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20 ways to train your primal instincts

Henri Rousseau "The Dream"

1. Read a book this summer about evolution.

Carl Zimmer´s “Evolution: The triumph of an idea” is a great starting point. Inspiring and fascinating. You will be a changed person with some evolutionary theory in you. Not just for the geeks, a must for the human species. It´s nice to have the science behind why we must fight, sleep, eat meat and have sex.

2. Sleep outside one night.

Use a net if you must. Drift off to the nocturnal sounds and rise naturally to the dawn. Leave your phone at home too. Get someone to join you if you´re afraid of bats.

3. Cook a bird, fish or animal whole on a fire you made.

Take the guts out, see how it all looks, season, cook and eat everything.

4. Go for a run in the woods without your shoes.

That´s right, barefoot. Feel the earth, stones, sticks whilst walking on the balls of your feet. Jump, hop, skip, crawl and roll. A great read too for the summer, is “Born to run” by Christopher McDougall. He tells the story about the legandary Tarahumara Indian barefoot runners of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. Gripping and interesting. Get a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers to ease your way into naked feet. We were not born with shoes, Nike knew this, but brainwashed us into believing the modern running shoe was doing us good…plahhhh. Check out barefootshoes.no for advice on barefoot movement.

5. Eat no sugar, no grains, nothing from a box or packet for 30 days.

Be strict, don´t cheat. I personally guarantee you´ll look, feel and perform better than ever before.

6. Have a day of critical examination.

If you read newspapers, watch tv or speak to a friend, decide that everything you read, see or hear for a day, may be wrong, misleading or simply an opinion. Make your own mind up, by examining options. Tell people about your critical day.

7. Spend an afternoon at a playground.

Think for a while of your childhood and the things you did on the bars, ropes, swings and logs. Practice those moves, barefoot.

8. Go to the forest and pick berries. Eat loads too.

9. Climb a tree. Spend an hour or more up there.

10. Have a clear out at home.

Think hard about all the stuff around you and how much it contributes to your happiness. Throw stuff or give it away. Have another rethink the following day, and repeat the process. Less in life, may just be more.

11. On a hot day, lie in some longish grass, naked.

Imagine you were living 20000 years ago, and all you thought about was food and sex. Empty your mind of all superficial clutter.

12. Find an old person to talk to.

Ask him/her to talk to you about their childhood and what they remember about family responsibility, play and work. Decide on living for a day or a week like they did, and let them know how you get on. Ask for advice.

13. Go for a bike ride into the countryside.

Stop when you find some farm animals. Talk to them, out loud if you want, explaining how you appreciate their part in evolution, and the respect you have for them every time you get to eat meat.

14. Watch some Chinese martial arts or Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Notice how they move their bodies and how sharp, strong and smooth they are. Practice some of the moves you saw over and over again.

15. Spend an hour each day meditating.

It doesn´t matter how you do it, just read up or ask someone some basic techniques, find solitude and try to empty all negative emotion. Think of breathing from the stomach upwards. Feel light. Think strength.

16. Spend a full 24hrs alone.

Surprisingly few people do this. We have become addicted to our mobile phones and Internet. We are available and use others as constant reference to our state of being. Bring a notebook; camp out, reflect yourself upon your thoughts in solitude. Like we used to do.

17. Have a week off training.

If you train 4 or more times per week, sleep is erratic, stomach bothers you, feel stiff and get headaches, have a week where you focus on walking, stretching like animals do, sleeping more, drinking lots of water, eating meat and fish plus vegetables. It´ll do you good.

18. Have a day eating coconut.

If you can get hold of fresh ones, great. If not, buy some canned coconut milk and some shredded coconut. Make a curry sauce with coconut. Just add some masala spice to some tomatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and coconut cream and simmer. Blend up and add to your favourite meat. Add some dark chocolate and butter to a pan, melt, add the grated coconut, some walnuts and dried berries. Stir well, add to ice cube trays and freeze. Enjoy with tea after your coconut curry. Coconut is amazing.

19. Make a commitment.

This is open, but make a deal with yourself to fulfil something you had planned to do but somehow found an “excuse” not to finish it. Stop doing something you told yourself you would stop doing, but made an “excuse” to keep doing it. Tell someone close that you have made a commitment, and ask for him or her to support you in your choice. Don´t make excuses. If you think you can or cannot do something, you are right both times.

20. “Be as you wish to seem”

Read some Socrates, or any philosophy. Try to apply some to your life. Learn about thought.

