Minimal Effective Dose (MED). This is the smallest amount of something to produce a desired outcome and anything beyond this is wasteful or at least not all that beneficial.
Living a primal lifestyle is all about capitalizing on the MED.
Why count calories and eat bland food and feel like you’re starving if you can eat delicious food instinctively and feel satiated and full of energy?
Why run miles and miles a day and risk injury, burnout and muscle loss when you can sprint once every 7-10 days with similar gains in fitness and optimization of hormone expression?
Why go to the gym several days a week following the same boring routine when you can incorporate a variety of strength training workouts at home, in the park or just about anywhere 2-3 days a week and stay lean, strong and athletic?
Why spend 30 minutes every day stationary on a treadmill or elliptical machine when you can get out and hike in nature, go for a walk with your spouse or a friend, or go for a leisurely bike ride with your kids?
We are not designed for these rigid schedules that are imposed on us by conventional wisdom.
Our lives are already full of deadlines and places to be, so why do we apply this same line of thought to healthy living?
Don’t get me wrong, it can be helpful to have somewhat of a program to follow when incorporating a new lifestyle focused on health and fitness, but over time staying healthy should be governed by instinct and by listening to the signals our bodies tell us. Staying healthy shouldn’t be over complicated (because it isn’t) and we shouldn’t stress about what to eat or how to exercise. This is why the Primal lifestyle makes so much sense to me because it is all about living how nature intended.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t plan elaborate workout programs. They moved slowly throughout the day hunting or gathering or building shelter. They sprinted once in a while to chase something or if being chased by something hunting them! They ate real food including a variety of plants, tubers and animal products (eggs, flesh, organ meat, marrow, fish and seafood). Their bodies utilized stored bodyfat for energy during times of fasting, which was common, instead of relying on sugar and processed poor quality carbs. They were NOT eating 3 plus meals a day plus snacks. They most likely went at least several hours to, sometimes, several days in between meals. There is evidence of strong family and community ties—after all, survival depended on your “tribe.” They obeyed the cues of nature and had no exposure to artificial light and went to bed soon after the sun went down and woke up with the sunrise. They likely spent most of their time outdoors absorbing fresh air as well as plenty of sunlight and vitamin D synthesis.
What our hunter-gatherer ancestors did NOT do was follow some strict regimented health and fitness program. They weren’t counting calories. They weren’t setting their roosters to crow at 4:30 am to cut their sleep short so they could go run 5 miles just for the sake of running in the name of fitness. They didn’t have distractions and artificial forms of light, such as TVs and tablets, to distract them in the evenings and throw off their circadian rhythms and mess up their sleep.
Now, granted, there are many things our hunter-gatherer ancestors encountered that we would never wish on ourselves such as times of famine, bug bites, being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, etc. Archaeological studies of various hunter-gather groups of centuries/millennia ago and of the few remaining modern hunter-gatherer groups have revealed very low incidence of the modern chronic diseases that plague us such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, etc. The life expectancy of many hunter-gatherer groups is often quite young as they died from infections (no antibiotics) or injuries/accidents but of those who lived longer lives the incidence of chronic metabolic related diseases is nearly non-existent.
The advantage we have in 2017 is we can reap many if not most of the benefits of the Primal/hunter-gatherer lifestyle while enjoying the many conveniences and comforts of modern life. The Primal lifestyle is all about capitalizing on using the minimal effective dose to achieve maximal results.
If you are interested in getting started with a Primal lifestyle, consider hiring a certified Primal Health Coach such as me! I will help educate you and provide you with resources, support and a personalized plan to get healthy utilizing a Primal lifestyle. In about 90 days you will be well accustomed to your new lifestyle and be on the path to feeling awesome and maintaining effortless vibrant health. Contact me if interested in private health coaching. https://parnhamhealth.com/contact/