Episode 414 – Darryl Edwards – Movement and Play
We have our friend Darryl Edwards as guest on the podcast for Episode 414. Darryl Edwards is a Movement Coach, Natural Lifestyle Educator, nutritionist and creator of the Primal Play Method
00:48 – Intro to Darryl Edwards and Primal Play
2:48 – Darryl’s career background, health history, and how he got into paleo
9:10 – What motivated Darryl to do a book and a certification and get into this work
15:38 – Incorporating movement and play-outs in regular life
17:16 – Structure vs unstructured activity for people and for kids
25:01 – Risk assessment for kids
28:06 – Overprotecting kids and losing resilience and risk assessment ability
31:00 – Where to find Darryl
32:55 – Movement Oncology – movement as medicine for cancer
35:00 – Underappreciated movement
36:51 – Thanks
Book: Animal Moves
Download a copy of this transcript here (PDF)
Paleo Solution – 414
Robb: Darryl, how are you doing, my friend?
Darryl: I’m very good, my mate.
Robb: Awesome. It was good seeing you briefly as always at Paleo f(x)
Darryl: Well, since the last time we spoke, which is at Paleo f(x)
Robb: Well, it’s always awesome seeing you at these different events because you have a huge chunk of people waiting to get in on this stuff. The things that you’ve incorporated, they range from all of these different odd angle movements to some stuff that to me, from my eyes, look derived out of like Greco wrestling and judo, so all kinds of things, move your own body, figure out how to move somebody else’s body, how to respond dynamically in a play-based fashion to interacting with other folks. It definitely is a ton of fun, the stuff that you’re doing.
I do want to dig in a little bit about your history on this whole story because you have a really eclectic background. Primal health was not your first — you’ve literally lived like three or four lives already. Do you want to let folks know a little bit about that background?
Darryl: Yes. So I started out — my previous career was working with an investment banking as a technologist. I was one of a handful of people around the world who could work in a particular area. So it meant pretty much being on call 24/7, seven days a week, 16 to 18-hour days, getting phone calls throughout the night so I was very sleep deprived, very lucrative and my bank balance was extremely healthy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as healthy.
There’s so much you can take into your 20s and 30s. You can pretty much take an onslaught of abuse — what you do to your body, what you do being sleep deprived. I was privileged enough to have an annual health check, so the three and a half to four hours’ worth of tests and diagnostics telling you how you are holding out. One year I was told, “Actually, Mr. Edwards, we have a problem. We’re concerned about, you know, you’re pre-diabetic. You have elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. You’ve been anemic for a very long time.” I was suffering with chronic low back pain for almost a couple of decades. I was pretty much a mess. Hypertensive, so my blood pressure was something like 155, 160 over 110 on a regular basis.
So almost every time I went to my doctor, I was told, “Look, we need to get you on some meds, some statins, get something to reduce your blood pressure, get some metformin to reduce your blood glucose levels.” I was like, “Is there an alternative.” The alternative was really “We’ll give you something else.” I was like, “Well, okay, I’m concerned about the side effects. I’m concerned about the cocktail of meds. How long do you think I need to be on these for?” “Darryl, pretty much until the end of your days.”
I was fortunate enough to have read a book by Loren Cordain, The Paleo Diet, which I call a shelf-help book because they’ve been on my shelf for probably a couple of years by then, and I hadn’t read it. But there was something I remember on first pass about going back to basics. I recognized that if I was sedentary and I was eating pretty much whatever I could get my hand to and I wasn’t really thinking about what I was eating, I had to at least start off by doing that. I was like, if I’ve got high blood pressure and movement is one way of addressing that, if I’m highly stressed and again exercise is a good intervention for that, let me start moving.
So I joined a gym. I started getting active. I started seeing results in my health markers. My blood pressure came down. My cholesterol profile, lipid profile improved. It was all a very good start. Then I start to think to myself, “Well, okay, if I’m eating, if I’m moving well and I’m moving right and I’m moving better, I need to definitely start considering diet that I should go on.” I know you go back a long way, Robb, so the Zone Diet will mean a lot to you. I went to Zone initially. I just got fed up with having to pretty much be so neurotic about measurements. I can only have nine almonds rather than eight. I got to get those percentages right.
I was like, “I can’t continue to do this.” And then I was like, “Hold on a second, that book, that book, remember that Paleo Diet book.” There was something in there about a diet that we evolved, what we’re designed to eat, and that just made sense to me; that we had to move, we had to eat well in order to get to where we are today. Take the best of the past, blend that with the best of the present. It has to be a better way forward for myself.
So that’s what I did. Literally, within a few months, everything had been normalized in terms of my blood test results. I was no longer at risk. In some areas, it was optimal according to the clinicians who were working from me. I decided this is going to be me for the long haul. Unless something changes dramatically, I want to stay on this path.
Fast forwarding on, I then decided I had to do anything to get out of banking. I had to change my career. So I started out in the music biz for a while. I recorded an album. It took about three years to record. It was nominated as one of the top albums of 2005 by BBC Radio 1 in the UK. I toured a bit. I had a number one video on MTV in Latin America, of all places. Fortunately for me, now I can say, is that the record label went bust. So my music career kind of fizzled out, very promising but didn’t work out. But thank goodness it didn’t work out because I was spending time in the studio overnight. I was still making poor health decisions around that time.
So I decided to cross train, nutritional therapy, become a personal trainer. And then I realized I could no longer stay within the banking environment and really do this justice in terms of educating other people. I found I was able to maintain good health. But in order for me to really sell this message, I’ve got to remove myself and really dig deep and really immerse myself into this lifestyle.
That’s pretty much a summation of what I did way back then. And then for the last, when I quit banking in 2011, this is what I’m doing up until now, kind of figuring out what I wanted to do with my newfound passion for life and zest for life and how I could…
Robb: Okay, folks, we’re back. We had a little bit of connectivity issues. Darryl, you were unpacking your history ranging from a pretty interesting tech-based background in banking to a super cool but short-lived music career. But in the process of all that, you discovered you had some serious health issues and really used movement and play as kind of the primary intervention, clearly also with an ancestral diet background to kind of augment that whole story. You’ve been in this space a long time now. What motivated you ultimately to do both a book and a certification? Both of those things are daunting amount of time and resources. What lit a fire under you to do that?
Darryl: I suppose it was when I got contacted after a couple years of my blog. Two, three years of my blog, I got contacted by a publisher in the US to write Paleo fitness. That was the first time, you know, there hadn’t been any books really digging deep on the movement aspects of Paleo. It was mainly a focus on diet and nutrition. That got me really thinking about how important movement and physical activity was from a health perspective, not just getting into shape, not just getting fit but how movement is part and parcel of our progress, of ancestral history, so to speak.
A few years on from that, I also recognized that the elites when it comes to fitness I kind of catered for,…