Creative Commons License photo credit: jikatu

I’ve talk a number of times about the intriguing and often ignored nature of human physiology in terms of its connection with the conditions experienced by our human ancestors. We all know that we now live in a rapidly changing world. So rapidly changing that we find ourselves poorly adapted to the world we now live in. That is unless we each personally take measures that help simulate the environmental conditions to which we as humans are adapted.

Evolution is the scientific paradigm that governs biology. As biological organisms we are thus governed by evolution. This means our requirements in regards to diet, exercise, sunlight, and general lifestyle in order to survive and even flourish is predicated upon the conditions experienced by our distant human ancestors.

The Homo genus first appeared on earth about 2.5 million years ago. The first appearance of stone tools coincides with the appearance of the Homo genus and thus the beginning of the Lower Paleolithic. By about 150,000 years ago essentially modern humans that physiologically were no different to you or I were walking around. The invention of farming did not occur until the beginning of the Neolithic approximately just 10,000 years ago. So for close to 2.4 million years the Homo genus developed and adapted to a very specific Paleolithic diet and lifestyle resulting in our current physiology today. The farming period makes up just 0.4 percent of the Homo genus time line.

Before our current times and before farming humans were required to actively survive. We evolved to be capable of enduring intensely physical tasks and periodical hunger as a result of food scarcity. Thus, as counter intuitive as this may be to our soft modern perspective we are adapted to thrive in tough conditions that involve hardship. We are most definitely not adapted to sitting around all day eating masses of excess calories. Which is why doing so will cause you to become sick and die.

Our survival genes increase our ability to survive by upgrading energy utilization, strengthening muscles, improve capacity to resist stress and starvation and even lengthen lifespan. This is why our survival genes are also longevity genes. These genes are triggered when the human organism routinely and repeatedly experiences physical challenges or is faced with food scarcity.

Thus in our current times we are in need of strategic use of proper exercise with periods of under-eating or fasting according to our individual needs and circumstances. Think lean and mean instead of fat, bloated and lazy. These gene phenotypes give us a great evolutionary advantage but if you don’t take action they are a distinct disadvantage in the current modern conditions of today.

Both physical stress and lack of food are perceived by the body as survival challenges that need to be dealt with and in response, the body’s survival mechanisms compensate us by upgrading our survival capabilities and extending our lifespan. Given all this, we should be aware that anything which contradicts our “active survival” program, anything that causes excess or imbalance in our body, anything that down regulates the genes that make us thrive, should be avoided.

Often people are far too kind on themselves, sadly to their determent. They shirk from facing hardship, ordeals, physical difficulty and even pain. Others actively seek it out and to the wonder of everyone else they tend to flourish. We evolved in a tough world and were forged by a tough environment so that we to are tough – if your lifestyle plays to your genetic strengths.

Otherwise your genetic weaknesses come out and you will then pass them on to your children. Thus today we have modern (essentially lifestyle) diseases that didn’t exist in the past. Rare genetic conditions are constantly reported in the media. We’ve degraded to the point where infertility is so bad that artificial means are now widely necessary in order for humans to reproduce. This is a far cry from the resilience that is the birthright of each and every one of us.

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