Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PALEO LIFESTYLE: The Key To Overall Wellness (Part 3 of the "Paleo Series")

"Now I See The Secret Of The Making Of The Best Persons. It Is To Grow In The Open Air, And To Eat And Sleep With The Earth." ~Walt Whitman

Stopping to do a 'lil yoga in the "Sisters Wilderness," with "South Sister" in the background (Aug. 2011)

Exploring the concept of "Paleo" is a new one. Why explore what "Paleo" means in our modern day? Because really its a call. A call to remember ancient ways that have been long forgotten. A call to remember our connection to the Earth & what sustains us. "Paleo" is much more than the food we eat, or the way we exercise. It is how we choose to walk on our planet.

In the last blog post of the "Paleo Series," I'll share with you some tips on how to "round out" the term "Paleo," so that it becomes a lifestyle for you, versus simply a diet. A diet anyone can follow. Yet, the way we obtain the food we eat for "The Paleo Diet" is just as important.

We have often heard that "organic" food is good for us. I think a better question to explore is what does participating in consuming organic food mean for the whole? How is choosing to vote with our dollars impacting something beyond our dinner plate?

"An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away" (Me at "Cycle OR.", 2009)

"Organic" has become a household term. How many people really know what this means, or what the process is for a farm to go from "conventional" to "organic" standards?

Beautiful organic produce from a local farm, "Bend Farmers Market"

A great way to find out is to speak with your local farmers. This is easy to do at a farmer's market. The farmers are only too delighted to share with you stories of the hours spent growing and harvesting the food you are about to purchase. It is a way to feel a connection with your food. The alternative is getting into a "zone" at the grocery store. There is a misnomer in the American mind that our "food grows on store shelves." This is because we have become disconnected from what nourishes us. This metaphor has spilled into other areas of our lives as well.

Moroccan Market

In other areas of the world the local market is a time for comraderie, catching up on news with neighbors, and trade. It acts as a central hub for community. Food and community have always gone hand-in-hand until modern day. Communal meals, food-sharing, and family sit-down dinners were the norm. This is "Paleo Living." Paleo man, no doubt, shared the hunt around the fire. Community was not only necessary to keep the spirits up during time of famine, harsh weather and the like, but it was vital for survival. Safety was in numbers.

Ramadan In Mali

A larger sense of life, and the effects we have on the whole was also understood. Its not enough to just eat together. Understanding the nature of why this is paramount is the only thing that will keep these traditions alive. If we view ourselves as stewards instead of dominating nature, we may come to understand the importance of our dependence on it.

The Great Law Of The Iroquois Confederacy States:

"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."

This is "Paleo thinking." That we are interdependent. Our very survival depends on it. We are no different than our "Paleo" ancestors in this regard. In fact, during this time of technology, we may find that the human heart and a sense of community is needed now more than ever. Technology can be thought of as "neutral." Like money or water, its function lies in the intent of the one who holds it. Money can help people. It can also divide family and friendships. Water can destroy continents. Recent tsunamis and hurricanes have proven this. It can also heal and bring life to a nation in drought. Technology is an opportunity to bring us closer together. We have a world wide web now that allows us to share information in an instant. It can also make a person feel more isolated than ever.

"Pipeline," North Shore, Oahu

Here are a few simple guidelines you can follow to help make a difference:

-Shop organic & local
-Purchase meat that is grass-fed, humanely-raised
-Get to know your farmers
-Bring your own bags to the market
-Eat a communal and/or family meal at least 1x per week
-Feed your animals the way you would want to be fed
-Volunteer for a non-profit that works for a cause you feel passionate about
-Spend a holiday volunteering or donating to a soup kitchen
-Be an advocate of community gardens
-Speak up for clean rivers, oceans & waterways
-Visit other countries. This gives you a broader vision of life, customs, beliefs and compassion for the struggles of our global family.

We are at a crux. A fork in the road. Do we embrace the beneficial traditions of our ancestors? Traditions we've explored throughout this 3-part "Paleo Series." Or, do we choose to ignore ancestral ways of eating, relating and moving our bodies?

The choice is ours. Everyday. We get to choose health or decline. Community or isolation. Fresh, local produce or boxed corporate-made meals. Quality of life or convenience. The future will be shaped by our choices, and the next seven generations to come...

"If You Wish To Know The Book Of Nature, You Must Walk Its Pages With Your Feet." ~Paracelsus