Why 2 million years of human evolution matters to your health
We have been evolving as a species for approximately 2 million years & around 10,000 years ago we started eating grains and dairy. In the past 100 years farming has become industrialised on a large scale, leading to factory farming methods and a huge input of pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
I first became interested in how evolution impacts our health and well being 13 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and wanted to know how we have evolved to give birth. I figured out that if I could understand birth from an evolutionary perspective, I would have a better chance of a good birth than the modern day medicalised version within a factory production line hospital setting.
If you're interested in this, then reading Anthropologist Wenda Trevathan's Human Birth: An Evolutionary Perspective is a brilliant read as is her book Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women's Health. You can find new and used copies on Amazon and Ebay.
Over the years this initial interest in birth from an evolutionary perspective led me to form a deep interest our health and well being as a species - from what we have evolved to eat, to our physical lives and our mental health.
The fundamental question I hold close by is always:
"How is this modern human problem [i.e. depression, anxiety, cancer, alzheimer's, schizophrenia, stroke, heart disease, tooth decay etc etc] impacted by how we have evolved to live as a species?"
When I look at each problem, evolution gives me a really clear lens to view the disjoint between how we evolved to live and how we live now and what we can do to bridge this enormous gap.
I've been eating a 95% paleo diet for the past 10 years but only recently switched my running as exercise to HIIT work outs this year - the difference to my physical shape has been amazing.
I've just discovered these short videos explaining a great deal about how we've evolved to physically live as humans, so if you're looking for a good rationale as to why 2 million years of evolution matters to your physical heath, this is a good start:
Paleo in a Nutshell Part 1: Food
Paleo in a Nutshell Part 2: Exercise
Paleo in a Nutshell Part 3: Sunshine