Meet Mark

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...

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July 10 2013

12 Easy Ways to Primalize Your Everyday Life

By Mark Sisson
163 Comments

Days of the Week

We can’t return to the paleolithic. We’re not cavemen. This isn’t about reenactment, and it never has been. We’re all here because we recognize the value in viewing our health, our food, our exercise, and our everyday behaviors through an evolutionary lens. The evolutionary angle is simply a helpful way to generate hypotheses, hypotheses that can then be tested and, if successful, integrated. At the very least, it’s interesting to think about what might be the “right” or “biologically appropriate” way to do something. We have the luxury of trying these things out to see if they improve our lives, so I think we probably should try them.

I’ve been thinking of some easy ways to Primalize everyday life. Basically, I think we can “get more” out of our days without really making any monumental changes to what we do or taking much more time to do it, simply by getting Primal with it. With a few subtle tweaks toward the ancestral, we can enhance everyday activities, foods, and drinks that we take for granted. Mundane stuff might suddenly become enriched. Let’s get to the list so you can learn my 12 easy ways to Primalize your everyday life:

1. Add a dash of sea salt and mineral drops to your drinking water.

Modern water purification processes typically remove minerals from our drinking water, particularly calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Coincidentally, these are all essential to human health. Before water purification was developed, most water was “hard” – full of minerals. Bad for sudsing up your body with soap, good for overall mineral intake. That’s the water our bodies “expect,” and a large part of the magnesium deficiency epidemic, I suspect, is due to removal of magnesium from our drinking water. There’s certainly considerable evidence that the hardness of water can impact a population’s health:

You could buy expensive bottled mineral water to replace the lost minerals, but I prefer adding a dash of sea salt and using trace mineral drops to remineralize my regular water. It’s cheaper that way and you have more control. Instead of adding it to each glass, it’s easier to keep a large jug with a spout in your fridge and add the mixture to the jug. For a two gallon jug of water, I add about a half teaspoon of sea salt (colored or white, your choice) and a little over a teaspoon of these trace mineral drops.

2. Take better baths.

If modern water is so different from ancestral water, doesn’t that mean we should attempt to tweak the water in which we bathe, too? See the recent post for ideas on how to Primalize bathtime.

3. Work on mobility during routine oral hygiene.

Do you really need the mirror to know what to do when you brush your teeth? I don’t, which is why I try to practice my Grok squat every time I engage in oral hygiene-related activities. Flossing, brushing, swishing – I figure I might as well work on my full squat as long as I’m just standing there. Since you (probably should) brush your teeth twice a day for a minute or two each time, that’s two to four minutes of squatting each day.

Without a reference point (like “whenever you brush your teeth”), it’s easy to forget to practice squatting. You’re not likely to just spontaneously remember to squat, especially with chairs everywhere. This way, you have a “rule” that you have to follow and there’s an end in sight.

4. Camp/sleep out in the backyard.

If I could, I’d sleep outside every single night of my life. It doesn’t matter the circumstance – camping in Yosemite, falling asleep at the beach – because whenever I sleep outside, it’s the best sleep I’ve had in a long time. Is it the fresh air? The forest bathing? The natural light cycles? I don’t know. I just know it works.

Obviously, you’ll need a backyard for this, and I don’t expect you to do this every night. But – especially if you have kids or a significant other – sleeping out back can be a fun little “staycation” (told myself I’d never use that term, but it works so well for what I’m trying to convey). It’s not as good as a campsite at a national park or anything. And unless you live in a rural area, you probably won’t get much wildlife encroachment. No bears, no deer. Maybe a cat or raccoon or two. But you’re still outside, and you’re still getting fresh air and (hopefully, depending on light pollution) seeing the same stars our ancestors marveled at.

You may have missed the Great American Backyard Campout. But it’s never too late to give this a whirl.

5. If you can get to where you’re going and back in a mile or less, walk.

I love walking, and I’m constantly recommending you do it as much as possible. For some odd reason, though, it’s hard to just get up and walk for the heck of it. I have the same issue; I need a destination, like a summit, a trail, a beach, or a store. I need some external reason to walk. Maybe it’s hardwired in us. Maybe walking to get places was so standard that walking for pleasure never entered the equation. I can see that.

Why a mile? A mile roundtrip isn’t all that much to walk. A half mile there, a half mile back. That’s fifteen, twenty minutes, tops. Driving will get you there quicker, but only by ten or fifteen minutes – not a whole lot. If you can spare that much time, you can walk.

6. Sweep instead of vacuuming.

To this day, I prefer sweeping to vacuuming. Now, I don’t “enjoy” sweeping, per se, but I do find it rather meditative when I have to pick something off the ground. The whisk of the broom, the physical displacement of the dust and dirt occurring before your very eyes in real time, the fact that you have to squat down to get everything into the dust pan (unless you have one of those fancy dust pans with the long handles). It all adds up to a peaceful, mobilizing experience. And yeah, vacuuming’s faster, but who likes that raging whirr of the motor? Certainly not your pets.

Besides, sweeping doesn’t take that much longer than vacuuming.

I draw the line at hand washing plates and utensils, though. Dishwasher all the way.

7. Making a sauce? Blending a smoothie? Add egg yolks.

Egg yolks really do make everything better. They are incredible emulsifiers, helping smooth out sauces and smoothies. They taste great, providing a nice creamy mouthfeel to dishes while smoothing out any bitter tastes. They’re incredibly nutrient dense, containing ample amounts of choline, folate, vitamin E, selenium, iodine, vitamin A, healthy fats, and biotin. And raw yolks are usually very safe to eat. There’s a small, small chance of salmonella, but it’s very small (did I say “small”?).

