by the succession of species of hominins throughout our millions of years of evolution.

The idea that there has been evolution of our food sources, but little or no adaptive evolution at all by the organisms that consume them (us), is also not completely accurate.

That we are eating some things we are clearly inadequately adapted to seems certain, but the idea that the dietary bright line is narrow and exists at the 10,000 year mark is a cartoon view not supported by the science. I believe most of the dietary damage is due to industrial processing amplifying the effect of things that have always been around and were never good for us in the first place, even as I do believe wheat and other grains to the exclusion of animal products has been an issue for 10,000 years.

The idea that anything before 10,000 years ago is good for us, and anything that with a shorter history is bad for us is incoherent.

The ???Paleolithic diet ??? is a chimera, a myth.

No more real than a Griffin.

A beautiful thing that doesn???t really exist.

I coined the term ???evolutionary metabolic milieu??? or EM2, to signify that we cannot hope to duplicate the exact diet that was eaten, for all of these reasons. Instead, we can strive to use science and our reasoning to emulate the important elements of the evolutionary metabolic environment - the internal environment of our bodies."- Kurt Harris, "Paleo 2.0"

just sayin...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:48 AM

Thanks for posting this LB!

B0454de6d4f4cdd9ca2e59021dc105bf

(606)

on June 26, 2011
at 12:46 AM

This is a straw man argument. No one is seriously trying to "duplicate the exact diet that was eaten".

9
Medium avatar

on May 26, 2011
at 06:43 PM

I guess I look at it the other way in that I believe that the burden of proof is on those who say we should not consider our evolution at all and eat Holocene food substitutes. There's so much room under the umbrella of "paleo" to totally muck it up though.

I think the greatest potential for problems occurs where carbohydrates are concerned. Paleo tends to be low-er carb simply because meat displaces carbage, but taking that to an extreme isn't ideal. I had to eat at diners on my recent vacation and I'd see people eating pancakes or waffles with tons of syrup, toast and hash browns for breakfast. I used to have meals like that as well and they made me feel terrible. Compared to that, my steak, eggs and hashbrowns is a low-carb meal, but I'm still getting about 50g of it.

I find it hard to believe that a person could replace grain with tubers, industrial seed oils with animal fat and remove fructose and actually feel worse. You'd have to go on some LC misadventure to actually encounter problems. A few simple replacements seems to be a better approach that pulling out everything and replacing it with a little meat and a lot of fat.

When I cut out fructose, I instantly felt better. Same thing happened when I cut out legumes. A lot of those who cut out wheat instantly feel better. Don't really need to suspend your disbelief when the results are instant and compelling. On the other hand, when people cut out carbs, at the very least they tend to feel really bad for a week or more. "No really, this is the best possible diet, but it's going to make you feel like hell for a while." Riiiight. If something is optimal and consistent with our design, I think the body will readily accept it. There shouldn't be a drawn out acclimation period. Eating crap for a long time doesn't change our design to the point that it takes weeks to be able to eat an optimal diet. I just don't buy it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:13 PM

I guess my point is that low-carb isn't "paleo" it's simply low carb. It tends to be a paleo adjunct, but it needn't be. Carbs are great. I ate a 350g sweet potato for breakfast.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:07 PM

I don't have to provide a burden of proof, because I am not out to overthrow the Paleo diet. I am just saying that I have not done well on it and I suspect that there may be others as well. I don't "need a weatherman to tell me which way the wind is blowing", to paraphrase the Bob Dylan lyrics.

8
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:21 PM

I've been seduced by results.

I turn 37 in two weeks. I'm back in the same size jeans I wore in high school, though I'm much stronger, faster, leaner and tougher than I've been in my entire life. In my early 20's I had a very physical job, and I was in pretty good shape - I could run circles around that guy now.

The myth is working for me.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on May 27, 2011
at 05:11 PM

Me too, Aaron. My results tell me that my personal version of paleo is working out well. I've made tweaks, particularly with carbs, and I'm still tweaking.

Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on May 27, 2011
at 11:04 PM

Definitely Travis. My approach also continues to evolve. I've helped introduce several people to paleo concepts - those that have "come aboard" have, without exception, adopted slightly different versions of paleo than my own. This doesn't bother me a bit - because each person is discovering what works best for

6
Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:42 PM

I think calling Paleo a "narrative" discounts the fact that people really did eat differently than they do today. "The Gary" discusses at length case studies of modern human populations that changed their traditional food ways and the disastrous health problems that followed. This doesn't require us to project back 1,000,000 million years B.C. and to imagine what a caveman ate for lunch.

For example...

"As Hutton told it, his Eskimo patients fell into two categories: There were those who lived isolated from European settlements and ate a traditional Eskimo diet. "The Eskimo is a meat eater," he wrote, "the vegetable part of his diet is a meager one." Then there were those Eskimos living in Nain or near other European settlers who had taken to consuming a "settler's dietary," consisting primarily of "tea, bread, ship's biscuits, molasses, and salt fish or pork." Among the former, European diseases were uncommon or remarkably rare. "The most striking is cancer," noted Hutton on the basis of his eleven years in Labrador. "I have not seen or heard of a case of malignant growth in an Eskimo." He also observed no asthma and, like Schweitzer, no appendicitis, with the sole exception of a young Eskimo who had been "living on a 'settler dietary." Hutton observed that the Eskimos who had adopted the settler's diet tended to suffer more from scurvy, were "less robust," and endured "fatigue less easily, and their children are puny and feeble."

