made from elk, wild boar, venison and water buffalo. He also raises grass-fed emu and chicken in
hopes of adding them to his menu. Because he doesn’t believe in pushing his beliefs on others, he
offers non-Paleo options, too.
In graduate school, Satnick studied anthropology, with an emphasis on evolutionary anthropology,
and worked with chimpanzees. Living a life without things many of us consider essential, he reads,
doesn’t watch television and is not into technology. A former rugby player, he was a vegetarian until
heart problems forced him to reconsider and turned him toward the Paleo diet.
Satnick has no Wi-Fi in his restaurants. “We want people to talk to each other,” he says. And,
like Cordain, he believes that living a compassionate life with direct human connections leads to
optimism and health. “I worry that people consider Paleo a caricature. We are not asking them
to live like cavemen, but to live simpler lives and have relationships. Eating in a more ancestrally
appropriate way, finding your tribe, exercising more and having social relationships give people
an identity and take the edge off the fragmentation of civilization.”
what’s the meaning of “connected?”
Restaurants have traditionally been places where folks chat, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.
But an increasing reliance on virtual relationships is contributing to social fragmentation while
seeming to keep us connected. A restaurateur cannot ask a guest to get off his or her cell phone, or
to close an iPad or stop texting. If diners want to multitask while eating, you can’t throw them out.
But research by the late Stanford University professor Clifford Nass, Ph.D., showed that multitasking
diminishes our ability to focus, concentrate, be empathetic and analyze ideas. Nass felt that we must
sanctify time spent face to face.
We’ve all heard about young people who can’t converse facing each other. We’ve seen friends
texting each other as they sit side by side. “Our networked life allows us to hide from each other,
even as we are tethered to each other,” says Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor/
psychologist Sherry Turkle in Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less
from Each Other (Basic Books, 2012).
Laptops and iPads are banned at August First, a bakery/café in Burlington, Vermont, where
a sign conceived by owner Jodi Whalen says, “Come in. Sit down. Relax, converse. Just leave
your laptop in your purse.”
“Technology has destroyed interrelations in the human community,” according to the late Theodore
Roszak, professor emeritus of history, California State University, East Bay, Hayward, California.
And it’s possible that as technology moves us forward, we yearn to experience the simplicity of
earlier times, to move forward by moving backward and not lose touch with our human and culinary
roots. This could be why we want to work the way our ancestors did, eat more communally and
connect to our biological roots.
lifestyles going forward by going backward
is technology the
Some blame technology for making
us stupid, for coaxing us to forget
mental skills and how to do things with
our hands. Others say it allows us to
hide behind virtual masks, creating
an inauthentic performance mentality
in which we are never real with one
another. And much has been made
about how technology can lock us
into a false sense of connectedness
promoting psychic isolation.
But René Weber, a professor in the
Department of Communication at the
University of California, Santa Barbara
(UCSB), says it’s unwise to blame
technology wholesale for changing
the way we think. He adds that brains
change every moment of one’s life, with
or without technology. Weber, who is also
director of UCSB’s Media Neuroscience
Lab, points out that our brains are
different after every conversation.
To know how and if technology has long-lasting effects on brains, what’s studied
must be specific, Weber says. How does
different access to media technology
affect memory, attention, language,
empathy or higher-order cognitive
abilities? “One might also argue
that it isn’t technology that changes
brains. Instead, our brains created
media technologies that satisfy basic
human needs,” he says. “For example,
Facebook has been created to satisfy the
basic human need of connectedness.”
As of today, Weber says, brain science
can only answer basic questions in
constrained experiments. “We don’t
really know how new media technology
changes our brains long-term. But
brain science makes huge progress
To this end, Weber and others are
creating new research designs to
explore media effects on the brain.