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We live in extraordinary times. There are bicycles that can go 139,45 km/h (86,65 mp/h), we are building bikes from wood, and we can even reach the South Pole on a bike. Human ingenuity has given us the technology to do that, and you can find similar feats in almost any area of human endeavor. So, why is it that when it comes to our long-term health we are going in the opposite direction?

Lifestyle diseases are on the rise despite all advances in medical technology. We can save lives, yet we do very little to promote longevity. What is the key if technology is not? It’s our habits, the things we do every day. We have to learn how to manage our stress, make sure we sleep well, move our body right and optimize our nutrition. Let’s focus on the last item on that list.

What is considered normal today is not ideal for our health when it comes to nutrition

What is considered normal today is not ideal for our health when it comes to nutrition

Our species evolved roughly two million years ago, and for 99.5 percent of that time humans were free of the modern diseases that today kill millions each year and make countless others miserable. We adapted to thrive in our surroundings, but there have been such significant and sudden changes in the way we live that it’s hard for our bodies to keep up.

Much like with a bike we should learn how to return our bodies to the factory settings

Much like with a bike we should learn how to return our bodies to the factory settings

So, what are the factory settings of our bodies? It’s hard to say exactly. But this much we know: we were physically active through-out the whole day, we lived in sync with the natural rhythms of night and day, we were in direct contact with nature all the time, we lived in very close tribal social groups and we mostly ate wild meat and fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, insects and some starchy tubers – and there was no food industry to “improve” them.

And how does the norm look nowadays? We sit for long periods of time, we use a lot of artificial lighting, we live in big cities, we are globally connected yet close communities and meaningful relationships are rare and we eat mostly processed foods that are created to maximize profit, not our health.

So the question is, how do we get as close as we can to the ideal while not giving up everything modern?