What Is Ancestral Health?
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestors laid out the blueprint for healthy living for us to follow: eat real food, move frequently and sometimes intensively, and give our bodies time to recover. Much has changed since the Paleolithic era. Our jobs often require we sit at a desk for hours on end; there are grocery stores, filled with food-like items at our fingertips—meaning that you may not be following that time-tested plan. Yet, as humans, we remain biologically adapted to life on the savanna.
When we don’t live as our ancestors did, we create a mismatch between our genes and our environment that drives chronic disease. Ancestral health is a prescription for correcting that imbalance. It’s the antidote to chronic illness, and its steps are simple. By eating nourishing meals, sitting less and exercising more, keeping a lid on stress, and getting good sleep, you can stave off the most common conditions and feel—or, if you’re a Functional Medicine practitioner, help your patients feel—their very best.
Learn More about Ancestral Health
Ancestral Health: What It Is and How It Can Help You
Has Ancestral Health Gone Mainstream?
The Paleo Diet: Getting Started and Fine-Tuning Your Template
There’s no such thing as an optimal human diet, or one diet that works for every individual. However, there are foods that humans, from an ancestral health perspective, are designed to eat. These are the foods our Paleolithic ancestors consumed; thus, eating them is called following the Paleo diet or Paleo template.
Those foods include meats, especially organ meats, fish and shellfish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, and starches like potatoes and sweet potatoes, along with healthy fats. You may also discover that full-fat dairy products are a healthful addition for you and that you enjoy and tolerate some legumes well. A wealth of delicious options abound.
Find Out How to Customize Your Paleo Template
What Is an Ancestral Diet and How Does It Help You?
What Is the Optimal Human Diet?
The Nutrivore Diet: What a Healthy Diet Looks Like
The Ancestral Diet for Women: 4 Health Conditions that Benefit from a Whole-Foods Approach
Animal Protein and a Whole-Foods Diet: What the Science Says
20 Things You Didn’t Know about Paleo
Beyond Paleo: Moving from a “Paleo Diet” to a “Paleo Template”
Nose-to-Tail Eating: Everything You Need to Know
Why Pasture-Raised Animal Products Are Better for Your Health and the Environment
How to Calculate Macronutrient Ratios that Work for You
Healthy Fats: What You Need to Know
5 Reasons You May Need More Protein—Even on a Paleo Diet
Carbohydrates: Why Quality Trumps Quantity
Paleo Intermittent Fasting: How to Get the Benefits of Both Diets
Phytochemicals and Health: A Deep Dive into Food-Based Plant Compounds and How They Impact Your Health
More about the Paleo Diet
eBook: Paleo Diet Challenges & Solutions
Why Eating Meat Is Good for You
Articles about the Paleo Diet
Articles about Optimal Nutrition
Why You Should Exercise like Your Ancestors
When you picture a hunter–gatherer, do you picture him lounging lazily on the sofa? Of course not. Our ancestors were almost always on the move. They had to exert themselves, and often quite strenuously, to survive: they sprinted, jogged, climbed, carried, and jumped intermittently throughout the day, on top of walking and running.
Of course, this is in part why they stayed naturally lean and fit. You can too by mimicking the way they moved and embracing ancestral health. That doesn’t just mean hopping on a treadmill for 30 minutes or practicing a session of high-intensity interval training or lifting weights a few days a week. It also means sitting less—a lot less—and moving more every day.
Here’s How to Move like Your Ancestors
Why You Need to Move Every Day to Get the Benefits of Exercise
How to Move like an Animal to Get You Leaner, Fitter, Stronger and Healthier for Life, with Darryl Edwards
The Importance of Strength Training with Sal Di Stefano
How Many Steps Should You Get in a Day?
Read More about Fitness & Wellness
How to Live an Ancestral Lifestyle
You focus on diet and exercise, knowing they’re crucial to being your healthiest self. But how much thought do you give to your sleep? Or to your relationships or the amount of time you spend in nature or let yourself play? These lifestyle choices have an equally important role to play in well-being.
While our Paleolithic ancestors ate high-quality, nourishing foods and moved almost constantly, they also allowed themselves to rest—to shake off the stress of fleeing a predator or a challenging hunt. Although we live in a culture that values productivity and activity above all else, we can say no to the chronic stress our busy lives create and embrace more ancestral lifestyles.