Written by Mark Sisson
Are You Hyperconnected ... and Disconnected? The frenetic pace of modern life distracts us from a painful truth: we are disconnected. Disconnected from our DNA recipe, forged through the selection pressure of human evolution, to enjoy health, happiness, and peace of mind. Horns, office chatter, and whirring machines batter our ears with incessant noise. Artificial light and digital stimulation overstress our nervous systems day and night. Traffic jams, long lines, interruptions, distractions, and big egos pervade daily life in such a manner that we don't even realize the piece--or rather the peace--that's gone missing.
In The Primal Connection, Mark Sisson, the leading voice in the Evolutionary Health movement, and bestselling author of The Primal Blueprint, presents innovative, step-by-step guidelines to reconnect you with the hard-wiring of the human brain, trigger the release of feel-good hormones, and promote optimal gene expression. The Primal Connection is about setting your own daily pace, redefining your core values, and making time for play, for thrilling adventures, for quiet reflection, for friends and family, and for optimal rest and rejuvenation--while still enjoying the comfort and convenience of modern life!
Time To Get Primal!
*Go barefoot--cures foot and back pain
*Play in the dirt--boosts mood and immune function
*Wear sunglasses at night--promotes sound sleep
*Family before Facebook--strengthens your inner circle
*Commune with nature--relieves stress at the biochemical level
*Power down when you should--learn to single-task
*Cultivate an attitude of gratitude--appreciate simple gifts, roll with punches
*Redefine wealth--includes free time, fun, and fitness too
Primal Connection Q&A With Author Mark Sisson
Q: How does this book differ from The Primal Blueprint?
A: The Primal Blueprint focused on the ten lifestyle laws of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, with particular emphasis on what seem to be the most urgent and obvious life changing elements of the Evolutionary Health movement: eating primal foods (meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds) and exercising in a manner aligned with optimal gene expression (frequent comfortably paced movement coupled with brief, intense strength and sprint workouts). The Primal Connection extends the primal theme to matters of the psyche and the disconnects inherent with high tech modern life and how to fix things.
Q: How are the connections categorized?
A: There are six sections of the book offering scientific rationale and step-by-step action plans to make assorted connections as follows:
*Inner Dialogue: Reject self-doubt and gain mastery over your thoughts and actions. Learn the "ten habits of highly effective hunter-gatherers": dealing with personal conflict, letting go of the past, reevaluating your definition of affluence, and trusting your gut instincts.
*Body: Learn how to safely and gradually transition to a barefoot-dominant lifestyle, including workouts. Learn correct posture and movement mechanics--maybe for the first time ever! Understand the transformative power of touch and how to leverage it in daily life. Learn the importance of frequent, comfortably paced movement, including taking regular breaks from prolonged sedentary periods, and even how to create a standup work environment to enhance concentration, circulation, and fat metabolism.
*Nature: Relieve stress at the biochemical level simply by immersing into pleasant natural surroundings. Improve your indoor environment with creative efforts to integrate natural sounds, light, and plant life, and the use of energy-boosting negative ion generators. Garden, play in the mud, or otherwise get dirty (and let your kids do it too!) to turbocharge your immune system and actually strengthen your resistance to infection.
*Daily Rhythm: Obtain adequate sun exposure to large skin surface areas to ensure healthy vitamin D levels--one of the most overlooked, and health critical--connections you can make. Optimize sleep by observing mellow, darkened evenings in a quiet, cool, stress-free environment. Engage in solo, silent retreats to recharge your batteries. Prioritize work and entertainment stimulation, and discipline use of technology to remain focused, creative, and productive.
*Social: Envision an "inner circle" of close friends or family members, numbering around twelve people or less, to focus the majority of your social time and energy. Nurture a larger social circle or perhaps another two dozen people with whom you can maintain meaningful, reciprocative relationships. Deemphasize attempts to connect superficially with a larger group of people through social media.
*Play: Rediscover your innate cravings for daily doses of spontaneous, physical fun! Play helps nurture your creativity and complex problem-solving skills, without results-oriented pressure. The net effect is to increase confidence and enthusiasm for the challenges you face with your core daily responsibilities.
Q: What are the overarching themes of The Primal Connection?
