Day 196, Our Environment Instructs Our Genes How To Express Themselves
Posting a few blog entries to Facebook is a game changer. I get more hits, but following the reactions takes time and emotional energy. However, I want make an impact with my writing, so I will continue with it. I hope you will continue to comment.
Today it looks like spring is on its way. Indeed, tomorrow, according to the calendar, is the first day of spring. I feel a bit of roused enthusiasm that I often feel in spring. Some years, the enthusiasm has escalated into mania, but it will not likely do so this spring. My husband agreed that I may be a bit “over the top” for him, so I decided to settle into doing some more writing.
Today, I fixed gingered lemonade, a four-egg spinach-tomato-mushroom and cheese bacon omelette, a Neapolitan shake, and soup. I made the Neapolitan shake with its usual frozen organic strawberries, organic cacao power, and natural vanilla powder. Today, for variety, I also added some ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. It tasted great!
It seems like I have been in the kitchen all day, except for walking in the hall with and without my husband, getting the trash out, and getting the mail in and out. I just straightened up the kitchen and started the dishwasher.
Now I have a moment to breathe and think about what to share in my writing. Fortunately, my feelings of depression are behind me for now. I may be trending towards the other pole. Usually, there is a “normal” space between my poles. With medication, neither one of them will be severe enough to be clinically significant. That is if all goes well, and this time, I am optimistic.
I have a to-do list I wrote up with my husband that is gradually getting done, even though I have been reluctant to get out of the condo.
Now that I feel more enthusiasm for life, what is my best course to take? I wish I consistently felt enthusiasm for life. However, I will take it when it comes. I could work on some new recipes. I have just been refining the ones I am already doing. I ate some of the omelette this morning, even though it had cheese and bacon crumbles, and it was fantastic. Perhaps one of the secrets is that I added onion powder. Since an omelette cooks quickly, there is not enough time to cook raw onions, so adding onions does not work, unless I cook them ahead of time. However, I added some organic onion powder, and that seems to give the omelette the flavor it needs.
I am becoming more and more conscious of the fact that the environment, including nutrition, with which we choose to surround ourselves has a profound impact on our gene expression. Later, I will discuss this more in depth. Stay tuned.
Right now I am eating some MM Colorado Caraway Kraut. It has the advantage of being a local food. I got it at Natural Grocers through Instacart rather than ordering it online. I included a recipe for cultured vegetables Sunday, but I have not yet had the inclination to prepare them. It is much easier to purchase sauerkraut, though a bit pricey. When you buy sauerkraut, avoid the cooked-to-death stuff that is sold at the grocery store. That will not have live probiotics in it.
Our bodies have their own internal environment called a microbiome. I have learned lately that not only is sauerkraut good for controlling candida albicans colonies in my body, it helps improve my dental checkups. I have had better dental checkups since I started using sauerkraut, even more so than in the past, when I just used probiotics pills.
Even though sauerkraut is a bit pricey, probiotic pills with a large number of organisms are very pricey. I believe that sauerkraut is a better deal economically, even if you do not make it yourself, and certainly if you do. One food I really like to eat sauerkraut with is sardines. Neither of these may appeal to your palette, but give them a try. Sardines are often canned with the bones, skin, and sometimes other parts of the fish that are nourishing to the body.
The Dental Diet
Dr. Steven Lin, the author of The Dental Diet, which is still available on Kindle for $.99, recommends eating organ meat, brains, intestines, etc. of various kinds of meat, not just fish, as it has more nutrients than just the muscle tissue. I have not ventured into eating brains yet, but I want to be open to his recommendations.
The microbiome or body ecology profoundly affects the teeth, especially the immune system for the teeth.
Why have I given my teeth a whole book? The book was available for $.99, so I could not pass it up. Also, the book is worth a whole lot more than that. Your teeth are worth a fortune, but interestingly, what is good for your teeth is good for the whole body. No wonder people have looked at teeth to ascertain the health of the body as a whole. The book is so in-depth that not everything can be done at once, but it gives a roadmap for dental and general health into the future.
Of course, Dr. Lin talks about the importance of reducing sugar in the diet to improve your dental health. When he gave himself an audit of his own sugar intake, he was shocked to see how many so-called healthy foods he was eating had lots of sugar in them. He revamped his diet and developed The Dental Diet, which he ultimately shared with his dental patients and now the entire world.
Sugar multiplies bad bacteria in the body and messes up the balance of the microbiome. This leads to tooth decay.
So how do you go about reducing sugar? First, natural sugars that are encased in fibers are not destructive to teeth. Added sugars are a problem. I spent a day in my blog, addressing the topic of overcoming sugar. Interestingly, that was when I first started reading The Dental Diet. Dr. Lin must have lit a fire in me to get serious about my sugar addiction. If you are reluctant to give up your sugar habit, just imagine yourself toothless or having to go through getting dental implants. A few dental implant commercials on TV may scare you.
One of the most brilliant minds currently on the topic of sugar is Dr. Robert Lustig. He explains the biochemistry of what goes on when your liver metabolizes fructose. Sugar is about half fructose. He is a pediatric doctor and has studied the effect of soda, sugared drinks, and fruit juices on the body.
My Spiritual Life
Another topic that has me often enthralled is my spiritual life. I dabbled with atheism for a time. I read Richard Dawkins, who is a brilliant man. It just did not appeal to me to not have a Higher Power, from whom I had received so much help in the past. I gradually found myself praying again and then I reconciled myself once more to God, feeling completely forgiven for my wandering.
