If there is one thing that will define you as a person, it is your Habits. Moreover, if there is one thing that will determine whether you live a life of integrity, it's your Habits.
Do you constantly struggle with your weight and/or overall health? Are you constantly chasing the latest diet fad, but just end up worse off than when you started? What if I was to tell you being healthy is far easier than you think. What if I said your body already knows what it needs, you have just been tricked into thinking being healthy is a complicated system that only makes you lose weight in one area… your wallet!
The secrets of health and longevity today are the same as they were thousands of years ago for our prehistoric ancestors. This idea is at the heart of The Simple Life concept.
While we have many creature (and culinary!) comforts in our modern lives, our bodies and digestive systems have changed little since our prehistoric cousins found the secret to life-long health: active lives and natural foods. So we need to eat and move like they did. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
This is not to say you need to live like a caveman – far from it! Hey, I don’t want to give up my car or computer either . . . OK, maybe some days. But when it comes to your body, realize that the ideal diet and movement patterns that kept our species alive and empowered for many millennia haven’t changed much. Anytime you’re confronted by a seemingly confusing health choice, just think of how your primitive brethren would have lived: with whole natural foods and an active lifestyle. Humans evolved consuming a diet of natural foods based on actively gathering plant-based foods and hunting animals. Our bodies, though highly adaptive, need specific nutrients that can only be found in nature to function properly. This has been the case for millions of years, and for far longer than our modern ways of eating have existed. This nutritional paradigm has only changed in the last few hundred years, thanks to the advent of industrialized agriculture and factory food production.
The prehistoric man/woman concept is an easy tool to use when you become confused about food, exercise or health choices. If the modern world as we know it were to end and you had to live off of the land like our predecessors, what would you eat? What foods would you have access to in your immediate area?
Whenever you have a question about your food selections, just imagine what a prehistoric man or woman would have had as food choices. Would they have had access to sugary flavored water, processed starchy pasta, high fructose corn syrup, sugary breakfast cereals, or artificial sweeteners? Did prehistoric man/woman worry about saturated fat? Humans before us did not concern themselves with counting calories or with most of our other modern dietary concerns. They just ate what was naturally in abundance around them when they were hungry.
Some skeptics may say that the life expectancy of the average prehistoric human was actually quite short, throwing doubt on the health benefits of our early ancestors’ ways of living.
However, their life spans were no doubt affected by other circumstances rare in our modern lives, such as death by trauma or injury. Moreover, they lived in a lawless world and may have fought vicious battles against neighboring tribes and groups – and sometimes against each other.
Also, our prehistoric brethren were not at the top of the food chain; they were themselves hunted by large predators and did not always enjoy the constant abundance of food that we have today. Being fat and slow meant an easy, tasty meal for others!
They lived a much harsher and more violent life than modern humans, and died for many reasons beyond the scope of nutrition. Had they had constant access to readily available foods, and not suffered so many survival-related stresses, fewer would have died at an early age. Let’s face it, a badly sprained ankle or broken arm could have meant death for our prehistoric ancestors. Indeed, in ideal circumstances, many prehistoric humans may have lived far longer – possibly longer than we do today.
The human body is, in fact, so resilient that it has contingency plans even when little or no food is available. Remember that periodic fasting (I will discuss this in great detail later in the book) would likely have been a part of prehistoric men/women’s everyday lives. They would not have had access to a grocery store and been able to eat a bag of potato chips at midnight.
Having access to food at all times is a very recent modern phenomenon. Throw in the availability of highly processed food products, combined with a lack of exercise, and what you have is today’s obesity problem. In short, understanding what makes us sick and unhealthy today requires us to take a look back in our history to see what made us thrive in order to be here today.