8

votes

Live poor in the woods, or have well-paid job in civilization to afford clean food- which is more paleo?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 09, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Do you think it is more beneficial to try and live off of the land, off of the grid, without employment near a major civilization, such as in the country, or a very small village, as a farmer, or craftsmen, OR do you think it would be more beneficial to work in civilization in a job, where you could make enough money to live in a city and just shop at the farmer's market for non-GMO/grass-fed/organic foods? Which, do you think, would yield a healthier life, as laid out by the typical "paleo" guidelines, i.e., health, longevity, and happiness? I think both have their advantages/disadvantages.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on February 13, 2012
at 05:46 PM

I have lived in both situations. Oregon has a certain suckiness unless you like the dux. But from a rural distance Portland gives off more attractive vibes than sleepless congested Seattle.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:04 PM

Somewhat related, and maybe of special interest if you're thinking of having kids: "Many large-scale epidemiological studies have suggested that growing up on a farm is linked to a reduced likelihood of developing allergic disease. However, until now, it has not been possible to demonstrate direct cause and effect" http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120208132549.htm

Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:11 AM

Washington rocks, Oregon sucks. STAY. AWAY. FROM. OREGON. ;)

Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:10 AM

community was one of the best things about living rurally. I'm sure it's different in different areas, but where I was in Alaska, the community was close and there for each other.

Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:07 AM

I miss living in my remote cabin in Alaska. If I can make my current gig work, maybe I'll move back - this time with a wife and two young daughters!

Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:05 AM

My wife and I were just discussing this today. We're working our way towards more country living where we can grow and raise a lot of our own food. We're both not big fans of cities, either. Fun to visit, can't stand living in them!

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:11 AM

You are blowing your cover, Amerindian.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on February 09, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Hmm... I can't for the life of me remember this episode. It was from Golden Girls right?

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 09, 2012
at 05:41 AM

Impressive. We could learn from him.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 09, 2012
at 05:24 AM

one of the better questions I've seen on here.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:26 AM

True, Matt, good point.

E286e6ba6ef6c4c4a31a749e59aa57e1

(608)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:35 AM

Good question Lyndsay.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:29 AM

Yes, in a way. He is a Ranger and a Law Enforcement Officer which both have their pre-reqs. However, if you scan http://www.usajobs.gov/ you can find all sorts of jobs in this arena.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:16 AM

You'll never need a gym membership!

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:15 AM

I hear you! SAD (not the diet, the disorder) is real. I live in the rainshadow of the Olympic Mts....we get lots more sunny days than Seattle. But still, winter happens, and some years are worse than others. I think lots of people get depressed because they stay inside too much. Some of my best beachwalks are on grey days. If you are really depressed by grey skies, take the PNW off your list. I will say, though, that a sunny day up here makes you feel like you are in Eden. Can't beat it! I grew up in sunny Southern Ca. and I would never go back!

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:05 AM

"There are a host of health benefits to being in a wild place that you will never see listed on a nutrition label." Indeed.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:03 AM

An interesting side note on this story: my grandma is actually one of the only recorded Canadians to have had their feet bound actually in Canada. She is 1/2 Chinese, 1/2 Irish, and her Chinese father bound all his daughters (8/12 kids) feet. He did such a poor job of it, that their feet basically healed after initially being broken. So, she walked about 2 hours per day with at least 1 baby tied on her (on average), with deformed feet, sized 2 (left foot) and size 5 (right foot). It just kind of shows, you do what you have to do! People underestimate themselves and others for the most part.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:01 AM

Yeah, my grandma still has never owned land in her life, but it is definitely something she fixates on. She always tells me that, as soon as I can, I have to buy a lot to put a house on someday! She spends most of the year fishing with her new husband, who still hunts most of their meat. She is proud of the resourcefulness their family had, but she kind of shrugs it off as "one of those things" that you just have to do for your kids. Pretty remarkable though!

