01/04/11: Well it happened again. While Boing Boing didn’t link up this post, Sean Bonner linked up the original one. Bless his heart. And do read his post because he describes his own success with the experiment over the last year, calling it "easily one of the best moves I’ve ever made in my entire flippin’ life." And so I’ve added an update at the original post from a year ago to alert boingboing readers to this post as well as to promise them a primer on the other aspects of the Paleo lifeway by this Friday, 1/7.
01/06/11: Welcome Boing Boing readers from Mark Frauenfelder’s additional feature, as well as GIZMODO readers (Thanks Kat Hannaford). Please don’t go away without checking out some of the basics of what you might be increasingly hearing about as the paleo diet, caveman diet, and so on. See how many it has helped lose lots of fat, get stronger, sleep better and get off meds. And, no this is not about reenactment or being unsociable. And please check back. By tomorrow, 1/7 I will kick off a 3-part series on all the basics of the paleo/primal path based on evolutionary biology.
01/08/11: OK, the first post in the series is up: You Animal: A Primer to Freeing Your Inner Beast – The Preface. Also, just this morning, one man’s story since linking over here from FARK on New Year’s Day, 2010: Man Comes Here to Have a Laugh; Losses 65 Pounds.
Yesterday, December 28, marked the one year point since I posted about having washed with nothing but water over the preceding six months. To my amazement, a post I was loath to do in the first place garnered 302 comments. Then boingboing picks up on it with 170 comments there, and FARK as well, clocking in at 147 comments.
And suddenly, on the very last day of the year this blog went from a respectable 40,000 average visits per month to over 80,000 in December, and it carried over to January where there were about 125,000 visits and a quarter of a million page views. But the best part of it is that somehow, I managed to not squander the opportunity. Some way, some how, average visits and page views more than doubled month to month to over 80,000 and 150,000. And now, the average over the last three months has climbed to over 100,000 and nearly 200,000 monthly (which is why I just love getting whiny complaints about my No Bullshit, vitriolic style from anonymous commenters).
A month later I did an update post and even provided photographic evidence that my hair looked pretty normal. That one generated another 158 comments.
But even better than all that are the many comments whenever Real Results are reported, or emails I’ve received that mention that they first learned of the blog because of the no soap, no shampoo post, had stuck around and had results of their own to show for it in terms of improved body composition and health.
Earlier today I posted a primer of sorts on self-experimentation which could be considered a bit of a prerequisite to this post, because after 18 months now of spectacular success with this experiment, my focus on it has changed quite a bit. That is to say, I don’t need to go into what the results are — what I’ve already written — as the results are unchanged or, even better.
And it’s not just us Paleoish who’re interested in all this, at least the shampoo part (which to me, is the lesser in importance). There’s definitely interest in the mainstream. Perhaps that’s why my post ended up bridging the gap to some extent.
Comments are of course open for any old or new hands to relay their experiences but what I’m most interested in for this post is why, when in the context of Paleoish we speak of clean, organic, whole and real foods and of various supplements for the health of this bodily organ or that, so many go right ahead and daily slather all manner of industrial, synthetic, chemical products (to include cosmetics) on their very largest organ of all: their skin?
Riddle me that.
I must confess that I watched the various comment threads from those other posts with some degree of amusement at the extra trouble so many would go through to come up with a substitute for the admittedly very convenient store-bought stuff in a bottle. Vinegar. Baking soda. Coconut oil. …Or some combination and on and on. Or multiple layers and steps. Hell, I’d not be surprised if the self-experiment didn’t work on grounds of pure selection bias: as in pain-in-the-ass.
Or, let me put it this way. What I’ve found over these 18 months is that I never even thought of the money I was saving. Hell, a decent sized bottle of shampoo and body wash would last me months anyway. Oh, and then there’s the travel size versions. No, what has made this experience oh so satisfying is that I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore — ever. Don’t have to buy it. Don’t have to carry it. Don’t ever run out of it. Don’t have to get it tossed in the dumpster by TSA goons.
So what it boils down to is that this has been such a tremendous experience on the pure grounds of liberation. Now, I can wash up anywhere, anytime there’s a shower, lake, river or stream at hand and feel completely normal about it, not as though it’s the best I can do because I don’t have a big bag of "personal hygiene" products immediately at hand.
The other time I was amused in all of this was at the MovNat experience this summer. Here we were doing a pretty good job of simulating a number of aspects of, when not a complete existence in the wild, at least a minimal one. This included, among other things, going barefoot most of the time, shirtless, real food only, with only water to drink (no coffee, tea, alcohol), minimal lighting at night…
Me? When I went to shower I took a towel. That’s it and I even had to borrow it from Erwan because I’d simply forgotten to pack one. And yet here were all these other folks marching off to the showers with their large bags in tote and in a couple of cases — surprising enough for guys in itself — there was a cornucopia of hygiene products from shaving materials to shampoos, body washes, scrubs, conditioners, lotions…and on and on.
Far from being close to a wild human experience, it wasn’t even close to minimalist.
As a final aspect I’d thought of — but not seen addressed yet that I could recall — I looked at the comments on the boingboing post yesterday and found this one, posted months later.
For the most part of what i’ve read of these comments, it seems that no-one has yet addressed that a persons state of health and diet is the major contributer to body odours. You can be a person that bathes, shampoos and deodorises regularly but still stink offensively to high heaven from poor food choices, lack of fruit and veg, too much processed junk and the degenerative diseases developed. On the other hand, you can be a person who is physically active on a daily basis, eats only fresh food, lightly cooked meats and seafoods, avoids grain foods (because we are NOT birds) and smell perfectly fine from not using cosmetics and soaps, etc. To determine/decide if another potential mates’ odour was offensive or not is one of many important evolutionary ‘tools’ to ensure that humans mated with other humans who were in good health with good genes. Cosmetics were originally developed to mask a persons poor health, rather than making the effort to improve their health (more like ignorance in the face of decadence). We almighty Human Beings forget that we are just another animal on this planet, and how many of them (animals) do you see using processed foods, soaps and clothing? Compare the health of a chimpanzee (our closest biological relative) to most humans, these chimps are much better off than we are without our modern vices. We apply chemicals to our skin, eat food from sources that are not digestable in their natural state, technology that does all our moving/movement for us, yet still have it in our heads that we are ‘smarter’ than other living organisms on this planet. Our sense of ‘smart’ seems like a hell of a lot of ‘stupid’ to me. If our animal friends shared the same voice and could point and laugh, we would never hear the end of it, except we are HARMING THEM in all these processes.
Interesting, logical line of thought. As animals who were clearly fecund enough throughout eons to survive, do you imagine that noses were being held all the while? And if so, why; and if not, why not?
Please tell your Facebook friends and Twitter followers by using the buttons at the top!