Through our ancestral history – unified in our collective adaptation (but unique to each individual), ‘Liver King’ purports the importance of following the “nine ancestral tenants” every single day to express your highest and most dominant form.
So, what exactly are the nine ancestral tenants, as explained by Liver King, and how do we follow them in our daily life? Is this the same as expressing gratitude? Meditating?
According to Liver King, these are: “the forms that have nourished us and shaped us – enabled us to become the predators [and humans] we are today.”
But what does this mean in practical terms, and how can one apply it to daily life and practices?
Essentially, this means involving oneself in the mindful daily practices of ancestral modes of ‘being’ – how you live, conduct yourself, nourish your body, and interact with others in society.
In turn, this places us more in line with our ancestors and how we should be living rather than how we currently live – as Liver King reports directly from NYC of all places.
Liver King argues (articulates very clearly) that these practices can be done quickly, despite the complete and total removal we now have from our ancestral history. The practices are more about making an effort to reformulate how you live and less about how you proceed.
Despite our seemingly apparent disconnect from our past and who we were – Liver King makes it simple to ground ourselves in this lineage by following seemingly obvious, everyday practices (which also happen to be reinforced by studies that prove their benefit to health and longevity).
The Nine Ancestral Tenants and How to Practice Them
The primary (first) and perhaps most apparent ancestral tenant is: ‘sleep.’ This doesn’t simply mean going to bed and waking up every morning, as we all (hopefully) do.
Instead, it means following a particular mode of practicing mindful sleeping habits and patterns that instill (perpetuate) healthy habits like rising with the early morning sun as we were told to do and at the same time every morning.
It is integral that we align ourselves with our natural circadian rhythm.
Our sleep cycle and proper circadian rhythm are absolutely vital to hormonal health and cognitive functioning. The body is hard-wired to sleep when it’s dark and rise when the sun comes up. Things like ‘blue light,’ or artificial light – from techs such as cell phones or laptops can interrupt our natural sleeping patterns. This can disrupt our ability to fall asleep and our crude melatonin production and cause long-term health problems if not adequately addressed.
How, then, to best deal with the invasion of modern technology on getting proper sleep?
As per Liver King, this means turning your cellphone off or putting it on airplane mode; eating your last meal 3-4 hours before bed to ensure proper digestion, taking in the sunlight when you rise, watching the sunset, and blocking out artificial light from screens and monitors 1-2 hours before bed.
Again, this may seem obvious – like ‘sleep’ may seem obvious as one of the nine ancestral tenants.
Many people have a flawed perspective and unhealthy relationship regarding food as sustenance and fuel. Instead, they engage with it as a habit or a “need.” However, this is again not as straightforward as simply filling yourself with empty calories, refined grains, or processed food.
Eating to support the ancestral tenants means aligning yourself with the dietary habits of our ancestors.
While research is conflicting on the ‘ideal’ diet – and even on what the ancestral diet consisted of (be it berries or primarily meat), certain things should be avoided for longevity and better overall health.
Diet and what you fuel your body with is essentially the primary cornerstone of all wellness.
This means cutting out refined sugar, processed food, liquid or empty calories (alcohol), and abandoning seed oil. Almost as much as sugar, fat from refined oils constitutes a massive amount of the daily caloric intake of a huge percentage of the population. It is not healthy.
Seed oils are often inflammatory and promote atherosclerosis through damage to the arteries. While many will actively purport that there isn’t harm in ingesting refined seed oils (even Harvard Public School of Health), there is clear evidence that refined “vegetables” and seed oils signal harm to the arterial and endothelial systems.
That means bad news for your heart.
It is perplexing that many advocates for plant oils as being “healthy” when they are an extremely processed food – no different than processed and refined sugar in the sense of how they’re produced and the surplus of empty calories they provide.
According to Liver King, the best way to eat puts us more in line with our ancestors. This does not have to automatically mean eating organ meats and bone marrow (although he does recommend them, and they are both extraordinarily healthy) but adapting the ‘ancestral’ framework around your personal dietary goal and lifestyle.
If you wish to eat plant-based or vegan, you can still adjust by cutting out all that processed vegan ‘junk’ food filled with additives and oils – instead, opt for cooked starches like potatoes and whole foods like fruits (avocado or wild berries) and nuts.
Move is all about making a conscious effort to get in 10,000 steps a day. This means walking – be it around your neighborhood, taking a jog, or going on a hike. It does not mean moving from the couch back to the fridge, back to the couch once again.
Given the numerous, scientifically backed studies indicating the health benefits of walking on improving overall longevity, it seems like a clear no-brainer to implement daily walks as a tenant of connecting with our ancestors.
Present-day jobs and office positions – whether work from home or in-person, corral people into being sedentary for 8-10 hours a day.
Then, what do you do after the day’s exhaustion sets in at 4 or 5 PM? Crash on the couch?
This is extremely unhealthy and can drive markers of metabolic syndrome, including cardiovascular disease.
