This is a guest post from Matt Garland of Healthy Lifestyle Design.
Do you have what it takes to unleash your inner Grok?
Everyone does. It’s inherent in our biology. And yet many don’t, not because of physical obstacles but mental ones. Such barriers manifest as false and misguided perceptions of Primal living’s complexity, difficulty, and restriction. Alas, these devilish traps inhibit many would-be Groks from realizing their full potential.
So, how do you evade these ensnarements and unleash your inner Grok?
You stop worrying about “how” you’ll live Primal and start thinking about “why” you should.
The “why” is essential. If you don’t know why you should adopt Primal living then you never will. How come? Because the “why” gives meaning to what you do. And when you have meaning you have the strength and resolve to succeed.
This simple 1-2-3-4 forumula will guide you to “why” Primal living is right for you. Have fun with it and get ready to unleash your inner Grok!
Who is Grok?
Or, more accurately – what does Grok represent?
He’s no messiah. He’s not a real historical figure. He doesn’t sit on my shoulder at night, whispering post topics into my ear as I sleep.
Grok is simply a starting point for the discussion of human health. His dietary habits, his physical behaviors, his proclivities, his sleep patterns are not technically “his,” because there is no literal him. Grok is just an artifact of our big brains’ propensity to arrange data. We process information by compartmentalizing it, by sticking bits of data together with other bits of data for efficiency’s sake. Mental file cabinets. This makes thinking easier, and it allows higher levels of thought and innovation. The Grok concept is an easy reference point – a figurehead. Everything we know about the course of human evolution, all the fossil records and anthropological literature, is effectively represented by the Grok name. A four letter name that just happens to be easy to remember and easy to type. And you have to admit, it’s a cool visual.
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?
A couple weeks ago in my post about health and vanity a good discussion got started in the comment board about the body composition of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Was Grok lean and ripped or not? Let’s take a look at what we know.
It’s pretty well established that hunter-gatherers eating their traditional, whole-foods hunter-gatherer diet (whether Inuit, or Masai, or Pacific Islander, or whatever else) display little to no signs of the diseases of civilization. Infection, warfare, pestilence, starvation, and colonial incursion were occasional or even frequent sources of poor health outcomes, but for the most part they were well-nourished and free of degenerative diseases, even the long lived members. These guys weren’t dying for lack of statins or chemotherapy – let’s put it this way.
The Primal Blueprint, as our good readers know, is founded on the principle of evolutionary biology. This certainly applies to our view of what’s appropriate or not in terms of nutrition. In short, what our long time ancestors ate during the course of 2 million+ years, we’re still designed to eat. Even the last 200,000 years of hunting and gathering, from a physiological standpoint, trumps the comparatively short 10,000 or so years since the Agricultural Revolution, when humans commenced widespread farming practices and prepared grains as a significant part of their diet.
An article published in this month’s Science Magazine presents archeological evidence that, according to its author, challenges this accepted timeline. A number of readers have written me about this story. Here’s one letter among the bunch….
Please help me make some sense to this: Stone Age diet included processed grains
I’m a crossfitter in Colorado and most of the gym keeps a Grok diet and are confused about this article. Does this open the door to other minimally processed grains?
There was a time when you could go to any schoolyard and see kids being kids. Kids would run, leap, throw, and exert themselves with the pure joy of uncorrupted youth. They were suddenly realizing their bodies were incredible machines capable of precise, complex movements, and the games they played developed these capabilities. Dirt clod fights, epic dodgeball matches, and tetherball developed hand-eye coordination and agility; roughhousing that never graduated into enmity taught kids the value of a few bumps and bruises (as well as how to dish ‘em out); games like tag, capture the flag, and monkey in the middle emphasized foot speed, lateral agility, and rapid changes of direction. The teacher on yard duty might hand out a citation or break up a little scuffle once in awhile, but recess was generally pretty relaxed. About the only thing your average schoolyard athlete worried about was explaining away the grass stains, or maybe the scuffed knees. Looking back, we really had it good: unstructured play, impromptu workouts that didn’t feel like work but got us into great shape and developed our social skills. We were little Groks, cultivating our minds and bodies without actively planning a routine (or play date). It probably helped that we didn’t have Nintendo DS Lites or smart phones (or overbearing parents) to distract us, but the fact remains that we just were. A bit like Grok, we didn’t run and jump to get better at running and jumping; we ran and jumped because it was fun, because it simply felt like the right thing to do. Our athletic development was merely a bonus.
(This is the fourth part of a four part series on fitness. Part 1: What Does it Mean to Be Fit?, Part 2: Could You Save Your Own Life?, Part 3: Modern Fitness Standards)
Yesterday, we explored the multitude of modern fitness standards spanning a variety of professions – soldier, cop, firefighter, Olympic athlete, pro athlete. We discussed the amorphous, free form standards held by pure fitness methodologies like CrossFit, as well as the simple but starkly delineated physical benchmarks a “real man” must satisfy as laid out by Earle Liederman. And though I didn’t even get into all the other fitness markers of the various athletic subcultures (ultrarunners, mountain bikers, soccer players, body builders, kayakers, backpackers, etc.), I’ve concluded that modern fitness is, by and large, incredibly splintered and heavily specialized. If you were to take a cross-section of examples of ideal athletes from every sport or activity imaginable, you’d get a veritable motley crew of different shapes, sizes, musculatures, and body types. Each would have wildly different capacities for strength, power, speed, endurance, agility, balance, and precision, and you’d see a wide range of resting heart rates, inflammatory markers, chronic injury rates, stress levels, and immune systems. And, if you had X-ray vision, you’d probably see an assortment of liver, heart, kidney, and other organ sizes.
A while back, I gave a bit of Link Love to Nature’s Platform (thanks, NeoPaleo), a contraption that fits over regular toilets and allows users to squat instead of sit. I included it mainly for the laughs, a bit of tongue-in-cheek (no, not that cheek – the other one!) ribald humor that was somewhat relevant to the Primal lifestyle (because let’s face it, Grok was definitely a squatter), but then I got to thinking: maybe there really is something to squatting. At the very least, I owed it to our bowels to look a bit deeper into the subject, to try to get to the bottom of it, as it were.
We like to throw ?Grok? around pretty liberally. It?s the name of our prototypical human ancestor, sure, but it?s also become a rallying cry of sorts: Grok on! What does it mean when we say ?Grok on?? Do you know? Do I know? I have something in mind, but I?ve never really expounded on it in any detail. In fact, I?ve purposely left it ambiguous; to Grok is partly, I think, something very personal and subjective for each person.
What does the dictionary say (and what would it say if MDA was a household name?)