In the recent blogs I have addressed a spectrum of baby boomer issues from the key role of spirituality to the responsibility of taking care of our parents to the health impact of our blood type. At this point I want to redirect the upcoming series of blogs to new, cutting edge developments in nutrition. As a physician, I have seen changes in eating styles dramatically alter the course of a person’s illness. More importantly, I have seen changes in eating style completely change the direction of a person’s life. With these blogs (and their focus on breakthrough nutritional “news”), my primary goal is to improve your health and your life. Yes, I will present disparate views, even conflicting views. However, I strongly believe that the nutritional advice will improve the quality of the second half of your life.
As a starting point, I want to assure you that I am not just looking forward, but I am also looking back. There is wisdom in the eating habits of our ancestors. There is also a new awareness of the 77,000 chemicals that we have released into our environment and the impact of our declining, more contaminated food supply. But there is hope that all of us can make the right eating style changes to give us a much better chance at reaching improved health, renewed vitality, a sharpened mental focus, and a higher level of personal happiness. Those are just the first steps. We all want greater health so that we can be the person we were meant to be, so that we can complete the things we feel need to be completed. For the second half of your life, you want to hit that home run, touching all the bases with a slide into home plate, highlighting your life with a closing fist pump. That’s my own goal. I suspect it is also your goal. Now, let’s make that “last chapter” dream become a reality.
That goal is just not for ourselves; it is also for the world. Collectively, I imagine we all want a world where the soil is protected, the crops are clean and bountiful, the animals are well fed, and we are appropriately nourished, not contaminated by unseen toxins. The solutions have to come from our food, our nutrition, and all the components that comprise that equation. If there is one bedrock truth, it is that we all eat – and what we eat impacts the quality of our health and our lives. There is another truth. With today’s eating, we all face a greater challenge than we faced 25 years ago. The world has changed, sometimes not for the better. In our lifetime we have lost 10 million farmers and over 5 million farms. The local famer, who was so valuable to our health, is now gone. Our country has more incarcerated prisoners than farmers. That means we must take action. For me, education – and then our utilizaton of that education – is one of the solutions.
Let me give you an example. One of the scientific breakthroughs of the last decade has been our awareness of the new field of epigenetics. Scientifics used to believe that we were born with a set of genes and those genes were solidified in our DNA structure. The texture of our hair, the color of our eyes, and the shade of our skin: those genetic features were all set in stone. But what have we learned? We have learned that there is another subset of genes that are not etched in stone. The expression of these genes varies daily, and what do these genes do? They impact the development of multiple diseases, including cancer. What impacts their genetic expression? Your daily food, nutrition, internal environment, and even your thoughts and feelings. Even your degree of stress. Some of these genes turn on diseases. Some of these genes turn off diseases. They are your health guardians – and, believe it or not, they are greatly under your control. The power to control your health is suprisingly in your hands. You are just not aware of it. But guess what? Through these upcoming blogs, you will become more aware of it – and you will be able to change (and perhaps even save) your own life.
As another example, let me share that more and more understanding has been gained about the importance of your digestive system and how it impacts your physical health and mental sharpness. In truth, the quality of your health is a reflection of the quality of your digestive system. Specifically, your health – and the expression of many of your genes – is determined by the microbes (the tiny living organisms) in your gut. There are billions and billions of those organisms in your digestive track. In fact, you have more of those organisms in your intestines than there are people on this planet. Yet, do you know what you need to do to allow those organisms to work for you, not against you? Not yet, but you will. Again, that is my goal: to help you gain an understanding of your ability to control your health and your future. That broad goal was part of the incentive for my book, The Boomer Survivor Kit; and it will now be the goal for this next section of blogs (which is going to lead to my second book).
One final point for this transitional blog. We need to realize that our personal health is also dependent on the health of our planet. Right now, as many of you are well aware, our environment is more polluted than any time in history. The richness of our soil has become depleted. Our fresh water is running out. Our oceans are becoming acidic and toxic. From Japan, we have radiation fallout, which is slowly heading our way. In short, we have a toxic food supply. We also have a government that has not supported policies for our national health; they have supported policies for their own campaign coffers. Even scientific research, and the recommendations from the FDA, has been grossly tainted by a group of corporations that are dedicated to profit, not health. So, we are standing at a very precarious point in history – environmentally, economically, and even socially. But you have to remember another truth: history starts with the individual. We all need to become better educated, better nourished, and – yes – better leaders. We have a lot to learn. We have a lot to teach. Let’s start with ourselves and our families. Then let’s see who else we can help! Want to join in the adventure? Are you willing? Are you ready?