Toss them into anything that’ll have them.

8. Eat dinner on the ground, outside, and/or with your hands.

This is all about getting closer to your food, your environment, and the people for whom you care. Instead of sitting around the living room, plates on your laps, eyes trained on the TV, take your food outside. Throw down a blanket (or not) and plop down on the ground with your food and some friends. Sit around and hang out, trade stories, laugh, and share food. If you’re really adventurous (and you didn’t make soup), eat with your hands. Keep a few heads of romaine lettuce around to grab food with. It won’t take much more time than setting the table, and you’ll be able to enjoy your food and company in the (marginal) outdoors.

If you’re a bachelor(ette), call up some buddies and set up a weekly picnic-for-dinner thing. Grab a bottle of wine, pack your food, and meet up at a local park or someone’s backyard.

9. Take the stairs.

This is an easy one. Short bouts of stair walking have been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness and blood lipids in women. And these truly were short bouts. Week one, they walked up 199 stairs once per day for five days. This continued until week eight, where subjects were doing five 199-step ascents per day for five days. Each ascent took about two minutes. So, between two and ten minutes of walking up stairs per day was enough to improve their fitness.  I see no reason the same wouldn’t occur in men. The best part about this is that they’re just stairs. You can easily take the stairs wherever possible and continue your regular workout regimen without missing a beat.

As to how to take the stairs, it depends on what effect you’re after. Going two steps at a time expends more energy per stride, but going one step at a time results in an overall higher workload. Taking two steps at a time should provide more stimulus to your musculature.

Oh, and arrive to places on time, or early. That way you won’t have to take the elevator to make your appointments. Or if you are late, get to know stair sprints!

10. Crawl around your home.

Okay, maybe this one is slightly more disruptive to your regular routine than the other ideas, but c’mon. You’re indoors (no one can see you). You’re limited to distances spanning the interior of your domicile. If you have to go check the status of your bone broth simmering in the kitchen, get on all fours and crawl there.

Crawling is excellent for shoulder and hip mobility, core strength, and overall body control. You won’t just get better at crawling by crawling on a regular basis, you’ll also improve your overall athleticism and body awareness.

11. Keep a weight at your office or around your house, and carry it around with you.

This may sound silly, but it’s really good for general overall toughening up. Have a kettlebell, dumbbell, or any other easily-graspable weight that you don’t mind carrying around with you. A big heavy sandbag that you sling over your shoulder would work, I guess, if it weren’t for all the sand dust getting everywhere.

12. Use a sunrise alarm clock or black out shades timed to rise with the sun.

Anyone who camps knows how nice it is to wake up with the sun, feeling incredibly refreshed. You can’t replace the great outdoors, the sun above, and the birds in the trees with an appliance that fits on your bedside table, but you can give it a pretty good shot. The Wake-up Light from Phillips wakes you up by gradually increasing the intensity of the light it emits while playing nature sounds to make waking up a smooth, energizing experience.

Another option is to install black out shades in your bedroom timed to rise with the sun. So, you get total darkness when it matters – during sleep – but get to wake up with the natural morning light streaming into your room.

That’s it: 12 simple, basic ways to make your everyday life a little more Primal and a lot more healthful. What did I miss? How do you Primalize your daily routine?

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163 thoughts on “12 Easy Ways to Primalize Your Everyday Life”

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    1. Just in case my colleagues had any doubts about my sanity…:-)

      1. Even better combine the crawling with your sex play (I shall take my coat and go….. we English are very kinky)

        1. When my grandchildren are over, I’ll crawl around with them. I’ve come to realize I get quite a work out doing that. Wrestling with my 5 yr old grandson is a great cardio work out too.

      2. Like mine have any doubts! They’re convinced that at best, I’m slightly eccentric. I mean, I stand most of the day at work, walk to the mail room 1/4 mile down the road, am seen on the trails around the lake near my office walking barefoot, do yoga in the conference room after work, have salads most days for lunch, have a bunch of plants in my office…. And if that weren’t enough, there’s Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell’s fantasy calendar on my wall. And I readily agree that the only reason I can get away with it is that I’m female and that no, it’s not fair. (When one guy complained to me too much [about the lack of fairness] I told him he could shut up and enjoy the calendar, or keep complaining and I would take it home.)

    2. Crawling in the office is genius! You will at least get noticed at work doing that right. Sleeping outside sounds great to me also, thinking hammock.

  1. Mindful list. Small things here and there which can make a ton of difference in the long haul.

    I have been doing #3 for a quite while now – you automatically tend to brush your teeth more mindfully while squatting down and enjoying the process. 🙂

    Also, squatting down and staying in that position in a full train with no seats available has earned me the weirdest looks from people around me who prefer to be standing.

    1. Love doing #3 as well.

      I began doing it by balancing on one leg while brushing my teeth. Now, I alternate nights between squatting and single-leg balancing. I still can’t get into a pistol squat while doing it, though… My friends do enjoy making fun of me while I squat down in their rooms when there’s no chair available.

      And #7 is great. I’ve shared this with the people on MDA before, but egg yolks really do make for awesome smoothies. http://www.brainbodybelly.com/2013/06/17/recipe-paleo-protein-shake/ People don’t think my recipe is half-bad. I love it. Yummy.

  2. Is it bad that the main take home point for me in all this is that its ok to use the dish washer?

    Also… It’s too bad that sweeping just isn’t very effective on carpet… Looks like I’m still tied to our vacuum!

    1. I always hand wash. It takes longer to rinse dishes and put them in the dishwasher than to actually wash the dishes themselves.

