Monica Whaley

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Paleo Pathway?

Posted on January 11, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Recently. I’ve become aware o fsomething called the “paleo lifestyle”. It goes by several other names as well:

  • Paleolithic
  • Neanderthin
  • Caveman
  • Stone Age
  • Hunter-gatherer
  • Primal
  • Low-carb

This all started with an blog I read from someone who had decided to try going without soap and shampoo due to an article he read from someone who lives a paleo lifestyle. In a nutshell, it says that we didn’t “evolve” to be dependent on chemical products to maintain our health and well-being. I then did a TON of reading on this lifestyle and those who follow it. Obviously, I’m not coming from the evolutionary angle, and if you research this, you will have to sift through some of the rhetoric, but the information is the same no matter what you believe. I am coming to believe that this is very much in line with my belief that the closer we live to how God intended, the better off we are. I simply cannot believe that He intended for us to be covered in chemicals and swilling chemicals and gulping down chemicals.There is no way that this could be His best for us.

Using soap as an example, the information suggests (and dermatologists & science seem to agree) that our bodies create all we need to have the healthiest hair, skin and nails on our own, and that soap and shampoo strip away the natural oils and cleansers that we already have. Without those natural oils, we then have stripped skin, which leads to patchy skin, an over-production of oil to try to replenish what’s been stripped, acne, dandruff, etc. If the soap/shampoo is eliminated, the body reverts to its balanced state and those products aren’t needed anyway. The products create a dependence on them and ensure our buying them. (I found the same thing years ago with Chapstick (the brand, not just any lip balm). When I used it, I needed it more; when I stopped, I no longer had such dry lips.) Let me be VERY clear. I’m not talking about no bathing. I’m talking about bathing without soap/shampoo. By the way, doctors always tell new parents not to use soap on babies. There are other ways to be clean. You can read the blog here if you want more info.

How very clever of my friend Big Business: 1) Create the belief that a product is necessary. 2) Manufacture said product. 3) Have product increase the perceived need for it. 5) Sit back and rake in the dollars without concern for health/long term effects. Simply devilish.

As I’m reading more, it occurs to me that while I have concerns about what I put IN my body, I have been giving little to no thought of what I put ON my body. Don’t forget that the skin is the largest organ of the body. Not only that, but what ever is put on the skin is absorbed into the system. I’m very girlie, but now I’m thinking that if I want to treat my body as a temple, I need to find things other than chemicals to adorn myself (you know, cosmetics, perfume, etc). Not only that, but why am I even using these things? It’s to attain/maintain a standard of beauty that is not only impossible but may be bad for my health (best case). Worse, this standard has been set by at least two thirds of the Trifecta of Evil I’m always railing against (the Media and Big Business, can’t say about Government).

Having said all that, I’m also rethinking the fact that I relax my hair. Those are pretty harsh chemicals. However, I spoke to the woman who’s been doing my hair since I was 4ish. She confirmed what I was thinking in that those chemicals are only on my hair and only for about 15 minutes once ever 2-3 months. So if I decide to continue, I think I will be ok with that. I still want to look into what it would take to have my hair natural. As a biracial woman, it’s no small decision. I would have to radically change the way I manage/style my hair. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that, at least not yet.

However, I can definitely handle the cosmetic issues. I still have many of the ingredients from when I was thinking of starting a business. If I decide it’s too much trouble making my own, there are many reputable cosmetic lines available (though it's cheaper to make my own). I’ve also discovered that while the FDA regulates the term “organic” for food, it is NOT regulated for cosmetics. That means that just because you see the words “organic” or “natural” on cosmetics, does not mean they are. You still have to read labels and may have to dig into the company to find out about their practices and sources for ingredients. You can also check the Coming Clean site, which rates various products on how truly natural they are.

This is a LOT to think about, and I have very little idea how to implement all I’m learning. I do know that when I feel the need to change something in my life, I can go overboard, which leads to failure, which means I quit altogether. I don’t want to do that this time. I’m going to try to change little by little. For instance, I’m going to try the no soap/shampoo thing (called “no poo” ) for a while to see how it goes.I actually stopped using shampoo a while ago and only clean with conditioner, but the recommendation is to clean the hair with baking soda and “condition” with vinegar (usually apple cider vinegar – the smell is gone once it’s dry). From what I’ve read, it take 2-4 weeks for the body to re-balance itself, and it’s hard to make it through that transition. It seems like detox; for instance, if you have dandruff, it’ll be worse during that transition, but infinitely better afterward.

I'm not thrilled with theterms/connotations associated with this lifestyle, so I'm open to anysuggestions. I'm thinking something about the Temple (you know, the body as atemple). Maybe:

  • Temple Lifestyle
  • Temple Existence
  • Temple Way
  • Temple Standard

I’m excited about what I’m learning and how it affects my relationship with God.

Categories: physical health, personal, religion

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Reply Matthias
11:32 AM on January 14, 2011 
I think skin is a tissue, not an organ. Don't quote me on that.

I think you should name it, "Temple Potato."
Reply Kelly Harrier
10:02 PM on January 12, 2011 
Hi Monica,
I love what you had to say in your blog and I totally agree! I eat a simple diet under the supervision of my physician, who eats the same way and I feel better every day! My physical ailments have almost disappeared and I am very close to my weight ideal. Now, I am also watching closely what I put on my skin/ toothpaste, lotion, make-up, shampoos conditioners, is a challenge, but one I am prepared to give an honest try.....i will try the whole baking soda and vinegar thing once I do some more research...thanks for all of the info you've posted - should help me get started...

My physician is a doc at OSU Center for Integrative Medicine and offers free nutritional lectures each Wednesday of the would be fascinated with what he has to say.....

Nutrigenomics is an emerging, personalized healthcare option now available at OSU.