How Primal Living Works

October 16, 2011

Recently, I decided to reshape this blog and focus it specifically on primal living.  With that comes an obligation to explain, for those who aren’t familiar with the concept, what primal living actually entails.

In short, the premise behind the primal/paleo/ancestral health movement is that genetically, humans haven’t changed much since our pre-agricultural origins as hunter-gatherers.  The world we live in, on the other hand, has changed radically.  We’ve introduced a lot of novel foods – grains, legumes, and sugar – that we are not yet well adapted to eat.  Additionally, we are still holding onto a set of genes that expect us to be moving and active most of the day, but live largely sedentary lives.  We’re programmed to respond well to acute stress, yet we live in a state of chronic stress.  Basically, we’re living totally at odds with the system (and our role in it) that nature has created for us.

Primal living, then, is about mimicking, to the best of our ability, the lifestyle that we are designed for.  It means getting rid of evolutionarily novel foods like grains (wheat, corn, soy, etc.), legumes (beans, mostly), and added or refined sugars.  It means embracing the foods that come, readily edible and readily delicious, from the earth: meat, animal fat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts.  It means breaking up the sedentary lifestyle by walking more, sprinting sometimes, and lifting things (including yourself).  It means unlocking your best possible health (and subsequently best possible life) by working with nature instead of against it.   It means really living in the world, instead of sitting inside while the world goes by.

For a more detailed explanation of the principles of primal or paleo living, check out the incredibly informative websites of Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf.

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