Did You Earn That Meal?
A Word on Genetic-Predispositions.
Today’s blog proposes a new fad diet. While most don’t aspire to be something as transient as a fad, I’d be happy to get the world to consider and even attempt this “diet” for as little as a month. Somebody call Dr. Oz for me, things are about to get serious.
The next time you eat, while you’re choking down your paleo platter or taking your last bite of salad, I want you to consider one thing: How easy was it for you to get that meal? Did you have to go to the grocery store, purchase a few items and throw them together on an electric stovetop? Were you fortunate enough to sit yourself down at a table in an air-conditioned restaurant and have your choice of meal served to you? Or did you take the truly easiest route and phone in an order that was delivered to you within 30 or so minutes?
By now I think you starting to smell what I’m cooking. It is incredibly easy for us to eat nowadays. Progress you say, right? Well if you consider contributing to obesity progress, then yes, spot on!
I largely agree with the paleo diet movement. Human physiology changes over generations and centuries. There is no way our bodies could possibly keep up with the speed and “innovation” by which manufactured foods are created and served en masse. BUT as much as I agree with the dietary concept, I also feel they’re missing the boat regarding the overall lifestyle concept.
If you’re going to ‘live paleo”, let’s add another element. Our ancestors never had the luxury of pulling food out of a refrigerator or using a grille. Every single meal they consumed was earned via hunting, fire building, transporting water, foraging, plucking, cooking, fishing, chasing, well; you get my point.
Now I’m not suggesting you go out and start trapping squirrels in your backyard to up your protein intake, but what I am suggesting is that you EARN, every single thing you consume. Every time you decide you’re going to eat something (water not included) you perform some sort of menial activity to “earn” that food. Eggs for breakfast? You should at least stretch and perform 100 jumping jacks. Mid-day banana? Gimme 5 squats and 10 pull ups. Want lunch? Jog around the block once to deserve it. Again…you get my point.
Our biochemistry is ordered in a manner that food is our reward for physical activity. If you remove physical activity from the equation, weight gain won’t be far behind.
Overall the concept is meant to increase your activity levels. It’s not straining and is safe enough that it should be done every day of the week (including “rest” days) and easy enough that you should be able to complete a task without getting your work clothes sweaty.
Start with a task that is so easy, you would berate yourself for not doing it before eating. From there, work your way up. Eventually, depending on what you put into the program, you will inevitably become more fit. I say inevitably because while people start and stop exercise programs all the time, people never stop eating, ever.
So my challenge to you, start earning your meals. It will redefine your appreciation for food and eating clean, increase your fitness level, boost your metabolism, clean up your biochemical food processor (stomach/pancreas/liver/kidneys), make you look better naked and earn you new friends on facebook.
Disclaimer: I knowingly made a few omissions regarding physiology and biochemical science simply to increase readability. That said, I openly welcome questions and discussion regarding this blog on my Facebook page:
A Word on Genetic-Predispositions.
We have all had the pleasure of filling out 10 minutes worth of intake forms at one doctor or another’s office at some point in our lives. Text is terrible when it comes to conveying emotions and intentions like sarcasm, if it weren’t I wouldn’t have to tell you that my last sentence was 100% insincere, but it was.
Going to the doctors isn’t fun. It’s usually associated with something, some bodily function or part of your body; having become dysfunctional. So of all things sitting in a waiting room filling out 5 pages of questions is the last thing we want to do at a time like that.
I apologize for the process, it’s important for us as physicians to know where you’ve been, what’s happened to you and what runs in your family. This information will serve not only as a background for us getting to understand your overall picture of health but to also start the process of elimination for what may or may not be going on with you at the moment.
Every individual is unique, but many of our traits are inherited from our predecessors. Our mother’s, father’s, grandfather may have been the one who gave you your not so lucky predisposition to gout. Grandma may have had breast cancer after working in a factory for 10 years, but it was the genetic predisposition within her DNA that allowed for her to be affected whereas Myrtle who worked alongside her for the entire decade never developed cancer her entire life.
The National Institute of Health(NIH) defines a genetic predisposition as:
“an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on a person’s genetic makeup. These genetic changes contribute to the development of a disease but do not directly cause it. Some people with a genetic predisposition will never get the disease while others will, even within the same family. ”
Now when I talk to my patients about genetic predispositions and what runs in their family, it is particularly disappointing to hear them say:
“well cancer/diabetes/arthritis/obesity/etc/etc run in my family soooo, you know, I’m probably going to get it.”
My answer is always a resounding “NO!”.
A genetic predisposition is a weakness, it is NOT a death sentence. What is your normal approach to weakness? Do you knowingly look at it, shrug your shoulders, say “oh well” and give up? Or do you rather learn about it, counter it and strengthen it so that it is no longer “weak”?
If a burglar came to your home one saturday and told you he would break in to your home within the next month, what would you do? Would you leave your doors and windows unlocked allowing him easy access or would you install an alarm system, alert the police and talk to all your neighbors?
As a physician a genetic predisposition gives me a target. Modern medical science is incredible and we often have a solid understanding of how these diseases happen on a cellular level. Disease is a process. You don’t go to sleep one day healthy and wake up the next with cancer. Disease develops over extended periods of time, and with a strong physiologic understanding of the disease process, we have targets to aim a strategy at.
Again, every case is unique, which is why the long forms and personal questions. When it comes to genetic predispositions, we are looking for your weaknesses so that we can bolster them because as nearly any doctor will tell you the biggest factors associated with disease are environmental and lifestyle choices.
I personally have a strong predisposition for Alzheimer’s in my family. My grandmother, who played a pivotal role in my development as an individual; was ravaged by the disease over the course of a decade. I am quite honestly petrified of getting it. With that in mind, I will always do everything in my power to make my body invincible to the disease. In the end, even with all my proaction, I may still develop Alzheimer’s. But at least I’ll go knowing I did all I could to avoid it rather than rolling over and giving up.
With regard to you and your predispositions, I’m not a charlatan that will sell you magic heal all potions or perform elaborate rituals to rid you of your demons. I cannot alter your DNA and “cure” you of a genetic predisposition, I’m not that good…yet ; ) But I can and will show you how the disease process happens and explain to you the best, research proven, natural methods to counter the processes. And I can and will work alongside your medical doctor, if one is needed, to deliver the best possible care to help you live as long and fulfilling a life as possible while you tell your predisposition that you are the one in charge of your health.
Live young. Have fun. Be your best!