Ancestral Health: Why is it important

The future is here: self-driving cars, virtual assistants, and groundbreaking medical technologies—along with stubbornly high and growing rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders, allergies, asthma …


We’re living in a time of incredible innovation and advancement, yet we’re sicker and more overweight than ever before. Chronic disease has reached epidemic levels, and modern medicine can’t seem to halt its progression.
Our disease has essentially moved from outside of us – infectious diseases, to now coming from inside – chronic disease and it’s killing more of us than every before.

By following the blueprint for healthy living that our hunter–gatherer ancestors laid out for us so long ago, we can help stave off the long list of uniquely modern chronic conditions, stay naturally lean and fit, and age gracefully. 

Chronic disease may be our “new normal,” but it definitely isn’t our “normal normal.”

Paleontological and archaeological findings have gathered much evidence about our ancient’s health, but perhaps the best argument for us being mindful of this health is the fact that remaining hunter–gatherer societies—who live as closely as possible to the way our Paleolithic ancestors did hundreds of thousands of years ago—don’t generally suffer from the most common chronic conditions. For instance Type 2 diabetes is so rare among these and other contemporary hunter–gatherer populations that few reports looking into its prevalence even exist.

Mismatch: Why our Health Is so Different from our Ancestors’ Health

So what happened? How did the majority of us go from being naturally inclined toward health to being seemingly guaranteed at least one debilitating diagnosis in a lifetime?

In a word: mismatch—between our blueprint for living – our genes, physiology and biology on the one hand and the modern environment we’re living in on the other.

All organisms are adapted to survive and thrive in a particular environment. When that environment changes faster than the organism can adapt, mismatch occurs.

Our environment is almost unrecognizable from that of our ancestors, and we aren’t eating, moving, or resting like the hunter–gatherers that we still are, biologically. We know from hard evidence that this mismatch—pitting environment against biology—is the primary driver of chronic disease.

Some of the starkest examples of this include studies and observations of existing 21st century hunter–gatherers reporting that when they leave their villages and trade their traditional ways for a Western lifestyle, they develop diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular complications.

Our hunter–gatherer ancestors provided us with a blueprint for healthy living.

Eat Real, Nourishing, High-Quality Foods

The fastest way to recover your natural health is to return to a way of eating and living that more closely matches what your genes and biology are designed for.   We know, without a doubt, that hunter–gatherers did not consume refined sugar, flour, and seed oils, (or what is referred to as “the three horsemen of the apocalypse”) because they promote overeating and inflammation, which is at the root of all modern disease. The introduction of industrial food processing has had the most detrimental effect on our health of any other factor in the last few hundred years—and possibly in the entire history of humankind.


Movement played a major role in daily life for hunter–gatherers. After all, they spent the majority of their time, well, hunting and gathering. They had to exert themselves, and often quite strenuously, to survive: our ancestors sprinted, jogged, climbed, carried, and jumped intermittently throughout the day, on top of walking an average of six miles and running one-half to one mile per day.

In other words, they didn’t sit all day like so many of us do. We spend endless hours working at computers, watching TV, and commuting by car. In fact, the typical city dweller is now sedentary for about 60 percent of his or her waking life and sits for an average of six or seven hours every day.  Sitting has been called the new smoking, and for good reason: it’s linked to heart disease, insulin resistance, cancer, and the list goes on. What’s more, research has found these same negative health outcomes in those who exercise but still spend the majority of their day seated.

Sleep More 

Conjure up an image of a hunter–gatherer, is he or she lounging lazily on a sofa? Although they were almost always on the move, these people relaxed, too. Our ancestors alternated strenuous and demanding days of physical activity with days of rest, an instinctual response that protected them from injury and fatigue.

Our modern lifestyle is a stark mismatch in this regard. We live in a culture that values productivity and activity above all else and is almost scornful of rest and relaxation. “Resting” for many people means browsing the internet or engaging with some other kind of sleep-sapping, artificial light-emitting electronic device that is anything but restful for the brain and the body. We’ve not only forgotten the value of rest—we’ve forgotten how to do it.

Sleep soundly, and for seven to eight hours a night. You can’t be healthy without adequate sleep.

Stress Less

Our ancestors experienced stress when fleeing a predator or out on a hunt. But, they punctuated these stressful times with moments of calm. We simply aren’t built for chronic stress, as evidenced by the immense amount of research illustrating that it wreaks total havoc on our bodies.

There’s no way to completely remove stress from your life, but you can avoid unnecessary stress by learning to say no to projects or commitments you can’t handle, staying away from people who get your blood boiling, and turning off the news (or at least limiting your exposure to it), as examples. To mitigate the harmful effects of the stressors you can’t avoid, try relaxation practices and techniques such as walking in nature, yoga, and calm breathing.

