The Tao of Paleo: Finding Your Path to Health and Harmony


“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” ~ Voltaire

JG: Why ya gotta go and make things so complicated…

JS: Oh no. Please do not do that. Do not sing Avril Lavigne. Ever, ever. This grass-fed burger I just ate was very delicious and I don’t want to end up projectile vomiting it all over you.

JG: Charming. What’s on our agenda for the day?

JS: You know, you and I - we’ve talked a lot about the best way to screw up a good, simple idea, like, for instance, finding your paleo Tao.

JG: Yeah. Getting wrapped up in the small stuff. Making something basic and natural way too complicated. Trying for perfect instead of being happy with good.

JS: Exactly. Which is why I sent a messenger pigeon down to Peru.

JG: Peru? Dude, you didn’t. She’s a myth - a legend to scare paleo children who don’t want to eat their broiled liver. She’s like the paleo chupacabra.

JS: She is not a myth.

JG: What??

JS: In fact, she’s here. Waiting out in the hallway.

JG: Wow. Did she ride a llama up here or something?

JS: It was an alpaca, actually.

JG: Unreal. I can’t believe she actually exists, let alone that she’s here. This should be interesting.

JS: Yep. Without further ado…Paula Paleoista! She has been paleo since the day she was born. Her parents were paleo, and their parents before that, and so on, back to the actual Paleolithic age.

JG: Wow. I can only imagine the profound levels of paleo wisdom she has acquired.

JS: Undoubtedly. Paula! You can come in now!!

JG: She’s not coming in.

JS: Ok, let me go grab her, be right back.

JG: What took you guys so long?

JS: I found her outside lecturing a rabbit on what type of clover it should eat in order to form optimal levels of omega-3 fats.

PP: Pleased to meet you two! I am Paula Paleoista!

JG: Nice to meet you Paula. Is that a fur bikini you’re wearing?

PP: Yes, I stalked, killed, and skinned the antelope myself.

JG: It smells interesting too.

PP: I tanned it with my own urine, just like our ancestors did.

JG: Isn’t that just lovely?

JS: The reason we have Paula here is to get her take on this paleo stuff, given her wisdom and experience. She’s a veritable high Priestess of Paleosity.

PP: On the way here from Peru - by the way, I tamed a wild alpaca because I think flying isn’t paleo at all, just the damage done to the environment by burning fossil fuels, all the plastics used in the aircraft seats, the carcinogens in the food…

JG: You live in Peru?!?

PP: Yeah. I live in the jungle down there. Everything’s totally paleo. I built a paleolithic cave dwelling, I can stalk and kill all my own food without anyone giving me grief about it, and there’s no question about the quality vegetables and fruits I eat because I forage them myself. Anyway, I got into this big debate with two guys on the way. Can you believe they were riding HORSES? No one rode horses in the Paleolithic!!

JS: Sinners.

PP: Anyway, one of these guys insisted that cashews were legumes because they grow with the seed stemming from the cashew apple, and because the cashew plant has several seeds that eventually split open on their own. The other dude kept saying that cashews were drupes because they develop first on the cashew tree and are surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin called anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the more well-known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy.

JS: How did you manage to hold your tongue?

PP: It was such an infuriating conversation, because of course, they were both wrong. They went against everything my family and I have been practicing for thousands of years of True Paleo, what with their Neolithic ways. I actually lost a little sleep over it. They are so not paleo. They are anti-paleo. They must be assimilated or destroyed.

JG: Wow.

JS: Yeah. Wow.

PP: So when I got into town, I went to a supposedly paleo cafe to get something to eat, because I couldn’t stalk any game. Can you believe they offered me a glass of orange juice! ORANGE JUICE! NOT AN ORANGE BUT ORANGE JUICE! Man, that was crazy. HELLO INSULIN SPIKE!! I almost put on a pound of fat around my midsection just because they MENTIONED fruit juice to me.

JG: Ummmm…

JS: Yikes.

PP: Anyway, do either of you know what time it is? I haven’t been able to tell the time since I got here because the stars are all different, and I take my probiotics precisely at six twenty-two every evening.

JG: Let me look at my watch… it’s 6:00 p.m.

PP: You wear a watch!?!? With a battery?!? Don’t you know about the electromagnetic field coming out of that thing? And you wear it after dark?!? Do you know what electromagnetic radiation does to your natural cortisol levels?!? OMG how do you survive???!?? Blue light!!! Blue light!!! Emergency!!! Emergency!!!

JG: Ummm…hey Joe…

JS: Yeah. Ok, so let’s get back on topic here…

PP: Then there was the lady outside in your waiting room…

JG: We have a waiting room now?? With a receptionist???

JS: Yeah, I made a few little upgrades…

JG: Before we sold a single copy of the book? What’s next, Tammy Faye, matching Rolexes??

PP: …anyway, the lady, she offered me some natural tea - which sounded great - until I heard the whirring noise coming from the kitchen. I went in to confirm my worst nightmare - she was heating up the water in a microwave oven!!!

JG: Joe?? We have a kitchen, too? And a microwave???

JS: Yeah, the local fire codes don’t allow her to burn wood and leaves inside.

PP: Have you ever watered plants with microwaved water? THEY DIE. I think she was secretly trying to kill me or something.