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:46 AM

Sounds awesome! Did your husband get a degree, in order to qualify for his job? If so, what degree did he get?

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:32 AM

This is very much how my grandfather and his mother grew up, as a child, during the great-depression. He said that they were desperate, but, as his grandmother was a Native-American, who had grown up living from the land, they had never starved. He was proud that he had worked his way, eventually, through blue-collar jobs, an air-force position, to save money and become upper-middle-class. He says used to say that he would never return to the agricultural/horse-trading way of life. Now, he's worried about my future in civilization, and wishes he had land to leave me.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:24 AM

Lol, I guess that's true! I like steamy, though! I've never been afraid of tornadoes or hail. Winter is just very depressing, though.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Don't count your tomatoes before they ripen...the PNW summer is short compared to the Midwest, and you don't get those hot steamy nights. But you don't get tornadoes, giant hail and 100 degree 100% humidity days either.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:11 AM

We would both love to live in the Pacific Northwest, as we have a great many friends up there, in Oregon and Washington State. One of the only potential problems that I forsee is that I have seasonal affective disorder whee we live now, in Missouri, and I hear from my friends that it is generally even more grey up there. If we lived in Portladia, the 1990s where the 1990s are still alive (look up the show, folks, :), we could still have public transport to our jobs and raise clean, happy-time food nearby. Is it real? Or are my friends just pulling my chain?

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:40 AM

Good points, Rose. I know it does cost a lot of money for farmers of any kind to develop the land and feed the crops/livestock. It would certainly require an initial investment and some sort of cooperative environment to sustain that lifestyle.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:28 AM

That would be ideal! Property taxes, bleh.

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14 Answers

9
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:43 AM

Or... you could find a job with the National Park Service, like my husband, and live in some very remote areas whilst being duly employed. That being said, I really love the more remote places we have lived. Having to pack groceries in on cross country skis, living in the middle of the desert with the nearest community 4 hours drive away, being able to climb a 14K foot mountain just miles from your front door - I love these places!

Living in an urban area that has access to grassfed offal and pastured chicken feet is nice and all, but eff these urban hipsters making dog soup/marrow bones so $$$ these days. Go wilderness. There are a host of health benefits to being in a wild place that you will never see listed on a nutrition label.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:29 AM

Yes, in a way. He is a Ranger and a Law Enforcement Officer which both have their pre-reqs. However, if you scan http://www.usajobs.gov/ you can find all sorts of jobs in this arena.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on February 09, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Hmm... I can't for the life of me remember this episode. It was from Golden Girls right?

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 06:11 AM

You are blowing your cover, Amerindian.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:46 AM

Sounds awesome! Did your husband get a degree, in order to qualify for his job? If so, what degree did he get?

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:05 AM

"There are a host of health benefits to being in a wild place that you will never see listed on a nutrition label." Indeed.

Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:07 AM

I miss living in my remote cabin in Alaska. If I can make my current gig work, maybe I'll move back - this time with a wife and two young daughters!

5
1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I have lived in both situations. Grew up in suburbs, lived in the heart of Chicago, and now live rurally in the Pacific Northwest. We are lucky to have lots of like-minded folks out here. There are lots of social opportunities, things for the kids to do, etc. I love that I can eat beef that I used to watch graze on my dogwalks. I can also get pork and chicken from neighbors. We can obtain salmon, oysters, and clams easier than we can eat at McDonalds. I feel pretty paleo walking through the dewy grass in the morning to check on my berry bushes and kale babies and when we build fires in the backyard to cook on! I have never once missed the city, but that's me. I have always needed to be close to nature to feel comfortable in my skin. I'd rather have to go to the city to enjoy museums, shopping, theater, etc., than have to go to the country to get sane!

That said, I question whether living rurally or in a city is more eco-friendly. I have heard city living is. You have a much smaller footprint in a city (not suburbs); you can get around without a car, live in an apartment, and shop near your house. Everything is concentrated in a smaller area.

There's my 2 cents. Not sure what the right way is, but good luck with your choice!