Prioritise pleasure. Dance, sing, listen to music. Be social, play with your pets, laugh with friends, love your family and spend time outdoors. Eat local and sleep.

Adapted by NatureSense from
Chris Kresser, M.S

Nature Therapy: A Medical Perspective

Nature sense - medical perspective

Nature therapy is an, evidence-based field in medicine. It is defined as “the prescriptive, evidence-based use of natural settings and nature-based interventions”. Simply put, it’s about using nature to help us heal—and using scientific data to find those green prescriptions.

©John La Puma. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. Apr2019

When people think of nature therapy, they might think of it a simple call to “go outside more.” But the truth is there’s so much more to nature therapy than that. There are so many sub-disciplines within nature therapy that show the diverse range within the field: adventure therapy, animal-assisted or pet therapy, blue care, care farms, ecotherapy, forest bathing, green exercise, nature meditation, therapeutic horticulture, wilderness immersion, and more.

Because nature therapy is such a wide umbrella, the existing research in nature therapy and green medicine comes from all over the map, spanning disparate fields such as horticulture, interior design, architecture, forestry, wildlife management, auditory and color science, and herbal and botanical medicine. This interdisciplinary approach brings a huge amount of dimension and variety to the field.

In contrast to the US, Nature therapy is much more advanced in the UK, Australia, Japan, Korea, and much of northern and central Europe. Nature therapy is much more expansive, varied, and far-reaching than some might have originally perceived it to be.

Why do we need it?
There are innumerable (and scientifically documented!) ways that nature therapy is beneficial for our health.
Here’s one salient example: studies have shown that walking in natural settings, like a forest or park, has been linked to improved short-term memory, concentration, cortisol levels, natural killer cell number and activity, heart rate and blood pressure. Exercising in nature—in sight of and preferably near water or greenery—is more effective and therapeutic (not to mention less expensive!) than exercising indoors.

A recent Stanford study of nature therapy showed significantly reduced rumination after a 90-minute walk in nature compared to a 90-minute walk through an urban environment. In this same study, those who walked through nature for 30 minutes a day reported a decrease in negative thinking. Magnetic resonance imaging showed that the nature walkers had lower activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness compared to urban walkers.

Rumination, which is little discussed, but often searched for, is commonly seen in people with anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder. So by simply switching your morning run from a treadmill to your local park, you can multiply and diversify the kinds of benefits you’re getting, both physical and mental.
There are so many people with a wide variety of medical conditions who would benefit from nature therapy. People with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, and myopia have specifically been shown to benefit from time spent outside. The research continues to emerge in this area, showing benefits for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: nature therapy has impacted improved postoperative recovery, birth outcomes, and pain control for patients; studies of community gardening have shown reduction in glycosylated hemoglobin in people with diabetes with no intervention other than growing vegetables; and gardeners have been shown to be less likely to develop dementia than non-gardeners.

How Nature Therapy can be undertaken?
Nature therapy’s mission is to prevent and improve various symptoms, clinical conditions, and general well-being for patients, and the field is dedicated to making these kinds of tools available to every family—regardless of their proximity to blue or green space. One of the most amazing things we’re learning from this research is that there are ways to get the health benefits from nature without actually immersing yourself in it, or exercising in it (although both are really fun!).

Whether it’s out of fear or lack of access, some people can’t get to the great outdoors—but bringing the great outdoors to them can have huge impacts. Even just putting up a poster of nature or looking out a window onto nature provides quantifiable health benefits. A pioneering study by psychologist Roger Ulrich studied patients with a view of a window and those without. Among 23 of the matched post-op patients, the ones with a view of nature from their bed had fewer complications, needed less medication, and left the hospital sooner compared to those staring at a brick wall.
Another way to get a dose of nature therapy from inside is to cultivate and care for your houseplants. And many of us have built-in animal therapy at home in the form of our beloved pets. So if you water your indoor plants and regularly cuddle with your cat or dog: guess what? You’re already engaging in nature therapy without even knowing it.

Why now?
So many forces are converging to give rise to the field of nature therapy, one of which is the personal, social, environmental, and financial consequences of the disconnection from nature that so many people are feeling these days. Both climate change and its accelerated pace, as well as to our relationship with technology, contribute to this growing disconnection.
Climate change affects more than just the climate; our obsession with personal technology contributes to our disconnection from nature; U.S. adults look at screens for 11 hours daily on average. These days, people stay inside nearly 22 hours a day; so many of us have little familiarity with nature and, even worse, are actually fearful of it and unsure how to adapt to it.

