When you're used to going to bed with the sun, laughing at yourself and the trivial things in life, eating fresh berries and relaxing, you begin to realize there are some essentials for living the Paleolithic and Primal lifestyle. This lifestyle attempts to take us back far enough to eat styles of food that were not as altered as they are today.
Our ways of life, our primal actions, thought patterns and other instincts have been part of our DNA for longer than we can comprehend; it would be wise to stick to what got us here.
If you are a skeptic, look at the health of the country and World in the past 30 years, the current year, and the general direction for the health of the mainstream publics' future, Paleo is one of the best options.
Here are 10 Primal Instructions for Life
Get more sunlight
Obviously depending on your ancestral line, people like me (Irish and German) were not accustomed to a large amount of sunlight geographically, however it makes me feel great!
I am thankful to live in an area that has more abundant amounts of sunshine.
The concept of "being inside" is relatively new. Cavemen always had to come out of the cave, we don't.
Going from your house to your garage to your car to your parking garage to your office doesn't leave much time for the outdoors. Get off work, get in the car, head home, go back inside to cook, relax and sleep and repeat.
Our brains and bodies are confused by this and can lead to fatigue, depression, anxiety and a lack of general well-being.
The theory of cabin-fever is real!
I have experienced it in the many weeks of below freezing temperatures and gray skies that happens in the midwest. It's hard to break out of your comfort zone and get some sunshine in places like that.
If you have the opportunity to take a short trip to get sun rays, go for it!
Laughing has been a part of the human existence for longer than we can imagine, it's one of the very primal things we're meant to do (think of very young babies and their ability to laugh).
The thought is, our ancestors would have been scared when they hear something behind the bush, they run over with their spear to see what it is, they find a bunny rabbit! Then they proceed to laugh their ass off. It was a stress and social relief that we thrive on!
C'mon Evan isn't this supposed to be a serious website for health tips? Yes it is!
That's why I include smiling on this list.
Smiling is an action that happens with babies even before they can laugh! That tells us that it is something deeply rooted into the human experience and is essential.
Smiling can be hard sometimes, but can shift your perspective on a situation or mood you may be in. I smile in scenarios where I probably shouldn't have, and have actually partly lost a job due to smiling and laughing. Sorry I was happy! Misery loves company; don't participate.
Mark Sisson actually wrote about the importance and benefits of holding and touching your babies.
This is a great thing too, but adults need touch with one another just as much. In an age where social interaction is becoming more digitalized, human touch is a lost feeling.
There are palpable benefits of touching skin and it would be rude to your senses not to touch people, things, trees, dirt etc. We have such sensitive hands and fingers, able to sense any imperfections on our keyboards and touch screens, apply this sense of touch to the physical world. I usually hug everyone I meet, regardless of their level of awkwardness. Do they get weirded out? Yeah, sometimes, but eventually people will learn to hug you and feel the benefits. I'd take a hug or half-handshake/half-hug over a cheesy handshake from anyone, it just makes sense.
Get Enough Sleep
Good quality sleep is in short supply in a time of LED lights on every electronic item in your room. It may be time to get rid of your extra alarm clocks and create a happier, simpler life. Sleep is also an under-appreciated fat-burner and energy booster.
Caves would have been pitch dark, which would explain why your eyelids are the thinnest skin on the human body, they didn't need to block out light and were supposed to be ultra sensitive to light.
Sleeping in an ultra-dark environment is how you can achieve deeper, more restful sleep.
This is why you may wake up before your alarm if you are in a great routine and follow pretty closely to the human's natural circadian rhythm (get up with the sun, go to bed with the sun).
A focus on sleep is of the upmost importance. We have to remember that our bodies are not able to run efficiently without sleep. Look around at everyone, kind of cool to realize no matter who someone is, they have slept in the last few days.
In an age of high-speed internet, pornography and other forms of sexual media are everywhere.
Long-term exposure to these images and videos and use can lead to erectile disfunction, lack of sex drive, depression and more.
Basically it all goes back to brain pathways, which can lead to addiction in any shape or form (video games, junk food, alcoholism, nicotine addiction etc). Once these brain pathways are carved, your brain will crave the stimulus and trick you into thinking there is no other way to be happy or satisfied until you give in.
Brain pathways can be fixed and healed, it just takes a while to form new synapses for what your brain thinks makes you happy.
Sex with a loved one, spouse or significant other is important for a release of oxytocin "the love drug" and a sense of calm.
Do not let the spark in the relationship die due to external stress, bills, kids etc. Make time and plan the event if you have to.
You know how excited you get for your vacation coming up? Think of sex the same way, it may help you!
