Hey everyone! So, for anyone who does not keep abreast of my goings on via Instagram then this will be news to you. Regardless of how you keep informed on how my brand is evolving, thank you for joining me on this journey! But if my title did not give it away, I am going through the online certification to become a primal health coach. For a few years now I have been doing coaching on the side, while autodidactically studying metabolism, reading journal articles, learning about keto and strength & Conditioning.
As I want to grow my knowledge and client base, however, it has become more apparent that I should get a coaching certification to help me better identify any weakness I have in my coaching style, and understanding of human nutrition. I chose the Primal Health Coach Certification because I believe to primal keto lifestyle is the best course for all concerned with getting the most out of our nutrition. After all, we have all dealt with keto “junk food.” Sometimes in the search for the most keto things, it leaves us with our macros being met, but our bodies are still dealing with, gut bombs, however, they are of the “Keto-friendly” variety. My way of dealing with this minor cognitive dissonance is to endorse the kind of health coaching I want to grow.
Please understand this though, if the “keto junk” food helps you reprogram your taste buds away from the standard fare, then good on you. Do not let me derail you. Just try to be of the mindset that it is best to slowly use those less and less as a crutch. Because trust me, I understand how much the standard American diet of processed junk can mess with all of us. Until I was 19, I could not eat a salad. Seriously, it would make me gag. All it was, was a mind over matter. Once I found a salad I liked (Chicken Caesar salad with all the bacon) I would often be seen on lunch eating a whole bagged Caesar out of the bag with a fork and a soda of course. Little did I know how bad soda was. However, I felt like my good salad out weighted my bad soda. I hadn’t yet known that ditching sugar would be more beneficial to me than eating a salad laden with soybean oil-based dressing. To my credit, as time went on I used less and less of the prepacked dressing because it was just too much until I could make three extra salads with the leftover dressing. Thriftiness at it’s finest. Nowadays I would either forgo to salad for some cooked brussel sprouts or use an avocado-based dressing.
So, I started the Primal Health Coach Certification to augment my already large knowledge base and to help me find and fix the holes I have in my coaching style. And of course having the Primal Health Coaches as a support system really helps me grow as both a content provider and it gives me people to go to when I have a problem I alone cannot solve. I think above all else that is what drove me to choose a formalized coaching certification. I am quite comfortable with the how’s and why’s of a healthy lifestyle, considering I have spent hundreds of hours reading, listening and watching anything I could to help me understand this complex web that is a “healthy diet and lifestyle.”
Alright enough of the preamble, let’s talk about to reason you are here, the “What I Learned” portion of the certification. I will section each week with a new header.
Week 1: Reprogramming your genes
Since I love this science behind health I really enjoyed geeking out on this one. Throughout the reading, audio and visual coursework we focused on a few key areas. They are as follows. This first was genes and how they interact with your inner and outer environment to be switched on or off. We briefly touched off a few different ways this could happen. We also learned the main types of genes as they were, ie: familial genes (think hair/eye color,) human genes (think the genetic things that make us human, bipedalism and the ability to speak and learn languages,) and my favorite epigenetics/gene expression (this is the way each gene is expressed, so as we change our lifestyle our epigenetic expression can change with it).
In that discussion, we also went over genetic diversity and how our genes only want short-term survival. Which makes sense because, at the end of the day, we are not guaranteed tomorrow because a lot of our genetic ancestry was forged among a lot to evolutionary pressures. From predators, poison, to user error. So it’s main goal was to “Survive at all costs,” even if that meant you developed type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance because it is a defense mechanism against toxic levels of glucose in the body. Conversely, if you instead give your body the inputs to help you thrive you can obtain long-term health while not dealing with the systemic inflammation associated with poor food and lifestyle choices. The key point here is to eat real food, move more often, sleep well and destress your life. I know, it’s easy to say, but harder to do.
Week 2: Evolution, and the Primal Blueprint Laws
In week 2, we learned all things evolution, from us coming out of Africa, and how these selection pressures formed us into the humans we are. We also went over how the advent of civilization and cultivation of grains was a double-edged sword, yes many great things happened, but many negative things came hand in hand with it as well. We no longer deal with the paired selection pressure of starvation and predator danger, but we still have to same human machines with an updated processing patch. I use a computer reference because it helps me understand it. If you open up a computer we will see the same CPU’s, circuits, and similar hardware, our bodies, however, if you turn on the computer the processing speed is light years away from where we were just a few years ago. We now have the ability to store more data than we know what to do with. This is how our bodies are in a modern environment, we have the same or similar bodies as our hunter-gatherer ancestors, yet we have fast food, smartphones, and many other modern conveniences. There is no longer the starvation and predatory danger, selection pressures we are used to. This is neither a good thing nor a bad this, it is just a fact of life.
Alright, I can hear some of you saying, “yes, yes, yes… blah, blah, blah… but what does this have to do with me?” So let’s get down to the actionable tidbits!! This chapter went over the 10 Primal Blueprint Laws, that seemed to be present in and throughout all of humanity. They are as follows:
Law #1: Eat Plants and Animals.
Law #2: Avoid Poisonous Things.
Law #3: Move Frequently.
Law #4: Lift Heavy Things.
Law #5: Sprint Once in a While.
Law #6: Get Plenty of Sleep.
Law #7: Play.
Law #8: Get Plenty of Sunlight.
Law #9: Avoid Stupid Mistakes.
Law #10: Use Your Brain.
