Book: Paleofantasy By Marlene Zuk

paleofantasyPaleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live is light in tone and full of facts.  I really enjoy reading about how earlier humans lived – and this book provided some new insights and also offered interesting counter-arguments to some other authors like Jared Diamond and Spencer Wells.  Marlene Zuk challenges many components of the idea that the human body was built for the lifestyle of traditional societies, and encourages alternatives to looking backwards.  It’s full of interesting studies.  A fun book, good food for thought…

Lessons for Yogis:

1) Question everything!  Over time, there are so many perspectives on the “right” way to eat, sleep, exercise, and live.  This book leaves me feeling that the best course of action is to bring mindfulness to how I feel myself after various meals, sleep schedules, and exercise routines, and make good decisions for my own body without listening to a particular expert blindly.

2) Stop Sitting! One distinction pointed out by a study mentioned in this book is that “too much sitting is distinct from too little exercise.”  This is where bringing yoga moves into sedentary days can help.  In traditional societies, it wasn’t just how much humans moved, but mostly that they did not stay so still.

3) Be grateful!  We are in a different world today.  It is impossible to recreate conditions from another time – so concentrate on ways to be healthy in today’s world instead of lamenting the shortcomings.  It’s great that people are bringing their attention to the unhealthy habits of today’s world – some of whom are trying a “Paleo” lifestyle – but it’s unlikely that we’ll get all of the conditions right for an authentic hunter-gatherer life – which might not be the healthiest anyway!  (Extensive periods of fasting come to mind!) We can be grateful for the opportunities we have today to be healthy and the amount of knowledge we’ve accumulated about the workings of our bodies and minds.

This book is pretty inexpensive and fairly quick to read/hear.  There’s tree-friendly used copies, e-books, and audiobooks available, and I bet it’s at your library.  I got it on –  and I really liked the narrator!  At the end of it I wasn’t quite sure what Marlene Zuk was arguing in all instances, but it was enjoyable and provided a lot to process and question.