Did our ancestors participate in monogamy the way that the majority of us do today? There are huge debates and evidence trying to prove both sides. However, sex is essential to satisfying your DNA.
There's a reason that it makes you feel good, you could say sex is a biological trick to keep our species going (that we have attempted to beat with birth control pills and condoms!). Generally, humans benefit from long-term relationships with people whether they were partners or not.
Mark Sisson also talks about the importance of long-term relationships and the importance of building a close knit tribe in his book the Primal Connection.
Let's face it, our modern way of life is weird.
We live inside boxes of drywall, fiberglass, insulation and plastic, we drive metal and plastic cars with rubber wheels, we swipe a plastic card to grant us permission to anything and everything we could ever ask for (except love); we can't expect to be fully Paleo.
Natural movements like running, climbing, jumping and crouching are beneficial.
We are designing programs such as MovNat to try to rediscover and promote a style of movement that is similar to what our bodies are programmed for.
We are extremely adaptable to any way of life, but I am 100% positive about this program. I've mentioned on the podcasts before that I work in a park. I am susceptible to climbing trees, running up hills, bending over and crouching to slide under bushes, running from terrifying snakes that I uncover etc.
I have experienced the importance of this "primal" way of moving, and my body loves it. You'll have more energy throughout the day, a leaner physique, crave meat more (seriously), and become a happier person.
I love bodybuilding and lifting heavy weight. A heavy dumbbell is a challenge that's exciting to me. I lift a lot of things out in nature that can be considered "primal lifting", but your body can safely adapt to free weights like dumbbells.
Doing movements such as lunges, chest press, squats, and rows will ensure a strong sense of balance, lower body strength, and upper body power.
If you've read this far, you have it. I'm glad that you have taken initiative to change your health, once you get results, I know you will tell others. Willpower seems to be in short supply.
Having the willpower to improve your health and happiness sounds great on paper, but it not always easy to apply and execute. People are paralyzed by fear of failure, judgment from others and can let their own inner voice control their life.
Don't be afraid to be uncomfortable. In this transition to healthy living (don't take your time), you will experience many struggles, cravings, mood shifts and days you just want to eat a cookie. That's why people have invented "Paleo cookies".
I think this is a great idea to trick your brain into thinking you're getting the nostalgic foods from your past. But once you break these barriers and hop of the speedbumps you encounter, with willpower, things that used to seem difficult, for the pros, or simply impossible will open up to your ability. You can become unstoppable!
Trust Your Gut
Once you develop a good diet, you will learn to trust your gut. You will sneak a piece of bread only to be followed by a small case of IBS or other stomach issues. Trusting your gut with the things you put in your body is important, but trusting your gut as you venture through life is equally important.
We've developed this gut feeling through millions of years with the ancestral part of our brain that we all carry. Many trials and errors of burning ourselves with fire, getting poisoned by snakes and falling off cliffs have developed these instincts.
Have you pulled your hand away from a hot stovetop right before you touched it? It's part our autonomous reaction system which is quite amazing.
Deep breathing, 2-3 minutes of meditation and relaxation techniques will enable you to tune into your gut feelings better than before. Being present and tuning out thoughts of the future will enable your gut feelings to function better too.
Lack of love is the problem? Partly. Love enables you to achieve anything.
Is love Primal?
Yes, love and the release of oxytocin that occurs after hugging, kissing, having sex could have tricked our ancestors to feel "love" and stay with the woman long enough to raise the child to an age where they could take care of themselves.
Today, love is more than that. Love applied to your career is the ability to do something even if it were free. Imagine you had a plethora of grass-fed beef and the freshest picked fruits and vegetables at your disposal and all you had to do was make a difference and pursue your passion. What would you do?
Humans were designed to work with others; isolated jobs and the era of individualism (the thought that everyone should have their own car, phone, laptop, mp3 player and iPad) that we have today is not a recipe for love and community.
How well do you really know that guy next to you in your cubicle?
You're around him 40 hours+ a week and you eat lunch in the same room everyday right? That must mean that you're close. In reality, the amount of people that would drop everything and lift a car off of you to save you is generally relatively small. Seek out those who want to be through the toughest parts in life with you.
Where am I going with this?
I want you to find love in your job, find love in your community, find purpose and something that makes you feel alive; don't settle for anything less.
Change can be hard.
Find something that you can wakeup, eat some bacon and start working on with a smile on your face.
Life is short, there's not enough time to be unhappy.
We have to act fast and make immediate progress! Making a difference in others' lives will create happiness. Caring for yourself is amazing and essential, but going out to help others is what we can thrive on.
Health is just one aspect of life, but it's the core that shapes your life! Keep it up.
What habits have you created that your ancestors would be proud of? Comment below.