It seems a little anachronistic to create a page of links in 2008, now that Google is so good, but I want to highlight the few excellent websites that reflect and complement the themes we cover on evfit.com; being at the top of a Google results page is no guarantee of quality or usefulness. This selection of links points to quality and remains very selective.
Here's an annotated list of the websites we have been impressed with. The annotations highlight the differences between the sites and evfit.com as we see them - not to criticize the listed sites, but to help readers find what they are looking for; we genuinely value the different contributions made by each site:
Art DeVany's site: http://www.arthurdevany.com
Comment: Art is the doyen of 'Evolutionary Fitness', in fact the term is possibly his own, although he was not the first into the area (Stephen Boyden - 1973 - has that honour and Boyd Eaton's The Paleolithic Prescription was the first book - 1988). Art sees and conveys more clearly than anyone else the metabolic integrity of the human body and how diet and exercise are not two aspects of the palaeo way, but for all practical purposes a single issue. I visit this site daily. More on Art here.
Loren Cordain's site: http://www.thepaleodiet.com
Comment: Loren is the doyen of palaeo food. He provides regular scientific bulletins free to subscribers. His work is grounded in academic thoroughness and exhibits the associated restraint and caution. He has stuck to the scientific evidence and this has set more romantically-minded palaeo diet enthusiasts against him. His review articles are beyond peer. Although he focuses on diet, he never forgets the complementary role of activity.
Frank Forencich's site: http://www.exuberantanimal.com
Comment: Frank's two books Play as if your life depends on it and Exuberant animal are, in my view, the best books introducing physical fitness and health since Neanderthin. Frank says relatively little about diet (which is almost refreshing in our society awash with advice and opinions about food), but what he does well is to introduce readers to the gestalt of the Pleistocene way . It's odd that Frank is rarely referred to by others in this field - and he rarely refers to them (see my note below on 'What marks out evfit ...).
Richard Nikoley's site: http://www.freetheanimal.com
Comment: Richard's site is evolving as his experience with our subject matter develops. His enthusiasm is infectious. Richard's focus tends to be on diet and the lessons from human evolution. Richard provides clear and innovative syntheses, and makes sharp observations on the obtuseness of 'health' authorities and the a-theoretical meanderings of conventional wisdom. Richard has strong views on 'palaeolithic individualism' as opposed to 'the Neolithic invention of the State and its collectivism'. Another example here. I always look forward to my daily visits to Free the Animal.
Chris's blog: http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com/
Comment: Another energetic blogger, Chris - from Britain - provides a comprehensive and current survey of what's new on the web.
Don's blog: http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/
Comment: Don - in Arizona- has formal qualifications in philosophy and nutrition which he deploys to explore food, fitness, pharmacy, freedom, and philosophy using an evolutionary paradigm. Primal Wisdom refers to the accumulated wisdom of our pre-agricultural ancestors as well as the innate wisdom built into the modern human organism through millions of years of evolution. See his July 2009 post on how to lose excess body fat and his May-June 2009 series on 10 problems applying palaeolithic diet principles - and generous responses to enquirers who post questions.
Keith Norris's blog: http://theorytopractice.wordpress.com/
Comment: Lots of stuff here and a good site to visit if you are the sort of person who likes to read approaches by different teachers in order to get to grips with the underlying principles. Keith has photos of himself at 44. I differ from Keith Norris in that one rationale for his site is to demonstrate that the palaeo lifestyle is possible while still holding down a full-time job and otherwise doing non-palaeo things for most of the day. To me this is a compromise - and, of course, we all compromise. But to me the compromise needs to be acknowledged and up-front. Keith covers both exercise and diet, but the connections between them are not clear. He describes his workouts, but continues the irritating tradition in exercise blogs of keeping from readers the weights he uses in his routines. Mid-2009 Keith added YouTube videos of over a dozen palaeo exercises.
Dan Bassett's blog At Darwin's Table: http://www.darwinstable.com
Comment: A new blog from New Zealand (Dan has lived in the US) focusing on diet and fat loss, with no reference to exercise (Chapter 11 of Loren Cordain's The Paleo Diet). Charts his weight-loss progress with data and images. As Dan develops his interest in human evolution; he is reading widely and passing on, in terms clear to the non-specialist, information on optimal foraging strategy, He is also dipping into other aspects of Palaeolithic life such as the relevance for us today of hunter-gatherer's concept of time. A useful site for those whose interest is primarily fat-loss as they can share with Dan his widening knowledge and his narrowing waistline; for this reason we wish Dan well and hope his blog helps both him and his readers along the palaeo way.
Erwan Le Corre's video and website: http://www.movnat.com/
Comment: Erwan demonstrates in his inspirational video aspects of his 'palaeolithic parkour'. An interview with Erwin is here. Erwin argues for leaving gyms behind as being yet another creation of the 'human zoo'. Erwan also demonstrates in his own physique a perfect human form or body shape.