I for one, appreciate being disease free, "robust", and resistant to fatigue. Also, I'm in no hurry to bear puny and feeble children. If this means that I pass on bread, sugar, o6 oils, and other elements of the Great Food Experiment than so be it. Living on steak, bacon, coconut, green veggies, etc. isn't so bad either :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:00 PM

No, it's not slippery. I tried to explain that "narrative" and "myth" are not used pejoratively by me. We are all proceeding according to some kind of "myth" or "narrative". IT'S ONLY WHEN MYTHS BECOME "MONOTHEISTIC", BLINDING and HURTFUL that they turn bad. By MONOTHEISTIC, I mean a hegemonistic myth, that considers itself the ONE AND ONLY TRUTH.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:29 PM

So is your question then, "Have you been seduced by a monotheistic, hegemonistic paleo narrative?" In other words, a pejorative casting of the Paleo "story?" Because otherwise you're just asking if we talk about Paleo in story form, to which the answer is, of course, "yes, and so what?"

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:36 PM

Yep. Calling something a "narrative" is a slippery way of discounting it; you have plausible deniability (of course it's a "narrative," because it's a story people tell -- that's how we communicate), while implying that the facts are incorrect, without having to say exactly why and how they're incorrect. Nice reality check, FED.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 28, 2011
at 12:59 PM

Bear not puny and feeble children! (It sounds almost biblical)

0006976d648025769c9a9820dd40589a

(75)

on May 28, 2011
at 04:04 AM

i too have little desire to bear puny and feeble children. it's the truth but that line made me laugh out loud

5
09e3a4b532dd8898d8eee23d1d8e121c

on May 27, 2011
at 02:34 AM

No. I have not been seduced by the story of Paleo or the reasoning. My jury is still out about me eating this way. I am seeing how I do over the longer haul. I have been seduced previously to finding Paleo. I was seduced by Macrobiotics, Raw Veganism and all kinds of weight loss, healing and body building diets, so I am now very skeptical. I was convinced to give this a real try by the simple comparison of cultures living in the same place eating grain and not eating grain. Time and my experience alone will decide the usefulness of this way of eating for me.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:08 AM

I like the way you are approaching this.

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:29 PM

Yeah, I've been seduced by many a myth in the past as well, not all of them food related, though I was macrobiotic too for a number of years. I think it left me pretty cynical about the human ability to know the difference between truth and falsehood, or to really know anything definite about anything. Nowadays I don't believe nothing :) which is probably just as bad.

5
9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:17 PM

To quote the late, great evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution." This is still every bit as true as when Dobzhansky penned his essay in 1973. There is, without a doubt, some mythology and noble savage worship going on in this rag-tag collection of people under the umbrella of the "Paleo" movement. And yes, I'm sure there are people for whom the results are less than satisfactory. This doesn't change the fact that the big elephant in the room (which we all recognize) is that huge increase in the "diseases of civilization," an uptick which began more than a century ago, but now is nearly overwhelming the US and other industrialized nations with health problems that are almost entirely dietary related. Even the standard explanation from US health authorities is there is some dietary process run amok which is ruining metabolisms left and right.

We have no choice then but to work from first principles--namely evolutionary biology. We need to know what humans are adapted to eat and what it is about our environment that is mismatched with our genes such that we have these epidemic diseases of civilization. That we don't have that nailed down yet isn't really surprising--there's not a lot of scientists working on it, and, to the best of my knowledge, very few evolutionary biologists have weighed in on this problem yet. So we have a hodge-podge of information, some of it good, some of it not so good, infused with yes, some degree of mythology. None of this should discount "Paleo" as it is a very experimental and young movement.

Personally I'm eager to see what happens during and after the Ancestral Health Symposium once all these minds get together to talk and they launch their journal and we can hopefully get some peer reviewed research going and more cross talk between clinicians and bench scientists. Until then, yeah, self-experimentation and some degree of mythology will hold until the science can settle it. And hopefully not in an Ancel Keys way.

5
C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:10 PM

Mythology is paleo. ;)

Actually, I disagree with the assertion that the first principle of paleo is "eat like your paleolithic ancestors".

I can certainly see the seductiveness of that oversimplification, but that wasn't how I understood paleo when I was first exposed to it thirteen years ago, and that's not what I've read in the works of Cordain, Wolf or Harris.

Eating like our paleo ancestors isn't even remotely possible. Not in practice--the foods they are aren't around any more--and not even in theory! We're talking about vast numbers of individuals living in every region of the planet over a span of two million years. If it existed, I guarantee you, somebody ate it. I've never heard anyone suggest that the paleo diet is about eating like that.

Rather, every description of paleo I've ever come across is about avoiding specific foods, typically foods that have become common since the neolithic revolution, and appear to be responsible for some common health problems that are much less common among hunter-gatherers. Exactly which foods fit that description are hotly debated and subject to constant scrutiny. And that's exactly as it should be.