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:24 AM

Lol, I guess that's true! I like steamy, though! I've never been afraid of tornadoes or hail. Winter is just very depressing, though.

Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:11 AM

Washington rocks, Oregon sucks. STAY. AWAY. FROM. OREGON. ;)

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:11 AM

We would both love to live in the Pacific Northwest, as we have a great many friends up there, in Oregon and Washington State. One of the only potential problems that I forsee is that I have seasonal affective disorder whee we live now, in Missouri, and I hear from my friends that it is generally even more grey up there. If we lived in Portladia, the 1990s where the 1990s are still alive (look up the show, folks, :), we could still have public transport to our jobs and raise clean, happy-time food nearby. Is it real? Or are my friends just pulling my chain?

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:15 AM

I hear you! SAD (not the diet, the disorder) is real. I live in the rainshadow of the Olympic Mts....we get lots more sunny days than Seattle. But still, winter happens, and some years are worse than others. I think lots of people get depressed because they stay inside too much. Some of my best beachwalks are on grey days. If you are really depressed by grey skies, take the PNW off your list. I will say, though, that a sunny day up here makes you feel like you are in Eden. Can't beat it! I grew up in sunny Southern Ca. and I would never go back!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:17 AM

Don't count your tomatoes before they ripen...the PNW summer is short compared to the Midwest, and you don't get those hot steamy nights. But you don't get tornadoes, giant hail and 100 degree 100% humidity days either.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on February 13, 2012
at 05:46 PM

I have lived in both situations. Oregon has a certain suckiness unless you like the dux. But from a rural distance Portland gives off more attractive vibes than sleepless congested Seattle.

5
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:27 AM

There doesn't seem to be any clear indication of whether rural dwellers outlive urban denizens (I thought I'd read they did, but a cursory sort through Google Scholar turns up only uncertainty.) That said, my own choice is to be urban, mostly because of the people connections I'm able to make in a city. Many of the back-to-the-lander types I've known have been wary of their rural, traditional-values, church-going neighbors, and have led somewhat isolated, lonely lives. I would probably fall into that camp myself (although somewhat less so as I grow older). This kind of social isolation seems very un-Paleo to me, despite the superficial appeal of living "close to nature."

However, if a person can integrate well into the surrounding community, I think ultimately a rural lifestyle might be a better option: More time spent outdoors, more fresh air, fewer contacts with pathogens (except through animals, maybe), etc.

As to the food part of your question, I'm not sure a country person would eat less well, even on less money. Raising livestock and hunting game are prominent features of the country lifestyle, and if someone were willing to do those things, I think they'd eat just as well as a Trader Joe's shopper.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:40 AM

Good points, Rose. I know it does cost a lot of money for farmers of any kind to develop the land and feed the crops/livestock. It would certainly require an initial investment and some sort of cooperative environment to sustain that lifestyle.

Bdede2dbc411f2533a7e6f13674ade51

(804)

on February 09, 2012
at 10:10 AM

community was one of the best things about living rurally. I'm sure it's different in different areas, but where I was in Alaska, the community was close and there for each other.

4
Medium avatar

(10611)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:11 AM

I'm in the middle of working on this concept. Over 4 generations our family farm has gone from a working butcher's pasture to an unsuccessful orchard to a brushpatch. I enjoy gardening/farming an acre and smoking meat there, but there's little chance I'll get the rest of it back into a working farm. The paleo part is the hand labor and the smoker. So long as the taxes and insurance don't get out of hand I'll keep doing it.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e

(1002)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:16 AM

You'll never need a gym membership!

3
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 09, 2012
at 05:23 AM

I'm very thankful that in my 22 years I have seen both. My parents live on a farm, increasingly off-grid with each season (they basically revitalized the orchard and gardens, got chickens, etc. The place had been dilapidated.) Currently I live in Manhattan. I'm happy that my local grocer across the street has grass-fed meat, but it's not my long-term choice.

