In his most recent post, Frank Forencich writes about his experience at the Ancestral Health Symposium, and mourns the loss of holistic perspective in the AHS and in our culture in general.
Frank’s post is fantastic. If you’ haven’t read it, you should:
It also is a reflection of the exact thing I was talking about in a recent post: Perspective – What Are You Missing?
In his post Frank says the AHS has (like the rest of our society) become too “white” – refined, clean, abstracted. (If not, for me, also…too Caucasian…).
We get a feel for the state of the movement by noticing what we don’t see at AHS or on the typical Paleo blogs. For example, we don’t see native peoples or hear their perspective. We don’t hear much conversation about the body-habitat relationship. There’s not much talk about the hunting and gathering experience or about animal behavior. We don’t hear about sensation or the role of the nervous system. No one talks about bioregionalism, one of the most powerful concepts in the Paleo experience. Few people talk about our spiritual connection with the land or one another. Rarely do we see poetry, art, dance, dirt, sweat, emotion or blood.
Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s convergence in our thoughts. My post on perspective came after a conversation with Frank about his experience at AHS. We both probably were writing our respective pieces at the exact same time.
I’ve written my own thoughts on diet and the “Paleo” fad on this blog on several occasions (here’s one…here’s another). In short, I see it as yet another mindless-follower activity…the type of least-common-denominator herd-mentality clique behavior our culture has come to depend on (and excel at?).
Simply: the ideal diet is bioregion-specific. Procure and eat foods from within a 100 (or 200, if you must) mile radius of yourself. Foods that aren’t processed (“white”) or petro-chemical-based (factory-farmed, sprayed, etc.). Then you’re eating in synch with your environment, and probably relying on significantly fewer fossil fuels in the process. If you’re truly “paleo,” you’re also growing and/or catching/killing some (most) of that food yourself.
I know, I know…this isn’t the popular way. It’s not the “mode.” It isn’t the Zeitgeist. The Zeitgeist is the five-day email argument I had with some desk-jockey in NYC about the “paleo”-ness of his “paleo” diet which relied on frozen venison imported from some random farms and “free range” eggs bought at Whole Foods (probably along with some “paleo” strawberries grown in Brazil).
I’ve also written about the Blue Zones on this blog before (search for more entries on that topic). The “Blue Zones” are areas around the world where people live to be 100 or older. Of course, “researchers” “studied” these peoples and wrote articles and a book about them, and made recommendations like “eat more beans,” trying to create “reps-and-sets” protocols to follow so you, too, can live to be 100 (for why?).
But, again, the real facts are much simpler.
These peoples live bioregionally specific lives. They live in supportive communities that have regular rituals and gatherings. They walk and do physical movement a lot. They eat a bioregion-specific diet (that many of them or their communities take direct part in growing/harvesting).
I know hierarchical thinking is attractive…but it is the Dark Side of human thought. It will suck you in and corrupt your spirit, and turn you against the Light.