I’m not sure if there is a ‘natural’ way of existence that is being spoken of in many fitness and nutrition circles. However, I do believe there are disharmonious ways of living. That being said, it is important to observe the existence of earlier humans to understand what harmonious living may be. Humans have evolved for specific environments and demands, meaning that we need the specific nourishment these environments and demands lend us. Do not forget, we are of nature, not separate from it.
The simplest example of this being the sun. We need sunlight to be healthy, to remain in harmony. Another, slightly more complex example is movement. Our bodies require movement to nourish our joints, muscles, respiratory system, organs, and more. One more example is cold immersion. In being immersed in the cold, our bodies are forced to adapt to the demand of this particular stress leading to a stronger, more robust human. Our bodies adapt to stresses and demands placed on them that are very beneficial to our survival (i.e. exercise).
My favorite example is the feet. The shoe is still a modern invention when looking at the history of humans. Humans have walked the planet unshod for thousands of years. Why have we come to believe that we need more support, more specialized footwear? The harmonic state of feet is to be in contact with natural, varied surfaces (no not cement, so shoes can be necessary in our concrete jungles, which are also disharmonious).
If we come to see our existence from this lens, we can start to analyze where we may be out of harmony.
Is it harmonious to be within 4 walls with fluorescent lighting all day? Is it harmonious to have all of our comforts at our fingertips?
It may not be possible to live in a manner which is completely harmonious — It is the modern world. However, it doesn’t seem logical to treat it with ignorance. It’d be like walking around with a coffee mug that has holes in the bottom; instead of fixing the holes or grabbing a different mug, you just keep pouring more coffee in. We can’t ignore the fact that we need specific nourishment to keep our bodies and minds functioning healthily.
It is a matter of preventative measures. Preventative health is often considered alternative in the United States. Alternative is defined as “different from the usual or conventional,” (Myriam Webster online).
Well then, Let’s be unconventional.
Take a good look at the disharmonious ways of your existence, and take your existence back into your hands.
[Recommended reading on this topic: Move Your DNA and Movement Matters by Katy Bowman as well as What Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney.]
With Love and Curiosity,