I have a message for anyone whose mission it is to become healthier: aim higher.
Humans appear to be a very complex species, but most of the apparent complexity can be sorted out when we just zoom out and look at the issues from a higher level. If there wasn’t a work-around to the massive complexity of human life we would have never survived as a species.
Most of you in the primal / paleo world have figured out by now that the vast majority of discussion around the word “fitness” consistently under-values—or eliminates altogether—the importance of diet in the performance equation, while placing overwhelming emphasis on the physical attributes. Even when diet is addressed, the conversation quickly devolves to a series of individual opinions rather than any substantive facts. This devolution is a natural outcome when there is no commonly accepted standard upon which to judge the actual efficacy of a strategy that addresses the issue.
That need for a standard was the very reason the primal concept was originally explored and promoted. The lesson is that, if you’re having a discussion about fitness with the goal being health, progress will be limited by the lack of a standard by which to measure the results and, therefore, the efficacy. As we now know, any discussion about health that omits standards for diet and lifestyle behaviors is not really a health discussion at all.
This is a societal failing more than anything. We—you and I—have simply failed to demand accurate standards for the terms we use to discuss and learn about our quality-of-life. When we do decide to demand those standards, we will inevitably arrive at the same conclusions as the longest and most concise scientific study ever conducted: the study that comprises the entire paleolithic period in human history; the most demanding time in the history of our species.
In my exploration of this societal failing and what it means to all of us individually, it has occurred to me (like a tidal wave occurs to people standing on the beach) that the word “health” is just as limiting. The only difference is the nature of the failing. The common notion of health inevitably fails to consider other factors that contribute to the quality of the human experience like environment, happiness, rich relationships, satisfaction with how you spend your time, etc.; all of which contribute mightily to the quality of human life, but are rarely considered in conversations about health. Yet, you can never be truly healthy without them?
My goal for myself and my readers is one thing and one thing only: the quality of the experience called life. Granted, that’s a big ‘thing’, but the sum total of it is firmly rooted in what occurred to us as humans in a purely natural setting; a time when we needed it most. Interestingly, and in spite of the potential for complexity, that’s pretty easy to understand. That’s just one of the facts that make this such an exciting subject.
I have to make some assumptions about why people are intrigued by the primal concept, but I think it is safe to say that quality of life is at or near the top of the list for most. There might be some who are motivated by weight loss or other mostly cosmetic matters, but there are certainly easier ways to accomplish those goals.
So, I am demanding more from my life than mere “health”. I’m demanding Quality Of Life; and I hope you will also. The best news of all is that the only version of health that matters is a guaranteed part of the result.