Here’s a draft of a paid article just submitted to a print magazine with a snail mail circulation of a bit over 40,000. Don’t know how it will come out in the final publishing, and it also has an email distribution, so could give things a boost. Wow, I never imagined that No-Soap post would get so much interest. But it has, and nearly doubled the average daily visits; and it’s continuing. I’m at over 65,000 visits and 130,000 page views and the month isn’t even half over yet. Here we go.
I’m a practitioner of a lifestyle recently gaining in popularity (see NYT: The New Age Cavemen and the City; January 8, 2010) and that’s often called by various practitioners “paleo,” “primal,” “evolutionary fitness,” or by other similar terms. These terms are meant to denote a time prior to human agriculture (about 10-15,000 years ago) and modern civilization when humans were wild animals. Primarily, this modeling of human as animal focusses on three areas: diet/nutrition, movement/fitness, and episodic or intermittent fasting. The idea is to enjoy the conveniences of a modern industrial economy while fooling our genes into thinking we’re still on the Savannah hunting wild game, gathering edible plants, sprinting to catch prey, lifting heavy things, and sometimes failing in the hunt and going hungry.
In case you haven’t noticed, animals in the wild aren’t obese (unless supposed to be, such as pre-hibernation) and they don’t have hypertension, diabetes, or heart disease — and cancer is rare where not completely unknown.
My personal quest for this style of living came in May, 2007 where on my 5’ 10” frame I suddenly found myself tipping the scale at 235 pounds. Worse, I purchased a blood pressure meter and was getting very high readings (160/100) at every test. Now here I am nearly three years later weighing in at 175 pounds with normal BP, and without taking medication; and I even got off several prescription medications along the way. I have written extensively about all aspects of this journey at my blog, FreetheAnimal.com.
The diet and nutritional aspect of this lifestyle can really be boiled down to four words: eat real foods only. So it’s very simple. It’s unrestricted consumption of meat, fish, fowl, natural fats (i.e., animal, coconut, olive), and vegetables — and moderate fruits & nuts. Most practitioners never weigh or count anything, and they dispense with mealtimes, opting instead to eat when hungry, stop when full, and resume when hungry again. For most, it’s a process of episodic, variable, and intermittent foods, activities and even hunger. There is a great deal of self-experimentation.
Yet some of us also take the self-experimentation even farther. I long ago purchased a workbench to replace my standard desk, so that I can stand while working. And I often make use of the 40 degree cold plunge for several minutes at my gym after a brief but very intense 30-minute workout. Cold showers often. And then there’s the soap and shampoo. It was perhaps more than a year ago that I stopped using soap on my body except for hands, underarms and the private bits. And I still used shampoo. But six months ago I just stopped abruptly after having read an article online about women who don’t use shampoo and have hair that looked just fine & dandy to me.
This is six months now that neither soap nor shampoo have touched my body (except for washing my hands for food preparation). Otherwise, it’s always just cold, warm, or hot water and good scrubbing. I would describe my results as follows:
- Took about two weeks to normalize.
- Even when I feel greasy/oily in the shower with just water, once everything dries out, it’s always all the same — fine; soft & dry. Skin & hair have never been softer.
- In general, my hair is less "greasy" than ever, yet shampoo hasn’t touched it in over six months.
- The privates are the biggest benefit of all. Zero problems; big improvement. Maybe it’s the constant cleansing that’s the cause of the sweaty-stinky problem in the first place.
- You’ll save a lot of money, especially you women.
- My spouse believes my body smell to be quite normal, now.
One of the more common objections to this is about bacteria. Well it’s just like in your gut: you have trillions of friendly, beneficial bacteria. When you take an antibiotic you’ll often develop diarrhea and other digestive problems because the good bacteria that aid in your digestion have been killed off. I’m suggesting that chronic use of soap and shampoo has a similar problem-causing effect.
Ultimately everyone has to self-experiment, or not. But if you do decide to give this a try, then give it at least a month. Things cleared up for me in two weeks or less, but we’re not all the same. I suspect that women who commonly wash more with more chemicals and added makeups & moisturizers might take more time to normalize.
More information can be found at my blog FreetheAnimal.com where you will find categories, archives, recommended books and other blogs and websites.