Stand Up, Kick Off Your Shoes and Eat Some Dirt
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: How
Agriculture Ruined Your Health (and What To Do About It)
By now, you’re
all probably thinking the same thing.
diet, exercise, sleep, stress, and sunlight – is there anything
else we need to worry about?
You don’t need to worry about the stuff I’m about to tell you. Millions
of people don’t, and they apparently get along okay.
But then again,
the tens of thousands of people I’ve personally reached usually
have the opposite experience.
Rather than feel bogged down by this information, they find their
lives are incredibly enriched and improved. In short, they never
knew that the shoes you wear or the bacteria you’re exposed to or
the way you sit and stand could have such remarkably positive (or
negative) effects on your health and happiness – until they tried
this stuff out for themselves.
So, yes, you
could focus on the previous six lessons, ignore this one, and get
But you don’t
want “okay.” You want “fantastic.” You want “optimal.”
Let’s get to
represent a litany of other things to consider in your journey toward
ancestral, Primal health. These are little tweaks you can make,
you can play around with, tools for tinkering and self-experimentation.
a meal (or two, or three) on a semi-regular basis. While conventional
dietary experts claim if you skip a meal, you’ll cannibalize your
own muscle, go into starvation
mode, and suffer dangerously low blood sugar, the evidence is
not on their side. Humans spent millions of years in an environment
where they had to hunt and gather if they wanted to eat. If we were
built to lose muscle and faint just because we hadn’t eaten in four
hours, we wouldn’t be here today.
In fact, it
seems like we are well-suited to missing meals on occasion. There
is numerous evidence that fasting not only isn’t detrimental, but
actually good for us. Potential benefits of IF include, but
are not limited to: increased utilization of stored body fat; improved
cholesterol numbers and insulin sensitivity; promotion of cellular
autophagy, which is how are cells repair themselves and may provide
resistance to cancer; increased lifespan (in animal studies); better
athletic performance; better appetite control.
is the 8-on, 16-off schedule, which has you skipping one meal, typically
breakfast, and maintaining an eight hour “eating window.” So, you
skip breakfast, eat lunch around noon, eat dinner around 8 PM, and
fast through the night until noon the next day. 8 hours on, 16 hours
off, every day.
the full-on 24 hour fast, done once or twice a week. This is exactly
like it sounds – just don’t eat for a full 24 hours. Eat dinner,
go to sleep, and hold off until dinner that day.
personal favorite eating schedule? Not IF, but WHEN – When Hunger
Just eat when
you’re hungry. Once you’re eating Primal, you’ll find that your
appetite is more subdued and manageable, and that you can go longer
without getting hungry.
IF to folks who have their appetites under control. If you’re just
getting started with Primal eating, don’t worry about skipping meals.
IF can be a nice addition to your toolbox,
but not if it’s a stressful thing. It should come naturally.
I dunno about
you, but I was born barefoot. I'd wager a guess that we all were
born barefoot. So why do we think we need to stick our feet in leather/rubber
casts all day long? Isn't that kind of absurd, when you think about
Bear with me.
Anthropological evidence confirms that our ancestors were walking
around upright, just like we do today, over two millions years ago.
If you look at the footprints from that era, they are almost identical
to the footprints you might leave on the beach today.
equipment – the bare foot – has been getting humans and their ancestors
around for over two millions years, without any need for Nikes or
Reeboks. I'd say that's a pretty good track record.
If you want
to try barefooting, start
small. Kick off your shoes at the house. Go get the morning
paper without slippers. Do some yard work in bare feet. Eventually,
work your way up to a ten-minute walk. All the while you'll be strengthening
the hundreds of bones, ligaments, and muscles in your feet.
Eventually, you'll have trouble going back to shoes at all.
I realize that
going barefoot isn't always socially acceptable, so I compromise.
If I can't go barefoot, I'll wear a pair of soft moccasins, some
Fivefingers, or any shoe
that mimics the barefoot experience by employing a flat, even
sole without a big pronounced heel that changes how you walk.
relatively recent change to the way we experience the world is the
way we spend our time. That is, we almost invariably spend more
than half our waking hours sitting
in a chair, a car, a bus seat, or on a sofa. At work, we sit.
To get to work, we sit. When we get home from work, we sit. It's
all sitting, all the time. Unsurprisingly, lower back pain is one
of the most common ailments nowadays. Well over 50% of the population
of the United States has or has had lower back pain.
Is that normal?
our ancestors? Chairs either didn't exist, in the case of hunter-gatherers,
or they were a luxury, in the case of every culture up until the
Industrial Revolution. Work was physical, and involved a lot of
moving around. In cultures where physical labor remains the norm,
you see far fewer incidences of lower back pain, and the people
have excellent posture. The "Primal chair" was a full squat, or
what I call a Grok
squat. You still see this phenomenon in less-industrialized
nations – elderly folks sitting in a full squat for hours at a time
without discomfort. Can you do the same?
flexors are tight from years of sitting and your joint mobility
is shot from years of never having to move if you didn't want to.
What can we
do about it?
less, walk more.
a stand-up workstation and check out these tips
for desk jockeys.
Check out my
on joint mobility and practice the drills. Learn how our posture
has changed over the years (for the worse), and what
to do about it.
Work on your
the rest of the article
December 12, 2011
© 2011 Mark's Daily Apple
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