Sometimes I am pretty perplexed by the way people look on healthy eating. Most consider that healthy eating, means deprivation and starvation, in order to melt your body fat, like an ice cream melts in the sun, and become thin and able to hide behind a straw.
In reality you don’t need to be overweight in order to eat healthy. Healthy eating is not about losing weight. It is actually about health. Healthy eating is not equal to starving and depriving your body, but actually it is about nourishing it and giving it more strength!
I just finished reading a book called Deep Nutrition:Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, by Catherine Shanahan and Luke Shanahan, and I highly recommend you buy a copy and read it. It is just 200 pages, but every line in the book is full of deep meaning, mere truth and a bunch of knowledge that will luckily open your eyes for the truth about food and health and our own ability to influence the health status of our body, through our daily nutrition and behavioral choices.
For the past year I am really keen on epigenetic and the notion of reprogramming your genes. I am more than convinced that each one of us is capable of doing this and thanks to the knowledge I received from the book mentioned above, I feel confident enough to give my best shot and convince you that your health is in your own hands.
During the next couple weeks I will cover a couple different topics about our ability to reprogram our genes through nutrition and physical activity, and how what we eat determine snot just our own health and physical beauty, but also the health and beauty of the next generations.
How does the whole thing with nutrition and genes work?
I bet that at least once in your life you’ve had a plant, which you neglected. You forgot to water and soil it, and you probably noticed how its leaves curls and it s colors faded. You eye witnessed how the beauty and life, were robbed out of the plant, due to not taking proper care and not “feeding” it.
And probably if you’ve been persistent enough, and you gave your best to bring it back alive, you realized how good care has a dramatic restorative effect and how proper care does wonders.
Now refer this to our genes and our body and you can imagine what is the power of nutrition.
Truth is that our genes have intelligence. And it is our duty to learn to work with that intelligence.
As states in the book:
“Studies have shown that epigenetic tagging occurs in response to chemicals that form as a result of everything we eat, drink, breathe, think and do. It seems our genes are always listening, always on the ready to respond and change.
Our lifestyles teach our genes how to behave. In choosing between healthy or unhealthy foods and habits, we are programming our genes for either good or bad conduct.
Many of the epigenetic regulatory processes involve tagging sections of DNA with markers that govern how often a gene uncoils and unzips. Once exposed, a gene is receptive to enzymes that translate it into protein. If unexposed, it remains dormant and the protein it codes for doesn’t get expressed.”
That means that our lifestyle is something like a language, which our genes interpret and based on the information they receive, they either being turned on or off. So the better the quality of our lifestyle, the better will be the gene expression and the better will be our health status.
A proof for this are the studies conductined, observing twins, which have led a totally different lifestyle- one of the twins led a what is considered healthy lifestyle and the other one pretty much abused her body. This led not only to a difference in the way their life developed, but also their genes looked different. Failure to attend to the proper care and feeding of our bodies doesn’t just affect us, it affects our genes.
Imagine it like this. Our genes are “smart dudes”, which take notes all the time. Just so they have a way to remind themselves what to do with all the different nutrients, that we eat.
Here is another great extract from the book, so you can get a better idea of how “the taking of notes” actually works.
“ Let’s say a gene for building bone is tagged with two epigenetic markers, one that binds to vitamin D and another that binds to calcium. And let’s say that when vitamin D and calcium are both bound to their respective markers at the same time, the gene uncoils and can be expressed. If there is no calcium and no vitamin D, then the gene remains dormant and less bone is built. The epigenetic regulatory tags are effectively serving as a kind of Post- it note: When there’s lot’s of vitamin D and calcium around, make a bunch of the protein encoded for right here. When they do, voila!You are building bone.”
So you are probably wondering what you could do in order to regulate these cellular events. And as surprising as it may sound, in reality it is so logical- food is our tool. The primary way we interact with our environment is food.
“Those tags that get placed on the genes to control how they work and help drive the course of evolution are made of simple nutrients, like minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids, or are influenced by the presence of these nutrients. In other words, there’s essentially no middleman between the food you eat and what your genes are being told to do, enacting changes that can ultimately become permanent and inheritable. If food can alter genetic information in the space of a single generation, then this powerful and immediate.”
Most people don’t really care what they eat and where their food comes from. For people a green salad from your grandparents back yard is the same as the green salad bought form the supermarket.
But is it really like this?
I love saying that the quality of our health, depends of the quality of our food. And the quality of our food, depends on the quality of the soil.
By fortifying the soil, the plants grow more nutrient- rich. By feeding the animals the products of healthy soil, they cultivated healthier, more nutrient-rich animals. And since different nutrients are stored in different plants and animals, by consuming every edible part, we can enjoyed the full complex of nutrients.
Back in the days people ate foods that functioned to design every sinew and fiber of their bodies.
Thus our genes got used to receive signals from this kind of lifestyle and nutrition. So they are best programmed to turn on, when these perfect conditions are present.
But what happens today?
“We fail to fortify and protect the substrate on which the life and health of everything depends- the soil. We raise animals in unspeakable inhumane and unhealthy conditions, fill their tissues with toxins, and color the meat to make it appear more appetizing.”
Once in the kitchen the consumer takes one last swing at whatever nutrition has survived, through overcooking and the use of chip, toxic oils.
And trust me, this sends the wrong signals to our genes and they are kind of perplexed. They do not know how to respond, because their “notes” state that they should be turned on, when totally different nutrients and conditions are present. So the only thing they have left to do is just turn off their work. They become sleepy and they don’t work.
This reflects pretty bad on our health and the way our body functions. Nowadays we are sicker than ever and things are getting worse.
In my next post I will let you know how what we eat now affects the next generations and why it is so important what pregnant women eat and how their body are being nourished before, during and after pregnancy.
Meanwhile, make sure that the food you eat, corresponds with the notes of your genes. Otherwise you are in big trouble!
P.S. If you liked this post, please take a minute and share it with your friends! I’d greatly appreciate it!