We talk a lot about Fasting and Keto/Low Carb for weight loss and health.
These methods work well for many reasons. But one key advantage is that they are much closer to the natural human lifestyle.
Let’s look at how our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived and why we may benefit from imitating some of their lifestyle.
Okay, our long ago ancestors weren’t listening to Fasting videos or reading Dr. Fung. Fair enough.
But they were naturally following a fasting and feasting lifestyle as hunter-gatherers.
It’s just what they did.
They would hunt, gather their food, and feast.
There was no storing food for later, so feasting was followed by periods of fasting until more food was found.
These days food is everywhere. You don’t have to hunt for your food (unless you want to), and you don’t have to wait for it, at least not for long.
Our evolution as a species is way behind our technological progress. Our biology is still optimized for the hunter-gatherer environment.
It does not serve us well in the modern Western world with its round-the-clock food overabundance.
But you can mimic our ancestors by following an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle - cycling between periods of eating and periods of fasting.
If you’ve never fasted before, start with something like an 18/6 schedule. Fast for 18 hours and then have a six hour eating window.
Check out our previous Intermittent Fasting Guide for more ideas on fasting schedules.
While there are differing opinions about the diet of our early ancestors, one thing is for sure: they weren’t eating takeout or muffins or breakfast cereal.
In other words, they were eating whole foods. Meats mostly (obviously) plus some plants and berries when in season.
This is a great guideline to follow. Think whole foods in the most natural state that you have access to.
Opt for meats and fish, and add low carb veggies, and berries when in season.
Avoid sugars, seed oils and all processed foods.
Choose local foods when you can.
Other ways to imitate the hunter-gatherer lifestyle
Fasting and diet are important, but let’s not stop there.
Let’s look at some other aspects where modern life doesn’t match our biological make-up.
The body has its own internal clock that flows around periods of light and dark, activity and rest.
If that clock gets out of whack, this can contribute to weight gain and metabolic disease.
Observing this natural circadian rhythm was easy for our ancient ancestors. They didn’t have cell phones and laptops.
They didn’t sit up at night watching movies and snacking.
They got up with the sun, and when the sun went down, they slept.
Here’s a few things you can do to help restore a more natural sleep/wake cycle:
- Get outdoors during the day, your body needs that sunlight
- Try to establish a regular bedtime routine
- Cut off electronics and turn the lights down at least two hours before bed
- Don’t eat at night - make it a habit to not eat after the sun does down
- Get lots of activity during the day, but limit physical activity at night if possible
- Avoid caffeine later in the day
Most people these days spend way too much time sitting.
Those hunter-gatherers before us, they were on the move.
They had to do lots of strenuous things. They walked, they ran, they hunted. They carried animals.
While you don’t have to do all that, you should still aim to be more active.
Even a daily walk is better than no activity at all.
If you have a desk job, or you sit in front of your computer all day, try to get up and walk around 10 minutes or so every hour.
Try pilates or yoga, or gardening.
Find a fun sport to get involved in. Play with the kids.
Take the steps instead of the elevator. Everything counts.
Getting used to the cold can do great things for your health, just like it did for our ancestors who lived outside all the time.
They didn't have cozy homes or hot showers; they had to deal with the cold, and it made them tough. Being in the cold can kick your body into gear, help burn fat, and make your immune system stronger.
You can start with cool showers or spend short amounts of time outside when it's chilly. This helps to cut down on swelling, improve blood flow, and give you more energy.
On top of the good things it does for your body, the cold can also help your mind. The shock of the cold makes you pay attention, breathe deep, and stay calm, kind of like when you meditate.
This makes your mind stronger and can lift your spirits, helping to chase away feelings of worry or sadness. By adding cold exposure to your daily routine, you're not just making your body stronger; you're also creating a tough, focused mind, ready to take on today's world with old wisdom.
Living longer, healthier lives
Reconnecting with our ancestral way of life through fasting, diet, and lifestyle changes can make huge differences in our health and wellbeing.
Try incorporating some of these tips and see how it makes you feel!
Author: Roo Black
Roo is a fasting coach with over 5 years of experience. She leads the admin team of the Official Fasting for Weight Loss Facebook group - one of the largest fasting communities on social media with over 125,000 members. We highly recommend this group for anyone who is looking for fasting advice or coaching.