A: You'll embrace three critical themes that will help you withstand the destructive forces of modern life. First, your genes expect certain inputs to make you healthy, strong, and happy. If you create a different experience--slamming junk food or blasting artificial light and digital stimulation after dark, you'll compromise long-term health, period. Your genes don't know, or care, whether the inputs they receive are health-promoting or health-compromising, they are simply programmed to fight for homeostasis at all times. Drink a soda and your genes respond by prompting the release of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. In this refrain, the development of type 2 diabetes from prolonged excessive insulin production, and the subsequent resistance of cells to respond to insulin, is not a genetic defect but an example of gene expression at work. Your genes will fight valiantly to moderate the wildly excessive intake of carbohydrates in the Standard American Diet by producing insulin until this genetic mechanism becomes utterly exhausted and a diabetic condition develops.
The second theme is that abundance and scarcity are often mismatched with our genetic expectations. For example, our ancestors had abundant leisure time and scarce material possessions. This is something our brains are still wired to expect and appreciate, but the exact opposite often plays out today. Consequently, we feel stressed and anxious about busy schedules and consumerist, "affluenza" mentalities because they in conflict with our hard-wired genetic reference point. As Dr. Art DeVany, PhD expressed, "Modern life leaves our minds restless and under-utilized because we are confined, inactive, and comfortable. We cannot be satisfied with more and more, because we are evolved for another lifeway in which material goods do not matter. The result is that we are deeply unsatisfied with modern life and don't know why." Our genes simply don't know what to make of all our "stuff", and our lack of physical or cognitive down time to get refreshed and rejuvenated for the challenges of daily life.
The third theme is that your deep primal drive to pursue behaviors that generate feelgood hormones--the key to prevailing in the survival of the fittest game--must today be tempered with common sense and evaluation of long-term repercussions. For example, we are hard-wired for a sweet tooth because we experienced an adaptive benefit to avoid poisonous plants (plant life that is sweet is universally safe to consume and rich in calories and antioxidants--survival promoting!) and consume seasonal fruits and tubers that enabled our bodies to store energy for winter months of minimal caloric intake. Yep, our ancestors fattened up for the winter! Today, with massive amounts of sugar at our disposal and few modern citizens wishing to fatten up for the winter months, it makes sense to temper this sweet tooth wiring with sensible caloric intake that is aligned with long-term health. For example, emphasizing seasonal fruit intake but refraining from year-round intake of overly cultivated, overly sweetened fruits. The same is true for the massive amount of digital stimulation we are exposed to daily. We are hardwired to be attuned to novel stimulation in our environment and kick into the fight of flight response at a moment's notice. Today, the fight or flight response is one of the most egregiously abused genetic mechanisms in the human body. What was once reserved for a predator attack is now accessed every time we fall behind on our quarterly reports or blaze through a stream of text messages on a busy subway ride home after work.
Q: What are some examples of actual Primal Connections?
Go barefoot: Forget motion control shoes, custom-made orthodics and other modern comforts and supports that weaken your feet, promote inefficient mechanics and promote pain and injury. Transitioning to a barefoot or minimalist shoe lifestyle promotes correct walking, running and standing technique and relieves foot and back pain. The Primal Connection details the right way to do it so you don't get injured or discouraged.
Darken your evenings: Soon after the sun sets, our genes are programmed for an elegant chain of hormonal processes that make us feel sleepy and facilitate a smooth transition from a wakeful state to sound sleep. Unfortunately, today's artificial light and digital stimulation after dark short-circuit our circadian rhythms, one of the most fundamental and health-critical natural cycles on the planet. Make your evenings as dark and mellow as possible by wearing orange or yellow-tinted sunglasses, switching to orange light bulbs or candlelight around your house, and avoiding digital screen use in the final hours before bedtime. Mellow, darkened evenings will help reconnect you with your circadian rhythm, promoting restorative sleep and high energy mornings.
About the Author
Health and fitness expert Mark Sisson is the bestselling author of The Primal Blueprint and one of the leading voices of the burgeoning Evolutionary Health Movement. His blog, MarksDailyApple.com, has paved the way for Primal enthusiasts to challenge conventional wisdom's diet and exercise principles and take personal responsibility for their health and well-being. From its humble--and controversial--beginnings in 2006, Marks Daily Apple has grown into one of the highest-ranked health information resources on the Internet, with 1.6 million unique visitors each month. Mark, 59, has a BA in biology from Williams College and is a former world-class endurance athlete, with a 2:18 marathon and a fourth-place finish in the Hawaii Ironman World Triathlon Championships. Today, Mark directs his competitive energies into high-stakes Ultimate Frisbee tournaments against competitors decades younger! Besides blogging daily, Mark conducts seminars on the Primal Blueprint way of life across North America and hosts weekend "PrimalCon" retreats in California. He operates Primal Blueprint Publishing in Malibu, CA, publishing his own titles as well as work from other authors promoting ancestral health principles. Mark is married to Carrie and they have two children.
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