 

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Paleo – Primal – Evolutionary MINDSET

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all”

Oscar Wilde

Think about this. What you eat, how you sleep, how you move your body, how you think about your surrounds and the people in your life, society, work, holidays… We are surrounded by a linear world. Everything we are told to do, is a form of progression towards normality. It is to be less of a burden on society. It is to work harder. It is to save money. Accumulate shit. It is to conform to an existence that we are not capable of thriving in, because we are not adapted, physically or mentally from an anthropological perspective, to shun our primal roots, or our natural state, as we are doing. Our natural consciousness in other words, has become preconditioned through ´reason´ and our habits towards ´sensibility´ of how best to exist in our modern habitat. Unfortunately, modern society is in a cyclical epoch of unsustainable essentialism regarding our ideas pertaining to co-existence with nature. But fear not, the power within us to change things is evident, accessible, and actually quite simple. It just requires awareness. Awareness brings change, and change is enduring.

What is primal living?

Our life of denial need not be so complex as we make it out to be. Sure, we have split the atom, stepped on the moon, made sheep in a dish and invented the internet. All good and useful, but why have we been told that the way mankind has lived for thousands of generations is worth so little in this modern era?. In fact, why are we told it is dangerous?. Where does one draw the line between accepting the belief that existence is fragile, and deciding for oneself how existence according to the norms of fragility thrust upon us by society, is in fact harming us?. How is it that we become adapted to existing, instead of adaptable to the crap surrounding us?. How modern Western society thinks, eats and moves today may be harming us, or just sustaining our existence. Primal living (our evolved way) does neither. It just makes us healthy and alive. I’ll explain.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?…”

George Owell, 1984

Take a step inside your local supermarket Winston. Overlooking you, is Big Brother, and he is looking out for Thoughtcrime. Grab your packets of artificial corn-variant crap (80% of what is on shop shelves) and do not think. Exist, that is all. Read the signs on the glass window outside, and buy what it tells you to. Good Winston, DO NOT think that what I am serving you is making you weaker, more subservient and me richer and more invisible. Go home now, damage your body, and blame your partner, or society for your stress and ill health. “The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” Sound scary? It is the way society is heading because we are acquiescing to the evil figures who are SO desperate to hold onto their power by literally feeding our ignorance. What Hitler did in Germany was legal, but was it right?.

Eat meat, you are an animal, not a bird or a mouse. Don’t pretend you are not an animal, it just looks silly, serves no purpose, and will eventually make you keel over and die. Grass reared meat is the most nutrient dense source or proteins, fats and essential minerals and vitamins known to man. If you can, eat the whole animal. Our ancestors did. Eat fish too, oily ones and deep sea varieties are less likely to be polluted, farmed fish in limited doses. Stop at just this, you will live well. But we like variety, so eat these:

Animal fat, do not trim you meat cuts. If you do you are throwing away THE primary dense calorie source needed for optimal performance. Remember, animal fat is not equivalent to human fat. Sugar, in its varying forms and side effects, makes us fat, inflamed and prone to disease. Fat from butter, coconut oil and some extra virgin olive oil are healthy too. Most of our energy should come from good fat, NOT birdseed. Avoid common ´vegetable´ oils like soy, canola, sesame, sunflower and corn. These oils are components of most junk/snack food, breads, grain products and contain linoleic acid (Omega6) which is nasty to your system. But they are cheap to produce, heavily subsidized, totally unnatural and better suited to run car engines. Avoid.

Vegetables and fruits, are nice sides to meat dishes. They provide a good source of carbohydrate and fiber. Try to eat more root vegetables with low fructose and glycemic load like sweet potatos and yam. Fruit is very high in fructose, which hits the liver hard, and contains nothing you cant get from vegetables, so go easy. Berries in season are great, melons as well. The occasional apple and banana in conjunction with vigorous exercise can be helpful. If you are conscious of your weight, or want to lose weight, be very cautious of fruit, especially dried fruit. Think nutrient density when selecting foods.

Eggs, go well with everything, taste good, are portable, and are very nutritious. Eggs are a great source of protein, and the yoke is especially rich in minerals and vitamins, fat and cholesterol. All good things in other words. Oh, and it seems that even the ‘bad’ cholesterol, may indeed be good. See this latest study.

