Often I hear people talk about “surviving” the holidays. I read “holiday survival guides” and the like. I’ve even used the term myself in the same way on occasion. You could say perhaps the whole survival reference is purely tongue-in-cheek, but the fact is too many people do feel imposing stress this time of year. According to one sizable survey (PDF), close to 40% of us (higher for women than for men) experience stress around holiday preparations/family gatherings, financial pressures, commercial hype, limited time and food temptations (especially true for those who embrace a counter cultural diet). That doesn’t sound like much of a Primal party to me.
A couple weeks ago I did a “Midweek Kick in the Pants” post directed at those who read Mark’s Daily Apple regularly but were still on the relative sidelines in terms of making the leap to Primal living. Most readers were grateful for the call to action. Many, in fact, shared they needed the push and took the post as the sign (or message) they were waiting for in order to take the PB full throttle. A few, however, expressed some disappointment, saying the approach felt unwelcoming toward those who were earnest readers but not full “converts.” Although I responded then, I’ve given the issue some thought since and wanted to delve into an important underlying concept I see here: is progress enough when it comes to Primal? And what about the impediments that keep us from committing to the a new way of living? Are they merely excuses, or is it more complicated than that?
As many of us sit down to impressive feasts today, we’re undoubtedly thankful for the food on the table and the company that surrounds us. Our thoughts might peruse the events of the year – the many happy days enjoyed, the hard times weathered. Whatever the content of the year’s storyline, we made it intact and bring an attitude of gratitude for the chance to reflect, celebrate and share. There’s something to the mindset of the day. For those hours we see the upside. We focus on feeling fortunate – even abundant.
Every Friday I love highlighting stories about men and women who took the challenge and transformed their lives. Whatever their circumstances (e.g. diabetes, obesity, chronic autoimmune conditions), they grabbed hold of the Primal process and made it their own. Whether they went cold turkey or began in fits and starts, they eventually committed 100% and got the life they wanted. It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s why I wonder so much about folks who come to MDA on a regular basis but never really get so far as to implement the content in their own lives. Whether it’s information about low (or even moderate) carbing, moving frequently, standing workstations, going barefoot or relishing good natural fat, their interest never translates into action.
For years now, across multiple posts here on Mark’s Daily Apple, nighttime blue light has gotten a pretty bad rap. Although I’ve mentioned that blue light during the day is important (and natural sunlight is helpful), I haven’t focused on it, mostly homing in on the circadian-disrupting, sleep-inhibiting, melatonin-blunting effects. As a result, many of you may be entirely unaware of the potential positive, beneficial applications of blue light. Recent and not-so-recent research has confirmed that blue light can actually improve our cognitive abilities, including memory, alertness, reaction time, and executive function – at least in the short term. Oh, and it doesn’t always ruin our sleep. It might even improve it if you expose yourself at the right time.
Wait a minute – blue light is good for us? Sisson, you just got done spending the last few years telling me to excise blue light from my vicinity at night if I wanted a good night’s sleep, and now you’re saying we might actually need more blue light. What gives?
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