I see people talking about paleo reenactment on here. What to you is reenactment? Do you mean these folks? I guess you'd call it the re-wilding movement.
or do you mean the anti-civilization writers like John Zerzan, Derrik Jensen,Chellis Glendinning, and Leirre Keith
or is it just other paleo dieters that are taking it to far by not using soap, walking barefoot, or eating some raw meat?
What is the line that is crossed that seems to annoy people about it? Most people I have met that I would consider stone age re-enactors have nothing to do with the paleo diet movement and generally aren't even in contact with much of society at all. So I can't see how annoying they could really be.
It may help to know that my involvement with the paleo diet movement has been entirely online and mostly this website. So maybe I am unaware of some group of re-enactors.
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on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM
The idea that if Grok did it or ate it - it's paleo, and if he didn't - it's not. That's re-enactment. Basing what is or isn't paleo on what people ate or did 20,000 years ago. Which is, of course, the "correct" definition and what the media likes to poke fun at.
Re-enactment says that honey is good, butter and cream bad. For me the opposite is true. I prefer to use the evolutionary concept as a heuristic that informs the science, but doesn't overturn it.
on May 02, 2011
at 11:13 PM
The stupidest paleo reenactments tend to be less stupid than passively rotting away in front of a television or being really into your automobile.
on May 02, 2011
at 10:41 PM
When you don't agree with something that's paleo, you can safely brand the perpetrator "PALEO REENACTMENT!". If the reasoning for this paleo action is dubious, you can comment "Come on guys, really??" and others will chime in with their agreement.
I jest. But really, there isn't much that's too paleo. Nothing wrong with hanging out in the woods, naked, dancing around a fire. It just sounds crazy because we live in prim and proper concrete jungles.
on May 03, 2011
at 03:36 PM
I see two different impulses behind the critique of paleo reenactment.
One is the one behind the critiques by Kurt Harris and others- that the paleolithic was a long period of time in which people lived in very different ways in very different places, so it is impossible to establish one "paleo" diet/lifestyle. Add to that that there are so many ways in which our present life is different from our ancestors, and the need for scientific evidence.
The second is that, well, a lot of people are just acting weird and extreme, and that this puts people off and scares people away from paleo. Think eating raw steaks, removing someone from your list of sites for eating potatoes, etc.
Both of these lines of argument have some validity, as well as some problems. My problem with the first one is that there is a lot that science has not found out, and I do think there is a role for self-experimentation and diversifying your portfolio, as it were. Plus experts disagree- even the paleo experts!
To the second, I say: weird people are fine, and we shouldn't pressure people to be more "normal". But I think we should all be maximally inclusive, and therefor I think things like taking someone off your site index for eating potatoes is both silly and counterproductive.
I think the keys here are intellectual honesty and tolerance. Go ahead and run naked in the woods, or go barefoot all the time, or refuse to touch rice under any circumstances- just realize that these things are probably not necessary for good health, and that evidence matters, and that, while valuable, how it makes you feel is too subject to bias to be even close to proof of anything. A logical extension of this is to be open minded- especially of the possibility that you are wrong. The absence of this ability causes a lot of folks to suffer unnecessarily, because they won't up destructive habits.
And don't look down on someone who eats rice, or who likes jogging, or even a raw vegan.
I think following this advice would allow the flourishing of all kinds of lifestyles, while still allowing people to maintain their integrity, and allowing for scientific progress. And it would make paleo more attractive to more people. Plus we'd be happier.
I should say that I think a lot of people in the movement are doing all of these things.
on May 03, 2011
at 12:39 AM
Something is reenactment if you do it just because paleofolk did it. Maybe people reenact just for fun (like the renaissance folk), which is cool once in awhile, but I don't do anything unless it works and makes sense. The word 'paleo' is only a metaphor. The diet, minimalist shoes, and lots of sleep work for me.
on May 03, 2011
at 07:31 PM
I think we have come so far away from our natural instincts and intuition that sometimes it is healthy to have a go at something we consider might be re-enactment (we won't ever know if it is or not) just to discover what it might feel like. In many ways "What would Grok do?" is a bit silly but in others if it makes us pause and think about whether we are doing something for a good healthy reason or just because of CW then it is worth a go. Child-rearing would be the big one for me here. So much of what we do with babies and young children is just not natural - if we put a baby in another space away from us to sleep 'in the wild' it would die. So thinking about the way we evolved to look after our young as animals was very helpful to me when my children were small. They slept with me as babies and were constantly carried until they could crawl. I also had a thing about letting them experiment - not telling them to come away from fire or not pick up a knife or play near a pond or climb up something - my instinct was that if I trusted their instincts they'd be safe in those situations. Obviously there were other situations I was pretty sure they wouldn't have instincts to handle - mainly things like roads. So I think the whole idea of re-enactment is useful as something to ponder - rather than as Carl_Stawicki said "just because paleofolk did it".
on May 03, 2011
at 12:59 AM
I think this is a great question. I was wondering what Robb Wolf was snickering about on the Nightline episode that featured him and Art Devany. Anyway, I used to hang out a bit with Robin Blankenship and her former husband, Bart Blankenship. She now owns Earthknack (earthknack.com). It's a company that teaches primitive living skills. They had their business in Boulder, CO before condominiums swallowed up the land they were living on. She's in Crestone, CO now. She's really providing a great service - and, yes - I suspect she's part of a lot of the reenactment stuff; but she does it in a very educational manner.
I'll tell you what - I had taken physical anthropology (etc) classes at UC Boulder in the early 90s and I even had the seminal book entitled "The Paleolithic Prescription" in my bookcase. With the whole primitive living thing and all that I was learning - did I get on the Paleo bandwagon then? Oh no - was swayed to give Vegetarianism a try (again). Man! I wish I had opened that book up for more than one chapter. I vaguely remember reading a little of it - but, I didn't get the message. I literally was DANCING around this amazingly healthy lifestyle and never realized it!
But! Alas - it was pre-internet days... and there weren't enough people around talking about it to sway my thinking. So - I'm here now! 'Let 'em all do whatever they want. Hey, I am ALWAYS down for dancing around a campfire with awesome drumming... what can I say? It always embarrassed my boys - but I am from Boulder for crying-out-loud - it had to rub off on me in some ways! (Truth be told - I look to square to really be big with any alternative group :-).
on May 04, 2011
at 12:00 AM
LOL, WHAT'S RE-ENACTMENT?
Good question. This is what it is: Whenever somebody who likes calling themselves "paleo" doesn't want to do something "paleo", they defend themselves by saying that they're not trying to do a re-enactment.
Here's an example conversation:
A: I don't eat grains. They weren't available to the paleolithic people and clearly 10,000 years isn't enough time to adapt to eating them. We're not designed to eat it.
B: What about butter?
A: Oh yeah, butter's great, bro!
B: But it wasn't available to the paleolithic people, right?
A: I'm not trying to do a re-enactment, dumbass. Try to live a little. Don't become a food snob.
Yeah, that's about it. We're supposed to be "paleo", but whenever we do something unnatural, the idea is that we're not trying to do a re-enactment. I mean, we gotta live a little, right? No sense becoming an orthorexic food nazi!
In short, it's just a dumb rationalization. People put so much stake in the idea that we're not well-adapted to eating neolithic or modern food, so we should avoid it. Yet they throw away the whole reasoning and just go on to cite some medical article whenever they feel like eating something that's clearly modern or neolithic.
I mean, why should anybody even bother to say that 10,000 years wasn't long enough to adapt to grain when they're just gonna turn around and cite some study to rationalize why they eat butter? No point at all!