What is the Ancestral Lifestyle?

Wellness Blog

What is the Ancestral Lifestyle?

Posted On 04/20/2016 By Primal Admin

The "domesticated-urban-modern" (D.U.M.) human is an anemic version of the human blueprint. D.U.M.s live in a "Human-Zoo" complete with manufactured food, artificial light, steel wrapped transportation, concrete walls and security. A D.U.M. human is separated from the world they are meant to live in by the "Human Zoo's" modern conveniences. As a result, D.U.M. humans suffers from a long list of ailments, syndromes and diseases. An "Ancestral Lifestyle" is a back to basics strategy outlining how to eat like a human, move like a human, and act like a human. The nine pillars of our "Basic Guide to the Ancestral Lifestyle" are:

  1. Consume real food in a natural form
  2. Find adventure through outdoor activities and spending time in nature
  3. Occasionally, do amazing and difficult things
  4. Run, jump, lift, stretch, squat and carry through practice and competition
  5. Practice genuine kindness
  6. Be mindful
  7. Be involved in a community
  8. Keep mentally active
  9. Sleep well

For more detailed information, please see:

  1. Mark's Daily Apple - The Original Primal Blueprint® – The Rules of Living 10,000 Years Ago
  2. Mark's Daily Apple - The Primal Laws: 8 Honorable Mentions
  3. Marks's Daily Apple - The Primal Laws: 7 More Honorable Mentions


Get your primal food here: Our ancestors metabolism evolved to suit their environment over millions of years. The basic premise of an ancestral diet is to eat what the human animal has eaten for millions of years. That means plants, animals (and even insects) in their most basic and unprocessed form. The Paleo Diet originally pertained to Loren Cordain’s work.. However, over the years many versions of the theme have been written by authors such as Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet. The only constant has been that the ancestral "Paleo" approach is evolving away from a strict set of rules that eliminates food groups (legumes, high starch, etc.) towards the incorporation of variation (ketogenic, fasting, carb reloading, etc.). Current ancestral diet thinking should continue to align with our evolving understanding of the past. The human animal probably ate a seasonal and varied diet that was dependent on where the person lived. In other words, the rules are flexible but variation and scarcity are important considerations. When new evidence on ancestral diets is discovered we should adjust the approach to match. The website Latest in Paleo and the accompanying podcast Humans are not Broken does a remarkable, and unbiased job, of examining and applying new science as it becomes available.

Play Outside

In stark opposition to our ancestors, who were integrated into the natural environment, the D.U.M. human has isolated himself in the Human Zoo. To adopt an ancestral lifestyle means that you spend as much time as possible outside when the sun is out. This is a great time to pursue activities like walking, jogging, sprinting, camping, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, sailing, kayaking, trail running, surfing, obstacle course racing, or kite surfing. Whatever you do, try to do it in the forest, away from city's toxic elements.

Occasionally, Do Difficult Things

Imagine the plains of Africa 1 million years ago or the Neanderthal Valley 500,000 years ago. Our genetic ancestors were working hard scratching out a living through plague, cold, famine, drought and changing seasons. They hunted enormous animals like bison and mammoth, these people did not cower from a challenge. A D.U.M. human should, on occasion, challenge themselves in a way that expands their understanding of the human condition in a life changing way. These could be extended, multi-day survival, endurance, mental or physical challenges.  Goruck, Kokoro CampKilamanjero, Everest Base Camp and the Jungle Marathon are some examples.


Our ancestors walked, sailed, floated, and ran across vast expanses of land, mountains and oceans to populate the earth. Our quest to do difficult things often involves travelling to remote areas of the planet to do epic stuff. The article 10 Reasons Adventure Travel is good for you explains that travel can improve your health, mental acuity, tolerance for uncertainty, mindfulness, confidence. But most importantly it allows us to free ourselves from our lives. Travelling, especially adventure travelling, requires one to leave all their possessions behind and place their trust and often their lives in the hands of their travel companions and often, complete strangers. There are few times in modern life when you can free yourself from your burdens, impediments and incumbrances and experience the wanderlust of life at its most primal sense. Follow this link to  save up to 25% on Last Minute Adventure Travel Packages.

Stay Fit

Our ancestors bodies were physically challenged on a daily basis through walking, lifting, carrying, squatting, standing and running. D.U.M. humans spend a large part of their day sitting or standing on padded / supportive cushions, wearing supportive footwear and using a modern toilet; further, the typical D.U.M. human takes less than 6,000 steps a day. Now, the majority of adult Americans cannot properly do a simple squat. A D.U.M. human needs to increase their ability to perform functional movement for extended durations through regular practice and a gradual process of rehabilitation. The ancient practice of Yoga combined with Crossfit or one of the martial arts are great practices to make you more human.  To simulate the stressful events in our ancestors lives (like running from a predator), it is important to challenge yourself through competition. This can range from running events to a solo or team obstacle course race such as those offered through Spartan Race to the Crossfit Open.

Practice Genuine Kindness

The best of humanity is defined not by what we are but by how we treat others. The survival of our species was predicated on supporting each other and helping when help was needed. In 2000, the world was given a gift in the movie Pay it Forward that examined the possibility that our actions can change the world through random acts of kindness.  Now organizations like the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) provide resources that can help you practice RAK.

Be Mindful

The practice of mindfulness allows us to pay attention to the present moment without judgement. We develop an awareness of our thoughts, and emotions and increase our ability to be conscious, compassionate and grateful. In essence, mindfulness allows us to be more grounded to the essence of the world and the people around you so you can freely experience joy and happiness.

Participate in Community

The ancestors of the D.U.M. humans lived and hunted in groups. Unlike your Facebook friend list, these groups were smaller and probably family oriented. These interactions were important to share the many burdens of life and ensure your genetics continued. The modern human tends to have limited social interaction that is highly digitally focused. What is needed is personal interaction with a consistent group of family and friends. Today, social groups, team sports etc., can help fill this gap.

Keep an Active Mind

In comparison to other animals, the human race is slow and weak. Our intellect, and social groups, have allowed us to survive in a hostile environment. Our ancestors needed to solve problems that were a matter of their survival. Today, the typical modern human lacks continuous neural stimulation and research is showing us that if you don't use it, then you will lose it. The modern human needs to find ways to continuously learn to build and support existing neural pathways.


Modern conveniences, like the light bulb, have increased societies productivity. You can now work, play and shop 24 hours a day. In the past, our ancestors' daily routines were based on the rhythmic rising / setting of the sun and variations introduced by seasons and latitude. At the equator this equates to a consistent 12 hr light / 12 hour dark cycle for all 12 months of the year. As you move north or south of the equator, the daily and seasonal variations increase. Science supports the theory that around 7 hours is the optimum sleep duration but recent data analysis of Jawbone data shows that the average urban person gets around 6. Further work by Jawbone indicated that "... the vast majority of the suburban and rural counties have much healthier sleep numbers."  The suns rays directly influence hormones and therefore metabolism through the interaction with the pineal gland. More recent research has also shown that your skin has light receptors. Light emitting electronics are influencing your body and brain through these interactions and contributing to poor health by impacting your sleep cycles. The Ancestral Lifestyle seeks to reduce these effects through consistent sleep scheduling, enforced sleep duration and light attenuation.

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About The Author: Primal Admin
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