Supporting Our Innate Resilience
When we are truly healthy we have a natural resilience against the action of destructive forces on our health. In fact, we have the means to reboot our mind and our body when we give ourselves the right tools. Much like a computer, which has a BIOS (Basic Input Output Operating System) so too does each cell in the body. Our cells respond to environmental signals, like our stress levels, our thoughts/emotions, activity level, environmental toxins, and the biggest one of all: the food we consume (or in some cases, the food we don’t consume).
When it comes to our food, the quality, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and macronutrients all play a role in what kinds of signals our cells will receive. If we set ourselves up for health by eating wholesome, nutrient-dense, real foods, our bodies have the information they need to thrive. They are able to better fight the daily insults on our health that can lead to long-term damage. When we eat foods that lack these vital components or contain toxic ingredients, like refined sugar, white flour, chemical additives, and preservatives, our cells aren’t able to operate at their most optimal level, which can lead to inflammation, fatigue, and overall catabolic processes, that break us down. We become much more susceptible to cellular damage from internal influences like stress and external ones like pollution when we don’t have the correct nutrition to support our needs.
We have all experienced our computer getting stuck. Likewise, our bodies can get stuck in a state of disordered physiology, whereby we create a negative feedback loop, and our physiology ends up like a cat chasing its proverbial tail. Modern medicine calls this phenomenon of a stuck physiology “disease.” However, for the most part chronic disease is really a mental construct of giving a label to disordered physiology, otherwise one drug would treat a single disease in a linear fashion, but it does not work this way! There are many causes that go into the development of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. and you can’t properly treat or reverse these chronic conditions with the “ pill for an ill” pharmacologic approach that you so often see today.
Our bodies evolved over thousands of years to adapt to an ever changing environment, giving us “feast or famine physiology”, yet, today we live in a culture of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year access to high-caloric, high-glycemic, nutrient-depleted, pesticide-laden, GMO Frankenfood. The effect of this disordered living has had devastating consequences on our health worldwide. In the US alone, we spend almost twice as much annually per capita on healthcare as the rest of the world, but are not even close to being the healthiest, nor do we live the longest.
Until the 20th century, overnutrition was a transient condition for most humans, and life was characterized by cycles of feast and famine. We still have within us our Paleolithic ancestors’ genes which are primed for that feast or famine physiology. When there is uncoupling of our sleep/wake cycle and prolonged sedentary behavior, along with unbridled access to food without a time for metabolic rest and recovery, the results are chronic fatigue, depression, brain fog, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and premature death. No magic medicine can reverse this metabolic disharmony with our ancestral genes.
It’s easy to see how the accessibility and addictive nature or 20th century foods have lead to these diseases. The saddest part of all, is that many of us weren’t given the proper tools for navigating our diets to avoid them and support the best version of our health we can create.
We evolved to live outside, where we endured the elements and we actually hunted and gathered our food depending upon the season (sometimes with success, but often with failure, which meant we had to live off our fat). This required the need for dynamic metabolic flexibility or “Resilience”. And though this lifestyle is thousands of years behind us, there are many things we can do to support our innate resilience and rediscover amazing health. Reducing stress, avoiding toxins, getting adequate sleep, moving regularly, getting outside in nature, practicing intermittent fasting, and eating a variety of colorful, real foods are all simple steps towards boosting your natural ability to fight disease and stay strong.
It may be upsetting to realize how far off the beaten path we’ve gone, from the perspective of modern health trends. The good news, is that by becoming aware and making positive changes, the body is able to prevent disease, heal, and even thrive in the face of challenges. Our natural resilience is an incredible aspect of being human, we just need to provide the proper tools for it to thrive.