Pete's blog: http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/
Comment: This blog is worth linking to as it demonstrates the validity of an idea I have had for decades: that vets and medical doctors should do the same basic training for a year ot two before specializing in their animals of choice. Pete's is not specifically a palaeo blog, but it is a source of informed scientific commentary on relatively high-fat diets.
Paleolithic Nutrition: http://www.paleonu.com Kurt Harris (Wisconsin USA)
Comment: from the website (and beautifully, elegantly put): "The diet is not about eating exactly what "cavemen" ate, or killing your own food. It is solely about duplicating what I believe are the key elements of the internal hormonal metabolic milieu that we evolved under from especially less than 1 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago. This is likely to be achieved not by eating specific things, but more by not eating specific things." Sound science communicated skilfully to concerned interested persons without a science background.
Amadeus Schmidt-Philipp's website http://wwwwell.de/paleolix/
Comment: Amadeus is a German vegetarian and focuses on food rather than the full paleo lifestyle. He's been writing on palaeo themes on the web since at least mid-1998. Like evfit.com, Amadeus started on the web well before blogging software was available.
What's missing? Despite our broad Darwinian perspective, it's pretty obvious that all of the above - including this site - are dominated by educated, middle-class, middle-aged white males in a few 'first world' societies. Where are the women? Where's the children's perspective? What is the relevance of the palaeo way for the elderly? Is there no interest in this topic from Africa, China, India or South America?
What marks out evfit.com as different from the above? Most of the above sites are run from the USA and some authors (Forencich is an exception) wear their American-ness proudly. There are indications in the writings of what I (not being American) identify as libertarianism, individualism, macho. I linked to two examples from Richard Nikoley above. An example from Art De Vany is here. In the mid-19th century Herbert Spencer drew lessons from Darwin's evolutionary theory for human societies and introduced the phrase 'survival of the fittest' as a model for social organization. My own reading of anthropology points to a prominent, institutionalized suppression of individualism in tribal societies. There are tribal myths which caution against dissent from authority and these myths are complemented by institutionalized sanctions for transgressors. The movie Atanarjuat demonstrates how the tyrrany of the group can be applied against individuals. At evfit.com I draw out the contrast between a palaeolithic lifestyle lived in a Pleistocene environment and the polluted, over-populated world we live in with its consumerist lifestyle and its high energy demands. So I take an active role in environmental organizations and beyond. I do many things manually which others do using electricity; I grow much of my own food rather than depending on complex national logistics and publicly-funded infrastructure. I deliberately, as part of my application of the Palaeolithic lifeway, try to reduce my ecological footprint. Of course I compromise, but I try to be aware of my compromises and endeavour to reduce them. At evfit.com I also take into account evolutionary psychology and have a collection of brief pieces beginning on this page which show how I make the links from human evolution through evolutionary psychology to the future of human society.
1. On terminology, there is a pattern emerging of referring to 'the paleo way' which the authors tend to use to describe their selective 21st century adaptation of aspects of our evolutionary inheritance to their 21st century lives. This contrasts with our own approach which is to draw as widely as possible on what we know of the Palaeolithic era - the name given to the last phase of human culture before the adoption of agriculture (the Neolithic); it corresponds with the geological era, the Pleistocene, so we speak of Palaeolithic life in the Pleistocene. We like to give the Pleistocene prominence as it emphasizes the pristine environment that we see it essential to restore for the best of human health and well-being. And we acknowledge the fact - uncomfortable to many - that restoring the Pleistocene will be painful and therefore unacceptable. Indeed, to even suggest that restoration of the Pleistocene is desirable is feared so much that it is fiercely denied ('denial' is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's first stage of acceptance) and ridiculed. I draw inspiration for my palaeo ways from the writings of John Zerzan, Daniel Quinn, Keith Farnish, Derrick Jensen and the like, whereas to most of the above bloggers, they would be anathema.
2. For a full account see pages 24-27 of Henry Plotkin's Evolutionary thought in psychology, 2003.
3. Not all sites that claim to promote palaeo-inspired health, diet, exercise or overlapping areas of well-being are well-founded. If you are in doubt about the credibility of any book, website or article, post a query on discussion forums such as Paleofood, the Caveman Food group on Yahoo, Evolutionary Fitness or the blogs listed above. Another source is the reviews of books at Amazon.com. Or try Google: on 1 January 2010 I used Google to check on the credentials of people who had written recommendations for a new book. I found Ronald Klatz listed on Quackwatch, Frank Shallenberger "originally inspired my research into medical misconduct in Nevada", Frederic J. Vagnini has a licence suspension and a $10,000 fine, and Lynne Kavulich has a puffed-up cv. Although the new book may be sound (and I believe it is good, but not as good as the promotional e-mail would like us to believe) this is not a good start; could the author not find untainted referees?
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Page last updated 23 August 2010