      1. Gotta disagree here. First, rinsing isn’t necessary most of the time, unless the plate has large chunks on it (in which case rinsing generally only takes a second or two); and second, unless your dish volume is small enough to fit into a drainer, you’ll have to dry and put away dishes in mid-stream to make room for the rest of them.

        Anyway, I use the dishwasher for what I can, and handwash the rest.

        1. There’s a lot less reason to have a dishwasher if you’re rinsing them before throwing them in. Scrape yes (you’d do it anyway to hand wash), rinse no. The absolute only time we rinse is to take tomato sauce off the plates because it messes with the chemistry of the detergent.

          Other than that, the dishes go in pretty dirty. (Which is the point, right??)

      2. I’m in the hand wash camp too. I fill up the sink with hot soapy water halfway. As I cook, I throw in the used dishes. I don gloves and wash them with a cloth letting the rinse-water continue to fill the soapy water. Gets my dishes much cleaner, much sooner than a dishwasher can. And if it turns out I need a dish again, it’s already soaking in soapy water — it’s nothing to wash, rinse and then put the dish back into commission.

        I use my dishwasher as a giant dish rack.

        1. Yes! And I thought I was the only one who used the dishwasher as a giant drying rack!

        2. I used to be a dishwasher person myself until mine broke last year…I got used to washing by hand quickly and now actually enjoy the 5-10 minutes of washing after making a meal. There’s only 2 of us at home, so maybe that makes it easier than if we had a large family, but I love the feeling of cleaning the dishes and then letting them air dry on the counter (on a dish towel…don’t even need a rack if you stack properly). We could have fixed or replaced the dishwasher at any time, but now I don’t even see the point of it…maybe if we decide to sell our house we’ll put a new one in there for the next owner.

      3. When using a dishwasher, you should not rinse the dishes before putting them in. It wastes so much water. Just scrape the dishes to get large chunks off. I usually don’t have to scrape, because of all these fabulous primal recipes, I lick the plate clean!

        1. Rinsing doesn’t waste that much water if you only open the tap a little and scrub instead of using water pressure to remove food. Does your dish washer actually clean off food when it’s been sitting with dirty dishes in it for several days? Because we don’t fill it up that fast and don’t put in big stuff, only run it when full. Ours doesn’t clean well and leaves residue, maybe we buy really cheap soap. I don’t know because I prefer hand washing. I like to remove all food first with just a wet scrubby cloth then kind of like someone above said only fill up the sink a little bit but I catch the rinse water to throw outside. I might use more water than a dish washer but most of the water gets used twice! Now washing clothes by hand… I haven’t tried that. I only do it once in a while when I need something right away or it’s been stained.

    2. Ditto. I have no dishwasher but my own two hands – so washing by hand it is . . . . and I do have carpet (and bad hay fever) so I’ll stick to vacuuming. I only sweep hard surfaces.

      1. @Damian, I use cascade platinum and my dishwasher still can’t be trusted to do the work! Haha.

    3. I sweep carpet when I can’t be bothered dragging vac out. It does a cosmetically acceptable job. 🙂

  3. If you are lucky enough to live in rural area, your backyard may be WAY more relaxing and secluded than a campsite in a National park. If you must take the National Park route, look for information on “back country camping” if you are really looking to get out into nature.

    1. I agree with this. Camping at most campgrounds these days (National parks included) is fraught with so many annoyances, it’s barely worth it. My biggest issue is that the campsites are typically right on top of each other. From a business standpoint, it makes sense to pack people in like sardines. From the standpoint of someone going out to get back to nature, as it were, it sucks.

    2. Am lucky to live in New Mexico rural area. We have a sleeping porch where you can sleep under the stars and listen to the coyotes. Also, don’t have curtains on east windows of bedroom, so I rarely sleep in. If I do; the chickens clucking to be let out wakes me up. The one thing I try to do is carry a pedometer and make sure I get 10000 steps in, every day.

      1. “where you can sleep under the stars and listen to the coyotes” <–This.

        That sounds like the coolest thing ever (as I sit at my desk here in Australia). Man, that sounds awesome!

    3. I live on some acerage and removed the body of an ambulance, repainted it and put a single bed above a full size bed in it. Deck in front, with outdoor kitchen on the deck. My wife still does not understand “why you sleep at the river when a have a perfectly good house on the hill”. Of course, the family joins me each morning by the river for breakfast. Veery relaxing…

      You can see this @ https://www.marksdailyapple.com/grokfeast-in-virginia-2/#axzz2NziJhHJU

    4. Alas, we camp only as a means of cheap travel. We have 3 kids, so it’s a whole lotta work, and that’s car camping even. Backyard camping offers plenty of space, no loading up the car, and private bathrooms.

  4. It’s hard to sleep with natural light cycles in Northern Europe (ie the UK). At the moment, it gets dark at around 10pm, and starts getting light around 4am. In winter, it gets dark around 5pm, and light around 7am. I know Grok was in Africa… but did his Northern European descendants sleep for different amounts at different times of the year??

    1. I’m British and wondered the same thing… also I’m not sure about the total blackout stuff, I suspect even in Africa once Grok discovered fire, he’d sleep by it at nights to keep the large carnivorous animals away, and even at the equator it gets dratted cold at night. I can’t believe any tribe significantly north or south of the equator extinguished their fire at night, especilly when lighting it again could take time and be a bit hit and miss.

      At night, I like to use candles or tealights in a safety holder, they don’t as far as i know emit the UV range that halts melatonin production, but that’s just me.