DO NOT EAT GLUTEN, grains, corn and all their toxic side products

This is the biggie for most people, along with eliminating sugar. Gluten is a protein found in many grains which is added to most processed or man-handled/created/packaged foods. It is toxic to man and has many common side effects including weight gain, depression, fatigue, hair loss, constipation, hormone imbalance, skin irritation, joint pain and inflammation, sweet (carb) cravings, digestive problems, bloating. Just a few then. The removal of gluten has been medically proven to improve and /or eliminate most of the above. Grains contain a toxic mix of gluten, lectins and phytates that are selected to fend of predators that try to eat and digest them. In fact we cannot break down toxic lectins in our digestion, and this causes gut irritation (common for most people) which can trigger auto-immune response from our own system (celiac, being a familiar condition). Having a damaged (or leaky) gut lining hinders the absorption of nutrients we ingest. The spinoff effects from this are numerous, paving the way for many of the diseases and illnesses listed above. As Robb Wolf says: “Why does this happen? Because grains are pissed off that you want to eat them and they are willing, and able, to fight back”.

The human body is not adapted to thrive on grains, they are a potent anti-nutrient that we do not need in a healthy diet. Leave them to the birds and rodents.

DO NOT EAT SUGAR, Party longer. Sugar drives excess insulin production, which drives high blood glucose which causes inflammation, fat gain, adrenaline rush, false satiation, depression and a whole herd of other consequences. Sugar (carbohydrate) is in almost everything processed, and has the same addictive properties as heroin. Eat carbohydrates with high glycemic load, coupled with little or no protein, and the sugar is quickly metabolized making you eat more. When the sugar levels in our blood are so high that they cannot be dealt with, then insulin steps in and stores it as fat. Insulin is the bouncer at the nutrient party. It decides what to do with all the dressed up glucose, fat and amino acids lining up to slide down your pie hole. Inside the party, DJ hormone Dr. glucagon gets to work when bouncer insulin is maintaining order, and releases stored nutrients (and body fat) for energy. Barman Mr. leptin keeps the gig alive by knowing when enough is enough (i.e. when we are full up) Chaos at the door, all hell breaks loose inside, DJ loses the plot, barman keeps letting the mouth open, fights break out, party gets closed down, some make it out alive, others don´t.

So basically, a low-fat, high-carb diet(or standard carb as we are told by the authorities) is a make-us-fat -and-sick diet. I am no expert, I have just read with interest what the experts have to say, changed my ways, and am living the benefits. You limit the amount of sugar (carbohydrate) pumped into your body, the magical metabolic properties of the system turns to fat supplies to run off, and bingo, you lean out, look, feel, and perform better. It seems complex, but it is not. The authorities (Big Brother) that subsidize the amount of corn produced depend on holding our ignorance levels high, by funding ‘science’ to produce garbage studies that keep the majority thinking a high sugar/carb/low fat diet is healthy. It is killing millions every year, but then again, it sustains jobs in the health industry, and makes rich food-chain owners (political backers) richer. Get aware.

Play and Rest well

My favourite part. Life must be lived as play, Plato once told us. Forget how to play, or think of play as something for kids, then we may as well climb in the box and save some of the water supply. Remember how we climbed down from the trees, stood upright, enhanced our vision, chased prey, lit fires, slept in caves, woke up to sunrise, smelt the flowers?. We had life on our plate, and even though it was tough, I´m sure it was fun. Look upon play as part of life, part of the way you interact with nature, feel connected with your body and the power and energy it can provide when well nourished and well rested. Lift up stones, stretch, lie in the grass, climb trees, learn to balance, run fast. If you think that “exercise” is something to be compartmentalized and added as a supplementary component to your life, then you are off track.

Primal living is your lifestyle that evolution has so gloriously created for us. Luckily we have some great additions that modernity has given us, like coffee, kettlebells, full-suspension mountainbikes and iPhones. Unfortunately, we also have a growing apathy that is allowing us to jump tracks and head in the wrong direction. Seek pleasure in the consciousness of free spontaneous action, according to Aristotelean ethics. Play can be experienced within the subconscious, as our bodies resonate an embodied sense of cohesion with nature, where there is no preconceived idea or outcome. Primal pleasures differ in the function of their very expression. But in the end, Socrates was right, wisdom begins with wonder. Never forget that.

 

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Awareness as new paradigm for modern health

The way we move, think and eat is not detached, in a Cartesian sense, from who we are and how we experience our place in this world. We cannot be disconnected from our natural environment for it is that which literally keeps us alive. This interaction is a primordially intrinsic necessity that shapes our thoughts, movements and proprioceptive context in nature. To lose this interactive sense or become disconnected with our body is immediately endangering this crucial mind-body-nature equilibrium. The most important disruptive factor in society today I believe is our sense (or lack of) awareness.

This post is intended to dwell upon the need for a paradigm shift in modern thought practicalities through ideas about reinstalling a sense of awareness of our connection with nature through diet and physical movement, and the way our evolutionary path has almost perfectly laid before us a schema for health, happiness and longevity. This needn’t be a lofty concept beyond the realms of the common citizen, for it is based on integral components of our past that have sadly been usurped by corrupting interests and the subsequent watering down of common awareness.

