Last week’s “Why Diets Fail” post elicited some great discussion. There was a bit of everything – from wrangling to rallying, appeals to encouragement. It was the kind of conversation that, I feel, really makes the community. People are real. They put their experiences out there. From there the discussion, inquiry, challenge and support get going. It’s spirited and honest – doesn’t get any better than that in my book. I invite you to look back to the conversation yourself. For my part today, I want to address by far the biggest theme of that day – cravings. Your comments explored the issue from all kinds of angles. What do I do with cravings? Can I prevent them – pre-empt them in any way? Is it a bad sign if I have them? Do I need to give it time? Do I need to take a different approach? If I have them, does it mean eating Primally can’t work for me? Let’s take it apart.
In previous posts, I’ve spoken about the need to participate in innately human acts, those behaviors that seem to persist across cultures and languages and through space and time. To me, such universality implies importance and, perhaps, necessity. Why do humans from all places and all times dance or make tools or produce art if not to satisfy some Primal need that goes beyond tooth and claw survival? Today, I present to you another universal cultural constant deserving of our attention and participation: music.
These days most people have heard of the “media diet” concept. The idea is, of course, that we we partake of media sources too much, too often every single day. The result? We’re informationally bloated – mostly with junk media, the kind of stories and drama that will suck up every existing piece of serenity in our lives and have us going back for more. Whether it’s our smart phones, our tablets, our laptops, our T.V.s or Wii console, we can’t seem to let them be. As a result, we suffer the psychological, social and – as I wrote about last week - physiological consequences of this contemporary hobby horse.
One reader’s idea (Thanks, Patrick) in the comment section of last week’s post especially grabbed my attention when he brought up the idea of “periodic media fasts,” specifically “IF-ing all communication devices.” Being a rabid fan of the intermittent fasting concept, I was intrigued. Intermittent fasting in the traditional sense (no food), of course, can do wonders for honing our metabolism and upregulating epigenetic activity. Intermittent euphoria, a concept I’ve shared in the past, can upregulate – and likely upgrade – your emotional satisfaction.
When most people, myself included, discuss the negative effects of staying glued to our smartphones, computers, tablets, and social networking sites at all times, they often focus on everything we miss out on: meaningful interpersonal interactions, quality time spent with our significant others, a beautiful sunset/rise, good books, quality sleep, a great hike, the felt presence of immediate experience, that car barreling down the street toward us as we head into the crosswalk focused on who liked our Facebook post. And those are all important reasons to limit your screen time, but recent research is revealing a series of physiological, physical, and psychological ramifications to being hyperconnected all the time.
While the Challenge centers on those critical basics of good Primal health – food, exercise, sun, sleep, and play – there’s more to Primal life than just what I’d call the essentials (yes, play is an essential). The essentials offer us the optimum chance at health and general contentment. In looking (and living) beyond these basics, however, I think we find something critical. It’s the key to the questions about how to further apply Primal principles in a world that is anything but. We think we have it all down. It’s easy. Got it! Then the rest of our surrounding civilization has its say, disturbs our Primal peace, intrudes upon our confidence, throws its chaos in our well-intentioned plans. The answer isn’t to scrap the whole project but to deepen the lesson.
Let me expand a bit by talking about a topic that might be familiar to many of you – the “habits of successful hunter-gatherers.” They’re the cornerstones of a larger vision for ancestrally inspired living, The Primal Connection. If we can learn from our forebears’ diets and activities, what wisdom can we garner or extrapolate from other elements of their living conditions – for example, their social structures and cultural patterns. Here are all ten habits – presented for the first time on MDA and repurposed for the Challenge.
© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple