A Month of The Paleo Diet

caveman hunting a woolly mammoth

The Paleo Diet is sometimes referred to as the “caveman diet”, although it doesn’t actually
involve eating woolly mammoths. (Illustration by Jasmin Lantos)

I’ve been curious about the Paleo Diet for a while. The theory behind it seems reasonable to me and I’d heard some convincing testimonials, so I decided to try the diet myself for 1 month. This post describes my experience.

What Is The Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet – short for “Palaeolithic diet” – involves eating the types of foods that cavemen (cavepeople) ate. The theory is that over millions of years, evolution designed humans to eat the types of foods that were found in their natural environments.

When agriculture began 10,000 years ago, the types of food we ate started changing so rapidly that evolution hasn’t been able to adapt our bodies fast enough to keep up (10,000 years is nothing on evolutionary time scales).

On the paleo diet you revert back to eating what you are designed to eat – what you’d find in your natural environment. That means eating meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and… that’s about it.

The theory makes a lot of sense to me, so I thought I’d give it a shot. For the month of May I ate 100% paleo.

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A Month of Family Tree Work

Ancestors - Family Tree

My great great grandparents & their children.

For many years I’ve wanted to start building my family tree. For the month of April 2012, I decided to finally start doing it.

I’ll try to avoid going into excessive detail about my own tree here, but let me briefly explain the photo that you see above. My great great grandparents are the man and woman on the far left & far right (born in the mid-1800s). Their two youngest daughters (front row) died at age 17 (heart problems) & age 21 (tuberculosis). Their oldest daughter (2nd from right) died at age 33 during a cosmetic nose operation. Their remaining daughter (2nd from left, white blouse) lived to be 103 – she was my great grandmother.

A bunch of dates & ages, a bunch of health problems, a few stories… who cares? Why does it matter?

It might seem strange, but knowing the facts & stories about these people, seeing their personalities through their faces (or thinking I can), and imagining how we’d get along if we could meet each other helps me to understand a bit better who I am and how I fit into the world (although I don’t think it’s wise to define oneself by one’s relatives… did I just contradict myself?).

The people in that photo is just a tiny part of my tree of course. On another branch there are Holocaust survivors… and many who didn’t survive. And on another there are families in the 1700s who lived in England and were adventurous enough to sail across the ocean to spend the rest of their lives in North America.* I find it amazing to know that I came from these people.

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A Month of Crossfit

Group Crossfit Workout

Crossfitters doing a group workout (photo source)

My first ever one-month project was to do every Crossfit workout for the month of March 2012.

What Is Crossfit?

Glad you asked. To put it as simply as possible, Crossfit is an exercise program that focuses on overall fitness, rather than focusing on any particular aspect of it.

Consider 2 athletes who are the best in their field: a marathon runner, and a power lifter. The marathon runner has the endurance to easily outrun the power lifter, and the power lifter has the strength (& power) to easily out-lift the marathon runner.

Who is more fit? Tough call. Each could argue that he/she is more fit than the other. But probably neither would do very well at a Crossfit competition where the full spectrum of physical abilities are necessary to perform well (not only strength or endurance, but also speed, flexibility, coordination, balance, etc).

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Mixed Thoughts On Starting A Blog

Pros & Cons List On A Blackboard To blog or not to blog?

There are potential benefits to blogging for sure, but I’m not convinced that the pros will outweigh the cons.

I dislike the idea (if this blog becomes popular) of thousands of strangers following my personal life – and the fact that if I’d probably spend far too much time concerned with maintaining a good image in the eyes of those strangers.

Thousands of strangers watching my every move – what a horrid thought.

And yet even as I write this first post I can detect in myself a small thrill at the thought that some people may read it… and that they might think that what I write is great.. and that they might think that I am great. Ah, it’s great to be an online celebrity!

But things that taste good aren’t always good for you, right? Worst case scenario this blog will devolve into nothing more than a “Hey look at me!” project, causing me to obsess far too much over what readers think of me, while at the same time resenting the fact that I’m sharing my life with people I don’t know.

Interjection: Holy smokes! 5 paragraphs and I’ve already written about nothing but ME. What a narcissistic project. I’m not sure that this is a good idea. (end of interjection)

But what am I thinking – how many bloggers become well known even in small circles? The vast minority I’m sure. A likely scenario is that this blog will remain a ghost town, with few visitors aside from a tumbleweed or the occasional search engine bot whizzing by.

So why don’t I quit blogging right now before I’ve finished writing my first post? Well aside from the fact that delusional dreams of fame and ego-nourishment have already inserted their first roots into my brain, here are a few slightly more respectable reasons:

  • Curiosity / Adventure: I’m curious to see where this blog might lead, the people I might meet through it, what I might learn from them, the ideas or experiences or opportunities that might arise.
  • Connect: ‘twould be great to connect with like-minded people (not other narcissistic people, but others who have similar interests)
  • Inspire: Perhaps this blog will inspire others to start doing something new each month. The habit has definitely improved my life, and it could no doubt do the same for others.
  • Revenue? I’m experienced enough with online business to realize that the chances of this type of blog directly generating any revenue worth mentioning are quite slim …but I won’t rule it out just yet.

As for my fears about the possibly not-so-great consequences of blogging, I can at least reduce them by:

  • Writing only what I’m comfortable sharing with the world,
  • Staying relatively anonymous (at least for now), and
  • Realizing that at anytime I can quit and vaporize this blog with the click of a button.

Well, Google Bot, I hope you enjoyed the read.  Come again!