Amidst all of the rabid recapping going on on this blog this month (forthcoming), the most important may be on the evolution of this blog and community throughout 2012. I’m totally blown away when I look back at it. We’ve done a hell of a lot, and I could not be more proud of the wellness and radiance we’ve been able to promote. This post is all about patting our community and work on the back. It’s egregiously self-aggrandizing in some lights. But on the other hand I think it’s important to reflect upon the transformations that have taken place over the course of the last year. They really have been powerful. And perhaps they’ll help us keep our chins up and dream big for the future.
This blog was born at the beginning of May, 2012. This was the result of great strides I made in my understanding of the female endocrine system, my feelings about my body and my eating behavior, and my growing conviction that a truly evolutionary perspective on diet and health requires radical nourishment and self-love.
Which brings us to:
Milestone #1: Evolutionary Health, Revolutionary Womanhood
Of all the things I have ever written in my entire life, I think the synopses on the pages The Mission and The Movement hover near the best and most dear. An evolutionary woman is natural. She prizes her health and quality above life over all things, and she aspires to give her body the precise nourishment (both psychological and physiological) she needs in order to provide the strongest springboard off of which her radiant individuality and life can spring. She is a kickass woman of kickass womanhood, no matter her age, location, situation. She prizes health more than anything, and she does so paying attention to and giving her body exactly what it needs.
Getting some of that word and spirit out into the world, and developing a community thousands strong, of women supporting each other in their radical self-love and refusal to apologize for their natural bodies and health and pride– all I can do is give myself a gentle pat on the back, and an enormous high five to every single one of my readers. Especially those of you who are, or who are learning to, walk to the walk.
Damn, you are inspiring. Every single email I get about you troubleshooting your health and self-love ignites a happy fire in my soul. Thank you.
Milestone #2: Fasting is not a panacea!
This one nearly goes without saying. But I think the enormity of our success in this realm in the paleo world needs serious attending to. Much as I cringed while posting a direct, internet-based “attack” of Mark’s articles promoting intermittent fasting, the post “Shattering the Myth of Fasting for Women: A Review of Sex-Specific Responses in the Literature” has literally been viral and helped thousands of women. Thousands!
Moreover, this discussion has moved beyond PfW’s blog-walls and out into the paleo world in general. It is now broadly known and accepted, so far as I can tell, that fasting requires caution, especially for women. Lots of people all over the place are talking about this sort of thing, and it rarely now occurs in reference to my work. I do not consider this a slight– rather, it’s a victory. No one’s talking about this as the crazy thing that happened at Stefani’s lame site. Instead, it’s the good research that now undergirds fairly obvious ideas and no one needs to be specific about anything.
Milestone #3: The paleo diet does not cure disordered relationships with food, but holistic approaches do!
Much of the philosophy around disordered eating when I first entered the paleosphere was pretty flat, reductionistic, and useless: that the right diet would cure it all!
Turns out that that thought process is itself problematic: it can beget negative behaviors and psychologies. No one wants to be told they’re going to find a fix for their cravings in a diet and then be stymied. This leads to lots of self-doubt, flagellation, perfectionism, and frustration.
Instead, the way to truly tackle these issues is with a coupled approach: psychological healing (aided by the evolutionary perspective and revolutionary womanhood!) and physiological healing are both crucial. Neither can be truly optimized without the other.
This is another PfW meme that has become a somewhat obvious mainstream idea. I did a lot of unsophisticated arm-waving on my Paleo Pepper blog (please don’t go read it– it won’t be good for any of us), but through conversations with Diane of Balanced Bites, Liz of Cavegirl Eats, George of Civilized Caveman, Dallis and Melissa of Whole9, Jimmy of the Livin La Vida Low Carb Blog, Karly Randolph Pitman of the Sugar-Lift, and Stacy and Matt at Paleo Parents, along with so many brilliant others on Live. Love. Eat. Podcast and this blog and at AHS and the WAPF conferences, we have really managed to push the psychological/personal/love aspect of all of this into the limelight. What an enormous and beautiful thing. I can only hope to do this more and more in the coming years, as so many of the wonderful people talking about these things keep engaging each other and the world in open conversation.
Milestone #4: Revolutionizing the dialogue on Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome
While somewhat smaller scale and definitely more particular than the other milestones we’ve managed with this blog, this is the one that may have the most specific and highest impact on a subset of our community.
I did write and released a program designed to help women overcome PCOS. But that’s not the important part of this. The manual is a part of my efforts to spread what I think is the good word, but the biggest piece of it all is broadening the dialogue altogether. So far as I can tell, the broad world of public discussion about PCOS that I entered this year was focused on testosterone production and insulin resistance. What my experience and research taught me, however, was that PCOS is far more complicated than that. PCOS can happen to thin women. PCOS can be caused by problems other than insulin resistance. PCOS is a complex condition driven by a wide variety of diet, lifestyle, and epigenetic factors.
Being able to talk about that and share those ideas with women all over the world has been one of the greater blessings of my life.
Forthcoming this week are some more reflective posts. 2012 has taught me boatloads, and it certainly hasn’t been without it’s challenges, failures, and nerve-wracking uncertainties. A lot of it has sucked, point blank, and much of that has been directly at my own fault. I have offended a lot of people, and I have hurt some, and I have not been able to make the whole world harmoniously happy with what we do here. For those things I am deeply sorry. But I have also learned so much, and that’s really all I can ask of myself.
It has only been through the consistently positivity and love and pride that I have been able to participate in on this website that I have been cheered and empowered enough to keep this community chugging along. I am totally ignorant of what shape we will take moving into the future, but it has been a huge blessing to share in the delights of this project with you so far.
More forthcoming– and thank you, none of this would have been possible without you, none of it– and may your 2012 have been full of light and love, and the sort of transformations that lead towards ever more brilliant futures.