      1. Oh and PS, having slept outside with no tent a few times myself – that moon? Bloomin’ bright as anything on a dark-adapted eye for most of its cycle! So the total-darkness thing doesn’t seem credible for that reason either.

        1. Moon? – Oh you mean that bright blurry thing we sometimes see through the clouds – I guess those al-fresco nights must have been on foreign holidays Patrick (unless you you were wearing a fur coat & an aqualung 😉 )

      2. They probably didn’t actually have a flame going all night – just embers. Easy enough to get it going in the morning by adding more fuel. I think the black-out curtains and such are just to block out all the artificial light common in urban living.

    2. Agreed, here in western Washington state in the US our sun is running about the same. I would imagine my neighbors to the north in Canada-only about 7km from my house- would be even more effected. It is wonderful for camping though, even if my six year old son wakes up at the crack of dawn at around 4 to 4:30am. I think our northern European ancestors did take some advantage of the extra daylight. I have a sister in Alaska where in the summer there really isn’t a night but a couple hours of twilight. She says she ends up staying up too long to get things done and gets exhausted during the summers if she isn’t paying attention.

    3. Actually, there may have been different sleeping cycles. I’m not sure about the geographical differences, though. From what I understand, people went to bed when it got dark, and often, when the moon was bright, got up again and did stuff while there was light. So maybe they went to bed at 5 and got up again at 10pm then went back to bed at 3 until morning. I will look for the article I read this information in and if I can find it, I will post it here.

      1. Mark talked about that in one of his posts–bi-phasic sleeping or something…

  5. I must really make a confession that before now, I had virtually no idea as to what primal living was all about. However, just taking time to go through Mark’s piece shed enough light on the topic. I most say that this is one really wonderful and outstanding piece. What I like most about the post is the way the steps have been listed out sequentially and carefully explained. Not so many writers take their time to do that, especially on ‘obscure’ topics like this one. It is now left to readers like me to make the best of all that has been written – for a better life.

  6. last week we tried sleeping out back- worst night of sleep between late night neighbors slamming car doors and dogs barking- other peoples AC’s kicking on and trains going by -by 3am we called it quits and went back to bed

    1. That sounds like my yard too, sadly. Just moved (due to job change) to suburbia after a lifetime of living very rural. I miss the space & peace of my old yard in the country. Someday….

  7. In regards to raw eggs, the stats referenced indicate 661,663 human illnesses out of the 69,000,000,000 (69 billion) eggs consumed annually. That’s 0.0000096%. Of those illnesses, 94% recovered without medical attention, barely 5% saw a physician, etc. In a recently acquired Paleo Cookbook (Pratical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, http://www.amazon.ca/dp/1936608758), it mentions that approximately one in 16,000 eggs have this type of contamination. As I started eating 2 raw eggs per day I thought out the math: chances are I will encounter one contaminated egg every 22 YEARS. That’s 4 eggs from birth throughout the end of the average life expectancy.
    Nutrient packed, and super fast jump start in the morning.

    1. My friend’s family must’ve been part of the lucky 0.0000096% :-/

    2. Those numbers are reduced drastically if they are not industrial eggs, but rather local farm, free-range eggs.

  8. It’s 100+ degrees here in the summer, no way I’m walking anywhere.
    I don’t even leave the apartment until the sun goes down.
    I’d love to live somewhere more foot friendly, but it’s not financially feasible until next summer at the earliest. 🙁

  9. I am privileged to work on the 5th floor of the hospital at work with 4 flights of stairs per floor. I never take the elevator. It is an awesome workout though. Sometimes I even sprint them. Love that HGH.

  10. If sleeping outside isn’t a nice option, getting up at the same time as the sun and having a relaxing quiet (and quite early) morning in the still, quiet fresh air before the rest of the world wakes up is almost as good.Most of the world is pretty quiet at first light; the late-nighters have gone to bed, and no one else is up yet. My favorite time of day is between first light and when the sun breaks the horizon (definitely easier in the summer, BC has pretty short days come winter).

    1. agreed this is when i walk my dog – or go for a jog- its nice to watch the sunrise

  11. This is over the top. I’m all for eating right, but crawling around the house? Eating with your hands? Primalizing your bath water? If anyone brings this up around the water cooler, I’m going to laugh at them. Riotously.

    1. Eating with your hands is a foreign enough concept to you that you mock it? LOL. Okay. I guess you’ve never had Indian food, or Ethiopian food, or lettuce wraps, or buffalo wings, or any other finger food? If you laugh around the water cooler, I’ll be polite, but will probably be laughing inside at your sheltered life.

      1. I used to eat pizza, chips (fries) and burgers with my hands, nobody batted an eye.

        As for crawling, if someone invented a £/$1,500 “Crawlmaster deluxe” where you use equipment to make the exact same motions, nobody would bat an eye, and plenty of people would be happy to pay up!

        Babies seem to have almost no muscle tone in their torsos when born, crawling seems to strengthen their core enough to start walking upright, so mock it if you must but it’s probably the first exercise (movement with the purpose of devloping muscle) any of us ever did.

        1. I have a six year old boy. I can crawl on the floor and chase him as ‘mommy monster’ and he has a blast.

        2. Got one of those in my local boxing gym! I haven’t used it but it looks like torture equipment. Lol

          I’m a Kung-Fu teacher & have used crawling & “Wheel-barrow” exercises for decades, (The Shaolin Monks have been crawling up & down steps for more than thousand years!); essential for fighting from the floor – nothing improves your agility like it!

      2. It’s not that eating with your hands is a foreign concept, it’s the suggestion that you should do it to the exclusion of fork and knife. Or sit on the ground, to the exclusion of chairs.