JG: We should have her killed. Or arrested. Or stomped to death by an alpaca.

PP: And the tea was in a BAG!! I mean, she didn’t even go out and gather leaves and bark herself! Who knows what was in that tea??!?

JS: Who indeed.

PP: I must say I’m used to this kind of treatment. I think because I choose not to wash myself in chemicals and fluoridated water every day, people don’t seem to like me very much. Speaking of which, do you know where the nearest lake is so I can take a bath? It’s got to have the correct PH levels by the way - not too alkaline or acidic please!

JG: I…ummm…don’t know of any…local lakes…that allow…ummm…bathing…

JS: You know what Paula? I think we are done for today. I appreciate the fact that you have come so far, and I think you have already told us everything we need to know.

PP: I haven’t even talked about the evils of tampons yet!!!

JS: I will send you some freshly killed capybara as promised, just send me a carrier pigeon and let me know what hotel you are staying behind. Let me show you out.

PP: But the tampons!!

JS: Jason and I will make sure not to use them. Take care, bye- bye now.

JG: I think you could have made your point with a little more subtlety.

JS: Maybe. But there’s an important point to be made. There’s danger in being paleo in the modern world…in being part of a minority movement that doesn’t accept contemporary mainstream conventional wisdom on health, nutrition, and medicine.

JG: You mean because the distinction between science and fantasy is so fine?

JS: No. I actually think there is at least a grain of legitimacy in everything Paula said.

JG: She would spontaneously combust if she heard you say the word “grain.”

JS: What I’m trying to say is that there is a potential to go too far with this stuff. When you start to adopt the paleo template and it works for you, it’s important to retain your sense of tolerance. In terms of how you relate to others, be kind and generous. Don’t become a zealot. Don’t start interpreting other people’s acts of kindness as ignorance, or even malice. If someone offers you a cookie they baked, it’s okay to say “No, but thank you for thinking of me” and not, “Are you trying to kill me?!?” Don’t judge others in how they pursue their Tao either. Acting all dogmatic will just reduce the appeal of the paleo way for anyone considering it.

JG: Remember also that while we start with a basic template, you find is going to be a personal Tao. Yours won’t be exactly like anyone else’s. Accept that others will probably have a different take on paleo, or even other approaches to health, like vegetarianism.

JS: You’re going to feel great…but before you take the plunge, remember that you need to keep your perspective on all of this. Go ahead and feel born again - feel like you want to change the world. Don’t, however, go all righteous and turn into a hardcore judgmental paleo freak.

JG: And do write books to help people?

JS: By all means, if you are as cool as we are.

JG: We are pretty cool. Paula, on the other hand…

JS: While she was talking I was entertaining the idea of asking her if potatoes were paleo, but I thought her head might explode like those guys from Scanners.

JG: The key thing I took from Paula’s visit was how important it is to live and let live. There are many different Taos. Anyone practicing paleo in any form can use your support far more than they can use your scorn.

JS: Profound, dude. Remember the name of the book? This is about finding YOUR own Tao and respecting the Tao that others want to walk.

JG: Yep, and Paula was probably the best example of the worst way to do it.

JS: Lose the dogma. Carrying around guilt or stress about something that is supposed to make you healthy is…

JG: Unhealthy.

JS: Disco.

JG: Pulp Fiction reference again Uma?

JS: Yep.

JG: Got it. You’re weird.

JS: About time you noticed.

JG: Let’s bring this back around. Remember that you’re going to start your paleo journey by following a template, and at first we’d like to help you keep it simple for your own sanity. It’s pretty important to follow our guidelines on the big issues, but don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t feel like you need to adopt every little tenet of the paleo path that others think is important.

JS: There’s no need to jump head first into making kombucha on day one - or your own toothpaste for that matter. There’s also no need to let all those loud voices squabbling about the finer points worry you.

If we are to succeed as a movement and actually make the world healthier and happier, we need to be inclusive, not divisive. We need to stand united with our brethren, even if they happen to add soy sauce to their salad once a week or snack on spoonfuls of peanut butter.

JG: We about ready to wrap this one up?

JS: Yeah, except we wanted to mention cheating.

JG: Right. Paula might have a conniption if she found out someone slipped some cane sugar into her sweet potatoes, but you don’t need to sweat the small stuff. Don’t beat yourself up for falling off the wagon. And it’s not cheating. It’s a choice. Guilt and food should never be associated with one another.

JS: Excellent point Jason. Nobody is perfect. Don’t agonize over eating a cookie every other day, or even if you go on a major binge. It’s not easy to change your life. If you had a plan and it didn’t work perfectly, for whatever reason, set new goals, get back on track, and stick to it as best you can. Repeat as many times as it takes. You will succeed.

JG: Just remember this - we are trying to change the world into a healthier place. We are at the forefront of a peaceful, healing, real-food revolution. We are HEROES in that sense, and our efforts are for a larger cause - beyond simply becoming healthier and happier.

JS: And guess what? The second you picked up this book, you joined forces with us, and with The Paleo Movement. You’re a hero too.

JG: Wonder Twins powers activated. Congratulations. And welcome aboard. We’re proud of you already.

JS: Just don’t be a jerk like Paula.

JG: Agreed.

JS: And don’t wear urine-soaked fur bikinis.

JG: Yeah, that too.

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