I would say that the first principle of paleo is "Use technology wisely." The same brain that figures out how to make a job easier can also figure out when to.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:27 PM

thanks you, Lareth. You've said it well: this whole thing called Paleo is simply avoiding deleterious foods. Done. I still fail to see how avoiding grains, legumes, and dairy will make one feel worse. This whole thing has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with macro ratios. I eat 250 grams of carbs each day. Fantastic results. Some may eat 1 carb per day. Doesn't matter, doesn't factor in the conversation. We are all here I would hope/think because we are interested in feeling and functioning better by avoiding deleterious food.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:20 PM

With few exceptions, wherever you go on the planet, the locally available meat is good and safe to eat, from penguins to porcupines. Big cats in zoos happily eat sides of beef, and do better on that than on kibble (although I'm sure they'd like a live antelope now and then). It's the plants that we've always had to watch out for; a dumb decision could kill you. In that respect, little has changed: any meat perfectly "paleo" (however that's defined), and you still have to be careful with the plants. The big difference is what were once local safety issues are now global, due to our engineering.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 09:26 PM

@Thomas, "deleterious" is indeed very clearly spelled out here - grains, legumes, and dairy are deleterious. Thats all this has ever been about. Not eating those three things and seeing if you feel better from that avoidance. Its always always been about simply what not to eat. Thats it. from there we all do what we want - low carb, high carb, whatever. ive even heard of vegetarians the paleo idea - they can do it too, they just avoid those three things. This is all so simple, so straight forward.

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 27, 2011
at 01:39 PM

Also, the diet you eat is very likely better than what they had, since you have the luxury of picking virtually any food at any time. It may also be worse. There's still a lot we don't know, and that's my point. We can find some human teeth in a cave somewhere and say, 500,000 years ago, this person ate meat, these kinds of animals were in this area, and he probably ate tubers and berries too, but how much of each? At what time of year? How often? These questions are nutritionally significant, and we just don't have enough answers to make outright imitation a sound basis for anything.

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 27, 2011
at 01:30 PM

Andrew, it's true that many of the foods you list are probably quite similar and maybe even identical to foods that some paleolithic hominins ate. And yes, the word "like" is a broad one that just means similar, so in the sense that there are many parallels, then yes, you are eating like our ancestors. But I was addressing the idea of re-enactment eating as a means of achieving optimal nutrition. How do you decide which paleo humans to emulate? Where? What time? You have to make many, many generalizations, substitutions and just plain old guesses to say your nutrition is as good as theirs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:16 PM

Ben, I would suggest that almost ALL diets purport to be just how you define Paleo. That is, they purport to be about avoiding deleterious food. So, what is "deleterious"? Are all vegetables deleterious? They create toxins, even the organic ones. I don't want to argue over that specific point. The point is that we have to define "deleterious" and "healthful" and that's where the contention is. AND, one person's poison is another person's panacea. That's another point to keep in mind. It's complex and one size does not fit all. At least, that's my opinion.

C33e8c236e72d67c4b6c028401d23cce

(1884)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:18 PM

Er, so to answer the question you actually asked, it's not possible because 1) there was way too much variation in the foods different paleolithic groups had available and 2) we don't have enough information to describe a comprehensive paleolithic diet with any certainty. But there's no guesswork required to say what they didn't eat.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on May 27, 2011
at 07:16 AM

I actually can't see why eating like our ancestors isn't even remotely possible". The venison I eat comes from wild deer - just like my ancestors. Ditto wild duck, pigeon, salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, boar, mussel, shrimp, razor clam, scallop, crab, blackberries, wild strawberry, wild raspberry, coconut, cobb nut, pomegranate - the list could go on for ages. Granted some of the veg we eat now is very unlike our ancestors veg - but even some of those are still the same. I try to eat as near to my ancestral diet as I can with butter, modern veg and of course year round eggs.

5
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 26, 2011
at 05:58 PM

I think the narrative is fun and interesting but is really just a way to present what is fundamentally a good idea. For me the most important aspects of the diet are avoiding sugar, grains, and processed foods, and the crossfit-type exercise regimens that are popular.

I think it is also valuable for people to realize that a diet that is completely opposite of what we're told by the gummint and "experts" can be ten times better for you than what they're pushing. I am not a conspiracy theorist (I don't think :-)), but I'm also coming around to the idea that the whole fat / cholesterol schtick might be a health disaster on par with people thinking for 100 years that smoking was harmless.

However I'm not interested in some kind of re-enactment of ancient times, running around wearing a loin cloth and chasing down antelope or something. Our ancient ancestors had lifespans of about 20-30 years after all. I joke with my friends that I'm on the "caveman diet" but I don't take that stuff too seriously.

All of that said, I don't think the Paleo diet is for everyone. I think my wife and daughter would really suffer with it. For whatever reason -- genetics most likely -- they are both adapted to a carb and vegetable diet with lots of gluten. They would really suffer with a Paleo diet, and I with theirs. I have a theory that my wife must have descended from some agrarian culture from long ago. There are a lot of people here with amazing stories about completely transforming their health by switching to this diet, but there are also people that have the opposite effect.

This doesn't mean that the Paleo diet sucks, or that the non-Paleo diet sucks, or that the people in one camp or the other are deluded, or whatever. It means that one diet is not right for everyone. It can also mean that adopting a radically new diet can be very disruptive and most people who are basically healthy already don't feel that the disruption is worth it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:15 PM

I agree with you. When I say that the Paleo diet has a mythical dimension to it, I am not saying that it is wrong or that Paleo dieter are all guilty of re-enactment. I take people's word at face-value when they say they are doing well on it.

4
166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on May 27, 2011
at 10:28 AM

A very interesting and provocative post that piqued my interest because I have been wondering the same thing recently. After a year of eating tablespoons of butter, coconut oil and any animal fat I could lay my greasy little hands on, I went to an acupuncturist for bloating and he told me my liver and gallbladder were suffering a bit. Didn't tell him how much fat I was eating, nor that I was still assiduously avoiding carbs, but I think that must have something to do with it. I've upped the carbs and sugar cravings have gone through the roof- worry if I eat a lot of carb and fat together I'll gain weight. Has following the paleo plan, as recommended by many of the movement's forerunners, failed me? Maybe. But anyway. Let's keep on topic.

