September 01, 2015

7 Pillars: Nutrition

This is the second in a 9 part series for Paleo Magazine on what we believe make up the essential elements of Paleo, please check out the rest of what Paleo Magazine offers here. Enjoy!


Let’s start with heresy:  There is no single nutrition plan that works for everyone.  Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is ignoring the success found in diets of every kind, from the strictest Paleo raw elk eater to an East African grain-only record setting marathon runner.  Humans, including YOU, are too varied and adaptable to not be able to thrive on almost anything we eat.

The First Pillar of Paleo: Nutrition

I know, this isn’t what you’d expect to hear from a Paleo fanatic; we’re known (along with CrossFitters, hipsters, and ultra marathoners) for being loud and proud and rigid in our beliefs.  With clear eyes and loving kindness, I would submit to you that the only kind of belief system that is bound to fail is one that is too rigid to accommodate the unexplainable, and the success of millions of people on a grain, dairy, or gluten heavy diet is too much to ignore.  Yes, I did say success.

Now, that doesn’t mean Paleo is wrong.  Far from it, Paleo is a fantastic starting place for many, if not most people.  The elimination of common irritants to our digestive system including gluten, grain and dairy does wonders for so many people that it is equally impossible to ignore the astounding success of following evolutionary guidelines when we eat. 

The addition of amazing paleo desserts to any diet will improve the quality of anyone's life, but let's not get off track here. 

What does this mean for you?  Let’s revisit a quote from the Introduction to the Seven Pillars: “You should know up front that the only method of guarantee for finding out what works best for you is self experimentation.” 

This idea of using the incredible gift you’ve been given in the form of the human experience is fundamental not just to discovering healthy nutrition, but for chasing down the ultimate purpose of your life, whatever that may be.

I can hear you now, “Hey, what about Nutrition?  When the heck am I going to see a list of foods I can and can’t eat, and why can’t this be easier?  What’s all this mumbo jumbo about human experience and this “no perfect diet” nonsense?  I want answers, and I want ‘em now!”

Ah, sweet Twitter queen, Instagram snapper and Facebook fan, the key to finding your own healthy Nutrition plan will open the door to more than just supportive food. 

What we intend to develop with these Pillars of Paleo is not the skill of reading a list and following instructions, but the strengthening of the connection between you and your intuition.

We each of us were born with the ability to discern for ourselves what will make us feel good or bad, what will support or hinder our journey. 

Our experience with food is one of the clearest signals we can receive, and so we start with paying attention to what we feel when we eat in order to become not only healthier, but more in tune with ourselves and our connection to the environment around us.

Once you develop the ability to feel what it’s like to eat something unnaturally sweet, experience the rush as pure processed sugar pops all your pleasure centers and then the subsequent dip in emotion and health as those centers recover from being flash fried, you can apply that same gauge to every other food you eat, and experiment your way to your own perfect diet.

Food is fast; within 20 minutes you receive a clear signal as to whether or not what you ate will help you or hinder you.  You must learn to listen not just with your ears, but the entire quivering antennae that is a combination of your gut, your nerves, and your brain. 

As we move more and more into relying on external feedback via phones, computers, and electronic social networks, we stop strengthening the much more powerful and honest sense of our intuition, but it is this internal sense that will ultimately guide you to the best possible version of your life.

When you listen to your best friend’s neighbor’s guru and not to your own gut, you become trapped not just in a diet that may not work for you, but in a life that is not your own.  You are the arbiter and executor of your own life. 

Grab hold of this power, pay attention to the signals coming from the inside, and as you develop the ability to receive those signals more clearly than the bombardment of outside messages you receive every second of the day, you’ll improve not just your intuition and digestive health, but your power as a human to effect positive change in the world.

This ability to receive the clear and now strengthening signal is the hallmark of the first of the Seven Pillars.  This is the power of Nutrition.  This is the power of Paleo.

Ready for the next Pillar?

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Nik Hawks


Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!

Too much reading...
How about dessert?

Too Much Reading...How About Dessert?

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