Have you noticed it, too? There has been a shift in the paleo approach.
Having been a regular reader of popular paleo websites like “The Paleo Solution”, “Chris Kresser”, “Mark’s Daily Apple” or “Paleo Leap” I’m getting the impression that over the years the paleo diet has gotten less dogmatic.
There has even been a new term coined: Paleo 2.0. It looks back to the past keeping in mind what worked for our species so far to see how to navigate the present and future. To paraphrase paleo leap the diet of a modern human should be rooted in history, ancient tradition, or thorough science, and endured the test of time while being aware that we can change and adapt to new Neolithic foods and even thrive on them.
This sounds a bit too philosophical so let’s turn to something a bit more solid:
Yes, the brain suffers from the same dilemma.
Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist who wrote the book Just Listen, explains that our brain consists of actually 3 brains.
Our brain has three layers that evolved over millions of years: a primitive reptile layer, a more evolved mammal layer, and a final primate layer.
Goulston says that “they are all interconnected, but in effect they often act like three different brains – they’re often at war with each other.
The lower reptilian brain is the “fight-or-flight” part of your brain. This region of your brain is all about acting and reacting, without a lot of thinking going on.
This is also where sex, aggression and territoriality are linked.
The middle mammal brain is the sea of your emotions (Call it your inner drama queen.) It’s where powerful feelings -love, joy, sadness, anger, grief, jealousy, pleasure- arise
The upper or pirmate brain is like Star Trek’s Mr. Spock: It’s the part that weighs a situation logically and rationally and generates a conscious plan of action.
As we evolved, the newer regions of our brains didn’t vanquish the older parts. Instead, like the rings on a tree, each new region overlays the more primitive ones.
To a small extent, these brains work together: To a greater extent, however, they tend to pull apart and function independently – especially when we’re under stress. “
So the paleo 2.0 lifestyle philosophy is to getting to know and accept us in the present better with the help of our past. Stopping the internal war and thriving that new old knowledge and acceptance.
You might say: That’s all nice and granola of you Lory. But where can you apply that in the real world?
Ok… how about SEX? We like, we crave it, it creeps into our daily entertainment, but still we don’t feel comfortable with it. We’re trying to put it on the down low.
I stumbled over a youtube channel… No not porn… reign that reptile brain in…. It was an educational channel… trying to make education like history, philosophy, art more relevant in our all-day live.
Interestingly that also includes sex… because it’s part of our lives and part of human nature… heck it’s nature’s nature. There was one interesting video in which they called for better porn and introduced their project Porn As Therapy.
On that project website they observed that
Oddly, despite an atmosphere of permissiveness today, our relationship with sex still bears a legacy of distrust, which becomes most evident in attitudes towards the porn industry. It’s not that most societies ban porn, but they subtly relegate it to the outer limits of respectability.
This project contributes to a search for a ‘better’ sort of pornography, ‘better’ meaning not more or less explicit or unusual, but more aligned with the highest capacities of humankind: intelligence, sensitivity and empathy.
[School of Life clip]
The human sexual drive is an integral and dignified part of life. This is a truth that keeps getting lost: we repeatedly fall out with the physical side of existence.
Sexiness might at first appear to be a merely physiological phenomenon, the result of awakened hormones and stimulated nerve endings. But in truth the thrill is not so much about sensations as it is about ideas – foremost among them, the idea of acceptance, and the promise of an end to loneliness and shame.
I still remember this little social experiment game we played during our pregnancy yoga teacher’s course. Our course teachers suggested to have the couples in our prenatal courses discuss certain issue… possible situations which they might have not thought about. So we played the game. One statement would be read out and then people who agreed would go to the right side of the class room and people who didn’t would go to the left.
One of those statements was: If my child was gay I would want to know. There was a small group who went to the left. Some admitted they went into the disagree-corner mainly because they didn’t know what to do. One of them said that she’d preferred her child to pretend to be “normal” around her.
Another statement was: I’m ok for my child to have sexual education before the age of 13. Suddenly we had a more equal split. Although I’m Filipino I grew up in Germany and was educated about the bees and flowers in 4th Grade so… was around 10 years old. So I was on the agree side. Another friend of mine who is Filipino Filipino was on the disagree side. We both don’t have kids. Her reasoning was that she wanted to preserve the child’s innocence for as long as possible.
I know what she means. When you view sex as less respectable then that action makes sense. But why not view it as something human and integral, like dance, food or literature? Accepting that kinkiness, gender preference and masturbation can be dignified.
A China Daily article states that because sex is still a taboo there is actually a lack of adequate sex education in Hong Kong.
Half of respondents of a 2009 study conducted by the Peking University didn't use any form of protection the first time they had sex. Among females who had lost their virginity, 20 percent had become pregnant, according to the survey.