I realized that the 'paleo diet' has become this very neat thing with a lot of recommended foods that couldn't have possibly existed years ago. People drink pints of cream and cans of coconut milk, eat farmed animals, modern fruits, yadda yadda. I understand that the emphasis is not on eating foods that were available in the paleolithic age, but rather imitating the paleolithic metabolism. Fine. Its most useful points are deconstructing the food pyramid and conventional diet advice, recommending that people steer clear of crap like white flour, sugar and vegetable oils, and concentrate on eating 'real food'. But it seems that people are awfully seletive and that is how the 'myth' of paleo has been so carefully created. It's like "no! grains are full of phytic acid!!!".... "ooh, but those almonds/sesame seeds look mighty tasty, I'll down them'- despite the fact they are probably more full of phytic acid. Or the drinking loads of coconut milk despite the fact that the ability to blend a coconut into that state must be a relatively modern thing. Etc. Etc.

Weston A Price in the same in many regards. Price found that a very wide variety of diets led to good health, and that white flour was generally deleterious to health. But even in his 'tooth saving' diet for kids, he fed them brown wheat rolls. Now the movement seems to have carved out its own diet plan which is a hodgepodge of the good doctor's advice, sort of randomly picking up bits that he recommended. It goes from the general- cod liver oil and lots of fermentation- to the specific because people seem to need specific to keep them on the right track diet-wise.

Paleo is the same. People need specific recommendations. If they're used to waking up to donuts, lunching on linguine and dining on doughballs and pizza, they want to read a book that says 'please eat two eggs with 2 tbsp of coconut oil for breakfast...." etc. Some people have learnt to be less dogmatic about it. They play with it. There seems to be a backlash against the low carb thing happening at the moment, which I enjoy seeing, and it's definitely interesting to watch Dr Kurt Harris and Stephan Guyenet weigh in on it...

Basically, I agree that a 'myth' has been created in that very specific (and sometimes not always justified) foods have been recommended and have become 'synonymous' with the paleo diet. They might not work for everyone and they are certainly not 'paleo' in the sense that they were around in the paleolithic era. But then neither is anything in our modern world. I read threads that discuss the 'non-paleo' aspects of peoples' lives with amusement. Their addictions to machines, their lack of sunlight. The fact you have a job! And live in a house! And use scissors and whisks and plates and string!.... is all not paleo. I hate the fact that some people believe that 'paleo' represents this neatly defined lifestyle that they must adhere to, despite the fact that 99.9% of their lives do not, and cannot, come into line with how people lived 10,000 years ago. As some people have said, the most damage to our diet (and lifestyles) seems to have happened in the last 100 years or so, although the agricultural revolution seems to have had a noticeable effect on skull sizes and dental cavities.

4
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:20 PM

"Therefore we should eat as they did." There has been a lot of arguing over this point for quite awhile in the paleo community - and the Cordain types seem to be the minority. Dr. Harris has never advocated a particular macronutrient ratio and lately has been promoting starch. And Mark Sisson allows for quite a bit of fruit/veg/starch as well.

The constant hashing out of ideas is what I love about the paleo community - we are not all that dogmatic (well some are). And usually eager to look at new science (or at least tear it apart). Sorry if you fell into the mythology trap. I guess I'm fortunate that I ran across Jimmy Moore, who always stressed that different people need different diets.

3
1f8384be58052b6b96f476e475abdc74

(2231)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:01 AM

I am confused.... you dont agree with 'paleo'....what because it has a name? you didnt fare well 'eating paleo'...ok, so you dont feel good eating real food essentially is exactly what youre saying. you cant eat real food and feel good. you cant eat real food and lift. you cant eat real food and be an engineer.

mayyyybe you need someone to teach you how to eat....real food. there arent rules to eating real food. there arent calculations, amounts, macros, calories etc. three words. eat. real. food. end of discussion.

i truly think one of the WORST aspects of paleo is the information at hand, the science, the blogs, THE INTERNET. if you had learned in 2nd grade nutrition class 3 words: EAT.REAL.FOOD. end of discussion you would have been FORCED to learn to listen to your body and how you felt when you ate real food.

the internet in and of itself is one of the biggest if not most dangerous and misconstrued aspects of people trying to follow the 'paleo diet' when all they need to be told is eat real food, yourself included.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:24 PM

I would agree with your premise that "eating real food will not fail anyone." However, i would only comment that I don't think there's anything wrong with tracking and knowing one's macro-intake, caloric intake, etc. For those of us with concrete goals, keeping a roadmap that one is on is essential for tracking and really knowing what works or does not work for one.

3
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Thomas, have you checked the Archevore blog? Dr. Harris seems to share your unique view on this particular narrative.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:21 PM

While I respect Dr. Harris, he too very much is based in mythology, specifically the notion that HG's eat like the Lakota and other Native Americans AFTER they got horses. Lakotas did eat great, and had ample amounts of fat after they got horses and could hunt buffalo with great efficiency. Prior to that, eh, not so much. I brought this up on his blog, but, to the best of my knowledge he didn't approve the comment or respond. But Harris maintains that HGs had constant and ample saturated fat, something I find is unrealistic without horses. Hunting on foot is often a low success endeavor.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:25 PM

@ben i was thinking the same thing

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:10 PM

Ben, I haven't read his blog in a while. I'll try to do so this afternoon.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:28 PM

I pressed for time so I haven't (but will) read the comments. I wanted to say that I totally, whole-heartedly agree with Thomas. I was just having this convo with someone 2 days ago and decided I would leave the paleo diet for a bit. I felt better for a bit but lately, I'm feeling really out of focus and have gained some weight.

