Once upon a hunter-gather time, people generally lived in accordance with what made them healthy. Before we put Grok and his clan on a idyllic pedestal, it’s important to note they had little choice. They otherwise weren’t likely to see the next chapter of the Paleolithic story. Even in the best of personal circumstances and choices, many succumbed to all manner of prehistorical threats. Still, in terms of lifestyle, the health imperative was there. They had to move. They had to eat real food. They lived and slept generally speaking by the cycle of their circadian rhythms. They got sun. They socialized. There just wasn’t reason to question any of it because few if any alternatives existed: next band, same options.
Think for a minute about the health messaging sources in our culture. Think of the pharmaceutical ads in every magazine and television show. Think of the medical talk shows and evening exposes on obscure conditions, the nightly newscasts depicting the ravages of epidemics in far flung corners of the globe and “expert” sound bytes warning of pathogens closer to home. Then there are the messages themselves. How many doom and gloom health statistics and inflammatory stock images do you encounter in a day? How many times do you hear “Ask your doctor if [insert medication] is right for you”? This doesn’t, of course, even begin to scratch the surface, but you get my point. Aside from the marketing blitzes telling us why this pharmaceutical is the next best thing or this box of snack food is heart healthy (hint: it’s not), the most commonly viewed/heard “health” related information spinning around in our culture paints a pretty negative, agitating picture.
Earlier this week I ran across a study that demonstrated a “simple lifestyle” can decrease our contact with toxic endocrine disrupting chemicals. The researchers looked at lifestyle elements like transportation, personal care products, and homegrown versus purchased food in their participants. I was struck by the study’s suggestion itself but also by the larger metaphoric significance. A simpler code of life can spare us some of the inherent stress and damage of our modern lives. As this study showed, the principle certainly holds for physical health, and I easily venture it holds for mental well-being, too. Living simply offers a multi-layered protective benefit. That’s worth taking apart.
When you look back and think about your health journey (or your life in general), what have been the motivations that got you where you are today? Has it been a competitive spirit? An incessant curiosity? An individual sense of purpose? An ambitious drive? Inherent in these questions are the broader trends of initiative. Do you tend to seek out external challenges, validations, feedback to push yourself, or are you more often buoyed by personal inspiration? What impels you the most: the outcome or the pursuit? For many people, it’s a combination of both, and their answers depend on the activities in question. Nonetheless, knowing what most effectively motivates us in a particular endeavor can change the game in substantial ways.
I don’t think it’s any big secret that the Primal Blueprint flies in the face of conventional wisdom. After all, it’s a different way of eating, moving, and even living to some degree. Beyond the varying specifics like Primal snacks or yellow lensed glasses, however, I think there’s a more amorphous, underlying dimension to the experience. People tell me there’s something about it that changes their vision – how they see everything from marketing ads to cultural traditions, social expectations to personal values.
Adopting (and adapting) the Primal Blueprint involves participating in an alternative choice of sorts, living at least a little bit outside the mainstream routine. Some people relish this element of the experience. Perhaps they already situate themselves on a cultural fringe in some regard and just find the caveman/woman element that much more fun. For others, however, the alternative presents something of a vexation at times, even a stumbling block, particularly if those around them are seated squarely in the conventional realm. Yet, plenty of us make peace (and even find fulfillment) with living slightly on the outskirts of average, intentionally out of everyday touch with some of the central health habits and fads that direct our mainstream culture.
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