        It feels like these things are pointless. Yes, they’ll make you more like the mythical Grok but to what end?

        Minerals in your drinking water or bathwater, OK, I can see the point there.

        1. Sitting on the ground means using more muscles and flexibility to get up and down. Kids do it all the time. I don’t think anyone suggested excluding chairs, just using them a little less. Same with silverware. I don’t really see the point of eating everything with bare hands, except that it might be fun. I know I always enjoy eating roast chicken parts with my hands rather than trying to carve off all the meat with a knife.

          Maybe some of these things are just a matter of giving yourself permission to be a little silly sometimes.

        2. If you have kids, getting out of chairs and sitting on the ground is to be at their level. We’ve had a lot more fun recently as I tried to get out of the habit of always sitting in chairs.

          Eating with your hands can be fun, but it depends on the person. Forks and knives keep your hands clean, if nothing else.

      3. I’m so going to try the weekly picnic with my friends. I am fortunate to live in a city that every Wednesday night they show a movie out on the lawn of the Myriad Gardens. So next week we are going to make it a picnic and movie night. Can’t hardly wait!

    2. I take it you’ve never had a hot dog, sandwich, pizza, tacos, nachos, drum stick or any other food that it’s common to eat with your hands then? Much less eaten traditional foods that are often consumed sans utensils.

      And nothing wrong with crawling either. I don’t make it a daily habit to go crawling around my house – but I do get on my hand and knees to play with the kids at work or to play with my dog at home – and it’s useful to maintain that range of motion for times I need to crawl to get to something in a tight space, or if (God Forbid) I was ever in a house fire or needed to crawl out of debris after a tornado or something.

      I find your scoffing at the ideas rather ignorant and short sighted I must say.

    3. …I always eat with my hands…in the middle of the night…in the dark…in the bed…in my sleep…with no plate…’n no napkin. I do. Now that’s over the top 🙂

  12. One of the simple daily things I have done to primalizing my life is only having a few days of food in my fridge (freezer is different). Think about what you really want to eat the next day or two, buy fresh, buy local, buy in small amounts. It is a fantastic feeling to open the fridge and see lots of white space – it inspires the imagination.

  13. I already do a few of these things quite regularly since we live and travel full time in an RV. The thought of crawling or squatting in my RV is pretty funny since there is barely room to turn around in my bathroom or crawling from one end to another would be about 10 feet. I suppose I could crawl around the campground go. People already think we are crazy traveling around with 2 kids, 2 dogs, a cat, and a turtle. Why not crawl around with those guys. 🙂

    1. awesome …what kind of profession can support full time RV travel – this would be a dream
      (yes we have 2 dogs and 2 kids as well)

  14. If shopping at a box store or mall, park your vehicle at the outer most end of the parking lot.

    1. Not always the best option from a personal safety point of view, especially if coming back laden with stuff, so one to proceed with caution, I think.

  15. I already do walk to most places – even more than a mile. If it takes me less than 30 minutes to walk there I will do it. The stairs may prove more difficult – there are no stairs where I work (single story building). But I am going to start incorporating some of the other suggestions.

  16. Foraging for my food every day or two, has made my life more primal. The grocery store is a mile away, so I walk it and carrying those supplies home pleases my inner hunter/gatherer. It also means my food is fresh as possible and there is less waste.
    Farmer’s market is only one block, but I do live on the second floor!
    Great post, Mark!

  17. I just added an egg yoke to my smoothie this morning for the first time (before I even read this), and it really did make a difference, delicious.

  18. Now why didn’t I think of crawling around the house!?
    I watch my kids do it all the time. And they’re not babies either (7 & 9 yrs old), but they ARE often puppies, horses, escaping danger, or spying on each other! Oh, to be a kid again! They think of all the greatest exercises, and they don’t even know they’re doing it! Guess that’s why “Play” is written into those rules somewhere, lest we forget.
    🙂

  19. Don’t knock the crawling. Something like half of the ambulance calls in retirement places are to pick up people who have fallen… and can’t get up?

    How do they get that way? I think it’s YEARS of not getting down on the floor and getting back up again.

    1. Yep. My Mom is a “fall” risk in her early 70’s. She’s significantly overweight, spent most of her life avoid any physical exertion (including walking), and has a terrible gait. I don’t think I’ve *ever* seen her even sit on the ground, let alone crawl around. She literally can’t get up any more if she falls. (She’s in assisted living now, so at least she’s watched.)

  20. Ever since our daughter was born I carry a kettlebell with me when walking the dog (if Ava isn’t already strapped to my chest). It makes carrying her around in an infant seat so much easier. People look at me crazy when I have the infant seat in one hand and the grocery basket/bags in the other. I highly recommend soon to be dads carry a kettlebell the entire 9 months that mama is carrying the baby. It’ll make the transition so much easier!

    1. I wish I had thought of this before. My little one is 18 months. I always carry her in my left arm because I’m right handed and so it’s easier to fumble for keys or whatever with that hand. When I started a Body Pump class a few months ago, my left arm was significantly stronger than my right. You can’t tell by looking, but wow, there is a big difference.

  21. I do a lot of these. I’m lucky enough to live on an island where the town is one square mile and I walk everywhere and on my morning exercise walk (30 minutes up a steep hill and down again, I stop and do 30 pushups) I’d like to add that we should be striving to obtain soy free produced eggs. It’s made a huge difference to a health concern I was dealing with. You can get them at Whole Foods or order them from Tropical Traditions. They’re expensive, but I’ve found them very worthwhile. There are so many ways to get exercise. I call myself an opportunistic exerciser. When I get some groceries, as I walk home I do curls with them or arm lifts.. When I wait in any lines I do calf raises. So many opportunities…and then you don’t have to stop to go to a gym. No expense and your body is constantly being called on. Weights for triceps are really good when watching t.v., too. It takes a while to get into the habit of doing this but once you do it’s like you never really “exercise”. You just live your life like that. I’m in better shape now at 64 than I was at 30 and worked out in a gym!

  22. I put my recumbent bike in the den where I watch TV so I can pedal away, slowly, instead of just sitting on the couch.

  23. I’m an office gal so I ditched the chair and got a raised standing desk 1.5 years ago. It was the best move I’ve made. Circulation is better and I”m more mentally alert. I started a trend as several co-workers have now gone this route as well. They feel great too! But ladies, you do need to ditch the heels obviously.

    On a side note, I read the PB on advice of a friend and went paleo six weeks ago. It’s doing amazing things for me. I’m really grateful for the book and these tips. Also, your search engine on this page is fantabulous!

    You’ve changed my life. I feel indebted!

    Cheers,

    Lauren

  24. Just turn the TV off! Then sweep the floor and then crawl around looking for a place to sleep while looking at the stars.

  25. After recently being diagnosed with Lyme’s disease (which probably caused my MS) I’m a bit timid when it comes to being in the woods let alone sleeping outdoors (I don’t have a yard anyway). If I have to spray my body up and down to prevent more bites, its not going to be that relaxing for me.

    1. The bug issue is one of the first things I thought of when he suggested sleeping outdoors. That’s a not so fun moment.

      1. Asian Tiger Mosquitos are spreading in the northeast – unlike native bugs they bite any time of day – makes sleeping in the backyard a bit hazardous these days.

  26. I bought that exact Phillips Wake-up Light several months ago, and I have to say it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

  27. Bahaha, Mark, I totally crawl around my house everyday. It freaks my parents out. I always tell them to shush, I’m getting “Grok-y”. I don’t think that comforts them any. Oh well. XD

  28. Excellent post, and what I like most is that the approach is so sensible. Sensible! No need to buy into any big belief system, no need to revolutionize your life or attempt big things that are hard to sustain. You can just do the ones that make sense for you and feel good, and be pretty sure you’re contributing to your wellbeing, even if in modest ways. Maybe it’s true the “devil is in the details,” but it’s even more true, and certainly more important, that the angels sing in the small things in life. I go places by a slightly longer route that’s more beautiful. Walk outside your door the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning. Take a few really deep breaths and feel my life tingling inside of me, whenever I think of it. Play with my pets more.

  29. I have to admit, I like Perrier and it does have magnesium, among other things. No where can I find how much you need to take. Perrier by the way: All values in milligrams per liter (mg/l)

    pH 5.46
    Calcium (Ca) 147.3
    Chloride (Cl?) 21.5
    Bicarbonate (HCO3) 390
    Fluoride (Fl) 0.12
    Magnesium (Mg) 3.4
    Nitrate (NO3) 18
    Potassium (K) 0.6
    Sodium (Na) 9
    Sulfates (SO) 33

  30. Standing desk (makeshift-computer on top of a step stool, on the counter-what a difference in my back pain!), sitting on the floor (criss cross applesauce!) and most importantly, growing my own herbs and vegetables. Can’t get more primal than going out back and harvesting your own dinner!

  31. Get a puppy and you WILL walk more. XD

    Having a puppy has done wonders for getting out and walking and spending more time in nature. Because if I don’t, I’ll regret it later when she hasn’t gotten enough exercise and zooming around the house, trying to chew on electrical cords.

    A tired pup is a well-behaved pup, and if I get a little exercise in too I can’t really complain. 🙂

    I have trouble sleeping outside though… >_< When we go camping, sleeping outside is the worst part of it for me, even in a tent. It's hard to get comfortable and I'm always still tired in the morning.

    1. I feel your pain about camping. I take two sets of foam pads (about 2 inches thick each) because l am a “sissy-la-la” about all of that. Still not as comfortable as my own bed but better than nothing. I suppose to be primal I should take a feather mattress but foam pads are easier to hunt and gather for me. I won’t mention the electric blanket I take, shhhhhh.

      1. Shh…don’t tell anyone: put one foam pad under an air mattress and another on top. They sell inflators that plug into car jacks. A beautiful thing, air mattresses, and I’m sure extremely primal. 😉

    2. There is a saying — if your dog is fat YOU don’t exercise enough!

  32. Love this! Backyard camping and eating on the porch, enjoying the birds chirping are a few of my favorite things. I didn’t know that automatic window shades existed.

    1. Hi Braden, what do you do with the salt? and what ‘wonders’ are you talking about??? Just curious…

      🙂

  33. That first paragraph needs to be on the “Start Here” page – somewhere near the top!

  34. this is wonderfully amusing – I was just crawling around under our house looking for a possible leak in our water system, which is untreated and delicious well water. I walk every day at least 3 miles, almost always take the stairs. Most of the other things checked off as well. I haven’t slept outside in about a year, though, so I guess it’s time. Always love to do that, especially by a river.

  35. …ah yes ‘n always sweep well before crawlin’ over to check your bone broth…???…’n I prefer to carry an old brick around in the grocery store myself…just thought I’d put in my two cents worth…Sissypoo, I just looove you…cute 🙂

  36. I eat an egg yolk every morning, usually blended up in my coffee with coconut oil (don’t judge me, try it, it’s delicious blended). My question is, what’s a good use of all those yolks? Sometimes I put some on my face as a mask, other times use it as a binder for burgers…but i always end up with more than I would like.

    thoughts?

