Sunday, 11 June 2017

Escape the Zoo?

Making my escape? Not likely.
Escape the Zoo; it’s something I had as a signature on a forum many years ago. I doubt I came up with it, but I cannot remember where I heard it. It comes out of the idea that we’re living in a zoo, of our own making, but a zoo none the less. We live in a strange, sterile environment, made of artificial materials, eating industrial foods we’ve never seen before, like zoo animals. We built our own cage.

The younger me heard this analogy and thought instantly of escape, I can walk around outside bare foot, go out into nature and. . . And what? Be free? How short sighted, I wasn’t free, I was looking out a window. Again I’m not sure if this is my own thinking, or someone else and I forgot where I first saw it, but my view point has since changed (Thinking some more and this can’t be my own thinking, I’m just not that switched on). We’re never getting out. For better or worse, we are stuck in a zoo. We’re not escaping, where would we go? The wild? What wild? We don’t have the space, let alone the skills to turn back and be wild. And even if we could, would we? Joe Rogan and Dr. Christopher Ryan argued this point, and I’m with Joe, the internet is awesome.

So we’re stuck in a zoo, which we built. It sucks, but there is hope. We built this place and we can make it better. Our environment is within our control. We just need to know how to change it, and have the motivation to change it. We need to eat better, check, we can do this. Trainers and handlers don’t feed us, we do. We don’t move enough, check, we can do this, start working out, in whatever way you can and take it from there. This also gets into the idea that this whole Paleo diet thing is not a historical re-enactment, but a logical framework with which to make some decisions.

We haven't escaped the zoo, but we have gone on a field trip outside its walls.

As a starting point for food, the basic Paleo/Primal diet is great, east mostly vegetables and meat, some fruits, nuts and seeds, avoid industrial foods (grains and vegetable oils). Pretty simple starting point, and you can go as deep as you like with this stuff but simple gets you a long way. Next would be movement. I really like Mark Sission’s suggestion of a lot of low level movement (walking), lift some heavy things and sprint a little. Variations on this work really well to regain a basic level of fitness. Again you can get way out into the weeds searching for optimal fitness, or high performance but these are topics for another day.

From there things get a little trickier and maybe the benefits get smaller (or more difficult to see). Sleep is a big factor, then digging deeper into diet and exercise. Community is a huge piece to address also.

This is all just the start. It’s about environment design. We are the designers, and the subjects. We won’t create perfect, but it is within our power to create better. I’m going to try and use this post as a jumping of point to explore areas of environment (lifestyle design) one small section at a time, so stay tuned for more.

This post has been largely influenced but so many people (mostly via podcasts). So if you want more check out Katy Bowman, Kelly Starrett, Daniel Vitalis, Rafe Kelly, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Erwan Le Corre. Do a google search and start listening to any podcast with them on it, especially if it’s between two of them.

This might be a good example of using what the zoo has given us.

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