When people say the word “paleo”, what comes to mind? Piles of steak? Huge salads? No cupcakes? We’ve all been conditioned in some way to associate the word with the hugely popular dietary guidelines that focus on fresh, whole foods and eschew the sugary, processed junk that makes up a huge portion of many American’s diets. And, while this is a big part of the Paleo lifestyle, it’s still only one part. What you eat has a huge influence on your physical and mental health, and a good nutritional foundation is key to a life of vitality and wellness, but it’s only the beginning when it comes to all the amazing benefits that a primal lifestyle has in store!
Maybe you have been eating mostly Paleo for a while, and you’re ready to take things to the next level. Or perhaps you’re new to the whole scene, and want to try something that is so much more than a diet. Wherever you are, however you eat, and whatever your lifestyle, we can all agree that you are much more likely to stick with something if you notice benefits in more than one area of your life. And that’s one of the reasons why the primal way of living is perfect for you! There’s a lot more to this ancient wisdom than just eating grass-fed beef and stocking up on leafy greens.
Here are five non-diet ways that you can start living a true Paleo life!
You may have heard this health buzzword floating around lately, and it’s a central component to any primal way of living. We humans are meant to be in contact with the earth – to feel the grass under our feet or wiggle our toes in the sand. The planet carries its own electromagnetic vibration that has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower stress hormones, and promote a feeling of calm and connection. Harness your ancestors and kick off your shoes for a while when you go outside. Walk or run barefoot, and spend plenty of time sans sandals for maximum benefit.
- Logging off
Nearly all of us are attached to our electronics, but they are not all fun and games when it comes to our health. Americans spend more time online than ever before – taking phones everywhere we go, spending hours on our computers or streaming Netflix. And while these things are fine in moderation, the overuse of electronics can disrupt our sleep patterns, prevent meaningful relationships and experiences, and promote a sedentary lifestyle. Log off of your devices now and then, spend time with someone you love, or go explore the outdoors!
- Slowing down
This hectic pace of life is not only stressful, but it’s not sustainable in the long run. Our ancestors had it right – they worked just as much as they needed to, to provide for their families, and didn’t over-schedule the rest of their days. They didn’t say yes to dozens of invitations, or take on projects that would detract from their leisure time. They savored the quiet moments, the ability to self-reflect and interact with others, and engaged in mindful rest. This is a lost art in our culture today, but one that can create profound healing, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Moving organically
The curse of “chronic cardio” is still alive and well, with millions of people droning away on treadmills, elliptical machines, and indoor bikes. This not only places undue stress on the body, but it saps all the joy out of movement and exercise. We are meant to move in an organic fashion, with both fun and purpose, but never spend two hours staring at a magazine while we mindlessly pedal our legs. Bring some awareness to your exercise – try new things, go fast and short, take breaks, push yourself, play with others, and say goodbye to the dreadful rows of gym equipment.
- Cleaning house
In today’s world, there are a lot of toxins in our environment that we should be aware of, and only a portion of them are in our food. Since the industrial revolution and the rise of the big chemical brands, more and more of our cosmetics and cleaning products have been adulterated with toxins and petrochemical byproducts. Get back to what’s safe and natural by saying no to these conventional items, supporting clean and ethical brands, or by making these things yourself at home!
There are so many wonderful ways that you can live a true Paleo lifestyle, to better the health of your body, your home, and your planet. So don’t just grab a bowl of kale and bacon and call it a day. Try these five ideas to broaden your primal horizons, and get ready to never go back to your old ways!