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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Why Boosting Mitochondrial Function is Important

Being that I am now 50 years old and that I want to keep my energy levels up as much as possible, anything related to how we can boost our mitochondrial function is of interest to me. The mitochondria truly are the powerhouses of the cells. They are little organelles within the cells that produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the energy that our body needs each day in order for us to do anything. In Head Strong, Dave Asprey mentions: “From age thirty to age seventy, the average person experiences a 50 percent decline in mitochondrial efficiency.” So whatever we can do to strengthen our mitochondria, especially as we get older, is a big plus. I am devoted to red light therapy (as mentioned in 4 Easy Steps to Start the Day), grounding, and cold showers.

12 Actionable Steps to Strengthen your Mitochondria

These steps are highlighted by Dr. Frank Lipman in How to Be Well:

  • Quit eating sugar. Mitochondria don’t like using sugar as food.
  • Adopt a grain-free diet to further limit the amount of sugar in your blood.
  • Eat more vegetables to gain more nourishing phytonutrients.
  • Consume plenty of healthy fats. These are the preferred fuel of mitochondria.
  • Eat clean. Pesticides and toxins damage mitochondria.
  • Practice intermittent fasting.
  • Develop a routine of high-intensity interval training. HIIT has been shown to make more mitochondria.
  • Get strong. There is more mitochondria in lean muscle mass than in fat.
  • Practice better sleep hygiene.
  • Soak up some sun. Sunlight is a powerful mitochondrial booster.
  • Avoid electromagnetic radiation.
  • Start your day with a cold shower. Cold exposure, in short bursts, helps trigger the production of new mitochondria.

In Summary

The above steps are a great starting point in building new habits for improving mitochondrial health. Always check with your personal physician first, of course. Just focusing on one or two of these steps when starting this habit is fine. You can always progressively add a few more as time goes on. Eating primal may help in choosing the right foods for your mitochondria. Then you can later implement the other steps gradually according to what works best with your schedule. To better energy levels no matter what your age!

Until next time!

References

Asprey, Dave. Head Strong the Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster – in Just Two Weeks. New York Harper Wave, 2017, p. 41.

Lipman, Frank M D. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 168-69.

You can also find me on Instagram.