Foraging for food and seeking prey without becoming prey may sound like a hard life, but new evidence shows that this might not be the case at all.
Recent studies into the lifestyles of ancient hunter gatherer societies and modern hunter gatherer cultures are beginning to paint a much clearer picture as to what this type of life is really about.
For example, we tend to believe longevity is the benefit of modern medicine coupled with the move of civilization into urban centers. But new data shows that many hunter gatherers lived much longer than previously thought.
In fact, research indicates that many of them lived well into their 70’s . That’s almost as long as many people live today.
Another common misconception is that hunter gatherers didn’t enjoy the kind of well rounded meals that have been the norm since farming developed. This isn’t necessarily true.
In fact, it is possible that hunter gatherers enjoyed quite healthy meals . Far from relying solely on animal protein and fat consumption, or raw nuts and berries, some nomadic groups in Europe have been found with the capability of making “pita-like” flatbread as long as 30,000 years ago.
These findings indicate a much more complex diet of high-energy plant foods was available, either as a supplement to hunted and gathered items or as emergency rations during times of scarcity.
It’s also important to remember that hunter gatherers didn’t eat as often as modern folks do today. They might have had one daily meal, so the foods they consumed would typically break down in their bodies slowly, providing a good source of energy for hours and hours.
As a side benefit, the foods they commonly ate prevented blood sugar spikes and helped to give their bodies strong, healthy fuel to complement an active lifestyle. It is unlikely that they ate foods that left them feeling sluggish or uncomfortable.
As nomads, early hunter-gatherers would walk from three to ten miles a day, exploring and making full use of the resources around them before striking camp and moving seasonally to more bountiful regions. In other words, they got plenty of exercise.
And they were by no means loners. A close-knit community order developed, allowing a high degree of social interaction. Everyone would work together to keep life going. They would cooperate in child rearing and surviving, much like existing hunter-gatherer groups do today.
It is also likely that early hunter gatherers were quite spiritual. They depended on the Earth, its resources and the forces of nature. This would have led to a strong need for prayer and ceremonies that demonstrated a feeling of closeness to the forces that ruled their world.
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