If we realise that the dual forces of global warming and overwork are separating us from our natural position as part of nature instead of apart from it, I believe we would be less likely to stand by and watch its plunder as it and we are threatened.

As extreme weather events become dizzyingly common, as the arctic shelf dwindles irrevocably, as politicians debate and argue over the Green New Deal, the question of how we can live differently for the health of our planet, our communities and ourselves is in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Nature therapy is just one answer to that question, empowering us to take ownership of healing ourselves—and perhaps, in the process, help heal each other.

Full Article Here

Shining a light on our Mood

Here’s some of the QUESTIONS that people ask me in my practice?

  • Why don’t I have FOMO but JOMO?
  • I’m anxious but I just don’t know why.
  • I’m so tired – always, even after I just wake up.
  • Why can’t I get pregnant?
  • I can’t seem to think straight – everything’s foggy?
  • I want to come off my medications …

We all are touched by these questions every day, and every day we have to put them to the side (and where does that stuff even go?) The questions I’m asked in my practice have changed over the years.  I’m going to shine a light on what’s going on but also give you an insight into how we can live better, with less stress in our screen filled world and reduce that background hum of anxiety we do seem to carry.

With tech we’re like kids in a SWEET SHOP. We know deep down so much of it is bad for us, but we like the stuff and taking it away would be horrible! We’re at a stage where we think tech is the big solution – and we’re not that wrong – but we need to take stock and understand how to combine our digital delights effectively with our lifestyles in order to not get sick.

Much of what we learned in school is outdated – that we only use 5% of our brain the rest just junk -Mistake! The same with DNA the bits we didn’t understand we labeled Junk – Bigger Mistake! And up until recently we were increasingly we taking our arrogant ill-informed wisdom out on the SUN – it’s evil was the guideline for doctors! That is until very recently when the Nobel prize in science and medicine highlighted the importance of circadian biology. The rhythm of day and night.  The sun has got bad press.  But it’s one of the keys to our health and wellbeing.

How would you take it if I said Wifi has been around for – yep, billions of years. The receptors working on data transfer the speed of light with software powered by water and chemicals. That’s us and the sun!   Our Circadian Nobel prize winners discovered what the ancients long knew about the sun. That is’s vital.  Delving deeper into science it turns out, that our eyes do not just do the job of seeing but they run the supercomputer – in not just us but the whole planet – in every single living thing on it. Even in blind people – they still have the receptors to set our software in motion to set our master-clock.

We used to live 90% outdoors, now we’re 90% indoors. We’ve lost connection with our WiFi system. Exacerbating the circadian disruption is that inside our bright world we’re further staring into lights – screens. LED and screen or blue light . With the full spectrum missing, the natural built in warning means it’s like you’re staring at the midday sun! Your body thinks it’s high noon – all day and into the night. This excess light time also disrupts our other clocks.  A fundamental one is our digestive clock – it seems as long as our eyes are open our mouth is open too! So not only is our sleep – our reparation time – disrupted so too is our eating cycle – we’re now averaging a span of about 15 hours of light time and eating time. We’ve got a biological mismatch of cogs and clocks.

Without optimised circadian time keeping – the door opens to obesity, coronary and cancer diseases and emotional disruption – from our moods to our ability to think clearly.  Clocks and cogs keep things running smoothly.  In the way the world eventually agreed to a common clock that GMT is 00:00 meaning we can get flights, launch satellites and use servers globally.  But without which we have costly confusions like with the States who have all their dates backwards and have had to rework space programmes because they were using out of date measuring systems when everyone else is in metric. Having a master clock makes things work .. like clockwork.

Our new tech has not been designed to work with us, the more advanced biologic interface. We’ve got to give ourselves a break though. Mother Nature has had more than a few billion years to get to perfecting us. And she never left us the instruction manual … so how do we keep our sweeties, adjust and go forward. It’s no secret that doctors are overwhelmed and left behind – medicine is not helping as it did and for many it’s now even harming. Coupled with that in this digital age, we’ve also got the age of information, people have taken things into their own hands – it’s called Optimal living or Biohacking or if you don’t buy into the computer analogy it comes down to the same thing. How to live in Harmony with tech.

As with most great things – it starts in the bedroom! This is the only place you’ve got actual control of in your 24 hours of modern living. So it must in this modern age truly be a sanctuary so that you can become physically as well as emotionally resilient of your day. There are 100’s of daytime Biohacks optimising modern living that we could go into, but your bedroom triggering our repairing and sleep hormone, melatonin, must be the place you start.  And actually it’s the most simple.

