Journal Entries. Spring


Short Observation

I realized very quickly that the Paleo diet was more than a simple diet. It resembled a true way of life, a way of thinking, a way of eating the things that made people feel the very best they could. Trying to learn more about the diet, I followed Steger to a gym called CrossFit Blacksburg, a small, corner of a building gym with 5 pullup bars, 8 lifting bars, and old, rubber weight plates. It seemed as if the next logical step after Paleo was joining this gym. Or maybe joining the gym was the first step to going Paleo. Either way, the individuals in this gym (Chuck, a rubgy player, Marsha, a 60 some year old lady, and Garrett, an ROTC guy at Radford) all had something figured out. For an hour, they worked out in short spurts of as little as 3 minutes to up to 20 minutes, and on this particular day only did about 15 minutes of solid lifting, the rest of the time spent stretching, doing handstands, doing pullups, pushups, essentially jungle gym activities. A main part of their hour in the gym was the probably 10 minutes or so that they simply fired questions about nutrition to eachother, ranging from topics like fish oil, insulin response, and the lowest sugar fruits.

20 minute observation fieldwork

My 20 minute observation started a little unorthodox in nature, as I was unsure of a concrete, tangible location in which to do actual fieldwork. However, that soon became a non-issue.

As I decided to begin working with the Paleo diet and following its guidelines for health, I knew I was very limited by my simple knowledge base of the whole process. So I decided to bring it up in conversation with a few good friends in a car ride back from Snowshoe, WV, a few select friends who pride themselves on being healthy, but not following Paleo. By speaking with them, I would be able to hear my intial discerning, anti-Paleo thoughts while spreading some of the ideas I had learned about Paleo.

"Where do you get your carbs?"
"You're telling me milk is bad for you?"
"So whole-grain pasta- high in fiber and B vitamins, is a no go?"

And I could only give a few select ideas from what I knew from the reading I had done (, I knew I would have to learn more, somehow. I needed to find a veritable Paleo-epicenter, a tangible location to view others while doing my own personal learning. There has to be somewhere where people who are this health-conscious meet and interact, it's too extreme and effective for there not to be a small contingent of Paleo-ers somewhere.

And for my 20 minute-observation, to make it fit with the assignment, I'll give some initial thoughts about my being on the Paleo diet for a week now.

I feel awful. Having no starchy carbs is leaving me with no energy. I can feel my glycogen (energy in my muscles) not being replaced after a long walk up a hill, leaving me sucking wind. My head feels light just before mealtimes, like I'm craving a MilkyWay bar or a Coca-Cola. One of the only things that's keeping me up is coffee, of which the flow is plentiful, and to top it all of my workout routine is really suffering, because I just want to sleep all the time. My stomach hurts with the massive influx of vegetables, fats from olive oils and nuts, and citrusy fruits. You may think this is going wrong, but I am right on schedule. I have been warned that the first week to two weeks of Paleo makes you feel like death, and only when your body can convert from using sugars and starches as the main energy source to using fats and going into ketosis for energy do you realize the full benefits of Paleo. Not here in the blog, but in the Essay will be a dumbed-down scientific reasoning (to the best of my ability) of the process. Here's to hoping it works! Got to plug on through!

Nickel and Dimed

The author of the ethnographic study 'Nickel and Dimed' does an excellent job in the briefing of describing her paper. Most of the excerpt is based around her own evaluation of the process, and her ability to defend every single course of her study. She fully diagnoses her own standing pre-study against what she wants to learn from the study, leveraging her credibility against her own inner feelings of the ethnographic process. This is to the benefit of her entire audience as well as herself, as she is able to objectively view her own purpose.

However, her scientific analysis come into play at the expense of the personality of her paper. Granted, low-income status is nothing to laugh about, but 'Nickel and Dimed' (from the excerpt) seems to be written with a lack of personality. Her study largely is about the dynamic between poverty-stricken people as well as herself, and I feel this could be somewhat more incorporated into her brief. Her scientific background clearly shows as the briefing of the paper reads more like an abstract of an experiment rather than the largely influential, personable paper it could be.

What's Missing
I feel that overall I have a pretty good grip on my study thus far and feel fairly well-directed as to where I go from here. I need to focus on the big picture moreso than on specific attributes of CF and Paleo; however, the passion I want to relay about Paleo+CF must first be justified with studies proving it. I am having difficulty recording too many observations about the gym- it's pretty business-like except for the five minutes before a workout and ten minutes afterwards. Any observations I gain are squeezed in between my own workout.

I want to start focusing on the overall meaning of the diet and the gym to those who are in this nutrition subsection. It won't be hard to incorporate this because I can feel their passion every time they talk about CFPaleo; it's just a matter of working it into my paper.