That said, before going more rural, I'm glad to be in a city. I've learned a lot about saving money. I cook all of my own meals (cooking only on cast iron, I might add). I've come to believe that if you can barefoot in Manhattan in winter through roadside construction you can barefoot anywhere. I've learned that food is over-packaged and under-appreciated. I've come to value a dark, quiet place to sleep. And so on. For me the city isn't about what it materially offers for paleo living, but the lessons of city life that would make rural paleo living all the more beautiful of an experience.

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:15 AM

The paleo-est thing to do (for oneself) is to work in a job that you enjoy everyday and causes you no negative stress. If that's writing code, working in a research laboratory, in a manufacturing factory, etc... so be it. A (negative) stress-free life is the most paleo!

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:26 AM

True, Matt, good point.

3
306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on February 09, 2012
at 04:13 AM

We live in a rural area. I have a job that is in demand pretty much everywhere, and work outside the home. I earn less than I would in nearby cities in the same job, but with the lower cost of living, it's quite acceptable. My husband works from home as time allows. We have a few acres, goats, chickens, and a garden that provide a portion of our food, and the rest is very manageable on my salary. We're working towards off-the-grid and growing a larger portion of our food ourselves. In other words, it doesn't have to be either/or - there's a wide range in between urban and off-the-grid backwoods.

3
34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on February 09, 2012
at 04:08 AM

Do what you feel best suits your situation. I had always lived in small rural towns, like really small and very remote. Always thought I couldn't wait to move to the "big city" but when I actually did it only made me appreciate what the rural life has to offer.

When I first moved to where I am now I couldn't find a job in my field. After sampling a few different professions I've settled on fisheries biologist. I'm still a couple of years from finishing my degree but I've been working in the field for a few years. Even without a degree my technician position was more than enough cover a mortgage, car payments, insurance, amenities like high-speed internet and the opportunity for travelling. When I lived in a pretty expensive urban area my share of the rent was more than my current mortgage and home owner's insurance payment.

I've had to rent a room near school for a few months at a time recently and living in an urban environment is just draining for me personally. Getting out on the local hiking trails and parks is necessary for maintaining my sanity. On more than on occasion I drove for several hours to escape the city feel a connection to nature, however brief it might be. Once school is done then I plan on buying a place with more land and becoming more self-reliant regarding my food.

???I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one???s neighbor ??? such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children perhaps. ??? What more can the heart of a man desire???? ??? Leo Tolstoy, Family Happiness and Other Stories

3
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 09, 2012
at 03:05 AM

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 09, 2012
at 05:41 AM

Impressive. We could learn from him.

3
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:59 AM

Living poor doesn't always have to mean eating poor, even though that's often what we equate in an urban setting. My grandmother was a single mum with 7 kids to feed and was unemployed with very little government help. She squatted in abandoned homes (main reason why my mum had 3 house fires while growing up, poor structures) and hunted/gathered food for them. She gathered oysters and mussels off the beach when it wasn't red tide, shot rabbits and pheasants, fished for trout, shot crows and other birds, and even hunted deer. My mom remembers waking up to deer hanging over a branch in the backyard- an amazing feat of endurance and strength for my grandma to bring back to their home with no car, on foot, usually with a baby strapped on somewhere. Side note: my grandma is just shy of five feet and about 95 pounds. They collected berries like crazy, ate sea asparagus, grew vegetables, and were paid in eggs and milk for completing little tasks on a nearby farm. When times were really tough, they would get blackstrap molasses for free from the salvation army and mix it up with rice for the kids. It is not an ideal environment for children (like many kids that grew up feeling hunger, my mom gets very, very upset about food waste and is often preoccupied thinking about food), but it was also shows how we are surrounded by food. If they simply had a modest outcome, my mom could have enjoyed absolutely wonderful food year round.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:03 AM

