We're in an Unnatural World

Treat Thompson



This is a republishing of The Steady Fella Newsletter. Every week readers use the timeless insights on passion, productivity, philosophy, and happiness from this newsletter to build towards the life they want.

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The purpose of this week's newsletter is to bring attention to something hiding in plain sight.

Our lives aren't natural anymore. There's a large gap between how humans evolved and how we live today.

Because this gap grew too fast for us to adapt, we're left with negative consequences.

Keep this image in mind:

This image is the guiding force of the topic. It shows that for over 99.5% of human existence, we lived as hunter-gatherers. That's the green part.

We were outdoors, we physically worked for natural food, we had strong social groups, and we were always on the move.

And then, all of a sudden, life changed.

Now we spend most of our day indoors sitting down, our food is fake, we don't sleep enough, loneliness is an epidemic, we're overstimulated and overstressed. That's the red part.


Food is probably the example with the biggest negative impact on humans today.

What to eat is regularly debated in the nutrition world, but what not to eat is very clear.

The average American diet today is 63% "what not to eat."

Processed foods, like refined carbohydrates and vegetable oil, were not accessible for the majority of human life. Neither are found in nature. As hunter-gatherers, we lived off of animal and plant food.

This radical change in diet is part of why chronic disease is being called a modern human invention.


As hunter-gatherers, we spent a large amount of energy acquiring food and water, socializing, escaping predators, traveling, and establishing settlements.

We spent 84,000 generations in this lifestyle. Then it disappeared exponentially:

  • 350 generations ago, the agriculture revolution began. Farming allowed us to stop traveling and hunting. People spent their time growing crops to feed themselves and their families.
  • 7 generations ago, the industrial revolution began. Industrialization pulled people off of their farms and into cities to manufacture goods and eventually work in offices. This era created efficiencies that allowed us to live comfortably.
  • 2 generations ago, the digital age began. It brought us TVs, computers, phones, and automation. It made our employment less labor-intensive and our leisure time inactive.

(It's kind of crazy how fast we went from hunting elk to reading an email newsletter.)

I'm trying to allude to that within this rapid evolution, our lives became more and more sedentary.

Although we don't need to exert ourselves physically to survive today, the natural requirement for physical activity is still the same as our stone-age ancestors.

Because we're not meeting this requirement, our bodies are affected in these ways:

  • Poor metabolism function
  • Weak immune system
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Hormone imbalances

And health risks are increased in these ways:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • The feeling of anxiety and depression

We are innocent bystanders in human evolution. We just so happened to be born during a period we're not built for.

Because of that, we have a responsibility to satisfy the stone age requirements our bodies still have.

This newsletter focused on the physical requirements. We need to satisfy our nutrient and exercise deficiencies.

In the interest of not making this newsletter too long, I split it up into two parts. This one focused on the physical health effects; next week will focus on the mental health effects.

This weeks quote

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. – Thomas Edison

Edison was ahead of his time with this insight. Over 100 years ago, he observed the same healthcare issues we have today.

People were (and still are) being treated with medicine rather than being educated on the cause and prevention of chronic and lifestyle diseases.

He said in the future, patients will be taught how to care for their body's needs, which include diet and exercise.

This weeks question

What's your honest relationship with your physical health (diet and exercise)?

A) I don't care; I'm just living my life.

B) I never knew how important diet and exercise are.

C) I know I should make more effort, but I haven't gotten around to it.

D) I'm in the process of getting healthy right now.

E) I'm as healthy as can be!