To combat this, we need to turn back to the past and revoke the luxury and convenience of being able to sit for prolonged periods without having to move.
You might not be able to escape your job tied to a desk or chair, but you can ensure you get adequate walking each day. You can also break up prolonged periods of sitting by taking a break to stretch or move every 30-45 minutes.
The ‘shield’ tenant is all about literal and metaphorical shielding from perceived (and real) dangers or threats to one’s health and livelihood. This perhaps used to mean something much different than what it does today – but the essence of the tenant remains the same.
Liver King then adapts this to our modern-day society. He addresses the need for shielding from environmental threats now that physical threats of violence are no longer as prominent as they once were.
For Liver King, this means: turning off Wifi at night or whenever you’re not using it and covering the router or modem, altogether avoiding petrol-chemical clothing (synthetic material like polyester and rayon), and never using perfumes or un-natural products on your body.
Instead, opt for 100% cotton clothing. Choose ‘natural’ skincare or personal care products that use baking soda or botanical extracts rather than endocrine-disrupting synthetics in their perfumes, shampoos, or conditioners.
Are you grounded to the earth through touching a tree? Liver King says the ‘connect’ tenant is one of the easiest to implement in your daily life.
You don’t have to strip naked and roll through the dirt to be “one with nature.” You simply need to actively invest yourself into your natural surroundings (not industrial or artificial) and ‘connect’ through engaging with the beauty of the natural world.
Whatever scope of involvement with nature, this tenant demands you get out there and experience it by interacting with it. This can be as simple as reaching out to a tree on your path and touching it. It can also mean a deep appreciation of the visceral beauty of a hiking trail.
Adaptive response to cold, you say? This tenant is all about avoiding comfort and the ease of warmth during colder weather and instead testing your body to create an adaptive response to the cold sensation.
Given that numerous benefits, including the release of noradrenaline and beta-endorphin, have been linked to exposure to cold from cold showers, it makes sense that connecting with our ancestors through a reduction in the comfort of warmth is a central tenant.
This exposure response is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and sends a large number of electrical impulses from nerve endings in the skin to the brain. This is associated with the cognitive benefits (reducing depression, anxiety, and stress) of phasing into a cold shower (5-min gradual shift from warm to out).
There is an apparent overabundance of caution when it comes to sunlight exposure and UVA/UVB rays impacting one’s health through skin cancer – when exposure to these rays from the sun only accounts for 0.1% of the global disease burden across our entire population.
And yet, we are thought to fear exposure from an early age: told to lather our entire bodies with sunscreen that contains harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals like benzines.
At the same time, we are all aware of the importance of Vitamin D3 and sunlight exposure for our overall health and wellness.
Sunlight exposure helps with mental health, bone health, blood pressure, and disease markers. This happens by providing us naturally with Vitamin D3 (as we synthesize it from the sun’s rays) and helping boost the production of critical hormones like serotonin.
These same UVB rays are believed to help trigger (through the skin) the release of nitrogen oxide, thus lowering blood pressure levels.
Sunlight exposure also naturally helps regulate our sleeping and circadian rhythm.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), anyone?
Like the ‘shield’ tenant, the fight is no longer applicable in the same way it once was for our ancestors. But as we have adapted to our present-day society, we can also adjust, re-tool, and re-evaluate what it means to ‘fight’ in contemporary society.
For Liver King, this means advocating for health – be it mental health or physical health.
Seemingly, the pandemic has shed light on the negative repercussions and harmful health effects of spending too much time indoors, without physical contact or the contact of others.
With the rapid increase of mental health issues like depression or anxiety being documented in young and old alike, Liver King marks this tenant as a ‘call-to-action’ to get involved in bettering the life of yourself and others through advocating and conversation.
This leads to the last and final tenant, perhaps one of the most sorely missing in contemporary society – that of connection to others.
The importance of human connection cannot be understated. At the same time, this may seem like the most blasé and boring tenant (where are the health benefits from talking to your friends?) – it is one of the most vital.
We have collectively lost our bonds to each other as we become increasingly tied to technology and virtual realities instead.
Everyone you see in public is on their phones – even at concerts or live events.
Virtual realities do not mean VR gaming or universes, but rather the virtual identities we have created online and withdrawn into, rather than connecting with others face-to-face. Instead of using these platforms as a tool to build a more robust social bond, they are used to create a shield between oneself and others (and not the shielding Liver King wants you to practice).
Connection to others helps build our communication skills, empathy, and confidence on the basest level. On a higher level, it is what makes us truly human. By neglecting this, we put the lives of ourselves and the future of our society as a collective in danger.
Verdict: Nine Ancestral Tenants
Returning to a natural diet and adhering to Liver King’s nine ancestral tenants may provide benefits to the majority of human beings.
With all of the processed foods and modern distractions, slowing down and “smelling the flowers” may be what we all need.
What do you think of Liver King and his nine ancestral tenants?
Let us know in the comments below!