“We’re not going for paleo reenactment here. We look at things from an ancestral perspective to generate questions and hypotheses and give us some ideas about what may or may not make sense…”
– Chris Kresser
I read this quote recently and it really resonated with me. We can’t go back to live a replica of a paleolithic lifestyle and nor would we want to. We rely on our modern conveniences far too much – who would want to wash clothes by hand and give up every electronic device, to list just a few examples? So many anti-ancestral advocates use this line to argue that because we can’t go back it’s pointless to even try to push against the tide of convenience foods and other realities of our modern lifestyle.
The point is, it is useful to look at things from an ancestral perspective to better understand and appreciate what makes us tick, function and thrive, and what makes us fall apart. It is really hard to be happy when we are not functioning properly. And conversely life seems to flow more effortlessly when we are firing on all 6 cylinders.
When we understand our anatomy and physiology and can align to the best of our ability our modern lifestyle choices with our biology, we have greater potential to perform and function properly and reach our true potential. I say “to the best of our ability” because the foods we eat today together with the quality of our soils is a far cry from those enjoyed by our palaeolithic ancestors from which we evolved and from which our genes were set, the quality of the water we now drink and the air we breathe is inferior, our stress is now chronic, our lifestyle is far more sedentary and relegated to the indoors with artificial lights, and our length of sleep and its cycle is severely compromised. No matter hard how we try. But we still have the choice to align our modern lifestyle as best we can to more closely match what we are built for. We can maximise nutrient-density. We can minimise toxins. We can move and sleep more, sit less, spend more time outdoors in nature in sunshine and make attempts to manage our stress. We shouldn’t throw the baby out with our chlorinated bathwater in the name of our modern lifestyle.
Our children’s health is partly a reflection of our health at the time of their birth and partly a reflection of their diet and other lifestyle factors that impact them as they grow. So we need to invest in ourselves and our children for our collective well-being and that of future generations. And that’s why I care. This is not a reenactment. It’s being consciously aware of whether our deliberations further our potential, our health, our happiness and that of future generations and the well-being of the planet or detract from it.
The catch phrase for my business “traditional wholefoods for a modern world” summarises where I stand on this issue- to strive to marry the best of both worlds- the wisdom of our ancestors with the conveniences of our modern, digital age. To unite them to create a new kind of homeostasis for the modern human.