Easy Peasy. Just do these things and you too can be a lean mean fat burning machine!! Okay, maybe it is not so easy. But it is easier than you may think. I will spend a few sentences on each topic (maybe more, because if you have not realized…. I am a tad bit long winded when I am passionate about a topic….)
Eat plants and animals: This one is my bread and butter… er, steak and butter? Yes, that one. This one is my steak and butter! Mainly because abs are made in the kitchen, you chizzle them out in the gym. If we eat real food that is mostly animals, vegetables, with nuts, seeds, and fruits to your tolerance, most people can see the weight fall off. If you want a more detailed look at this you can sign up for my newsletter and check out my Food Philosophy blog.
Avoiding poisonous things: We are not just talking about staying away from a sprig of poison ivy, but yes STAY AWAY FROM THE IVY… We are also talking about the less thought of baddies such as wheat and in some cases dairy or nuts. An allergic reaction does not always need to be fixed with an EpiPen. For example, my symptom of a wheat allergy is my ADHD, and my wife (aside from a case of bowel distress) wheat triggers her Narcolepsy, adverse reactions come in all shapes and sizes. Try eliminating the poison for 21-28 days and see how you look, feel, and perform. Yes, wheat, grains, and sugar are poisons. Take them out and see how you feel.
Move frequently. This is how we naturally are, after seeing one too many “restless leg syndrome” infomercials for the longest time I thought I was weird for always having the urge to move. I am weird, but it is not because I have the urge to move, that is just how we are as humans. We would spend a lot of time tracking our prey, running from predators or looking for gub before walking or playing with others. Our bodies were in constant flux, contrast this with today and many of us are stuck at a desk all day, sitting on our daily commutes, sitting for meals and sitting to watch TV. Our bodies crave movement, we can fix this my standing for a few minutes every hour, use a standing desk, go for a walk during your break or lunch. Even getting on the floor and playing with your kid or spouse. I wrestle with my son and wife from time to time. Our goal should be, as Kelly Starrett says, “a movement rich environment” if you want to see how I work this into my life check out my movement post.
Lift Heavy Things. Movement is key, but there is still a need for a workout from time to time. If we want to prevent slip and fall deaths as we age we need us to use our bodies now. I am not talking about the pink 5lb weights. I am talking about heavyweight, not 2 times your bodyweight squats (unless you have trained) but pick a weight that is heavy for you and move it. Again you can find out more on the same article I mentioned above.
Sprint Once in a While. Yes, the dreaded run. I don’t know about you but I have a love-hate relationship with running, I enjoy it, but finding the time for a long run is difficult when I can think of 10 other things to do. Back to the topic, sprinting, this is the best of both worlds you getting the runner’s high, but in a short time frame. Your speed will vary, when starting out you may get quite winded with a light job, but much like lifting heavy it is about what you can do and slowly improving your speed over time.
Get Plenty of Sleep. YES! Sleep, it is not for the weak. It is for those who want to live. This is why I have a dedicated principle to it in my 5 principles of health. It is needed for proper repair, and function of our bodies. If you struggle getting good sleep you can check out the sleep post I wrote, I give so easy actionable tips you can start using today.
Play. You do not have to go to a playground and look like a childless creeper if you don’t want to, the point is to get moving and have fun in the process. You should not care about the outcome when playing, so don’t play to win, play to have fun. Enjoy the activity. If it turns into, “how can I beat….” Turn off the self-talk and enjoy the game. It can be anything.
Get Plenty of Sunlight. I struggle with this one the most, between my full-time job and starting my coaching business, I don’t get a lot of sunshine time. I try to combat this by taking morning walks during my morning break or as I listen to the podcast after dropping my son off at daycare. In the afternoon, if I am off I try to take a walk with my wife since she works at home. If the weather permits, and I need to get computer work done, I will sit outside at a coffee shop. Lastly, I try and take my little guy to the park when I pick him up from daycare. To be fair some days I am not able to do any of these, but I try to get at least one of these every few days.
Avoid Stupid Mistakes. Some days, this is easier said than done especially since things are so overly safe, we are given a false sense of security, or we feel like, “insert silly thing” won’t happen to us. When it really isn’t the case. Do we need to experience pain, yes, however that is not avoiding stupid mistakes. Let’s take a super safe jungle gym, those may be causing more harm because of their false sense of security. When things are too safe kids cannot learn their limits, which causes kids to had distorted decision-making skills. A grown-up example would be texting and driving, with all the features we have that enable for safer driving, we feel that it is okay to operate a two tons piece of machinery. The key take away to this one is to not be afraid to take calculated risks, however, don’t stupidly put yourself in harm’s way.
Use Your Brain. This is the last of the primal laws, and no, it is not a deeper dive into the last law. Instead, it is there to remind us to engage in mentally taxing and thought-provoking exercises. A few examples are Sudoku, crossword, learn a new language, try drawing. The goal is to just get out of you normally day-to-day monotony and exercise your mind.
Alright, so that sums up week one and two of my certification. Originally I wanted to do a monthly recap. But after writing week one and two I realized that I am both too long-winded and there was too much good stuff to try and cram it into one post without losing you in the pages of typed material. If the week is really interesting I may do a weekly update, but I may still only release them bi-weekly… I am not sure, regardless I hope you got as much out of this as I have. If you don’t like these updates, let me know if I get enough pushback I may stop recapping. Until then I will update you in two weeks about my progress.