More than 22,000 individuals aged from 15 to 24 were surveyed across 24 provinces on the mainland. The survey didn't include any respondents from Hong Kong, which may lead some to believe that the comparatively more cosmopolitan city would be more advanced and on top of students' sex education.
But results from a recent survey on condom use and awareness conducted by local women's rights NGO Zi Teng shows that Hong Kong fares no better in educating its youth.
Nearly half of all respondents (46.7 percent) incorrectly believe that Vaseline is a suitable lubricant for use with condoms. And only 55.7 percent of respondents say they use condoms every time they have sex, while just 35.4 percent are married or have a fixed partner.
Twenty percent rely on packaging instructions for the proper use of condoms. If a condom loosens during use, 69 percent incorrectly believed it was okay to refit the condom, whereas loosening actually indicates that the condom is too large or small.
Ng A Shan, organizer of Zi Teng's survey, believes that opinionated parents are keeping teachers from fully executing the sex education curriculum.
"Parents don't want teachers and schools to talk about it. They believe that it will encourage students to start having sex earlier."
Here’s what sex educator Laci Green has to say: [laci clip]
Making room to talk about Sex gives teenagers the opportunity to ask questions or voice insecurities. E.g. is it normal if I don’t feel ready for sex, how can I find out if I’m ready, is this person the right person to be my first… or as Jon Oliver found in this show about Sex education.
Not talking about leaves a void and doesn’t prevent a thing.
[Laci Green Clip]
Due to the lack of sex education available in classrooms, students, instead, are turning to their friends, or to media outlets such as the Internet and adult video. Significantly more respondents first learned about condoms from the media (52.4 percent) as opposed to school (37.2 percent). But this proves to be an unreliable source of sex education information.
"The media carries a lot of incorrect messages," says Ng, who found that asking for advice from friends shows no better results. "Some girls believe they can use Coke to wash themselves after sex to prevent pregnancy. They were told by multiple friends about this and were even surprised to hear that the method is incorrect."
An article in the SouthChina Morning Post states that
Teen pregnancy is, in fact, a very significant problem in Hong Kong.
Most of the young women who are counselled by Mother's Choice are under 25, many of whom are 16 or younger. They regularly receive calls from and counsel girls as young as 12.
A 2012 study
Children's Understanding and Knowledge of Conception and Birth: Comparing Children from England, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States
asked children in the U.S., the Netherlands, England, and Sweden to draw pictures explaining where babies come from. The Dutch kids were able to explain or draw the mechanics fairly accurate -- American kids got nowhere near as close to understanding what was going on, and invariably invoked God in their explanations. One U.S. boy said, "I think [babies] are made by a mom and a dad, but I am not sure how; maybe during special time when they are alone."
The study's authors concluded that it is possible for kids that young to understand the concepts of conception and birth, and argued that "In these countries [like the Netherlands and Sweden] with more open attitudes toward sexuality and greater recognition of the need to educate young people, there are higher rates of contraceptive use by both male and female teens and lower rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion."
In a forum for expats living in Germany, one woman asked if sex education is compulsory in Germany (YES) and if there was a way for her child to opt out. (YES)
One of the replies was from a Montessori school teacher explaining how early sex education is approached in her school.
Sex education is introduced in the 1st year but you have to remember that, at that age, sex education is really more about biology and the 'mechanics' of sex rather than the emotional aspect. They learn the proper names for body parts (albeit the more German words, Scheide and Glied as opposed to Vagina and Penis) and use them to label two drawings of a boy and a girl. They then learn about how babies are made which is supported by the material 'Babykiste' (Baby box) which, with pictures, explains each month of pregnancy. Just the pure mechanics, so to speak.
Older children (years 3 and 4) are visited by a midwife, who discusses childbirth with them. The kids really enjoy this visit, especially those who are about to become older brothers or sisters. She explains what happens during childbirth (again, using age appropriate language, diagrams and material) and what her job is during labour and birth.
That's really it. I don't really understand why someone would be so against 'exposing' their children to such lessons. If there's one thing I've learnt whilst teaching, it's that kids do not like to be lied to. I personally feel that this topic is best discovered and explored in a classroom environment (if the parents aren't prepared to do it themselves) rather than rumours and misinformation gained through what they might hear in the playground.
As for the 'emotional side', this is more covered in the Religion/Ethics lessons (our kids can choose between the two subjects). I'm not really involved in either subject so I can't really comment, other than that I once covered a Year 1 ethics lesson and I was very impressed with what they already know about the topic No storks, no giggles, no finding kids under a bush or whatever... just the straightforward facts.
Let me finish with a quote by paleo leap.
The most important concept and one thing that should be kept in mind through any endeavor into Paleo is this one:
The goal is and has always been optimal health and well-being, not sticking to dogmas just for the sake of being righteous.
We’ll be able to achieve this by reconciling with what then and now has proven to make us human.