The Primal Lifestyle for Beginners
In primitive human life, a tribe was composed of hunters and gatherers. The food these people ate was raw (i.e. non-chemically altered or containing like a lot of the food we eat today). And they moved a lot throughout their days but at a slow pace.
Their eating style is similar to the paleo diet of today. While their movement style could be classified today as low aerobic activity.
Here’s the thing: Our genes aren’t that far off from these primitive people. We are about 99.9% genetically the same. Our body requires similar movement and energy consumption.
In other words, our bodies aren’t evolved enough to sit and do nothing - AND have optimal health. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Our bodies deteriorate when we don’t move, and when we eat solely chemically processed and packaged foods.
Enter: The Primal Lifestyle
While no diet is the best diet, the primal lifestyle doesn’t require you to stick to a set plan. It more so helps you pay attention to your body and what it needs. For instance, when you eat that bag of chips - does it feel good? Maybe for the first few bites. But afterwards, your stomach is likely not having it.
The primal lifestyle looks to how our ancestors lived. In turn, the goal is to try to incorporate these styles of living in today’s world. Here’s the gist:
- Eat when you’re hungry. And eat well. This means eating less processed “garbage,” and instead, consuming more raw produce items. Think fresh vegetables, peppers, eggs, meats, and so on. It also involves less absent-minded eating. Become more mindful when you eat. It’s life-changing.
- Participate in low impact aerobic activity every day - such as walking or yoga.
- Perform HIIT - High-Intensity Interval Training - every now and again. Our ancestors would use high-intensity activity to get away from an immediate threat - but this threat didn’t happen every day.
- Expose yourself to sunlight every day if you can. There are so many proven physical and mental health benefits of doing this.
- Play more! As adults, we often forget how to have fun. Let loose. Play a game. Laugh. This leisure time is a vital part of a happy and long life.
- Exercise your brain. With technology, we do this less and less. Yet, our brain is what causes our body to function properly and function well. If it’s not in optimal health, how can you expect the rest of your body to be? Read, solve puzzles, play games with strategy involved, or get creative.
Perhaps you’re intrigued. It’s not strict. It’s essentially about being more mindful. And it’s not all black and white like other diet or lifestyle options out there. Could it work for you?
How To Start Incorporating the Primal Lifestyle Into Your Life
There is a lot of literature out there on the topic. On Amazon, ‘The Primal Blueprint’ by Mark Sissons is a great place to start. The book includes a lot of exercises you can do to become more mindful of the life you lead. However, you don’t necessarily need to go out and purchase any one product.
And you can start right here and right now without dishing out any money.
Yes, it might be hard at first. But remember - pay attention to how you feel. Note where you struggle. Tune into your emotions.
Step 1: Get Rid of Most - If Not All - Processed Foods in Your Home
The home is where the heart is. And it’s often where we hideout in secret and eat all our favourite treats without judgement. By getting rid of temptation and avoiding bringing it in the house, you are more likely to succeed at leading a more primal lifestyle.
Essentially, it all starts with elimination. Get rid of high sugar and highly processed food items.
Hint: If you are just starting out, you can do this in phases or keep a small variety of food that is non-primal (i.e. prepackaged and chemically processed foods) in a specific cupboard that you only eat every now and again. Follow the 80-20 rule. This rule means you follow a primal lifestyle or diet 80% of the time and the other 20% off the time you cut yourself some slack!
Step 2: Shop Primal
Go on a grocery shopping spree and try to stick with non-processed and non-prepackaged foods. Buy lots of produce, such as fruit and veggies. Go for all natural or organic varieties. If you can, the best places to shop are local farmers markets. You can get the freshest ingredients and foods here.
Step 3: Discover New Recipes & Meals
There’s plenty online that use basic raw ingredients and that your tastebuds will love. Use this as an opportunity to discover new foods. Get creative with new recipes. Make it fun so that you aren’t stressed out about following a specific or set diet. Remember, be flexible with yourself. And be mindful of how certain food makes you feel.
Step 4: Incorporate Play and Low Impact Activity Into Your Life
Exercise should never be complicated. Going for a walk around the block is actually better for you than chronic exercise. Chronic exercise bouts come with health hazards and joint deterioration.
Start performing HIIT workouts 1-2 times per week along with your low impact activities. In addition, start playing more. A lot of activity can be gained from simply playing - such as in a
sport or on a team. It will also help you get outside a little bit more.
Step 5: Challenge Your Brain & Your Mind
Lead a life of constant learning. Exercise your brain for optimal cognitive functioning. And there’s a lot of different ways you can do this. As aforementioned, spend time enveloped in creative activities. Or participate in more activities where your problem solving and decision-making skills are required - such as Sudoku, board games, or puzzles.
Take A Step Forward Into a Better Life
You by no means need to adopt a primal lifestyle. Even keeping it in mind can help you make choices that are more healthy and better for your body. After all, knowledge is power. And now you have a little bit more of it. Get back to the basics. Try a primal lifestyle today!
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