Sixty years of mass marketing, stereotypes, and counter culture have left us with mistaken impressions about a lot of things in life. It is the inevitable byproduct of the constant assault of images and messages mashed up and reduced down to their lowest common denominator. The images and counter images around the health and fitness industry are especially enduring. Say Charles Atlas, Richard Simmons, or Susan Powter to anyone in North America over the age of 30 and they will have instant recall and recognition.
So it’s completely understandable if you’re coming to the Paleo lifestyle with a lot of baggage and preconceived notions about what “sort of person” gets involved with adopting it. You may think that, because of these images you associate with fitness and health, this is just another congregation of health nuts and hippies. Health nuts and hippies who’s only interest is to make you feel bad that you aren’t in as good a shape as they are. Health nuts and hippies who’s daily workout and eating regime is completely unattainable and consists of things that can only be purchased in bulk from some guru’s web site. Health nuts and hippies who, if you tried to talk to one, would treat you with the same disrespect as a nerd would if you mentioned Han Solo at a Star Trek convention.
And let me tell you, I know where you’re coming from. I’ve been the guy standing on the street corner with a corn dog with a sense of dread for my personal health. I’ve been intimidated by gyms where there are more devices than a torture chamber and nobody willing to help you out without paying a not-so-modest fee. The commercial health and fitness industry can be a soulless machine that only wants to see your wallet get skinny.
The counter messages we get are no better. We’re also made to feel like if we do want to improve our health the only way to do it is be a hippie and eat granola. Now I know a lot of nice hippies so I don’t mean to impugn them directly but I think even they would know what I’m driving at right now. There are these false stereotypes we see as well, mostly as caricatures on primetime TV and movies, of anyone interested in their fitness and health and as being hippies living a life of constant denial in the woods somewhere or as musclebound health nuts who kiss their “guns” in the mirror.
On one hand the world tells us we should, we HAVE TO BE healthy, and on the other it floods us with images deriding any attempts to get there while sticking us in a soulless environment based on a profit motive. What’s a normal, average person to do?
One of the great joys of discovery I found in researching and starting in the Paleo / Primal lifestyle is the sense of community. A lot of health and fitness movements have been all about buying a book and then going off and doing something by yourself. If you’ve ever tried that approach you know it’s a fast road to failure for the majority. And yes, it’s true there are people who publish and sell books about Paleo and Primal topics. But unlike so many other health and diet regimes, there is a close knit network of beginners, practitioners, and leaders out there who actually want to talk to you. Who are actually available to give advice, offer encouragement, and be the kind hand that helps you up when you stumble. We’re not here to judge because we’ve stumbled too. We’ve all been where you are right now and we want you to succeed. We want you to know the joy and good health we’re now experiencing. No judgements, no disrespect, no health nuts and hippies. We’re better than any caricature the media can concoct. We’re real people doing something real with real results you will see too if you try.
Don’t believe me? Okay, here’s three things to try:
- Google the term “paleo” or “primal”. Read.
- Do a Twitter search for “paleo” or “primal”. Read.
- Do a Facebook search for “paleo” or “primal”. Read.
I assure you what you won’t find will be a single guru espousing a method. Instead you will find real people with real stories sharing them with the community. Sure, there are people like Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, and Sarah Fragoso who make a living helping people to live Paleo. I don’t think they would make themselves out to be the “gurus” of Paleo or Primal living if you asked them though.
Paleo and Primal are not exclusive cliques with rules. We’re not here to make you feel bad. We’re not here to benchpress more than you or eat less. We’re real people doing a real thing for our real health. If you have questions or don’t know where to begin, reach out; we’ll help you. We’d love to have you come along.