The Optimism of Ancestral Health

ancestral health optimism paleo

A Comparison

Industrial, capitalistic, zoo-human version of normalcy:

Paleo, MovNat, Primal, WAPF, barefoot version of normal humans:

Our view of normal is decidedly better than theirs.

But are we being realistic?

The Proponents of Progress call us dreamers. They say their views are more realistic, supported by real evidence. They say we are living in a dream-world only made possible by plenty of disposable income and free time.

Personally, I think these are the words of Eeyore, the pessimist calling himself a realist, the defeatist trying to justify things they way they are and not making a difference, in his or her own life or the state of the world. But let's assume it's just a matter of perspective.

What is more empowering?


The first view justifies encouraging people to appreciate their abilities. It justifies looking for ways to make healthy, local food socially viable. Within this view is the possibility for sustainable, modest, self-sufficient living. It creates possibilities for positive change.

The second view justifies the selfish attitude of profiting at the expense of others. It justifies destroying natural wonders in a constant drive for unrestrained progress. Within this view are the seeds of desperation that lead to unsustainable growth, violence, and environmental destruction.

Stick with the optimists. It's going to be tough enough even if they're right. —James Reston

The first view, whether based on fact or not, is an empowering perspective. It at least sets the stage for growth and positive change. Maybe all these dreams will not come to fruition, but we already know the other view hasn't served us well. Believing in the possibility of great things, we can move the world a step closer towards them.

And what is so terrible about a world full of happy healthy people, eating amazing food without destroying the land, running and playing and creatively supporting one another, content to simply be a part of the adventure that is life on planet Earth?

(Photo credit: sara biljana on Flickr)