Home lifestyle tips Healthy Lifestyle Tips Inspired By Indigenous Cultures

Healthy Lifestyle Tips Inspired By Indigenous Cultures

written by Guest Blogger August 14, 2012

One of the things we teach on Live Lighter is how to respect and honour the knowledge of our ancestors. They have much to teach us on healthy living! So I’m happy to introduce today’s guest blogger, Thomas, who writes about the benefits of those who live outside Western life!  

Our culture is quick to ridicule indigenous cultures as a quaint chapter in history where man had not fulfilled his true potential and lived a simple and ignorant existence. This arrogant perspective is itself becoming antiquated as people are starting to understand the benefits that come from an indigenous lifestyle.

Paleontology now tells us that they were healthy, well fed people and anybody who has spent time among the remaining tribes will know that they are happy and mentally strong as well. The image of sickly starving child-like people is a colonial stereotype that is plain false.

In today’s busy world there are lessons that we can learn from tribal people that will help us to live in a healthier way.

Indigenous Lifestyle

The twentieth century was all about working hard and getting ahead. We were striving to advance the human race and we didn’t care at what cost. It could be environmental degradation or the degradation in the human spirit. It didn’t matter as long as we were advancing.

Now we realize the folly of our ways to some degree and we are focusing on environmentalism. We also understand better the need for work-life balance and the need to nurture our spirit and spend time on ourselves.

Indigenous people enjoy a slow pace of life. They have been described as “the original affluent society” not because of material wealth but because of their human wealth. Their strong family bonds, the time they have for their own growth and their strong spirituality.

Modern society is relearning the lessons that these things are important and constantly striving for material goals leaves one feeling shallow.

Paleo Diet

Indigenous people ate meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. That is it. This pre-agricultural diet is what humans evolved on for 200,000 years.

Refined carbs, starches, sugars and processed foods are all new to our bodies. Despite their place as a staple in most civilized diets these foods are not optimal for human consumption.

Many modern people are relearning that this is the best way for humans to eat because it is our evolutionary nutrition. It has become quite famous as the Caveman diet or paleolithic diet.

Indigenous Fitness

Humans were not designed to live sedentary lifestyles. But they were also not designed to use treadmills or lift machine weights.

People are also rediscovering caveman-style fitness where the human body is moved in the way it was designed to. This is found in Cross Fit which combines free weight, body weight and various other simple yet effective exercises that cut to the core of human fitness.

There is an excellent article at Mark’s Daily Apple which explains the theory behind the diet and fitness of the primal lifestyle and its relevance to modern man.

Indigenous Health

A person’s natural state is good health. If there is illness it is a sign that something is not right with the body. In the modern world we have come to see sickness as something normal and to be expected. But it is not.

Our society’s main focus on medicinal theory is allopathic. This means that the body is seen as a machine made up of a series of individual functioning parts. Allopathic medicine treats symptoms not causes, and favors the use of drugs and invasive therapies to bring about relief.

Indigenous people used the natural substances they found around them to make medicines. They had a very homeopathic focus, another aspect of their lifestyle that has been rediscovered in the modern day.

Many people find that natural remedies and homeopathy solve their ailments when Western medicine fails. This is because of the holistic focus and the desire to get to the underlying cause of the issue.

The modern shift towards an environmental understanding, increased spirituality, better diet, health and fitness may be seen as development rather than a return to a time-tested way. But humans lived happy, healthy, fulfilling lives for thousands of years before civilization. All we are doing now is rediscovering old knowledge.

About The Author

Thomas is interested in the philosophy of wellness as well as practical tips to lead a healthier lifestyle. He writes about organic philosophy as well as how to create healthy eco-friendly bedrooms at his organic mattress website.

How many of you can relate to what Thomas is saying? Is it possible that to cope with the upcoming changes in our society (i.e. 2012, end of the Mayan calendar), that we need to marry what works in the old days with what works now? 

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Dr. Robin Terranella August 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

Indigenous cultures definitely understood the body, and we as Western civilizations have much to learn from them. Let’s face it, no one could deny the incredible advances in conventional medical sciences. These advances have brought a vast understanding to the physical processes of the body, but little understanding to matters of the mind and spirit. Still we know that stress, major life changes, and other mental / spiritual problems can have a large impact on our physical health. This is where eastern medicine (alternative medicine) shines by offering practical and effective solutions for these problems. We write alot about alternative medicine in our blog, http://www.swintegrativemedicine.com/blog/. I hope that it helps anyone looking for more information about Holistic Medicine!

Thomas August 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Hi Robin, I agree completely. There is no way anyone could deny the brilliance of Western medicine. But just as the West is starting to come around to the benefits of what Eastern civilizations provided we can also look to tribal cultures for wisdom as well, and not just in the medical field.

Head Health Nutter August 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Thank you gentlemen for your thoughts. I think we’re all on the same page here!

I believe that much of everyone’s unhappiness or dis-ease (especially in the West) fosters mainly from spiritual deprivation. Tribal cultures have a strong connection to Mother Earth and the reverence of something greater than us all. For instance, as in the movie Avatar, don’t tribal cultures thank the animals for their sacrifice when they are killed for food and clothing?

Thomas, in your opinion, what you believe is the greatest wisdom tribal cultures can teach us?

Thomas August 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm

They know how to live in a way that does not destroy the world. Not saying they were environmental saints but there is an unbroken chain of history stretching back 200,000 years of a way of life that works. Our culture is only 10,000 short years old and you can see the trouble we have got ourselves in. We don’t know how to live in a way that works.

Daniel Quinn says the difference is that tribal people believe man belongs to the world and we believe that the world belongs to man. It is that belief that drives our destruction and it is their belief that allows them to live at peace with the world.

I think the biggest thing we can learn from them is that fact that there is something to learn from them. Our culture likes to dismiss their way of life as quaint. While it is not going to be the modern day solution it is a good place to look for the ideas that may lead to solutions.


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