Due to a serious ear injury in 2011, I have hyperacusis, or extreme sensitivity to sounds, so almost any Christian church with their rock music is too loud for comfort. I have tried a number of services but have always been uncomfortable with the way I feel afterwards, even though I am generally intellectually stimulated. With a Christian friend, I read the Bible again in 2016 and 2017. I continued to study passages of the Bible whenever I had a question related to them. The Internet with its many parallel Bible translations has been a great resource in my study.
Through my Christian friend’s parents, I found out about Joel Osteen who is an abundance-minded preacher I like very much. (He also takes care of his teeth.) I especially found comfort through one of his books, Blessed In The Darkness, that I found in the library when I was depressed. I later read additional books he wrote. Joel Osteen is on TV and the Internet, and his services do not include rock music, which is appealing to me. Joel Osteen practices what some people would call ‘priestcraft.’ However, I applaud him for raising the funds needed to have the venue and influence he has worldwide. I look to him for guidance on how to be influential myself.
Joel Osteen’s book got me out of a depression in 2018, not immediately, but it gave me the philosophy that worked against depression. Instead of seeing my trials as punishments from God, I saw them as ‘a dark place,’ soil, where the seeds of further greatness are germinated. I began to believe that once I emerged from my dark place, I would be doubly blessed. When I emerged from my 2018 depression, I found love where I least expected it, my boyfriend of almost thirteen years. We went on to get married.
For the first part of my marriage, I struggled. I was not ever depressed, but I was very anxious. However, I have changed a lot since then. Now I feel deeply in love with my husband, and we are working as a team. He also enjoys Joel Osteen’s sermons and devotionals. That means we can worship together.
Our devotional from Joel Osteen tonight was again about vocalizing God’s blessings in our lives. I declared vocally tonight that my depression is over. It feels like it is. I can continue even stronger than I was before.
Confidence to Influence
It has taken me awhile to gain the confidence to spread my messages. I thought that some friends and family may take issue to my point of view. However, I feel very confident that I am on to something in life, material I have wanted to share ever since I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I feel intellectually stimulated all the time. My health is getting better. I am grateful that I can continue to learn and ask questions.
My Cronometer Trends report for the past two weeks is looking better than ever. The last Trends report I published is here.
My sugar and calcium intakes have come down slightly. Sodium is in the okay range. More than the default range for sodium is needed because of my high water and lithium intake. Potassium now averages more than 100%. The four nutrient balances are all in the ideal range. I am getting ample nutrients and plenty of fiber. I am getting good at the game of Cronometer. Nutrition may be more than a Cronometer game. I am willing to admit that possibility. However, this game is a good place to start. I recommend that you consider it yourself, even if you only do it part-time.
I used to be plagued with recurring eczema. I have not had any for quite some time, probably years. The dentist Dr. Lin said that casein in dairy products can cause eczema. I have not entirely eliminated casein from my diet, but eczema is probably cured by having complete balanced nutrition.
Food is Information
I do admit that nutrition is more than just the breakdown of its constituent nutrients. Food is information, and how it is arranged is important. Eliminating toxins from our food is important, and if that cannot be done, we can give our bodies the nutrients that help them eliminate toxins. Our food lived in some kind of an environment, and that environment affects us once we eat that food. It is important to know as much as we can about our food choices. Generally, the more local food is the better. I like the MM Colorado krauts because they are local to Colorado. I used to use a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for local food.
The Biology of Belief
Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. wrote a book he labored over for decades called The Biology of Belief. Dr. Lipton was a medical school professor. Much of the scientific dogma he believed for years he came to reject. Most importantly, he answered the controversy of nature versus nurture. He declared, “It’s the environment, stupid!” Our environment, which includes the nutrition we take in, sends messages to our genes about how they should express themselves. Bruce Lipton declared, “We are not doomed by our genes!” We will not have the same fate as our parents and grandparents, if we learn to instruct genes on how to express themselves. I believe learning exactly how to “instruct” genes is worth learning how to do.
Super Genes by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and Rudolf Tanzi, Ph.D. gives you guidance about how you can ‘instruct’ your genes. They guide you through a transformation process where you acquire one new behavior each week selected from a checklist of transformative activities.
If you believe the study of nutrition and lifestyle intervention is worthless, think again. Complete nutrition, air and water quality, adequate sleep, sunlight, meditation, body-enhancing exercise, stress reduction, meaningful work, supportive relationships, nurturing habits, toxin elimination, and intellectual stimulation are all part of the environment and send messages to the genes.
The Telomere Effect
Interestingly, Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel in The Telomere Effect mention almost the same list of activities as Chopra and Tanzi as affecting telomeres, the ends of DNA that cause you to age faster when they shorten and slower when they lengthen. Again, our environment is information that is instructing genes how to express themselves. Meditation, sleep, exercise, and nutrition were emphasized in both books as well as other environmentally related activities.
Does It Make a Difference?
So, does it make a difference? A man I have known since the 1980’s talked to me in December at my father’s funeral. He wondered why I did not seem to age. I do actually age, but I have noticed that I have been aging at a slower rate than most of my peers. Could it be what I have learned about gene expression and the telomere effect? Even though I have not been perfect about implementing everything I have learned, what I have done is having a noticeable effect.
I Encourage You To Read
I encourage you to read these two books, Super Genes and The Telomere Effect and learn for yourself what your genetic potential is with a little intervention from the environment with which you choose to surround yourself. While you are at it, check out a copy of The Biology of Belief from the library. It is very readable, and Bruce Lipton has a great personality as he undergoes a major belief change. I can relate to that!
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.