A Successful Hawaiian Hog Hunt
Ferdinand just reviewed Frost's book, Freedom Twenty-Five: The 21st Century Man’s Guide to Life over at In Mala Fide. I'll have my own review as soon as I get the time to sit down and read the whole thing and render my own assessment of Frost's work. That being said, I found a quote Ferdinand cited interesting, since it's something I've been experimenting with lately - intermittent fasting.
As Frost wrote:
I eat 1-2 meals per day, and I’m almost never hungry. The conventional wisdom states that you should eat five meals a day, which is true if you’re eating a typical American diet and need to constantly snack to maintain your blood sugar. On a high-fat Paleo diet, your body gets used to using dietary and stored fats as its primary energy source, meaning you can go long periods without feeling tired, “hangry” (hungry + angry) or like your stomach is eating itself.
I now frequently go 18 hours without a meal, and by the 17th hour, I feel a vague sense of “Oh yeah, food would be nice right now, wouldn’t it?” But I could just as easily work out, play a game of hockey, or take a nap.
I've been on both ends of this. When I was overweight and following the conventional wisdom that preached avoiding red meat, saturated fat and eating as vegetarian as possible, I was eating 5-6 times a day, and I had wildly fluctuating energy levels, a continually expanding waistline, and late afternoon energy crashes, and a feeling of being befuddled and groggy that required a 30 minute nap just to try and function normally.
Before the weight loss, it was the steady energy levels and no longer having to take a daily nap that was the first major change I noticed once I gave up the SAD and began eating primal. The weight loss took a few months to notice.
But for the first several years, I basically would call my diet "low carb" rather than paleo. I cut out all carbs except for cruciferous veggies. No potatoes. No rice. I still ate 3 meals a day. When I went hiking or hunting, I'd make sure to carry a bunch of snack food (paleo-type stuff, of course - jerky, nuts, cheese, meats etc.).
Upon encountering the practice of Intermittent Fasting in the paleosphere, I didn't really pay much attention to it at first. I basically skipped over any post I came across regarding the topic. After all, I had stabilized my energy levels, lost a bunch of weight and never felt better, why should I fast?
But the longer I stuck to eating primal, the less I felt like eating 3 square meals. Without consciously doing it at first, I began to skip my lunch and start only eating breakfast and dinner. Being a (former) cubicle jockey in business to business sales, I used to pack a daily lunch to eat at my desk.
After several days of not eating my lunches, I started paying attention to the intermittent fasting blogging from the various paleosphere luminaries like Mark Sisson, Richard Nikoley, et al.
But it was J. Stanton's seminal post, Eat Like A Predator, Not Like Prey that finally gave clarity to the theory behind IF for me.
Most importantly, now that you’re no longer eating huge plates of sugar (‘carbohydrates’) and greasy seed oils, you’ll find that big, hearty meals don’t make you fall asleep. You’ll also find that it’s much easier to go without food now that your body is re-accustomed to burning fat.
Aha! This must be why I no longer had an appetite for lunch, given my daily breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms etc. (fried in butter of course). I had now primarily become reliant on burning fat instead of carbs for my energy, and no longer needed to eat 3 square meals to keep my energy levels steady.
So I settled into a 2 meals a day routine for the past year. Than around August, Stanton posted another piece in which he wrote about hiking Mt. Whitney in a single day completely fasted.
Prior to this post, I had the idea that fasting while working at a desk all day was one thing...but taking on a rigorous physical activity while fasting?
So I thought I'd give it a try.
The next time I went hunting, I didn't eat my normal breakfast, and I didn't pack food.
The hunt lasted for about 8 hours, we caught a pig, and I had to pack it out with my partner...for the most part, carrying it uphill on our backs. Very intense exertion...with the only food in my belly coming from dinner the night before. When I was done, I was hungry, but not to the point of that shaky, sick feeling one gets when you are on the blood sugar roller coaster of a high-carb, SAD.
My experiences jibed with what Stanton related. So I weighed in with my own anecdotal commentary at his site to let him know I appreciated how his insight helped me gain my own:
I laugh at my younger self…when my boar hunting was defined solely as nothing more than a recreational pursuit to engage in with my friends. I did not understand what I was really experiencing by participating in the most primal act of being alive. The experience of fulfilling the naturally ordained role of the human as an omnivorous predator.
I used to pack my bag full of chips, nuts, candy, crackers, granola, energy bars, and gatorade, and have to continually snack while hunting Hawaii’s mountainous rain forests to keep my energy levels up to deal with the rigors of hunting boar with a pack of dogs in rugged terrain.
Now I hunt with only water in my pack. Like other predator species, I hunt hungry. To think an idea so simple — that a primal diet is optimal to engage in the most primal of pursuits — eluded me all those years as a young hunter. My former ignorance speaks to the level of propaganda and misinformation in our culture and its influence regarding our self-awareness of being a predator species.
I was acting like a hunter, but still eating like prey.
We live in a world socially engineered to indoctrinate the masses to make them ignorant of our species’ ecological niche as an omnivorous predator in the cycle of life.
Instead, we are inculcated into a mindset of being cattle in the great domesticated herds of “civilization.”
While hunting taught me the skills and knowledge to kill, clean and butcher prey, I did not embrace the logical conclusion of the hunt. I was squeamish about eating game when I had been raised on a lifetime of factory-farmed, manufactured feed products. I would only cut the most desired cut of meat from the pigs we caught (the tenderloin) and feed the rest to the dogs (they still get there share as their reward for catching it…but I take way more portions for my own family’s use now), and throw the offal and bones away. I used to use heavily flavored and sweetened sauces to try and mask the game flavor of the meat.
I was a squeamish hunter that did not truly relish the fruits of labor from the hunt.
Now, I harvest the liver and heart. I boil the bones to make stock. My only seasoning on the cuts of meat I harvest, is salt and pepper.
I relish the life sustaining harvest of the land.
As an omnivorous species, we all have a choice to make: eat like a predator, or eat like prey.
Now I prefer to eat my 2 meals a day - breakfast and dinner, but the point is, I don't feel like I have to. I'll frequently do things like yard work or repair projects first thing in the morning, hours before eating the first meal of the day.
As Frost pointed out, going paleo actually freed him up from constantly thinking about, planning and preparing numerous meals.
Predator species hunt, kill and gorge. It may be many hours or even days before they have another successful kill. If they required food to fuel them up for every single instance of physical exertion, most predator species would die of starvation, as one failed hunt would quickly lead to the lack of energy to successfully try to hunt again later.
Is "paleo" a "fad diet" as many detractors continually say? Last I checked, a "fad" diet CAN'T be adhered to for 5 years and counting like I've experienced.
A fad diet is typically nothing more than changing the type of foods you graze on or how often you graze. You may temporarily lose weight, but as long as you do not eat in accordance with your physiological design, you will always experience health problems.
Similar to the cows put into feedlots that require massive doses of antibiotics so that they do not sicken and die while being fattened on feed they were not designed to eat...eating foods you were not evolved or designed to is a recipe for ill health, and premature death.
Eat like a predator and find out for yourself.