An interesting side note on this story: my grandma is actually one of the only recorded Canadians to have had their feet bound actually in Canada. She is 1/2 Chinese, 1/2 Irish, and her Chinese father bound all his daughters (8/12 kids) feet. He did such a poor job of it, that their feet basically healed after initially being broken. So, she walked about 2 hours per day with at least 1 baby tied on her (on average), with deformed feet, sized 2 (left foot) and size 5 (right foot). It just kind of shows, you do what you have to do! People underestimate themselves and others for the most part.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:32 AM

This is very much how my grandfather and his mother grew up, as a child, during the great-depression. He said that they were desperate, but, as his grandmother was a Native-American, who had grown up living from the land, they had never starved. He was proud that he had worked his way, eventually, through blue-collar jobs, an air-force position, to save money and become upper-middle-class. He says used to say that he would never return to the agricultural/horse-trading way of life. Now, he's worried about my future in civilization, and wishes he had land to leave me.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 09, 2012
at 02:01 AM

Yeah, my grandma still has never owned land in her life, but it is definitely something she fixates on. She always tells me that, as soon as I can, I have to buy a lot to put a house on someday! She spends most of the year fishing with her new husband, who still hunts most of their meat. She is proud of the resourcefulness their family had, but she kind of shrugs it off as "one of those things" that you just have to do for your kids. Pretty remarkable though!

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:27 AM

A mix of both might be ideal- live relatively off the grid earning money from home online. You would be in a more tranquil stress-free environment, skip commuting, have the ability to grow/eat healthful food you grew yourself. The money you earned would be used for necessities that you couldn't make yourself and travel for pleasure. Oh- and for nasty things like property taxes.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on February 09, 2012
at 12:28 AM

That would be ideal! Property taxes, bleh.

2
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:30 AM

It's really up to the individual.

Personally, since I would like to see my son through college, I go for the money.

If my son were grown, I would live as close to "off the grid" as possible, with my only amenities being a phone and internet. If I had the ability to build my own home, I would do my best to engineer the greenest home I could build and save money on utilities, as well as raise enough livestock and produce to sustain myself and my wife (it's surprising how little effort goes into 1-2 cows, 15 chickens, and a 1-acre farm, with the exception of plowing/slaughtering - all day chores, it takes all of 2-3 hours a day of feed and care). I wouldn't be so remote that I couldn't get high-speed internet, postal service, or deliveries... but I would prefer it to not have a neighbor for at least a mile.

I live on the outskirts of a relatively big city (by my own rural standards), but I work from home 2-3 days/week, ride a bike to the local grocer, and prepare all my own meals. I've struck somewhat of a balance, at least that's what I personally think.

I grew up eating vegetables I grew, eggs I collected, and beef that I raised. I do carry some regret that my son doesn't get those things - I take him to my co-op ranch so he can see the animals and knows where his food comes from, but that's about it.

1
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on February 13, 2012
at 04:37 PM

I had originally planned a more rural life, once I got ready to relocate from the major urban center that I'm living in now -- however, this year caused me to change my mind.

I have health issues that are not diet related (related to a genetic anomaly). The exacerbation from this has slowed with the ancestrally-minded diet that we eat, but is still progressing. I decided this year that it will probably be easier for me to get healthy food and maintain healthy community as I age and my physical condition progresses if I stay within the urban structure. I know that our carbon footprint will diminish, and with the use of raised bed gardens and 3-4 season gardening, I'll have a much better chance of being able to maintain my health than if I were out in a rural environment where transportation would become an issue as my mobility diminishes.

It is possible to live quite economically in an urban environment, simply by choosing to live at the "needs and small wants" level, rather than requiring the 'living larger than life' model that so many prefer -- a small 2-3 br/1ba cottage in an older neighborhood, close to public transportation should enable us to focus on health -- and I truly enjoyed helping our neighbors in our old neighborhood to develop a community garden, so I think I'm looking forward to helping our urban centers become more food independent as well.

0
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 09, 2012
at 01:13 AM

I like my toys. So well paying urban. At least at this time.

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