Q: Evolution tells us a lot about ourselves, including how we evolved to handle and use energy. You seem to be tapping into this, not only with the Primal Games but with Pocket Paleo. Is that your angle?
A: This is exactly my angle with both. Regarding the Pocket Paleo and our primal diet…our primal ancestors had a simple diet that consisted of a very different breakdown of fat, protein, and carbohydrates than what conventional wisdom today considers optimum.
The food they ate provided all the necessary fuel and building blocks that, along with specific exercise, prompted their genes to create strong muscles, enabled them to expend lots of energy each day moving about, to maintain healthy immune systems, to evolve larger brains and to raise healthy children.
Our Pocket Paleo is designed to mirror in some way this way of eating. We combine Grass-Fed Jerky (lean meat, high protein), raw nuts (good source of fat), and dried berries (antioxidants and carbohydrates) in a mixture that more closely follow what our genetic blueprint would call for.
Obviously, one of the most important things that separate man from all other animals is his intellectual ability. The rapid increase in the size of our brains over just a few thousand generations is the combined result of a high-fat, high protein diet and a continued reliance on complex thought – working the brain out just like a muscle. We’ll combine a little intellectual thought in the games along with the physical challenge.
Regarding the events of the games and how we evolved to handle and use energy we know that our ancestors spent an average of several hours each day moving about at what today’s exercise physiologists might describe as a “low level aerobic pace.”
They hunted, gathered, foraged, wandered, scouted, migrated, climbed and crawled. This low level of activity prompted their genes to build a stronger blood vessel network to fuel each muscle cell, to be able to store some excess food as fat, but also to be readily able to convert the stored fat back into energy. The women carried their babies much of the time as well as bundles of firewood, or whatever they had gathered. The men carried heavy spears or other tools, they dragged heavy carcasses of animals they had hunted, and they moved large boulders or logs to build shelters.
They also lifted themselves into trees or up onto higher ground when escaping from danger or to scout a new route. The biochemical signals created by these very brief but intense muscle contractions generated a slight surge in growth hormone prompting an increase in muscle size and power.
In a world where danger lurked around every corner, your ability to run was a strong indicator of whether you would live long enough to pass your genes down to the next generation. Avoiding a charging beast to save your life, or surging forward to catch a different beast for dinner, the net effect was still survival.
A combination of the hormonal events that occurred simultaneously and the resultant gene expression within fast twitch muscle made sure that the next time this happened we could sprint a little faster. I by no means represent myself as an expert on our human evolution but I have studied this theory fairly intensely over recent months and many of the theories I have explained above come from highly qualified experts in the field. Hopefully you can see the correlation between our evolutionary history and what we are trying to accomplish with The New Primal Games. We have inherited 99.9% of the same genetic code of our primal ancestors.