For someone who spends her whole life in front of a computer, I’m very disciplined when it comes to the websites I visit. Being prone to distraction has made me very anti-distraction, so I never look at YouTube, GoogleReader or anything else that might suck me in and spit me out two hours later with little show for it (the exceptions being RecipeZaar and Flickr).
But today I did something I rarely do: I surfed the web. I don’t know why, who cares. I got to stumbling around blogs on “primal” fitness. Zen To Fitness, Mark’s Daily Apple, Feel Good Eating – these are all blogs about the primal lifestyle, a nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that cavemen used to eat. As Mark Sisson puts it: “eat as our ancestors ate and you’ll be healthier for it.”
The primal lifestyle consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts; and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Now, as a dal-loving, bread-baking vegetarian, I’m not about to take up the primal lifestyle anytime soon. However, there are aspects of the diet I find interesting (e.g. its emphasis on raw food) and I like reading about how people have used this diet to better their health and explore aspects of human nutrition.
Enter Son of Grok. He went from being a 250 pound smoker and heavy drinker to a 186 pound beefcake with abs of steel and perfect cholesterol levels. I stumbled upon his blog post from last August: One Year of Cavemanning It. His before and after photos were impressive, but what really got my attention were his list of things he learned along the way. Some of these lessons were just so spot on, I had to share:
- It is WAY easier to be fit and healthy that you would expect
- A lot of people are going to think you are crazy
- You have to do it for you
- The outdoors is an awesome place to be
- Over-analyzing and over-sciencing your approach is a waste of time
- Food is more than something to tide your hunger over. Real food is delicious.
- I love cooking
- I really can live without bread and french fries and chips and corn and sugar… and live well!
- Eating fat can make you NOT fat
- Most people do not realize how much of an impact what you eat has on your health
- I don’t think that I ever want go back
Except for the bit about living without bread, I could totally relate to this. And it got me thinking… he’s doing the primal thing… I’m doing the mostly vegan thing… other people out there are doing other things…. who’s to say one lifestyle is better than another. Getting fit isn’t about being “primal”, or vegan, or finding the perfect diet, or training for a marathon. It’s about finding the lifestyle that lets you realize your full potential, and that’s going to be a totally personal choice. Like SoG says: “you have to do it for you.”
I think what really pumped me up about that post was the reminder that a lot of change can happen in a little amount of time. I mean, look at all that stuff SoG learned in just a year. And life is just a lot of years tied together until you die – so why not make every one of those years like SoG’s caveman year? Not from the primal aspect, but from the “do stuff to make life better” aspect. I want to be able to end every year with a big long list of awesome things I’ve learned. And the only way to do that is to keep learning and experimenting. And yeah, people will think I’m crazy, but so what – they already do, especially after I tell them that I live in a barn in the country.
So where to start. I have a few things in mind for this year:
- Fix my ankle
- Start running again
- And if I’m running, why not start training for a triathlon?
- Do some cycle touring
- Do lots of camping and hiking around the UK
- Start a garden
- Get a bird feeder and learn about birds
- Learn how to identify UK trees, shrubs and shrooms – especially the edible ones!
- Figure out this whole strength-training-at-home thing
- Publish more freelance articles
- Learn how to make really good sourdough bread
- Brew my own beer and/or wine
- Keep a journal
And probably a lot more stuff I can’t think of right now. So I guess I better get started, before I get sucked into primal-inspired caveman musings: