For 2 million years humans have struggled with diseases, infant mortality, starvation and war. Around the time of Christ the life expectancy was 33 years. Today it is 77 years. We have made progress. Unfortunately, 88% of Americans have some metabolic disorder: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, liver disease, autoimmune disease, etc. When asked about the greatest advancement in human health in the past 500 years, the first heart transplant surgeon Christiaan Barnard, MD, responded: “The invention of the indoor flushing toilet.” An appropriate response since fecal to oral contamination killed millions of people through diseases like cholera and dysentery.
Today we have the opportunity to have dramatic improvements in the quality and quantity of our lives. Researchers have delved into the mysteries of the human body and found meaningful answers through the Human Genome Project and the Human Microbiome Project. While a billion people on earth live on the ragged edge of starvation, 3 million children die each year from famine. Meanwhile, America now has experts in pediatric endocrinology, which is medical talk for fat kids with diabetes.
Most Americans have the potential to dramatically extend their quality and quantity of life, but are making very poor lifestyle choices to put them in the cross hairs for some catastrophic disease.
Here’s how to avoid metabolic disorders
Genetics is a powerful force in our lives. You look something like your ancestors. Nothing is going to change that. But many of our genes are affected by lifestyle, sometimes called “soft programming”. Dean Ornish, MD found that lifestyle was a powerful medicine to reverse heart disease. He then drew his attention to prostate cancer. Gathering a group of men with “indolent” or slow growing prostate cancer, the researchers took needle biopsies from the diseased prostate glands of these men, then put them on a lifestyle program of plant based food, exercise, meditation, and socialization. 3 months later the researchers took another needle biopsy from these men and found nearly 500 changes in the DNA. Lifestyle can alter genetic expression. This is very good news. You do not have to die from the same conditions that plagued your ancestors.
“Epi” means above. Epiphany is an illuminating discovery, something above the normal thoughts. Lifestyle medicine is a quest for a limited but enthusiastic group of health care practitioners. Lifestyle medicine modifies our genes to upregulate or down regulate diseases. And these are the powerful vectors that can change your life and get you out of the disease trap currently holding the vast majority of Americans.
“Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts.” says Deepak Chopra, MD. A brilliant summary of the complex field of psychneuroimmunology. Love, meaningful work, connections to others, touching, forgiveness, charity, and more are hallmarks of a healing attitude that can rearrange the biochemistry of the body for healing.
You are what you eat. Eat a plant based diet, meaning a rational mixture of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, seaweed, mushrooms, and medicinal spices. Add small amounts of chicken, fish, yogurt, butter, cheese. Add rare amounts of red meat. Eat foods in as close to their natural state as possible. Avoid processed foods, especially sugar and flour. The more mankind tampers with a food, the less nutritive value is left. Stop eating before you are full. Maintain a healthy weight. Practice intermittent fasting by narrowing your feeding window to 8 hours per day and take one day per week for a water fast.
Humans evolved as active creatures. Exercise is as essential as a good diet. Get 30 minutes/day of age-appropriate exercise.
Humans have polluted the air, food, and water supply to the point of a cancer epidemic. Detoxify. Avoid highly processed foods. Drink lots of clean water. Ensure a daily bowel movement.
We have 100 trillion silent partners in our gut that can make life a living hell or a long and enjoyable experience. We feed the microbiome with abundant plant foods, which provide prebiotics for these valuable critters in our gut. Antibiotics and hard liquor play havoc with the delicate balance of microbes in the gut.
We are the body electric. Our body is a network of energy pathways, or chakras. Chiropractic, osteopathic, acupuncture, inversion tables, homeopathic, magnets, and energy healers are all attempting to restore a healthy voltage of -25 millivolts per cell.
For more information, see
You can escape the disease trap that 88% of Americans are experiencing. But only with some effort on your part. I am pulling for you. We are all in this together.