Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
Grok had a lean physique, pearly whites, sturdy bones, and generally fantastic health (aside from trauma and warfare-induced injury) because he was surrounded by the food his body was designed to eat. A new study by Johns Hopkins University has concluded that environment still plays an enormous role in people’s health and wellness.
Poorer people, they found, tend to live in areas with less access to healthy food, while wealthier people have far more access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole, real foods (note that although the researchers’ idea of “healthy” included “skim milk and whole wheat bread,” the foods used to determine whether a neighborhood had access to health food were generally superior to the processed carb-laden fast food fare available in poorer areas). Unsurprisingly, access to healthy food corresponds to quality of diet, so the lower-income kid who walks past ten fast food joints on his way home is more likely to eat fast food (and get fat, along with the laundry list of ailments that accompany poor diet: diabetes, heart disease, etc). “You are what you eat” still holds true, but to that we can add, “You eat what you can access.”
It makes perfect sense to our readers, we’re sure. We, as Primal Blueprinters, base our diet on the same principles guiding the study’s findings: that Grok had access to tons of good stuff, and so he was healthy; and that modern ailments, like obesity, heart disease, and just basic poor health can be largely explained by our access to and the prevalence of unsuitable foods.
Still, we can take something from the researchers’ results (and I don’t mean smugness). It’s important to realize that our environment alone plays a huge role in deciding our food choices. Even the most Primal eater can be tempted by the snack table at work, or the rumble of your empty stomach echoing against the vending machine window. Humans may have instinctual drives to eat the right foods, but they can easily be waylaid by other urges, like convenience or ease-of-access. After all, isn’t that what got humanity into this whole agrarian, agricultural ordeal – the fact that it was simply easier to just grow a bunch of crops, hunker down in a village, get fat and watch your children prosper?
But we are also creatures of rationality. We can conquer our base instincts and intellectualize and justify the helpful ones. If you find yourself surrounded by chain restaurants and corner stores, and it’s getting late and you’d rather just grab a pizza, know that you have the power to stop yourself. Drive, or bike, or walk to that far-off farmers’ market (Grok would often trek for days just to make a big kill). Take the extra ten minutes to prepare an actual meal (and make extra for lunch tomorrow), rather than settle for something you know will only make you feel like crap.
These our difficult times for many people. The world economy is awful, jobs are fragile, fickle things, and buying healthy, organic food requires us to go to great lengths – but we’re better for the struggle because it represents a redoubled effort, a renewed commitment. If you live in one of those areas with less access to healthy foods, use it as motivation to make the right decisions and seek out better food.
Don’t let yourself fall victim to unhealthy food choices – whatever the obstacle.