Walk like a Monkey, Eat like a Caveman!

So, you've bought your monkey feet ... now what? Well, get out there and have some fun. Walk, run, climb ... most important, have fun!

But what about energy? What about food? Having regressed our footwear, it's time to regress our diet - time to get primal.

As it happens, I am already a caveman; a modern caveman.

Image by Banksy from: 
Image CC: Stefan Kloo

My diet is fresh, local and almost entirely without processed food or refined sugars. I have always favoured animal fats over oils, always eaten butter, always bought the fattier cuts of meat - fat is where the flavour is; it's also where the energy is. I do eat beans, though ... I do eat cereal products, like bread, pasta, cous cous and pastry in pasties and puddings.

Should I be cutting these out?

Let me link to one of the best introductions to paleo that I have read: http://www.fitbomb.com/p/why-i-eat-paleo.html ... please take the time to read it and to read it through. You may not agree with all of it - I don't, but do consider what is being written and mull over some of the finer points, particularly where your energy comes from. Similar, there is the Primal Blueprint.

There are a number of contributors to primal and paleo approaches to diet and lifestyle and while similar, so far as I can glean the key difference is that the paleo approach errs on the side of lower fat and a rejection of dairy, while primal permits dairy as long as it is tolerated and higher fat is perfectly acceptable.

Furthermore, if drawn as a pyramid, the paleo approach focusses on meat, fish and eggs as the foundation of the diet with vegetables and foraged foods like berries less, but significant; whereas the primal approach has vegetables and fruit as the foundation with meat and fish as the less, but significant part of the diet.

As with all diets, they are diets - they can be taken verbatim and adhered to without question, or you can be inspired by them.

My key points are: balance, fresh, local and pure.

Life in moderation is better than following a diet. Some diets are fine for people who lead sedentary lives, lower in fat and so on ... but they do not question the lifestyle; they are an answer to a bad lifestyle and not the answer to good health. Becoming more active is always better than reducing carbohydrate and calorie intake.

These approaches stipulate a reliance upon animal fats as the primary source of energy, meat as the primary source of protein, increasing fish and shellfish in the diet, cutting out dairy, beans, cereals and refined sugars.

Okay ... but I like milk! I like bread! I like beans! I am happy carrying on with them, but in moderation and in scale with the main concepts of the diet. I don't like refined sugars, rarely drink "soda" ... but I do like a little sweetening every so often if the dish warrants it. For this, I use honey.

The diet should be the guidelines, not a set of Holy commandments!

Here's a really fun take and one which I am very much in agreement with: http://www.gnolls.org/1141/eat-like-a-predator-not-like-prey-paleo-in-six-easy-steps-a-motivational-guide

Eat like a predator!

I like how the author takes the guidelines and accepts that cheating is allowed. I also fully agree with the author's stance on activity and exercise - in fact the primary motivating factor behind me NOT taking up jogging is: "... not shuffling down the road in running shoes, with that vacant look of resigned suffering usually seen on wildebeest being eaten alive by hyenas!"; actually, I have overtaken such joggers while out walking! In my monkey feet!

Play! I have often called my usual walking ground my "playground" - it is a green valley littered with farms, tracks and all manner of interesting derelict and disused farmsteads, hamlets, quarries and countryside opulence. I can walk, I can run, I can sprint, I can climb. The valley floor is some 600 feet lower than any entrance you might make into it, so getting back out is always a climb. I get off trail, I get soaked, caked in mud ... but most importantly, I have a huge amount of fun.

Slightly off-topic, but you can see how your diet and your activity are linked - they must be.

What is fundamental to 'Eat Like a Predator' is ... what are you? Are you a predator or are you prey? If you are not especially active, leading a sedentary lifestyle then these approaches are NOT going to be right - you will get fat. Bring activity into the equation and your diet must match it. I like also, that it is called activity ... not exercise.

In exactly the same way as the goal of minimalist footwear is about getting your body to be able to run naturally, with bio-mechanical purity, primal and paleo approaches are about allowing your body to function naturally, energising itself with nutritional purity. And, just as minimalist footwear is about protecting your bare foot as minimally as it can, from modern dangers and modern landscapes, these approaches can be compromised at times with intake that is from the modern world - daily, cereals, beans and refined sugars ... but in moderation and in scale with the main principles of the diet.

The great thing for me is ... I'm already most of the way there, unwittingly already following most of the guidelines and enjoying the balance of fresh, local and pure food.

First steps? They're all there in 'Eat Like a Predator' and the single-most useful hint within that article I believe is, "don't drink your food". Drink water - clean, pure or mineralised water. Beyond that, eat what you need, don't overeat and don't snack.

Finally, from my perspective ... enjoy what you eat.

Get Primal! Go Paleo!