I track my diet, nutrition, sleep, and mood so once I gathered all the data over the past few months and analyzed it, I found that I actually wasn't better off. Mind you, I haven't eaten SAD in 12 years - no processed food, no sugar. What I think is that I was convincing myself I was faring better on Paleo. More than that, I was following it dogmatically and ceased, for a time, to look at what I've been doing, nutritionally, in an objective manner.

In another answer to a post recently, I said I looked better two years ago. I ate my pasta and potatoes and my lovely bread in moderation. I was happier then, I was leaner, I had more energy, I wasn't a slave to my food. I didn't obsess over it. Looking at my recent data and questioning my motivations led me to the decision that I would go back to the diet of two years ago for the next 90 days, track it, analyze it, then take a hard look at what all of this means.

Thomas - thank you for this post. You have no idea how much I respect what you stated.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:01 PM

Baconbitch :) Seeing as you have tracked your data, you probably have a lot more to add to this conversation than I do. So I look forward to what you have to write when you have more time.

09e3a4b532dd8898d8eee23d1d8e121c

(162)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:27 AM

Me, too. I hope you share it with us.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 04:56 PM

Please share how it goes. I like to read what women are doing as I hope their experiments will naturally have results I might be able to mimic.

2
2e060a5edde44c1fe77abcf8d3997e01

on May 26, 2011
at 08:36 PM

Thomas, I'm curious if you've thought about the fact that your goals as an Olympic-style weightlifter may not in themselves be "paleo." After all, it seems reasonable to expect the paleo diet to be optimal for the paleolithic lifestyle, as opposed to a modern competitive sport. (And I'm not knocking Olympic lifting here, it's an amazing sport and the lifts can be used to replicate paleo activities, but as a sport it's not paleolithic.)

I used to be bothered by the fact that some ultra-marathoners seem to thrive on a vegan diet (at least in the short term). But then it occurred to me that an ultra-marathon is far from a natural paleolithic activity. Perhaps such an extremely unnatural sport requires an an extremely unnatural diet? (And again, I wouldn't categorize weightlifting as "unnatural" to the same extent as ultra-marathoning.)

In any case, I've started to wonder if my own goals in the gym might not be all that "paleolithic," and whether I might want to adjust my diet accordingly... Or, conversely, come up with more paleo-suitable goals.

2e060a5edde44c1fe77abcf8d3997e01

(865)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:13 PM

You know, I workout at an Oly lifting gym (but don't oly lift myself), and I think you can safely add (4) They impress the hell out of all the other gym patrons.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 27, 2011
at 01:25 PM

+1 for Thomas for making me snort.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:33 PM

My goals as an Olympic-style weightlifter are indeed NOT Paleo. I do the Oly lifts (1) because they are fun, (2) because they keep me in good shape and (3) because, despite my age, they keep me looking pretty good so naked womens wants to have the sex with me ;)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:31 PM

nothing like explosively tossing a weighted bar around to clear out the sleeveless tees.

2
Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:04 PM

Dang, Thomas - I'm totally going to miss your voice on this site if you bug out! :-(

For me the 'myth' is more of an organizing principle. It's a handy world-view to put all the factoids in, that puts them in some kind of order or structure. The variations work for me to keep the 'edges' of this world-view permeable and flexible, and allow for some experimentation and growth. If it looks like someone or some group has a copyright or other lock on the word "Paleo" then I'll find another bucket to put all the ideas in; the entire appeal is it's openness and flexibility - and geeky attempt at intellectual understanding.

I know there are different 'camps' around this idea. Low-carb is a case in point and that's one that worked really well for me personally. But people are different and not everyone (thankfully) is damaged in the way that low-carb fixes. I just hope that the overarching idea and questions of paleo ('what IS the 'right' human diet anyway?') doesn't close down to the point where it excludes other, equally useful ideas.

For what it's worth, I highly recommend this book: Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food (yes - I've recommended it several times already). The authors specifically downplay the 'paleo' angle because we just don't really know what those people ate. I mean - how much can you really extrapolate from fossils of shit?? So they emphasize what traditional cultures have in common. It's because of this book I'm now making my own kefir and sauerkraut and loving it (and milk isn't a favorite 'paleo' food).

Anyway - If you don't stick around let us know where you're hiding so we can smoke you out once in a while!

@LastingOne - love the loincloth image!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:04 PM

CaveRat, I am not leaving the site by any means. I agree that people here are more critical and less dogmatic than any diet website I have ever been to. Besides, there is a lot I agree with. Obviously, as several people have suggested, who defines what Paleo is? I can live with Patrik's definition of considering diet from an evolutionary perspective.

Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

(1098)

on May 27, 2011
at 06:06 PM

Your welcome, Cave Rat. Glad to be of service.

2
Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

on May 26, 2011
at 07:19 PM

I like to think of myself as a skeptic. Any good scientist is a natural skeptic and will try to refute their hypothesis time and time again.

I have to follow my own ethos at the end of the day. I mean jeez, I'm the one that has to live with myself. I feel like death warmed over if I don't have some fruit, but that's just me. Cutting out rice and legumes was a blessing though. I feel I am making the right choices with Paleo, but I'm not going to start running around in a loincloth just yet (although the boyfriend might enjoy that...)

Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

(1098)

on May 27, 2011
at 06:05 PM

HAHA! Well I'm still in the early stages of trying to heal myself, so I prefer to not blind you. Check back 6 mos ;-)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:52 PM

Just in case you do decide to start running around in a loin cloth, can you send me pics?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 08:49 PM

6 months- ok November 27, I am going to hit you up for pics! It's in my calendar, so don't think I am going to forget.

Bd142c32b4055224d3191461f1f57520

(1098)

on May 28, 2011
at 03:56 PM

HAHA! Fabulous! It's a good goal.......I think....

2
Medium avatar

on May 26, 2011
at 06:34 PM

As they say: "The devil is in the details." You haven't provided us with many details. How unhealthy have you become? Have you gained weight? Lost strength? What are you eating? What do you avoid? Are you depressed? Do you have a history of depression? Do you have a history of "chubbiness" (notice I didn't say obesity)? You're a software engineer, so you sit around all day...do you exercise more or less than you did?

DETAILS.

My "myth," was the "ultimate me." I want to be the me that I'm supposed to be under optimal health and exercise conditions. This diet has helped me begin traveling that path. At the same time, it helps me make choices that affect the environment in which I live in a positive way. I, for one, am all for this myth. Better than the sh***y alternatives.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:48 PM

I commented under my first entry about the negative effects that I have seen. I am a software engineer, but I also am a long-time Olympic style weightlifter, so I am strong and active. In any case, being a Software Engineer is a constant. I was a SW Engineer before beginning Paleo, so given that fact, I don't see how that should figure. I am happy that you are doing well on the diet Future boy and I thought I went to pains to say that I realize some people DO VERY well.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 04:50 PM

Thomas is very eloquent and of course dramatic. It's a pleasure to read. I guess the thing to remember is that Paleo is an individual experiment, seen only through the lens of our own perspective and colored by our own expectations and desires. I've been pleasantly surprised by some of the positive health benefits of Paleo so far, but it has not cured me of all that ails me nor would I expect it too.

Believe me I question the "Paleo Myth" nearly daily when reading Paleo hacks as it breaks my heart to hear the same old narratives: So many women bemoaning the fact that they can't get slim. (it is refreshing to hear some want to get strong) Talking about their problem areas etc. Beating themselves up because it's not working for them and they don't know why.

I tend to believe I will eventually migrate back to a more Weston A Price type lifestyle, with a healthy dose of reality about how often (rarely) I should eat grains and/or legumes. Sometimes, I really can't deal with the Paleo hard line and merciless know-it-all-ism of the boards.

That said I have a fascination with a bonded community like this and come here practically everyday to read, to question and to show off my knowledge. I hope this post from Thomas doesn't have to mean he will leave Paleo Hacks. I want to know how he does off the diet (strictly) and his experiment will embolden me to continue to personally make mine.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 08:00 PM

No not like a broken record at all. Reading a post thoroughly and understanding it is sometimes hard to do the first time around. I read yours twice last night and once today before answering hoping to understand your POV. There are so many bay area Paleos I would love to meet someone in my tribe:))

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 10:11 PM

Well, I am in your tribe :) My email address is in my profile OR I will try to contact you through Facebook.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 28, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Sure I know Joe. He's the best! Wow, we used to be neighbors. I've lived in this neighborhood for about 12 years. I have a small brick and mortar on 20th.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 05:16 PM

Laura, I am not leaving PaleoHacks, perhaps to the chagrin of some! :) As I have said before, this has got to be the best diet board EVER, in that you have a lot of skeptics here (I mean that in a good way). And I believe you when you say you question the Paleo Myth daily. Patrik did not try to silence my dissent, for example. He amplified it! Welcoming dissent proves how healthy PaleoHacks is. If you really want to know how I do in this experiment, you can always invite me for lunch. I'm only in Palo Alto. Am I starting to sound like a broken record on that point? ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 28, 2011
at 01:23 AM

Do you realize that I used to live at 21st and Valencia? Do you know Joe who owns the health food store at 21st and Valencia. He and I are big friends.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 28, 2011
at 08:26 PM

Tell Joe, I said "hi". He'll know me. I haven't talked to him in a couple of years. I lived on Valencia until about 11 years ago. To be exact, I lived at 984 (right across from his store).

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:14 PM

I have to ask you what your question or point of the OP is. Myth, narrative, whatever you want to call it; this whole thing labeled ???paleo??? is merely the idea of NOT EATING DELETERIOUS THINGS, when we describe deleterious things as GRAINS, LEGUMES, DAIRY. Again, simply put, I would love to know some kind of details about how avoiding those three things has made you feel worse than you felt prior to avoiding them.

You say: Genetically we haven't changed much since then.

I would argue that there are numerous polymorphisms among different groups of people around the globe. Also, this process is forever continuing. We have not simply stopped evolving/adapting to our surroundings, no matter what they are.

You say: Therefore we should eat as they did.

This line of thinking went out a while ago. I don???t think anyone serious about this stuff says this now. Its simply using what we???ve seen our ancestors ate as a starting point, a possible place to base things on. The more important part I think many of us longtimers would say is the next step; ie using modern day methods to test what we think our ancestors did and learn if those practices are or are not optimal.

You say: I have fared dismally on the Paleo diet

I think the definition of paleo is simply: avoiding grains, avoiding legumes, avoiding dairy. Avoiding those three things failed you? I am forced to ask which of these by your adding them back into your regimen have made you feel better. Simple enough.

