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Intro

64% of Americans are now overweight or obese. That figure is predicted to climb to 80% by the year 2020.¹ Heart disease is now the number one killer of Americans, claiming over 459,000 lives per year.² Cancer rates continue to rise. Prevalence rates of Type II Diabetes has doubled from 1990 to 2005, a great enough increase to be characterized as an epidemic by the CDC.³ Divorce rates are at an all time high. A slew of other chronic illnesses are plaguing modern humans. The Mississippi River is going dry. Well, not really, but water is quickly becoming a scarce and very valuable resource, partly because of population growth, but mostly because of irresponsible use of the resource. Sounds pretty bleak, I know, but there is something we can do about it.

Live Like A Caveman. By this, I do not mean quit your job, run off into the woods with nothing but a loin cloth, hunt wild game, forage for nuts and berries, and drink from a river for the rest of the days, although, if this appeals to you, then by all means do it! There are certain primal behaviors that shaped humans into the dominant species we are today that can  be incorporated into modern life for a higher quality of living. To look forward, one must first look back. Think about it. Have you ever seen a fat Caveman (Jack Black in Year One doesn’t count!)? Anthropological evidence points out that our ancestors were bigger, leaner, stronger, faster, had greater bone density, and basically were healthier in every other regard. They even had larger brains (this is only to say they had a greater capacity for intelligence, not greater intelligence in itself, although they were still much smarter than many a modern man would credit them for). They were stressed by the pressures of basic survival: food, water, shelter, security from predators. A far, far cry from some modern Americans who stress about bills, getting through rush hour, retirement funds, or even what to eat for dinner.

Those who blame their genes for their obesity or otherwise preventable diseases are actually right, just not the way they think they are. Yes, mom and dad may both be overweight and have passed down their genes to you, but to get to the root of the problem we have to understand our genes in the context of living as a human being, not as part of the family tree. Your genes WANT you to be happy. It’s a concept known as positive gene expression. Luckily, it’s simple to understand. You provide your genes with what they have evolved to thrive off of for thousands of years and just like Mr. Sisson says, you will enjoy “effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy.” Common sense should immediately tell you that Coca Cola and X-Box 360 are not part of the equation.

So what makes our genes happy? We have to look back 10,000 years, right before the advent of agriculture to answer this question. I will highly reference and even blatantly plagiarize from the definitive source on this topic, The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. Mark points out, that up until this point, evolution was in full drive. Humans were still fighting for survival in an ever changing world. To increase their chances of survival, genes were constantly adapting to stimuli. These stimuli most importantly consisted of available nutrition, but also patterns of physical exertion (“exercise”), lack of exertion (sleep), right brain stimulation (play, social interactions, arts, etc.) left brain stimulation (logic, arithmetic, etc.), and exposure to the elements.

With the arrival of agriculture, for the first time in history food supplies became stabilized. It was about the same time in history that very large game (a potential threat to humans) became extinct. Humans were able to forego a nomadic lifestyle in favor of permanent establishments i.e. cities. Now having comfy housing, more secure food sources, no fear of saber tooth tigers, and a deer hide lazy boy setup in the yurt (kidding), evolution ground to a halt. It had done its job beautifully, and as long as humans continued similar patterns of living, they would not only survive, but thrive as a healthy dominant species.

We’ve certainly thrived and are the dominant species, but as to how healthy we are is questionable. We’ve been conditioned to eat modern foods that do no align with our genetic desires. Forced into an extremely hectic and busy lifestyle in cramped cities that leave little time for rest and relaxation. We work 50 hour weeks at a desk during the physical prime of our lives. Then, at 65, we can retire. Except, our bodies have been abused by poor diet and lifestyle decisions for so long that we now rely on a host of pills to cure our ailments and get us through the day. All that hard work for this? Something just doesn’t seem right.

Through my own personal experiences and those of others such as Mark Sisson, I have compiled information on this website to help you learn about the benefits of living primally, and what behavior characterizes positive gene expression. I highly, highly recommend the purchase of Mark’s book, The Primal Blueprint. It is tailored to both the highly technical geeks who have to know how everything works and the lay person alike, who maybe doesn’t understand all the chemical reactions and scientific jargon, but has a desire to improve their life and can follow simple recommendations. The Primal Blueprint is NOT a fad diet, a prescribed workout plan, nor a life coaching seminar. While Mark and I both openly admit that we are a bit biased and not professionals in any of these fields (myself more so than him), we can say with confidence that our claims and recommendations are backed by science, and thousands of years of human evolution. Even if you don’t concur with the science (some of you won’t), I think you will find no harm in eating abundant healthy food, getting lots of playtime and sleep, and freeing yourself from clutter. In addition to the core Primal Values (mostly derived from The Primal Blueprint), I have written additional articles on other ways I see fit to live better, most notably the Live Simply, Live Better series. I hope you enjoy all the information here and at least develop great curiosity about it if not live it to the max. I’m open to questions as I feel qualified to answer them, but if it’s something highly technical or specialized, I’m going to refer you to my ultimate resource, Mark’s Daily Apple.

Click here to Continue to the Primal Laws

References

1 “Statistics Related to Overweight and Obesity“. CDC. 2006. Retrieved 2009-12-09.

2 Division of Vital Statistics; Arialdi M. Miniño, M.P.H., Melonie P. Heron, Ph.D., Sherry L. Murphy, B.S., Kenneth D. Kochanek, M.A. (2007-08-21). “Deaths: Final data for 2004” (PDF). National Vital Statistics Reports (United States: Center for Disease Control) 55 (19): 7. Retrieved 2009-12-09.

3 Gerberding, Julie Louise (2007-05-24). Diabetes. Atlanta: Centres for Disease Control. Retrieved 2009-12-09.

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