    1. Primal custard! Or lemon curd, if you’re into that sort of thing. See paleomg.com, her 4th of July lemon tart is the business.

  37. I thought this blog was great at making us think outside the box. Personally, crawling on the floor is no big deal to me (I have 4 kids and a dog), camping in the back yard is fun even if not all that restful (being in the city is loud) and really eating outside with your hands… it’s called a picnic. I never thought about doing squats while brushing my teeth but I will trying that one tonight.

  38. I have a question. I spend about 7 months in Australia per year (October through to end of April). Then about 5 months in Canada mostly in Vancouver from May until end of September. Hence I never experience shorter days. I mean this is my plan. I don’t like winters and I’m affected by lack of sunlight. However Vancouver has extremely long days in Summer. It’s light well past 10pm and at 4:30am around the longest days and it takes a while before the length of days is reasonable. On nice sunny days it’s hard to sleep enough. Is this where you recommend that at this time of the year, one should not sleep more than 6 or 6.5 hours. I seem to need more than this myself and try to get to bed by 9:45pm and to sleep until 5:45am but I even sometimes need more or a least a couple of times per week.
    I can imagine countries like Finland or Sweden would also have similar problems in Summer and winter with vastly different daylight amounts. What would be your recommendations for this.

  39. Well… as to #3, that time during teeth-brushing (usually about a 3-4 minutes venture, twice a day) was already occupied doing Kegels. But the concept is the same.

    I do my squats in the office when I’m on a boring conference call. I stand up and sit down in my chair (using legs only) over and over and over. Good thing nobody else can see me… but if someone should happen past, it would appear to them that I was merely standing up from the chair, or taking a seat. 🙂

    Now as to the crawling… nope. But what I do instead is crank some high-energy tunes, and dance around the house. MUCH happier than crawling (which feels kinda contrived to me). For me, “Play” = “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching”.

    I work on the 12th floor, never use the elevator.

  40. The bathing in Red Sea salt water sounds great but where do we buy that? I just ordered the mineral drops from Amazon for my water bottle. I plan to sleep outside tonite in our back yard. Maybe go for a long walk after a primal dinner.

  41. I love to sweep when I’m on the phone for work (from home). I am actually more-focused when I sweep then when I am sitting at my desk. I’m going to have to add #11. Lots of stairs in my house.

  42. All I add in my RO water is himalayan sea salt. I wouldn’t think you wouldn’t need to add minerals after that.

  43. Mark thanks for this! I have always wanted to camp out in my own backyard but worried that the wife would think I’m weird. I guess I’m not. Keep the good stuff coming.

    Thanks!

  44. I’m only a few weeks into Primal and I love these tips. Thinking about adding another important one, I would say we should create more… Grok made cave paintings, his own tools and ‘clothes’ and cooked his dinner on his self-made fire. It feels so good to create a meal, make your own furniture or an outfit on your sewing machine. We’re just so used to consuming and I think it kills our creative spark and I’m sure a few brain cells as well 😉

  45. Here’s a new one for you: wear natural fibers, and sleep on a futon. I’m pretty sure Grok didn’t have polyester, nylon, or spandex (how did he get by?!?) since they are synthetic fibers. Any Tai Chi master (or kung fu) will tell you that synthetic fibers interrupt the flow of your chi – around your body, which is your electronic magnetic energy and in the more woo-woo circles they call your ‘aura’ (but I wouldn’t know anything about that). If you look at the covers of those Tai Chi magazines at Whole Foods – they are dressed in silk. White…blue…black… silk! My own teacher says it goes like this: silk is best, then cotton, then wool and then hemp. Bamboo fibers are in their somewhere too. We really are electromagnetic beings, and personally, I barely wear any synthetics. This is also a great argument for walking barefoot – or in moccasins! And…makes me wish someone would invent a natural-fibers condom…it’s coming. (bad pun, sorry!)

  46. Excellent overall suggestions. Doing egg yolks in smoothies for years. I personally do not need to add salt to my water (to which I add Liquid Mineral Complex) unless sweating profusely throughout the day and I need to drink 1.5 gallons or more. I like to salt (Redmond’s sea salt) my food for taste and to stimulate digestion, and it is enough under normal circumstances in my opinion.

  47. I had to laugh (though was 100% not surprised) because about three weeks ago I stuck two post-its up in my bathroom: 10 Pushups, 10 Squats. So every time I use my bathroom (yes, even just to drop off a new purchase!) I get a micro-workout of sorts.
    I should add some similar post it’s at work, come to think of it.

    Most of my favourite foods are “hands on” too – lamb chops, chicken wings, paleo cupcakes 😉

  48. I have to respectfully disagree with #3 – not because using brushing time for squats, etc., isn’t a good use of the time, but because I question whether people should be brushing their teeth twice a day at all.

    Eating primally for the last couple years, I only brush after a high-carb day (which still happens occasionally). My dentist has looked at my teeth the last couple checkups and basically said, “Why are you here? Your teeth look good, and there is no plaque buildup whatsoever.”

    Brushing with abrasives (and chemicals) is, IMHO, highly non-primal. I suggest people who are eating well don’t need to be brushing, and it may in fact be counter-productive to good oral hygiene
    .
    (And, for what it’s worth, my wife insists I don’t have bad breath.)

  49. How awesome is this post? I said it before and I’ll say it again – Marks posts and all the readers comments are the best! Definitely the highlight of my life.

