Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers

One of my favorite shows growing up was Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. At the end of this post is a clip from “Rulers of the Kalahari” which first aired in 1970.

This exchange between man and nature was probably quite common during the thousands of years of modern human development. Early hunter-gatherers often lacked the speed and strength of other apex predators. So instead, they relied on their superior intellect and creativity to harvest animal protein sources that were so critical to their ability to survive and flourish.

Over countless generations, the human species as we know it developed physiologies that were very adept at sprinting, lifting, and carrying as well as trekking over long distances out in the elements. They also developed nervous systems that were optimized for shorter but more intense bursts of “fight or flight” activity.

Contrast this with how we operate in the modern world. Much of our caloric intake comes from highly processed carbohydrate-based foods, and most of these carbohydrates come from grain sources. Our animal-based proteins and fats are mostly processed as well – and are ironically derived from grain-fed sources.

When it comes to our activity patterns, we are even more discordant with those of our early ancestors. If we get any exercise at all, it’s mostly cardio and predominantly indoors. And our nervous systems are subjected to a myriad of incessant low-level stressors as opposed to intense “one-and-done” events.

The key is, remember how you’re wired at a fundamental level and make sure you’re acting in sync with that circuitry whenever you can.

And while this doesn’t mean you have to go out and become a Kalahari hunter-gatherer, it does require you to take a good long look at the consumption and activity patterns that might very well have formed the basis of who you are as a human.

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