Everything old seems to be new again, as millions of people have started to embrace the diet, exercise and habits of our ancient Cro-Magnon ancestors. Perhaps all the technology we have and the onset of artificial intelligence are just a bit scary, and we’re retreating into our Neolithic corner.
Whatever the case, there is a great deal of evidence that a diet without processed foods is healthier. And hunter gatherers who spent very little time sitting, probably had much lower cholesterol levels than their present day counterparts.
If you’re wondering how you can explore the possible benefits of a primitive lifestyle in the West End of Glasgow, there actually may be more opportunities than you realise…
Kerry Murdoch, an Active Lifestyle instructor, teaches a new class at The University of Glasgow called ‘Animal Flow’. It’s probably unlike any exercise class you have ever seen!
The participants perform quadrupedal movements using the hands and feet for balance. The weight of your own body provides the resistance as you perform moves with names like ‘beast’, ‘ape’ and ‘crab’.
In contemporary times, our hands rarely touch the ground. But in Animal Flow, the hands are used for almost every movement, giving the upper body an excellent workout. If you’re imagining an ape scampering across the floor however, think again. It’s more of a meditative movement, with slow, deliberate moves which are almost balletic. It can be beautiful to watch as the body morphs from one position into another.
Though it’s physically demanding (which might be the whole point of a workout in the first place) the movements themselves can be simplified to allow beginners to develop their strength and flexibility.
Though Animal Flow has been compared to yoga, it’s actually quite different. Instead of static poses, the body is in almost constant motion. And the participants do not use mats, since the sequence of choreographed movements can run in all different directions with the entire floor being used!
The Animal Flow classes just launched at The Stevenson Building on campus. They are one-hour sessions which run in 5-week blocks.
To learn more about the classes, visit the University of Glasgow website at:
Another ancient activity that’s becoming increasingly popular is tribal drumming. The drum certainly has to be one of the oldest instruments on Earth, and in indigenous cultures it has been used for welcoming visitors, celebrations at harvest time, and even as a means to reach higher states of consciousness in shamanic ceremonies.
But it’s not just for the ancients. Contemporary doctors and researchers have conducted studies which show that there are health benefits to drumming, as well as social connectedness.
Dr. Barry Quinn, Ph.D. and clinical psychologist, states that drumming sessions can dramatically reduce stress, and may also lower blood pressure.
The Glasgow Drum Circle meets every Wednesday night in the heart of the West End at Wellington Church. This welcoming group is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers who believe in the many positive benefits of drumming.
Emma, one of the trustees of Glasgow Drum Circle, and a drummer herself, says that it’s almost like a meditative state when focussing on the patterns of the rhythm. And fellow trustee Shae, notes the connectedness and community that the drum circle provides when several people are all coming together in rhythm and sound.
They teach rhythm patterns based on West African drum beats, starting with the basics, and novices are able to start drumming almost immediately.
In the class I attended, there were two drummers taking their first class, who were quickly pounding away like pros. The participants range from beginner to advanced. Everyone is provided with authentic African drums such as djembe and dunun drums, along with mallets.
Classes are offered on a six months, six weeks or a weekly, pay-as-you-go basis. The modest fee helps cover the operating costs of the class.
If you haven’t tried this yet, give it a go. It’s interesting – and fun! Visit here for more info: glasgowdrumcircle.org/classes.
One of the most important ways we can be healthier, is through the food which we eat. For Gabriela Nicol of Paleo Lifestyle, food was very much the medicine which solved her digestive problems.
Suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Gabriela, decided to make a conscious change to not only eat healthy, but to embrace a diet derived from sustainable sources, and good quality ingredients.
Her background in science and understanding of digestive enzymes, led her to adopt the paleo diet. Gabriela found that her IBS disappeared, and she’s been symptom-free for four years. She also discovered she had more energy, and even looked younger. Colds and frequent viral infections have also vanished since she has gone paleo.
Gabriela believes in the benefits of good nutrition so strongly, that she formed her business, Paleo Lifestyle to share her expertise – and her food with others.
Based in Maryhill, she bakes dairy and gluten-free, sugar-free and low carb, using organic ingredients from sustainable sources. Instead of milk, Gabriela uses coconut milk, and nut milks such as cashew and almond milk.
Gabriela has created desserts that are not just healthy, but also delicious. Some of the most popular desserts and treats are her vegan cheesecake, vegan snickers, bounty bars and carrot cake. She uses stevia or natural maple syrup for sweetening.
Her desserts can be ordered from her Facebook page, and she will deliver them to anywhere in the greater Glasgow area, or they can be collected free of charge at her Maryhill location.
She currently holds cooking classes where an entire three-course meal is prepared. The classes take place about once a month, and last for approximately two hours. At the end, participants dine on the meal they’ve created, and they receive a free recipe book for cooking at home.
Gabriela, who is a certified Paleo Nutritionist, is taking on clients to help with nutritional advice. This can be especially helpful to individuals suffering from food intolerances, allergies, hormonal and metabolic issues.
Gabriela has plans to open a coffee shop later this year, where all of her cakes and treats will be available.
For more information on Paleo Lifestyle, visit her Facebook page at:
If you’re looking for a healthier lifestyle in your future, the answer may actually lie in the past.