If you’re truly interested in consuming the original Primal brain food, look no further than bone marrow: perhaps the first reliable source of large, fatty animal products our scrappy ancestors were able to procure. Yes, before we became spear-using cunning tacticians surrounding, stalking, and out-maneuvering large prehistoric ungulates, we feasted on the bones of fallen prey. Or, more accurately, we feasted on what lurked inside the bones (and the skulls, for that matter). Animal fat and protein improved the quality of our diet by making digestion less energy intensive. Bone marrow, especially, was highly caloric and nutrient dense, allowing early human ancestors to divert metabolic resources away from the costly digestion of roughage and toward bigger, costlier brains. This spurred the increase in hominid brain size that we still enjoy today.
Let’s continue the discussion from last time. Again, I apologize for any meandering. This is a big topic, and I think it helps to leave no stone unturned.
Seasonal eating is currently pretty popular, perhaps even trendy in some circles. You’ve got the locavores, folks who only dine on meat and produce grown and harvested within a certain radius (generally fifty or 100 miles). They don’t necessarily set out to eat by the seasons, but that’s how it works out when you’re only eating local stuff. Others are committed seasonalists (yeah, I may have made that term up), specifically choosing foods that would only be available that time of year. There are even a small number of strict ancestral seasonalists, who only eat those foods which were seasonally available to their ancestors. A lot of Primal dieters fall into this category, and they generally do it for health.
How important is seasonality in our understanding of human health? In last week’s nuts post, I referred to the seasonality and intermittence of nut availability in the wild, implying that because they weren’t available to our ancestors on a year-round basis, excessive daily nut consumption may not be in our best interest. Regular, consistent, high-volume nut ingestion may not make sense in the light of human evolution, but does that necessarily make eating nuts – or, really, any food – in anthropologically unrealistic amounts detrimental to our health?
What about seasonal behavioral patterns, or seasonality of access to sunlight? Does it make sense to view our every move, our every tradition, in the light of the seasons? What do we mean by “seasons,” anyway – aren’t the seasons different depending on several factors, like proximity to the equator? Or is there an ideal seasonal cycle all humans should strive to follow, regardless of location or background?
I am very pleased to announce that Maya White of the Esther Gokhale Wellness Center will be leading a breakout session at PrimalCon 2010. If you’ve ever wondered what it means to sit, stand and walk like Grok you’ll want to attend this event. Maya will be offering instruction on Primal body mechanics to help you correct years of poor posture and get you moving like you’re meant to.
Maya has graciously written the following guest post for Mark’s Daily Apple readers. Read on to learn why posture is an integral part of health and wellness and how you might be doing something as simple as sitting or standing all wrong.
Despite growing insight into neuroscience and the physical limitations of our consciousness, we have the tendency to ascribe a limitlessness to our minds. We readily accept the existence of certain boundaries in the material world, like fences, social stations, rules, laws (of physics and of states), or physical characteristics (“You must be this tall to ride the roller-coaster”), but when it comes to the inner world – the mind, our memories, our imagination, our cognition, and our social skills – we have trouble conceiving of real mechanical limits. When a word eludes us, playing about the periphery of our cognition (“tip of the tongue”), do we complain about faulty hardware? When we forget that cute girl’s name we just met at the party, do we blame the lack of available short-term memory data “chunks”? It’s only through neurological research that we’re even “aware” of the bioelectric interplay that is our thought process; in general, in everyday existence, we don’t think of our thoughts and our emotions in cold, mechanistic terms. We simply think, remember, feel, etc., without getting all meta about it.
Yet it’s clear that there are physical limits to our minds. The consensus on short-term memory, for example, is that most people are limited to retaining just seven items at once, or seven chunks of data – a physical limitation, hard wired into our brains. What if we were similarly hard-wired to effectively manage a limited number of personal relationships? It seems plausible. If memory has a corresponding physical capacity, why wouldn’t other functions of the brain?
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