"No European who has tasted Savage Life can afterwards bear to live in our societies." — Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why I Don't Listen to Doctors

The largest part of a paleo-style diet is meat. For most people reading this blog, that meat is probably purchased at a store. I am of the opinion that such a separation from our food source is very unhealthy, especially spiritually. Farmed meat has a significantly skewed nutritional profile; the omega-3/6/9 ratio is often completely wrong for the human body. There are toxins from intensive clustering of animals. One should also consider the spiritual matters of harming the creatures needlessly, the damage to the environment, and the corrupted and rotten energy of the capitalistic food farm imprinted upon the meat. It is for all these reasons and more that I have decided to start hunting and fishing for my meat.

Of course, society is based on control. And it's easier to control people if they believe that they have no choices. This article, "Deer Hunting May Put Men's Hearts at Risk", makes people think they have no choice. From the article, I quote:

In a study of 25 middle-aged male deer hunters, researchers found that the activities inherent to hunting -- like walking over rough terrain, shooting an animal and dragging its carcass -- sent the men's heart rates up significantly.

In some cases, this led to potentially dangerous heart-rhythm disturbances, or diminished oxygen supply to the heart.

So, getting exercise in a natural environment, doing a natural activity, can KIIIILLLLLL YOUUUUUUUU!!!!!! BOO! Fearfearfearfearfear. Another quote:

Of the 25 hunters, 17 had established coronary heart disease, while the rest had risk factors such as being overweight, smoking or having high blood pressure or cholesterol.

The findings suggest that for men like these, hunting could boost the risk of heart attack or cardiac arrest...The combination of physical exertion, adrenaline rush and the stress of rough terrain and cold weather may explain the "excessive cardiac demands" seen with hunting.

So, they had a tiny sample, and it's pretty normal: a bunch of beer-gutted fat, white Americans who eat junk then go out hunting "for fun". Hunting meat will do these people no good whatsoever. One more quote:

[M]ost of the men in the study were taking part in an exercise program to treat their heart disease, or were regularly physically active. Hunting could be an even greater strain on the heart in men who are usually sedentary, the researchers note.

So, these men were already being "treated" by the medical industry for their heart problems in the typical allopathic manner: WRONGLY! They were in "exercise programs", but I'll almost guarantee that those programs were warped and unhelpful, and I'll bet none of the men made significant dietary and/or lifestyle changes.

This article is an example of societal control of the individual, to the individual's detriment (which, although society would disagree with me, also damages society). So, I will try to counteract that influence with a simple statement: you can have control over your life! You must only take hold of your life and stop letting others steer you where they want you to go.

So, how do we keep ourselves away from such a fate? Well, it's easy: change your lifestyle to one which supports your life, and away from one which damages it. Eat natural foods in the proportions needed by your body and spirit. Get a wide range of exercise to keep your body in good shape. Meditate or pursue some spiritual path to keep your mind and spirit healthy. And never stop trying, learning, and living.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Article About Switching to a Paleo Diet

The Stone Age Diet: Why I Eat Like a Caveman, by Jimmy Lee Shreeve, Independent UK. Posted August 16, 2007.

An interesting article about someone trying the standard "low fat, high carbs, plus some exercise" diet and then going paleo, and the differences in result.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Introduction to a Meat-Eating Yogi

Hello, and welcome to this blog. You may be wondering what it will discuss. Its subject is fairly simple, yet extremely complex: how can someone eat meat and practice yoga for both physical and spiritual purposes? I will attempt to answer that question based on research, interviews with other yogis and yoginis, and from my own experiences.

This blog is not a proselytizing tool. In no way am I attempting to convince anyone of any specific viewpoint, nor am I trying to change anyone's mind (I consider the latter impossible; one can only change one's mind, not others'). I am only giving an account of my experiences and collected data concerning my admittedly eclectic yoga practice and diet and its effects. If you have any comments, feel free to post them; they are moderated and I will only publish those which further the discussion in a peaceful manner (if you don't want a comment published, just say so and it shall remain private).

A bit of background is in order. I am a middle-aged male in good health. I have spiritual leanings and have taken part in various traditions. I am a certified yoga instructor (an RYT 200 according to the Yoga Alliance). In the past, I have followed both vegetarian and vegan diets for long periods (many months to years). I am currently following what many call the "paleo diet" or "caveman diet".

The "paleo diet" is basically an approximation of what our ancestors ate before the creation of agriculture. This includes meat of all kinds, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. In paleolithic times, storing large amounts of food would have been impractical, so things were eaten fresh (or possibly frozen), and they were minimally processed, if they were processed at all.

Due to the hunter/gatherer lifestyle of the time, there was another - extremely important - quality to the diet: a close and direct connection to food sources. In most cases, people caught or harvested what they ate, or they were no more than one degree separated from the source (e.g. a grandfather whose son catches and provides the food). From this connection grew an understanding of the world and the universe, and a deep understanding of the connectedness and oneness of all things.

As I said earlier, I have followed both vegetarian and vegan diets, both for health and religious reasons. I've never really noticed a seriously large change in my health based on my dietary choices, although I have seen small changes. I have received various benefits at various times from all my various dietary experiments. I see "changing one's diet" or "following a diet" as a tool.

Some people ask: what about the energetic effects of meat? That's a good question. We need to realize that food isn't just composed of physical elements; it also has energy that affects us in various ways. For example, from an Ayurvedic perspective, meat is rajasic, heating, pitta-aggravating, and excitatory, whereas raw vegetables are sattvic, balancing, and vata-aggravating and calming. These qualities should be known and understood just as the vitamin and mineral content of a food should be known and understood. One could say, "This meat provides X grams of protein, this much omega-3 fat, this much vitamin B12, and this much rajas." The energy and the nutrition of food also change based on how it lived. Farm-raised animals who are butchered in slaughterhouses are much less nourishing than wild game, and a carrot grown in a monocrop with artificial fertilizers are much less nourishing than one grown organically with manure and a soil full of humus. This is one instance where the connection to one's food comes in handy.

Knowing what your own constitution needs is probably the largest part of any diet, as each person's diet is unique to them, yet connected to everything else. Some people are allergic to certain foods, such as gluten or lactose, so they much monitor their food closely. Some people seem able to eat almost anything. In any case, awareness of one's body and mind are foundational to developing and maintaining a diet, as well as monitoring its effects. Without this awareness, you're just spinning your wheels.

Thanks for reading!