Modern Paleo Living

A few rare souls have gone off to the wilderness to live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Of course, Paleo bands were highly sociable, and it would be impossible to replicate Paleo society today; but in the wilderness one naturally eats a Paleo diet.

Such a soul was Dick Proenneke, a carpenter, mechanic, and naturalist who retired at age 51 to live alone in Alaska’s Lake Clark National Preserve. He remained in the wilderness until age 82, when he returned to civilization. He died at age 86 in 2003.

Proenneke kept a journal and took video footage of himself, some of which appeared on US public television as the film Alone in the Wilderness.  Youtube has a collection of this video. Here is Disc 1 Part 1:

P.S.: If you do live a Paleo lifestyle, don’t do your hunting on the Hanford nuclear reservation.

  1. captivating…mesmorizing…amazing…wonder how far he had to go to get to the local pharmacy. a 51 year old has to be on multiple maintenance medications right?

  2. Heh!

    I imagine his medications were trout, fresh air, sunshine, and beauty. I bet they had very few negative side effects.

  3. Thanks for this link — very interesting!

    However, from what this video series tells us, his diet wasn’t exactly paleo. It included a lot of sugar, grains, and legumes that were flown in by plane. Here’s how his diet is described on Disk 2 Part 2 at 8:45:

    “His diet consists mostly of simple foods — fuel he calls it — like oatmeal mixed with raisins and honey, some meat and sour dough biscuits and gravy, and spuds, and of course fish. And there’s always a kettle of beans on the stove.”

    By the way, I love both your book and blog. You’re doing important things. Thanks!

  4. Hi Robert,

    Too bad. Maybe that’s why he died so young!

  5. I’ve been a fan of Dick Proenekke for ages. I have his book, One Man’s Wilderness, and the video Alone in the Wilderness. Highly recommended.

  6. Bubba said “a 51 year old has to be on multiple maintenance medications right?”
    – really? I don’t know where you’re living, but nobody in my family has been on medication until into their sixties. My husband is 48 and the only medication he has is a relaxing beer in the evening and a pick-me-up coffee in the morning!

    Wow, what kind of world do we live in when 50 is thought of as old and sick?

    Just discovered this blog, by the way – lots of great stuff!

  7. Hi Helen, Bubba was joking! Sadly too many 51 year old Americans are on prescription medications. A year in the Alaskan wilderness would do more to heal them than the drugs, of course.

  8. Lol, good to know he was joking…! Though it says something that I thought he might be serious, really!

    and it’s true, too many people are on medication that shouldn’t be.

    I feel sad for young obese women, who should be in the prime of life and health, carrying more weight and health issues than I do at forty.

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