Accepting the status quo

We need to (re) learn and (re) live our connection with our natural environment and we need to do this through a deeper awareness of the factors that both enable and contradict this linkage. Let me begin with some of the most encompassing contradictions in modern Western societies today. For many people, a cursory reflection upon their ideas of independent or collective choice in life will reveal tendencies to ´accept the status quo´ with regards to many seemingly self-directed scenarios. I´m thinking here of our choice of career, choice or meals, choice or activities, partners, dwellings and so on.

We are natural social animals and this is revealed through our desires to seek the company of fellow citizens, dwell, interact and procreate together with members of similar ethnic groups and secure identities that are framed within certain social and cultural norms and values. This, in order to feel secure about ourselves as individuals and as members of a certain society. From an evolutionary perspective, this is nothing new, but dangers are inherent in this pattern as well.

Practices of ´flock mentality´ have always made me cringe slightly, even if I have readily partaken in many, as it has always revealed a sense of vulnerability in the way people accept what others do or say as being either correct, or most sensible. Certain norms, practices and ´knowledges´ are usually appropriated by members of society for political, economic or other subversive gain. A quick glance at any number of corrupt or dictatorial regimes around the world reveals clearly how individual and collective choice and freedom is subjugated in coercive ways.  What about the way we are told in so-called democratic Western societies to eat?. This is indeed a great example.

20th Century dietary catastrophe

The nutritional guidelines presented in the latter half of the 20th Century by state health authorities are perhaps the most crass and damaging examples of how people are made to bare the cost of the influx of modern western diseases through being told it is down to the false choices we make when eating, moving or thinking.  Successive ´democratic´ regimes, or guardians of the health and welfare of millions of people, are now in an impossible position of having to cover up for generations of false claims about disease and illness and its relation to activity and nutrition. Let me explain some more.

We are told that we are obese because we are inactive.  Or that we eat too much. Or that we have bad genes.  We are told to practice moderate activity every now and then, preferably in the ´fat burning aerobic zone´. Intense activity is bad for us we are told. Even dangerous. We are told to fuel our bodies with 4-6 servings of sugar (carbohydrate) each day. We must avoid animal fat, and instead go for processed low-fat variants. We should eat wheat they say, and copious amounts of fruit. This list goes on.

The human body is an incredible organism of adaptive capability, but is not metabolically adapted to the foodstuffs that it eats today based upon high carbohydrate/sugar intake, gluten and processed plant oils. We don´t get fat because we sit and don´t exercise, we get fat and develop diabetes and heart disease because the food we are told to eat, and don´t question, has deranged our metabolic pathways by confusing the appetite mechanisms that allow our bodies to regulate energy expenditure. This is not to mention the chaos caused by derailed insulin production and inflammation and stomach frailty exacerbated by excess linoleic acid.

Alternative ways of thinking

Ok, the point I am trying to illuminate here is that despite our options not to abide by social norms and the ´standard way of living´, the very guardians of our own welfare (politicians, teachers, doctors, scientists etc) have got so much wrong, and are indeed so far beyond the point where they can back track and admit that their advice has been responsibility for so much illness and death, that society needs to find its own health paradigm through new awareness of the factors behind what has gone wrong.

Back in the age of antiquities, it was the philosophers who held the hand of wisdom and to whom citizens turned to for advice and ´truths´ on general matters, including aggressors with insubordinate aims towards power, conquest and domination. Where does this leave us today, if the hand of wisdom coming from minority movements is labelled ´alternative´ simply because it questions the wisdom of those in control?.

We become trapped paradigmatically in a thought process that has alienated alternative ways of thinking that question the status quo and our place as members of a collective sociality.  Maintaining this, and quickly moving towards quelling any sign of incoherence to socio-political thought has been, and still is, a principle tactic of oppressive regimes in maintaining order and control over its citizens. Scary thought.

Movement and awareness

So back to movement and awareness, and how this paradigm shift needs to be enacted. Society needs to be reminded of processes of evolution and our place today as a condition of context and adaption, both towards and away from our natural tendencies. We eat, we procreate, we sleep and we fight in different ways to achieve these things. The way we eat has included hunting, collecting, fighting, starving, sharing and learning what is and isn’t toxic for our survival. This is basic evolutionary theory, although we are now being offered a get out of jail free card. We can manage to be locked up in life like battery chickens, and still live a linear path to longevity we are told.

