I see naked people

A little while back I wrote a post entitled “Feet on ground.” It was meant as a reminder, mostly to myself, about not getting caught by the paleo hype, if such a hype exists.

My experience and observations of the people around me, is that many (by this I mean more than one would think, but it’s not a great number) people who live non-paleo lives, who eat lots of grains and low fat products, still seem perfectly fine.

As some commenters suggested, this might be just an illusion. The effects of far from optimal diets become increasingly pronounced with increasing age. However, I must still admit that there are several people I know, that surprises me with regards to their health, even old people.

Admittedly, Norway is far from being the worst when it comes to diet and health. We are in general grain based, but we are still far from USA or UK, where things are truly bad.

But, I’m rambling. What I wanted to say, was that I’ve found a very subjective and entertaining way of getting a feel of how deteriorating a modern western lifestyle can be. This thought experiment can be done anywhere, but it might be easiest where people wear little clothes.

When in a place where there are lots of ordinary people (non paleo people) try to remember all those nature shows (best are from BBC and Human Planet is highly recommended, oh and David Attenborough rules) where you’ve seen human tribes living traditional lives.

The slender yet muscular fit looking people – of the type that climbs high trees and goes through much pain just for some honey, or that hunt lions on foot with a wooden spear – that likely come to mind, are likely nude or at least severely underdressed for a tea party, unless you are thinking of Inuit, Lapps or someone similar.
Now, look around, and imagine all the people around you similarly naked and in the bush or on the savannah. If the thought of these people in such a situation seem like some horrible joke of evolution, then we have reason to worry about our general health. 
Without seeming like some pervert, I actually think there are things to learn from these thought experiments. Mostly what I keep feeling is not that we are particularly fat (in Norway), but what strikes me, is how little muscular and fit people seem. This is more pronounced from middle age and up. Most of the lean people are either strikingly skinny and unhealthy looking, or lean in the female-westerner-with-high-body-fat-percentage-unable- to-do-a-single-push-up sort of way.  
Too much fat, and too little muscle

The lack of visual muscular fitness, often combined with poor body posture, surprises me more than the overweight.

Well, in other news, yet another study finds that overweigh people have higher life expectancy than their lean counterparts, albeit with greater risk of disabilities. Perhaps our focus should be on natural foods and exercise, rather than on the significance of some extra padding. (study here)

2 kommentarer om “I see naked people”

  1. It's great to have you back posting regularly Pal. I really enjoy your thoughts.

    It strikes me that, in our modern societies like those we find ourselves in (Norway and New Zealand), that we perhaps have two general choices of people – with both possibly being at the same end of the continuum. Fat-fat or skinny-fat. With fat-fat being so prevalent and being the subject of much focus in the popular media, skinny-fat, by default, doesn't seem to look to bad. So in our (maybe just my) society, we look at a skinny-fatty and think they are fit, healthy, and attractive? We don't seem to have many options of lean & muscular. Indeed, many who do fit that category are postioned by society as freaks and outside of the norm… perhaps a little bit too into themselves and living a life of deprivation in order to have muscles.

    My experience in Vanuatu, similar to the photos you have posted here, is that the norm and definition of a healthy human is in fact strong, lean, and muscular – men and women. Here in NZ, I'm likely to fit into the strong and muscular category – in Vanuatu, I would have been very average, if not tending toward the slightly soft and weak looking category.

    Judging ourselves by the norms and averages within our own societies can lull us into the false security of being skinny-fat.

    Re: Life expectancy studies. Researchers need to get off the 'living as long as possible is a good thing regardless of how crippled you are doing it' bandwagon. Give me a life that is 5, 10, 15 years shorter if it means I not looking like the guy in your last photo! Particularly if there were hot chicks in bikinis involved and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it!

    Liker

  2. I conduct this exercise all the time, and am generally appalled at what I see in the US.

    I'm currently in Hong Kong, and am astounded at how many poor physiques I see here as well, though it shouldn't come as a surprise given how westernized their diet has become. Actually, one thing I see a lot more of here is terrible skin. I see blotchy skin, rashes, lots of acne, or it's pale beyond belief. I guess this shouldn't surprise me given how little sunlight anyone here gets. Reminds me of the Asimov books like Caves of Steel.

    Liker

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