At Ancient + Brave our lifestyle philosophy is based on what we know of our ancestral ways, that is validated by scientific research and what is pragmatic and accessible to people living modern lifestyles.
As omnivores, we are the most adaptable species in the world and have always thrived on foods in their natural environments. There are societies living long and healthy lives on mostly meat-based diets and others on largely vegetarian diets – it comes down to what is indigenous to a local environment and an instinctive feel for what balance feels right for you.
We must learn to heed our internal cues, understand our needs, and select the lifestyle protocols, exercise and foods that derive benefits for mind and body. We don’t need to be on ‘special diets’ or adhere to a specific workout protocol; our understanding of our needs must be well-informed, well-intentioned and implicitly understood.
How to Eat
We believe it is important to lose the concept of diet and dogma. Wild animals use instinct to inform which foods they need and how much food they consume. Humans have this capacity but don’t always listen to internal cues, yet it is something that anyone can relearn. By moving away from calorie counting and strict dietary dogmas you will find that eating real and nutritionally dense food will leave you truly satisfied. This is also the only realistic way to produce an optimal hormonal state, to strengthen your body’s systems, be naturally lean and activate your fullest potential.
The easiest and most sustainable way to do this is to move away from unhealthy processed carbohydrates. Eat simple sustainable proteins like local meats, organic eggs, sustainably sourced fish and seafood, pulses, leafy greens and sprouts. In consuming carbohydrates, make nutritious and grounding choices like root vegetables, seasonal fruits, wild edibles, a small amount of ancient grains, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olives, olive and coconut oil. This simple way of eating saturates our cells in deep-seated nutrition, improves our metabolism, nourishes our micro-biome and better connects us with our natural environment.
How to Move
If we look at how our ancestors used to move you will see that they did a great deal more moving than we do today.
Research shows that the old saying ‘mens sana in corpore sano,’ a sound mind in a healthy body, starts with exercise. The Roman poet Juvenal bestowed us with this eternal truth, yet in lieu of our fast-paced modern world we tend to neglect the need to make moving our bodies a priority. At Ancient + Brave we want you to feel smarter, happier and look good, and research shows that exercise is a habit that leads us to create other good habits, and has a downstream effect on helping us make better choices. Once you get people exercising they are more likely to be kinder to themselves and others and choose to eat healthier, not because they should but because they want to.
Our ancestors did an array of physical movement like squatting, climbing, running, jumping and using their torsos to resist pushing and pulling forces. They were also prone to short spurts of high intensity movement like sprinting, or moving more slowly for longer durations, like long distance walks or hikes. It’s also important to note that unlike us, our ancestors did most of their physical work outside which research has demonstrated to have huge additional physiological and mental health benefits compared to performing your exercise indoors. The synergistic combination of exercise and exposure to nature not only has the potential to produce more endorphins but research shows that it can help us to create a much healthier relationship with the concept of exercise.
In the modern world, opting for high intensity workouts, hiking, fast paced walking, swimming, strengthening and stretching are four great ways to get into peak physical shape without having to commit to a grueling 45 mins on a treadmill in the gym.
There is also significant research to show that chronic cardio can create a negative stress response, sending your hormones into a tailspin, particularly when it comes to a cortisol. We must signal to the body that we are moving in a good way, and that involves us keeping moving and being active every day. A high intensity seven minute strength workout followed by a walk later in the day far outweighs hammering it at the gym for an hour after sitting down all day. We must remember that we are born to move, so we must honour this human design.