First it’s the power of the dark that ultimately brings light into our life.   If you’re on your laptop close to bed time or staring at your phone until your turn off your LED light. Well you’ve just told your melatonin that it’s mid day. So it goes away till much later.  Or perhaps you ate close to bed time so your body has to work, not repair.  Basically what’s happening in these instances is that you’re just getting fat and sick at night.  Hack wise, bedrooms must be dark and ideally have red lights only or salt lamps. Think sexy. For that a midnight wee – ideally a night red light in the bathroom.

Learn to respect the bedroom. If you’ve children a red only light is the only light that doesn’t trigger the wake up cells. Red light at night. Parent’s delight!

Wifi – and charging your phone:  Don’t do it in the bedroom.  You’re just charging your head and stopping your hormone system working optimally.  You’re mismatching the code into the supercomputer.  It has to work overtime, you wake up tired.

I’m about Anxiety and Workplace Wellness. I’ve only touched the iceberg of optimal living. It’s just one part of my practice, one that takes in understanding the environment that we’re in so we can be well longer physically and mentally. Thriving in a screen filled world. About respecting the supercomputer that we are. Understanding that we’ve moved far from Nature and that’s not good for us. Getting outside more with a good Circadian understanding and a dash of Biohacks are a fascinating growth area to balance this.

Discovering the most advanced computer on Earth

ancestral living nature sense spain and london

We’re mammals that lived 90% of our life outdoors.  Now we’re over 90% indoors, “So what!”  we shout from our Alexa managed, central heating life, while drinking a diet soda from our internet synced fridge.

I lived the dream. Wide open beaches, hanging with my family and friends watching the sunset.  I went for three months – came back after 7 years! On returning, most people didn’t focus on why I went away or what it was like. It was always why did you come back?

Was it a gut instinct. Or perhaps just that seven year cycle of change.  Who knows for sure but coming back was, I thought, the end of my practice – Nature Sense, but it was only just the beginning.

Life there was pretty good.  On driving back home to my small fishing village, the continent and mountains of Africa to my right would rise and the grounded expanse of the beach lay in front to welcome.  It was away from the more formal setting of my clinic in Gibraltar that I developed NatureSense.  I’d see my clients – in the hills or on the beach.

Nature is just laden with metaphor where interpretation is oftentimes just not necessary.  Change for many just happened – and for many it was easier.  Plus there was just a connection to something greater.  When you sit on a sand dune with the Mediterranean to one side and the Atlantic gazing out across the strait – knowing that in times past there happened the world’s most amazing waterfall,  bursting the banks of the ocean to create the sea.  It’s then you know without words there’s a whole ton of stuff that’s so much bigger than you are.  It shifts you. You actually realise what the word ‘awesome’ is and it’s a million miles from describing the latest Marvel comic release.  It’s something you feel.

How did that fit into London?  At first it didn’t – returning back seeing clients – I was working with a new puzzle.  So much more anxiety than I’d been used to, so much more medicated depression and worse, loneliness with all the stresses.  People I’d seen before leaving the city were stressed because of something identifiable.  But here, now – it was like I had to become an Anxiety Whisperer – to decipher and explain that anxiety was a friend not a foe -that it was trying to deliver a message.  But one that was getting blocked.

I was finding I  had to get people to reacquaint themselves with themselves they’d been on anti depressants for so long that they didn’t really know how to react. I had to convince people that anxiety did have a reason.  That it was OK to feel it not fear it.

It was hard – so I had to dig deeper into the story, I had to look into the darkness of the city to find out what on earth was making the experience of this wonderful city so hellish, for so many.

On one of my early morning walks with the dog -( my therapist!) – I realised that I was dealing with people who were quite simply not just disconnected from each other – but from their fundamentals.  Sure they were having trouble with their rent, were going through break ups, wanted to talk at meetings but found it scary .. but the thread went deeper.  They carried something with them – I first thought it was just being too busy, but that was not really fully the answer. Perhaps it was social media, again not really the answer and eventually I realised it was because they were disconnected from life. There was a wire disconnected in their plugged in world.  With a fundamental missing they were working with only half the power.  Resilience was missing, emotional intelligence neglected over academic pursuit, eating shit food, Netflicking their nights and weekends away but still being tired … and never ever going for a walk.  A simply but fundamental to living well.  Or to coin the phrase that is now so often used, but so little understood – wellbeing.

If it was as simple as going for a walk – wouldn’t we all do it.  Well no!  As it’s not so sexy, it’s way too old fashioned, and besides how advanced is walking?  We have smart phones now, we’re totally dominating whatever is to be dominated.  We have an app for everything so walking?  Seriously!

I had to agree – so I knew I had to go deeper.  And that’s how I  discovered the most advanced biological computer –  us – and how to hack it.

Shining a light on our mood