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The Basics: All About Ancestral Health and Positive Psychology

  • The headline on my LinkedIn profile reads: "inspiring wellness through ancestral health coaching, grounded in positive psychology."

  • Our group health coaching programs "incorporate ancestral health concepts and positive psychology basics that can improve your health: eat, move, sleep, play and more."

  • And our 1:1 health coaching sessions offer "an accountability partner in ancestral health and positive psychology, tailored to your needs."

Translation, please!

It's fantastic if you're already familiar with these concepts, but they're still new to a lot of people. This post describes the basics of both, along with why we've chosen them to be our anchor points for health coaching and growth mindset coaching.

Before we get into definitions, I'll start by dispelling a few myths.

Ancestral health isn't:

  • a meat-centric carnivore diet (veggies should load the plate)

  • a low-carb elimination diet (it depends / it could be / it doesn't have to be)

Positive psychology isn't:

  • forcing yourself to be happy

  • toxic positivity that overshadows reality

All About Ancestral Health

We're trained Primal Health Coaches, which means we're skilled in understanding the whats and whys behind:

  • Epigenetics: reprogramming your genes (yep, it's possible)

  • Evolutionary clues to optimal gene expression

  • How the body prefers burning fat over carbs for energy

  • Grains aren't necessary for optimal nutrition, and fat isn't the enemy

  • Fitness is all about frequent, low-intensity movement

  • Sleep, sunlight and playtime are just as important for adults

Much of this work is thanks to paleo diet pioneers like Dr. Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser and many others. The research is compelling and our anecdotal evidence (personally and from clients) is undeniable.

All that being said, when it comes to optimal physical health, our self-guided and 1:1 health coaching programs group things into three categories.

What you eat

  • Whole (unprocessed), nutrient-dense foods (and no, most grains aren't nutrient-dense, processed or not, some even contain anti-nutrient properties)

  • Avoiding refined sugars, inflammatory oils, additives and ingredients

  • Veggies, meat, fish, eggs, nuts/seeds, herbs/spices, healthy fats

  • Fasting (only if/when appropriate)

When you sleep

  • Respecting your circadian rhythm and other natural cues to rest

  • Connecting with nature (even if it's looking out the window)

  • Cultivating an ideal sleep environment

  • Creating a strong morning routine

How you move

  • Prioritize standing and moving over sitting and stillness

  • Functional body weight movements (no gym required)

  • Sprinting on occasion (once every 7-10 days)

  • Challenge your brain for mental flexibility

Fun fact: in 2013, the most searched-for diet was paleo. 10+ years later, it's not exactly a new style of eating (not to mention tens of thousands of years prior to civilization). The benefits of a paleo-style, ancestral diet include:

  • Natural reduction in calorie intake (by eating whole foods), which can result in weight loss

  • High protein content can help increase satiety and preserve lean muscle mass

  • Reduce inflammation and chronic disease

  • Improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity

  • Regulate blood sugar levels (by avoiding sugars and refined carbs)

  • Improved digestion and gut health

  • Sustained energy levels throughout the day

All About Positive Psychology

A relatively new field of study, positive psychology was founded in 1998 by Martin Seligman and is often called the science of happiness. Traditional research and therapy focuses on what's wrong, what needs to be fixed and what happened in the past. Positive psychology leverages what's working and what's meaningful to drive change and improve future outcomes.

We focus on three areas to inspire lasting change as it relates to your health:

Your mindset

  • Level-set and banish your limiting beliefs

  • Drive change with a growth mindset

  • Visualize your best case scenario

  • Identify your cycle of thoughts

Your strengths

  • Determine your signature character strengths

  • Take stock of and start using your strengths

  • Develop your mindfulness

Your values

  • Align with what makes you happy

  • Get clear on what matters to you

If the phrases above sound familiar, they're also section titles in our Discovery Workbook series, which you can download from our website or get the paperback versions from Amazon.

We believe lasting change comes from within. Positive psychology offers hundreds of research-backed, proven tactics to inspire you. To name a few:

  • be healthier

  • live a longer life

  • make more money

  • be more motivated

  • have lower stress levels

  • have better relationships

  • have more perseverance

  • protect against depression

And there you have it: your crash course on ancestral health and positive psychology. If you're here for it, check out our self-guided and 1:1 health coaching programs. We're ready to empower you to improve your health and well-being, on your terms.

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