Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Tribal Reunions

I'm smiling ... more so than usual.  My newly two year old son is laughing and playing with his older sister and brother. He manages to look at me with an expression on his face saying, "This is friggin great!". Lately, he's been getting lots of quality time with his siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends ... people he doesn't see enough on a regular basis.  He hasn't figured it out yet, but he understands in his subconscious (or perhaps in his soul) that the magic of this time of year is all about the tribe.  

It's reunion time again, finally. It's that special time of year when we reconnect with our tribes, our family, people with whom we share ancestry, bloodlines, genetics, perspectives.  It runs deep.  Hunter acts very differently around family (and family friends).  He warms up quickly.  He beams in their presence.  We all seem more at home and at peace in each other's company, even as we're driving each other crazy.

Historically, traditionally, extended families lived together or in close proximity to each other.  Perhaps something has been lost by our self-imposed division of extended family.  Technology has only assisted in exacerbating our isolation.  Sure, I can text my sister, call my mom, check my cousin's facebook status, read my friend's latest blogpost, in minutes, with the mere touch of a finger, but I'd rather give each one of them a hug, I'd rather see their facial expressions as we talk and laugh.

I'm glad that I can enjoy lots of laughing, talking and hugging with my tribes this time of year.  I need to consciously parlay this into a more regular thing for us.

Humans need tribes.  We evolved that way and our physiologies (and perhaps our souls) crave this form of interconnectedness and interdependence.  

Happy Holiday Tribal Reunions!

Friday, December 16, 2011

What is food?

What is food?  It’s kind of sad that this question must be asked and answered, but most people have clearly lost a sense of its definition.  The fact that the definition of food, something so essential to human life, is misunderstood by the public at large is at the heart of the problem with the current state of human health.

So, what is food?  A quick internet search found the following definition: “Any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.” (

So the purpose of food is to be nourishing, to sustain life, to provide energy and to promote growth.  Outside of providing energy, I would say most of the Standard American Diet (aptly abbreviated SAD) is not food.  It certainly isn’t what I call real food.

Real food is nourishing, sustains life (healthy, vibrant life), provides energy (not a spike in energy quickly followed by dips in energy, but sustained energy), and promotes growth (of muscle, bones, healthy cells, beneficial bacteria, hormones, etc.).  Real food fulfills the very definition of food.  Fake food (i.e. processed foods like frozen dinners, pizza, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, English muffins, waffles, bottled salad dressings, etc) is not nourishing, barely sustains life (and leads to diseases that diminish life), both provides and robs the body of energy, and does not promote growth of anything except adipose tissue.

So, for the real food impaired, here are a few ways to recognize real food:

Real food was alive once.  It grew in the ground or was a living animal eating it’s natural diet and doing it’s natural thing.
Real food doesn’t need an advertising campaign.
Real food usually doesn’t need packaging, but if it does, it usually doesn’t have more than one or two ingredients (ex. cheese – ingredients are milk, rennet, enzymes; almonds – ingredients are almonds, etc.).
Real food is food that your great, great grandparents and every generation before them ate and thrived eating.
Real food is organic.
Real food takes time to prepare in your kitchen.
Real food is damn tasty (not fake tasty, using chemicals like msg and chemically manipulated “natural flavors”).
Real food doesn’t give you a headache, or bloating, or constipation, or the runs when you eat it.
Real food is ... real.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Need to Shift Perspective

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in light of Evolution.  This is the title of a famous essay from Theodosius Dobzhansky, regarding how it is possible to reconcile a belief in God with the concept of evolution.  The article is quite brilliant, but I think the biggest takeaway is the assertion made in the title itself.  Nothing in Biology makes sense except in light of Evolution.  

When we look at the evolution of the human race, we note that selection pressure to evolve began to rapidly decline after the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution.  Humans shifted from being migratory to stationary, civilizations developed and grew, and humans began to enjoy benefits of society and technology, including amazing medical advancements.  As a result, there was no reason for our bodies to adapt to the world around us, because the world around us had become a much more hospitable place.   

Based on this evidence, one can adeptly theorize that human physiology has not changed all that much since the end of the Paleolithic era.  Our basic needs as humans have not changed.  Our world, however, has changed immensely.

Our unnatural world is no longer congruent with our human physiology.  This disconnect is at the heart of the multitude of trials and tribulations the human race has been experiencing for thousands of years.  And, with every advance in technology, the gap between our evolved state and the world in which we live widens.

In order to bridge this gap, we must start taking into account this evolutionary perspective.  We have to start looking  at our world through a different lens.  This blog will attempt to do just that.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Looking Back To Look Forward

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."
Theodosius Dobzhansky

If I'm going to start something, I might as well start at the beginning and work my way forward.  I'm a linear thinker.

What the hell has happened to the human race? It's kind of pathetic, given the extraordinary capabilities of the human being. I'm just astounded at the way we have pissed away our genetic inheritance to the point of near extinction.

In a world fraught with war, political corruption, widespread consumerism, the human being is sicker and sadder than ever in history. Given the technological and scientific advances made by humans in the past 100 years, one would expect better, much better.

There is hope for us, though. We have a way out. Locked within us is our ancestral inheritance of instinctual wisdom, based on a multitude of evolutionary advancements. We need to explore and exploit the things our ancestors did that fit with our genetics. We need to look back at how we evolved to stop our de-evolution. We need to examine what ancient practices align with our physiological evolution, and how those practices can be applied to today's human in the modern world. This approach can be applied to all aspects of one's life and lifestyle, from nutrition to workout routine to family life. This blog will attempt to dig deeper into how we can employ the gathered wisdom of our ancient (and perhaps recent) ancestors to save the sick, sad modern human race.