Science and artificial production has enabled us to survive on non-natural and harmful foodstuffs like wheat, sugars and plant oils and take drugs that prolong survival rates of diseases such eating causes (heart disease, diabetes, cancers etc). Modern society has led us away from nature, from hunting and subsisting as our basis of survival, to an abundance of artificial ´foodstuffs´, and we are told to accumulate capital wealth and surround ourselves with material ´stuff´ that has little or no causal effect on our survival or happiness. The great outdoors, or natural experiences, have become seen as éscapes´ from daily life, a place where we can gain energy to fulfil our needs in ´reality´. Who is in charge of this reality?. When exactly did we decide that physical activity and a connection with nature should become a pastime?.

This is not to say that we should, as a true stoic would advocate, ditch modernity and crawl out from under a rock to eat sea birds and berries. We are part of the great evolutionary path which we should embrace, its just that we have lost touch with the realization that we are not yet adapted genetically or proprioceptively to being out of our natural surrounds, which is nature untouched by processed forms of modernity. Yes, I contend that we are ill adapted to modern ways, despite our best intentions. We need to adhere more closely to our primal tendencies in the way we think, eat and move and stop trying to rush the evolutionary process.

Embrace modernity….slowly

By being reacquainted with natural movement (literally smelling the flowers and getting down on the ground and dirty, all in gracefully efficient ways) we re-establish an AWARENESS of the past that allows us to take full advantage of our place in modern history and the benefits it provides. Think about cause and effect in an independent manner, and if something makes no sense, then don’t accept it, challenge that process. We can be happy, healthy, relaxed and feel a sense of ´being alive´, all whilst working away at our various professions, learning new skills, appreciating food, company, relationships and imported Brazilian espresso beans.

Illness, idleness, stress, depression, conflict, political ignorance and so on, all can be avoided to a large extent through awareness and being able to take action to break cycles of decay and stagnation. There is a super fine line between complexity and simplicity in the way we live, eat, move and think. Too often, people that make things appear complex have hidden agendas. Learn to be aware of what contributing factors lie behind your choices, don’t hide behind the mask of ignorance and let society become swamped by normality. Sleep well, get outside into the sun, rain and fresh air, think differently, move smoothly, learn to balance, love one another, eat natural food and start to enjoy your place in the great evolutionary trail.

 

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Nutrition 101

Nutrition 101

“It is becoming clear now that many of the diseases afflicting humanity are not a natural part of the aging process, but are side effects of technological and other powerful cultural changes in the way we eat and live that have occurred since the dawn of agriculture roughly 10,000 years ago. These changes seem to center largely on the sequential introduction of what I call the neolithic agents of disease – wheat, excess fructose and excess linoleic acid” Dr. Kurt Harris”

 All exercise is about movement – not about burning calories. The whole fat-burning thing happens as a result of the diet – not the exercise”
Mark Sisson – Primal Blueprint
 
 “Hyperglycemia – the presence of higher-than-healthy levels of sugar in the blood. This one condition might be the cause of (or at least may be involved in) most diseases of civilization”
Mark Sisson – Primal Blueprint
 

“If part of your immune response is always allocated to repairing gut irritation, you are essentially sick all the time”  Robb Wolf

“It’s important to mention that if an individual desires to lose body fat it is vital to reduce the glycemic load of the diet. For some people this may mean virtually no dense carb sources such as fruit or yams while others may just need to reduce the amount of carbs and or alter the density a bit. SO many people attempt to lose fat by starting a program of long slow cardio and a low fat diet. It works for precious few people” Robb Wolf

“The only meaningful way to lose fat is to change the regulation of the fat tissue, and the science of fat metabolism strongly implies that the best way to do that, if not the only meaningful way, is by reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed and/or improving the quality of those carbs we do consume” Gary Taubes

“The same foods that make us fat are the same foods that cause heart disease and diabetes and cancer, etc. — the diseases that associate with obesity. These are the foods that were absent from human diets during the 2.5 million years of evolution leading up to the agricultural era, and so we’re still poorly adapted to dealing with these foods — easily digestible starches, refined carbs and sugars. When we remove these foods from our diets, we get healthier. Insulin levels come down and with them a host of metabolic disturbances normalize” Gary Taubes

“There is an alternative — a diet that emulates what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate — a high-protein, high-fruit and veggie diet with moderate amounts of fat, but with high quantities of healthful omega-3 and monounsaturated fats. Protein has two to three times the thermic effect of either fat or carbohydrate, meaning that it revs up your metabolism, speeding weight loss. Additionally, protein has a much greater satiety value than either fat or carbohydrate, so it puts the brakes on your appetite” Prof. Loren Cordain

 
 

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