Friday, January 14, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Am Proud to Introduce...Myself!

Hello to everyone in the blogiverse! I am Josh, Jordan's (a.k.a. Wifey) other half. Wifey and I are on this journey toward true fitness together using the Primal Blueprint (which is a low-carb, high fat, high protein, sugar free, gluten free, diet) and the primary goal of this blog is for us to track our progress. The secondary goal is to provide information about this way of life (no, no...this is most definitely NOT just a "diet"), and to find like-minded individuals with whom to share our little skippity-hop to the stone age.

It all started when I was searching for fitness and nutrition-related websites via StumbleUpon (amazing if you have an hour to kill...or five). I stumbled upon (ha...), and ignored everything but the "prison workout" post that it had taken me to. It wasn't until a few months later that I found it again as I was cleaning out my bookmarks. I began reading...and couldn't stop for hours. The blog's creator and genius behind the Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson, was once like any other man...well, any other man who happens to be a professional marathon runner and triathlete. But his diet was severely lacking. He would refeul after a hard training session or race with an entire loaf of bread and half a gallon of ice cream. He began to realize he was subjecting his body to some truly terrible things, both dietary and fitness-wise. Yes, I said fitness. Distance running and 'chronic cardio' cause emaciation, overuse injuries, and high amounts of glycogen consumption, which necessitates carb loading to replenish muscles.

Enter the Paleo Diet. The guys behind this breakthrough diet (whose names I am horrible at remembering) were really onto something. They found that (based on a lot of recent evidence, research, and studies) our hunter-gatherer ancestors were healthier than we are now. 

Healthier than now, you say? Yes, yes, I do!

Now listen up: until the advent of cultivation and farming, our ancestors did not eat anything poisonous (at least not the ones who lived long enough to reproduce and teach their offspring what not to eat), INCLUDING WHEAT, BARLEY, OATS, BEANS, POTATOES, and anything else that cannot be eaten raw or cooked over a fire. When man learned how to farm, and civilization began, diseases began to crop up. And so did everything else that plagues man now (except maybe those pesky predators who used to be very good at weeding out the evolutionary gene pool).

The Paleo diet was the beginning. It was simple. But not really. It was too regimented. This is where Mr. Sisson comes in. This man single-handedly refined and simplified the principles of the Paleo diet and expanded it to ten simple tenets of healthy living. They are called the Ten Primal Blueprint Laws, and here they be:

#1: Eat Lots of Plants and Animals
 Our ancestor (now commonly known as Grok) gathered vegetables, fruits, herbs, and nuts. He hunted, and his family ate every edible part on the animal and utilized all of the non-edible parts. He also ate insects and other things that are now considered gross...but that's beside the point. The point is, Grok ate what he could find and kill. He especially enjoyed the fat. Because he didn't eat grains or other carby fare, his body used fat as energy. And, 10,000+ years later, so do our bodies. But we have one big, fat obstacle in our way to achieving the same fitness levels as our primal ancestors. Which brings me to the second commandment.

#2: Avoid Poisonous Things
It was important to Grok's survival...and should also be important to us. I won't go into detail, but I will enumerate the health risks of eating grains and their evil cousins: insulin-resistance and diabetes, cancer, tooth decay, high cholesterol, serious water retention, obesity, sleep apnea, acid reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and many more. That makes these little bugger seem pretty poisonous to me...
#3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
This one is fairly self-explanatory. Grok would spend much of his day tracking his prey or gathering greens, not running for miles...he would walk, maybe jog a little. Too much running can actually become unhealthy. So going for frequent long walks or bike rides is better for you than running 5 miles a day.
#4: Lift Heavy Things
In order to not need a rail to get off the toilet in your advanced years, weight (or even bodyweight) training is recommended. Grok didn't necessarily follow a regimen, but he did have to lift heavy rocks to finally put out downed prey, build shelters, make fires, throw spears, so on, and so forth, and whatnot, and wheretofor.
#5: Sprint Once in a While
Another one that is fairly self-explanatory. Sprint. Now. Go out and do it. Sprinting causes the metabolism to ramp up, increases oxygen efficiency, and is better for your heart, lungs, and joints than distance running. Look at pictures of marathoners compared to sprinters. Marathoners are generally quite emaciated and most of them have chronic joint pain from 'pounding the pavement.' On the contrary, sprinters are well-muscled and generally suffer far fewer overuse injuries and joint problems. Plus it releases growth hormone to build those muscles!
#6: Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is important. Though we can't always go to bed as soon as the sun goes down or wake up at first light, an even sleep schedule allowing adequate sleep for rest and repair to occur is incredibly beneficial.

#7: Play
So easy, a caveman can do it! Seriously. According to George Bernard Shaw, "We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." Amen, brother! Playing is an incredible stress-reducer, creates healthy competition, and gives you plenty of reason to get out and get some sunlight. Which is actually my segue to...
#8: Get Adequate Sunlight
Vitamin D comes from the sun. Well, it comes from other things too, but you wouldn't want to eat 10 lbs. of meat to get enough for the day. People are too paranoid nowadays about the sun. No, it won't kill you. No, you won't get melanoma just from spending an hour or two in direct sunlight. Now, if you do the whole 'burn and peel' thing...well, you're on your own there.

#9: Avoid Stupid Mistakes
Another simple one. If you want some examples, look up the Darwin Awards.
#10: Use Your Brain
Just like our ancestors, we should always be learning. Always advancing. And so we need to keep our minds fresh. Use your imagination (you know, that dusty thing in the back closet of your mind that pokes its head out between commercials).
So, there ya go! Easy enough, right? We shall see. It's only Day 5. And we both have addictive personalities...

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