You say: I have eaten healthy for a long, long time, so I did not come to this screwed up from a SAD diet.

I am the same. Never been overweight, always athletic. Five years of WAP eating, experimented with vegetarianism, SAD, raw foodism, etc.

I have to ask you what your question or point of the OP is. Myth, narrative, whatever you want to call it; this whole thing labeled ???paleo??? is merely the idea of NOT EATING DELETERIOUS THINGS, when we describe deleterious things as GRAINS, LEGUMES, DAIRY. Again, simply put, I would love to know some kind of details about how avoiding those three things has made you feel worse than you felt prior to avoiding them.

I have appreciated many of your posts, Thomas. I am a lifter and I???ve enjoyed your comments regarding tinkering with macros, etc.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:17 PM

But this still begs the question. What foods are "deleterious"? You list dairy, but Kurt Harris describes whole cream as "diesel fuel," and also recently described himself eating Rice Krispies with half-and-half. So, he doesn't think dairy is "deleterious." Are all grains deleterious, or just gluten grains? Again, that's an open question.

1
3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

on May 26, 2011
at 06:48 PM

forget the pure low carb and check out westonaprice.org

0
Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on May 27, 2011
at 04:35 AM

A great thread. Some people getting hot under the collar but remaining civil. The "caveman" theme can be fun, but I resist letting it grab hold of me. I mostly follow Mark specifically because he uses what we know about paleo humans to make hypotheses about how we should live, without rigidly trying to copy. But I avoid calling myself "primal" or "paleo" or "archevore" or anything else.

0
6e4b38a97f74c32c4d12977acf7cba35

on May 27, 2011
at 12:09 AM

I love all this banter. Thomas you are seriously bored at work today, or you've failed Paleo because you just miss your old meals so you're calling it a fail, you've still not told us what "fail" means. Or maybe it's a fail because we can't truly be Paleo...I mean we aren't going hungry for days then hunting dear and rabbits and picking berries along the way, and we're not living in caves. We can eat pretty much whatever we want whenever we want, work out while we watch TV, listen to music and take calls. I think in some ways the "Myth" is cool, and a cool way to describe a style of eating/living/exercise, but in other ways it's totally silly. I was drawn to Paleo at the start of my 3rd trimester of pregnancy. I still have about 7 weeks to go, so I'm a total newbie. The draw of eating this way for me, was to feel better, have more energy, and get stronger. So far, so freakin' good I'm taking my family along with me! Ultimately though I like that eating a "Paleo" diet means that I am only eating natural foods. Nothing obscenely processed, chemical or highly marketed. I also love cooking again...I've been cooking non-stop since I began 5 weeks ago, and because I'm eating this way have the energy to do it and clean up afterwards (unheard of in my last pregnancy or the beginning of this one) I also like that that by eating this way I can give Monsanto the finger, because it seems nothing is stopping them from killing people with their chemicals and GMOs, and now I also have more incentive to work in my vegetable garden, and gather our berries. If the economy goes to hell, well I may have to learn to hunt as well. So call it a seductive myth if you will, I call it a plan for optimum, thriving, survival.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:44 AM

If you go back to the first comments under my post, I list why I consider it a fail FOR ME.

6e4b38a97f74c32c4d12977acf7cba35

(0)

on May 27, 2011
at 04:29 PM

hmmm. was rather vague and not defined, so I still feel you haven't answered. sorry it's a fail for you. we are all different bodies. still love the conversations your post brought up.

0
B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Thomas Seay, I agree with many of the things youve expressed on this board, we both rep the Bay Area, both recognize the benefits of medical marijuana, both love Chinese culture and attempting to learn Mandarin, and I believe you mentioned either that youre Buddhist or at lest practice Zen Meditation. I agree with you that science has it's myths and that is why Carl Sagan said that a true scientist challenges all truths and will drop any truth once better evidence has arisen. I felt the same way as you when I first began my Paleo journey but then realized I was allergic to eggs, the realized I had a nightshade allergy, then realized that even small amounts of soy in dark chocolate were bothering me. I am now on full autoimmune Paleo and I feel great. Perhaps this may be a route to explore? I also think that we are all unique in our macro nutrient ratios and Ive found that I need to focus mostly on protein and to make sure that a ton of vegetables are in my diet. This might be counter to some high fat/everything we need is in meat statements that we hear from some of the bloggers.

My question on this board about Paleo athletes made me realize that perhaps "Paleo" is not the right phrasing. It seems that the key to health is to recognize and cut out any food allergies, to balance blood sugar levels and to combat inflammation. Paleo framework is a good starting place as it focuses on foods that in theory we should not have allergies to, balances blood sugar and through omega3/6 ratio and more focuses on inflammation. However, I do agree that this can be tackled many ways and that humans are a adaptable species.

Edit: I just saw some of your issues youve had. I also lost a ton of strength initially but gained it back once I stopped IF. I dont think that IF is for everyone and especially not for those with other stressors in the their life. I also was reactive to stress in my life but now am better then ever now that I upped my protein to around 1.5 grams a day. Also bringing back copious amounts of vegetables helped with overall vitality (although I added liver powder at the same time so it could be either or/synergy).