    For the crawling I use to hate it because I would always end up springing up to standing position. The trick is to crawl a few meters and then stop into a comfortable (cool looking) squat stance. When you get bored, continue crawling. So it goes like this:

    squat > crawl > squat > crawl

  50. Ugh, I HATE when people drive to places that are less than a mile away, TALK ABOUT LAZY! And I also hate people who try and ALWAYS find the CLOSEST parking spot to the store. Seriously? They will drive around for 10 minutes trying to find the closest, and even wait for people to leave. JUST PARK OVER THERE AND WALK! That’s what your legs are for… Or I mean, you could crawl, lol 😉

    1. Yeah, I also hate the whole parking thing. Good job, saved yourself 30 feet of walking. However, I live in a place with no sidewalks and no crosswalks. The only people who walk are the poor people who can’t afford a car, and you can see them lane hopping all the time, trying to get across busy highways. Think about most of our bus and transport systems–the perception in America is that only poor or crazy people ride the bus. There are some great green cities in the U.S. that are known for being bike and pedestrian friendly, and having great public transport, but the majority of our nation is only navigable by car. Just read a great book called Asphalt Nation–about how the car took over America and what we can do to take it back. I used to live in Germany where you could get anywhere in a quick minute by bus, train or street car. Miss it a lot.

  51. Crawling is a good idea. I do it a little differently. I try to get up on the couch using only my hands and upper body. No leg use whatsoever. It is very satisfying to sit on the couch if I worked for it!

  52. The opening was inspired and a couple of ideas are great… but many other a bit kooky. Nonetheless, thank you for sharing.

  53. Great advice:) I have those mineral drops, but know that there have been some concerns about it containing lead, cadmium and arsenic. It would be interesting to know Marks opinion on that..?

  54. Thanks so much for the idea of doing squats while brushing my teeth! I’m currently sidelined from a lot of my regular exercise because of a fractured left clavicle, but squats I can do! Any other shoulder-friendly suggestions would be much appreciated.

  55. When sitting down and getting up from a chair do it one leg. Alternate legs. Helps build leg strength. Can also help if your learning to do pistols (single leg squats)

  56. I often walk to the park with my 4 year old while he rides is scooter. I like to go by myself too sometimes, when I’m there I like to do a few pull-ups/vertical crunches on this one play structure. It has an over hanging bar to grab onto and a spinning “8” shaped thing that comes down to the ground. I can put my feet on the middle part and pull myself up. I usually do a 2-3 sets of 10 then I’ll just slowly walk around the park to catch my breath then I usually go home after that.

  57. Love ya work, love ya soul Mark….it always makes me smile.

    I love this journey, the tips and advice….keep at this awesome thing you do!!!

    Now if only I could convince my gorgeous darlin’ wife……….

    X

  58. I feel like I’m missing something…why would we want iron in our drinking water? And isn’t it dangerous to put uncooked egg yolks in a smoothie??

  59. I’m really lucky. I live on a boat so wake up next to nature every day, watching the fish/swans/ducks/kingfishers/random assortment of wildlife. Boat living means you have to think about the things other people have piped or cabled into their homes, so I walk to fill up 5 litre water bottles every day (need to think about the mineralisation though, interesting point) and use bottled gas – which has to be carried on board. For heating I burn solid fuel, so move coal sacks and chop wood during the winter months. I don’t have TV and I’ve rigged up a pull-up bar in my front deck, my steel ballast is used for regular heavy lifting. There’s no space for a dishwasher (I hear you all) and I managed without a washing machine for a year or so (try handwashing all your clothes, very primal!!). As for the sweeping/vacuuming debate – I have to do both…plus mopping, plus washing down the outside of the boat regularly too… I don’t have window coverings in my roof lights so am pretty much up at dawn – works great in the summer, makes me late for work in the winter so have to use an alarm – and whoever mentioned that bright disc in the sky at night is soooo correct, can wake me up a bit unexpectedly sometimes. Not sure I want to be any more primal, but guaranteed you’ll find me squatting while brushing tonight 🙂

  60. I enjoyed this thread. And Mark, your articles are always so well-written they are a pleasure to read. I will try the squatting while brushing my teeth. And the stairs, on days when my knees don’t bother me. And I think tenting in the backyard is a good idea. Also, I try to slip off my sandals when I’m outside to get my feet to touch the earth. Supposed to be good for you. Something about magnetic forces?

  61. In regards to crawling, I get down on the ground and play with my 15 lb dog. It’s not actually that much of a workout (she’s so small!), but both of us greatly enjoy it.

  62. I think there’s something missing: what about just simply walking barefoot (and I do mean barefoot, not with minimalist shoes) whenever you can? I’ve been completely barefoot for more than 10 days in a row now and love it more every minute! Yes, I even went to work in the office barefoot (my colleagues already think I’m crazy because I don’t eat gluten or sugar, but do eat fat *gasp*). I was always very stressed, had 1000 thoughts jumping around in my head, but since I walk barefoot it’s like I can live more “in the moment”. I enjoy it so much that I can concentrate on what I feel, instead of “living in my head” the whole time. Grounding, earthing, call it what you want, I just think it’s relaxing. And very good for foot and ankle mobility.

  63. Learn about harvesting native plants in your area. Can’t really get more primal. A wonderful way to get out in the sun, get some exercise, healthy foods and learn about your environment. We live in the southwest at the moment and my kids and I just harvested mesquite pods which we’ll use to make mesquite flour pancakes. (yes a legume but a pretty harmless one to eat occasionally). Later we’ll harvest prickly pear fruit to make the syrup. We just looked up online harvest guides to know what to do.

  64. Thanks for this excellent post. It will really help a lot of people.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks!