Month: March 2010
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?
Sleep Awareness Week (as sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation) technically ended March 13th, but somehow I’m guessing there are just as many sleep deprived folks milling about this week as there were a few days ago – just like our good reader Monday. Maybe a few of us feel better adjusted to the time change these days, but probably just as many stayed up late to watch the NCAA games this weekend. Or maybe it was a late St. Paddy’s Day party. Somehow it’s always somethin’, isn’t it?
Even if we’re good and diligent and never sacrifice sleep for entertainment purposes, life too often pokes holes in our most worthy intentions. Babies wake up in the middle of the night. Flights leave early. Deadlines, projects and bills keep us up later than we’d planned. Maybe we even burn the midnight oil to get a jump on the next morning’s tasks! Nighttime too often becomes a default slush fund for the day’s chores. Still others of us might deliberately stay up to bask (however groggily) in what seems like the only time we have to ourselves. The house is quiet, the kids/partner are asleep. The world is hushed, and the deep solitude is too much to resist.
Besides stuff like tribal warfare, cannibalism, and high infant mortality, it seems like most any divergence from our ancestral norms is ultimately detrimental, or at least problematic. Nutrition is an obvious one, along with sunlight, sleep, and exercise. The mainstream media is even beginning to question the superiority of modern footwear. And then there’s the seemingly simple act of sitting down in a chair. It seems harmless, but as I discussed last year and a recent NY Times piece mentioned last month, sitting for extended periods of time is strongly linked with increased mortality and metabolic syndrome, regardless of how much exercise a sitter gets.
The chair is a bit like wheat, actually: a relative novelty to which we aren’t physiologically adapted that has become a cultural staple nonetheless. For at least eight hours each day, we twist our bodies into weird Tetris blocks with poor posture and sit, for the most part unmoving, on chairs. When you stop and think about it, sitting down in a chair for extended periods of time seems a little silly. I mean, it’s not even all that comfortable (isn’t that why we distort our bodies with terrible posture – to make sitting more comfortable?). We aren’t “designed” to sit in chairs. We’re certainly meant to stand, but we sit in chairs because we designed them to fit our anatomy, and I somehow doubt that whoever came up with the chair was thinking about long-term effects on our physiology.
The time change pretty hit me hard this year. I’ve noticed that as I age I value my sleep more and more. When I was in my 20s and 30s I use to be able to get by on about 6 hours of sleep each night. Now if I don’t get at least 8 hours I pay for it. What’s the deal? Is this just part of getting older?
What’s one lost hour of sleep when getting over the hump of daylight savings time? It might not seem like much, but as I’ve noted before, time changes wreak a special havoc over everything from traffic accidents to workman’s comp filings. (Add the stock market and heart attack rates to this inspiring picture.) Truth be told, however, many of us were delinquent long before the recent changeover. Maybe the switch was simply the last straw in a long term bout of sleep deprivation. Anyone? (You know who you are.) We know we feel like hell warmed over when we make a habit of skipping out on zzzzs. We justify it, minimize it, though, by telling ourselves that it can’t be so bad if caffeine and a shower can cure us before we walk out the door in the morning. Some latest research says different. When we do without solid sleep, we decrease our ability to process even moderate levels of oxidative stress – the arch enemy of the Primal Blueprint of course. The impact, as observed by Oregon State University researchers, leads to faster aging and measurable neurological decline.
Enter your best Primal Blueprint recipes for your chance to win prizes and be featured in the Reader-Created Cookbook
The new theme: Primal Salad Recipes!
In the last month I’ve received and published some delicious Primal Pork recipes (the previous theme):
Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto
Crock Pot Pork-Stuffed Peppers
Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Loin
Garlic Pulled Pork
All of these recipes will be featured in the Reader-Created Primal Blueprint Cookbook and the entrants have a chance to win an über cool Primal prize package.
But now, to mark the beginning of spring, I’m asking for your favorite Primal Salad recipes. If you’d like to participate in this contest email me your best salad creations.
What are your favorite Primal Salads? Are you a BAS-type person that tosses everything into a giant bowl and digs in? Or do you keep it simple and have more refined tastes? Click here for all the contest details.
Stay tuned for today’s regularly scheduled post in which we’ll be exploring sleep, circadian rhythms and aging.
Last Saturday at a San Francisco book fair, three men threw cayenne laced pies in the face of Vegetarian Myth author Lierre Keith. On Thursday, Jimmy Moore interviewed Lierre about the cowardly act, and the reaction to it.
A couple Grok Stars have their own blogs!…
Diana Hsieh now runs Modern Paleo. Stop by, leave a comment, and sign up for her newsletter.
And follow the chronicles of Fit Island Girl over at Shape Your Weigh.
Is the army going Primal? Well, they’re adding sprint routines. It’s a start.
To the gym, or not to the gym? Fitness Spotlight delivers a definitive post on the role the gym plays in Primal living.