A female friend forwarded this to me…and although it was written for a female audience, the information was too accurate – for all genders – for me not to share.
In this month’s Glamour magazine (a good lesson to not judge a book by its cover!), Dr. Julie Holland suggests we take a page out of the book from our caveman and cavewomen ancestors in order to be our healthiest and happiest selves. She suggests that we have ‘primal needs’ that get ignored in favor of prescription medicines, social media, and unnatural ingredients in foods.
So, Dr. Holland suggests 9 helpful ways to live like the cavemen did…and you may discover your healthiest self yet.
Here are her tips:
1. Don’t Forget To Move!
Cavemen and women were quite active – from hunting, gathering, preparing meals, carrying water, to building shelters, and more. Since we do not have to manually prepare for our own survival in the same way, we’ve gotten too comfortable.
So many of us claim to be too tired and too busy to go to the gym, but really, some form of cardio – every day – is necessary. If you can’t hit the gym, take a walk around your office building at lunch, park your car further away from the store, or find a friend to help motivate you.
2. Fluorescent Lights Don’t Count as Sun Light
Once in a while, leave the office and soak up some sun. Vitamin D is produced naturally when you’re in real sun light – and without enough of it, you can become the victim of depression, headaches, chronic pain, and for women, PMS symptoms may also be stronger (and more uncomfortable).
We have covered the necessity of taking a 5 minute break outside before, and the good doctor just reaffirms this again. If you can’t make it outside daily, bring a plant into your window-less office to mimic the benefits.
Our cave-people ancestors lived every moment of their lives outside, and we, like the cavemen, thrive outdoors.
In short: go outside.
3. Eat Naturally
The best things for us to eat are the things that grow naturally – fruits, vegetables, and nuts. This is a given. Anything processed, fried, dyed, or made with artificial ingredients is simply that – artificial – and not good for any part of you.
Dr. Holland has a mantra called the “junk-in, junk-out” analogy, which states that if you put bad fuel in your engine, it won’t run well. Makes sense to me!
While we are talking about food, make sure to drink plenty of water. You know this drill too – but it never hurts to repeat it. Avoid beverages that can actually dehydrate your further, like juice and yes, even diet soda.
4. Danger: Avoid “Sex Drive Predators”
Dr. Holland notes that in her private practice in New York, clients complain that they want to have sex, but the desire is gone.
There are more than a few triggers that can lower our sex drives… including lack of sleep, too much stress, anxiety, and, get this…possibly the biggest culprit to strip our desire to strip? Prescription pills.
For women, birth control pills often lead to lower desire for women. The Pill (and the shot, and others) lower testosterone in the body, which lowers desire.
For both sexes, taking anti-depressants also lowers the sex drive. And, for a double whammy, there are plenty of women who take The Pill and an anti-depressant. No wonder the desire has departed!
In general, some prescription drugs are necessary, but many do interfere with other bodily processes, so check to make sure you’re only taking pills you need.
5. Bad Moods Are OK
It is perfectly normal to have a bad day, or hell, even a bad week. And a blah mood that matches your bad day is normal, too.
For men and women, some bad moods may be hormonal, so you simply must accept the good with the bad.
If the bad tends to outweigh the good considerably, see your Doctor. Don’t change or stop taking medications without seeing your Doctor, either. Lastly, be wary of side effects (see # 4).
6. Schedule Face Time
With more social media networks than one can imagine (or stalk their exes on), we often forget to schedule time to see one another in person.
Although we are still “connected” to one another virtually, Dr. Holland reminds us that mankind is a social creature by nature…our “primal needs” include the touch of another person, and eye contact, among other bonding elements. Without planning some mandatory face to face time with those we love, we lose out on a lot, including sharpening our social skills.
Make sure to see your friends and family in person, not only through your Skype screen, at least once in a while.
7. Sleep Enough
Sleeping long enough, and well enough, is just as important for us as it was for our cave-dwelling kin. When we are overtired, we tend to reach for sugar foods or drinks loaded up with caffeine (or both, thank you, Red Bull) to get us through the day.
But in the long run, this may do more harm than good. Drinking caffeinated beverages all day keeps us awake later at night, which makes it harder to fall asleep. It can be a vicious cycle!
Dr. Holland suggests that in order to get a good night’s sleep, stop consuming caffeine after noon. That way your body has long enough to metabolize the caffeine you’re giving to it.
Also, turn off your electronic devices at least a full hour before you turn in. Bright lights from your electronics reduce the natural amount of melatonin you produce, which is a hormone that is necessary for a quality sleep cycle.
8. Schedule Some R&R
This relates back to #2. Unplug and go outside! Take the time to sit still, even for a few moments, with no distractions, and to just reflect.
If we just run and run and forget to stop, we neglect our health! We are more likely to remain indoors, to eat poorly, and to stay plugged in at all times, which pretty much covers this list.
Dr. Holland suggests spending your You-Time outdoors for maximum benefit.
9. Have Fun!
Yes, you should have fun, but your party time should not involve binge drinking or excessive drug use. Dr. Holland defines “binge-drinking” as having more than 4 drinks in a single setting – and this could be a huge reality check for some of us!
As far as drug use goes, Dr. Holland said it best already, so it is best to let her do so here:
“In some ancient groups, altered states enhanced communal rituals and gatherings. They were infused with meaning and spirituality. We should emulate that approach, rather than use substances to numb ourselves, zone out, and escape.”
Right. So, you can drink in moderation, but you need to consume your drinks slowly, and always remember how many you’ve had. (If you can’t remember, the answer is automatically “too many!”).
In conclusion, there is a lot to take away from this information. You do not immediately have to switch your entire life around and live according to the caveman ways, but there is a lot here that can help you to have an enjoyable, productive, and healthy life. Enjoy!
Source: Holland, Julie, M.D. “The Cavewoman’s Guide to Good Health.” Glamour Magazine. October 2010.