I recently started a course to get my health coaching certification. I’ve always been very passionate about my own health and wellness and achieving my highest potential, so I thought this would a really great opportunity for me to gain skills to help others reach their most authentic selves as well.
I’m four weeks in and I’m learning so much about how the body functions and operates, what it needs, and how we can adequately give that to it.
I did some research on different health coaching platforms when I stumbled upon Primal Health Coach Institute . I really liked this approach because it gets us back to the basics of living in tune with the earth and with the natural instincts of our genes.
In the first section of the course, I learned what primal living actually is. It’s so simple, yet so easily forgotten, but here are the ten laws of primal living according to the program:
Eat plants and animals
While living primally, plants and animals should make up the majority of your diet. The good thing about this is that there are so many meal combinations. You don’t have to continuously eat the same chicken and sweet potatoes combination for the rest of your life. You can get creative in the kitchen and rotate different foods you enjoy.
A good rule of thumb is that if it grows from the earth (and hasn’t been proven to be harmful) it’s probably beneficial to include it in your diet.
Avoid poisonous things
This is pretty broad, but really it’s referring to foods that are super processed, loaded with added sugar and starches, and not natural. This could also include alcohol and tobacco products, because technically those are poisonous to our bodies, but we have to set realistic and attainable goals for ourselves and reach for the low hanging fruits. A glass or two of wine is not necessarily bad. In fact, there are benefits to red wine, but it’s important to not consistently over indulge.
Of course our bodies want movement. I’m a firm believer that movement is medicine and moving our physical bodies is very beneficial to our mental health. Our ancestors were constantly moving, especially before communities formed civilizations. They were always relocating and chasing dinner, so genetically our bodies don’t want to be stagnant for long periods of time.
Sometimes movement can be a walk around your neighborhood or maybe it’s turning on your favorite album and dancing to the entire thing or maybe it’s practicing yoga. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Lift heavy things
Weight training is extremely beneficial for our muscles and our bodies. Although not everyone enjoys lifting weights, we all experience the process of lifting heavy things from time to time whether it’s laundry baskets, children, or random objects, lifting heavy is beneficial to keep our muscles strong.
Sprint once in a while
Our ancestors did a lot of sprinting – when they were catching dinner or when they were avoiding being a predator’s dinner, periodically sprinting is a part of living primally.
Get plenty of sleep
Prioritizing a consistent sleep schedule is so important, yet so often easy to neglect. So many of us run on too little of sleep and this makes it easy to overeat, under exercise, and feel crummy in general. Getting plenty of sleep cannot be overstressed because when we sleep our bodies repair and our brains rewire.
This is also an important aspect of primal living that is often overlooked. When was the last time you did something just for the fun of doing it? Our society pushes productivity and many of us often feel guilty when we aren’t accomplishing a task or working on a plan, but we’re not genetically wired for this. We’re wired to enjoy ourselves and to not be under a constant amount of stress.
One of my favorite podcasts did an episode about the importance of play on our mental health and it was a great listen.
Get plenty of sunlight
Getting plenty of sunlight is very important because vitamin D is so essential for bone health and immunity. Although, when we are soaking up the sun it’s sometimes necessary to cover up sensitive areas like the face, neck, and chest, but areas like the legs, arms, and torsos do well in absorbing sunlight.
Avoid stupid mistakes
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to be reminded of every now and then. A century ago, if one of our ancestors made a stupid mistake, it could have resulted in death – like being eaten by a predator or falling off a ledge, but today many of us make stupid mistakes every day that don’t result in anything. The example provided in my course was texting and driving. This is a stupid mistake that has actually killed many people, but how many times do we find ourselves checking our phones while operating a vehicle? Living primally includes attempting to avoid situations that could become fatal.
Use your brain
This is another one you think might be obvious, but so often we get into these mundane, monotonous cycles where we aren’t forced to change our thinking patterns. The brain is a muscle and we have to continuously use our muscles to keep them strong. Using your brain can include a lot of things like reading a book, doing a puzzle or strategic game, trying a new activity that doesn’t come naturally at first, and so much more.
Although it won’t be possible to immediately start living by all ten of these primal laws, we can at least start somewhere and slowly try to incorporate these into our lives. My goal as a future health coach is to help individuals make lifestyle changes so they can be the best, most authentic versions themselves.