I know. It seems a little wishy-washy to post about an affection of something I just broke up with last month. But I’d like to make a distinction between various meanings of “Paleo.” In some people’s minds, it is a strict set of foods that can or cannot be eaten, depending on your interest in obtaining and maintaining possession of the holy Paleo Card. This is how I first became aware of the newly publicized movement, more specifically through a multi-million view adorned sugar-bashing video by Dr. Robert Lustig (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM) that was posted on an OSU Army ROTC Facebook group page by a then MSIV, CDT Shell. If I remember correctly, the video led me to Lorain Cordain’s Paleo Diet for Athletes (http://www.amazon.com/The-Paleo-Diet-Athletes-Nutritional/dp/160961917X).
Alas, as with every living, breathing entity, the Paleo diet evolved. Transforming into the Paleo lifestyle movement, it now attempts to encompass all components of life that affect a human’s health and happiness. There are many different formats that attempt to map out all of the areas of focus, such as Paleo Treats’ Nik Hawks’ 7 Pillars of Paleo (http://www.paleotreats.com/pages/7-pillars-of-paleo), which demonstrates the importance of nutrition, sleep, exercise, water, community, mental health, and sunlight. While I would argue that other necessities in the list are nature, spirituality, joy, movement, and stress management, I think it is important to keep a wide view of holistic health, taking into account evolutionary precedence and scientific understanding of what each of these pillars manifest themselves as in society today.
It is all too easy to get pulled into placing all efforts into improvement and optimization of only a single element of health. I explored this trap for years, placing all of my efforts into discovering and practicing a “perfect” diet. This came, of course, at the expense of social health, sleep, and mental health as I would sometimes abstain from social gatherings or remain awake long into the night stressing over and researching the minute details of each and every morsel of food I may come into contact with and its physiological effects. With the realization that there must be a balance of effort placed on each aspect of wellness, I happily embrace the Paleo lifestyle’s intent to improve a person’s happiness through making the best decisions in all areas of health.
Are the 7-12 pillars listed above suitable to maintain the structure of your house of health?
If not, what model is most practical for your life?