Thinking About Going Primal/Paleo for the New Year: What Does That Entail?

I explained in my two previous posts that going primal/paleo entails adopting an ancestral health approach to better food choices and to a movement regimen based on our daily energy levels (the opposite of chronic cardio). 

Today, I am going to go over what adopting an overall primal/paleo lifestyle is about. So along with better-quality food and exercise, this includes (as explained in The New Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson) the importance of adequate sleep and sunlight, play, avoiding “stupid mistakes,” and stimulating your brain according to your likings to keep it sharp.

Get Adequate Sleep

  • Minimize artificial light and digital stimulation after dark.
  • Create a simple, quiet, dark sleeping environment.
  • Consistent bed and wake times.
  • Calm transitions into and out of sleep.
  • Awaken naturally without an alarm, if possible. 
  • Expose to sunlight upon awakening.
  • Nap when necessary and possible.

Get Adequate Sunlight

Stay in the sun for short increments of time in order to not burn and make sure you expose large skin surface areas enough when you can.

Play

It is also good to include play, which refers to any spontaneous outdoor physical activity such as running around with your kids or dog outside. It can be short work breaks or even nice long hikes! Carving out some downtime every day is an important stress management tool and it enhances productivity.

Avoid Stupid Mistakes

  • Avoid “modern dangers” like texting and driving, for example.
  • Drift away as much as possible from stressful routines/habits. Steer clear of multitasking.

Use Your Brain

Choose fun, creative intellectual activities/hobbies to keep your mind sharp such as: reading, writing, problem solving, and/or musical training. I also like to play brain training games on BrainHQ and Lumosity. And the Duolingo app is a lot of fun to practice a language with!

In Summary

So there you have it! This is what adopting a primal/paleo lifestyle entails – and it doesn’t have to be perfect. We’ve all been doing our best in these challenging times. The main priority is to keep at it. See when it is okay to push yourself a little bit to attain the given goal you set for yourself – but also acknowledge the fact that a day may not be the day. And that’s okay. 

Until next time!

References

Primal Blueprint at-a-Glance Reference Guide. http://www.PrimalBlueprint.com

Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, p. 483.

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In order to step into the primal/paleo lifestyle (if going cold turkey is not your thing), progressively eliminating one unwanted food after another is perfectly fine. It’s all about taking one small step at a time to not feel overwhelmed by something that could otherwise seem too big of a challenge to tackle. As you know, the primal/paleo lifestyle comprises more than just choosing better quality foods, but after making sure you get adequate sleep, food is probably what matters most.

For example, maybe the first thing to eliminate can be drinking soda and only soda. After a few days or a few weeks of adjusting to that, then not buying fast food at all can be the second thing to implement.

After another few days or weeks, maybe the next step can be stopping the use of the traditional vegetable oils (like the high polyunsaturated ones and partially hydrogenated trans fats) and switching instead to using healthy fats like the ones mentioned in my blog post, What are Ketones? As explained by Dr. Dinicolantonio and Dr. Mercola in Super Fuel, our cell membranes are mostly made out of fats and that is one main reason why choosing the types of fat we consume is so critical. If we choose fats that can easily be oxidized then they are not going to give us healthy cell membranes. And of course, our whole body is made out of cells. Switching the types of fats we buy is actually an easy switch to make as cooking with new fats is not going to drastically alter the taste of what we are eating. It might go fairly unnoticed. Also, the brand Primal Kitchen, which I get regularly, offers an array of healthy condiments that can make things even easier.

One more thing to get rid of, as a start on your primal journey, are refined sugars such as: all the traditional sweets, processed or not, sugary drinks and juices, and bars of all sorts filled with a high amount of sugar. Here again, not everything has to be cut off at once. Always implement the step by step approach. There are a lot of paleo/primal-approved dessert recipes online now that can be made by simply picking better-quality ingredients.

These are the steps that I think are best to tackle first, even if you don’t want to go primal/paleo all the way (by getting rid of the grains, legumes, and certain dairy products). The order of these steps can be rearranged. It’s all about whatever you think is the best next step for you!

Reference

Dinicolantonio, James, and Joseph Mercola. Super Fuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health. Carlsbad, California, Hay House Inc, 2018, pp. 117-9.

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