On Primal or Paleo Living

It’s thanksgiving and guess what?  It’s time to talk about diet, lifestyle and overall health!  The perfect time; or maybe an inappropriate time.  You decide!  😉

Primal Living

Modern Diet and Evolution

If you haven’t heard of, or aren’t very familiar with Primal Living or the Paleolithic Lifestyle stick with me a little bit and let me explain.  This “lifestyle” is becoming more and more mainstream as even sites like US Wellness Meats (Grassfed beef and other natural foods) are starting to promote it.  Initially it got started in the 70’s as an evolutionary diet.  We should eat what our bodies evolved to eat; namely to eat the meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits of our ancestors in ways they ate it: minimally processed with no chemicals.  However, that’s strictly a diet thing but the lifestyle has evolved (pun intended) into so much more; especially as the benefits are becoming more and more pronounced like curing diabetes and other “civilization diseases”.  It includes diet, but also now nearly influences most aspects of ones health.

An easy example would be that people who try to live “primally” try to get a lot of sun exposure.  Our bodies evolved to (or created for) absorb the sun’s rays and utilize that radiation for our benefit.  That’s common knowledge and readily accepted, but how many of us actually try to get into the sun’s rays for health reasons?  Generally we slap on sun cream and go outside.  Primal doesn’t due sunscreen.  Get the sun, get your health, get your tan and then get back into shade when your body has absorbed too much.  A tan is our natural sunscreen.

Vibram Five Fingers

Vibram Five Fingers

Another example is exercise.  There have long been exercise regimes that promote vast amounts of cardio, or high intensity, or some mixture; or kettle balls, or only God knows what.  The Primal lifestyle has brought the ancestral health aspect to exercise as well.  Generally our ancestors didn’t go for 15 mile runs everyday in heavily supported shoes.  If they ran, it was probably barefoot or in leather sandals.  And their exercise was generally in short, high intensity bursts: running after a hunt, running from being hunted, attacking other humans, and various play.  As such, primal living has become big proponents of high intensity workouts as well as “lots of slow moving” category like hiking and walking; combined with the barefoot movement.  Which if you haven’t heard about it, check out the Vibram Five Fingers as one of the early “barefoot” shoes.  Running and walking barefoot has been shown to have a myriad of benefits including faster running speed (some of the worlds fastest runners come from barefoot societies – think Africa) and reduced injury due to stronger feet.

Natural, Whole Meats

US Wellness Meats: Grassfed Foods

One last strong example is the natural foods movement.  Primal living has become a huge proponent of natural foods, grass-fed beef and animal care because of the diet issue.  Animals that eat and live in their natural state are healthier and produce/store in higher quantity the minerals, vitamins & oils that humans need in our consumption.  A cow that is pasture raised is healthier and happier and while we care about the animals well-being for the animals sake; the truth is that a healthier happier cow tastes better and is healthier for us to eat.  Just like in the free market, to maximize our own well being we need to maximize the well being of others; and now that includes animals.

So rather than going into all the aspects of Primal Living myself, as I am prone to due on this blog I will instead give a number of resources as well as some articles for further reading and watching.

  • Mark’s Daily Apple
    • Probably my favorite Primal Living site.
      Mark writes daily articles pertaining to everything mentioned above and below; and then a lot more.  If you are keen on learning more about living according to what your bodily needs are you couldn’t find a better starting point.
    • Mark is also the author of The Primal Blueprint which is an excellent book describing primal living.
    • Check out these Success Stories for before/after pictures and testimonials.  I enjoy reading these on occasion.
  • US Wellness Meats
  • Joseph Mercola
    • Mercola is a doctor turned health entrepreneur.  He produces a lot of articles about health in general and is an advocate of supplements, no carbs, and exercise.  However, many of his articles require a login to read which is highly annoying.  As such, here is article by him posted on a different site.
  • NY Times Article: What if it’s all Been a Big Fat Lie?
    • Good article discussing the modern american low fat, high carbohydrate diet.
  • NY Times Article: Is Sugar Toxic?
    • I didn’t discuss it above, but sugar intake is a huge thing with the primal/paleo diet.  It is seen as one of the root causes of diabetes and a myriad of other diseases.  However, not just plain white sugar, but glucose in general which carbohydrates turn into when consumed.  Too much bread and you might as well be eating plain sugar.
  • Fat Head Website & Fat Head the Documentary (free to watch)
    • Check out some of the short clips from the documentary on the Fat Head website
    • The documentary itself isn’t strictly about the Primal diet but it goes in that general direction and is a wonderful and funny watch.  Well worth the 1hr & 44min of time.
  • Wikipedia: Paleolithic Diet
    • A good history and basic run down of the diet.
The Primal Food Pyramid

The Primal Food Pyramid

That’s all for now!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I for one am thankful for the good health that the Lord has provided me through the directions and new avenues of thought promoted in my life.
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