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 27, 2011
at 12:30 PM

IF didn't serve me well for gaining strength either. it kept me slim but once i realized that my real goal, what i really wanted, was strength I really noticed that I did not perform as well under heavy iron fasted. Anecdote but I have yet to hear ANY power lifter or oly lifter who is working heavy ever ever ever say or recommend going under the bar fasted. I started having protein, carb, and a bit of fat in me and my poundages started creeping back up.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 10:08 PM

Geoff, glad that you've found what works for you. I never did IF. You are right about everything except the Buddhism part. Everything I know about religion, I learned on Acid (or mushrooms, or ayahuasca). Seriously.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 07:41 PM

Okay with all this said, let's say paleo isn't the BEST of the BEST and shouldn't be exact.

But there's no reason to ever eat things like grains(except white rice), legumes, fluoridated water, MSG, additives, pasteurized milk, genetically modified crops, high omega 6 or excessive fructose.

If you think about it, avoiding all those things is why people feel better after "going paleo". It's not so much the introduction of high fat, more meat that is doing all the fixing. It's the lack of poisons, the poisons many of us ate our whole lives without realizing. And some damage can take years to undo, sometimes you need to heal yourself with alternative methods.

Amanita Muscaria(a legal psychedelic to possess and buy) urine therapy and so forth have all been used to cure things that diet, medicines could not. I know of an old man from Austyin Texas named Don Teeter and is in his 70's that used amanita muscaria to cure his crippling arthritis that didn't let him walk. Now he walks. He claims the healing took place during the altered state of consciousness. He wrote a book called "Amanita Muscaria; Herb of Immortality". It's free to download on his site: http://www.ambrosiasociety.org/download.html

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:44 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's simply the only safe way to infest "raw" mushrooms. There have been shamans known to eat large doses of fresh amanitas and living with no ill effects however. This guy considers himself a modern day soma shaman: youtube.com/watch?v=NulcJReAHIU

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:42 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's simply the only safe way to infest "fresh" mushrooms. There have been shamans known to eat large doses of fresh amanitas and living with no ill effects however. This guy considers himself a modern day soma shaman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NulcJReAHIU

3c997ffae3db9464325b96979346d9e9

(1290)

on May 26, 2011
at 11:31 PM

What would life be without obsessions?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:22 PM

amanitas aren't toxic if prepared correctly, I've taken them many times. Ate 8 grams 2 days ago actually = ) If you pick them you must dry them, and then heat them to a certain temperature. This converts "ibotanic acid" into "muscimol". Muscimol is what gives you the high or mystical state. People who don't prepare them ingest ibotanic acid hence why they feel sick. I was very pleasent, peaceful and I woke up the next day with an awesome afterglow and sense of peace that lasted days. I believe amanitas have aided me also along with paleo diet and some urine therapy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:29 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's the only safe way to infest "fresh" mushrooms. Many christmas traditions are from the old use of amanitas. The christmas tree is nothing more than a place to hang amanitas(ornaments) to dry in the sun to covert the active chemical and make it safe. Santa is just a shaman(wears suberian shaman clothes) that went around with a bag of amanitas to root tops of snowed-in villagers. He would jump thru the chimney to get in the house give amanitas.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:25 PM

I purchase mine from a local place in Austin, I get them already dryed and heated properly. I've had pleasent as well as very intense trances on amanitas. Not to be taken lightly, work your dose up till you get used to moderate doses before trying high doses.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 08:57 PM

Thanks for the link to that book. So what animal does he drink the urine from? As you probably know, a lot of people get severe gastric problems even when they drink the Amanita tea (don't even talk about eating the mushrooms directly). So Siberian shamans would let reindeer eat it-doesn't hurt the reindeer, they just get stoned- and then drink their urine. This is why I always stick with Psilocybin mushrooms.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:44 PM

And you're correct you can drink urine of someone who ate amanitas and get effects, sometimes stronger. But this is not the only safe way to ingest. It's simply the only safe way to ingest "raw" amanita mushrooms. There have been shamans known to eat large doses of fresh amanitas and living with no ill effects however. This guy considers himself a modern day soma shaman: youtube.com/watch?v=NulcJReAHIU

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 27, 2011
at 03:48 AM

Haha, yea they would trample each other too to drink the yellow snow lol. I know a guy who developed parkinsons at a young age after years of taking prescription drugs to deal with health problems. Nothing has stopped the shaking in his hand, physical and mental pain like amanita muscaria. He drinks "ambrosia" everyday. But of course we aren't talking about shamanic doses, it can be used as a tonic at lower doses too. This is far better than any antidepressant, anti anxiety drug out there. And it's fairly cheap, thanks to mail amanita can be eaten or stored all year around.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 26, 2011
at 09:31 PM

reindeer could "fly" because they were eating amanita mushrooms and drinking the urine from snow that shamans left after they pee. Stockings over the fire is a tradition we still do today because shamans back then hung amanitas in stockings to dry them. So yea that's the story of santa clause. lol.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 27, 2011
at 02:40 AM

you know... i've heard that the reindeer were so enamored with mushroom urine that they were known to charge people who were urinating out of doors. just saying, you think they're adorable... but they're just out for one last fix.

0
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on May 26, 2011
at 06:19 PM

For me there is a myth, but it is about the pathways taken by the food I eat. The way they where produced and the reason why. It is about finding my personal niche in the food ecology around me. Choosing things that work for me.

0
1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

on May 26, 2011
at 06:00 PM

Before I began a paleo diet, I was in almost constant pain.

I am no longer in constant pain. My body functions.

If I am seduced it has been only by the most brilliant and fulfilling of lovers. I learned things along the way. It has not been a courtship without foibles.

But I don't hurt anymore.

I don't hurt anymore.

I don't hurt anymore.

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