3

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What exactly defines the paleo lifestyle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 04, 2011 at 6:37 PM

It seems like a bit of a moving target. Anybody who does anything that nobody did 40,000 years ago simply proclaims that this isn't supposed to be a re-enactment and then moves on. Sounds somewhat like a Fully Generalizable Counter-argument, eh?

If our illustrious hunter-gatherer ancestors partook, it's paleo AWESOME. If those uncivilized bastards didn't though, who the hell cares? This isn't some sort of deranged re-enactment, after all. We all live in the modern world. C'mon bro, take it easy.

A caricature in many ways of course, but whatever. I'd like to propose a good working definition, but first some quick background. For this purpose, I like to divide the entirety of history into just 3 eras:

  1. paleolithic
  2. neolithic
  3. modern

For the 1st, imagine a group of hunter-gatherers persistence hunting an antelope while others gather root vegetables. For the 2nd, imagine a family sitting at the dinner table a few centuries ago eating rice and whatever, most likely all grown, raised, or caught nearby. And the 3rd, visualize some fat dude eating at McDonalds or some 12 year old kid gorging on a box of oatmeal cream pies.

Everybody who's ever thought about their lifestyle or anything will admit that we're extremely maladapted to the modern world. Many things taste great but are terrible for us. It's hard to get to sleep on time with artificial lights and a computer messing with your sleep system. We're insensible to many modern gases that are harmful or fatal. Our body expects hard exercise in exchange for food, but that's not the case anymore. Etc.

Once we started changing our environment, our biology started dragging behind. Nowadays it's extremely far behind and this causes a MONUMENTAL amount of suffering on this planet. This ranges from amusing yet frustrating phenomenon such as night guy vs. morning guy to stuff that's impossible to laugh at without being a genuine psychopath.

Consider the difference in control over our environment between the neolithic and modern era. Absolutely crazy massive of course. Artificially selecting plants and animals pales in comparison to engineering food in a modern factory. Also consider the difference in how much time our biology had to catch up: 10,000+ years for agriculture vs. 100+ years in the case of modern "food".

Imagine a cow breeder 200 years ago vs. "one" nowadays. The difference in scale and therefore generation density, is absolutely insane. Visualize a house or town 300 years ago and then imagine a modern factory in a big city in a 1st world country.

This is all obvious stuff. The difference in environment manipulation between the 2 eras and the contrast between how long our biology had to catch up combined, it's enormous. That's why I make a three-way distinction rather than one just including before we started changing our environment vs. after.

So anyway, I simply define "paleo" as being an attempt to return to the first paradigm. There's no need to bend the word to also encompass eating dairy or something. That's just ridiculous and would end up making the entire thing meaningless. If you want to use a computer, eat dairy, and drive, then you're simply making a few compromises on the paleo front, hopefully for good reason.

So what say you? Do you agree with me, or do you have a better definition?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 05, 2011
at 04:59 PM

I agree that it's an attempt, but the result is an amalgam of paleo and modern which is a new classification different from either. The modern conveniences need to be sugmented with inconvenient physical activity to more closely approximate the paleo milieu.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on August 05, 2011
at 02:47 PM

But that's why I said an ATTEMPT to return to the 1st paradigm. Even an attempt to return to NEOLITHIC would come up short for many reasons.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:39 AM

Simply because some people live a long life and eat junk does not mean that 1. The vast majority of people can't drastically extend their lives through a better diet, and avoid all sorts of maladies that are undeniably caused by poor diet and lifestyle. and 2. That those living long lives and eating junk would not have lived even longer and been even more vital if they had adopted a healthy lifestyle. Saying that genetics is more important and referencing genetic outlier as evidence and then trying to extrapolate that to the rest of the population makes no sense.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:36 AM

And because some people (a very very small percentage of any give population) live long lives despite eating junk that doesn't mean 1. That most people can't drastically extend their lives by eating well and having a good lifestyle. and 2. That the people who lived a long time eating junk wouldn't have lived even longer and been healthier if they hadn't.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:33 AM

A distinction needs to be made between some people living to 100 (which they cherry-picked, by the way) and the vast majority of people avoiding diseases and having optimal health throughout all of their life. Those wishing to say that whether you get cancer or heart disease or not is all genetics are mad.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:22 AM

According to the below study, genetics has more to do with it than anything. I'm not saying don't eat well, diet is one piece of a very complicated puzzle. http://newsfeedresearcher.com/data/articles_m32/study-longevity-lifestyles.html

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2 Answers

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:45 PM

I agree for the most part. I'd add "modern paleo" as a fourth classification:

One who does not eat wheat products or refined sugar, but eats a lot of meat.

This is not the first classification, because the meat has to be carefully selected at Whole Foods or better, transported by mechanical means stored in a refrigerator, cooked on a stove and eaten at a table in a suburban or urban setting. Then the diet is deconstructed on a blog.

I also like that you get the paleo connection between work and eating. Most modern paleos have their head in the sand on this topic. They know the literature, but there's no paleo practicum.

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on August 05, 2011
at 02:47 PM

But that's why I said an ATTEMPT to return to the 1st paradigm. Even an attempt to return to NEOLITHIC would come up short for many reasons.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 05, 2011
at 04:59 PM

I agree that it's an attempt, but the result is an amalgam of paleo and modern which is a new classification different from either. The modern conveniences need to be sugmented with inconvenient physical activity to more closely approximate the paleo milieu.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:12 AM

A change in how you excersice, and realizing that spending time and effort on food will outweigh the costs of being sick.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:22 AM

According to the below study, genetics has more to do with it than anything. I'm not saying don't eat well, diet is one piece of a very complicated puzzle. http://newsfeedresearcher.com/data/articles_m32/study-longevity-lifestyles.html

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:33 AM

A distinction needs to be made between some people living to 100 (which they cherry-picked, by the way) and the vast majority of people avoiding diseases and having optimal health throughout all of their life. Those wishing to say that whether you get cancer or heart disease or not is all genetics are mad.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:39 AM

Simply because some people live a long life and eat junk does not mean that 1. The vast majority of people can't drastically extend their lives through a better diet, and avoid all sorts of maladies that are undeniably caused by poor diet and lifestyle. and 2. That those living long lives and eating junk would not have lived even longer and been even more vital if they had adopted a healthy lifestyle. Saying that genetics is more important and referencing genetic outlier as evidence and then trying to extrapolate that to the rest of the population makes no sense.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 05, 2011
at 01:36 AM

And because some people (a very very small percentage of any give population) live long lives despite eating junk that doesn't mean 1. That most people can't drastically extend their lives by eating well and having a good lifestyle. and 2. That the people who lived a long time eating junk wouldn't have lived even longer and been healthier if they hadn't.

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