I’m often asked how I got into Paleo. It got me thinking back about my own healthy journey and the interesting connection that exists between Paleo and my own chiropractic profession.
If you’re not familiar with chiropractic, I’d suggest a quick read through my “Myth Buster Article” as well as the 3 part “Innate Series” here, here and here. But essentially, at the core of both Paleo and Chiropractic lies a common respect for our body’s own innate ability to be healthy, if given the proper food, movement and stress management.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “I thought Paleo was just eating real food and avoiding common toxic offenders?” I don’t about you, but I feel like the food movement has evolved into Paleo 2.0 the Lifestyle Edition. You have people like Liz at Cave Girl Eats specializing in skin care and homesteading. Or the CrossFit community embracing the food, but also bringing natural movement into importance. There is Primal Pit Paste, biological Dentists, Functional Medicine, blue blockers, squatty potties…etc. All of this to say, Paleo has evolved into something more than “eat this, not that.” It involves all aspects of life.
So what does that have to do with chiropractic?
At the center of this Paleo movement is a general feel of anti-establishment. It attracts the counter-cultural, the contrarian, and those seeking wisdom outside of the mainstream. It’s a back-to-basics mentality about life and health. This description fits most chiropractors too.
Within the spectrum of modern medicine, chiropractors are still on the fringe. And if you ask most of us, that’s just fine. We don’t want to assimilate into a conventional system that focuses on symptom management in lieu of lifestyle intervention and true health care. We don’t want to prescribe drugs or cut people open. We’re “alternative.”
Cool. Because honestly, when you look around, do you really want to be like everybody else?
About 3 semesters into chiropractic college I started listening and reading work by Dr. James Chestnut of The Wellness Practice. He runs a wellness certification through one of the biggest chiropractic associations in the country. The main principle is Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well. Guess what kind of nutritional guidelines this certification teaches? Yup – hunter gatherer. This was my first introduction into what has become to be known better as Paleo. Dr. Chestnut quotes seminal works in hunter-gatherer literature and ancestral health like Dr. Boyd Eaton, Dr. Loren Cordain and many, many more. Seriously, his books have some of the longest reference lists I’ve ever seen.
I really ate this stuff up (pun intended), because it made so much sense and it connected so well to my profession. It really wasn’t until a few years later that I started hearing it described as Paleolithic nutrition.
Now, many of the chiropractors I know are practicing and teaching a Paleo or whole-food based approach to nutrition. We’ve added this to our traditional chiropractic care and functional movement rehabilitation. With no surprise, my patients that embrace the whole lifestyle have the best results. Period.
We have the ability to be healthy. We have genes that have survived all of these generations because they help us adapt to our environment. But our environment has changed dramatically. It is sicker than ever, and so are we. It requires a conscientious effort to counter the deleterious effects of toxicity and deficiency all around us.
For me and my patients, the combination of chiropractic and a focus on holistic health with a Paleo approach has worked wonders. And it’s a life that runs contrary to popular opinion.
And I’m good with that.
Do you view yourself as a contrarian? Has this positively affected your health/life? I’d love to hear your feedback.
Yours in Health,